Western Practitioner: Sprinting To Catch Up
(Minghui.org) Most respected Master and dear fellow practitioners. It is an honor to report my cultivation to you at this special time, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Falun Dafa’s introduction to the public. My sharing is titled “Sprinting to Catch Up.”
“Given how time is so extremely pressing, have you thought about what’s going to become of those who haven’t cultivated well? Some people still have a chance, but some no longer do. For some there is still time left, and for some their only hope is to sprint.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)
When I first obtained Dafa one of the main reasons I wanted to practice was because of the speed at which I could reach consummation and leave this world. For those who are diligent you can reach consummation in two years. Great, so all I have to do is be diligent. I printed a copy of Master’s article “Genuine Cultivation” and posted it above my bed. It was the first thing I read in the morning and last thing I read before I turned my light off. I carried Zhuan Falun with me everywhere. I always chose the jacket with the best pocket for our book. If I was driving I always had the nine-day lectures playing. Always. If I had spare time I would make copies of the audio lectures for others. I hated parades, but practitioners arranged them, well it's for Dafa then I will go. Health shows to spread the Fa, fine I will go there, drive here, fly there, fine. The more physical pain, the more blood that poured from karma clearing, the deeper the heart break and mental devastation, great, even better. “Make it worse Master, I am fine”. “Thank you Master, bring it on.” Nothing mattered because I was going to reach consummation in two years.
That was in 1998, one year before the persecution started. Well once the persecution started I forgot that I had my two year goal. There were beings to save and evil to eliminate. I recall the night of May 19, 2001. That was the day Master taught the Fa in Ottawa, Canada and taught us how to send righteous thoughts. When I got back to my hotel I fell to my bed and wept as I knew so many beings were going to be eliminated by us. I spoke out loud to any who could hear. Don’t do this, listen to my Master because if you don’t I will eliminate you. I decided to wait until I could address all beings formally to continue sending righteous thoughts. Once I got back to Toronto I wrote a letter to all beings and went to a cliff overlooking one of North America’s great lakes. I no longer wept but read my letter loud and clear. The paper and clouds shimmered with a golden light. As the clouds gently gathered in front of the cliff I believed an audience did gather. I asked them not to continue to interfere as we Dafa disciples will waste no time in following our Master to send righteous thoughts to eliminate those beings in other dimensions who needed to be eliminated.
When I look back on that time period I remember being a different being. I was a young man with no real ordinary possessions or responsibilities. I only had the Fa and everyday it filled me. If I could not read or listen or recite then I would just endlessly clean myself as we do before righteous thoughts. But as my two-year date came and went and the Fa Rectification pushed forward I began to struggle.
Master said, “Maintaining Dafa’s tradition, upholding Dafa’s cultivation principles, and persevering in true cultivation are long-term tests for every Dafa disciple.” (“Abandon Human Attachments and Continue True Cultivation” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
Every time I read that article I shuddered. This sounds serious beyond my comprehension. What does “long-term” mean? Can we all do that? I questioned. The thought was frightening and I never once looked inside about this fear. It didn’t even occur that I should. It just felt so deathly serious that I didn’t want to look.
I attended my very first nine-day lecture session with two friends who knew me quite well. Part way through one of them told me that I was one of those people who thought that they were special. They even repeated themselves saying that Master cautions us against this attitude. While I knew they were right I would not listen to them and held onto this attachment. Looking back now I see it was connected to my attachment to my “two year goal.” Essentially I was attached to time and my own notions of self grandeur.
Master tried to help me right at the start of my cultivation but I wouldn’t listen. Any small or great success in my cultivation would feed that attachment. Essentially it was a demon that grew and grew even finding ways to explain how I was related to this good outcome and that good outcome no matter how remote. And if I saw Master smile I believed it was validation of me rather than Master encouraging me to cultivate. Little by little I lost the motivation and compassion to help save sentient beings. I didn’t know it at the time but my cultivation state had become very fragile.
At that time I was asked to help Master and I was not able. Master needed a host for Shen Yun and when Master checked my level of Chinese it wasn’t good enough. I had many chances and enough time to learn in the past but I didn’t. Instead I let Master down. When I was asked why I didn’t learn, for the first time in my life, I was speechless and had no answer. My whole cultivation Master has taken care of me and done so much for me. The one time I am specifically asked for something I couldn’t do it. I was devastated and just wanted to sleep as often as I could so I didn’t have to be conscious of the pain in my heart. Most importantly I did not think about the question I was asked. “Why didn’t you learn.” This was associated with my cultivation and I didn’t want to look. It hurt too much and I ran from the pain and my cultivation. I slowly found excuses to go to less large scale Fa study and activities. I never stopped trying to cultivate but my efforts were superficial grasps at wanting to feel better and not fully facing my attachments. It was a selfish attachment to wanting to feel comfortable.
I began to escape into TV programs I would have never watched, then I would sneak away by myself to movie after movie. Sometimes seeing two in a row. As the internet grew I became more and more lost in it. I became sad and grumpy. With many years of cultivation I was aware of many Fa principles that helped me get by but without deeply melting into the Fa and truly cultivating, compassion doesn’t grow and I went from being a passenger on Master’s Fa boat to someone who fell off and was holding onto a rope while I being slammed against the side of the boat as the waves continued to crash and crash.
Then one day my wife insisted I go to a large scale Fa study. A veteran practitioner came up to see me. He smiled softly and said with serious concern. “How are you?” He is usually a funny guy but this time his eyes were sad. I knew why and he melted away all of my attachments. I just opened my heart and told him I was not doing well and why. He was warm and kind and offered a few simple and easy suggestions. That was the beginning of my slow climb back into the Fa.
That was about six years ago. By then I had a professional career in New York City, a wife and two kids. It was no longer that easy to just spend the whole day studying Fa when a problem arose. My life was 10 times more complicated in a 10 times more complicated place. Time waits for no one.
This was still years before Master told us to sprint. I was just trying to get back up on my feet and stand upright. Still failing to look at the reasons that got me into this problem in the first place. One project after another each with a larger and larger commitment slowly guided me back into the Fa rectification. But when you have not been keeping up, you do not just magically reach the new standard because you have decided to be diligent again. You have to catch up with surface action and with cultivating away your attachments and if you don’t do well you will hinder projects and interfere with coordinators. Everything is just so very serious.
At one point I was asked to work on a project where the coordinator had attacked me years ago. I didn’t trust them. They were indeed in the wrong and had spread lies about me. I was fully justified in not trusting them. But we are not ordinary people. We are Fa rectification period Dafa Disciples. And there are only this few of us. If I choose not to work on a project because of a coordinator then I might as well call Master and tell him his arrangement isn’t good enough. I might as well tell him that he needs to arrange a different person for me so that I can help Master. I can just ask Master if he can choose some other being and take all their karma and arrange their cultivation etc.. so they can suit my taste. Then I will help Master. It sounds absurd when I put it this way. The fact is there is only us here to help each other. When I enlightened to this it really helped me devote myself to any project as it no longer mattered who the coordinator was. At that point I got very clear, if like or dislike doesn’t matter then there is also no need to fight. Then I decided never to fight with my fellow practitioners again.
I am a health and fitness professional and I have to teach people how to sprint. It is one of the hardest things an average person can do. Your heart hurts, your lungs burn, your throat gets dry, your head gets light, you can sprain your ankle, twist your knee, fall and even vomit. Well sprinting in cultivation is even harder. Especially when you are trying to catch up. Everything has come to stop me and the load I carry doesn’t suddenly disappear. I need to cultivate it away, believe in Master and he will give my legs speed. And there is still no guarantee I can make it. I have been struggling to study Chinese and have only recently been able to see that my attachment to comfort and self validation has stopped me from working hard all these years. It was obvious to others I am sure, but I just couldn’t face it. I have had to give up my attachment to time, so I can give up my attachment to self grandeur and see that comfort is an illusion. These attachments have been used to try and destroy me and the beings relying on me for salvation.
Now everyday seems impossible while I study Chinese, run my own business and work on Fa-validation projects. I feel too slow and there is no rest. It is only now that I can see that I feel this way because I am sprinting. I am honored to just have this chance to sprint.
My most recent project that I have had the honor to join is the Fei Tian Middletown campus in upstate New York. I am a Physical Education teacher. The goal of this school is to be open to the public. We will welcome and encourage children from all over the USA and the world to come to our school. Yet the first group of kids are almost all Dafa disciples and 90% are Chinese speaking. It has become and immediate challenge to see how well we can create an environment for non-practitioners. This is also a reflection of how well we can conform to ordinary society and save them. This has put a premium on having a multilingual environment with a very strong presence of American culture, namely the English language. Being one of the few native English speakers I saw that I have a special role. This was hard to accept given my current pressing challenge in learning Chinese. Why was this situation being presented to me?
When I looked inside I had attachments to learning Chinese and it fed my notions of self grandeur. But I am not learning Chinese to just be Chinese. I am learning it to be multi-lingual. This forced me to think more about language itself. What is the role of language in the Fa rectification.
Recently I saw a movie. Aliens visited the world to pass their written language to humans. It was a non-linear written language of pictograms. Pictures, just like Chinese characters except their pictograms were ugly. But because they were not linear. Time in our time space is linear. But their language was not. This “non-linear language” would have an impact on the minds of the characters, changing their relationship to time and space itself, experience past, present and future together. Of course this was based on limited modern science with a limited understanding of time and space, but the principle was clear. Language is very important. Not only is it a way for us to get our thoughts and ideas out, but it is a way to put a culture within. It is not just communication between beings but the making of the internal fabric of a being and their community, just like the community we are building at the Fei Tian High School in Middletown.
After watching this movie I asked my Chinese teacher, a practitioner, how I should understand the Chinese language as a whole. She explained that Chinese characters are all made of small characters just like microscopic particles making up larger and larger matter making many layers of universe with countless beings. Well Chinese has endless arrangements of characters and meaning. Isn’t there a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well each Chinese character is itself a picture. Then there is no end to the layers and levels of meaning one can communicate and learn. Furthermore the true written Chinese language is an art and the spoken language has musical tones. Modern neurologists get very excited about learning how art and music stimulate the mind more completely than the regular study for knowledge. Yet all of this internal human benefits lie right in the daily use of the standard use of the Chinese language.
The reason I believe this is so important is because the Fa is taught in Chinese and the Fa is going to rectify the human world. Since we don’t use supernormal powers in this dimension, the only way to have more people to study the Fa in Chinese is going to be by teaching them. And since we are building a school it seems this work is underway. Sadly the Party culture has really done a great deal of damage and imparting the language as a culture cannot be done with any of that Party culture. This is why I need not only to study Chinese, but I must be multilingual and multicultural and not for my own enjoyment, but to help Master save sentient beings on a truly large scale. But it can’t only be Chinese. There are many things we have to teach and do so in an upright way, carving the path of the future for future beings.
I recently started to send righteous thoughts at the matter in other dimensions which related to my attachment to comfort and the matter restraining my Chinese learning. Right away my life got even harder and my time even tighter. I knew this was the evil trying to fight back and to break my will. But finally, I remember again. We take hardships as joy. I will double and redouble my efforts.
Respected Master and dearest fellow practitioners, I did veer off the path in the past. I will not veer again. No matter how long it takes and no matter what it is we must do, count me in.
Thank you Master, Thank you everyone.
(Presented at the 2017 New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)