Learning to Look Within and Solidly Cultivate Through Group Fa Study
(Minghui.org) I'm a retired college teacher, and I began to practice Falun Dafa in August 1996. I'd like to share a few of my cultivation experiences.
Our Special Group
After I moved to a new house in 2016, another practitioner introduced me to the local Fa-study group. When the coordinator left the area, she asked me to take her place.
Our little group consists of five practitioners, including myself. The oldest is 84 years old, and the youngest is 50. The other two are 77 and 75. Their educational levels and financial situations are very different from mine.
I knew that this was Master’s arrangement to help me improve. I will always cherish this opportunity to interact with these fellow practitioners.
After we studied the Fa together a few times, I noticed a problem. It took us half a day to finish reading one lecture in Zhuan Falun. The others skipped or added words, and some kept mispronouncing words. Even though I corrected their mistakes, they kept repeating them. Unfortunately, we usually ended with blaming others instead of looking at ourselves.
I'm impatient and have a hot temper. I knew that this was an opportunity to improve my xinxing. Whenever I became angry or accusatory, the others immediately pointed it out to me. I wanted to change, but it was difficult.
I realized that the more impatient I was, the more mistakes they made. I thought, “We can overcome this, and we will study the Fa well.” Two in our group had been illiterate. After they began practicing Dafa, however, they were miraculously able to read Dafa books.
“My fashen know everything—they know everything on your mind, and they can do anything. They will not take care of you if you do not practice cultivation. If you practice cultivation, they will help you all the way to the end.” (Zhuan Falun)
We decided to change our bad habits, such as arriving late, chatting, using cell phones, and forgetting to wash our hands before studying the Fa. We reminded each other to remember to hold the Dafa books with both hands and not to get up and walk around during study time. We would focus on studying and not be distracted.
Gradually, we read more smoothly and made fewer and fewer mistakes. Whenever things did not go well, we realized that it might not only be that practitioner’s issue; this was meant to point out our human notions and to remove our impatience. We decided to view whatever happened as an opportunity to improve.
Even though I repeatedly corrected one practitioner, she kept mispronouncing the words. I lost my temper and started criticizing her. She smiled and said that, no matter what happened, a practitioner should always be calm and happy.
I want to thank these elderly practitioners from the bottom of my heart. Thanks to them, I was able to eliminate my impatience and expose other problems of mine as well.
Another practitioner was like a mirror. I hadn't realized that I had a serious cultivation problem: I did not focus when I studied the Fa, and my mind wandered.
Sometimes it seemed like I was just completing a task. I wasn't calm when I read, and I wanted to hurry and finish. I also realized that I had an attachment to achieving results and being right.
By comparison, the elderly practitioners were peaceful and kind. They did not defend themselves when I accused them, nor did they argue with me.
Thanks to Master’s hints and these practitioners' patiently enduring my behavior, I finally saw the difference in our cultivation and where I needed to improve!
Looking Within and Improving
“For a cultivator, looking within is a magical tool.” (Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference)
“When you meet with a conflict, it doesn’t matter whether you are in the right. You should be asking yourself, “What on my part isn’t right in this situation? Might it really be that there is something wrong on my part?” You should all be thinking this way, with your first thought being to scrutinize yourself to try to find the problem. Whoever is not like this is not in fact a true cultivator of Dafa. It is a magical tool in our cultivation. This is a distinguishing feature of our Dafa disciples’ cultivation. Whatever it is that you encounter, the first thought should be to scrutinize yourself, and it’s called “looking within.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference XI)
I knew that we should look within, and I kept mentioning it to the others. But my understanding was very shallow. I knew that practitioners should examine themselves whenever they encounter challenges. Did I look within or ever examine myself?
Whenever problems arose or I became irritated with fellow practitioners, my first thought was to help them look within. But I did not feel that I needed to look at myself. This became a big obstacle in my cultivation.
For a while, we met at Bao’s (alias) home. She had symptoms of illness: dizziness, heart palpitations, heavy breathing and high blood pressure. In the past, we would have said that she had an emotional attachment that she should let go of. We would have focused on helping her improve her xinxing. But this was going along with the old forces’ arrangements.
This time, we kindly pointed out the problems we saw and sent righteous thoughts. We also focused on examining ourselves. Bao's health soon improved, and even her family was amazed.
Later, Di (alias) began having problems. She came late, felt sleepy, and frequently got up and walked around. Her behavior interrupted everyone.
The others and I discussed what we should do. I said, “She's a practitioner, so we can point out what's wrong. But, when we see someone else's problem, isn't it a hint for us to improve? Let's all look within.”
Di’s behavior reminded me of how I studied the Fa at home. I did not discipline myself as strictly as I did when I was with others. Nothing in cultivation is coincidental. Fa study is very serious, and we should hold ourselves to the same standards no matter where we are.
After we talked with Di, she tried to arrive ahead of time and corrected her behavior.
We all began to look within. We also compared our experiences with each other. We all also went out to talk to people about Dafa and the persecution. Now we can hand out over 100 copies of Dafa brochures each week. Before, we were only able to hand out twelve copies a week.
Stepping Out of Human Notions
“Whatever you experience during your cultivation—whether good or bad—is good, for it comes about only because you are cultivating.” (“To the Chicago Fa Conference” from The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
When we used this principle to guide our cultivation, we quickly improved.
Di was afraid of hot weather, and even when we turned on an electric fan, she still thought it was hot. We discussed this and realized that feeling hot or cold is a human notion. But for cultivators, a little suffering is a good thing.
I said that I did not feel hot as long as I was studying the Fa or doing the exercises. Someone suggested that we could try not using air conditioners or fans while studying.
We turned off the air conditioner and closed the door. Di immediately complained about the heat, but after she understood that this was an opportunity to break through the notion of being hot, she soon felt a breeze.
No Need To Wear Glasses
Xia (pseudonym) is 84 years old and always wore a pair of thick glasses. She said that she could not read well and that her eyes hurt. When she said that she wanted to have her eyes examined at a hospital, I reminded her of what Master said.
“We all know that we are cultivating. Since it’s cultivation, nothing on our path of cultivation is coincidental.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in New Zealand)
I said, “Since you are a practitioner, shouldn't you look within first?”
The next day, she said, “Cultivators should have no sicknesses. I will not go to a hospital.”
When we read that morning, she said that she had no trouble reading. Soon, she did not need to wear glasses when she read the Fa.
Several other practitioners mentioned this issue to me before, but I did not pay attention. I also decided to take off my reading glasses, which I had worn for over 20 years.
Having No Fear
Xuemei, the 75-year-old practitioner, told us her story. When she went out to put up Dafa materials one day, an officer saw her and asked what she was doing. She said that she was putting up the words, “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is Good.” He didn't say anything and walked away. Some people who had accepted the Dafa materials even helped her to hand them out.
Practitioners who had accompanied her to hand out materials said that because Xuemei had no fear, people listened to her.
As we gradually broke through our human notions, we experienced the mighty power of Dafa; our belief in Master and the Fa was strengthened.
We realized that if we, as beings created by Dafa, look within when we encounter conflicts, truly cultivate ourselves, and assimilate to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, we can elevate ourselves and step out of human notions.
Let us remember Master’s words:
“In this final hour of the Fa rectification, cultivate yourselves solidly every step of the way and accomplish your mission of saving people.” (To the Fa Conference in France)