Resolving a Lifetime of Friction with My Son
(Minghui.org) Looking back at my path of cultivation over the last 20 years, I went from someone who was selfish to a thoughtful Dafa practitioner. Without cultivating, I would be a regular person, caught in society's downward slide.
There have been a lot of experiences throughout my 20 years of cultivation. I was able to resolve a malevolent predestined relationship, and improved my xinxing while facing conflicts with him.
I started practicing Falun Dafa in July 1998. Within three months, the illnesses I had, including Colitis, stomach ulcers, Meniere’s syndrome, and rheumatism, were gone. I was amazed by Master and the Fa.
Handling Conflicts with Human Notions
“I can share with you that when people don’t see the results they hope for, it’s because they are overemphasizing the physical aspect of practice, to the neglect of its spiritual component.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
I didn’t pay attention to the “spiritual component.” At that time, I couldn't focus when studying the Fa, and I didn't look within. Whenever I ran into conflicts, I didn’t conduct myself as a practitioner. Instead, I handled the conflicts based on human notions. The tense relationship with my son didn't improve, but worsened.
My son had a rebellious character, and it seemed that he was born to revolt. Even when I tried to say something good, he believed it to be the opposite. Whenever he stayed for a long time with me, he would cry continuously, which was wearisome. Out of desperation I took him to his grandmas’ home, and then picked him up later. This went on for years and years.
I once went to pick him up from the daycare center. As soon as he saw me, he fell to the ground, rolling around and crying. The teachers were very surprised, as he was fine just a moment before. An older neighbor said that I might have a bad predestined relationship with my son, and maybe I owed him. I was an atheist then and didn't believe it.
I am a school teacher, and many of my students went to college, with some being admitted to top tier universities. I believed that, with help from me, my son could also walk on the path that I designed for him, and could become a talented person.
However, my son enjoyed playing, instead of working on assignments. He was considered a troubled student. Consequently, as a parent of a troubled student, I was often asked to meet with his teachers.
As I had high expectations for my son, and each of my coworkers' children were excellent, I took it personal when I saw my son's grades. In hindsight, I was not teaching him, instead, I criticized him, sarcastically. He resented me and felt that did not treat him fairly.
After he got married and had a child, I thought he would change his attitude towards me. However, he had an even worse attitude towards me, and he always attributed any of his lack of success to me. He criticized me as if I was his child.
I felt all this was unfair. I left my husband at home and went to the city where he lived to take care of his child, and do housework for them. At times, I lost my temper and quarreled with him, which made him even angrier. I felt very hurt and unlucky to have such a bad son.
Letting Go of Human Notions
At that time, I had been practicing Falun Dafa for a few years. I knew that my behavior was not good was because I hadn't studied the Fa well and hadn't cultivated well.
I shared my experiences with my fellow practitioners. They studied the Fa with me and shared experiences based on the Fa. I realized all this was a problem with my cultivation, and decided to change my human notions.
After I diligently studied the Fa, I realized that I had two problems in my relationship with my son.
First, there might be resentment predestined into the relationship between us, and I owed my son. One practitioner said, “Don't treat your son as your child; instead, treat him as your debtor. You should be happy to pay off your debt.” Because of Master's hint, and the sharing of fellow practitioners, I untied the knot in my heart.
Secondly, I was indoctrinated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and had not eliminated it. The way I thought, the way I handled things, and the way I acted without letting others express their own opinions hurt him deeply.
I realized that there was a lot for me to cultivate. In addition to Fa study, I listened to a recording of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, Dissolving the Party Culture, the Final Goal of Communism, and some traditional stories that I found very helpful. My resentment towards my son gradually lessened, and I could accept what he said to me.
One day, my daughter-in-law had a college classmate visiting them. She showed him and his family the city where we lived, and his family stayed in a house we had in the city. Unintentionally, I asked my son if the classmate was satisfied with the visit. I commented that my daughter-in-law should feel proud to live in the capital of the province and work in a provincial government agency. Just as I finished, my son said, “Mom, how can you cultivate like this. Is this what your Master teaches you? You have only notions of profit, fame, and social class. Let me ask you, is this based on Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance?”
I then realized how serious it was and replied immediately, “No, it is not. This is what I should look at as I cultivate, and let it go.” Then he was quiet, but I was angry, “I said just one sentence. Did I break the law? Why are you so angry about it?”
He said, “You never want to admit it when you are wrong. You don't even want to admit that you are wrong about a trivial thing. I don't even know how hypercritical you are when you are outside the home.”
I was speechless. I was thinking about what he said to me. Although the words were quite sharp and unkind, I realized that he was pointing out my attachments, and it was Master who used him to give me these hints.
“That’s because on your path of cultivation there is nothing that is by chance. So, when you get into a heated exchange and it stirs things up in you, or you get into a conflict over something that concerns your vital interests, perhaps the factors behind it were put there by Master. Maybe you only get upset when it’s a case of someone saying something that really provokes you or hits a sore spot. And maybe the person really did treat you wrongfully. But, those words weren’t necessarily said by that person. Perhaps they were said by me. (Everyone laughs) I want to see how you handle things at the time. When you butt heads with that person, it actually equates to butting heads with me.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan,”Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
Letting Go of Attachments
I was suddenly awakened by what my son said, and felt that my understanding was very poor. All these years, Master used my son to give me hints to help me improve, but I hadn't improved. When I thought about it, tears covered my face. I was grateful for Master's help, and thanked my son for giving me this opportunity to improve. Since then, I paid more attention to letting go of my attachments.
“And as a cultivator, think about it everyone, if you don’t eliminate your karma, if you don’t suffer some, and if you only want to enjoy comfort, then how are you going to cultivate? You sit here thinking, 'Today I want to go beyond the Three Realms. Tomorrow I want to cultivate into a Buddha'. Yet these things aren’t something humans can obtain just by wanting them. You must go through trials and tribulations in the midst of actual cultivation and in practical society, get rid of that attachment of yours among ordinary people, and let go of the attachments that humans can’t let go of.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Houston)
However, even after I recognized my shortcomings, it was still difficult at times to do things based on the requirements of the Fa. It was hard for me to make a breakthrough when I had xinxing tests with my son.
One day in 2016, I saw that the kitchen drain was clogged. My son saw it and said, “It must have been clogged by you. Otherwise, who would clog it? You are always doing things carelessly, and you don't remove the stuff in the sink.” All of what he said was not true. The drain hadn't flowed smoothly for quite a few days, but I didn't argue.
He checked the drain, and couldn't fix it. He was even angrier, “You never respect other's work. I am so tired, are you happy? Let me ask you, was it because of you?”
I did not say anything and returned to my room. I felt I was quite good, as I didn't fight with him and didn't get angry. But after I looked within, I felt my mind was not quite pure, and I still felt annoyed.
The second day, when he saw me, he asked, “Mom, was it done by you?” I thought I should handle it well this time and not let Master down, so I admitted, “Yes, it was me.” He walked away. But as soon as I sat down on the sofa, I broke into tears. I realized that my forbearance was still not good enough, and I should let go of my attachment to not allowing people to speak.
The third day, he asked me again, “Tell me, mom, was it done by you?” I said, “Yes, it was done by me.” I stayed calm, and he didn't say anything.
I had a plumber come to the house, and he said there was nothing wrong with the drain. So, I asked why it was clogged. He said there was oil all throughout the drain and we could use hot water and detergent to disperse it. I then realized it was because my son recently ate a lot of spicy soup that was quite oily.
While the plumber and I tried to unclogged the drain, my son came home and asked what caused the clog. The plumber said it was oil. My son soon realized that he was the one who caused the problem and said, “Mom, sorry, I treated you wrongfully.” I smiled, “That is OK.” I had finally let go of my attachment, and he changed.
“Some people are unhappy when they meet with unpleasant things. Then aren’t you a human being? How are you any different? When you encounter unpleasant things, it is precisely time to cultivate yourself, to cultivate your mind. Didn’t religions used to teach that one should cultivate inward, working on the mind? Don’t listen to how modern people might interpret it—they don’t necessarily know the true meaning. Go and truly cultivate yourself—when you get into a conflict or run into some problem you should look at yourself and see what’s wrong, and ask yourself how you should handle it, using the Fa to evaluate things. Wouldn’t you say that is cultivation? Whether you are cultivating and are able to do this outside of the secular world or in regular society, ask yourself, could an ordinary person manage to do that? He couldn’t. (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference,”Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
Benevolently Resolving Conflicts
Indeed, the way my son treated me was to pave a road for me to cultivate. It was a good thing for me, and as a cultivator, I should change my thinking to be in line with the Fa.
During the October break, I returned to my hometown and saw the personal conflicts among my relatives. I returned to my son's home and said, “I will return home less frequently. Those people in my hometown don't have anything to do but to play Mahjong.”
While I was cooking, my son heard what I said and seemed to show an interest. He came to me and said, “What happened to our relatives?” I described to him how these relatives fought each other. And then I commented on how bad they were.
Because the air ventilation hood was on, I raised my voice. My son seemed happy and asked me to continue. When the dinner was ready, my son played a recording of me saying all this that he took with his cell phone.
I watched the recording and was shocked. How scary I looked! No words could describe it. Without seeing this recording, I wouldn't admit that I acted like that. Words cannot express what I saw. My son asked, “Mom, do you feel that you are better than our relatives?”
Yes, he was correct. I was not any better than they were. I didn't look like a practitioner. I won't say anything bad about my son. From a cultivator's perspective, I feel my son is very good and very responsible for my cultivation.
One day, I sat on a bed and recalled all the trouble I had with my son. They were all to help me improve my xinxing. I didn't resent my son anymore, instead, I am thankful that he has given me many opportunities to improve. I am even thankful to Master and to Dafa for benevolently helping me solve my resentment with this predestined relationship with my son for 30 years.