Maturing in Cultivation – A Young Practitioner's Journey
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Merciful Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I began practicing Falun Dafa eight years ago. My older sister was a practitioner and encouraged me to cultivate. I was 15 years old and I wasn't prepared to abandon my diversions, such as going out and partying with friends. Regarding my health, my glands had frequently become infected since childhood, and I was repeatedly bedridden with fevers that lasted for weeks. Doctors said that there was no cure and I would have this condition for the rest of my life.
The year before I began practicing Falun Dafa was the lowest period of my life. I was very rebellious, and always at my friends' house, or at parties. My grades in school were very poor. I dabbled in drugs, drank, and smoked, and even had intimate relations with boys. I was sinking deeper and deeper. Although I thought I was doing what I wanted, I felt a void in my heart, and as a result I began to have more physical symptoms.
Every time I went to sleep I began to feel paralysis. My body could not move. It felt like something was grabbing my neck and winding around my body. I asked my mother and my sisters to wake me up if they heard me struggling in my sleep. Every night they had to shake me to help me wake up.
After many months of this, I was exhausted. One night as I began falling asleep I said, “This time I won't fight or struggle and maybe nothing bad will happen.”
That night, I entered that state again, but this time I didn't struggle. I saw myself entering a tunnel and I saw everything clearly around me. I suddenly realized what was happening, and thought, “I’m dying!”
So I started fighting. This time it was more difficult than ever. I finally regained control of my body and woke up. It took me awhile to calm down and I was overwhelmed by despair.
I felt very empty and did not understand why I was alive.
Beginning My Amazing Cultivation Journey
A year later, I asked my sister if I could borrow the book Zhuan Falun. When I finished reading the first lecture, I felt that my life was in Master's hands. I felt safe and filled with happiness. I stopped smoking and drinking, and my constant partying. I became dignified and calm.
After practicing for a month, I realized that I was no longer having trouble sleeping. I felt so much peace, something I never dreamed was possible.
I tried to get up early each day, so I could read at least part of one Lecture in Zhuan Falun. I read the rest on the bus to school.
I understood that as a cultivator, I had to set a better example in everything I did. I became a better student. My grades improved rapidly, and my teachers were very surprised. I took the opportunity to tell them about Dafa and how I had benefited from practicing.
After I told my teacher that my positive changes were because I began practicing Falun Dafa, she asked me to teach the exercises to my classmates. I knew that Master arranged this opportunity so I could tell everyone the benefits and beauty of Dafa.
Master Constantly Encourages Us
I encountered some tests when I first began cultivating. My mother was against my practicing. Whenever she saw me reading or doing the exercises, she became enraged and started yelling at me to stop.
When I was reading the Fa in my room one day, she came in and started yelling at me and insulting Falun Dafa. I felt very discouraged. I didn't know what to do. As I looked at her, I saw several of Master's fashen surrounding her. I understood that Master was encouraging me and showing me that these kinds of situations were about testing me and eliminating my karma.
This situation happened many times. After talking with other practitioners, I understood that I needed to communicate with my mother. I knew that she had to respect my decision to practice Falun Dafa and that I should help her understand that it was something good and would only benefit me. So I faced her with righteous thoughts. She finally understood and stopped questioning my belief in Dafa.
Another story which I would like to share is about a very vivid dream I had. I was waiting for a bus, when suddenly I saw three people coming from a distance. As they got closer, I saw that it was a very beautiful young woman accompanied by two men. I felt that we knew each other. Looking closely, I saw that she was an angel with huge wings, and that the two men were her guardian angels.
She looked straight at me and said, “You have to continue to cultivate in Dafa. No matter what happens, you have to persevere until the end.” I then realized that she was me.
She then took me to a restaurant, where many people were celebrating. I felt that they were sentient beings in my world, who were happy to have been saved by Dafa.
Attachments to Image and Lust
I had some eating problems when I was very young, including anorexia and bulimia. I hardly ate. Sometimes for several days I ate almost nothing, and only drank water. I fainted frequently and my health was very fragile.
By the time I reached adolescence, I developed many attachments, such as to my image, envy, and vanity. I had some boyfriends and I began to have intimate relationships with them, something that I now deeply regret. I developed an attachment to lust at a young age.
Before I practiced, I started dating a boy whom I quickly fell in love with. He was my friend's brother. Whenever I visited her, I saw him and we gradually developed feelings for each other.
One day, my friend told me that he had been involved with another girl for several years. I was surprised and I decided not to see him again.
A few months after I began practicing, I went to visit my friend and he suddenly arrived. He insisted on talking to me. He said that we should have a relationship, but I said no.
Although my heart was moved, I understood that this was a test of lust that the old forces were putting on me. He wanted something to happen but I repeatedly refused. After more than an hour, I had a sudden thought, that he was being manipulated by demons to pull me down. After I had that thought, he looked at me with a confused expression, and suddenly walked away. At that moment I felt that I had passed a hurdle.
Thanks to a good Fa study environment, I was able to go through many tests. I felt that every time I passed one, my body became purer and lighter. Once when I had a dream which involved lust I immediately stopped it. When I woke up, I began to send righteous thoughts for the Art of Zhen Shan Ren (Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance) Exhibition which was in my city. As I meditated, I suddenly felt that I was levitating.
A year later I moved and I began to work on different projects. I went on vacation with my family. Constantly surrounded by ordinary people I relaxed in my Fa study and exercises. I did not behave like a cultivator, and unfortunately I gave into lust.
Afterwards, I felt like a ghost, which is the only way I can only describe my state at that time. I was depressed for many days. I could not forgive myself for the mistake I made and felt that I had failed the sentient beings and Master. After I returned from vacation, it was a while before I had the courage to share what happened with the other practitioners. The pain in my heart was intense.
I thought that if I exposed it, the pain in my heart would ease a little, but it did not. I knew that I still had many attachments. I realized that I was still treating cultivation in a very superficial way. I began to look more deeply within.
I found many strong attachments, such as envy, jealousy, competition, frustration, and emotion. Although I identified many of my attachments I did not know how to eliminate them. I continued on in this state for a long time.
I tried to keep doing what I needed to do. I participated in projects and studied the Fa with the other practitioners. But my attachment to lust made me go to the other extreme. I began to eat a lot. I gained weight and neglected my appearance. Since my clothes no longer fit me, I began wearing baggy clothes and also often wore black.
When practitioners saw me like this, they kindly pointed out that a cultivator should show a good image. Since I was depressed I began to sleep more.
Unfortunately, I fell again into the attachment lust. The other practitioners asked me if something was wrong. I only told them that I felt bad. I didn't have the courage to share more openly what was happening. I was afraid that they'd develop a bad opinion of me. I would like to take this opportunity to expose my attachment and to eliminate the old forces' arrangement.
I hope that by sharing this experience I can help others not to take a detour like I did. We should be honest with others, and this is what helps us advance in cultivation.
Denying the Old Forces
I participated in promoting Shen Yun in 2012. This was also my first intense cultivation experience. I felt it helped me become more mature. Ticket sales were slow. We realized we needed to eliminate any gaps that the old forces could take advantage of.
One practitioner from my city was always very aggressive. When the others talked about their experiences she criticized them. She did not act like a cultivator, with benevolence and kindness. She also acted this way in my hometown and had caused a lot of interference among the practitioners there. What surprised me was that I had the same thoughts as her. I realized that I was inadvertently accepting the old forces arrangements. I was unwilling to face failure, to look inward, or to cultivate myself. Looking back, I now understand how incorrect my thoughts were at the time.
When I understood how wrong my thoughts were, I observed how other practitioners in my city—who had gone to support the promotion—were also following along with those same thoughts. I understood that the old forces were using these kinds of notions to generate divisions.
“The complicated environment, in my view, is instead a good thing. The more complicated it is, the greater the individuals it will produce. If one can elevate oneself above and beyond it, one’s cultivation will be the most solid.”
“For a cultivator who is truly determined to cultivate, I would say that it turns out to be a good thing. Without conflicts arising or opportunities to improve your xinxing, you cannot make progress. If everyone is nice to one another, how do you cultivate?”
(A Clear and Clean Mind, Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)
After my incredible experience of helping with Shen Yun that year, I decided to move to Buenos Aires. I felt it was time to take the next step in my cultivation.I was 18, and legally old enough to make my own decisions. It wasn't easy. My parents were worried that I didn't have a stable job and would be alone in a large city.
I knew that I had to explain that I wanted to go in order to help people there understand what was happening in China, that many of the millions of practitioners there were dying from the persecution.
Looking back, this was one of the best things I've ever done. This entire experience has made me more mature, and I also have a better understanding of the Fa. Today, my parents are very happy that I have left my hometown and that I am working very hard and participating on truth clarification projects.
These are just some of the experiences I have to share. I hope they can help others so they don’t make the same mistakes I did. I understand that time is pressing, and I still have to eliminate many attachments. I hope to be more diligent, and catch up with the progress of Fa-rectification.
I now understand that no matter how many projects we participate in, or how much effort we put in, what's most important is cultivation and eliminating attachments. Let's all be able to return home with Master!
Thank you Master! Thank you fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2019 Argentina Fa Conference)