Obtaining the Fa and Cultivating While Participating in Projects
(Minghui.org) Greetings, esteemed Master and fellow practitioners.
I am a Falun Dafa practitioner who obtained the Fa in late 2000 in Sydney, Australia. After graduating from a medical university in China in 1987, I was offered a surgeon position at a well-known hospital. While employed there, I witnessed many illegalities by those who worked in the medical field. I followed the trend at first, but felt very tormented. I felt that my humane nature was gradually disappearing in this filthy and complicated environment. For someone who still held some virtue and had a conscience, it was like living a life without a soul. When I could no longer take it, I decided to give up the job which I once loved, and emigrate from China, before my humane nature totally disappeared.
Stepping into Falun Dafa Practice
I came to Australia in 1997. While searching for spiritual support, I went to a few churches and was even baptized in one. However, after a while, I realized that this was not the place where I wanted to be.
After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started to persecute Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, in 1999, I learned from a Chinese newspaper that there was a cultivation practice called Falun Gong. I read that Falun Gong’s spiritual power was very strong, as practitioners of that practice were not scared of the police. They faced the communist regime with dignity and were willing to sacrifice their lives in pursuit of their belief. This is rarely seen in China. I felt that Falun Gong may be the spiritual support that I had been searching for.
I met Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Chen, a relatively new practitioner. She suggested that I go with her to a Fa-study group. We were going to meet at a train station, but she did not show up on time, nor did she answer her phone. I finally decided to leave but felt in my heart that if I was going to leave, I would no longer have any affinity with Dafa. Just as I started to walk away, Ms. Chen called and said that she was rushing over and would be arriving soon. On arrival she told me that she was having problems with her phone.
Coming to think of it, Ms. Chen’s being an hour late could be interference by the old forces, trying to stop me from obtaining the Fa. It is so difficult for someone to obtain the Fa. Making the wrong decision could mean missing the one and only chance to become a Dafa practitioner.
Mr. Luo, the coordinator at the Fa study, was very friendly. He made me feel very relaxed, and it seemed that this group was different from other groups I had met. Mr. Luo lent me a copy of the book Zhuan Falun, which we read. While reading, I felt a strong force emanating from the book. After reading one lecture of Zhuan Falun, my mind felt very carefree and I wanted to continue reading. On my way home, I was in a very peaceful state of mind, something I was feeling for the first time. It felt very comfortable and quiet, with no complaints, hatred, hardship, or troubles that usually accompany people. At that moment, I also understood the meaning of peacefulness.
The second time at the Fa study group, I felt that Master gave me a Falun in my lower abdominal area. While studying the Fa, I suddenly felt something like a ball of fire in my lower abdomen – it felt very hot, yet comfortable. That was more than ten years ago.
Letting Go of Bad Habits – Smoking and Drinking
I used to smoke and drink before cultivating in Falun Dafa. I would smoke as much as a pack of cigarettes every day, and more at night. After practicing Falun Dafa, I let go of my drinking habits, but I had some problems on quitting smoking. I could not bear to let go of the cigarettes. Although my smoking frequency reduced, I still smoked secretly.
When I went to Canberra, the capital of Australia, to participate in an event to promote the Fa, I accepted a ride from another practitioner. This practitioner is normally pitiless with what she says. I am quite scared of her and worried that she would ask me about my smoking habit. When stopped at a McDonald's, she asked me out of the blue sky, “Have you quit smoking?” I was speechless and thought that it was none of her business. But I now realize that Master was hinting through her about my smoking. I mulled it over in my head, worrying that this practitioner would taunt me. But if I did not speak the truth, the Gods would not be deceived. I gritted my teeth and admitted that I had not yet quit smoking. This practitioner said gently, “You don’t have the will to do even such a small thing?” Although this was just a simple remark, it provoked me and made me hate myself for being such a disappointment.
After returning home, I read Lecture Seven in Zhuan Falun, the section about quitting smoking, one more time. Master said that the feeling of smoking would no longer be the same. I wanted to give it a try to see if it was really like Master said. Therefore, I lit a cigarette and took a puff. There was no longer the feeling of satisfaction that I used to have when I smoked. I wondered if this was my mind playing tricks. After finishing the cigarette I lit another one, and still did not enjoy it. I then lit two cigarettes at the same time and smoked both of them together, and again I felt distaste. I then understood that this was not my mind playing tricks. Although I believed in what Master said, I still could not eliminate my attachment to smoking.
“Now that you are doing spiritual practice, though, you can try, starting today, to regard it as an attachment to break, and see if you can manage to quit.” (The Seventh Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I understood that I could not quit smoking because I was not treating it as an attachment. Once my mind understood this distinction, I could stop smoking.
Joining the NTD Television Project
Australia set up a branch for NTD television in 2003, and I was invited to join the project. It is very easy for one to have attachments when involved in media projects, and that can be very addictive. I worked hard on improving my technical skills, be better than others, be praised, and gain in importance. On the surface, I improved my skills to help the project, but I was doing it out of jealousy, competitiveness, and to fulfill my own desires. I also had a strong attachment of looking down on others.
Being driven by human desires, I curtailed my Fa study, stopped attending the weekly big group Fa study session, and gradually faded away from the main group cultivation environment. I became obsessed with improving my technical skills and doing my job well. I almost forgot what cultivation was about, and how to cultivate. The fellow practitioners in this project also had similar experiences, thus the whole cultivation environment became quite poor.
Practitioners who were not participating in the media projects were very worried once they noticed our behavior. They shared their cultivation thoughts with us. However, we just ignored their efforts. Practitioners from the Falun Buddha Society tried to intervene, alas unsuccessfully. We claimed that we were a global truth clarifying project. Thus, we were only willing to listen to instructions from the NTD headquarters. I finally woke up and recognized the seriousness of the situation in July 2011, when Master released his new lecture “Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa.”
“For quite some time now there have been some regions, or some people, where the Fa-study has not kept pace; where human means are often adopted; where when the collaboration isn’t going well people even get negative, and do things on their own, or people even approach things in the cunning manner that ordinary people might employ.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
“No matter how busy you may get, you still must study the Fa. This is why I am recommending that the Dafa disciples who are immersed in our various projects find time to participate in the local Fa-study.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
“Whatever the case, you must not slack off in your Fa-study, as this is the biggest problem, it’s a fundamental issue.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
Master had addressed what was happening to us. I realized that I was sorely lacking on my cultivation path. I therefore re-joined the big group Fa study session and began to participate in the local activities to promote the Fa. However, the gap between my cultivation state, and that of other practitioners was already very large. This resulted in a tribulation that I almost could not overcome.
Joining the Tian Guo Marching Band
I moved to New Zealand in 2012 and joined the Tian Guo Marching Band as a big drum player in 2013. When I first joined the band, I was not clear about the importance of this project. Therefore, I was only present physically but not mentally. Later, the band started to have a regular practice session every Monday night at the community center. As I was not familiar with the roads, I often could not find the entrance to the community center or my way back home after practice.
I once drove around for two hours to find the entrance to the community center. By the time I reached the entrance, the practice session was about to end. This made me realize that this was interference, trying to stop me from practicing. Subsequently, before I left home for practice, I sent forth righteous thoughts, and I was no longer late.
Before practicing Falun Dafa, I had a very short temper. After cultivating, I found some improvement, but I was still quite short tempered. In the past, when I was in the media project, I quarreled with everyone. After joining the band, I was still very impatient, and there were many things that I could not accept. The percussion section leader, the band conductor, and the band coordinator all had a taste of my temper. Actually, the impatience in one’s character is a reflection of one’s cultivation state. Apart from the display of demon nature, it is also a show of one’s selfishness where one puts one’s feelings up for display. This impatience in dealing with matters is a big hurdle for me, but I never had an idea about how to overcome it, until one day when the incident below occurred.
When we were participating in the Christmas parade in Orewa, a northern city in Auckland in 2016, I could not find my car after the parade. I walked around with my heavy instrument on my back, looking for that street where I had parked my car. While sitting down for a short rest, I looked at the vehicles and people passing to and fro, and I thought that I should not be wasting my time like that. I should be thinking about what cultivation problems that I had...
Master told us,
“...nothing on our path of cultivation is coincidental.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in New Zealand)
Therefore, what happened today must be related to my cultivation. I recalled that when the parade had ended, practitioners were heading off to their own homes in their cars or walking past each other. Won’t this be the same when the Fa rectification ends? When Fa rectification ends, every Dafa disciple will go back to where they belong. But what about those who did not meet the requirement, and could not complete their cultivation?
When looking at myself, I am always reprimanding others, complaining, and hating others, so when the Fa rectification ends, all the other practitioners will leave, and what shall I do then? Can I go and beg Master to give me a chance by claiming that I was being angry or losing my temper for the good of others? That I was reprimanding, complaining, and hating others for the benefit of the project? Can I do that? By then, it will be too late. I realized the seriousness of my problem and was determined to get rid of my impatience, and my habit of reprimanding, complaining, and hating others. Practitioners now tell me that I have changed a lot. I am no longer so impatient when I talk or do things, and I seldom quarrel with others.
The Tian Guo Marching Band had new examination rules this year, and raised the requirements. Previously, having a relatively better music sense as compared to the others, I was not so serious in the normal practice sessions. I always felt that even if I do not practice that much, I would not lag too far behind, and it would not affect the band.
Before the exams, the section leader pointed out many of my shortcomings when he was practicing with me. I realized that I had so many problems in my playing. After the exams, the invigilating practitioner first pointed out my problems, and told me what to focus on in my subsequent self-practice sessions. After that, she told me gently, “You can try taking the exams one more time,” as I had failed the exam.
At that instant, my mind went blank as I had never expected to fail the exams. However, I immediately thought that I still had the chance to retake the exams. But if Fa rectification ends and Master tells me that I have not completed my cultivation, what shall I do then? At that moment, I felt that cultivation was truly a very serious matter.
I therefore made a list of attachments that I needed to let go, and kept reminding myself about it. Some of these attachments were attachments that I had already been aware of for a long time. I knew that I should be eliminating them, but I had not done so due to my desire for comfort. I always deluded myself by thinking that there was still time. Now, I feel that there is no more next time, and I have to get rid of my attachments.
As I had realized my own shortcomings and spent more time practicing and improving my practice methods, I passed all the band exams. In the past I thought that my music sense was relatively better than that of the other percussionists, therefore when a problem arose during the big group band practice, I never thought that I could have caused the problem. I seldom looked at the problem from my side. I realized however that this thinking was wrong. I very likely have a part to play in the problem that arose when everyone practices together, and that some of the problems may have been solely caused by me.
Setting Up a Booth at the Otara Market
We live in the southern part of Auckland, and I had always thought about setting up a truth clarification booth at the Otara market. As I was not very clear about the situation there, I did not take any action for some time. We later managed to get a booth with the help of a new practitioner.
When we first set up the booth, there was a period of time when a Fijian Indian kept passing by our booth. Every time when he passed by, he would remind us amiably to practice the exercises, as the passersby would then stop by to ask about what we were doing. This would be an opportunity to clarify the truth to them. If we just distributed the materials without practicing the exercises, the passersby may not know what we were doing, and would not stop at the booth.
As this Indian always reminded us like that, the fellow practitioner and I realized that this may be Master using his words to remind us. As the fellow practitioner’s English was better, we cooperated such that when someone stops by to see us practice the exercises, I continued doing the exercises, while he went to clarify the truth to them. This method yielded very good results. Soon, that Fijian Indian disappeared and I had a thought that his mission may have been to come and remind us.
There were many Chinese booth owners at this market. I realized that many of them were observing us, and from what they said, we understood that many of them had a good impression of us. One Chinese man often stopped by to look at the materials that we displayed on our table. I initially thought that he was a deaf and mute person, as he never reacted. But he replied one day, and we realized that he had no such problem.
After some time we started talking with him and found out that he owned a booth, and that he used to be a research director at a hospital in China. His attitude towards us also changed, and he accepted Dafa informational materials and the Nine Commentaries. We are now like old friends.
A western lady came to our booth and signed the petition. An Indian lady asked me about the “organ harvesting from living practitioners.” After we explained it to her, she also accepted Dafa materials and signed the petition.
Although our booth is small, it is also an environment to test our xinxing and our cooperation with one another. There was a period of time when I became more dejected and numb to things. I kept asking myself if we should stop maintaining the booth and do something else. After talking it over with the other practitioner I stopped attending the booth. However, I returned after I corrected my cultivation state
“...you have really had a tremendous impact in making the truth known and saving people with all of the truth-clarification teams and activities you have initiated as Dafa disciples. It’s wonderful! It’s not about the size and scale of what you do. It’s about the results, the heart you put into it, and whether you go about it as a cultivator.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2019 New York Fa Conference”)
Since we set up our booth, we had always experienced a shortage of manpower. Although there are quite a lot of practitioners in the southern district, there are not many who are able to man the booth. Some practitioners kept suggesting that we ask for help during the big group sessions to get more practitioners to come and help out. However, I have been stuck in a misunderstanding. I believed that this was a problem of the practitioners of the southern district, and since everyone was busy clarifying the truth, we should not trouble them.
I realized during Fa study that I was unwilling to ask for help in the big group session, on the surface was so as not to trouble fellow practitioners, but I did not feel the urgency to save sentient beings, and my heart in saving sentient beings was not pure.
During last year’s Christmas season, I sent out an email to the big group, and asked for help from fellow practitioners. Before long, two practitioners helped at the booth. Another practitioner suggested that we change the booth’s layout, which freed up space in the booth. The booth now looks like a practice site, which allows up to eight practitioners to do the exercises at the same time.
Participating in the Morning Fa Study Session
I have been participating in the morning Fa study session for about six years. Although I’ve had trips and falls on my cultivation path, I was persistent in my Fa study. Many of the tribulations and problems on my cultivation path were resolved through this Fa study process. When I study the Fa well, I can feel that my body’s cells are energized by the Fa. There were a few times when I could not join the Fa study, and I felt that my body had no energy. I had no self-confidence, and I felt that my body was like an empty shell. When I can study the Fa well, my heart will be full of compassion. When I experience problems, they will be resolved during the Fa study.
“As for how massive the cosmos ultimately is, suppose we considered a massive universe that consists of a trillion layers to be one domain, and then grouped a trillion of these one-trillion-layer domains together—we could then call this trillion one-trillion-layered domains a particle of air. Such particles permeate the conference hall here. Although that amounts to a massive number of universes, this is still but a small, insignificant particle in just one dimension of the universe.” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
When I read Master's Fa, a thought came into my mind: Can this be true? I immediately realized that this shows distrust in Master and the Fa. It is interference. So, I immediately got rid of this bad thought.
“Things here in this world are illusory, however, and the way in which one cultivates has you cultivate precisely amidst faith and doubt.” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
I understand that the Fa has the power to eliminate what is wrong. When I have bad thoughts and want to eliminate them, as long as I am serious about it, the bad thoughts will immediately be destroyed amidst the Fa study. Thank you, Master!
“It is necessary for a Dafa disciple to ensure his cultivation on a daily basis.” (“A Reminder”)
When participating in the 2017 New York Fa Conference, a Dafa practitioner said that his colleague said they respect him the most because no matter how much pressure he is under, he can still maintain a smile. This sentence left a very deep impression on me because when I first heard it, my reaction was that I will definitely not be able to do it.
Recently, in an overtime weekend job, the manager assigned a large amount of work to me and requested that I complete it within a very short time. It was a task that was impossible for a person to complete alone. While doing the job, I felt the pressure building up, and it was inevitable that I would complain about the company management being unkind, and not clear in job distribution. However, I soon realized that as a cultivator, this is the process of cultivation. I therefore kept reminding myself that this was a part of cultivation and it is to “ensure his cultivation on a daily basis.” (“A Reminder”)
I also used the practitioner’s sentence I mentioned above to keep encouraging myself that I must maintain my smile. I refused to believe that I could not maintain a smile under pressure. I kept reminding and encouraging myself until I finished the job. I did not know if people saw me during the process, but when I completed the job, the colleague beside me kept giving me a thumbs up. Although I had a hard time passing through this ordeal, I managed to persist through completing the job and achieved the task of maintaining a smile under pressure. This was something that I would not have imagined happening two years ago.
Dafa practitioners have families and jobs, but we also need to study the Fa, practice the exercises, clarify the truth to save sentient beings and cultivate diligently. During this process, we also need to deal with sentient beings who are not able to understand our cause. Sometimes, we will even have to face criticisms and be scolded. Although we are not having an easy time, as living beings in this universe, saving sentient beings is such an honorable task!
“Just the other day I was saying, “Think about who gets to [have the privilege of] becoming a Dafa disciple.” It takes extraordinary destiny.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2019 New York Fa Conference”)
As a Dafa practitioner, I can only repay Master’s great benevolence through cultivating diligently.
Master warned us,
“...having made it through to the final phase, we should do even better at what we are supposed to do, for things are all the more critical toward the end.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2019 New York Fa Conference”)
I hope that the fellow practitioners and I can make good use of the remaining time to cultivate well, do well the three things that Master wants us to do, and save more sentient beings at the last stage of Fa rectification.
(Presented at the 2019 New Zealand Fa Conference)