Seize the Time and Cherish Cultivation Opportunities
(Minghui.org) Greetings esteemed Master, and fellow practitioners:
I obtained the Fa in 2005. However, given my lack of diligence, I missed many opportunities to improve on my cultivation path. I felt regret when writing this article.
Obtaining the Fa
One day in my junior high school years, I saw the book “Falun Gong” on a table in the corner of a Xinhua bookstore. The cover of the book looked very attractive to me, so I picked it up and flipped through it. Although I wanted to buy it, I felt I shouldn’t buy a book that’s unrelated to my course of study, besides I was under pressure at the time. I thus missed a chance to obtain the Fa.
I saw meteors all over the sky in 2000, was astonished, and said to them in my heart that if you are really alive, please help me find the way to live an everlasting life. Interestingly, the next year I met my future husband who had cultivated in Dafa for years. Shortly after we got married, I started doing the exercises and studying the Fa with the guidance of my husband. I was amazed to hear about the scenes he saw through his celestial eye, and I wondered when I would be able to see or feel the magical things he described.
“Therefore, some people have developed the stubborn notion that only what one can see through the eyes is real and concrete. They do not believe what they cannot see.” (Lecture Two, Zhuan Falun)
Because I had this attachment, I haven’t had obvious physical changes in my body or been in contact with other dimensions like some practitioners. However, when I first obtained the Fa, the Fa principles Master taught entered my heart and had a tremendous effect on my world view. The book Zhuan Falun and other works of Master Li (the founder) solved the mysteries I had towards the meaning of life. Then, after a long time on my cultivation path, I let go of the attachment to seeing or feeling other dimensions.
Shortly after I obtained the Fa and studied Master’s lectures, I realized the importance of saving sentient beings in the Fa-rectification period.
“Saving sentient beings and validating the Fa, these far surpass your personal cultivation, they're even greater things. And that's something that the old forces can't handle correctly, and they're interfering with you.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival)
I understand practitioners who started past the onset of the persecution would do personal and Fa-rectification cultivation at the same time. So while studying the Fa and doing the exercises, I joined the newly established waist drum team. We clarified the truth and spread the Fa in a number of communities using the arts. A year after joining the waist drum team, Toronto started establishing The Tian Guo Marching Band. Since I’m interested in music, and I used to play the violin, I thought I should have no problem joining the band.
It turned out that I had a xinxing test right from the beginning. A practitioner wanted to take the clarinet from me because she learned how to play it before, but I had already started to learn. Reluctantly, I gave the clarinet to her.
“But normally when a problem arises, if it does not irritate you psychologically, it does not count or is useless and cannot make you improve.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
Another practitioner told me that there were enough people playing the clarinet and that they didn’t need me. I felt unhappy, but through studying the Fa, I gradually understood that it was a great opportunity to improve my xinxing. After I realized this and let go of the attachment, someone told me that there were not enough people playing the french horn and suggested that I give it a try.
Though my thick lips don’t really suit the french horn with such a small opening, my steadfast heart told me as long as I tried hard I could make it. A young practitioner in the same section volunteered to be my teacher and tried her best to help me improve my skills. Even though my skills still needed to improve, I participated in parades after a few months. Every time during the parade when I heard the spectators’ cheering and clapping and saw them dancing with the music, I felt extremely happy. Thus, I persisted in being at the rehearsals, and to be at every parade. Even though I still had difficulty playing high notes and some scores, I never thought of giving up.
Maybe because of the diligent state I experienced at the beginning of my cultivation, I was able to see Master and listen to His lectures in person at close proximity in multiple Fahui’s in New York, DC and Canada. Maybe I didn’t feel anything special at the time, but when I think back now I feel so lucky.
“I think that those who can listen to my lectures in person, I would say, honestly... you will realize in the future that this period of time is extremely precious.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
With the arrival of our two children, we began to experience more financial burdens, as my husband didn’t have a stable job back then. After both of our parents came to visit us, my cultivation state changed.
My parents are ordinary people. At first, they were very happy to come here to babysit for us. However, they believed the lies they heard about Falun Dafa in China, and as soon as they found out that I practiced Dafa, they became very angry and told me to give it up.
“Some of our students didn’t handle things well at first, and neglected what I’ve discussed. The principal reason has been the notion that the person is your kin, your parent, or your child, and cultivating Dafa is the greatest thing, so, since you call the shots, you’ll just make them cultivate. As a result, your words come across as coercive or as if people have to listen to you. At the crucial moment for a being’s life, nobody can stand in; what you say doesn’t count.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
“Only when you truly have in your heart the wish to save that person, and you regard him as a sentient being to save, will you see things change.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
My attachment to my family members was preventing them from being saved, as I didn’t treat them with a compassionate heart. My husband and I strengthened our righteous thoughts and cleared the bad substances in our environment and the evil behind my parents. We talked about the healing and fitness aspect of Dafa, which was easier for them to accept in an objective and calm tone. We also played a truth-clarifying CD to help them see through the lies made by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and why they carried out the evil persecution. Fellow practitioners living nearby also clarified the truth to them from time to time. Eventually they no longer objected to my cultivation.
Later on my in-laws came to babysit for us. I had not known that they were different from my parents. My mother-in-law started cultivation even before my husband, I naturally paid less attention to my words and actions. However, due to different lifestyles and not understanding them well, my in-laws had a negative opinion about me. We often ended up in an argument.
When the conflicts were intense, my husband and I even ended up fighting. I also had to study and had a busy job, which added additional pressure. Soon after, I left The Tian Guo Marching Band. Besides, I no longer attended truth-clarification projects, nor did I go to Friday group Fa-study. I left the cultivation environment and got trapped in ordinary life.
Then, I experienced depression symptoms and wanted to end my life. This state lasted for several years. Seeing our situation, my parents said, “You say how great it is to cultivate Dafa, but look at how you fight with each other, it’s no different than ordinary people.”
I suddenly realized that it was Master using ordinary people’s mouths to wake me up. I was so ashamed. I decided to start anew. I tried to not take my husband or mother-in-law’s words to heart, because Master said, “There are no role models in cultivation. You can't watch how others cultivate, and you can't just fix your eyes on others...” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IV) Whether a fellow practitioner behaves well or not shouldn’t interfere in my cultivation, instead I should take it as an opportunity to improve myself.
Master said, “In life, nothing sought, In death, regretting naught; Washing away all wrong thought, Buddhahood, with less adversity, is wrought.” (“Nothing Kept,” Hong Yin)
If I could let go of my flesh body and have no fear of death, what else could I not let go of? Thinking from my in-law’s perspective, I found it was not easy for them either. They can’t speak the language, they have no relatives and friends here, and all their hope lies with their son. Nobody understands how hard babysitting is and they have to deal with problems of the younger generation. If I had a compassionate heart, everything would be different.
With my husband’s help, I decided to visit my in-laws and apologize to them. I spoke with them at length repeatedly, even though they were still angry and they still held onto their notions. I feel I have gradually let go of my competitive mentality, and the feeling of being wronged due to sentimentality. My depression symptoms also disappeared.
Returning to the Tian Guo Marching Band
After returning to the cultivation path, my family life improved. It was as if a tense string was relaxed. My husband and mother-in-law started attending their own Fa-validation project teams. I still had no fixed team using the excuse of work, housework and taking care of the kids.
“The cultivation environment and the perceptions people have are both undergoing changes on a fundamental level. This phenomenon indicates that Fa-rectification and Dafa disciples’ cultivation are in their final stages. And yet a small number of students—veteran students, even—have to differing degrees exhibited a despondent state and slackened in their resolve to be diligent. They haven’t realized that this is an attachment to the duration of Fa-rectification, or is caused by interference from incorrect, acquired notions…” (“The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress, Vol. III )
I felt I didn’t seize the time and missed many opportunities to save people. In my heart I kept repenting and asking Master to help me. In an assembly in Ottawa, I met the coordinator of The Tian Guo Marching Band and he warmly encouraged me to come back and play the french horn. Though I was afraid of not being able to play the instrument, I was more afraid of losing the opportunity to be diligent again. I decided to let go of all my notions and returned to the band.
As I didn’t have a great foundation to begin with, plus I hadn’t practiced in years, I couldn’t catch up with the team at all and was very worried.
“You didn't do well in the past, but don't feel burdened. That was actually because you didn't take Fa-study seriously, and because you cultivate among ordinary people, and so, under circumstances such as these, the attachment of fear leads you to fall behind the state of Dafa disciples' cultivation, and over time you are sure to have a gap in your understanding of the Fa. But don't be anxious, as you can gradually catch up through studying the Fa.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting on Writing Music,” Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Writing Music and Creating Fine Art)
Recognizing Master’s encouragement, I knew that I wouldn’t give up again. While seizing the time to study the Fa, I looked at a number of french horn courses on the internet and kept practicing every day. Other members of the band encouraged me and helped me find a tutor. With the help from Master and fellow practitioners, I started from the basics, let go of incorrect playing methods, and finally established a good playing method and regained confidence. Miraculously, a few months after I rejoined the band I was able to play the high notes and difficult scores that I wasn’t able to play before. I know in my heart it was Master helping me because I had a sincere heart to return.
Upon re-joining the Tian Guo Marching Band in the parades, I regained the initial feeling of immersing myself in the Buddha light and Master’s immense compassion. What’s different was that I could feel that every accurate and harmonious note I played was strengthened by Master. When we walked past the spectators, this compassionate power influenced them as well. Before and after each parade, I always met some spectators who told me, “We really like your music”, “We really like your costume and its color”, or they ask what Falun Dafa is all about, and some people tell us in their broken Chinese “Falun Dafa is Good.”
A year after I rejoined The Tian Guo Marching Band, the coordinator of our section could no longer do the coordination work. Since we have fewer players in the section and they are relatively older, it was recommended that I be the coordinator. I was very uneasy at the beginning, because I left the project for so long, lots of things had changed, and I wasn’t familiar with some of the regulations and personnel. Also, my cultivation and playing skills were not as good as those of veteran practitioners, which made it difficult to do well.
The general coordinator and fellow practitioners are very forgiving, they not only encouraged me, but also provided technical help and all kinds of resources. Nobody criticized me about not being able to take care of everything. All of these factors lessened my pressure. Seeing the diligent state of fellow practitioners, I know I have a duty to do my job well.
One time we had an evening Christmas parade outside of Toronto. Normally we do not recommend elderly practitioners or those who are not physically strong to attend. A senior practitioner in our section was determined and insisted on attending. Other members of the section also thought it shouldn’t be a problem, so we let her join. After the parade was over, on our way back to the school bus, she fell and wasn’t able to stand up, and her horn was broken in half. I felt sad seeing it and worried about her. I felt I didn’t do my job well.
Many practitioners came over to help her and tell her to treat it with righteous thoughts. Hearing everybody’s encouragement, I realized my worries were unrighteous. We should just help send righteous thoughts.
This practitioner didn’t have any further problem, and the broken instrument was repaired by a practitioner. It really let me see the power of one body and I felt the band and the section is like a family, and nobody is to be left behind in this environment.
The section coordinator is responsible for small things like clothes, instruments, rehearsals and exams. I don’t take anything lightly. If I have any questions I ask the general coordinator or fellow practitioners who are professionals.
“Those things appear to be quite simple and seem to have nothing earth shattering about them. Yet I can tell you that the things that seem mundane on this ordinary human side might be truly dramatic in the realm of your cultivation—a realm that you can’t see. (Applause) In other words, you shouldn’t consider your [Dafa] work so simple. Since you’re doing this work you should do it well.” (Teaching the Fa at the Assistants’ Fa Conference in Changchun)
Although my abilities are not as good as I hoped, providing help for my fellow practitioners is an honor and I should do it well. In the environment of the band and the big group, my slackened cultivation state improved a lot. I no longer use housework or kids as an excuse, instead I seize the time to study the Fa and do the exercises. Whenever I run into conflicts, I do my best to look inside and a lot of times the problem gets solved before it escalates.
We all know that the Fa-rectification has entered the last stage, and it may be over at any time. I have no way to foresee the future, but I know the urgency. Regardless of whether my stumbling cultivation would meet the requirement of consummation, regardless of the mending of my ways after having lost my footing, I just want to take the last opportunity to do well at what Dafa disciples are supposed to do, and not let lives wait in vain.
Thank you Master, and fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2019 Canada Fa Conference)