Looking Within While Experiencing Tribulations
(Minghui.org) My wife told me that a colleague of hers practices Falun Dafa. The colleague had told her that Falun Dafa is for the purpose of the salvation of all sentient beings. When I heard this, I immediately went to the local parks to look for Falun Dafa practitioners. That was in 1996.
I soon started practicing and was overjoyed. I often found tears streaming down my face while reading the Dafa books.
In one of my dreams, Master Li (the founder) brought me to an incredibly beautiful place and showed me a giant Falun. The dream was so real that I was still excited when I woke up.
After the persecution of Falun Dafa in China started in 1999, I was illegally arrested for printing truth clarification materials at home. I later became displaced and wandered around for several years. This continued until 2003, when I got a job at a large foreign corporation.
I was extremely busy at work and stayed there late every night. I had almost no free time on weekends and holidays either, as the work took over my life. Although I sometimes managed to talk to people at work about Dafa, and advise them to quit the Chinese Communist organizations, I had no time to read the Dafa books or do the exercises.
I got a nice promotion and a good salary at work, but I felt miserable as I gradually moved further away from Dafa. I wanted to change my environment and become a true practitioner, and was soon presented with the chance to move abroad.
My real tribulations began once I went abroad. My son came with me, while my wife stayed in China. Both my wife and I were the sentimental type. We missed each other. My wife's health deteriorated. She became depressed and had trouble sleeping. Meanwhile, my son did not adapt to the new environment very well. He felt lonely and got addicted to the Internet and video games. I was also depressed. The only happy times I experienced was when I participated in Dafa activities.
When we first arrived overseas, I had a good job that suited my prior work experience. But I experienced sickness karma, which resulted in me resigning from my position. After that I was unable to maintain a stable job.
My son enrolled in a good university in 2016. The tuition and housing costs were high, as was my rent in the city. Since housing prices were also rapidly increasing, I decided to buy a house, even though it was really beyond my means at the time. I had to take on some additional labor work in order to pay the mortgage.
Even larger tribulations presented themselves the next year. My son was diagnosed with severe depression, so my wife came over to take care of him. Being depressed herself, when she saw our son's condition, she was unable to contain her anger. Many times, after returning home from a long day at work, I was greeted by an angry and near-hysterical wife and son.
I once read a Minghui article where a practitioner returned home after being incarcerated in prison for many years, to find that both his wife and son had developed mental disorders. I remembered thinking, “How was that practitioner able to deal with such a tribulation?”
Now the same tribulation had come to me.
Through seemingly endless suffering, to almost losing hope, and by maintaining righteous thoughts and looking inward, I eventually eliminated some of my attachments and passed the test. Thank you Master! I would like to share some of my experiences and the lessons learned.
Two of the most important things that helped me to overcome these tribulations were, firstly, letting go of my attachment to life and death, and secondly, constantly looking inward.
During the worst times, I often felt hopeless and full of despair. One day I calmed down and told myself, “I am a Dafa practitioner. I should be able to let go of the attachment to life and death. What else can't I let go?”
I took some time to seriously look within and improve myself.
I found that my first attachment came from financial pressure. Because of the mortgage and my son's tuition, we were 2,000-3,000 dollars short every month. Whenever I thought of this, the enormous pressure would make me breathless. In order to make the payments, I worked hard, doing physical labor work for long hours every day, which directly affected my cultivation.
I decided that I must change my cultivation state, and so I resigned from the low-paid and time-consuming labor work. In the worst case, I thought, I could sell the house.
The second big attachment I found, was sentimentality towards my son. I thought that as long as I read the Dafa books and did the exercises with him, he would recover soon. However, as time passed and his condition worsened, my confidence was shaken.
My son was not even able to take care of himself, let alone his future career. This was extremely painful for me. Ultimately, I remembered Master's teachings about how one is not able to interfere with other people's fates. I realized that it was time for me to let go of this attachment.
Happily, it wasn't even me who had to let it go. Master took this attachment from me as soon as he saw that I wanted to get rid of it.
“Cultivation depends on one’s own efforts, while the transformation of gong is done by one’s master.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
Another one of my main attachments was sentimentality towards my wife. I could not bear to see her suffer. During troubled times, I came to understand that I needed to let this attachment go as well.
It was painful and I sometimes felt hopeless when I was in the middle of overcoming hardship. I couldn't even feel the power of doing the exercises. I then started to memorize the Dafa books. I recited the Fa whenever I could, sometimes even during work or while driving. I would often recite a poem, or a particular sentence from Master's lectures. Then repeat them countless times in my head.
Through reciting Master's Fa, the deeper meanings of Dafa were shown to me, and the power of Dafa supported my improvement.
“For a cultivator, looking within is a magical tool.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference”)
I found that many times, my main consciousness became too relaxed, just like the psychiatric patient example Master gives in Zhuan Falun, who was awakened only when the doctor picked up an electric-shock club.
After I experienced the “electric-shock” from the enormous tribulation, my main consciousness became energetic again. I started to seriously look within.
First, I discovered my well-hidden jealousy. In the past, I would definitely deny it if someone said that I was moved by jealousy. However, after reading Master's lectures repeatedly, I found that jealousy includes many attachments, such as selfishness, arrogance, looking down on others, feeling inferior, feeling things are unfair, etc.
It was difficult for me to sincerely praise someone or be truly happy for others, even though I generally had good relationships with them. I got along well with others and usually said things that they liked to hear. My bad thoughts were deeply hidden and I didn't even realize they existed.
When my son's mental condition was not good, he thought everything was unfair and complained repeatedly. I didn't know how to help him. I felt hopeless, until one day I came to realize that I was looking outward. My son's problem was in fact my own problem, though it was hidden. These problems of mine were magnified a thousand times through my son, and was for me to see them clearly.
The attachment of lust was one of the hardest for me to eliminate. I hated it, and wanted to get rid of it. Sometimes, I thought I had succeeded, until it resurfaced again, particularly when I was weak and lonely. During tribulations, I found that this attachment vanished and didn't reappear for a long time. Thus I thought that it was finally gone. But when the tribulations passed and I relaxed again, it returned. The source of it was my attachment to seeking comfort.
I also discovered that I strongly dislike being criticized. I didn't know that I had this problem. I was usually careful and always tried to do things well at home and at work, in order to avoid being criticized. However, during tribulations, both my son and my wife were full of complaints toward me. Sometimes my wife would yell at me, “You never take criticism!” When I finally realized this attachment, I no longer felt bad when being criticized.
While I was careful not to be criticized when I made a mistake, I would try to cover it up. My wife once said angrily, “You never admit it's your fault!” I was shocked. I thought that I did sometimes admit being in the wrong.
After looking inward more carefully, I found that even when I was forced to admit being at fault, I was just trying to quiet things down. I didn't truly believe what I said. Sometimes I was even unhappy inside, although I didn't say it or show it.
I saw my selfishness and realized that many times I used an excuse to cover up mishandling of things with my family members. I sincerely apologized to them for this.
After I found these attachments and tried to correct them, my wife and son stopped complaining about me, and family life became peaceful again.
Everyone's Helping Me
Looking back, during the tribulations, my family members were like actors; helping me to recognize my attachments. On the surface they seemed to be creating various hardships and disturbing my cultivation, while in fact, they were helping me to cultivate. Their acts illuminated and prompted me to eliminate these attachments!
After I looked at things from a cultivator's perspective and searched within, my environment changed. My son's mental health dramatically improved, my wife became happy again, and I found a well-paid job. And we didn't have to sell our house.
When such large tribulations occurred, it was clear to me the old forces must have played a role in it. So, I believe that it is important to not acknowledge the old force's arrangements.
In order to truly deny this course of life, and not follow the path of the old forces, we must be stable, patient, and not have the attachment of pursuit.
For example, when my son didn't show any health improvements after I sent righteous thoughts, I didn't become unstable in my heart. I simply kept sending righteous thoughts as long as the old force's persecution remained.
A fellow practitioner's experiences which I learned about while I was in China, also served as encouragement for me during tribulations. This practitioner faced major problems, one after another.
First, her left hand became disabled, then her husband became mentally unstable. After her husband’s condition improved, both her and her husband suffered from huge, extremely itchy blisters appearing all over their bodies. She sent righteous thoughts constantly. When the blisters were too itchy preventing her from sleeping, she would do the sitting meditation and send righteous thoughts in the middle of the night. This continued for two years, and eventually all the tribulations stopped.
Sometimes I wasn't in a good cultivation state, and I would feel extremely tired. I sincerely thank those fellow practitioners who sent righteous thoughts for me and helped me make it through the hardest times.
Treasuring What Master Has Done for Us
As I was reciting a Dafa book one time, the following passage came to my mind:
“This is to say just how difficult it is to save a person. So much had been done for him, yet he still did not realize it; instead he said something like that.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
My understanding is that we should treasure the opportunities given to us. We should keep in mind that the tribulations we experience are what is left after Master has already done so much for us!
If Master didn't do anything, it would be impossible for us to get through it all. Master has suffered so much in saving us!
Tears welled up in my eyes when I thought of this.
There was once an article on Minghui about practitioners suffering while in detention in China. In this dimension the pain landed on practitioners' bodies, but in another dimension, it landed on Master who was watching over and protecting his disciples at all times. No matter how severe a practitioner was persecuted, Master endured most of the suffering.
I will treasure Master's sacrifices, and pay back what I can with rapid progress in my cultivation.