Western Practitioner in Latvia: Cherishing My Path of Cultivation
(Minghui.org) Greetings, esteemed Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I am a 25-year-old man from Latvia. I found the book Zhuan Falun in late 2014 when I was browsing in a bookstore.
For as long as I can remember, I have been very interested in meditation, exercises, spirituality and self-cultivation. Before I obtained Dafa I did some other things and tried to understand what meditation and the universe is all about. At one point I realized that I needed a Master to guide me and teach me.
When I first had this thought I started to browse the Internet and learned some other practices, but deep down inside I knew that those practices were not good, so I quit. But my desire to cultivate was very strong.
I have always been very strict with myself, and I always loved to learn things by myself. But with meditation and cultivation, I somehow felt that I needed a Master. I believe Master Li saw this wish in my heart and arranged everything for me. It is exactly what Master said:
“Therefore, developing this thought is most precious. In Buddhism, people talk about Buddha-nature. When a person’s Buddha-nature emerges, the enlightened beings are able to help him.” (Zhuan Falun)
I therefore believe that even before I became a practitioner, Master was already taking care of me.
One day while I was walking through the city, I saw Falun Dafa practitioners doing the sitting meditation. I was very interested and shocked at the same time because one elderly woman was sitting in full lotus with ease. It shocked me because I am a young man and cannot put my legs up like that. One practitioner handed me a booklet. I read it and took it with me.
I didn’t pay much attention to the booklet at first, but believed it was something precious. One day I went to a bookstore and spent a lot of time there examining various books, but in the end only one book caught my interest. It was a book with a golden cover–Zhuan Falun.
I forgot about all the other books and just bought this one. I went home and started to read it, and somehow felt that I had seen this book before–and it was true. I searched my stuff and found the Falun Dafa booklet. And I was shocked when I saw that this book was about that practice.
Without hesitation I searched online and started to learn the exercises. I knew that I had found what I was looking for. The book explained everything for me. I felt it was most precious. I have since not put it down and have become a Falun Dafa practitioner.
Cherishing the Opportunity to Cultivate
After taking up the practice I vowed that I would cultivate until the end, until I reached Consummation. So I started reading the book more and more and also read all of Master Li Hongzhi’s other lectures and teachings. I also started to memorize Zhuan Falun and other scriptures. I developed a wish to learn Chinese and understand the Fa in its original text.
Since then I have been quietly learning Chinese grammar, characters, and language by myself. I can now recognize many of the Chinese characters and understand the grammar, and I can read Zhuan Falun in Chinese, although not all of it yet.
I have also started to hand-copy Zhuan Falun with brush and ink. Through these experiences I have felt the magnificence of the Fa and the Chinese language. For example, when I do calligraphy and hand-copy the text, I always feel light, at ease, and very peaceful. After the session my whole body seems so relaxed, and my mind is filled with characters and Fa.
To gain a deeper understanding of self-cultivation and traditional culture, I have also read all the ancient cultivation stories on the Minghui website. This has helped me a lot to better understand Zhuan Falun and how solemn and serious cultivation is. I truly feel that I must cherish this unprecedented opportunity to cultivate in the Great Fa of the universe.
Through reading all of Master’s teachings, my wisdom increased and I understood everything about life and the purpose of coming here. I felt this practice was most precious and I was determined to reach the standard for a true practitioner.
Of course, cultivation is not easy and not something one can grasp at the beginning. I believe it takes a process of deep questioning and thinking to understand the more profound principles. And as I have understood, cultivation is not something formal and superficial. One must put the principles one has understood into practice, rid oneself of attachments and suffer, and I believe this is the hardest part.
As I read and memorized different texts from Master’s teachings, at the beginning I felt that I understood how to conduct myself. But the hard part came when I had to follow these principles in my daily life, cultivate amidst different xinxing tests, act like a practitioner, and look within.
For example, at the beginning I didn’t know how to look within and reflect on all the situations by myself. I always found faults with others, especially in our local Fa study group. My attention was on others and I often saw other people's shortcomings and thought about how wrong they were. With that my heart became full of resentment, dislike, and arrogance. My attention was on the external.
One day after Fa study, practitioners shared with one another. A conflict emerged and many human things came out. I understood that I needed to look within, but I didn’t know what to search for. I started to read the Fa on my own and didn’t pay attention to their disputes. But behind all this were thoughts of dislike and blame, thoughts that they didn’t know what cultivation is. The thought that “I’m better than others” was hiding behind all of this.
Through studying the Fa, reflecting, and writing down my thoughts I understood that nothing is accidental; all these situations pointed out my attachments and incorrect thoughts. They happened so that I could see my selfishness and attachment to self-righteousness.
“Some people evaluate themselves with the declined moral standard. Because the criteria for assessment have changed, they consider themselves better than others.” (Zhuan Falun)
After I realized that I was focusing my attention on looking outward instead of inward, I saw this arrogance in myself and started to pay attention to it. I decided to work harder on my heart and find shortcomings only in myself, not in others. As a result, my heart increased its capacity, and I now no longer find faults in others. If I do I reflect on it, search my inner-self, and try to understand others from their perspectives. Eliminating these thoughts of blaming others, however, hasn’t always been easy.
Yet I still cannot always treat myself as a true practitioner, always look within, and eliminate my attachments. Sometimes it is very painful. For example, when I am working and someone does something that irritates me, I know that I shouldn’t get angry and upset, but many times I take it to heart and allow it to control me. But now I have understood that those things are not me, and those attachments are precisely what Master wants me to remove—things like anger, impatience, and getting upset. So I truly try every day to suppress and remove them and make room for compassion.
One time I was talking to my girlfriend and she started to say things that irritated me and got me angry. But at that moment I remembered that I was a Dafa practitioner and should hold myself to higher standards. Although I felt that these attachments were on the brink of taking over, I didn’t follow them and instead used kindness to deal with the situation. As a result there was no conflict and everything continued as normal. At that moment I realized that I should always hold myself to high standards and not allow thought karma and attachments to control me.
“Some people do not have a very strong Main Consciousness and will comply with the thought karma to commit wrongdoing. Such people will be ruined and drop in levels. Most people, however, can remove and resist it with very strong thoughts from themselves (a strong Main Consciousness). With this, it indicates that this person can be saved and can distinguish good from bad.” (Zhuan Falun)
I now understand that every aspect of my life is part of my cultivation, and that includes how I treat myself at home and at work. In every situation I must demonstrate the demeanor of a Dafa disciple.
For example, I used to let my mother do all the household chores and didn’t think about it too much. But now I clean the house, wash the floor, and clean the dishes. My mother didn’t ask me to do it. One day I just woke up and felt that I should do it.
But I still feel that I am very far from the standard of a true practitioner and that my “bottle” is still filled with many bad things, and cannot completely ascend. I still have a lot of selfishness. But nevertheless, I will try my best to cultivate away those bad things and return to my original true self.
Clarifying the Facts with Compassion
After studying Master’s teachings I understood the importance of clarifying the facts to help save sentient beings. So I started to actively participate in all of the local truth-clarifying activities and also learned a lot about the persecution and the CCP.
I understood that while helping save sentient beings I must embody compassion and that only compassion can melt the hearts of ordinary people. Before public events I studied how to better clarify the truth from the Minghui.org website and also from truth clarification videos, to understand what to say to people and to back up my story with facts.
At the beginning of winter 2016, Dafa practitioners actively organized public events to clarify the facts about the persecution and former head of the Chinese Communist Party Jiang Zemin. Although I attended the events and talked to people, I didn’t attend these events actively from start to finish and walked off as I pleased. I was not that serious about it. This incorrect state was pointed out by a practitioner, who after the event said in a strict tone, “You take this as a game, you come and go as you please.” And that truly was the case. I looked within and saw this incorrect state. I managed to eliminate it and take the activities more seriously.
I decided to be more diligent. I started to actively participate in all of the events and even helped organize them. For example, when I helped organize the event “Bring Jiang Zemin to justice,” I became more diligent and embodied compassion. During the events I always held righteous thoughts like “My compassionate energy field can rectify all incorrect states,” “I embody compassion,” and “People with predestined affinity will come one after another and make their choice.”
I often recite Master’s poem:
“Compassion can harmonize Heaven and Earth, ushering in springRighteous thoughts can save the people in this world”(“The Fa Rectifies the Cosmos” from Hong Yin II)
At moments when I don’t speak to people I send forth righteous thoughts and keep my mind clear and pure, and because of that no negative thoughts can come in. When I am truly in that state I feel that my energy field can rectify all abnormal conditions, and it gives me wisdom while clarifying the truth.
For example, as a man was hurrying past our event, I greeted him and sent out my pure thoughts and deep compassion, then explained the facts to him. At first the man seemed annoyed, but then he opened up and signed the petition.
Another time a lady was walking her dogs. She didn’t want to listen at first, but she soon relaxed and asked, “What can signing the petition do?”
I replied, “If one stays indifferent and takes no action, then nothing will change.” The woman immediately signed the petition and wished us good luck. I believe benevolence melted her heart and her true self came out so she made the right choice.
I have explained the truth to almost all of my friends and colleagues. When talking to people I always try to talk to them as if they are my best friend. I greet them politely and talk to them as if we are close. This oftentimes opens people up, and they carefully listen to the truth.
One time while I was working, at the end of my shift a tourist group of about eight to ten people came into our coffee shop. I was actively clarifying the truth to my friends about the persecution at the time. I thought, “This is a great predestined opportunity. I must clarify the truth to them about Jiang Zemin and the persecution.”
At first, I didn’t know how to start the conversation and was a bit scared, but I broke through it and just brought up the topic. I asked them if they knew about Falun Dafa and the persecution. I spoke to them with kindness and as if I was talking to a close friend. They all listened attentively. I then asked if they would like to sign the petition. They all signed.
While talking to them and overcoming my fear of talking to people, I felt my body become light and I felt Falun rotating in my lower abdomen. Similar situations occurred when I removed my fear and talked to people about Falun Dafa.
Right now I feel that I am still very far from the standard of a true practitioner, but I will try to do better each step of the way, steel my will, do the three things, and assimilate myself to the characteristic of the universe to help Master in the Fa-rectification period.
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners.
(Presented at the 2018 European Fa Conference)