Truly Coming to Understand What Cultivation Is
(Minghui.org) Twenty years have quickly passed since I was first introduced to Falun Dafa as a child. Through continuous Fa-study and assimilating to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, I was able to gradually step away from the big dye vat of ordinary society, become more clear-headed, and have a better understanding about the meaning of life – to return to one’s original true self.
When I was cleaning my home, I realized that I had a lot of things that I barely used. Whenever I cleaned up in the past, I would put these things in a drawer or a dresser instead of throwing or giving them away. Somehow, the same items would show up again as part of the mess in the room that I needed to clean. From a cultivation perspective, every one of these items were in my dimensional field.
“Sigh...what I usually say is that you should first look within anytime you meet with trouble, and see whether there is a problem on your part, and if so, correct it immediately.” (“2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C.”)
Looking Inward for Shortcomings
Why did I have such a difficult time realizing things that other practitioners could easily see? I began to seriously look inward.
I learned to be competitive in primary school. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and its exam-oriented education system makes society very result-oriented. A child is required to strive for excellence in all aspects of school at a young age, in order to meet their parents’ and teacher’s expectations. Pressure from the competition forces students to work hard, so they can outperform their peers.
This type of environment shaped me to be competitive, jealous, attached to my self-interest, cunning, and selfish. I also had a strong showoff mentality, and easily lied about things. I was only willing to take on hardship to protect myself or pursue self-interest. I gradually began to think highly of myself and looked down on others. I became unreasonable, and lost my temper when things didn’t go my way.
I never thought about how it may hurt others if I always gained the upper hand. I even had the thought that since I practice Dafa, everything should go well. In the end, I not only ended up wasting monetary assets, but also caused negative impacts toward Dafa.
“People’s values are eroding at a dramatic rate, and getting worse by the day. Many people now put their own gain before all else, even at others’ expense, and will do whatever it takes to come out on top. But what will become of our world if it goes on like this? There are people who won’t even listen if you try to point out the error in their ways; and they really can’t see what’s wrong on their part. Some even think that they are better than others, since they see themselves through the distorted lens of modern values, which has altered their sense of right and wrong. But however much people’s values may change, the qualities that define this universe will not, and they are the sole measure of your person.” (“The First Talk”, Zhuan Falun)
For all these years, I have used the declined moral standards of society to measure myself. When others pointed out my shortcomings, I would argue with them if I didn’t agree with what they said. How others thought of me was very important, and I was attached to being praised. Now, thinking back, the Fa principles have been articulated very clearly.
I couldn’t improve myself, because I did not have a clear understanding of what it meant to cultivate in Falun Dafa. I thought that reading and studying the Fa was the key, so all I needed to do was to just accomplish a certain amount of Fa-study every day. Anything outside of that, I did things according to what I felt comfortable with in my day-to-day life. I didn’t follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to rectify myself. Dafa is a cultivation method that directly targets one’s heart.
Another reason was that I didn’t follow Master’s teaching when I ran into difficulties. Master said,
“Back in my days of practice, more than once a teacher told me, ‘Nothing is truly unbearable or impossible.’ And it really is so. It’s an outlook you only stand to benefit from. So the next time you are going through a real trial or tribulation, try to keep this in mind, and see if you can bear it.” (“The Ninth Talk”, Zhuan Falun)
Instead of facing the difficulty, I would either go around the issue or just give up on passing the test. It was just like how I cleaned my room in the past, I just threw everything into a cabinet or dresser.
After thinking it over repeatedly, I finally came to understand that we need to use the universal principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to guide us in every aspect of our life in order to truly cultivate. We must rectify everything that is not aligned with the principles, so as to improve our levels. It’s far from just playing lip service because if one does not solidly cultivate, one will end up with more attachments.
Before that, I had a shallow understanding of cultivation. I thought the only benefits of cultivation was to not to get ill, and to eliminate attachments. I would save on medical expenses, and feel secure.
Only now do I truly understand the seriousness of cultivation and the significance of it in one’s life. Cultivation can help purify one’s body and mind to reach a state free of illness. Most importantly, one can return to one’s original true self.
Dafa has helped rectify my incorrect view of life, helped me stay calm when facing difficulties and drawbacks, and be more tolerant of others. I am full of joy and feel that the transformations I went through after looking within were truly miraculous.