Russian Practitioner: My Ten Years of Cultivation Practice
(Minghui.org) I am from Russia and I have practiced Falun Dafa for nearly ten years. Throughout these years, I participated in Minghui, and read articles written by other practitioners, which helped me significantly. It also enhanced my understanding of the Fa principles.
I have translated various types of articles, including practitioners' cultivation experiences, health benefits, and miracles they have experienced. This strengthened my faith and benefited me significantly. Through reading these experience-sharing articles, I came to understand what it meant to look within, just like what those diligent practitioners do.
I later began to work on articles about traditional culture. These articles were difficult to work on because they contain city names, and terms from ancient times. Nonetheless, each article took me to an ancient time. Compared to the moral values of men and women living in those times, I better understood how degenerate our modern society has become.
Reading Persecution Articles
I started receiving assignments to translate persecution articles about two years ago, and I have since been doing that. I understand that these articles are critical, because when you translate them, you are close to the fate of those practitioners. I often send forth righteous thoughts for them. I am not sure how gong works in other dimensions, but I believe my righteous thoughts help them.
I did not read many persecution articles prior to that, and later realized that this was a loophole. It explained why I had difficulty explaining the suppression to people. After looking within, I realized that this difficulty was rooted in selfishness. That is, I only wanted things that were useful to me and didn't want to be affected by unhappy experiences. I was hoping this would help me stay away from whatever might harm or hurt me.
After beginning to work on the persecution articles, I found my heart enlarged, and I became able to explain the severity of the persecution. When discussing with other team members, I found that most of them had not read these articles. Some said that reading them made them depressed and frustrated. I shared with them my thought that basically, this was a loophole. Without reading them, how can we expose the persecution? If practitioners only read about cultivating or things they liked, and avoided persecution articles, it would be difficult for them to tell others about the persecution. If that happens, the people we talk with may not accept the facts that we tell them.
To make my translation more professional, I have continued studying English and have sometimes studied Chinese as well.
Eliminating Communist Interference
My team has recently begun to read the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. I have also read How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World. These two books really struck me, and the second one brought back memories from my childhood. It literally invalidated the brainwashing I was subjected to when I was young. That includes all the movies I watched related to communism. I also recognized errors and fallacies in some of the ideas and understandings I got from a renowned psychologist.
“So you have to first be able to recognize and discern the influence of the wicked Party. And that only becomes possible by way of the true, traditional culture of humankind.” (“2018 NTD and Epoch Times Fa Conference”)
In a recent lecture, Master reiterated the importance of cultivation practice. He said:
“And so cultivation should be first and foremost for you—for every Dafa practitioner involved in the media. That’s because how well you cultivate yourselves determines your power to save people as well as the effectiveness of your work. This is for sure.” (“2018 NTD and Epoch Times Fa Conference”)
So I wrote an experience-sharing article summarizing communism’s influence on me. It includes suspicion, fear, fighting and competitive mentalities, jealousy, deceit, self-protection, and others.
One of the strongest manifestations is fighting. Since childhood, I was told that one had to fight to survive. In philosophy, I was also taught about natural selection along with evolution. I have now learned that these concepts fundamentally contradict the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Some practitioners have noticed a certain level of competition in the way I speak, although I was unaware of it myself. Now when this attachment surfaces, I take a step back and let go of the impulse to struggle or compete. Otherwise, I know it will lead to jealousy. It is just like what Master said,
“…you sometimes see people being disrespectful of one another. It’s easy for jealousy to creep in if you are still competitive.” (“The Seventh Talk,” Zhuan Falun)
Letting Go of Jealousy
Prior to practicing Falun Dafa, I did not know I was a jealous person; I considered myself to be a good person. But in recent years, I have noticed it very clearly. One time, because of conflicts with another practitioner, we had a very intense conversation. She then commented to another practitioner that I was very vicious. I was shocked when I overheard that. I did not think I was a bad person, but at that moment, I clearly appeared that way. This is first time I've share this incident because I was afraid of losing face. But now I know that it is an attachment and I need to eliminate it.
“Jealousy is a serious problem since it directly bears on whether a person can achieve spiritual perfection. If you can’t rid yourself of jealousy it will undermine all of the work you have done on your character. There is a rule: anyone who doesn’t free himself of jealousy while practicing cannot attain true divine standing. No exceptions. You may have heard at some point that Buddha Amitābha allows people to be reborn into his paradise with karma. But that will not happen in the case of jealousy. Those who fall short in some minor regard or other may be able to carry on with spiritual practice after being reborn there with karma, but not those who harbor jealousy. Now that I’ve explained this to you, who are practitioners, you really need to stop this folly. You must be free of jealousy if you want to ever reach heaven. And it is for this reason that I’ve singled it out.” (“The Seventh Talk,” Zhuan Falun)
I knew this was an important issue, but I was unable to let go of this attachment. Therefore, more and more conflicts arose at work. At first, people around me praised one coworker while criticizing me. I had an inborn mindset of competition and self-esteem. Last year I had many clients and my performance was great. This year, the price change drove off some clients and I lost momentum. My coworkers, however, were full of passion and became more active. One of them was given more managerial responsibility, including for the layout of the hall and the class schedule. They gave me a small room with no outside entrance. Parents of some of the children complained about it and some chose to leave. During the process, I did not argue or say bad things about it.
“As people engaged in spiritual practice we have all the more reason not to be like that. We believe in letting things happen naturally. We know that we won’t be deprived of what is rightfully ours, and shouldn’t labor to get what is not.” (“The Seventh Talk,” Zhuan Falun)
Nonetheless, my heart was still disturbed. One morning I had a rapid heartbeat and chest distress. When I was on duty in a game room at work, another coworker was teaching students individually and personally training one of my previous clients. I felt intense anger and jealousy.
I suddenly felt a sharp pain between my shoulder blades. It was so painful that I couldn’t move. When looking inward, I saw my jealousy accompanied by feelings of loss and low self-esteem. I felt as if my heart had curled up.
Back home, I read again the section in Zhuan Falun on jealousy and decided to work on it. But I did not know what to do, so I begged Master for help. During group Fa-study, I cried and decided to abandon jealousy and the habit of comparing myself to others. However, a feeling of worthlessness and low self-esteem defeated me, making me want to just go home.
But I also knew it was an attempt by the old forces to hinder my cultivation through my attachment, as well as to remove me from the group that was clarifying the truth to mainstream society. Compared to other practitioners, I knew I was not good at that and it was partly due to fear and timidity. I decided to oppose and eliminate these thoughts, so I stopped crying and felt warmth in my chest. During the break, I talked with some practitioners about this and knew they were with me. With that understanding, my heart no longer hurt.
After returning home, I did the exercises outdoors. As soon as I started doing the second exercise, I immediately felt Falun rotating between my fingertips. I burst into tears, deeply touched by Master's compassion. Once again I considered myself a Dafa disciple, and all the erroneous thoughts vanished immediately. I felt the power of the Fa, and my heart, which was surrounded by energy, was at peace. It was still very cold outside, but inside me there was no anxiety, jealousy, or low self-esteem.
Those thoughts no longer bothered me. In the following several days, I continued sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate them as well as jealousy.
Another attachment I worked on was resentment. When sending forth righteous thoughts and focusing on eliminating it, I saw a toad and destroyed it. I then shared this experience with other practitioners. I found that as we opened our hearts while discussing it, these attachments left me and no longer bothered me.
When reading Master's lecture again, I gained new understandings on jealousy. For example, that this attachment was rooted in selfishness and loneliness. That is, if our hearts and minds are open, we can easily share with others and be happy about others' achievements. So to overcome jealousy and eliminate it, we should openly discuss what we think instead of hiding it. Like any other attachment, jealousy is afraid of being exposed. It makes people stressed and cold to each other.
Another understanding I had was that we need to talk with those who make us nervous or those we are jealous of. This substance contradicts kindness and will be dissolved in benevolence and openness. We are practitioners returning to our origins, so jealousy does not belong to us; rather, it is another inappropriate notion and habit formed in this society.
“His or her life was produced in a dimension in the universe, and so it was naturally attuned to the universe’s qualities of zhen, shan, ren and was originally good and kind.” (“The Third Talk,” Zhuan Falun)
My True Self
I had difficulty sleeping one night and began to review what I had done that day to see if anything was inconsistent with the Fa. I knew there must be something critical, not superficial or peripheral. Then the word “pretense” came to my mind. This shocked me and changed my mindset, as if something that was deeply hidden had surfaced. I did not exactly know what to expect, but I knew it was the opposite of truthfulness. As a Dafa practitioner, I need to follow truthfulness and not lie to anyone. Thinking back over my entire life, I found that this was one of the things that communism had instilled in me when I was a child. I could also see that many manifestations related to this were rooted in my childhood.
To survive in this degenerated society, I had to hold myself back, and say things against my conscience to please others. As time went on, substances such as pretense gradually increased. I now understood why people often said I was not reliable. They said I was lying even when I was being truthful. This was because people sensed the pretense in me, and that is why they made that comment. I treated pretense as a substance and said to it, “You will be eliminated if you are not assimilated to the Fa. From now on, I will be on the alert, and whenever that substance emerges, I will eliminate it immediately.”
One morning I felt good after doing the sitting meditation. But as I talked with my mother, she criticized me and complained. I became irrational and swore at her. I was subsequently upset with myself. Because I had slacked off in my cultivation and was eating lots of snacks when I watched television, I'd gained weight. Frustrated, I began to jump rope to try to lose weight. But all of a sudden my lower back started hurting. I looked within to see what went wrong. I found complacency over finding a part-time job near home, and anger towards my mother. The old forces were able to interfere through these loopholes.
When it was time to go do the exercises at the practice site, I debated whether I should go. Thinking about the other practitioners already there, I ignored the pain and went while sending forth righteous thoughts. New practitioners at the site did not find anything wrong with me and I was able to return home as usual.
Back home, however, my mother continued to complain about me, making me upset again, which reactivated the pain in my back. When I calmed down and studied the Fa, the pain disappeared. When I was frustrated or busy however, the back pain returned. This went on for three days, during which time I hand-copied lectures, memorized them, and did the exercises more. I then begged Master for help and the pain seemed to vanish.
My mother argued with me again, and the pain came back again. Between her voice and the pain, I couldn't stand it any longer. I went outside and did the second exercise. When I finished and went back inside, Mother continued yelling at me to do this or that. Calmly and patiently, I quietly did those household chores. My mother, too, calmed down. As practitioners, we know our image can affect the people around us, so we have to maintain strong righteous thoughts.
When this was over, I knew that when my heart was not on the Fa, there would be problems. When I align myself with the Fa, everything is calm and peaceful. This is all related to xinxing improvement.
“Let’s look at another possible scenario, where your wife gives you a hard time as soon as you walk in the door.”
“If you can manage to patiently endure that kind of situation, you will make progress in your practice that day.”
“The reality is that she’s unknowingly helping you to remove karma.” (“The Fourth Talk,” Zhuan Falun)
Looking within, I noticed worries over my financial status, and an attachment to material interests. In fact, I was thinking about where I could find a job. When I had that part-time job, however, my resentment and anger did not go away. Apparently, that is my loophole and I have to correct that.
Master has already told us how to interact with other practitioners, relatives, and people we know. He said:
“True spiritual practice entails that you let go of human feelings and emotions. Of course, we go about our practice in the secular world, and so we should still be devoted and respectful to our parents and care well for our children; we should be good to others, not to mention our own families, in whatever setting we may be, and treat everyone with kindness. We should treat everyone equally well, parents and children included, of course, and think of others first at all times. Your heart will not be selfish, then, but will be loving, kind, and compassionate. Common people, by contrast, tend to just be motivated by feelings and emotions.” (“The Sixth Talk,” Zhuan Falun)
This reminds me to calm down and listen to others when conflicts or issues come up. I am trying to control my emotion and replace it with understanding and kindness.
People Are Waiting to Be Saved
“You have gone against the strong tides of this world. But things aren’t simply what they seem, if you think about it. The entire cosmos is facing elimination, and everything has deteriorated. And yet you have managed to go against such tides!” (“2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C.”)
I remember after the nine-day lecture series, it was a public holiday. Almost everyone in Moscow was wearing red—ribbons, armbands, military caps with the communist symbol, or carrying red flags. My shirt was yellow and said “Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”
As I was standing at a tourist site distributing Falun Dafa flyers, a pedestrian said to me, “You should wear red.” Before I was able to respond, he'd already walked away. In my heart was Dafa, nothing related to communism. Standing there at the tourist site, I was worried about these people wearing communist symbols. “How can I save them?” I wondered.
As I was walking home, someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around and a young person asked me, “Falun Dafa? I have been looking for you. Please tell me where I can practice this.”
This reminded me that although I had practiced for nearly ten years, there were no other practitioners nearby. I often went to a park and did the exercises by myself.
Another time when I'd returned from an experience-sharing conference, I received a phone call from a girl asking how to begin practicing. I told her there were three practice sites in Moscow. She commented, “Three? That is too few for a big city like Moscow!” I thought that over and wondered how to improve. I put up a notice on a bulletin board in my community. Five people came that Saturday to learn the practice and I gave them books and other materials.
Six months later, I added another practice site near my home. Three or four practitioners come regularly for group practice. I need to be more strict with myself and have a stronger sense of responsibility. I also placed information near where I live and distributed New Year calendars near my work and home.
Working at a child center in a big entertainment park, I am able to interact with many people. I often give them paper lotus flowers, calendars, and Falun Dafa flyers, and share my experiences.
We are now planning the third nine-day lecture. I sent invitations to almost everyone on social media. My understanding is that we should create a favorable cultivation environment to save the people around us. Everyone is important, whether they be our coworkers, relatives, neighbors, or people in the community or city.
After the message went out on the third nine-day lecture series, someone called, saying he saw the information on social media. After watching the exercise video, he was so excited he could hardly sleep—he was waiting for morning to call us and register for it. I knew these people were waiting to be saved.
One day I had a dream. Many people were walking towards me with smiles on their faces. Each was carrying a Falun Dafa flyer or pamphlet. With these flyers or pamphlets as a pass, they were then led to a most wonderful place.
After that dream, I actively distributed information on the workshop, along with Dafa flyers. I knew that people would be saved if they took them.
The above are my understandings. Please point out anywhere inappropriate.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!