Looking Within to Cultivate Myself
(Minghui.org) I am a 67-year-old retired teacher. I started practicing Falun Dafa in 1998. After years of cultivating and looking inside, I have gained some understandings that I'd like to share.
Looking Within to Eliminate the Poison of CCP Culture
I set up a Dafa material production site at home in early 2006, when the persecution of Falun Gong was most severe. My production site was the only one in my neighborhood, so I had to supply materials to 40-50 local practitioners.
Each week I produced more than 20 copies of Minghui Weekly as well as an ever-increasing amount of flyers and pamphlets. I also helped local practitioners upload announcements for people who had decided to quit the CCP. Sometimes the list included several hundred people. At that time, I still had a full-time job, so I had to work well into the night on these projects.
Yan, a practitioner, sent me the list of people who quit the CCP. She was partially handicapped and walked with difficulty. She had only two years of schooling, yet she had persuaded a lot of people to quit the CCP.
Yan was very diligent. She went out early in the morning and returned home late. Practitioners admired her because she did so well in telling people the facts. Her Quit-the-CCP name list was not neatly compiled, with words scratched out everywhere. I had to guess what she wrote on the paper. She gave very general nicknames to the people who agreed to quit the CCP but didn't want to use their real name, such as repeated use of “Well Blessed”, “Good Fortune”, “Oldest Girl”, and “Little Second.”
She is a year older than me, so I called her elder sister. One time I shared, “Elder sister, the names should be written clearly. It's no problem if the characters are not spelled perfectly, as I am able to type them in correctly. But it's serious when you give sentient beings the nicknames. If you are not serious about this, you will bring a negative impression to Dafa.”
She smiled, but didn't say anything. After that, she did better in giving nicknames, but her writing didn't improve. It wasted so much time, as I had to solve word puzzles.
One day when she came to me again, I told her, “Elder sister, would you please write the words more clearly? It takes so much time to solve your word puzzles.”
She was unhappy and snapped at me, “I just can’t write well. Aren't you a teacher? If you can’t figure out my words, maybe your level is not enough.”
Her words surprised me. I was wondering how someone like that could be a practitioner. She didn't do well but pushed the responsibility to me.
I was mad, stared at her and said, “My level is not enough just because I can't solve your word puzzles? Do you need a teacher to solve your word puzzles? Since my level is not enough, don’t bother to bring me your list next week. That will save me a lot of trouble.”
She didn't say anything. She just stood there for a while, and then left with tears in her eyes. I didn't say anything more, not even goodbye.
I calmed down gradually after Yan left. I recalled what had happened between us. Her words were not friendly, but how about mine? Were they befitting a cultivator? The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I calmed down to study the Fa.
“Indeed, the conflicts and tensions that you encounter or whatever it may be are all meant to test your mind, and to see: Can you handle it in a manner befitting a cultivator? Is how you handle it worthy of a Dafa disciple? That’s what cultivation is, isn’t it? Could ordinary people handle things this way, or see things this way? 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.” (What is a Dafa Disciple, from Teaching the Fa at the Conference XI)
Master's words shocked me. Wasn't this referring to me? Nothing is accidental. Why didn't I take the incident as an opportunity to cultivate myself and identify my problem? It's not a minor thing if I am “not in fact a true cultivator of Dafa.” I had to really look within to scrutinize myself.
After serious reflection, I realized that I forgot to handle myself as a practitioner. I didn't treat another practitioner sincerely, compassionately or patiently. I talked to her like a superior talking to an inferior and assigning her work. I treated her as my student. I didn't cultivate myself in this respect and treated her poorly. My words to Yan were so sarcastic and harsh that she burst into tears and rushed out my door.
If I had been calm, regarded myself as a practitioner, and treated her in a friendly, compassionate way, this would not have happened. It's true that her handwriting was not good, but it was not as if she wanted that and it could not be changed in one day.
She worked so hard, was not afraid of persecution, walked with great difficulty and went out to save people every day. Aren't these precious qualities? I should tolerate her, cooperate with her and support her. When I thought about this, I realized that it was me who was wrong, not her. I didn't regard myself as a practitioner at that moment, I hurt another practitioner, and intensified a conflict.
Why didn't I realize this at the time? The evil CCP culture is really poisonous. I was deceived without me even knowing it. It's really a hurdle in cultivation. It was the root of the conflict between Yan and me, and I was determined to eliminate it.
When I thought of this, I felt very ashamed. I saw my shortcomings in cultivation and felt guilty. I was ashamed that I was not in fact a true cultivator of Dafa.
Another week passed. I was expecting Yan to come back and she did. I shared with her sincerely and frankly. I apologized and she pointed out her own shortcomings.
Finally we came to an agreement: when she gave me the list of people who wanted to quit the CCP, we would review them together one by one. We would log the names on the website while she was with me. In this way, there would be no problem with the words.
Yan was happy. I was happy, too, because I made up for hurting another practitioner. I eliminated the CCP culture's hold on me, identified my shortcomings and disciplined myself according to the Fa principles.
Looking Within—Minor Things Are Not Minor
One morning Li brought me two pieces of bread and two pieces of cucumbers. I asked her why she brought me vegetables on such a cold day. She said they were yesterday’s leftovers. I said, “It’s so little. Just keep it and eat it yourself. The food was not only purchased by me. As per your way of doing things, shouldn't I take the food to someone else? Is the effort worth it?”
Li said, “I couldn't eat all the leftovers. Your site has more people to eat it.”
After she left, I realized that my attitude and tone were not right, but I just let it go without thinking any further. Two days later, Li called me and said she was coming over.
She was unhappy. “I just can't take it. Let's talk about it seriously. Why did you have that attitude the other day? Just tell me: what's wrong with me? I am also going to tell you what's wrong with you.”
I could see that she was very angry. I regretted that I didn't apologize to her. I warned myself again and again, “Do not make the conflict worse, just let her finish.”
I smiled and said, “All right, all right, go ahead. I will listen.”
“You're so self-centered,” she said. “You never consider other people's feelings. You have your own way of doing things. You draw skilled practitioners close to you and use whoever you want. Mei is the practitioner that I introduced to you, but you forgot about me.”
Li's words confused me as I didn't catch what she was talking about, but I gave no explanation. I was only aware that I was wrong. If I didn't take it for granted and used my own notions to judge things and require things of others, I wouldn't have invited today's trouble. I was not aligned with the Fa and my words were not kind.
Now I realized that Li was aligned with the Fa because she could discipline herself even in minor things. I should have learned from her, but I didn't realize it when she came to me the other day. I didn't cultivate myself; on the contrary, I thought she was making a fuss and did unnecessary things. Perhaps this was a gap in cultivation.
I truly realized the seriousness of cultivation. Every minor thing is serious. No seemingly minor thing is really minor. Everything can manifest the realm of a practitioner. We can't ignore minor things or take them lightly. We should look within and cultivate ourselves at every moment.
When I thought of this, I didn't argue with Li. I admitted my mistake and asked her for forgiveness. I expressed my thanks to her for pointing out my shortcomings so that I was able to scrutinize my own words and actions. I resolved to treat cultivation seriously and rectify myself to be in alignment with the Fa.
The conflict was resolved. We returned to our normal way of interacting and did what we should do.
The above two incidents are minor, but I identified my own shortcomings, as well as my gap with fellow practitioners and Dafa's requirements.
Such minor things often occur while we validate the Fa. During conflicts, if we can't improve our xinxing or cooperate well, we will negatively affect or delay saving people and cause losses to the one body. The evil will take advantage of our loopholes.
We should make good use of the magic tool of “looking within” that Master has endowed, cultivate and purify ourselves, and achieve the realm of “selflessness and altruism.” (Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature, from Falun Dafa Essentials for Further Advancement)