Tidbits from my Seven-Year Cultivation Path
(Minghui.org) Greetings, esteemed Master and fellow practitioners!
It has been seven years since I started to cultivate in Falun Dafa. As I reflect upon my cultivation journey, I am filled with gratitude for Master and Dafa.
Reborn After Obtaining the Fa
I came to the United States in 1990 to pursue a Ph.D. After graduation, I started to work at a large corporation, and achieved my “American Dream.” However, my “American Dream” coming true did not make me happy.
There were two main reasons. First, with the realization of my dream, came the reality that I no longer had any goal or pursuit in my life. My work and personal life became an increasingly monotonous routine. Secondly, I had always hoped to enjoy an independent and comfortable life with the freedom to do what I really liked to do, but I realized that life was simply unpredictable, brimming with many uncertainties and unstable factors.
It takes just one unexpected incident to abruptly turn what appears to be a perfect, happy life upside down. I did not have a sense of security, but I was not willing to follow an established trajectory for the rest of my life: “go to work, make money, retire, grow old, become ill, and die.” I asked myself, “What have we come to this world for? What is the purpose of life?” With no answers to such fundamental questions, I felt that life was uncertain and perplexing, and deep down I was unhappy.
An old friend of mine came to my city with his family from out of state to attend a Fa conference in 2003. While staying with us, they gave me a copy of the book Zhuan Falun. I started reading it after they left, but stopped at Lecture Two and did not read any further. Perhaps I was not quite ready yet, due to interference from my notions that I had long established because of my scientific training. Time flew by, and in no time eight years had passed. I continued to live an unhappy life.
My family visited our relatives in China in June 2011. My sister had just been released from prison. She had been arrested and sentenced to three years in prison by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for distributing Falun Gong truth clarification brochures.
I saw Zhuan Falun in her bedroom. As I picked it up and started reading, I was so drawn to it this time and finished reading the entire book in one sitting. All the questions that perplexed me for so many years were answered. I felt I was suddenly enlightened to the true purpose and meaning of life. I felt an indescribable feeling and joy that I had longed for deep in my heart for so long. It was a feeling of gratitude and joy of rebirth and awakening after being lost. I was grateful that I finally obtained the Fa.
Over the following months and years of Fa study, I came to realize how lucky we are and how precious it is to become a Dafa practitioner during the Fa-rectification. It is a unique glory, and with it comes a great responsibility and mission.
Memorizing the Fa Helps Me Gradually Abandon Attachments
Prior to cultivating in Dafa, I was impatient and self-centered. When I began to study the Fa, I realized I was filled with emotions and desires. It became quite evident that I had all the human attachments mentioned in Zhuan Falun, with some of them being very strong, including the mentality to showing off, jealousy, the desire to compete, resentment, fear, arrogance, lust, as well as dreaming of fame, and gaining benefits. Behind such a long list of attachments lies a deeply-rooted “selfishness,” which almost governed my mind and thoughts.
“...matter and mind are one thing.” (Zhuan Falun)
“Cultivation depends on one’s own efforts, while the transformation of gong is done by one’s master.” (Zhuan Falun)
From Fa study, I learned that studying the Fa well with an unwavering faith in Master and Dafa is critically important for a cultivator. It determines whether or not he or she can succeed in cultivation, and do the three things well. So, from the very beginning of cultivation, I made great efforts studying and memorizing Zhuan Falun.
When memorizing the Fa, I began with “On Dafa,” and then continued with Lecture One. My basic approach was to memorize the Fa, paragraph by paragraph, until I was able to recite the entire lecture. I then took the same approach with the next lecture. It took me about one-and-a-half years to memorize Zhuan Falun. The memorization process laid a fairly solid foundation for my Fa-rectification cultivation path.
I also memorized parts of Hong Yin and Essentials for Further Advancement. Within the first week of its publication, I was able to memorize Master's “On Dafa.” Shortly afterwards, I began to memorize the English version, and did it within a week as well. Master was encouraging me to diligently study the Fa, and he hinted that I needed to be more involved in clarifying the truth to local sentient beings.
I often recited parts or sections in Zhuan Falun and Essentials for Further Advancement, both in Chinese and English. Reciting both in Chinese and English can help enhance memorization and understanding of the Fa and correct my reciting mistakes in a timely manner.
I found it to be a good opportunity to recite the Fa when taking a short walk or driving. More importantly, with the Fa kept in memory, I found it easier to catch my unrighteous thoughts, and reflect on my own conduct during conflicts with others.
It became clear to me that the process of reciting the Fa was one of gradually letting go of human attachments, and constantly improving my understanding of the Fa. They go hand in hand. After a period of time, I felt the corresponding changes in my thinking and physical body. All these changes further strengthened my firm belief in Dafa.
Power of Righteous Thoughts When Clarifying the Truth to Government Officials
Compared to other cities, we have a fairly large number of practitioners in our area. However, except for Shen Yun, we did not have projects aimed at saving sentient beings in mainstream society for several years.
Before last year’s July 20 event, after I finished sending forth righteous thoughts, I had a strong desire to attend activities in Washington, D.C. – to stop the persecution of Falun Gong. After more than six years of cultivation in Dafa, I had not participated once, and felt a sense of comfort and satisfaction with the status quo.
I learned that our local coordinator was looking for practitioners to join in the upcoming VIP work at Capitol Hill in D.C. Being an introverted person, I did not like and was not good at dealing with people. I never had any experience working with government staff and officials, and it was out of my comfort zone. But I thought that my likes or dislikes were also attachments that I had to remove. So, I signed up without much hesitation. Overall, we worked well as a team on the VIP government work during the D.C. trip.
Upon my return from D.C. I decided to contact people in our state government. After all, other states had already passed state resolutions calling for an end to the persecution and condemning the CCP’s organ harvesting. From listening to Master's teachings and from my own Fa study, I realized and firmly believed that Master has paved the way in other dimensions for us to save sentient beings, waiting for us to take action.
As Dafa practitioners, what we do every day, including our thoughts and mind intent, are all material existence in other dimensions. Whether or not they are in accordance with the Fa, acceptable or not, they will become eternal testimonies. Cultivation is a very serious matter! How can we take it lightly? As I continued with my cultivation, I increasingly felt a sense of urgency and great responsibility faced by practitioners. I kept reminding myself that as long as I let go of my attachments while doing what a practitioner should do, good outcomes would follow, as it is Master who makes things happen.
All beginnings are hard. We have 180 state House representatives and 56 senators. I did not know where to start. Fellow practitioners from other states shared with us their experiences working on state resolutions. From the beginning, we focused on clarifying the truth and saving sentient beings. Every representative and senator together with their office staff was a sentient being for us to save.
With the limited manpower we had at the time, we decided to start with the 180 state House representatives and then move on to the 56 senators. Last August, we started to systematically contact each state representative, first by email requesting a meeting and then following up with phone calls. After we laid the foundation through this first round of truth clarification work, we started to visit each office of the 180 representatives to make appointments. We clarified the truth to the office staff. The office staff who used to be passive now actively made suggestions and helped make appointments with the state representatives. Some stated that they support the Falun Dafa principles Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and others expressed a desire to learn the Falun Dafa exercises.
We had eight more meetings with House representatives in October, with two of the representatives having to travel five hours round trip to meet with us. We cherished each and every meeting and prepared an information packet for each meeting, including a 20-minute DVD on forced organ harvesting and a resolution draft for their reference.
During the meeting, we found it effective to play the nine-minute video, “Persecution of Falun Gong” on a laptop. It was a bit surprising that most of the representatives knew little to nothing about Falun Dafa. But after watching the video, they all expressed their support, with three willing to sponsor or co-sponsor our resolutions.
As we were progressing, I deeply felt Master's compassion and encouragement every step of the way. Throughout the process, we could not possibly have decided or planned the results for each of our steps. Yet they happened, owing to Master's arrangements.
House Interstate Cooperation Committee Hearing
After the 2018 Session started and on almost every legislative day that followed, I needed to go to the State Capitol to attend meetings, and to seek more opportunities to meet with other legislators. Every time before I left for a meeting, I recited the Fa and sent forth righteous thoughts. Every trip turned out to be quite rewarding.
When I stopped by the committee chairman’s office in February, his assistant told me about a committee hearing within the next hour, and that our resolution was one of the three items on the agenda. I was totally caught off guard. As I scrambled to prepare for the hearing I asked Master for help. Right before the hearing started, our hearing had to be rescheduled for three days later because of a meeting conflict with our sponsor. Our resolution was the only bill on the agenda that day.
There were six of our local practitioners present to testify at the committee hearing, and we were told to limit our presentation to no more than three minutes per person and not repeat what another had said.
All attending committee members, including the chairman, were touched by the personal stories revealing the brutal persecution. Everyone kept full attention, and the time limit seemed irrelevant. After we finished with our testimonies, the chairman asked if we had anything else to contribute. The hearing took almost an hour, turning into a great success and opportunity for clarifying the truth. It totally exceeded our expectations. After the hearing, some committee members explicitly expressed their support for the resolution, which paved the way to its unanimous passage by the committee at a later date.
Gaining Critical Support from House Rules Committee Chairman
In our state, the House Rules Committee is primarily responsible for deciding which bills should be debated and brought for a vote to the House floor. The rules chairman is often the final decision maker of the committee. Therefore, clarifying the truth to him was a of great importance.
When we met with him at the end of January, like other legislators, he thought that the CCP's persecution and forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong were issues of foreign affairs and should be handled by the federal government, not the state government. But after he learned the truth, he changed his mind. Later on, he became one of our strongest supporters in the House.
Our resolution passed the hearing at the House with only several legislative days remaining for this year. Some representatives were concerned that the resolution may not pass the rules committee chairman for a House floor vote. So, as soon as the resolution passed the House hearing, I immediately went to the rules committee chairman’s office to make an appointment, which was granted and was for the next morning.
While preparing for the meeting, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could persuade the rules committee chairman to put our resolution on the House calendar for a floor vote as soon as possible. I arrived at the chairman's office on time. After sitting down, I took out a folder prepared the night before, ready to give a presentation. With just a couple of words into the conversation, he told me, “You don't need to say anything else, I already know it. This is a very good resolution. Please tell your sponsor to come to my office to sign the relevant documents immediately.” The next morning, our resolution was put on the House agenda for a floor vote.
At the end of last October, we started clarifying the truth to all state senators and work on a Senate resolution. By the end of March, when the 2018 legislative session officially concluded, we had two separate resolutions passed, one by the House and one by the Senate.
Importance of Xinxing Improvement
As I reflect upon the process of clarifying the truth to the state government officials over the past several months, I saw many areas where I could have done better with much to be improved. The most obvious one has to do with my xinxing cultivation.
When things started going well, or I had a breakthrough, I noticed that my human notions would quickly give me a sense of zealotry, while my righteous mind told me that all is given to us by Master and that taking heavenly credit was a human attachment that must be removed.
Whenever my first thought was not righteous, it was rather frustrating and disappointing, yet served as a painful reminder that it was time to abandon my attachments and human notions. In the process, I often felt that I was not compassionate enough, easily falling into a rush mode of wanting to get things done quickly. I saw that my attachments caused interference and had a negative impact on the overall effectiveness of saving sentient beings.
We only met or talked with about 90 state representatives, half of the House members. At the time of House vote, all 156 members voted in favor of the resolution. So overall, 156 represents about 87% of all House members. If we were graded, 87% would be a B. This may reflect the cultivation state of myself or us as a group that worked on the House resolution. I think only by diligent cultivation can we reduce regrets and walk well the cultivation path Master has arranged for us.
I feel that it is an unprecedented responsibility and honor to be a practitioner during the Fa-rectification period. Regardless of how long the cultivation journey may be, my greatest wish is that I will be able to remain diligent in cultivation, steadily carrying out the three tasks, and faithfully follow the cultivation path arranged by Master.
Thank you, Master and fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2018 Washington DC Fa Conference)