Cherishing Elderly Practitioners with Great Compassion and Tolerance
(Minghui.org) I started to practice Falun Dafa in 2016. Although I had gone through some difficulties, I didn't feel that cultivation was very hard. I had heard about the cruel persecution that Dafa disciples went through, but I did not personally experience it. However, I did encounter an unforgettable tribulation a while ago that woke me up and made me understand a lot more about cultivation.
Death of My Grandfather
The first test I had after I started to cultivate came from family conflicts. My family, who used to treat me well, started to look down on me. I faced immense pressure, and various conflicts with them struck me one after another. In the beginning, I did not know how to cultivate; I only knew to negate persecution by the old forces. I regarded all tribulations as persecution against me, and I sent forth righteous thoughts with indignation whenever I encountered a problem. Later on, the conflicts escalated, and my family relationships became tense.
My grandparents, with whom I lived, began to practice Dafa before the persecution started. My cultivation was accompanied by conflicts among us and by the old forces' persecution (via sickness karma) of the two elderly practitioners, until finally we three isolated ourselves from each other.
I was stuck in family conflicts for a while. Through continuously reading the Fa, I gradually started to cultivate myself solidly in the family and let go of a lot of attachments, and I was able to see a greater “self.” I also had a different understanding of negating the old forces: I conducted myself according to Master's teachings by doing the three things well and denied the very existence of the old forces.
My grandfather could not walk down the stairs when I went to live with them in 2016 because his ankle was broken. He hadn’t negated the persecution by the old forces in time, and his righteous thoughts were not strong enough, so he couldn’t go out and clarify the truth to people. Additionally, his vision gradually became blurred, and it was very difficult for him to study the Fa. One day I had a clear dream in which I saw my grandfather’s name on a death list. I negated the dream as a form of “foreign messages.” However, I became determined to help him deny the persecution.
After that, I took time to study the Fa with my grandparents. However, the resistance was huge. I often couldn’t figure out what the sentence meant after someone read it. But I understood much more if I read it by myself. In order to ensure the quality of my Fa study and to avoid family conflicts, I closed myself off and read the Fa alone. Therefore, we stopped studying the Fa together.
Later, my grandfather reluctantly went to a hospital for eye surgery. The surgery was very successful, and his vision was restored in a few days. In fact, his vision was even better than before. Because of this, I gradually slacked off with helping him deny the persecution because I felt that he had overcome the tribulation.
At the same time, we had conflicts with each other over trivial matters. None of us were willing to look within and improve ourselves, so a rift between us grew over time. We became the most familiar “strangers” and at times were even on the verge of an emotional breakdown. I treated family things as routine; that is, it was calm on the surface, but danger was unknowingly drawing close.
A month ago, I saw that something suddenly seemed wrong with my grandfather when he was doing the exercises. I did not realize the seriousness of the problem but instead reacted with a bad mood. When he later meditated, I saw that his hands were shaking. He wanted to send righteous thoughts, but he was experiencing a lot of pain. I suddenly realized that the evil was persecuting him. I immediately sent righteous thoughts and asked Master for help. This lasted for a long time.
Eventually, my grandfather passed out in front of me, and his condition deteriorated until finally he was taken by the old forces. I saw his painful last moment. I understood that he didn’t want to go and resisted the whole time, but he was dragged away helplessly by the evil.
Everything happened suddenly and quickly; it shocked me and hurt me so much. I understood from the Fa that nothing is accidental. I tried to be rational. However, after my family and friends calmed down, the pain swept over me. Whenever I closed my eyes, I saw my grandfather's painful last moment. I couldn’t be unaffected. I cried terribly, not on the level of family, but with regrets and distress for a veteran practitioner who couldn't follow Master to the very end.
At that moment, I deeply understood that I should cherish predestined relationships with practitioners and cherish the lives of fellow practitioners. At the same time, I deeply regretted the various things I did wrong in the past. Looking back on the path I had traveled with my family for the past two and a half years, I could vividly see the things I did right and the things I did wrong.
Cherishing Predestined Relationships with Practitioners
There are no trivial matters in cultivation, and there may not be an opportunity to redo or make amends when something is missed or done wrong. I reflected on my cultivation and realized that my starting point in cultivation was wrong in the past. My starting point was always “I” and “self” and was based on selfishness: “I want to improve,” “I want to save people,” “I want to study the Fa,” and so on. It was all about “me,” so my cultivation path was not righteous and there were many regrets.
I reflected on what I had been doing, on what is true compassion, and on what is truly good for others. It’s not compassionate if I stand fixed on my own point of view and ask others to do things according to my requirements. It’s terrible if I look down on other and blame others when they don't meet my requirements. I should be more patient and tolerant toward practitioners who are fighting illness karma. Only great compassion and immense forbearance can really help other practitioners amid a tribulation. Otherwise, we are helping the old forces push out fellow practitioners.
From these experiences, I realized that we must cherish the elderly practitioners around us. We can’t have negative thoughts or judge them, and we cannot look down on fellow practitioners who are experiencing tribulations. One means that the old forces use to persecute a practitioner is to aggravate the human notions of other practitioners so that these other practitioners have negative thoughts and emotions about the practitioner experiencing the tribulation, so as to isolate that practitioner. All the practitioners around him would then think that he is like this, and it would be useless to do anything for him. In fact, this is not the case, and we must not be driven by such illusions.
My grandfather went from feeling helpless to talking less, to being silent, and finally closing himself off and walking on the path arranged by the old forces. As a practitioner around him, I was responsible for this sad ending. I could have helped him out of the old forces’ arrangement. The death of one practitioner is not an isolated situation; it is actually persecution of the whole group.
I realized that true compassion does not impose on others; it does not seek that others change, and it does not look at the performance of others. Instead, true compassion is to look within one's own self and cultivate oneself unconditionally. It also stands in others’ shoes to try and understand their situation, consider their difficulties, and truly think about them instead of pointing fingers at them on the basis of one’s own selfish understanding.
In recent lectures, Master has repeatedly reminded elderly practitioners not to slack off and to cherish themselves. Recently, however, several elderly practitioners have passed away in this region. We all know that illegal arrests and imprisonment are persecution of Dafa disciples. But the persecution of fellow practitioners via sickness karma is even more oblique and obscure, so it is even more destructive.
I now realize that it is important to cherish the older practitioners around me. His business is my business. I cannot avoid my responsibility if I see a practitioner who needs help. I would not be doing what I should for other practitioners and for sentient beings, and I would not be responsible for my own cultivation if I didn’t try my best to help.
Following Master’s Arrangements
Another bitter lesson I learned from the loss of my grandfather is that we should form one body and study the Fa as a group. Master said, “Group Fa study is what I left for everyone, and group exercise is what I left for everyone.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”)
If we do not follow Master’s instruction, we are on the path arranged by the old forces.
I fell into a depression and strengthened the attachment to my family for a while after my grandfather passed away. I realized that I hadn’t helped my grandfather and hadn’t done well in cultivation; instead, I actually pushed him away. At that time, I indulged in the thinking that it was I who had killed my grandfather, and it became a heavy burden on my heart.
I am grateful to the practitioners around me who shared with me on the basis of the Fa. With their help, I gradually came out of the negative state. I realized that my indulgence in the depression made the old forces happy, but it was not what Master wanted. It was the old forces who killed my grandfather; they are the ones who made all the arrangements. I decided that I would raise myself out of depression and continue to walk on the path arranged by Master to save sentient beings.
I gained a deeper understanding of many things in cultivation after the death of my grandfather. There have been some changes in my cultivation, and my family environment has changed a lot. Many things have been refreshed and entered a new stage.
For example, the first test I encountered after my grandfather’s death was the issue of stopping the group study in our home. The reason I did so was that two surveillance cameras were installed downstairs. Some practitioners raised concerns about them from a security perspective, so I dismissed the group study. I initially thought that it was a new round of persecution by the old forces. Only my grandmother was at home after the death of my grandfather. Sometimes, I had human sentimentality and felt that she was lonely when I saw her all alone. The dismissal of the group study in our home was undoubtedly to further isolate my grandmother. On the basis of this kind of thinking, I had negative emotions and felt helpless.
I told other practitioners about my ending the group study. Their sharing woke me up and made me see my problem: negative thinking. In fact, Master had repeatedly used other practitioners to point it out and have me see my negative thinking. But unfortunately, I was too attached to my own thinking and ignored them. My negative thinking was a habit.
For example, when I stopped the group study in our home, I thought that it was persecution, and I felt helpless and hopeless, but these were not righteous thoughts! I should not have thought of it as persecution when it happened. I gave the old forces too much power. Master said that whatever happens on our cultivation path, regardless of whether it is good or bad, is all good for our cultivation. Everything is arranged by Master. Master has the final say for everything. I no longer felt upset or helpless. I decided to trust Master and have deep faith in Dafa no matter what happens in the future.
Looking back, I see a lot of my failures and shortcomings. I am shocked at how arrogant I was in the past; I used to think that I was superior to other practitioners. All of that stemmed from self and from a fundamental selfishness. I feel embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I know that my cultivation level is still very low and that the gap between myself and veteran practitioners is huge. But I will try my best to do well according to Master's requirements and continue to move forward by looking inside and cultivating well.
A lot of things have happened in just a few months, and things have changed a lot. Previously, I was carefree. Now, after I reflected on all that has happened, I realize that it is important to always remind myself to take things in a positive manner and not to accumulate negative things. It is crucial to maintain a pure mindset of “...always cultivating as if you were just starting...” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference”).
Please kindly point out anything inappropriate in my sharing.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!