How My Mother-in-law Helped Me Cultivate
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master, Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I began practicing Falun Dafa seven years ago. I would like to tell you how my shortcomings were exposed while I tried to save my in-laws.
Time for Me to Begin Practicing
Three months after I married, I became pregnant. My husband and I decided to move into the same apartment building as my in-laws. However, I had many conflicts with them. Although I tried very hard to follow my parents’ advice and be obedient, after eight years of swallowing their insults, I was on the verge of a physical and mental breakdown.
In 2005, I started reading Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun. Perhaps it was not my time yet. I didn’t understand the deeper meanings of the teachings, but I knew that Dafa was good and learned some principles on how to behave. I was always supportive of my husband who practiced Falun Dafa. I didn’t hesitate to protect the lives of practitioners, even though by doing this I risked my own life. Perhaps this paved the way for me to obtain the Fa.
With Master’s protection, our family of three moved to Canada. Shortly after I watched Shen Yun Performing Arts, I decided to begin practicing Falun Dafa. I did the three things with my heart and soul.
I enlightened to the fact that in addition to saving the world’s people, it’s also our responsibility to save our family members. The challenge with family is that we must follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance all the time, instead of just some of the time. I would like to share with you how I clarified the truth to my husband’s parents.
Lingering Resentment Prevented Me from Treating My In-laws as Sentient Beings
In 2013, my in-laws planned to visit us. We were very excited and went to the airport to pick them up. As soon as my mother-in-law got off the plane, she accused me of three wrongdoings. Being a cultivator, I was able to take it, but I knew that I would face serious tests in the days ahead.
At that time I had only practiced for one year; my understanding of the Fa was shallow. When it came to clarifying the truth, I was usually argumentative. I lacked compassion and wanted to win the arguments. I came across as very biased. As soon as my father-in-law said anything negative about Dafa, or called the U.S. imperialist, I’d get upset.
My in-laws claimed that I was “political” and tried to straighten me out. I never heard them accusing their son of being political, so I knew they were targeting me. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I avoided interacting with them and focused on my media project. I was very busy every day, so they complained that I did not look after my child. They talked to each other loudly about how I was an unfit mother, making sure I heard them. The best I could do was to keep silent. I didn’t realize that I needed to balance my commitment to cultivation and to my family instead of going to extremes.
I meditated early each morning. They also got up rather early and usually left the washroom door open, ignoring the fact that my son and husband were still asleep. I was unhappy about this.
All the negative experiences I had with them in China came back to me. I didn’t realize this was happening because I still had resentment, anger, hatred, and karma that I needed to eliminate. I just tried to reject these emotions, but I didn’t work on my character. I was mentally and physically exhausted.
My resentment and other emotions kept building. Three days before my in-laws were to return to China, as I was rushing downstairs to send righteous thoughts at 6:00 p.m., I fell down the stairs. I knew it happened because my heart was not consistent with the Fa. My son heard it and rushed to ask how I was. I said to myself, more than to him, “I am a Dafa practitioner. I’m fine.” I didn’t think whether my foot was injured. I just wanted to send righteous thoughts. I managed to get up and send righteous thoughts.
The next day, I needed to take my son to Chinese school. I was limping so I asked Master for help. I endured the pain. My in-laws didn’t notice anything. The third day, I no longer limped but I had a bump the size of an egg on my ankle. When I meditated, it was very painful. I tried to keep a smile and managed to meditate for one hour. Despite the pain, I did not skip doing the exercises or sending righteous thoughts.
When it was time for my in-laws to go to the airport, I helped them move the big suitcases. One by one, I brought them all downstairs. They did not notice my pain. I knew that my husband or my son told them that I fell down the stairs. They were impressed with the powers of Dafa as they witnessed me carrying the heavy suitcases as if nothing had happened.
While my in-laws stayed with us, my father-in-law watched the NTDTV programs and read the Epoch Times. We also took them to parades and other Dafa-related activities. They saw how Dafa has spread outside China and the difference in people’s attitudes towards Dafa inside and outside China. Their attitudes gradually changed. Master compassionately gave them several opportunities to understand the truth. Thank you, Master!
Assimilating to Dafa and Treating In-laws with Kindness
In 2015, they came again to visit us. I wanted to do better this time. Before they arrived, I memorized Master’s Fa: “...we should still be devoted and respectful to our parents and care well for our children;” (The Sixth Talk, Zhuan Falun) But, instead, I saw it my way and thought this meant that we should educate our parents.
I noticed that I was still argumentative when I tried to clarify the truth to them. I was frustrated because I was easily affected by what they said. I decided to focus on doing Dafa work: calling Chinese people on the phone, doing the exercises in front of the Chinese consulate, sending righteous thoughts and clarifying the truth. Sometimes, I went to Parliament Hill to talk to tourists. I tried not to engage them in arguments. Instead, I tried to understand what their issues were with Dafa.
My in-laws were frightened by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as their son, my husband, had been subjected to persecution. They were confused and helpless. They wanted to protect themselves. They did not understand why their son was persecuted. I told them how Master introduced Dafa outside China. They have since changed their attitudes towards Master and Dafa.
My mother-in-law loves to relax and enjoy life. She could not understand why we worked so hard to clarify the truth. I realized that I needed to change my way of talking to her. I finally explained that we should all have a conscience. We have benefited so much from practicing Falun Dafa, but now it is being attacked and Master is being wronged. If we don’t step up and say something, we are not good people. This seemed to strike a chord with her.
After they understood the truth, they began helping by cooking meals. Before they returned to China, they gave us $4000 CAD. I had never thought this would happen as they only took from us before. It was Dafa that brought happiness and positive changes to our family. My husband and son secretly put the cash into their suitcases and told them just before they went through security at the airport.
Ensuring That What I Do Is Consistent with Validating Dafa
In 2017, before my in-laws visited again, I reminded myself that everything I did was to save people and validate Dafa.
As soon as my mother-in-law arrived, she started accusing me of wrongdoing when they first visited years ago. Apparently, I was very rude to them during a conversation about what to pack for my husband’s lunch. Although I had no recollection of this, I told her that I was in the wrong anyway because I didn’t cultivate myself well then. But she kept repeating the same story. I told myself that I must not defend myself. If I failed the 10th time she mentioned this, all my previous efforts would have been futile.
Again, and again, my mother-in-law complained about me; first when she and I were alone and later when my sister-in-law was present. The last time she did it was in front of the entire family, despite my husband’s efforts to stop her. I was not affected by her attacks, as if it was her talking about someone else. I knew that I had passed the test.
Every morning, I studied the Fa, did the exercises, and clarified the truth to people. In the afternoon, I had other commitments. My in-laws took long naps. Since I didn’t want to disturb them when they were resting, I did my cleaning when they went out for walks. My father-in-law noticed my thoughtfulness and appreciated it. I was very respectful of them. My mother-in-law’s temper and my father-in-law’s meanness which was typical of the intellectuals in China had no effect on me. I just repeatedly dealt with their issues and helped them from their point of view.
They were impressed with my changes, but I knew that they were really impressed with Dafa’s powers. Even while I ate, I memorized Master’s teachings: “...guard their character,” (Chapter I, Falun Gong)，and “If you have the Fa in your heart and show compassion towards everything around you, you may be better able to handle the things you encounter.” (“Teaching the Fa and Answering Questions in Guangzhou,” The Law of Zhuan Falun Explained)
At one point both my in-laws and my husband’s brother and his wife stayed with us for a month. I had to ensure the three things were done and at the same time, we had to find time to take them sightseeing. I was exhausted. Sometimes, I was so tired that I could not sleep. When this happened, I reminded myself to solve the problems as a cultivator. I just did the 4th exercise. Afterward, I felt recharged and energetic and looked radiant. I am amazed at the power of Falun Dafa.
While my in-laws were visiting, my son came down with sickness karma. They urged me to take him to a hospital, but I just had him listen to the Fa and we did the exercises. He got better in the afternoon.
My mother-in-law asked my son, “Did your mother not allow you to go see the doctor?” I heard it loud and clear, and this started me thinking. After I had a discussion with the wife of a practitioner, who was a doctor, I knew what I should do. To see a doctor or not is not a big problem as long as my in-laws do not have misunderstandings, which is more important. So, I decided to take my son to the hospital, but he refused to go. My mother-in-law heard it herself and told my father-in-law about it. This issue was resolved just like that. This was indeed “...you only need to do your part practicing, and your teacher will handle the rest.” (The First Talk, Zhuan Falun)
Now I realized that when it comes to children, to go to the hospital or not really depends on the child’s situation. If the child is mature and is solid in cultivation, we can have a discussion with them from the Fa’s point of view. In the end we must respect the child’s choice. If a child does not even understand what cultivation is all about, we should take them to the hospital. Otherwise, non-practicing family members and children will have misunderstandings towards Dafa. In short, we cannot go to extremes.
Sometimes, when my husband called his parents I would chat with them for a few minutes. I did not ask myself why.
Then I realized that every time we called my in-laws, my son was not respectful. I started to look inward. I found that while they stayed with us, even though I followed the teachings and resolved many conflicts that came out of nowhere, I did not have compassion towards them. Instead, I was condescending. I realized that even among ordinary people, not being nice to seniors or parents are big taboos. Since then, my child became polite to them.
If I did not practice Falun Dafa, I would not have been able to let go of my resentment towards my in-laws. It was Dafa that brought a benevolent solution to the longstanding feud between me and my in-laws. It was Master who taught me “...try to always be thoughtful towards others.” (The Ninth Talk, Zhuan Falun) and gave me the magic tool of looking inward and enabled me on my journey to divinity.
I am grateful to Master and Dafa!
(Presented at the 2019 Canada Fa Conference)