Facing My Fundamental Attachments
(Minghui.org) I started to practice Falun Dafa in 2000 when I was 16 years old. Today, I’d like to talk about my journey of cultivation and what I’ve enlightened to and am still cultivating through.
Tailoring My Education and Work Experience to Better Validate the Fa
Since I started to practice at a relatively young age, I was able to tailor my life choices according to the needs of Dafa and the Fa-rectification. At college, I studied journalism because I knew that I could use those skills to clarify the truth.
After graduating from college, I went on to work as a cameraman at three non-practitioner television stations where I improved my journalistic skills so I could train staff at NTD. However, working for everyday people’s media can be very, very dark at times. There was a time when I was covering murders on what seemed like a daily basis and I felt so angry that I had to spend so much time in dangerous neighborhoods with reporters who wanted to sensationalize tragedy. It was wearing me down and I became very depressed and felt alone, with a huge weight on my shoulders.
My thinking was very self-centered, selfish, and human. My understanding is that since I wasn’t cultivating myself well and didn’t have true shan, I was sent to more murders, and more people could have been dying because the old forces wanted to bring out my shan for people who are suffering. Intellectually, I knew that I needed to have compassion for the people who were victims of crime and poverty, but I didn’t have the shan required to truly achieve the standard of a cultivator and put it into action.
“When required, you must be rational and clearheaded like a cultivator, allowing your responsibilities and righteous thoughts to direct you, and only then will your true shan be displayed. That is what's different about a cultivator and a divine being.” ( “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference IX)
I have a lot of regret that I was unable to cultivate the shan required to pass this test. I felt like a victim rather than treasuring the hardship as an opportunity to bring me one step closer to meeting the standard of the Fa. Attending large and small group Fa study along with support from many practitioners sustained me through this difficult period.
While working in this trying environment, I joined an organization for journalists in Washington, D.C. I spent a lot of time networking with people there. A fellow member told me about a job listing in Washington that he thought would be a good fit for me.
I applied and had an in-person interview, which went very well, and I was told that I would hear back from them sometime soon. Well, weeks passed and I didn’t hear back.
After a lot of Fa study and taking a hard look at myself, I realized that if I didn’t get the job, I’d be alright and that if the job was meant to be mine, Master would arrange for me to have it. I needed to put aside pursuit and let things happen without attachment. Shortly after I had this shift in thinking, I was offered the job. I then moved to Washington, D.C., where I could get to work on new truth clarification initiatives.
Making Inroads in Society
I became active in the organization for journalists that I just mentioned. I organized high-profile events with military, government, and world leaders. Additionally, I joined a hospitality network, and travelers from more about 20 countries stayed in my home. Some of the people I hosted went on to work at embassies in Washington, as well as other organizations. I also joined clubs and organizations for U.S. diplomats. I’m currently a cultural ambassador for foreign military officers attending specialized training in Washington. Through this initiative, I’ve made friends with rising military officers from around the world, where I have a relaxed opportunity to clarify the truth to them.
I spend a lot of time going to high society social events such as annual horse races where I even buy champagne for my group. Of course, everyone knows I don’t drink so they appreciate my generosity even more, and when it’s time for me to clarify the truth to them, they’ll listen attentively. I also go to diplomatic receptions, black tie events, and even a weekly language exchange where I’ve clarified the truth to several Chinese. I believe it’s important to conform to societal norms so we can have opportunities to meet and save people.
I have one non-practitioner friend who works in politics who is very much opposed to the persecution of Dafa. My friend, out of his own initiative, did a lot of truth clarification to the U.S. Congress which helped advance an organ harvesting resolution. I’ve brought people to Dafa documentary screenings and Shen Yun and cooked for friends new and old in my home. People ask me about the Lunyu and Falun emblem posters I have hanging on the wall, which gets the conversation about Dafa started. It’s really natural, and people tell me they feel a calm, pure energy in my home.
Sometimes I don’t tell people that I'm a practitioner, as people can have strong notions in Washington. Sometimes I say that I worked at NTD where I learned about the horrors of the CCP, including the persecution of Dafa, speaking as a third party. It really depends on the situation, but all I care about is clarifying the truth and conforming to people’s notions so they can easily accept the facts. I believe that it’s important for practitioners to take the lead role in society and not be afraid to engage people day in and day out, creating lasting, meaningful and long-term friendships and relationships.
Although I’ve made many connections in society, I sometimes feel like my state of mind isn't that of a practitioner and that I’m only accomplishing things on the surface. It’s like what Master said:
“Consider this: if you aren’t cultivating yourself, what you do is the same as an ordinary person doing good deeds.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the New York Fa Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Dafa’s Spreading”)
I find that my ego gets inflated when I think about what I’ve done on the surface. This is validating self and not the Fa, and it is going in the opposite direction of Master’s requirements.
Nonetheless, my understanding is that we cannot be afraid to be a part of ordinary human society, worried that we could be polluted by non-practitioners’ notions or karma. Master said:
“With this affair being so immense, the entire human society has become a monastery [for your cultivation].” (“Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day”)
We shouldn’t isolate ourselves from ordinary human society; it’s like running away from the monastery in which we do our cultivation, which is actually the entire world.
I grew up with a mother, a father, and an older brother. My childhood had many unhappy memories. My father had anger issues and was depressed. I was often afraid to go home after school. This fear led me to look for the tranquility of cultivation and my desire to have a happy family made up of practitioners.
“Some truly see the Fa-principles of Dafa; while many other students have found with their human notions various yearnings and wishes in Dafa, and, compelled by these human attachments, they have come to practice cultivation in Dafa.” (“Towards Consummation” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
He went on to say in the same article:
“After cultivating for a period of time, are your thoughts still the same? Are you continuing on the path because of those human attachments?” (“Towards Consummation” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
My understanding is that I wanted to have the warmth of a family of fellow cultivators. I wanted to feel safe and no longer be resentful toward the family I was born into. I was attached to Master protecting me from harm. I didn’t realize this was a fundamental attachment until a family tribulation a year and a half ago.
After I started cultivation, my father was interfered with by factors in other dimensions. When I played Dafa music, my father's body would immediately be in pain.
My mother often says, “Falun Dafa is good.” Once she told me that when she closed her eyes and listened to Pudu, she saw a Buddha sitting in golden light.
Several years ago, my father decided to move to Latin America with my mother. A year-and-a-half ago, my father hurt himself in an incident and was very badly injured.
I got on a plane that night. I tried to stay alert and look at things supernaturally, as a cultivator. I called a few practitioners while I was waiting for my flight and they told me they were sorry. I didn't want them to be sorry for me. I want to cultivate through this as a genuine Dafa disciple.
“An Arhat should be free of attachments, with a heart that cannot be affected.” (Zhuan Falun)
But I was afraid that I would have to deal with all the family burdens myself without any support.
The following morning, my mother and I drove to the hospital, where the doctors told us that my father’s condition was grim. I went to my father’s bed and read him Lunyu and sent forth righteous thoughts. I was in tears with a shaky voice as I read him Lunyu. I asked Master for a benevolent solution. I asked Master to let him reincarnate so he would have a chance to cultivate in the future. My father knew Dafa was good.
I was basically by my mother’s side nonstop from morning to night, doing my best to keep it together.
My brother arrived a few days after me, as well as my uncle. When they arrived, I started to get extremely emotional. It was because I had time to think about myself and think about what was going on more in-depth. When I started to think more, I tried to hold back tears, but couldn’t. I was overwhelmed by the situation.
However, I made one discovery. Whenever my emotions welled up, I would send forth righteous thoughts and my crying would stop. I also said to myself silently, “I don’t acknowledge you, old forces. Get off of me, you are eliminated!” As soon as those thoughts came forth, my state of mind changed immediately, and I became calm and stopped crying. This revelation helped me realize that I was being persecuted by the old forces because the emotional outbursts vanished when I sent righteous thoughts. I believe that the old forces were using my parents to create a massive tribulation to have me eliminate my attachments to sentimentality for family. The sentimentality towards my parents wasn’t of love, but resentment.
After my father passed away, I spent another week or so with my mom and came back home with a heavy heart.
When I told some of my close childhood friends what happened, many said, “We love you.” When I heard these words, I couldn’t stop crying. Why did the words, “we love you,” move me so much? Perhaps I never felt loved before and I still have the attachment of wanting to be loved. I believe that when I took up cultivation, I yearned for a loving, warm family of practitioners and Master’s safe protection. I realized that this was a fundamental attachment.
Master’s words in “Towards Consummation” really made an impression on me:
“Additionally, they manipulate wicked human beings to examine Dafa and its disciples, putting them through a comprehensive and destructive test that targets all human thoughts and attachments. Had you truly been able to get rid of those fundamental human attachments in your cultivation, this last tribulation would not have been so vicious.”
One thing has become clearer to me: what I’m going through is a test to see if I can get rid of my fundamental attachments and truly cultivate.
This fundamental attachment to comfort and feeling safe has also caused me to stagnate in my cultivation. Since I often felt unsafe, and I’ve been afraid to dig out my attachments. It’s led me to develop notions that I should try to live as comfortable a life as possible, and that suffering is a bad thing and should be avoided. My understanding is that cultivators should treasure hardships and xinxing tests; they are arranged by Master and lead to the improvement of our level.
Master said :
“Going through hardship and suffering is an outstanding opportunity to remove karma, be cleansed of sin, purify the body, elevate your plane of thought, and rise in level—it’s an extraordinarily good thing. This is a correct and upright Fa-truth.” (“The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be” from The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
I need to fundamentally change my notions. The only thing we can do is put the three things first and foremost: studying the Fa, sending forth righteous thoughts, and clarifying the truth.
Sometimes I don’t feel that I can meet the Fa’s standard, but Master’s teaching gives me strength:
“…only the brave dared to come here, as gods see it. You must be someone who’s brave to have chosen to come to a setting this complicated. Gods consider you extraordinary just for having come during the Fa rectification, having joined the ranks of those who are saving people, and having even become a cultivator—truly extraordinary!” (“Fa Teaching Given at the New York Fa Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Dafa’s Spreading”)
My fellow practitioners, let us remember that to the gods in the cosmos we are brave, extraordinary beings with such an important mission to fulfill, and we can fulfill it! I hope I can do better to live up to the sacred responsibility Master has bestowed upon me and all of us.
Please point out if I’ve said anything not in line with the Fa.
Thank you, Master. Thank you, my fellow practitioners.
(Presented at the 2018 Washington DC Fa Conference)