Improving Character While Cultivating in Dafa
(Minghui.org) According to Master Li Hongzhi's teachings, 100 million Falun Dafa practitioners have been improving their character in their everyday lives. They live by the principles Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, strive to become better people, and bring harmony to their families, society, and the nation.
I was constantly praised while growing up and became a spoiled girl, before becoming a stubborn and self-centered adult. The starting point of my thinking was always whether something benefitted me or not.
When I was in school, academic achievement was my ultimate goal, and I didn't bother with anything unrelated. I didn't even do any housework, because I took my parents' care for granted and never thought about helping them. I even took my friends for granted and couldn't tolerate it if any of them didn't treat me nicely. I always thought I should be the center of attention, and was jealous of anyone who had better grades, looked better, or had better relationships with others.
Representing the Goodness of Dafa
“I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism.” (“Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I gradually discovered how selfish I was as I cultivated in Falun Dafa. I had been living for my own fame, fortune, and sentiment, and sought only my own happiness. I had even hurt others for selfish reasons and ignorantly accumulated karma.
I became determined to change. Empowered by my righteous faith in Dafa, I began following Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in my everyday life and looked inward when facing problems. I gradually improved my character and found that it was not difficult to be considerate. I began spreading compassionate and positive energy around me.
A restaurant employee once gave me more change than I was owed. I went back to return it and the employee was happily surprised. Another time, I saw a piece of sharp rock on the road and moved it off the road. I threw away the trash left in the stairway so that no one would slip and fall. In a busy city like Taipei, not many people would take the time to do these minor things. Whenever people praised me, I said with pride, “It's because I practice Falun Dafa!”
I am a business manager in a large enterprise. I do my best at work and help every colleague without expecting a reward. Because of my great job and attitude, some other departments invited me to move to work with them. Some of my supervisors told me that I would have a bright future in the company if I continued my work ethic.
I wasn't looking for promotion or power, however. I am responsible for doing my job well. Walking firmly on a righteous path and improving myself give me spiritual pursuit beyond this world. That is true freedom.
Dealing With Criticism
My journey of cultivation has not always been smooth. I have occasionally encountered frustration and criticism. Based on my understanding of the Dafa principles, I try my best not to be affected. Instead, my first thought is to look inward and find my own shortcomings.
“Whenever you encounter problems you should each look inward to search for the cause within, regardless of whether you’re to blame or not. Remember my words: Regardless of whether the problem is your fault or not, you should look inside yourself, and you will find a problem.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe)
An administrator at work was recently unsatisfied with my performance. After talking with him, I found that the problem had originated from my deeply-rooted notions. I thought that this administrator's way of handling things wasn't efficient so I often complained about him to my family and friends.
My negative thoughts and behavior weren't right for a cultivator, and needed to be corrected. Actually this administrator had helped me with my career development. He had shared with me his many years of working experience. I had stubbornly held onto my notions about what was right, and had not opened my mind to accept other people's way of doing things.
“We emphasize Ren in particular. Only with Ren can a person cultivate into somebody with great virtue. Ren is a powerful thing, and it surpasses Zhen and Shan. Throughout the entire cultivation process you are asked to exercise self-restraint, to mind your character, and to not take rash actions.” (Falun Gong)
I realize that the meaning of Ren [Forbearance] includes letting go of the attachment to one's ego, and having a big heart for others. How can anyone who refuses to change make any progress?
On the other hand, my shortcomings in the past were the reasons I had run into cold shoulders. Before I cultivated myself, I used to pay close attention to how others treated me. This made me feel pleased or worried, and caused me to lose sleep and even my appetite.
I learned from cultivation that I can't please everyone, but I can live with a clear conscience. I no longer over-worry about what others think of me, because I'm a cultivator. I treat others nicely, no matter how they treat me. With Master's guidance, I have a clear direction on my path of cultivation.
Cultivation gives meaning to my life. I remind myself to seize the opportunity to study the Fa and do the exercises, do well in everything I do, and never waste any time, because my life has a goal. I bring the brightness and beauty of Dafa to the people around me, and spread positive energy.