New Practitioner in the U.S.: My Journey of Cultivating for a Year and a Half
(Minghui.org) I began cultivating in Falun Dafa in the winter of 2016. While my tempering in Dafa has not been long, I hope to share with you my understandings and realizations of the past year and a half.
Relying on the Fa for a Clear Mind
Initially, I read Zhuan Falun and the supplementary lectures with a curious mind. The principles of the universe were revealed, the structure of the cosmos and the abundance of life were explained, and glimpses of humankind’s history were uncovered. The mysteries of our world had been revealed—who wouldn’t want to listen to that?
I had also remembered that Master would tell Dafa disciples to study the Fa:
“As long as you study the Fa earnestly, answers found within the Fa can solve any hard-to-untie knots in your heart, or any hang-ups.”(From Lecture at the First Conference in North America)
My initial motivation of curiosity transformed into a more solemn reverence when I first went to distribute Shen Yun materials in office buildings. That experience allowed me to see a greater depth and to witness the power of Fa study.
There was a team that distributed Shen Yun materials to workplaces. One day things didn't go that well when I went out to distribute materials. That day I arrived home worn down, with tired limbs, an unappreciative attitude, and a piercing headache. I still sat down cross-legged to study the Fa, and while what I read was not directly relevant to my situation, I connected with what I was reading. I felt a soothing warmth envelope my hands as I held the book, and a gentle but firm pulsing energy circulated through my body. By the end of the study session, my headache had gone away, my mind was crystal clear, my motivation was set straight, and I felt ready for the next morning, to go out again and tell people about Shen Yun.
Ever since then, whenever I feel muddleheaded or am grappling with my human attachments, I turn to Fa study. When my concentration is good, I can clearly feel my hands warming up, becoming numb, and a strong energy resolving abnormal conditions. At this point, I no longer read the teachings out of curiosity, nor do I consciously try to gain something from them, but study them as part of my life, a life of cultivation. It’s a truly wondrous path.
Doing the Exercises Is the Best Way to Clear Away Fatigue
Balancing things well—choosing the right priorities—was often a very difficult task. At the university, I was striving to do well in my graduate classes, be a responsible research assistant to my professor, and be an active student leader in the Falun Dafa Club. At work, I did my best to be a responsible software engineer. At home, I made it a point to be a responsible housemate, taking my share, and often more, of the household chores. I was not willing to neglect any aspect of my life.
But this, of course, reduced the number of hours I slept. Nevertheless, as a new practitioner, I would not give up doing the exercises early in the morning, keeping in mind that Master had said in Lecture at the First Conference in North America:
“Actually, you are afraid that you don’t get enough rest. Have you ever thought of the fact that practicing cultivation is the best form of rest? You can obtain the kind of rest that can’t be obtained through sleeping.”
I remember that there was a longer time when even sleeping in could not help alleviate my exhaustion, but doing the exercises did. Whenever I finished the first four exercises or the sitting meditation, all sense of exhaustion would be gone and my mind would be sharp and alert. Ever since then, I have turned to the exercises to recover from weakness and exhaustion.
Validating Dafa by “Returning the Lottery Bike”
Half a year into my cultivation, when I moved out of the student apartment complex to the residential area, I got tempted by money. The apartment complex mistakenly sent me a credit for a deposit that I had made, which I had already used for last months’ rent. It arrived in a check, $1,638. First I was overjoyed, thinking to myself, “Whoa, 'pursue nothing, gain naturally.' Pretty good!” I hopped on my bike and headed to the ATM to deposit the check.
On the way, my conscience got the better of me and I remembered that, in Zhuan Falun, a father asked himself, “How much virtue must I give away if I get something that isn’t paid for?” So I turned around and headed to the apartment complex, knowing that I must do what is right. I handed them the check and waited for a response. They called me over and told me that, indeed, they had made a mistake and were very sorry and all they could do was to thank me. They also told me that I had done the right thing and that not many people would have done that. They told me I had helped them discover an error in their system, which they could now correct.
I told them that Falun Dafa practitioners follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and do what is right. I took off two of my lotus flower keepsakes that usually dangle on my backpack and handed them to them. The ladies were deeply touched, telling me that not only did I return the money but even gave them gifts! I left feeling content that they would understand Falun Dafa is good.
I Am Trying to Catch Up
Master said to veteran practitioners at the “Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference:”
“You should do more to lead them [new practitioners] along and help them catch up, and gradually they will come to understand things. The more loose you let them be, and, if they don’t realize the importance of being diligent, they will let themselves become more and more lax, and it’s possible that they won’t be able to really start cultivating. You must do more to lead them along.”
I would say the local practitioners have done really well in this regard. There were plenty of opportunities for me to interact with veteran practitioners. As long as I was willing to give up my everyday person’s habits, change my ways of thinking, and learn how to prioritize according to the Fa, I was able to balance things well. So I participated and observed how experienced practitioners acted while clarifying the truth or working on projects.
I saw and admired their dedication at petition drives at universities. We stood out in the sun to clarify the truth at tourist sites, and I noted to myself how practitioners spend their weekends thinking of the sentient beings to be saved. They let me join the parades and I felt the power and benevolence of a large body of Dafa disciples. They invited me to the largest health expo in the U.S., and I learned how their nonprofit organization interacted with influential medical and public health institutions to expose the forced organ harvesting.
They brought me along to promote Shen Yun at different places, and I saw how they would not be touched by negative words from everyday people but would continue the hard work with an unwavering but kind mind. They taught me patiently, and in detail, how to support Shen Yun performances during production. Practitioners with technical skills taught me how to manage mailing lists to inform the media and introduced me to the TV and online promotion of Shen Yun.
They brought me along to the Georgia State Capitol to speak with politicians, and I witnessed how practitioners were able to make genuine connections, asking for a favor on the surface, but in reality inspiring and awakening the sentient beings to make the right choice. And, finally, they talked to me via Skype to share their experience about how the platform of beauty pageants was transformed into an international truth clarification stage to speak up for Chinese human rights. And I’m sure my recollections are not complete.
This past year has been by far the most intensive year of my life. Master has purified my body and uplifted my thinking and mind. We all know no words can express our gratitude towards Master. For me, it took the form of tears welling up in my eyes while reading the teachings, slowly recognizing what has really been done for us. But I am also tremendously grateful to all the practitioners, local and remote, who brought me along and guided and inspired me by their sheer righteous actions and hard work.
I hope we all can stay diligent, support each other well, and fulfill our vows in assisting Master in Fa-rectification.
Cultivation Is Serious, the Requirements Are High, and That’s True for New Practitioners as Well
Participating in so many Dafa projects and activities, I gradually developed a notion that I was very capable. Instead of seeing how everything, including my abilities, were bestowed upon me by Master to fulfill my role, I began to mix in the truth-clarification activities more and more elements of validating myself instead of the Fa. What happens when we start validating ourselves? In Zhuan Falun, it says,
“Am I perhaps an unusual person? I was able to learn Teacher Li’s Falun Dafa and have studied it so well, better than all the others. Perhaps I’m also not an ordinary person.”
To this, Master said,
“This thought is already not right.”
This became very apparent when I organized a movie screening at my university.
Because it was my last semester, I wanted to stage a larger event to clarify the truth. I had found a way to finance the event without relying on local practitioners by incorporating what I'd learned from promoting Shen Yun, and, since I started preparations early, the advertising on campus was comprehensive, with banners, posters, fliers, and TV ads. All the dining halls had napkin holders with our event artwork. I approached faculty members and clarified the truth to them, received their support and visited their classes to introduce the movie. I contacted all the Asian student organization leaders and invited them and their clubs to our event. When the day came, I waited for students to stream in, to learn about the truth. However, only 8 students showed up, and I felt thoroughly disappointed.
In retrospect, there were plenty of gaps in the process of organizing this event. The biggest one was that cooperation with a fellow practitioner on campus was not in place. But my attempts to connect with other student organizations were zealous and did not take into consideration the social context. I was grappling with human attachments and sentimentality, which derailed my focus. And, again, I mixed in plenty of elements of self-validation, which made my motives impure. I was made to stumble, whereby I could enlighten to the Tao. I promised to myself, and I would like to say this in front of fellow practitioners, that, from now on, I will work harder, more professionally, with a better grasp of social circumstances, and with utmost focus on correcting any ideas of self-validation.
Walking the Path Well
“The Fa rectification of the cosmos has progressed to where it is today. It has truly proceeded to the final stage, and is now transitioning toward the Fa’s rectification of the human world.” ( “Fa Teaching at the New York Fa Conference on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Dafa’s Introduction to the Public”)
“What I once said would come to pass is now happening. I didn’t prophesize it, but I spelled out the progression of the Fa’s rectification of the cosmos, step by step, all the way through to the end. Just watch, my words are coming true.” (“Fa Teaching at the New York Fa Conference on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Dafa’s Introduction to the Public”)
I obtained the Fa at this transitional phase, so I’m not even sure whether I am a Fa-rectification Dafa disciple. But I cherish every opportunity to validate the Fa and clarify the truth. I hope that I can bring back a glimmer of experienced practitioners’ feeling to cultivate with the heart they once had. I marvel at the culture Master and Dafa disciples have created! I hope that we all can walk our paths well!
Please point out anything inappropriate.
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners!