(Minghui.org) I began practicing Falun Dafa in 1996, when I was five years old. That year, I was fortunate to attend the First International Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference. I saw Master and listened to him teach the Fa.

On April 25, 1999 my parents and I joined the thousands of practitioners peacefully petitioning at Zhongnanhai, Beijing. After the persecution began on July 20, 1999, my parents and I went to Tiananmen Square to defend Falun Dafa's good name. We held informational banners and did the exercises.

At one point we were illegally held at the Tiananmen Police Station. As I stood looking through the metal fence that surrounded the enclosure, an officer walked towards me and angrily yelled that my parents were leading me to do nonsensical things. I said that I would still practice even if my parents stopped practicing. He walked away silently.

Throughout the following years, my family and I were persecuted in various ways, but we were able to get through everything with Master’s benevolent care and protection.

When I was old enough to attend middle and then high school, I read Master’s lectures about saving people. I understood that I should clarify the truth to my relatives and friends. But first I needed to show them that I truly cared for them so that they would be willing to hear the truth from me. I made friends with my classmates and looked for opportunities to clarify the truth to them.

Ideas for ways to talk to them about the persecution came to me while I studied the Fa. I spent a lot of time studying the truth-clarification information that other practitioners had compiled on Minghui.org. I was able to come up with some good approaches to talk to people and persuade people to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations. Many of my classmates were willing to quit the CCP’s affiliated organizations.

During summer breaks I also spent a lot of time reading Zhuan Falun and Master’s new lectures. This laid a solid foundation for my cultivation.

In 2008, my parents decided to send me to college in a Midwestern city in the U.S. That first year I experienced a huge change. I grew up in a solid cultivation environment, where the people around me encouraged me to practice.

However when I went to college, the young people my age indulged themselves. They sought pleasure and satisfied their various desires. I felt surrounded by all kinds of temptations. A lot of my attachments surfaced and I felt myself being slowly dragged down. I started to focus on material benefits and ordinary people's pleasures, as well as emotion. I felt that it was hard to let go of these attachments and I relaxed in my cultivation. I even stopped attending the local Fa study group.

One day, I stood in front of Master’s portrait thinking of the attachments I was unable to let go of. I asked Master for help and said, “I do not know how to let go of these attachments. I really want to practice diligently.”

Soon after, I suddenly felt very motivated to attend the weekly Fa study and become part of the local cultivation environment. I felt that I could take my attachments lightly, which had been so difficult to let go of. I realized the importance of believing in Master and persisting in studying the Fa. I felt wonderful!

Before I began attending college my cultivation was dependent on my parents’ reminders and supervision. My experience in college allowed me to understand what it means to cultivate oneself. I clearly saw that I was walking a path totally different from ordinary people my age. I should not focus on the things that they pursued: degrees, jobs, money, emotion, and fame. I have a mission and responsibilities.

Challenges Surface

After I graduated, I joined The Epoch Times Washington D.C. Bureau as a full-time reporter. I felt that I was well-suited to be a reporter, where I got to work on enjoyable tasks that were always interesting.

After a few changes, the local bureau needed salespeople. I remembered a dream I had about being guided by Master to become a salesperson. I realized that the bureau needed salespeople rather than reporters, so I decided I should try doing sales.

In the beginning, everything went rather smoothly. I made phone calls, emailed clients, and visited them. With the help of those practitioners who were more experienced, I was able to make some sales. When my righteous thoughts were strong, I could also make sales on my own.

I began to think that a sales position was not as difficult as I imagined. This thought inflated my attachments to being self-righteous and validating myself. I had unconsciously nurtured these notions when I was a reporter.

I also began to mix work and cultivation. I thought that as long as my work went smoothly, I would not fall behind in cultivation. I began to spend more time working and I appeared to be very hardworking on the surface. I often stayed late at the office and worked overtime. However, when I spent more time at work, my time to do the three things was shortened. I relaxed my standards for cultivation and xinxing improvement as I drifted away from the standards of Dafa.

One night I dreamed that I was climbing a wall. When I almost reached the top, I suddenly ran out of strength and slid down. Then, I saw Master holding a tangled ball of thread as he walked towards me. Master said sternly, “You only think of how to climb quickly, but you never really thought about your cultivation!”

After I woke up, I realized that the ball of thread symbolized the loopholes and unresolved knots in my heart due to my omissions. I had not emphasized cultivating my xinxing for a long time. I realized that I had a serious problem. However, because of my poor cultivation state, I felt powerless. I did not know what to do.

All of this weighed down on me: the attachments I hadn't eliminated, the trouble I was experiencing from not paying attention to small details, as well as the pressure from everyday life and finances.

I became disheartened and felt that I could not continue to work in the media. I thought that if my situation continued, I wouldn't be able to do anything well. Instead, I would interfere with the media projects. I left the D.C. bureau in the summer of 2016 and moved to New York where I found an ordinary person’s job.

Breaking Through Tribulations

The next few months after I moved to New York were the most unbearable in my twenty years of cultivation. Sometimes I thought that I had already stopped practicing. The obstacles and attachments seemed so difficult to break through no matter how hard I tried. I became despondent. I even began to question whether I was supposed to be a practitioner, if I was worthy of being Master’s disciple, and whether I could break through the layers of arrangement made by the old forces.

I kept asking myself, “Are my years of cultivation really ruined? Am I unable to walk this path?” I felt like I was drowning in a sea of desperation and darkness.

But, I always remembered that Master wants every one of His disciples to succeed in cultivation. I knew that as long as I did not give up and did not leave Dafa, then Master would not let go of me.

In “On the Waves Stirred Up by the Article About Assistant Souls,” Master said,

“Actually, all that is not aligned with Dafa and Dafa disciples’ righteous thoughts has been caused by the old forces’ involvement, including all the unrighteous factors in you. This is why I have made sending forth righteous thoughts one of the three major things that Dafa disciples do.” (Blue Team Translation)

I often repeated the following sentence from Master’s lecture, “What is a Dafa Disciple”,

“The more hopeless things may seem, it’s possible hope will appear right before your eyes.” (Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)

I understood that as a Dafa disciple, no matter how badly I may have behaved on the surface, I should not recognize the things the old forces arranged for me. I should not think that I was a bad cultivator.

Sometimes I was afraid that the old forces were waiting and seeking every opportunity to persecute me. Then I'd think, “I have Master. The old forces are not worthy of persecuting me, no matter how badly I've behaved.”

A Turning Point

I had a dream one night in which Master walked up to me and tore something off my face but not completely. Master saw that a layer of substance remained, and then asked me about my cultivation. I was too embarrassed to say that I was doing horribly, so I lowered my head and said quietly, “It’s going alright.”

When I raised my head, Master did not speak, but instead looked at me with an expression that I'll never forget, a look that was immensely compassionate, like a father looking at a child who'd misbehaved. Master knew everything, but there was no sternness in his gaze, neither criticism nor blame, but instead benevolence, acceptance, and belief. I cried so hard. Master asked, “Do you know what to do now?”

When I woke up, I knew that I could not continue like this. Master was waiting for me to adjust my cultivation state. I forced myself to focus on studying the Fa. When I studied the Fa, I felt a heavy layer of substance in front of my eyes and felt that the Fa was unable to reach my mind. Nonetheless, I persisted in studying.

After a few months, I finally began to have righteous thoughts. However, I felt tremendous resistance, and my cultivation state went up and down. I became downhearted in cultivation again.

I had another dream, in which Master’s Fa body stood on a cloud and looked down at me in the human world. I put my hands together in heshi (a gesture of respect) and yelled in excitement, “Master! Master!” I finally understood why in classical Western oil paintings, people looked up to the sky, saw divine beings, and had such reverent expressions.

As I picked up the pace of doing the three things, Master helped me get rid of the bad substances. One day, I suddenly understood what to do, and I was able to break through the tribulations.

During the most difficult time, I maintained the most fundamental righteous thought – of believing in Master and the Fa. Although my cultivation state was poor, I firmly believed that Master’s power and the Fa are boundless.

I felt that I had broken through an old force arrangement, and that I was completely reborn. I indeed felt that I had gone through a trial of life and death.

Before this, I thought I understood the solemn nature of cultivation, as well as the importance of doing the three things, looking inward, and cultivating solidly. However, after this tribulation I really understood from the bottom of my heart.

I had often found various excuses to be lax. I even thought that I had already cultivated so long, I could occasionally relax.

Master said,

“At the crucial moment when I ask you to break away from humanness, you do not follow me. Each opportunity will not occur again. Cultivation practice is a serious matter. The distance has become greater and greater. It is extremely dangerous to add anything human to cultivation practice.” (“Digging Out the Roots,” Essentials for Further Advancement)

I realized that I had done whatever I wanted to before. When I could not let go of my attachments, I wasn't willing to look inward. I found various excuses and pushed the matter to the future. However, after this tribulation I understood,

“Let each and every thingbe measured against the Fa.Only then, with that,is it actually cultivation.” (“Solid Cultivation,” Hong Yin).

Not only must I be strict with myself in doing the three things daily, I should also be very strict with myself regarding looking inward and cultivating myself. No matter what tests, tribulations, or difficulties I face, I must truly improve. I could feel myself quickly improving.

The Media Is My Path

I began to work part-time for the media. I realized that my cultivation path is in the media, so I quit my ordinary person’s job and joined the New York office in August 2017. I can now see a big change in my cultivation, and my xinxing has been improving daily.

In the New York headquarters, everything seems to be changing every day, and everything moves forward very quickly. In the beginning, I was occasionally moved by my preferences regarding tasks. Then I realized that these changes were part of my improvement.

I began to understand why I was arranged to do sales. I might not be completely suitable for sales, but it allowed me to directly face my shortcomings in cultivation. All of this is part of my cultivation path arranged by Master.

I found some aspects of my job hard to adapt to whenever I switched to a new position. Every time this happened, many of my attachments were uncovered.

One time, I happily thought that I had adapted to my new role. That afternoon I was switched to another seat.

Cultivating Compassion

During the year I've worked at the media, I realized the importance of compassion and benevolence. Because I have been interacting with fellow practitioners every day, I noticed that the way I treat practitioners is sometimes different from the way I interact with non-practitioners. When it comes to fellow practitioners, I often lack benevolence, tolerance, patience, or respect.

I treat the media like a big family, and feel that other practitioners are “one-of-us” while viewing other people as “outsiders.” How can this be true compassion?

Master said,

“In spiritual practice one needs to strive to be virtuous, do good things, and act with kindness at all times and in all places.” (The Third Talk, Zhuan Falun)

Master has repeatedly talked about cultivating compassion. However, I had not paid attention. I realized that if I do not truly cultivate compassion and benevolence, how could I reach the standard of complete unselfishness in the new universe?

I also realized that my lack of compassion is due to jealousy. I've also found combativeness, showing off, and pride. Through the process of digging out the roots, I felt more compassion emerging from my heart and my thoughts became serene and humble.

The most difficult attachment to let go of is emotion, and when I became determined it became painful. I knew I was at the turning point, the bad substance was about to be eliminated. I should be happy.

Whenever I felt it was too difficult to endure, I would repeatedly recite,

“A Great Enlightened One fears no hardshipHaving forged an adamantine willFree of attachment to living or dyingHe walks the path of Fa-rectificationconfident and poised.”(“Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions”, Hong Yin Vol. II, Translation Version A)

My attachment to emotion gradually weakened.

I read Master’s teaching in “Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003(Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. II),

“For cultivators, though, when it comes to raising the requirement on your xinxing and letting go of your attachments, there's absolutely no wiggle room, and the standard can absolutely not be lowered, because we need to be responsible to the future, and to the cosmos and the sentient beings of the future. Many Dafa disciples will achieve the status of gigantic beings in the future, and they will encompass many sentient beings, even boundless beings. So if your standard is lowered, then that level of the cosmos won't last long and that level of the firmament won't last long, so you have to meet the standard.”

I understood that our cultivation corresponds to the salvation of boundless sentient beings and the eternal harmony of the future universe. This is the reason why we cultivate to a very high standard.

I also want to tell everyone that my fellow practitioners’ sharing has helped me tremendously. These include the articles from the Minghui.org website and radio, the various conferences and group Fa study. Every practitioner enlightens, inspires, and reminds me!

Thank you, great benevolent Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!

(Presented at the 2018 NTD and Epoch Times Fa Conference)