Argentina: New Practitioner’s Cultivation Experience
(Minghui.org) Greetings, esteemed Teacher and fellow practitioners.
I am 25 years old. One of the things that weigh heavily on me when writing this sharing is knowing that I have not been diligent on my cultivation path, that I have not put Fa study as a priority, and that I did not make good use of my time. But, to write this sharing article is once again another opportunity for me to expose my attachments and advance in my cultivation. I hope I can do better from now on, and I thank Teacher for giving me this opportunity.
Obtaining the Fa
I was introduced to Falun Dafa when I was in my senior year of high school. I was thinking about starting college, and even if I had chosen a career, I was not very clear about my future. I felt a lot of anguish and fear, and I wasn't satisfied with life itself. I never fit in with the big group of classmates. I had a smaller group of friends with whom I tried to do things, such as going dancing and drinking, but I felt most of these were superficial and stupid. The things that ordinary people did often seemed senseless to me, and I wondered what life was for. I believed that nothing would fill the void in my heart until I was introduced to Falun Dafa. I could finally understand the meaning of life.
I was dissatisfied with life, half depressed, arrogant and envious during that time. I consulted with an Argentinean doctor of Chinese medicine whom I trusted and who treated me for pains. He gave me a flier and recommended that I practice Dafa.
Before practicing Dafa, I considered myself an atheist. I felt that there were no answers to be found in religions. I decided that nothing existed. Thus, I did not know the purpose of such an empty life, and nothing made sense. In high school, there were also many teachers who introduced me to communist ideas. As I had not found answers in religion and had a rather pessimistic view of life, I was attracted to these ideas that there was a “better world” to fight for.
Now, I understand that atheist and communist mentalities are great obstacles for people to attain the Fa and be saved. It's the demon's way of destroying people. And I, as an ordinary person, was also overpowered by these ideas. But, I was lucky enough to find Dafa and thus the truth.
When I stepped into Dafa, I did not really cultivate. The first few months, I was just doing the exercises. I recovered from many physical problems, such as stomachaches, backaches, and insomnia. I felt I was doing well.
I found out there was also a Falun Dafa book, Zhuan Falun, but I wasn’t interested in reading it. I was into many things with faculty, my friends, theater, and so on. I had Zhuan Falun, but every time I picked it up, I felt sleepy, and after reading a few paragraphs, I fell asleep. There was a force that kept me from reading it. This situation went on for several months, until one day I told myself I had to finish Zhuan Falun. When I had read the entire book, I started crying. I was very moved and felt that a lock in my head had been opened. So, I said to myself, “I really want to know what this is about,” so I started reading Zhuan Falun for a second time.
As vacation began, I began to read articles from Dafa conferences as well. I felt as if my whole life had turned around. Whatever I had based my life on fell into nothingness. I felt my “old” world crumble. I knew I had obtained the true Truth, the Fa of the universe.
I started classes toward an anthropology degree, which was what I thought I wanted to do. I began to feel many contradictions in myself because I knew that I had obtained the Fa. Everything I studied was wrong, as it was human knowledge. It was all useless, and even the theories were wrong. I didn't know what to do.
“People think that the renowned persons, scholars, and different sorts of experts in human society are great. In fact, they are all really insignificant, for they are everyday people. Their knowledge is only that tiny bit understood by the modern science of human society. In the vast universe, from the most macroscopic to the most microscopic, human society is exactly in the very middle, in the outermost layer, and on the outermost surface.” (“What is Wisdom?” Essentials for Further Advancement)
I was always a studious person, and I always looked for answers in books. I thought that books were a refuge from the world I didn't want to live in. Since I began to feel depressed in the university when I went to class, I couldn't easily make friends because I felt that the things they talked about were boring and meaningless. Since I was just starting out, I did not meet up with practitioners, so I felt lonely and lost. I knew I wanted to cultivate, but I felt there was a contradiction between the real world and Dafa–they were two completely separate things. I didn't know what to do, so I left the university. At that moment, I felt an indescribable joy.
Cultivating Away the Attachments to Sentimentality and Lust
Before I started cultivating, I understood that people married for love. Now, as a practitioner, I understood its significance on another level.
When I started practicing Dafa, one of the things that worried me was the thought, “If I don't get married, I'm going to be all alone in cultivation.” This made me anxious.
The reason I wanted to get married was an illusion. It was that hidden desire to seek happiness and a false sentiment, which is a sticky, ugly substance. I saw that this attachment was wasting my time and energy. I was moving away from cultivation practice. I was anxious, and my mind was unclear. What did I want this for? I wouldn't be a better person if I got married, nor would I be more diligent or happier as a result.
When I understood that marriage was due to predestined relationships and karma, I was no longer in anguish. I felt as if a large stone had been removed from my back.
“Studying the Fa with attachments is not true cultivation. Yet during the course of cultivation a person may gradually become aware of his fundamental attachments, rid himself of them, and thus meet the standard for a cultivator. What’s a fundamental attachment, then? Human beings acquire many notions in this world and are, as a consequence, driven by these notions to pursue what they yearn for. But when a person comes to this world, it is karmic arrangements that determine his course of life and what will be gained and lost in it. How could a person’s notions determine each stage of his life? So those so-called "beautiful dreams and wishes" become pursuits that can never be realized, despite painful attachments.” (“Towards Consummation,” Essentials for Further Advancement II)
I understood that what was predestined was best for my cultivation practice and that I had to focus on cultivating myself. Now, if I have this kind of thought, I try to recognize them immediately and think rationally. I remind myself why I came to this world.
“If you want to be able to return to the origin, the bitterest suffering is also most precious. There are many hardships when trying to cultivate back to one’s origin by enlightening to things amidst the delusion, but this enables one to return quickly. If you degenerate further, your life will be eliminated. Therefore, in the eyes of other lives, one’s life is not for being human. It is meant to return to one’s original, true self.” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
At the same time, I liked a person. I read many books, including romantic novels, believed in love, and that love could bring happiness. I also longed for that feeling of happiness of having a partner and romantic love.
I realized that it was lust, and it made me feel bad. I was attracted to that person, I always wanted to talk to him and be with him, and I fantasized a lot. I spent a lot of my time on this, thinking about this person, and whether he liked me or not. It was a test for me. Because at first, when I was not cultivating, I was already very interested in that person, but gradually I realized that I should eliminate that feeling. But I didn't know how it was done or if it could be done. Since I didn't know how to cultivate or how to stop thinking about this person and having these thoughts, I began to memorize the Fa.
The more I tried to memorize, the more bad thoughts entered my mind, and the thought karma made me think of bad things that I had never thought of before. I tried to eliminate these attachments, but the process was very difficult. Finally I managed to eliminate this sentimentality and attraction. I also learned the Fa principle about lust, which helped me greatly when I read it. I felt that it was a hint from Teacher. I realized that if I could not eliminate desire, attraction, and lust, it would be impossible to ascend. Teacher reminded me that this was a test, and many, many practitioners have left cultivation because they could not pass this test.
“I hope you are mentally prepared for it. If someone doesn’t guard his or her character well enough and fails the first time, he or she should truly learn a lesson from it. It will come again and interfere with you many times until you truly guard your character and completely break that attachment. This is a big hurdle that you must overcome, or you won’t be able to attain the Dao and cultivate to success.” (Chapter III, Falun Gong)
The above Fa made a great impact on me, because I understood that one must have a lot of determination to eliminate this attachment.
I discovered that when cultivating in Dafa, any attachment can be eliminated.
“Now you can see why I’ve often told you to read the book more, right?! The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts.” (“Drive Out Interference,” Essentials for Further Advancement II)
I realized that desire and attraction for a person can be eliminated because it is a substance. When one doesn’t have these substances, one feels more clear, serene, and rational. These things can control us, and this is why it is important to cultivate the main consciousness.
Cultivating at Work
I changed to another university program, which I thought was short and could be used to do things for Dafa. I also started working in a restaurant where all the employees were practitioners. At first, I was not aware that it was a project, and I didn't do it for this reason. I only wanted a job, and I knew they were managed by practitioners, which was helpful, but I wasn't clear on its purpose and significance. I only participated out of personal interest. I was a new practitioner, I had my doubts and fears, I was still a very ordinary person with my own ideas, and I had not really started to cultivate seriously. I was still chasing things of ordinary people.
I was different, as I didn't like talking to people, I didn't trust practitioners, and part of me didn't want to be there. I remember crying because my boss criticized me because I was slow. I went downstairs to the kitchen to cry because I did not want to be seen.
I remember one time I had to bring a plate to a table. It was a very heavy square plate, and I heard my boss complain that I was too slow. When I came back, she was angry and told me to wash dishes. She said I was not doing what I could do. I didn't say anything, and I cried while washing the dishes.
I started to think about why I wasn't faster. I realized that pride was the reason I was slow. I obviously didn't like that someone criticized me and told me what to do and how it had to be done. I also felt envy and thought I was treated unfairly because I was in a subordinate position.
In addition, I felt that I was a target of discrimination because I thought I was doing well. I realized it was out of pride that I didn't want to change. I found excuses, but behind that, there was arrogance on my part. It wasn’t that I couldn't do things better and faster, but subconsciously my pride got in the way. When I realized that, I improved and did the job faster and better. I was no longer scolded.
Looking back, I know now that I had an arrogant attitude. I thought my boss was wrong for getting angry because she could not tolerate other people's mistakes. I even thought I was better than her because I thought that I was not like her.
By studying the Fa, I realized that I had many attachments and was even worse than her. I could see from my time working at the restaurant that I too was angry, treated others badly, and was not tolerant.
I told myself that I had to eliminate my envy and fear and be able to see the good side of others. When I could begin to see the positive side of my boss, things began to change. I remember one day she was in the restaurant helping people, and I could see her compassion–she was there for Dafa. I was surprised. I could see that she was truly thinking about the clients and beyond.
I could also see that I was envious of her. I started to put myself a little into her shoes and realized that she had to endure a great deal of pressure. It wasn't easy to be in charge of a project and be the “boss” of other practitioners. It was hard to be in that position, and it was easy for me to just criticize. I realized that the things she told me were true and that she was right. Thus, if I felt bad, it was because of my pride.
It was hard because I didn't share my understandings with other practitioners as I didn't have confidence. I was more or less new, and I didn't study the Fa much either. I only knew that I wanted to cultivate and that I had to endure. I started to realize that I had to look inside, find what I need to let go, and not focus on whether something was right or wrong on the surface.
I could see my fear of criticism. Teacher said that a cultivator has to be able to accept criticism and that otherwise he or she was not a cultivator. I still feel that I need to improve on my cultivation path. I became more diligent in my Fa study. I remember that my boss asked me if I was studying more, because I was doing things better. She was happy when I said yes!
I could see many attachments, such as defending myself, talking back when I was reprimanded, not tolerating others’ mistakes, believing that I was better than others, getting angry easily, being in a bad mood, selfishness, laziness, and lack of responsibility.
However, given the criticisms, I was able to improve and work faster. I also realized the importance of lucidity and mental clarity when working at a restaurant and that they are directly related to Fa study and cultivation. When I don't study the Fa well, I don’t do well and am sleepy.
At first, I didn't want to talk to the customers, give them truth-clarification materials, or do certain things. If it weren’t for all those criticisms, I would not have improved, I would not have changed, and there would not be a present me.
Letting Go of Selfishness
In the work environment, I also learned the importance of being considerate of others. Looking at other practitioners, I could see my selfishness. Seeing how well they treated me and how they helped me, I could see their compassion, how they did things for others, how they sacrificed at work. I could see that I was not like that.
I began to realize that the work we do is for other people. We cultivate ourselves to be able to assist Teacher, which is the most important thing. This is what I learned from working at the restaurant.
“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. So from now on, whatever you do or whatever you say, you must consider others—or even future generations—along with Dafa’s eternal stability.” (“Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
Many times, we mix selfishness and personal wants into our actions to validate Dafa. These include attachments to fame and reputation. I realized this while working with customers. I always thought I was shy, but behind it was fear and insecurity. By evaluating myself with the Fa teachings, I realized that it has to do with the attachment of fame–to be liked and recognized. Now, I can get along very well with the customers and clarify the truth better and more naturally.
(Presented at the 2019 Argentina Fa Conference)