[Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day] New Practitioner: My World Has Become Broad and Clear
(Minghui.org) I am a new practitioner, and started practicing Falun Dafa in Japan at the end of 2013. That was the 16th year since I came to live and work in Japan. I am a software developer. My small consulting firm has built up a stable client base. This has brought me a steady income, which is a little higher than an average full-time employee would take home. It is not my goal to make a big fortune, or build a large enterprise. Just that I do not have to worry about making ends meet.
Somehow I have become bored by this routine life, and got disillusioned when living like this in all the years ahead. Naturally, I frequently go to small Japanese pubs where male employees tend to go directly after work, to drink and kill time. I would often speculate online in the stock market for excitement, which made me even more disillusioned. I have come across fictional stories that talk about cultivating into immortals, and admired those cultivators. On the other hand, influenced by atheism, materialism, and Darwinism since childhood, I did not think in reality that there was cultivation.
It happened by chance that a colleague was practicing Falun Gong. I went online and read the electronic version of Zhuan Falun. Upon seeing “one's gong level is as high as one's xinxing level (Zhuan Falun),” I felt this practice appeared to be a school in which one could genuinely cultivate oneself. Then I listened to recordings of Master's Fa lectures in Guangzhou, which helped me understand why I got worried in daily life. I let go of these worries, and became relaxed. My world had suddenly turned broad and clear:
I know why we come to this world. I have found direction to make this life meaningful. I have made up my mind to cultivate with the aspiration to obtain the Fa.
Attending Group Practice Gives Me the Feeling of Having Returned to My Home
After starting practicing Falun Gong exercises and studying the Fa, I went to the group practice site in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, where we do the five sets of exercises on the lawn at 9:00 a.m. every Saturday, after which we sit around to study the Fa. Usually we first read a chapter in Zhuan Falun, then share our understandings. Regardless of the season, we meet there every weekend year round.
During the first few times when I went to the exercise site, I got so excited after closing my eyes when doing the tranquil exercises: I'm really doing exercises together with Falun Dafa practitioners. I felt so honored. It was the first time I could feel the term “honor” – like being immersed in sunshine. The exercise music brought me the feeling of closeness and majesty. It was late February or early March, the coldest days in Tokyo. Yet I heard in my mind a voice, saying, “The Buddha-light illuminates everywhere and harmonizes everything.” (Zhuan Falun) I felt I was in a world of Buddhas and Gods.
Master said in Zhuan Falun, “Our exercise sites are better than any other qigong exercises sites. As long as you go to our exercises site for practice, it is much better than your treating your own illness. My fashen sit in a circle and above the exercises site is a shield on which there is a big Falun. A large fashen guards the site above the shield.” Indeed, I was, at that moment, in a world of Buddhas and Gods. It gave me a feeling of having returned home, my heart was at ease and found where it belonged, and I was filled with happiness.
In the fifth exercise, when I pulled my arms apart, I felt a cool breeze sweep across me, and I was sitting atop the cloud high in the sky – if I tilted my body I would fall off the cloud. My arms felt like wings. It was the sense of comfort and majesty. My mind was clear of trifles in my life and work, and time flew by fast. It was not long before I heard Master's instruction of “Conjoining hands” over the recordings. I thought the music could be different from the one which I downloaded at home. I clearly felt it ran a bit faster. When exchanging this thought with fellow practitioners, they told me that was because I had entered the state of tranquility.
Lately I had fewer such feelings, but attending group exercises is apparently more effective than doing the exercises at home. Tranquil exercises have been hard for me. It was not until the third year that I was able to sit in the lotus position with both legs crossed. At first, it lasted just five or six minutes. The first time I lasted for a full hour at the practice site, I was elated. As I recall, at home, every week or two, I could sit with both legs crossed in lotus position for the tranquil exercise. Yet at the practice site, three out of four times, I could reach the full hour. My mind also remained clear, with little distraction.
This was not the case at home. There was a time when I was doing the standing exercises, and I kept thinking about work that had to be done the following day. When I thought it all through, the entire hour's worth of exercises was over. I did not know what movements I went through, which must have been least effective.
One day at the practice site, it was about 40 minutes into the tranquil exercises, my legs hurt so much. I figured that Gods must be watching me in such pain, while everyone else was at ease. Why was I alone going through this? The primary cause was my human attachments. There had to be a lot of bad things that I needed to get rid of. At that moment, it surfaced in my mind all sorts of attachments I held onto at work, like seeking comfort, lack of compassion, showing off, pursuit of fame and fortune, and competing against others.
I was shocked by my harboring so many attachments, which I never thought about. Instead, I had always felt that I did quite well, and it was not until that moment these attachments surfaced and clearly matched people and things at work. It occurred to me that Master had allowed me to have a clear view of these attachments, which resulted in the pain I felt 40 minutes into the tranquil exercise.
I knew that I would embrace some sort of transcendence if I could overcome these attachments. But how? I imagined holding a knife, and equipped with lightening, to strike at the attachments. My body leaned forward to deliver more impact when taking a stab at them. In the remaining 20 minutes, the pain receded, which attested to my understanding that one's mind and consciousness are aligned with matter.
At the beginning, I thought it was because of what I had in my mind that brought me different effects when doing exercises alone at home versus at the practice site. Recently I realized the Fa principle Master taught, “In fact, let me tell everyone that matter and mind are one and the same.” (Zhuan Falun) Whatever that is in my mind does have the same effect as concrete matter. In addition, Master's Fa bodies and righteous Gods are present in the energy field when fellow practitioners are doing the exercises. It is such a righteous energy field.
Master said, “Only the energy field from cultivation in a righteous way can produce this effect. Therefore, in the past there was this saying in Buddhism, 'The Buddha-light illuminates everywhere and harmonizes everything.' This is what it means.” (Zhuan Falun) It is easier to enter the state of tranquility at the practice site, without too much distraction. “When an evil-minded person is thinking of something bad, this person might change his mind due to the powerful effect of your field; he might then on longer want to commit the wrongdoing.” (Zhuan Falun)
I now go to the practice site every week for exercises and Fa study unless the weather is terrible or there is some special appointment. I am responsible for playing the exercise music. Usually I am the first one who arrives. It takes me about an hour and 10 minutes to get there from my home. I tend to arrive 20 or 30 minutes ahead of time. The practice site is outdoors on the lawn. When it rains, we move under the shade of trees. Sometimes it rains too heavily when I get there, and we have to cancel the outdoor exercises. I use the time on the subway to study and memorize Fa, and the over two hours on the road is not wasted.
Fellow practitioners at the practice site helped correct my movements. They also answered questions I had when just starting to read Zhuan Falun, which was a great help. I appreciate Master's arrangement, and appreciate the group practice and Fa study environment that fellow practitioners had established. At the end of last year, we took a picture at the practice site to send to our New Year's greetings to Master. We were so glad that picture was published on the Minghui website.
Removal of Attachments
Master said in Zhuan Falun, “I'll tell you a truth: The entire cultivation process for a cultivator is one of constantly giving up human attachments.” With so many attachments, it would be hard for me to make any progress along the path of cultivation without getting rid of them. They are serious tests I had to pass first. Without Master's strengthening, it would have been impossible to get rid of various attachments, like drinking alcohol, speculating in currencies, futures, or stock. I was also indulged in games on my smart phone, fictions of fairy land, and Korean soap operas.
Quit Drinking Alcohol
Before practicing Falun Gong, I used to go drinking in pubs with a few Japanese friends who I had business dealings. I used to invite them to pubs which offered nice quality liquor. In a pub I was not familiar with, I would try out a cup of each kind of liquor they carried before settling on one or two favorites. Over the years, I have acquired some expertise in Japanese liquor.
After learning that I had quit drinking, my Japanese friends could not believe it. They asked bartenders, “Do you believe he could quit?” Bartenders would not believe. I told them I didn't believe I could do it myself. If it were not for Master's strengthening, it would be impossible.
When I realized that practitioners need to quit drinking alcohol after studying the Fa for a while, there was a rather important business deal to be negotiated. I needed to take a new client to a restaurant. I felt obligated to order some liquor. I figured I would drink just a cup or two to be courteous. However, after only one cup, I felt quite uncomfortable. And my stomach was upset. After that meal, I thought I should stay away from alcohol for a few months, and then decide. With just that one thought, I have quit drinking.
Sometimes I felt an attachment was removed. Yet it still surfaced in my mind. A year after quitting drinking, I still had dreams of drinking alcohol. I fought in my dreams to resist alcohol. As time went by, it has occurred less frequently in dreams, as Fa study and doing the exercises has helped reduce my attachment to liquor.
During one New Year's season, my wife brought out a bottle of a renowned Chinese brand of liquor, my schoolmate gave us when we just arrived in Japan. With a full table of delicious dishes, I was a little worried that I might not be able to resist the temptation. It turned out it did not smell as tempting when the bottle was opened. With Master's strengthening, I ended up without tasting it.
Remove Attachment to Competition Among Interpersonal Relations
Prior to practicing Falun Gong, I often met hostile people on the subway. At times I stared into their eyes, and on a few occasions I even fought a particularly hostile passenger. After taking up cultivation, I realized that it was all caused by my karma. Now that I am a cultivator, I should treat such encounters with kindness. They are opportunities for me to eliminate karma and improve xinxing. With improvements in my cultivation, I no longer run into such scenarios on the subway. The environment around has also changed.
From August to November last year, I was at a customer site. The work load was rather light. I was able to recite the Fa during the day. To my left and right were both Chinese. When they were not busy, I told them facts about Falun Gong. The results were quite good. They both quit the Chinese Communist Party. We got along quite well. I became a little complacent, and figured maybe I should go to customer sites with more Chinese employees, and probably would be able to save everyone I met.
In December, as arranged by my customer, I changed to a different location. I was unfamiliar with work and end users there. There were indeed many Chinese. Upon arrival, the two computers assigned to me were not set up. One did not even come with the password to log in. The manager was upset about wasting time. From their talk, it appeared that they were losing money in having me there, given that my rate was higher than other contractors.
I figured that those around me could be jealous, and would find fault with me. The manager became quite impatient. He did not bother to provide me instructions when I asked for getting access or installing development tools. He simply told me to wait. It could be that he delegated this to a young employee, who came to me and asked, “What is it that you want?” I was not impressed by his impoliteness, and asked whether he was sent by the manager. He did not answer my question, said impatiently, “Just tell me what you want!”
If this occurred in the past, I would have become infuriated. But at that moment, I said to myself, “Here is the opportunity for improvement. It's nothing, now that I'm a cultivator.” Maybe Master has taken care of my vague request in my mind for a better cultivation environment, it was quite rare that I encountered such rudeness in recent years.
Despite uneasiness at heart, I replied politely. This would have not been possible if I had not been practicing Falun Gong. I was happy that I had improved.
I remember that Master said, “If you always maintain a heart of benevolence and compassion, when a problem arises suddenly, you will have a buffer and room to think.” (Zhuan Falun) It appeared I had developed some buffer in my heart. I should thank the young person for helping me improve my xinxing.
He talked rudely in front of fellow colleagues. He must have felt that I would bear a grudge. A few days later, I ran into him face to face on my way to my desk. I said hello to him pleasantly, truly with appreciation from my heart. He was surprised. He is technically strong, and has since offered me great help.
When others who were unfriendly or otherwise showed their displeasure, I simply ignored it, treating everyone with openness and ease. The manager was still finding fault with me. One day he was especially rude when I was distributing Epoch Times newspaper, and stopped me. I smiled and did not argue with him. Although it did not appear to be my problem, I thought I needed to look inside as a cultivator. The next time when I distributed newspapers to Chinese employees, I told them, “Do you have a bag? Just put it in your bag, and don't read it at work. Read them after hours on the subway instead.” I told them that the avian flu occurred in mainland China, and how the media did not report on it. I reminded them to watch out for their health if making trips back to China. They sensed my sincerity, and none had refused to take newspapers from me.
Remove Attachment to Competition and Showing Off
Gradually, colleagues started to cooperate with me as they saw that I made arrangements with the overall progress of the project in mind. As the lead developer, scheduling, task assignment, time allocation of team members from the client side were all arranged by me. I also developed templates for others to use, learned to use a new coding tool in short order, and helped team members in solving their problems.
I felt no difference from when I was only 30 years old – full of energy, able to work overtime several days in a row, and getting a good handle on the project quickly. In two short months, I earned the trust from the customer. I understand that I have benefited from cultivating in Dafa, which has brought me wisdom to solve problems in everyday people's work.
At the same time, I still harbored, at a deeper level, attachments, like seeking comfort, lack of compassion, showing off, pursuit of fame and fortune, and competing against others, which one day surfaced at the practice site when I was 40 minutes into the tranquil exercise as described above.
As the lead developer, I noticed that some team members were not as competent, some were not as proactive. Right before going live, the customer found some issues, which were show stoppers. Pressured by the approaching deadline of going live, I solved the issues over a weekend. I developed, in my heart, contempt over and distrust in team members. Some team members also put in overtime, yet they were still behind schedule. The manager blamed it on me for poor planning and unrealistic scheduling.
To prove that my judgment was not to be blamed, I assigned tasks to myself which would be given to team members. I figured this would guarantee top quality, save my self working overtime in fixing bugs introduced by team members, and shorten the deliver cycle. This would then validate the soundness of my planning, saving myself from working overtime, earn customer praise, and potentially bring in more business for my consulting firm.
It turned out that I spent just a little over one day to have completed tasks that would have taken five days if assigned to team members. I was thinking it was a good chance to let the manager know my scheduling was not overly ambitious.
When reflecting on myself at a deeper level, it became clear during that day's tranquil exercise, that I was seeking comfort to avoid working overtime, was lacking compassion when not trusting team members less skillful, was showing off my sound planning, and was pursuing fame and fortune and competing against others by proving how much others were less competent than me.
No wonder I deserved such pain during the tranquil exercise. After Master allowed me to see clearly these attachments, I changed my plan to avoid making greater mistakes. I changed the schedule, to engage team members more actively, and use every morning's startup time for exchanging and supervision. And I will apply the strict standard of a cultivator on myself to do better in the next phase of the project.
I also came to the preliminary understanding that for those of us who spend over half of our waking hours at work, our workplace is a place for cultivation that Master has arranged for us. It is a place full of opportunities to improve ourselves.
Remove Attachment to Wealth
I speculated in futures, currencies, and stocks before taking on cultivation. A few years ago, I was involved in developing an in-house management software application for a major trading company. Some Chinese employees there were former colleagues of mine. After 3:00 p.m. every day, we would find a lounge near work, sit down to talk about the stock market – how much each had won or lost that day.
A Chinese friend made a comment which I still remember clearly. He said, “Now that I have run into you folks, this year's salary will be gone.” He meant to say that he would lose a whole year's savings in the stock market. I even proposed to them a strategy I was quite proud of. I told them that I would set a cap of 1 million Japanese yen (currently, about 110 yen is equivalent to 1 U.S. dollar), and when this cap was reached, I would stop trading for the rest of the year, and wait for the next year to resume. This way, we would not be broke. Now I have completely quit trading, or offering advice which hurts myself as well as others.
However, my attachment to wealth still came up. About two months ago, a female student, from one of the European countries, in my Facebook circle of friends sent me an email. She claimed that her whole family was killed, and she would like to transfer the money her father left her to Japan. She would let me take a cut. I hesitated for a minute, and decided that this would violate the standards for a cultivator. Master hinted in Fa lectures that a cultivator should not take money not earned by his or her work. I was not a police or legal expert. I replied and declined her offer.
Shortly afterward, also in my social media circle of friends, someone, who claimed to be a banker in Dubai, wrote me that one of his clients died in an airplane crash. The client's name was similar to mine, and he would like me to help me to split the client's money. I immediately removed him off my circle of friends.
Recently, when reconciling salary payments to a new employee, I happened to find out an error in an Excel formula for a long-time employee. The error resulted in tens of thousands of yen he was underpaid. I immediately made a payout to him. I knew that even if the employee himself did not know about the under payment, it was not my money, and it was a test to see if I could let go of the attachment.
Coincidentally, a few days later, I was taking a look at corporate accounts. I noticed that when wiring payment to a partner company, we sent tens of thousands of yen less than what we owed. I asked my wife, who manages accounts payable, how this happened. She was not sure what happened, but thought that our partner company could have made a mistake when invoicing us. There was a month, which their pricing was lowered by that much. But that was just for one month, and all subsequent months should be back to normal price. I felt that as a cultivator, I needed to be honest. I contacted them immediately. It turned out that their invoicing was correct. And it must have been my wife who made the mistake.
When encountering these issues, I was reminded in mind what Master has said in Zhuan Falun, “We therefore believe in following the course of nature. Sometimes, you think that something should by yours, and others also tell you that it is yours. Actually, it is not. You may believe that it is yours, but in the end it is not yours. Through this process, it can be seen whether you can give it up or not. If you cannot let it go, it is an attachment. This method must be used to get rid of your attachment to self-interest. This is the issue.”
Above are some of my enlightenment at the current level, which involve areas which I did not do well. It is nice that the direction of cultivation is clear, and I can get on my feet again after any stumbling, and continue on toward the right direction. I thank the care and hints Master has given me all along.
I hope that I can remove these attachments as quickly as possible, and assimilate to Dafa as quickly as possible.