Cultivation Path of a Head Chef
(Minghui.org) I am 46 years old and I have practiced Falun Dafa for over 20 years. My cultivation path has not been smooth, but filled with ups and downs. My faith never wavered in spite of the persecution. I’ve persisted on the path of returning to my original self and have constantly witnessed the benevolence of teacher Mr. Li Hongzhi, and the wonders of Falun Dafa.
Getting Rid of the Attachment to Fame
I am a chef, and I'm considered to be very talented. When I see a dish prepared it's easy for me to remember how it's done. I became a chef in my early twenties, and I soon became well known in my city.
Because I was young, competitive, smart, and had exemplary skills, I developed a strong attachment to fame. I quickly became arrogant, and bragged about my abilities. I was attached to my reputation and loved showing off. I would scold or beat my apprentices even if they made the slightest mistake. I never accepted criticism. Even my boss never dared to upset me.
I also loved martial arts and qigong, and I began practicing them when I was young. I experienced all the phenomena that Master Li talked about in the book, Zhuan Falun. I often treated other people's illnesses.
I was fortunate to learn Dafa in 1995. When I read Zhuan Falun, I knew that I had obtained something precious. I felt deeply in my heart that I had found the true meaning of life and that this was what I wanted.
I then saw my own problems when I examined myself according to Falun Dafa. What kind of a person was I? Although I was embarrassed by my behavior, it wasn't easy to get rid of these attachments.
As soon I began to practice Falun Dafa, I was given many opportunities to rid my attachments to my ego. When I looked for a job, some employers said that I was too young and dismissed me during the interview. Some felt that the trial dishes that I made were not good enough. After I worked at a restaurant for a few days, one manager said, “I would not hire you even if you worked for free. You can leave now. I'm not paying you a penny.” Before I began practicing Falun Dafa, I would have torn his restaurant apart. But I controlled myself. I was no longer the old me. I wanted to follow Dafa's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and be a good person.
“How is that weak? I’d say it reflects your great endurance, it’s a reflection of your strong willpower. Only practitioners have that kind of great endurance.” (Zhuan Falun)
“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing. To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.” (“What is forbearance (Ren)?” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
Guided by Falun Dafa, I wished to eliminate my attachment to feelings of unfairness. I stumbled through one test after another. I easily passed some, but during other tests, I still couldn't shake my resentment. For a whole year, I could not get a stable job. By the end of that year, I was able to dismiss my feelings of frustration and humiliation, and I finally felt calm and peaceful no matter what happened.
I realized that I was presented with all these challenges because I was attached to my reputation. Teacher was exposing my attachments and giving me opportunities to get rid of them. As soon as I realized this, the situation immediately changed, and I became a head chef at a hotel restaurant. For these past 20 years, my job has been very secure. I'm no longer focused on being famous.
Eliminating the Attachment to Greed
Before I began to cultivate, I had total authority in deciding what goods were bought or used in the restaurant I worked in. There's a large difference between the amount of food bought and how much is served, especially for a busy restaurant. So I always took advantage of this to make money for myself—which is normal in China.
After I began to cultivate Dafa, I understood the relationship between loss and gain. I knew stealing like this was wrong.
Teacher said in Zhuan Falun:
“It is said in religion that regardless of how much money you have or how high your position ranks, it is good for only a few decades. One cannot bring it along at birth or carry it after death. Why is gong so precious? It is precisely because it grows right on the body of your Primordial Spirit and can be carried at birth and taken forth after death. In addition, it directly determines your Fruit Status in cultivation, and it is therefore difficult to cultivate.”
When delivery persons called to ask for my bank account number, telling me that they wanted to send me money for my share of the profit, I would firmly refuse. I told them: “I practice Falun Dafa, and I do not take a penny. As long as you maintain the quality of the goods and the price remains reasonable, I don't need any 'kick-back'.” They said: “We deliver goods to so many restaurants, but we've never seen an honest chef like you, who does not want his palm greased. Some chefs get angry if we don't give them enough. Falun Dafa is truly great.” I told them: “Thank my Teacher who taught me to be honest.”
Later on, an association came to get some seafood when I worked for a government-operated hotel. Afterward, they gave me a check for 4,000 yuan and told me to write the date whenever I was ready to withdraw the money. I then put the check in the pocket of my work clothes and forgot about it. Several days later I found it and gave it to the finance department of the hotel. They were not surprised because they knew I was a practitioner and that I did not take that kind of money.
While I was working at another place while the persecution of Falun Dafa was most rampant, I told my co-workers about Falun Dafa and the persecution. At that restaurant, many workers took food home, to the point where few of them ever bought groceries. However, I did not take anything home, and as time went on, my co-workers noticed that I indeed had high morals. They all admired me.
Under the direction of the 610 Office, a company official came to investigate whether our restaurant had any practitioners. If so, the company was ordered to fire them. The official knew that I practiced Falun Dafa and also knew that I was an excellent employee with an outstanding reputation.
The 610 agent asked the manager, “Do any practitioners work here?”
“No. I haven't heard of any,” the manager said.
“Doesn't that chef practice? You two work together every day.”
“No, you said that.”
The official said, “Then how shall I report it?”
“Who are you reporting if no one here is a practitioner?” the manager asked.
The official shook his head and said, “Okay. I have done my job. Since no one told me who practices, I will just report that no one practices here.” He then left.
The manager later developed a tumor. The doctor told him that he only had three months to live. That was ten years ago and he is still healthy. Because he learned the facts about Dafa and protected practitioners, he was rewarded.
The Attachment to Arguing
I was recommended to one hotel after they replaced six other chefs. Most of the employees who were hired with me were practitioners, and they had started practicing because of me. We worked together conscientiously, and we were very dependable.
The boss and his family invited us to dinner at the end of the first month. “I started out with a little food stand, and now I'm in charge of this big hotel,” he said. “You are all highly skilled and have high moral characters. I will never replace any one of you. I hope you don't leave and that you'll continue to work for me.”
One day the tomatoes that were just bought disappeared. We needed them for the lunch dishes, and there was no time to buy more. The boss became upset. “We just bought them this morning, so where did they go?” he asked. He pointed at me and said, “You are responsible.”
I said, “Nobody in our kitchen would have touched them.” He continued to complain, but I stayed quiet.
The next day, the boss's sister came and told us that she took them. The boss was embarrassed, and said, “You usually speak up. Why didn't you argue with me when I accused you?”
“I didn't want to argue with you,” I said. “It would have a negative impact on our relationship. We practitioners all try to be good people. As time goes on, you will know and trust us.”
There were many other similar situations. We always followed the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to resolve our conflicts. I worked at that restaurant until it closed when the building was sold. During the farewell dinner, the boss hugged me and said in tears, “It's not easy to find a good person. Meeting a group of you is almost impossible.”
The boss and I are still good friends and he tells his friends the facts about the persecution.
The Attachment to Lust
Today, violence and sex are everywhere, from books to videos and the Internet. I was just over 20-years-old when I began to practice. I was young and handsome, and girls were attracted to me. I had several girlfriends. When I began to cultivate and learned how to conduct myself, I stopped fooling around and got married.
After I married, I conducted myself properly. I watched my language and avoided joking around with women.
One female co-worker said that she liked me. I was not concerned at first. Then her inappropriate behavior alerted me. I told her, “I have a nice family, and I will never divorce my wife and marry you. I am not yours. Someday you will find the person who truly belongs to you.”
After I firmly refused her, she gradually let go of her attachment for me. She later found a good man and got married. If I weren't a practitioner, I might have had an affair with her. But I'm a cultivator and absolutely should not follow the crowd. I kept my righteous belief and thoughts, and I behaved like a practitioner.
I cannot fully express my gratitude to Teacher. I used to have all kinds of bad habits. Now I enjoy good health, a happy family, and a circle of friends. I cherish Dafa. I cherish every step of my cultivation path. I hope that more people can know how amazing Falun Dafa is!