Discovering the Freedom and Power of Altruism
(Minghui.org) 2017 seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. One practitioner said that she didn't waste a single minute after she started working in the media last year. We applaud her for saving sentient beings and fulfilling her prehistoric vows. However, looking at my cultivation over last year, I witnessed Master's boundless compassion and regretted that I had slacked off.
Master Bears My Discomfort
I experienced sickness karma on two occasions last year. Though the karma didn't manifest clearly on the surface or last long, the bad substances from other dimensions were huge. I barely got through it even though other practitioners sent righteous thoughts for me and Master bore the suffering for me.
It was July and just before a parade was scheduled to occur in Calgary, Canada, when four pustules appeared on the sole of my foot, making it difficult to walk. There were 13 pustules on my arms from which pus continuously oozed and that were also very painful. I could hardly lift anything. The lymph nodes in my armpits and groin were swollen and excruciatingly sore. Some negative substance in other dimensions pressed down on me. I felt hopeless and fearful.
My husband, also a practitioner, asked me to look within and find out where I fell short, where I allowed the old forces to take advantage of me. I had never experienced such sickness karma in all the time I had been practicing Falun Dafa.
One practitioner pointed out that I had jealousy and didn't put what I learned from the Fa into practice. Those words pierced my heart and tore down my arrogance. I thought I had cultivated pretty well but realized that I had actually cultivated poorly.
When I was experiencing great pain while doing the second exercise in front of Master's photo, I cried and felt that cultivation was too hard and that this tribulation was too much for me to bear.
My husband kept encouraging me and I decided to go to the parade despite the pain. I kept reciting the Fa and sending righteous thoughts. I told myself that I would be able to participate in the parade with strengthening from Master. It is a Dafa disciple's mission to save sentient beings, after all, and the old forces dared not interfere.
I didn't show others that I was in pain and didn't tell anyone that I needed help during the trip to Canada. On the day of the parade, I stood under the blazing sun in a traditional costume and walked the parade route of 4.5 miles. Crowds of people cheered for us along the way.
Before the parade started, I kept reciting Master's poem in my heart:
“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” from Hong Yin Volume II)
When the parade started, I no longer had any pain in my body—Master was strengthening me. However, the pain returned when the parade ended, and I didn't want to participate in another performance, because the pain was almost unbearable. However, the marching band coordinator said nobody could replace me.
I realized that this must have been arranged by Master. I said to Master in my heart: “I am wrong because I am afraid of the hardship. I will play in the band.” So I limped to the performance square a few streets away.
I slept through the return flight from Canada and forgot my pain. I was completely healed after I arrived home.
Several days later, I had a very clear dream in which I saw Master bear the huge hardship for me in another dimension, and I cried. My heart ached when I woke up. I wished the dream wasn't true, but what I dreamed had indeed happened. It was so clear in the dream. Practitioners always said or wrote that we should treasure Master's enduring suffering for us. I regretted that Master had to suffer for me due to my slacking off in seeking comfort in cultivation.
In December I was attacked by another round of sickness karma. Blisters appeared in my mouth and throat and on my tongue that were very painful. I felt dizzy and coughed. I couldn't eat. I drank only water for the first week and other fluids during the second week.
I was clear-headed this time. I knew it was the evil's interference. In order to negate the arrangement of the old forces completely, I stopped acknowledging any discomfort. It was during Shen Yun promotion, and I decided to work even harder. I went out to hang Shen Yun promotion packages on household doors from morning till evening. I had to climb a steep slope and felt dizzy, yet I didn't think about it. I took a short break then continued walking. Two weeks later I recovered.
I realized that it was best not to acknowledge the sickness karma when it attacked me and just do whatever things I needed to do. At the same time, I should study the Fa more, send righteous thoughts to dissolve the evil persecution, look within, and rectify anything unrighteous in my mind. I should not passively look inward while accepting the persecution, because Master asked us to not acknowledge even the existence of the old forces. When practitioners do the three things well, the evil doesn't dare to persecute us.
Memorizing the Fa Helped Me Out of Depression
The sickness karma also affected my ability to work. As a salesperson, I was not able to make phone calls. A voice in my mind kept saying to me, “It's boring to make phone calls. This job is so boring.” As a result, I didn't make many sales during that period.
I also didn't want to attend the Tian Guo Band rehearsal. Again, a voice in my head said, “With such poor sales performance, how could you have the nerve to waste time on rehearsal? You need to quit the band.”
I knew it was interference and a test for me, so I sent righteous thoughts to negate it and studied the Fa more every day. Sometimes I felt I wasn't strong enough to overcome the tribulation, so I decided to memorize the Fa. Besides studying the Fa with practitioners, I memorized the Fa every day. I overcame tiredness, sleepiness, attachments to doing things quickly in the name of getting results, and all sorts of other interference. I only had one thought: I must memorize the whole book and assimilate to the Fa.
The Fa demonstrated its layers of meaning to me while I was memorizing it. For example, when I was memorizing this paragraph: “... the fundamental reason for one’s being unable to achieve tranquility is not an issue of techniques, but that your mind and heart are not clean.” (Zhuan Falun), I realized that Master was telling me, “Your mind and heart are not clean.” Master used the word “clean,” not “quiet” as I thought He had meant. I realized that only when practitioners let go of attachments and desires, and when their hearts become clean, can they achieve tranquility.
While memorizing the Fa, I examined every single thought of mine.
I heard all sorts of comments from practitioners after the New York Fa Conference this year. I concluded that the Fa-rectification period could last a long time. A thought flashed through my mind that I could relax a bit and didn't need to work so hard. Because I didn't clear this thought in a timely manner, the old forces took advantage of my loophole.
Through memorizing the Fa, I realized that selfishness was behind all of my human attachments and my human heart. I was looking forward to the end of the Fa-rectification period because I was attached to what I contributed and the hardship I went through over the past many years. I thought the Fa-rectification period would end soon, so I worked diligently and appeared to cultivate diligently.
In fact, I was attached to consummation, so I judged my cultivation status using the criteria of how much Dafa work I had done, how much I studied the Fa, how many sentient beings I had saved, or how many Dafa projects I had joined. I did all those things with a false sense of purpose. Of course the old forces could easily interfere with me.
Once I found my fundamental attachments, I started to rectify them and gradually got rid of the depression I had been feeling.
In order to get rid of selfishness, I tried to identify my purpose for doing things: Was I working to validate the Fa or validate myself? Did I do things to harmonize what Master wanted or to satisfy my own selfish needs? When I rectified my thinking, I sincerely tried to accomplish a project in the same way I would accomplish my own things.
For example, when our company held an activity, I would try to get more people to attend instead of just focusing on doing my own job well. I would take the initiative to take on more work instead of passively waiting for assignments. Master opened up my wisdom when I let go of self.
One of my clients donated 400 gifts to the company. With our joint efforts, we were able to invite 400 people to attend our company's end-of-year party with little trouble. We clarified the truth to those people, some of whom bought tickets to Shen Yun.
In the past, I would judge who was right and who was wrong by using my notions when I saw conflicts between my colleagues. I would even impose my understanding on others. Now, I often remember what Master said:
“Gods see issues multi-dimensionally and the overall situation, while human beings only see things on the surface. Sometimes, Dafa disciples are by my side; with your every thought and every idea, and your conduct, I do not look at your surface or your behavior at all. Instead I look at your true motives. I look at what your true thought is thinking and doing at its foundation. In this process, although what has manifested on the surface is your behavior, for which you need to be responsible, still, I just look at your foundation.” (“Fa Teaching at the New York Fa Conference on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Dafa’s Introduction to the Public”)
I realized how higher beings look at things. Everything happening around me was actually reminding me to cultivate and cherish the opportunities for cultivation. In letting go of “self,” I experienced removing selfishness and cultivated the status of compassion more deeply.
I now cherish every one of my colleagues when I look at them with the heart that we are saving sentient beings as a whole body. I appreciate that Master sent practitioners to join our project so that it could move quickly. I don't challenge other practitioners when their thoughts or behaviors do not conform to mine. My own ideas or abilities are not important. As long as their thoughts or actions are beneficial in saving sentient beings, I let go of mine immediately. I wasn't attached to how great my idea was or how much I had done.
I’ve found that the more I let go of myself, the wider my path becomes and the more divine powers are demonstrated to me. This is perhaps the status of freedom from “self.”