Tearing Down the “Wall” that Prevented Me From Truly Looking Within
(Minghui.org) I have never really known how to look within, but I recently realized that to do it properly, I have to go beyond my self-imposed “limits.” These limits worked against me in two ways. One was looking within merely to comply with the teachings of the Fa, when I would unconsciously put up a wall which stopped me from looking beyond it. This was looking within through the lens of this metaphorical wall, where the real cause of an issue was never to be found. I usually stopped looking the moment I thought I had discovered something, because as far as I was concerned, that was all I was required to do by the Fa. The result was no true changes in myself or the situation in question. For many years, I have lamented the lack of improvement in my life. The other way the “limit” applied was to my level of tolerance. That is, I needn’t give in much because it wasn’t my fault.
My experience with my family is a good example. I became a Dafa practitioner at the same time as my mother, before 1999. I was a senior high school student at the time.
My beautiful mother was an only child and she was very devoted to her parents. She chose to return and settle down in her hometown after graduating from a university, to look after her elderly parents. She married my father there. They were a world apart in terms of looks, family background, level of education, intellect, and social sophistication.
After my mother became a Dafa practitioner however, she reacted to my father’s infidelity, ill temper, and irresponsibility with tolerance. From a very young age, I always sided with my mother for the wrongs of my father. I inherited my father’s bad temper and my mother’s sense of righteousness. I loathed my father for his extreme hypocrisy and selfishness, and for being unreasonable and vulgar. Our family atmosphere was never harmonious.
I have to ask why there haven’t been more significant changes with the situation at home. My mother has always been steady in her cultivation as a Dafa coordinator, and has been very tolerant of my father’s bad behavior. And I was seldom home. So why has the explosive situation at home persisted all these years? I only arrived at the answer after many painful tribulations… Both my mother and I have fallen short in our cultivation.
Let's talk about my mother first.
I always thought it was rather obvious that my father was at fault. Mother always repeated Master’s teachings such as:
“ …He's right,And I'm wrong...”(“Who's Right, Who's Wrong,” Hong Yin III)
Outwardly, she managed to keep her composure according to the requirements of the Fa, but inwardly she hid her distress and anguish. For example, she would say, “You are being unreasonable, but since I am a cultivator, I will adhere to Master’s teachings and let it go.” That kind of thinking showed that she still thought she was not at fault. She did not search within her own heart beyond the wall she built around herself – her search could only go so deep or so far because it was done merely to fulfill the requirements of the Fa at a superficial level. Over time, without realizing it, she became used to coping with the unjust treatment and gave in more and more just to avoid confrontations with my father. It looked as if she was doing the right thing, but the situation at home remained as tense as ever.
Regarding myself, happiness was not something I experienced while growing up in my family. I used to envy other children. I grew up in an environment where my father only existed in name, and my mother, while hardly coping herself, distanced herself in the name of letting go of sentimentality. I felt a lack of motherly love and attention. Other mothers normally are attentive to their children’s mental health and everyday needs, but I had none of that from my mother. She had high expectations of me and wanted me to gain worldly success as well as fulfill spiritual aspirations – I was not to get married or to have any hobbies outside Dafa, and I was to be guided by Dafa. This had filled me with anxiety while I was caught in the conflicting demands of the secular and cultivation worlds. But as I grew older, the expectation was that I would look after them in their old age.
My father hid his income from us, but always asked us for money. I felt over burdened and complained a lot. I thought I had done pretty well – I managed to graduate with honors from a prestigious university after spending time in illegal detention, and I looked after my parents and bought a house for them without asking for any money from them. My father, true to his style, never cared for me but was happy to demand my devotion. I have done my best to take care of everything, but it seemed I was still not good enough for them. I did not think any other young people around me could have handled a similar situation better than me. I felt that was my limit and that was as much as I could do.
The tension and strain seemed to last forever until I seriously questioned it this year. Why do we still have a family situation as bad as this when we are cultivators? Shouldn’t our family environment be a picture of love and peace? After much pain and suffering, I finally realized it was because both my mother and I had not let go of something important.
While playing the role of a dutiful daughter, in my heart I still looked down on my father – that was my “limit.” I despised him for not looking after his family, for his selfishness, and his infidelity. I did not expect love or support from him, but I resented him for most of my life for not caring for me as a father should. Unconsciously, I had in my head this benchmark of acceptable behavior from my parents. Even though my benchmark was much lower than that of ordinary people, that was beside the point. As cultivators, the standard of the Fa is what we should be adhering to. The Fa does not tell us to pass judgment on others (cultivators or non-cultivators). Thoughts such as, “My parents are not that good so what I have done for them is more than enough… I have done considerably better as their daughter than they have as parents…” are symptomatic of an underlying resentment as described by Master:
“A wicked person is born of jealousy.Out of selfishness and anger he complains about unfairness towards himself...”(“Realms,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
Cultivation is about cultivating myself, irrespective of how my mother or father treat me. Looking within in cultivation is about finding your own problem, not someone else’s.
My mother has endured and suffered a lot over the years. She has accepted that I was always on her side and has tacitly encouraged my intervention. I have always thought that this was the way to protect her. But I have now realized that I have had this ingrained idea that my father was always at fault. Yes, he would be morally culpable by any normal standard. But we have not exactly been generous and forgiving ourselves; if we were, we would not have had such a difficult time ourselves.
With this new wisdom, I now see my father’s bullying my mother as being childish, and there is no point getting upset with a child. I sometimes even felt sorry for him and felt like crying. Under the same situation, I could see my mother still wanting to claim the moral high ground which made me realize I have been wrong in defending her the way I have. My mother usually speaks like the way the Red Guards bellow out their words, and there’s nothing feminine about it. She is used to getting her own way around family matters and can become very argumentative. I have decided to spend more time studying the Fa with her.