[Minghui Fahui] Becoming a True Cultivator
(Minghui.org) My cultivation journey is typical of that of many young practitioners who grew up in the West. When I was seven, my parents were introduced to Falun Dafa by one of their friends. When they studied the books and did the exercises, I followed along. I identified with the principles taught in Zhuan Falun and thought it was the most natural thing in the world. There was no sudden revelation, no tears of joy, and no life-changing experience. I didn’t have any illnesses to start with, so there was no miraculous change in my health after learning Dafa, something so many other practitioners have experienced.
Master wrote in Zhuan Falun, “...I am telling you not to lose it easily just because you have obtained it easily.”
Perhaps it was this life of comfort that led to my complacency and lack of appreciation for what I had attained. For most of my life, I drifted along with my parents and other practitioners but did not actively cultivate myself or take responsibility for my own cultivation. At the age of fourteen, I went off to a boarding school halfway across the country. Without my parents there to remind me to study the Fa or a group cultivation environment, I gradually drifted away from Dafa and lived like an everyday person. I spent much of my free time playing video games with my friends and enjoying life. The only thing that connected me to Dafa was that I occasionally polished articles for English Minghui.
Even though I was not diligent most of the time, I always had the thought in the back of my mind that I was a cultivator. After every Fa conference, I would have a short period of clarity, followed by a predictable decline as I went back to everyday life.
At the end of my freshman year in college, I felt the need to clarify the facts to a few of my closest friends. I told them about Dafa’s principles and how it teaches practitioners to become better people. But to my surprise, one of them told me, “You don’t seem to be all that compassionate.”
I didn’t know what to say at the time, but I knew that he was right. I regularly played violent video games in which I killed people for fun. I didn’t work particularly hard in school. In many ways, my behavior and moral standard were below that of the ordinary person who I had tried to clarify the facts to. How could I save him? How could I validate the Fa？Wasn’t I tarnishing Dafa’s image by calling myself a practitioner?
This experience made me take a good look at myself as a cultivator for the first time. Looking back, I was merely being pulled along by external factors–my parents, other practitioners, or Master when I was fortunate to see him give a lecture in person. But I had never taken responsibility for my own cultivation.
That summer, I moved to a different city to work. One day, the power went out in my neighborhood. The only thing I could occupy my time with was my copy of Zhuan Falun, the only thing that didn’t require electricity to operate. I enlightened that this was an opportunity to get rid of my attachment to technology and the need for constant entertainment. I picked up the book again and began to read with a calm mind.
This time, things were different: I was studying the Fa on my own initiative. That was when I noticed myself changing day by day. I gradually lost the desire to play video games and the attachment to lust. When my coworkers used a parking garage but didn’t pay because they knew it wasn’t enforced, I went ahead and paid anyway. When I arrived at work, I no longer competed for the best parking spots like I used to; rather, I was happy to leave them for other people.
While none of these changes are worth bragging about, what was remarkable was that I did not consciously change my behavior. It was not superficial kindness like putting on an act, but rather a change from within. While I still didn’t experience any supernormal phenomena, I knew clearly that Dafa was the only thing that had the power to truly elevate my realm of mind. That thought formed the foundation for my faith in Master and Dafa.
Cultivating Away Attachment to Fame and Self-Interest
Having learned Dafa at a young age, I always thought I had taken fame and gain lightly. After all, I was a student for most of my life and didn’t have any special abilities to show off. However, this began to change once I graduated from college and entered the workforce.
“… when he doesn’t have many abilities in ordinary human society, he cares little for fame and self-interest. Once he becomes well-known, though, oftentimes he is easily interfered with by fame and profit.” (Zhuan Falun)
In less than three years, I was quickly promoted through the ranks and offered a managerial role. That made me the youngest person on the team I was to lead. While I knew that my capabilities were given by Master for use in validating Dafa, I couldn’t help feeling pride for having advanced beyond my peers.
As this promotion was outside of the company’s regular schedule, I was told that my title change and salary increase may be delayed due to the additional paperwork required. A week went by, followed by another, and then another. When I asked about the status, I was told that no new information was available.
“We therefore believe in following the course of nature. Sometimes, you think that something should be yours, and others also tell you that it is yours. Actually, it is not. You may believe that it is yours, but in the end it is not yours. Through this process, it can be seen whether you can give it up or not. If you cannot let it go, it is an attachment. This method must be used to get rid of your attachment to self-interest.” (Zhuan Falun)
I realized that I did not need to worry about these things at all and that Master is watching over everything. I decided to stop thinking about it and carry on with my job as normal.
The very next day, I was informed that the paperwork for my promotion had been completed. Even the salary difference that I would have received during the delay was paid to me in full. I enlightened that Master was waiting for me to remove this attachment the whole time.
Letting Go of Attachment to Validating Myself
While I couldn’t claim to be a good cultivator, I did have some skills that I was able to apply when working on Fa-validation projects. Over time, I gradually developed an attachment to validating myself and a show-off mentality.
As a native English speaker who can also read Chinese, I was often recruited to work on various writing-based projects, including English Minghui. As a polisher and, later, an editor, I found myself becoming increasingly critical of the quality of our translations. I started writing long comments to other team members to point out mistakes they had made.
While there’s nothing wrong with sharing feedback and knowledge, my efforts were not entirely altruistic. The starting point in many cases was to validate me rather than the Fa. Even though I spoke in the name of upholding standards and credibility, my words were infused with negative elements, including arrogance, narcissism, and impatience.
When I stopped looking at articles through a critical lens, I began to see the beauty and power behind every piece we publish, including the heart the author put into writing it, the difficulties the translator went through, and the effort each polisher put into refining it. They have all done their best.
Now, instead of trying to conform each article to my own notions, I look for ways to best convey what the author intended. Instead of lecturing others at content review meetings, I strive to facilitate discussion of different viewpoints so that the team can improve as a whole. Instead of criticizing shortcomings of certain articles, I try to use positive examples as sources of inspiration.
The attachment to validating myself also manifested itself in my fear of public speaking. I was introverted and shy from a young age. The first time I spoke in front of a large audience, I could barely string a sentence together without tripping over my words. So, when I was asked to participate in an oral presentation at an academic conference, I was quite apprehensive.
What I realized, however, is that this fear is also rooted in the attachment to self, specifically the concern for my own reputation. Before that audience, I was not speaking on my own behalf. Rather, I was a Dafa disciple delivering information they had been waiting for, a message that ultimately comes from the Fa. Having shifted my mindset from validating myself to validating Dafa, I no longer had anything to worry about and was able to confidently deliver the presentation.
Replacing Human Notions with Righteous Thoughts
When clarifying the facts to people I meet in daily life, I sometimes hesitate and question in my mind how to bring up the subject, whether the person would accept it, whether it’s relevant to the current interaction, and other notions.
After completing a rental car transaction one time, I debated whether to clarify the facts to the employees behind the counter. At the time, I only had materials focused on organ harvesting with me. It was not a topic that I would casually bring up in conversation.
I decided to go back and show them a booklet I had. As soon as I introduced the topic, all three of them eagerly listened and began asking questions. In the middle of the interaction, the manager came out and told one of the employees curtly that he was late for a meeting with her.
The employee replied, “No, I want to hear this. This is more important.”
I was touched by his desire to hear the truth. After I finished, I apologized to the manager for taking up their time. Her anger from earlier had completely dissolved, and she said, “No problem,” with a smile.
“Every person you come into contact with in society is someone to clarify the truth to…” (“To All Students at the Nordic Fa Conference” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
This experience showed me that people really are all waiting for us to clarify the facts to them. I should not allow human notions to form obstacles in my own mind.
Over the past few years, I have progressed from drifting along in Dafa activities to taking responsibility for my own cultivation. My work with Minghui has kept me connected with Dafa during the low points of my cultivation and helped me identify and remove a number of attachments. I will continue to look within and purify my mind so that the starting point for everything I do is based on the Fa.
(Selected Experience Sharing Paper from the 2018 Minghui Fa Conference, Edited)