My Six-Year Cultivation Journey
(Minghui.org) I came to the U.S. 20 years ago, right after I graduated from high school in China. After I graduated from college, I worked at two major private banks in the U.S. for nearly ten years. I interacted with many high-end clients and moved in mainstream social circles. After getting married and having children, I was very busy with them and my career. Although I lived very well, I felt an emptiness in my heart. I went to church several times, but I still felt empty.
Six years ago I participated in a community event organized by a local radio station, the “Sound of Hope.” That day I met a woman who volunteered for the event. We kept in touch and she eventually introduced me to Falun Dafa. With her encouragement, I started reading two books, Zhuan Falun and Falun Gong, at the end of 2013. Gradually, I began to practice Falun Dafa and my outlook on life changed completely. I felt renewed! My life had new meaning and a new direction. Looking back over my six-year cultivation journey I feel that this opportunity is hard to come by. I’d like to tell you some of my experiences.
My Husband Offers Me Cultivation Opportunities
My husband is a westerner and his family is Christian. He knows very little about Chinese traditional culture and didn’t know anything about cultivation. After I began practicing he read some articles on the Internet that criticized Dafa, so he could not understand why I practiced and he had strong resistance.
In the early days of my cultivation when I didn’t do well or didn’t follow his wishes, he would say that it was because I practiced Falun Dafa. Then he’d repeat something negative about Dafa that he read on the Internet. Every time I heard him saying something negative, I felt very uncomfortable and my heart was heavy. I wanted to tell him several times what cultivation was and the truth about Falun Dafa. But because I had a mind full of resentment and fighting, I could not convince him. Instead, I had given him an opportunity to say something negative about me. On the surface, I endured it, and didn’t argue with him. But my heart was unsettled and I had a lot of negative thoughts about my husband.
I tried to escape by avoiding even the mention of Dafa. I also avoided practicing or doing Dafa-validation projects in front of him. I also rarely went out to practice or to participate in the large group studies. Finally I had the courage to tell him that I was going to the group meeting to read the Fa with other practitioners. His face sank and he said that because I practiced Falun Dafa, I didn’t care about our family.
Although I went to the big group study that day, I kept thinking about my family. For a long time my husband’s lack of support troubled me, but I didn’t know what to do about it.
“When you truly become a cultivator, become a Dafa disciple openly and nobly, everything will change.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. V)
I looked inside and found that I was driven by “sentimentality” when I faced my husband’s lack of understanding and support for my cultivation. I was afraid of what he'd say. Although I endured on the surface, my heart was angry. I felt that he was not able to be saved. Because I didn’t study Fa in depth and lacked righteous thoughts, I chose to avoid conflict so our family atmosphere would remain calm. Time passed, but my husband still had misunderstandings about Falun Dafa. My cultivation environment at home remained unstable.
I realized that I must be honest and behave as a cultivator in front of my husband. First of all, I had to let go of my negative thoughts and notions about him. I should be kind and truly care about his needs. For example: he wanted to have breakfast at six in the morning. I began getting up early. After finishing the sitting meditation exercise, I go downstairs to make breakfast and prepare his lunch. When he arrives home in the evening, dinner is ready. I do most of the housework and take care of the children’s classes and tutoring assignments. I always remind myself to face any family conflicts that may come up unexpectedly with a peaceful and calm attitude.
Now that my heart has more goodwill for my husband and I complain less, I can see his good qualities. He shoulders all the economic responsibilities and burdens of our family. He’s also dedicated to our children. I also suddenly discovered that my husband’s disapproval and resistance to my cultivation is a tribulation on the surface, but it’s also helping me to improve in cultivation. As a Dafa disciple, it’s necessary to have a stable family. I made up my mind to let go of my “sentimentality” towards my husband, calmly face his misunderstanding of Dafa, and help him untie the knot in his heart.
My Children Help Me Eliminate My Impatience
I have two young children who need my care. I’m very impatient, and taking care of them really exposed my agitation. I blamed them for doing things too slowly. Every day I told them, “Get out of bed. Hurry up and eat, brush your teeth, go to sleep. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” When they couldn’t keep up with my pace, I would raise my voice. Sometimes I’d lose my temper and scold them. It made the children become as impatient as I was. Sometimes when they didn’t know how to express how frustrated and anxious my pushing them made them feel, they would mimic me and raise their voices, then they’d cry. I was physically and mentally exhausted, and even more anxious.
I was frequently irritable before I began practicing Falun Dafa. After I started cultivating I knew that I had to restrain my emotions. But I didn’t pay much attention to it in my family, especially with regard to my own children.
“You all know the Fa is good, that you should safeguard the Fa, that you have to do certain things, and that you have to go save sentient beings and validate the Fa, then when your righteous thoughts aren't up to par your human thoughts get mixed in. Then this makes you agitated like an ordinary person gets, and some people even feel like they've just got to insist on their own ideas, and this, combined with some other factors, has resulted in some situations that shouldn't happen among Dafa disciples. ” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. II)
After reading this, I realized that being irritable is a state of ordinary people. A practitioner who cultivates well is easy-going and calm, and always has a compassionate and peaceful attitude.
“The state of your cultivation will manifest itself in every aspect of your life. It’s not about doing something intentionally, as if you are doing something with intention; then you are forcing things. Yet as cultivators, we should have restraint and a calm mind. Do everything with a kind heart, for that is what we should do, and it can’t be called an attachment.” (Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference)
I realize that I had to get rid of this stubborn impatience, because there’s a selfish mindset behind it. I read a fellow practitioner’s sharing on the Minghui website that, “An impatient mind is an acquired notion, as well as a reflection of the Party culture. Being impatient can make good things bad and is not kind or tolerant. It’s against Dafa’s principles.”
On the surface, I want to focus on doing the three things. I felt no one should disturb me. The children should not waste my time or affect my ability to save people. In fact, all my thoughts were about me: “My time is precious, my project can’t be delayed.” I did not take into account that my two children are still young. They need my care, my love, and my attention. I should be patient and care for them. They also came here for Dafa. They are also little disciples, my little fellow practitioners. As a mother, I not only have to educate them well, but I also have the responsibility to guide them to practice Dafa.
I decided to spend three days a week studying the Fa with my eldest daughter. Because her main language is English, she recognized few Chinese characters. I didn’t know how to help her read the teachings in Chinese. I would let her hold a copy of Zhuan Falun while I read the words in Chinese. I had her point to the words and follow me as I read.
I often read on Minghui.org that children followed their parents to read the teachings and they are able to read the words in Zhuan Falun. So, I picked a word we had read many times and asked my daughter if she remember or not. She shook her head. I asked her another word, and she shook her head again. I thought, we have read these two words several times, why don’t you remember? After a few times, she realized what I was thinking. She was not willing to read the Fa and had tears in her eyes. I realized that even though I took the time to read the Fa with her, my eagerness and pursuit did not help and she couldn’t read or understand the words.
If I took the time to help her learn the Fa, I could only read a few pages. When this thought surfaced, I realized that it was wrong. This was another manifestation of my “selfishness.” I immediately apologized to her and sent righteous thoughts to clear myself.
A few days later, another practitioner told me that I needed to explain the meaning of the words when teaching children to read Dafa. To read and not understand the Fa, was useless. I thanked the practitioner for her insight. I set aside the desire to make progress, as well as the incorrect idea that children could learn by themselves. I studied the Fa with my daughter with a peaceful of mind. After reading a few words, I explained to her the meaning of the characters. Soon, she could understand the meaning. We can now read for at least half an hour each time. I don’t push her to make progress.
Master said, “Cultivation depends on one’s own efforts, while the transformation of gong is done by one’s master.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun) What makes me happy is that she is willing to learn the Fa with me. While I read a few words with her and then explained the sentence, I found that I had new understandings and new enlightenment of Master’s Fa. I know that Master is encouraging me.
Cultivating While Promoting Shen Yun
I rarely attended the meetings to read the teachings with the main group of practitioners. One time when I went, the local Shen Yun project coordinator said that she hoped everyone could help by finding advertising sponsors. After I heard this I felt that I needed to do my part and help find advertising sponsors for the performance in December. I decided that I would spend at least two hours each day looking for sponsors.
I started by looking at a local magazine. Several famous brand name jewelry stores and high-end hotels advertised in this magazine every month. So I phoned them. Two practitioners and I went to affluent areas and several different brand-name businesses to ask for advertising sponsorship. Some store managers were very warm and friendly. They told us that the decision was made by the head office and gave us contact information. Some were indifferent. Regardless of their attitude, we used the opportunity to tell them about Shen Yun. Many people said that they had not heard of Shen Yun, or thought that it was a dance company from China. Through our brief introduction they had a new understanding, and also said that when Shen Yun came they would consider attending.
I also called some large hotels but I couldn’t find the key person to talk to. After I made more than a dozen calls, I began to feel a little hopeless. Negative thoughts began to rise, but I quickly realized that it was just my human mindset. I couldn’t follow these negative thoughts.
Master said, “I would encourage you to really try to keep coming to the class, however unwell you might feel. Your symptoms will vanish once you get to class, and you won’t be at risk. A true spiritual teaching is hard to come by, so don’t let whatever you might be going through physically get to you.” (The Second Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I realized that the “sickness” that Master was talking about was exactly the loss and frustration I felt. Why did I feel this way? When I examined myself, I saw my attachments to fame and fortune, and that I wanted quick success. With such impure motives how could my words touch others? I needed to quickly rectify my mind according to the Fa, adjust my mindset, and continue to contact more hotels with righteous thoughts.
I contacted a hotel near the theater where Shen Yun was to perform. The marketing manager took the call directly and was very interested in sponsorship. I contacted the Shen Yun coordinator and we met with the marketing manager. When the coordinator learned that I made connection with this hotel, she was very surprised. She said that she always wanted to find a practitioner to help contact this hotel because it was very close to the theater. After a few negotiations, the manager not only reduced the price of the rooms, but also agreed to sponsor advertising.
Finding advertising sponsors for Shen Yun was a profound cultivation experience. The other practitioners and I maintained righteous thoughts as we faced different people and their different reactions. We sincerely cooperated, trusted each other, and encouraged each other to visit most of the famous brand stores in the Bay Area. I felt that this was our opportunity to share the sacred mission of Shen Yun with people. Thank you, Master, for your arrangement.
Six years ago when I learned that Dafa teaches people to be good, I felt that Dafa was good, and I casually began. I later realized how lucky I was to practice the true teaching that helps people return to their original true-self while still living in this materialistic world. No words can express my gratitude to our great Master. I must study the Fa well, place others before myself, and do the three things that Master requires of us. I must genuinely practice, fulfill my pre-historic vows, and follow Master to return home.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners! Please kindly correct me if anything I’ve said is inappropriate.
(Presented at the 2019 San Francisco Fa Conference)