Cultivation Path: Cherish Every Opportunity
(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners encounter different understandings and attachments on their cultivation paths. I would like to share my understanding of “Cherish.”
“I hope that you all cherish yourselves, cherish others, and cherish this environment that you have. Cherishing the path that you travel is cherishing yourselves.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple?” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
My understanding of the above Fa teaching, as Master is telling us, is that his disciples’ improvement on their cultivation path, and their consummation, are the most important. For disciples, the most important task is to save sentient beings and complete their mission during the Fa-validation. Although the perpetrators of the evil persecution are not as rampant, Dafa disciples still have unfinished tasks when it comes to cultivation, saving sentient beings, and completing their missions. Thus, all the more must we know how to cherish the opportunities given to us.
Cherish Every Sentient Being We Meet
We know from Master’s teachings that the people on earth are all beings from high levels. They went through a lot of hardship while waiting for Dafa to spread in this world and be saved by the creator. However, due to the long passage of time some have become lost, and some even behave unlike a true human being. Nonetheless, they all came from privileged backgrounds, and they deserve to be cherished.
This year, I worked in a supermarket where most of the staff are Latinos who only speak Spanish. As we can't communicate well with each other, I try not to talk to them. One evening, after most of the staff left, I was working alone in the back of the supermarket when a young man approached me and held up a sharp knife. He suddenly turned to me and pointed the knife at me. I thought that he was joking, but when I saw his solemn face I suddenly had the thought that he would not dare touch me. I looked at him and said, “No! No!” He slowly retracted his hand, turned around, and left.
In hindsight, it was a frightening experience. Why did I encounter such an incident? I looked inward and realized that I looked down on my Latino colleagues, as I felt that they had many bad habits, like talking to much and too loudly, etc. I did not think of the fact that they used to be kings from high levels who have come to this world at the same time as Dafa disciples to connect the predestined relationship. Not only did I not cherish them, I even repelled them with my looking down on them. This is why the old forces found a big loophole to exploit!
Later, I took the initiative to help a colleague with his work a bit. Sometimes, he would come and talk to me with the help of his mobile phone as a translator. I was worried that my colleagues could not understand what I tried to say, so I had not tried to clarify the truth to them yet. One day, while I was listening to Dafa practitioners’ music with earphones on, this colleague asked me what I was listening to. I lent him the earphones, and as he listened, he started to smile and gave me a thumbs up. I told him that the music is produced by Falun Dafa practitioners and he made the heshi gesture (pressed his palms together as a sign of respect) and asked me questions such as the relationship between Dafa and Christianity.
After that, I gave him a lotus flower keychain and taught him how to say the words “Falun Dafa is good” in Chinese and English, which was also written on the keychain. He remembered them well and went to tell his friends. Before long, a few of the young staff members were able to say “Falun Dafa is good” in Chinese. Sometimes, they'll approach me and shout, “Falun Dafa is good!” This may be the only sentence that they know in Chinese, but they say it with the heartfelt happiness of a living being who has been saved. Now when I look at my colleagues, they all look so lively and adorable to me.
Cherish the Affinity between Fellow Practitioners
Dafa disciples followed Master level after level, to come to the mortal realm. During that long history, our affinities were created while we were taking up different roles on earth. Therefore, this is something that is worth cherishing.
However, due to the disturbance from the attachments that we have yet to get rid of, conflicts are bound to happen. When that happens, if we were to treat ourselves as a cultivator, look within, cherish others and also cherish the affinity between fellow practitioners, these conflicts could be resolved and the dividing factors between us would be removed. We would thus be able to form one body.
During the more than 10 years of my cultivation, there were no major conflicts between me and other practitioners, so I lacked true understanding of this aspect. However, cultivation is a serious matter. We will be tested, and no area will be left out.
“Naturally, you won’t be forewarned when challenges or tensions are coming your way. Little spiritual growth would be possible if everything were disclosed to you, and those events wouldn’t serve their purpose. They will usually come unexpectedly so as to test your character and help you to grow; and by doing so your character will be revealed for what it is. So tensions with others don’t happen by chance.” (The Fourth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
Not long ago, a practitioner became angry with me over a small matter. She even ignored me when I greeted her. I wanted to find a chance to talk to her, but she did not give me a chance. When we met in the restaurant during the Shen Yun performance, I greeted her warmly but she just turned and left. I sent new year greetings to her mobile phone, but she replied with a “do no disturb” message, and a note that she would delete my number. Then, when I met her next, I said, “Everything is my fault, please forgive me.” However, that did not work either.
I knew that this was a tribulation that I had to pass, but I did not know where I went wrong. Therefore, I looked within for attachments. Through studying the Fa and talking with other practitioners, I realized that I relied on others when I handled Fa-validation matters. I also realized that I did not forbear last year when a local practitioner brought an over-80-year-old practitioner who is not very mobile to attend the Fa conference. I'd said, “ Do not bring her here next time.”
That was so unkind. That practitioner is so old and made such an effort to attend the Fa conference. I should have helped her instead of stopping her from coming. Although the matter had happened months before, I did not realize that I had this attachment. So, because of my looking down on others, now someone was looking down on me instead. This was so that I could see the selfishness in myself. Upon understanding the reason, I immediately corrected myself and got rid of all of those bad substances in my thoughts. Now, I have resumed a normal relationship with that practitioner.
Cherishing the Cultivation Environment on the Phone Call Platform
The global platform for truth clarification over the phone is a good environment for us to study the Fa, cultivate, and save sentient beings. I have been participating in the phone calling groups on the platform for five years, and I cherish this environment of Fa study and cultivation exchange very much. During the first two years, I only listened to others making the phone calls and their experience sharing. I seldom spoke, as I felt it to be less stressful. However, cultivation is a serious matter. If everything is so relaxed without any stress, that is not cultivation and we will not be able to improve.
Three years ago, I started to make phone calls by myself off the platform. I did not dare make phone calls on the platform. Then, when the second broadcast room was set up, I started to make phone calls locally in that room. Not long after that, the coordinator said that the first broadcast room was short of practitioners. She had decided for me to be scheduled in the first room. At that time, although I had no confidence, I agreed without hesitation. I only thought of the needs of that platform. I was asked to be on duty once a week, and I did well despite the odds.
Not long after that, another coordinator told me that he needed someone for the night shift on the same day, and he asked me if I could come. Again, for the sake of the platform to operate normally, I agreed.
However, it is easier said than done. I have to start making phone calls at 5:30 a.m. and the cultivation exchange ends at 8:30 a.m. Then, I have to rush off to work, but need to leave work early in order to be on time for the night duty. There was no guarantee that I could study the Fa and do the exercises.
I tried a few times to tell the coordinator that I needed to let go of one of the duty slots, but I somehow could not broach the subject when I thought about my responsibilities. Thus, I persevered for more than a year like that – right up until now.
Then, the coordinator told me that there were two duty slots where they were short-handed, and he hoped that I could help them out too. I agreed to that too. So in the end, I was on duty four times a week. Although it is tough, nothing feels difficult when I think about all the precious sentient beings that have been saved over all these years.
At one point, I thought of moving on to another platform. That night, when I decided to listen in on that platform, everything on my computer’s desktop stopped functioning. I found it odd as to why it would suddenly malfunction. I calmed down and thought about what I should be learning about this matter. I suddenly understood that it was telling me not to leave this particular RTC platform. Therefore, I quickly told Master that I was wrong, and I would not leave the platform. Before long, the computer resumed its functionality.
This experience had a profound impact on me. At this critical moment in the Fa-rectification, the role of every practitioner is already fixed. We cannot pick and choose. Leaving would leave this position empty. That would mess things up. Therefore, I calmed down and stayed on this particular RTC platform.
After passing this test, more tests kept coming. Not long ago, there were some revamps on the platform and I was tasked to be the leader for one of the time slots. I had never thought of assuming such a position, and felt that it would be a challenge.
As there was no ground for discussion, I decided I'd give it a try. During the first week, the practitioners cooperated well. However, during the second week, one of the practitioners had a change in his work schedule and could no longer man his time slot. The other practitioner had to take leave for some other reason. So we were left with three practitioners instead of the required five.
When we first started to make the calls, one practitioner’s computer malfunctioned, leaving only me and a new practitioner. I thought that even if I were the only one left that day, I would carry on and complete this time slot. I would not give the evil beings a chance to create any disturbance for this time slot.
“The old forces don't dare to oppose our clarifying the truth or saving sentient beings. What's key is to not let them take advantage of the gaps in your state of mind when you do things.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. II)
Soon, more practitioners came to man the time slots, and everything went back to normal.