Young Practitioner: Every Improvement Comes from Dafa
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
My name is Sonja. I am a 13-year-old Falun Dafa practitioner. I was born into a family of practitioners, so naturally I became a little practitioner from the time I was born.
Importance of Studying the Fa and Doing the Exercises
When I was about nine years old, I noticed that a small, bony lump had formed on one of my toes. I was shocked and immediately talked to my mother. My mother looked at it and told me that when I was younger, I had a bony lump on my hand. She was very worried, since I was only one month old. At the hospital, the doctor didn’t know what it was, either, and suggested some exams.
However, my mother decided to let go of her attachment to my lump and believe in Master and the Fa. She stopped worrying and played Master’s audiotapes for me. After some time, the lump disappeared. Therefore, my mother told me not to worry and added that last time it was a test for her, while this time it was a test for me; instead, I should diligently study the Fa and practice the exercises.
In my heart, I knew what I had to do, but my mind and heart were not in sync. The lump did not itch or hurt, so I forgot about it and became lazy. I slowed down in studying the Fa and doing the exercises.
However, the lump started to hurt. I discovered that it had grown bigger. This time, I got anxious and thought that I must study the Fa and practice the exercises diligently, which I did. When I did the fifth exercise, it was very painful while sitting in the full-lotus position, and I was crying throughout the one-hour exercise. I did not stop and continued to do the exercises every day. When my mother asked me about the lump, I looked for it, but it had disappeared.
It really was extraordinary! Master helped me break through this tribulation and eliminated some of my karma when I diligently studied the Fa and practiced the exercises.
The Dangers of Playing Electronic Games
Almost all children around my age are familiar with electronic devices, such as smartphones, television, computers, and so on. As a young child, my brother and I would secretly play video games at home, and our teachers let us also play games at school. Whenever I finished my homework, I played games. When my friends came to my house or when I went to a friend’s house, we played online games. If our family had guests, I would play for hours on end when my parents were too busy entertaining. I was completely lost in the games when I played.
When my friend and I were playing Super Mario on the TV, we got so excited that we were jumping around wildly. When my mother noticed that I was hooked on games, she limited my time spent playing games. Then, she lectured my brother and forbade us from playing them.
We got into trouble when she caught us playing again. We had to write 100 times that we would “honor our word and not play video games.”
Unfortunately, I was addicted and could not keep my promise. In order to play games, I learned to lie to my parents. I did not cultivate “truthfulness.” The demons behind the games were controlling me, and they made me do a lot of bad things. Because of playing these electronic games, my eyesight deteriorated, and I wasted a lot of time.
Then, a practitioner whose celestial eye was open told us that she saw aliens behind the backs of people who played video games. I finally understood the danger of playing electronic games and became determined to stop playing. However, my cultivation state was sometimes good and sometimes bad, and I just could not let go of this attachment. It was so difficult, because the second I let down my guard, I would play games again.
As I was just saying, everything in this world is trying to entice you, to block you from gaining the Fa. And you’re not alone—most every parent in this world as well as government is aware of the problem, but everyone is powerless to do anything about it! And there’s not just the problem of blocking people from gaining the Fa: it leads people to do poorly at their jobs, to not learn well in their studies, and to waste vast amounts of time on the computer or with electronic devices. Those things are tempting you to watch and play with them. [People’s behavior is] not befitting of human beings anymore. Never in all of history have people been like this. Those things are alien technologies, and they are being used by demons to seduce people, making them give up all that they had going for them, and leading them to become obsessed with those things. You’re wasting your life with them, yet still unwilling to give them up! That isn’t befitting even an ordinary person, much less a cultivator. (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”)
My mother and I specifically studied the above quote by Master several times, and I memorized it. After that, my cultivation state improved a lot. This process of removing my attachment to electronic games helped me understand that electronic games are the technology of aliens. Demons make people addicted to these games and then take control over them, causing them to act less and less like human beings.
Some children became addicted to computer games and were scolded by their parents, who told them that they did not act like people. Nonetheless, it is really hard to quit playing games once one starts. We must constantly study the Fa. Only then can we assimilate into the Fa, become diligent, and not be disturbed by demonic interference.
Letting Go of Attachments
As I started cultivating from a very young age, I always thought that my attachments to fame and self-interest and my competitive mentality were not strong. If my classmates were given first place, I did not mind. I did not care about the grades of others or my own grades, yet I was admitted into the gifted class.
In junior high school, my classmates asked each other as to what grade they got on exams or assignments. Gradually, I also started asking others about their grades. If I got a higher grade, I would feel very happy and good inside. However, I began to feel superior to my classmates, and sometimes I could not help but say, “Ha, I got a higher grade than you!” However, if others got a higher grade than me, I would feel a bit uncomfortable and even got jealous at times. When a classmate got a full score on an assignment, I would congratulate him or her, but I did not feel happy for them. I would think, “So what if you got 100%? Isn’t it just a number?”
If this happens in China, it will be a disaster. "I’ve scored a hundred, I’ve scored a hundred." The child runs home from school. Even before opening his door, a neighbor already begins to curse in his house: "What’s so great about getting a hundred? Show off! Who hasn’t scored a hundred?" (Zhuan Falun)
I had developed such a strong attachment to jealousy, yet I was completely unaware of it. My attachment to fame and my competitive mentality became most prominent.
Before a test, I would study hard to get good grades, which sometimes left no time to do the exercises or study the Fa. After a test, I would constantly check online to see if the grades had been posted. Eventually, my mother asked, “Why do you always go online to check your grades? If you truly learn and understand the material, you’ll naturally get a good grade. What is there to see? Don’t waste your time on these things. You should study the Fa, do the exercises, and practice dance more.”
I also felt that my state was not right, so I looked inward. I found that I cared a lot about grades. I did not go to school to learn, and taking a test was not to see if I had a good understanding of the material; instead, it was to compare grades. I had developed a competitive mentality, as well as the attachment to showing off and jealousy.
When I found these attachments, I knew I needed to improve my xinxing. First of all, I needed to restrain myself. I no longer checked my grades as often as before, no longer asked about others' grades, and did not wait until the last minute to study the materials before a test. Now, I am truly learning at school and am in the process of eliminating my attachments.
Promoting Shen Yun Performances
Ever since I came to the United States, I have been inseparable from Shen Yun. When I was small, my parents and I hung Shen Yun brochures on people’s doors, passed out Shen Yun fliers, put up posters, stuck stamps onto envelopes containing Shen Yun fliers, and so on.
During my summer vacation last year, my mother was selling tickets for the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra. Although I was almost as tall as her, I could not stay at home alone, as I was only 13 years old. So, I went with my mother to the mall, where I did my homework and studied the Fa. When my mother had to use the restroom, I took over for her; sometimes, she complimented me when she returned.
In reality, I was really nervous and scared. I knew that promoting Shen Yun was a very sacred and precious, but I just could not talk to strangers. In the beginning, I would repeatedly think, “Don’t come over here, don’t talk to me; Mom, hurry up and come back. I don’t want to be standing here,” and so on. After some time, I made a lot of progress. I was not as scared and had the courage to stand by the booth.
“You have to be more sociable and outgoing,” she said. “This is a good opportunity for you to remove your attachment to fear. Besides, your English is good. It’s just what we need to promote Shen Yun.”
I reluctantly walked over to the TV and picked up some fliers, though I panicked a little. Then, I stiffly stood there and timidly whispered to passersby, “Hello, this is Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra playing at Carnegie Hall on October 15.” They walked straight past me and instead took the fliers from my mother. I was really confused as to why they would not take the fliers closer to them.
When we had some free time, my mother asked, “What kind of person would you like to interact with? One that’s very friendly, warm, and polite, or one that’s expressionless, like a wooden puppet?”
I understood this principle, but how was I supposed to do it? The next day, I attempted to smile, much to my mother’s amusement. She laughed and said that I was forcing my smile.
“You’re doing much better than yesterday,” she said. “Let go of your selfish desires and only think about how more predestined people could listen to the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra if they receive a flier. What is there to be scared or embarrassed about?”
The Hope of Sentient Beings
Indeed, we are the hope of all sentient beings. I thought, “Let the timid me disappear!”
I cheered myself on and tried to improve. My attachment of fear slowly disappeared, and I could move more freely and say loudly, “Hello, the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra playing at Carnegie Hall on October 15.” Later, I was even able to tell people a little bit about the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra when they accepted a flier.
I’m truly very happy that I am now able to confidently introduce Shen Yun to people. Now, I go with my mother to promote the Shen Yun when I have time.
I know that each time I improve myself, it’s all because of the power of Dafa. Master said, “The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts.” (“Drive Out Interference” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
(Presented at the 2017 New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)