Cultivating Myself Resolved Resentment and Conflicts with My Husband
(Minghui.org) After I was released from a forced labor camp* many years ago, my cultivation was in a very poor state, and my husband's was not good either. We had many conflicts and harbored resentment and distrust toward one another. It was a very difficult time. Fortunately, with the help of Master and Dafa, I gradually let go of my attachments, and we resolved our conflicts.
(*The Forced Labor Camp system is an institution in China that consists of thousand of imprisonment facilities across the nation and has been used extensively by the Chinese Communist Party in its 20-year-campaign against Falun Gong (Falun Dafa) and its followers. Besides being forced to perform hard labor for long hours in harsh environments, the detained practitioners are often subject to physical and psychological abuse by the authorities in their attempts to “transform” them and have them give up their spiritual beliefs.)
While going through tribulations and hardships over the years, we felt the constant presence of Master's compassion and the power of Dafa. We are now firmer than ever in our faith in Master and the Fa.
It All Started with One Incident
Not long after my release from the forced labor camp, my husband went on a business trip. When a client offered to buy him a night with a prostitute, he refused, knowing that as a cultivator of Dafa he shouldn't do such a thing. Once home, however, he came to me for sex. I was very upset and got into an argument with him. We failed to look at this incident based on the Fa, but since we're both cultivators we calmed down quickly.
My husband realized that his actions were not in line with the Fa. Nevertheless, that incident left us resentful toward one another, which we didn't realize until later.
Business at my husband's workplace slowed down following that incident, and eventually they had to let some people go. My husband was laid off and was suddenly home all day. My work was quite the opposite—I was so busy that I frequently worked 12-hour days. My boss appreciated the fact that I was honest and reliable, and he planned to promote me to a managerial position.
I had to deal with many technical issues and interpersonal conflicts at work every day. When I got home around 8 or 9 p.m., I was exhausted. All I wanted was to finish my household chores as soon as possible so I could start studying the Fa. My many years of cultivation taught me that as long as we have the Fa in our hearts, we will be able to validate the Fa in our daily life and workplace.
Yet my husband still stayed home all day and always got an earful of my mother-in-law complaining about me. As a result, he didn't appreciate my working so hard to provide for the family. Instead, he complained that I didn't do enough around the house or take care of him.
Trying to do more at home and for my husband left me less and less time for Fa study. When I did study the Fa, thought karma interfered with me. For example, I had to read the same sentence many times to really understand it. I also had a hard time staying awake when I read the book, dozing off after only a few pages.
I switched to listening to the recorded lectures but still couldn't stay awake. No matter how hard I tried, I would also fall asleep when I meditated. When my cultivation fell behind, I didn't have the wisdom to handle day-to-day problems at work or at home. I was in a very passive position. When I dreamed at night, I went through door after door but was never able to find the right path.
A Vicious Cycle
Not long afterwards, my boss hired a new manager. I was asked to take time off until further notice, which meant I’d lost my job. I wanted to use this opportunity to study the Fa and adjust my cultivation state before looking for a new job. My husband didn't like that both of us were unemployed, so he quickly found me another job. Thus, the day after leaving my old company, I started working at a new one.
Not having had a chance to rest and readjust, I was exhausted on my first day. I dragged through work every day and sometimes had a stomachache so excruciating that I couldn't stand up straight. I even passed out at work because I was so tired.
I started at a very busy time for the new company. We were scheduled to release a new product to the market, so everybody was working long hours. I had to finish each day's work without delay, and the pressure was tremendous. At the same time, some accounts that I had managed at my old company needed follow-up. I had to play the role of a middleman between my old company and its clients, keeping the relationship positive until the company were paid in full.
It felt as if an invisible burden was weighing down on me. I was on the verge of a mental collapse. I often experienced tightness in my chest and couldn't breathe. I felt that I was going to lose it at any moment.
I was anxious and fearful every day about many things. I was nervous about the problems I'd face each day and lacked the confidence and wisdom to handle them well. I worried that by not studying the Fa well, I was being disrespectful to Master and the Fa. I feared that if people found out about my true cultivation state, they would have a negative impression of Dafa.
I went through the motions day after day but couldn't pull myself out of the vicious cycle. I feared, “What if it goes on like this?” I dared not think any further and was overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of pressure. Words cannot describe the hopelessness and helplessness I felt during that time.
Confidence in Cultivation Renewed
I called out to Master in my heart again and again and told myself, “It's going to be fine. I will not give up and will go home with Master.” I remembered Master's words:
“If you can steadfastly make it to the end and not be swayed, and if despite the different forms of interference you encounter, you can truly, steadfastly keep going, then you don't need to thank me--all of the cosmos's gods will admire you!” (“Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. International Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VII)
I was determined to cultivate until the end. This very thought boosted my confidence and motivation in cultivation, as did some of Master’s other words:
“At a certain point in time, you will be made unable to discern clearly whether something is true or not, whether your gong exists or not, whether or not you can cultivate and make it, or whether or not there are Buddhas and if they are real. In the future, these situations will surface again to give you this false impression and make you feel as though they do not exist and are all false—it is to see whether you are determined. You say that you must be firm and sure-footed. With this determination, if you can indeed be firmly resolute at that point, you will naturally do well because your xinxing will have already improved.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
When I read this passage in Zhuan Falun, I was relieved. Maybe I just needed to hang in there, and eventually this tribulation would pass. Worrying is not in line with the Fa. I soon remembered that Master had also said:
“Since your worry itself is an attachment, as soon as you have that attachment it has to be eliminated. So although it might seem to be interference from others, it could actually be caused by your own mind.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in New Zealand)
Just like that, I was able to focus again when I studied the Fa.
I began to use every chance I had to study the Fa, and when I did, I tried my best to assimilate to the Fa. I read Zhuan Falun whenever I had a free moment at home, and when I was out and about I recited the Fa. I also listened to experience-sharing articles on Minghui Radio while doing chores. Articles about Master’s early years of teaching the Fa made me feel as if Master was right in front of me. I learned to look inward and tried to do a good job with sending righteous thoughts and clarifying the truth.
“The more hopeless things may seem, it’s possible hope will appear right before your eyes. Especially during those times when you are feeling so bored, perhaps you are in fact establishing your mighty virtue. I hope that you can really manage to cooperate well, have strong enough righteous thoughts, look within when you run into things, and be enthusiastic like you were when you first took up cultivation.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
When I read this passage one day, I was deeply moved. I sat in the lotus position in front of Master's picture with my palms pressed together and asked Master to give me a clue as to where I fell short. Suddenly, I realized it was resentment that I had harbored toward my husband and mother-in-law for ganging up on me. I also resented my old company for not treating me fairly.
“He evaluates Buddha’s xinxing with an ordinary person’s criteria. How can that comparison be made? How can it work if a person views high-level things with the standards of everyday people? Therefore, this kind of problem tends to arise when people regard their suffering in life as being unfair. Many people drop down this way.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
That's it! That's what I did wrong. I developed an attachment to comfort and wanted to live a comfortable life. I resented others when they caused discomfort in my life. How can this be the right state of mind for a cultivator?
I made a promise to Master: “Master, no matter how others have treated me in the past and how it made me feel, I am ready to let it go. I just want to listen to Master from now on. As long as sentient beings can be saved, I will follow Master's plan all the way to the end.”
One day when was I listening to an article recalling Master’s teaching of the Fa in China, Master's calm and upright disposition deeply touched me and purified me. How high is Master's realm? Yet Master is so down to earth, so compassionate toward practitioners, and low-key in his daily conduct! Remarkable.
I completely forgot my own existence and was surrounded by a calm energy that made me feel that my poor cultivation state had been rectified. My entire body was warm, and I felt very comfortable. Then it hit me—all the discomfort was external and an illusion. My confidence in cultivation skyrocketed, and my cultivation state gradually improved from that point on.
My Husband's Attitude Slowly Changes
Because of a new job, my husband and I moved to a different area where we were the only Dafa practitioners. I wanted to make truth-clarification materials, but my husband didn’t want me to as he was worried about the risks.
My husband wouldn't let me buy a printer, but when resentment arose toward him, I completely rejected it. I started handwriting banners and signs. I made banners that read, “Falun Dafa is good,” “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good,” and “The world needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” Later, I made flyers with cultivation stories and stories of ordinary people being saved. I hung the banners and flyers on trees.
One night I went out to hang flyers and was walking down a small road in the dark. I had never taken this route before, and it was pitch black. I was a little scared. Just as that thought crossed my mind, the sky lit up as if street lamps had all turned on at once. When I looked around, I didn't see any street lamps. I looked up but didn't see the moon either. Then I realized, “Oh. It's Master!”
I could feel Master's energy strengthening me. I looked at the trees that lined the street—their branches were waving as if to say, “Put your flyer on me!” I told my husband what had happened when I got home that night. He was touched and agreed to buy a printer. We were enveloped by the happiness we felt in our hearts.
More Conflicts Arise
I don't remember the specific things that caused more conflicts between my husband and me, but I do remember that we both had our own opinions and thought our own way was better. We were both stubborn, and neither of us gave in.
I came across this question that a practitioner had asked Master:
“Disciple: Though all of my family members are Dafa disciples, for a long time we still haven't been able to resolve certain conflicts. I feel both perplexed and pained by it.”
“As Dafa disciples go about cultivating, conflicts are sure to surface. If you can't all search inward, then regardless of whether you belong to the same family or are normal fellow practitioners, the conflicts will keep growing larger and larger, and you still won't be able to pass the tests even as time drags on. How can you resolve this, then? All of you must search inward. If one person is able to take the lead in doing so, he will cause things to ease up. If all of you are able to do so, things will be resolved.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VIII)
I tried to look inward but still couldn't pinpoint the problem. It made me feel anxious that I was slow to improve myself and never sure how to cultivate. Even when I did have a breakthrough and felt like I had improved, I would soon get stuck again. I felt guilty for letting Master down, especially when Master had helped me so much.
I had a dream that night. In my dream, I saw a huge metal gate locked with a chain. The number shown on the combination lock was 010001. When two of the numbers next to each other matched, one segment of the lock would be unlocked.
When I woke up, I knew right away that the numbers represented my husband and me. One of us was 1, and the other was 0. If the 1s became 0s, then all the numbers would be correct and the gate would open. But if the 0s were to become 1s, it would take five steps to unlock the gate. I realized that when cultivators run into problems, they have to work with each other—only when they can come to an agreement can the problem be solved.
“Breadth of mind, unattached, brings true insight” (“Don't Argue,” Hong Yin Volume III)
When I let go of the idea of self and tried to work with my husband, I suddenly realized that the attachment to self was the root cause of all my problems for so many years.
When I was detained in the forced labor camp, my mind was unclear and my righteous thoughts were weak. I used our relationship as husband and wife to interfere with my husband's cultivation and his faith in Dafa. I even walked the evil path for a short period—that was a huge wake-up call for me. Now I know even more acutely how precious Dafa is and how serious cultivation is. I am better at paying attention to every thought and measuring them against the standards of the Fa.
When my husband acts like an ordinary person and it bothers me, I think about the tremendous pressure and pain that my words and actions brought upon him when I was in an environment as evil as the forced labor camp. No wonder he didn't trust my ability to rationalize and reason and worried about my safety. When I came to this realization, I was filled with guilt. All my resentment toward my husband dissolved and disappeared at that moment.
I went to my husband and sincerely tried to explain my understanding to him. “Lately I’ve been complaining about you being too much like an ordinary person,” I said. “I’ve finally realized the real reason behind this: when I was in the forced labor camp, I did the same to you. I acted like an ordinary person and hurt you deeply. It was all my fault, and I apologize. All of this was caused by my human notions and attachments. I was wrong. I am so sorry.”
I opened up to my husband and shared my innermost thoughts. I also admitted to him that I still had elements in my field causing me to have disrespectful thoughts toward Master and the Fa. I saw tears in his eyes, though he was smiling. I tried to smile back but couldn't help getting teary-eyed myself.
At that moment, my heart was filled with appreciation and respect for Master. I thanked Master for resolving our conflicts and taking care of the deep resentment my husband and I had for each other. Now I understand more clearly the meaning of what Master said:
“I’ve given my utmost concern not just to you, but to all lives. I have almost depleted everything of mine for all lives.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland)
I know that my understanding of any part of the Fa is limited to my own level, and it is just one tiny, little drop in the ocean. The more diligently we cultivate, the more we will know what Master has done for us, the more we will feel Master's compassion, and the more we will know how profound Dafa is.
I am clearer than ever that as a Dafa disciple I should study the Fa more and be more diligent. To make up for the mistakes I have made and show my appreciation to Master, I will do the three things well.