Stories from My Ten-plus-year Cultivation Path
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master and fellow practitioners:
I have stumbled throughout my cultivation path of over ten years. Yet, when thinking of the time that is prolonged because of Master’s tremendous endurance, a practitioner’s mission during the Fa-rectification period and Master’s great compassion and protection for disciples, my gratitude to our Master cannot be described in words.
My grandmother obtained the Fa in 1996. Every time I visited her, she showed me the five exercises and asked me to practice Dafa, but I always used work as an excuse for not having time to practice. My father and mother began to cultivate in Dafa in 1997. All my mother’s illnesses disappeared in less than a month and she stopped taking medicine.
My mother suggested that I also practice Dafa. I said to her, “If you feel good, then practice well. I'll practice once I have time.” But I did the meditation exercises with her and could sit in the lotus position for more than half an hour. I also read Zhuan Falun on and off.
Refusing to Sign the Communist Flag
I was a teacher in one of the top high schools in my city. After the persecution started in 1999, the school's principal announced that all the teachers and students had to sign the blood red flag, as their pledge that they would not practice Falun Dafa.
“My mother was suffering from all kinds of illnesses,” I thought, “she even wanted to commit suicide at one point. She sought medical help, but to no avail. After practicing Dafa, her illnesses just disappeared.” Nothing could make me sign the flag.
Everyone saw me return to my office without having signed the flag. Looking out of the office window, I saw thousands of people pressured into signing their names on the flag. Pity filled my heart.
My colleagues asked why I refused to sign the flag, I told them, “Falun Dafa practices Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. This is good, so why should I sign the flag?” My colleagues admired my courage.
After I truly began to practice Dafa, I realized that this was a test for me. It also laid the foundation for me to clarify the truth to my colleagues.
Encouragement from Master
When I visited my parents during the 2003 Chinese New Year, we studied two lectures in Zhuan Falun. That night I had a dream. A square window opened in the misty sky, and a golden light shone from the window. Then, I noticed that a ladder hung down from the window.
My mother leaned out of the window and waved, so I decided to climb the ladder. Looking back down, the sky was covered with dark clouds and it seemed to be very dangerous. I thought that I must keep climbing to avoid drowning in the dark clouds.
I kept climbing and saw a beautiful and bright world with white fine sand and crystal-clear water. My mother and father were sitting beside the water meditating. My mother welcomed me. I told her that I had obtained the Fa. I think that this dream was encouragement from Master.
“Falun Dafa has for the first time throughout the ages provided the nature of the universe—the Buddha Fa—to human beings; this amounts to providing them a ladder to ascend to heaven.” (“The Teachings in Buddhism are the Weakest and Tiniest Portion of the Buddha Fa” from Essentials For Further Advancement)
Whenever I encountered tribulations on my cultivation path, I recalled that dream. I knew that all the suffering and obstacles are the steps on the ladder which leads us towards Heaven.
Letting Go of Attachment to Fame and Self-interest
As I had not signed the blood red flag, my colleagues were concerned and worried. They thought that the principal would have a talk with me or report me. There was no notion or fear in my mind, so nothing happened to me.
I was the team leader of a group of almost 50 people, and most of the teachers were women. Quarrels and arguments occurred often. But, this did not faze me because I followed Dafa's requirements.
“If all leadership positions in the society of everyday people were filled by people like us who can let go of the concern for their own reputation and self-interest, what great benefits would it bring to people?” (“Cultivation and Work” from Essentials For Further Advancement)
The school's most important issue was the handing out of professional titles since titles were directly linked to an employee's salary. Some colleagues tried to bribe me by inviting me to eat in fancy restaurants or giving me gifts such as shopping cards. I refused to accept anything and talked to them about Dafa's perspective on gain and loss. I gave the same opportunity to each team member by providing quality classes, teaching how to write excellent papers, and refusing to contend for fame and profit.
“...true improvements come from letting go, not from gaining.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference II)
When I gave up my attachments to fame and self-interest and truly thought of others, I did not lose any material things. Instead, I gained much more. I was named the most outstanding teacher, the youngest advanced teacher, and my thesis also won the provincial first prize. I also participated in producing the provincial high school Chinese course textbooks.
All my colleagues trusted me. All leaders were tasked with training new Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members. In my training session I first introduced the Party's itinerary. Then, I talked about Falun Dafa, how I benefited from practicing Dafa, the truth about the 2001 self- immolation incident , and much more. Everyone listened to me with great interest.
After I was made team leader, my group did not bring in new Party members. Instead, all members quit the Party.
During the most severe year of the persecution, I never concealed the fact that I am a Dafa practitioner and that I am genuinely pleased that my colleagues have made the right choice in terms of their Party membership.
One of my colleagues, who quit the Party, invited me to her house. I clarified the truth to her sister, daughter, and nephew. They showed me paper currency with truth-clarification messages written on them. They also praised Dafa disciples saying that they are amazing and talented people. That family quit the CCP. Before leaving for Japan in 2010, my colleague's daughter asked my mother for Zhuan Falun. In March 2011, one day, my colleague called me from overseas and told me excitedly, “God blessed us, thank you.”
The young lady left the city where she lived for Tokyo the night before the earthquake of March 11th. She bought a ticket and had successfully boarded the flight back to China. The city where she lived lay in ruins the next day. There were many flights that were stuck at the Tokyo airport, but her flight took off on time. I told her that Dafa's Master protected her.
Illusion of Sickness Karma
My belly was swollen in April 2013 and it was as if it was filled with gas that could not be discharged. Touching my belly, I felt something which kept pounding like heartbeats. I could not eat, felt nauseous and the swelling increased if I tried to eat. Then, I ate nonstop, because this made me somehow feel better for a while.
My mind was clear, my righteous thoughts seemed to be strong and I was determined to stay in my faith. I looked inside. found many attachments and felt that I did not truly cultivate myself. I studied Master’s lectures related to illnesses, as well as cultivation sharing articles on the same subject on the Minghui website. I also recited constantly, “What’s to fear?” (Hong Yin Vol. II)
At night, I could not fall asleep unless I was at the point of exhaustion. On waking up my stomach was still swollen. My husband told me to go to the hospital for a check-up, but I told him that it would be fine. However, I was worried.
“It never took me this long to eliminate karma before,” I thought, “I still have a lot of attachments that I did not eliminate, so maybe Master stopped taking care of me? Maybe I have a loophole and the old forces are attacking me? Is Master eliminating karma for me or is it the old forces persecuting me?”
This situation lasted for several months. At the beginning of September, the symptoms were getting worse. My husband suggested that I might be pregnant, which the doctor confirmed.
I wondered if my situation was due to my pregnancy. Then, I remembered that if one fails to pass one test, the next test will not wait. In early October, more problems occurred. According to the doctor, both sides of my placenta were detaching, meaning the fetus was not getting any nutrition. Thus, the fetus failed to live. My husband insisted on taking an ultrasound examination and given problems with my gallbladder, surgery was necessary. The doctor asked me to make a decision as soon as possible and suggested that I check out a website on the subject of cancer.
At that moment, I remembered Master's teaching about fortunetelling, which could be the same as my seeing a doctor.
“Then think about it, everyone: If you go to a fortune-teller, aren’t you listening to and believing him? Then, doesn’t it create a psychological burden for you? Isn’t it an attachment if you burden yourself with thinking about it? So how can this attachment be removed? Haven’t you self-imposed an additional tribulation on yourself? Won’t you have to suffer more to give up this attachment? Every test or every tribulation is related to the matter of either progression or regression in cultivation. It is already difficult, yet still you add this self-imposed tribulation. How can you overcome it? ” (Zhuan Falun)
After taking a big detour, my flatulence was still there and so was the hard thing bulging everywhere, pounding in my stomach. My mood dropped to its lowest.
Master said,“Faced with tests, a person’s true character is revealed” (“True Character is Revealed” from Hong Yin, Vol II)
Believing in Master and the Fa
Only during tribulations will we recognize if we are diligent, and how steadfast we are on our cultivation path. I was deeply disappointed in myself and I felt that I did not deserve to be a cultivator.
I called my mother and cried. She said calmly, “Don’t we have Master? The Buddha Fa is boundless. Master is powerful. Stop feeling it. Everything you see is, in fact, unreal and illusory. Things are bound to turn around after reaching the limit! Isn’t it an extraordinary thing?”
My mother's words opened my eyes. I realized that my goal was to get “cured” as fast as possible by studying the Fa and looking inward. When my health did not improve, I got scared. Because I did not do well, therefore, I was interfered with by the evil. In fact, it means that I unknowingly acknowledged the existence of the old forces. By thinking that way, I was walking down the path filled with hardships arranged by the old forces.
“When you encounter ordeals during your cultivation, you have got to cultivate yourself and look at yourself--that doesn't mean acknowledging the ordeals arranged by the old forces and trying to do well amidst the ordeals they've arranged, that's not the case.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference IV)
I realized that looking inward is finding one’s shortcomings. By looking at the Fa principles and following Master’s requirements and Dafa’s criteria one will succeed. It had nothing to do with the persecution by the old forces.
Believing in Master and Dafa is the key. As long as we have strong righteous thoughts and believe in Master and Dafa firmly, we will not be harmed. If we achieve the goal of keeping our heart stable and unaffected, things will reach another state. If your mind can achieve a state of non-action, then that is your realm.
When facing a tribulation, try not to direct too much attention or energy toward it. If you can remain detached, or better yet, simply forget about it, your tribulation will surely pass quickly. Sometimes we do not realize how magnificent Dafa is. In fact, it is not that Dafa’s strength does not manifest; the problem is the lack of solid cultivation and faith.
After understanding Master's Fa, I studied the Fa diligently. I joined The Epoch Times Fa study every morning and I listened to experience sharings on Minghui Radio while doing housework. I studied the Fa with my daughter after supper every night. I cultivated every thought of mine and whenever negative thoughts came up, I would reject them immediately. I stopped thinking about my illnesses and refused to let the illusions bother me.
Husband's Change in Attitude
After I obtained the Fa, I always wanted my husband to cultivate, but no matter what I said, he never listened. After coming to Canada, I repeatedly asked him to go see the Tian Guo Marching Band's parades but he refused to go. When I gave him the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party he did not look at it, and when I told him to quit the CCP, he told me that he was no longer a member of the Party. I was frustrated and thought, “It’s for your own good, yet you treat me like this!”
“The greatest manifestation of shan is compassion, and it is an expression of tremendous energy.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference IX)
I lacked true compassion. The kind of compassion that Master speaks about is without self-intent or desire. My compassion stems from emotion. There are both positive and negative sides to emotion. The negative side entails a part that is selfish – that is why I expect returns. Once I think that I have not gained the “deserved” return or response, I feel upset. Hatred or resentment can emerge out of love.
“There is no constraint between this qi and that qi.” (Zhuan Falun)
So, I stopped complaining about my husband and I told him that I am not the good person he always keeps telling me I am and that I am far from being a good person.
“A wicked person is born of jealousy.Out of selfishness and anger he complains about unfairness towards himself. A benevolent person always has a heart of compassion.With no discontentment or hatred, he takes hardship as joy.”(“Realms” from Essentials For Further Advancement)
I had not even finished what I wanted to say when my husband responded, “Master writes so well. I will quit the CCP with my real name.”
I could not believe my ears! He reminded me once more and I quickly agreed. I looked inside and noted that my xinxing had improved a little, therefore, my husband changed his attitude.
I truly realized the wonder of what Master said: “Cultivation is about reforming yourself, ...” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting”)
When my husband came home from work, he made sure that I had taken care of his resignation from the CCP.
When promoting Shen Yun, we had to mail Shen Yun fliers. We were given thousands of mailing addresses to be organized. It was a labor-intensive task.
My husband saw me working hard for hours and asked some pointed questions about the addresses. When I told him that there were hundreds of thousands of addresses, he asked for the addresses, created a computer program and finished the task in less than 30 minutes.
I bought the best tickets for my husband to the Shen Yun Shows between 2007 and 2013 but never asked for his opinion about it. I found all kinds of reasons to make him go see it.
After 2013, I asked him about it and no longer made him go. This year, he agreed to see the show without any argument, and on his way home, he even discussed with my daughter his favorite dances for the first time.
Looking at myself, I did not pass tests many times due to my human attachments, which also prolonged the tests. However, when I removed a bit of sentimentality, a bit of purity was revealed, and a bit of true compassion emerged.
(Presented at the 2017 Canada Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)