(Minghui.org) The first time I saw the three Chinese characters “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” was at a friend’s house in April 1996. It was also when I first heard about Falun Dafa.
It took me a full year before I decided to practice Falun Dafa—I wanted to become a better person and assimilate to the principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” It wasn’t until two years later, when the Communist regime launched a nationwide persecution against Falun Dafa, that I suddenly took cultivation seriously and I became diligent.
Twenty-four years flew by in the blink of an eye, and Falun Dafa is now practiced around the world. However, in China, where it was first introduced, practitioners have been suppressed, demonized, and persecuted. By persistently clarifying the truth about Dafa and the wrongful persecution, practitioners have shown their great compassion in the face of adversity.
I have repeatedly read Falun Dafa books, and gained a deeper understanding of Master Li’s (the founder) teachings. I improved my xinxing and cultivated compassion. I started out just trying to be a good person, and gradually enlightened to the different meanings of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” in each level of the many different realms, and became a better person in the process.
To most people I'm an understanding, kind, and gentle person. I also thought I was a good person. However, when I started practicing Falun Dafa, I read,
“Zhen-Shan-Ren is the Sole Criterion to Discern Good and Bad People” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun 2014 Translation)
There is a criterion for distinguishing good and bad people. Simply considering myself a good person doesn’t necessarily make me one. Only when a person’s words and actions are measured with, “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” can we distinguish whether they are truly good people.
When my child was still a preschooler, my father became sick and was often hospitalized. As a teacher, I was busy and taught 20 classes a week. Besides teaching in the classroom, I also had to prepare my lesson plans. I visited my parents and helped out as much as I could. As a mother, I was the one who took care of our child. At home, I did all the household chores while my husband often just sat, sipping tea and watching TV. He hardly helped around the house but was easily upset with me. I became exhausted and bitter.
While cooking one day, I thought, “He never does anything around the house but still criticizes me! I have to take care of everything yet he's not happy with me.” Suddenly, I remembered what Master said,
“A wicked person is born of jealousy.Out of selfishness and anger he complains about unfairness towards himself.A benevolent person always has a heart of compassion.With no discontentment or hatred, he takes hardship as joy.An enlightened person has no attachments at all.He quietly observes the people of the world deluded by illusions.” (“Realms,” Essentials For Further Advancement)
When I examined my thoughts, I saw that my strong feeling of unfairness put me right in the realm of being a wicked person. My thoughts reflected my selfish idea of what was right or wrong. I wanted to be comfortable like my husband. I didn’t want to work so hard, but I had to. When I saw other people relaxing and taking it easy I couldn’t handle it. My complaints, anger, and resentment all surfaced. Was I a good person?
When other people got what I wanted but I did not, I had all kinds of negative thoughts and a bad attitude. Although I took care of everything around the home, I didn’t really do it for my family. I did it because I had no choice. I felt my life was unfair and I was bitter because I had to do so much more than others.
I always thought of myself as a good person. I shouldered a lot of responsibilities in the family and I was exhausted. However, compared to the standard of Dafa, I was not even a “benevolent person,” and was far from achieving “with no discontentment or hatred, he takes hardship as joy.” (“Realms,” Essentials For Further Advancement)
At that moment I realized how I should conduct myself as a good person. I always wanted others to be nice to me. But when I did more for others than they did for me, I felt it was unfair. I was self-centered and selfish.
After I had that realization I tried to change. If my husband complained or was not happy with what I did, I first examined myself and looked for my own shortcomings.
I no longer focused on others’ negative attitudes, how unhappy they looked, or how harsh their tone of voice was. Unlike before where I always first looked at how others messed up whenever there was a problem, my first thought was to look for where I fell short. I now constantly correct myself and cultivate myself. I try to live up to the Fa, continue to improve myself, and always consider others first.
Master told us,
“You should always maintain a compassionate and calm heart. Then, when you run into a problem, you will be able to do well because it gives you some room as a buffer.” (“Improving Xinxing,” Zhuan Falun 2014 Translation)
“You should always be benevolent and kind to others and consider others when doing anything. Whenever you encounter a problem, you should first consider whether others can put up with this matter or if it will hurt anyone. In doing so, there will not be any problems. Therefore, in cultivation you should follow a higher and higher standard for yourself.” (“Improving Xinxing,” Zhuan Falun 2014 Translation)
I came home late one time after getting together with a group of friends. The lights were out and the house was dark. I opened the door carefully as not to disturb anyone and sneaked into the bathroom. Just then, my husband came out of the bedroom, infuriated. Without saying anything, he hit me while cursing. I remained calm this time and didn’t resent him. I thought of what Master told us,
“...you did not fight back when hit or talk back when cursed at.” (Fa-Teaching Given at the Conference in Sydney)
I calmly let him slap me without trying to explain. I knew that I hurt him somehow and therefore I needed to endure this so he could get rid of his anger. I understood that my husband follows his routines. By coming home late, I made him worry and disturbed his sleep.
When I examined myself further, I found that I cared about my reputation too much. When spending time with my friends, I was always reluctant to leave first. I often put my friends first at such gatherings because my husband is family. However, Master told us,
“Under all circumstances, we must be good and kind to others, not to mention to our family members. We should treat everyone in the same way. We must be good to our parents and children and be considerate of others in all respects. Such a heart is thus unselfish, and it is a heart of kindness and benevolence—it is compassion.” (“Demonic Interference From One’s Own Mind,” Zhuan Falun 2014 Translation)
The next morning, I got up early as usual and prepared breakfast for the family. I chatted with my mother-in-law with a smile on my face. I took care of our child and sent him to school.
Since that incident, I tried to manage my time wisely and be considerate of my family when I go out with friends. I spend enough time with them so I don’t hurt their feelings. My relationship with family and friends is now harmonious.
In our daily life and social interactions with others, a lot of our bad notions and attachments may surface. Our notions not only hurt ourselves and also hurt others. Jealousy is one of these attachments.
When other people are doing well, their friends or family may not be truly happy for them, instead they may feel uncomfortable. Many conflicts stem from jealousy. We feel that we’re better than others and fight with them to get the upper hand. After I became a Dafa practitioner, I realized that if we don’t get rid of jealousy, we are not truly good people.
At our year-end evaluation, the head of the department asked all staff to select two teachers who performed above and beyond in the past year. Only one teacher received more votes than I did. I was not happy and I could feel that my expression was stiff, even though I kept smiling.
I immediately realized that I was jealous and I needed to eliminate it. But how? Master told us to examine ourselves when we run into problems and look for the cause within ourselves. I carefully thought about where I fell short as a teacher.
I was surprised when I noticed a few problems. I didn’t give it my all this year. I hadn’t been flexible in my lecture style or offered a diverse curriculum. Since I avoided conflicts, I hadn’t been straightforward with my co-workers. Instead, I quietly kept my distance. But this other teacher did an excellent job. She is outgoing, dedicated, and personable. Looking at my own shortcomings and the great job she’s done, how could I be jealous? I decided to improve and become a better teacher.
As I got rid of jealousy, the dark clouds looming over my heart were gone. My heart was peaceful, and even my body seemed lighter. I thought about my co-worker's good points. I sincerely wanted to congratulate the others for their achievements.
In this big dye vat of society, I kept gradually sliding down until I began practicing Falun Dafa. With the guidance of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, I rectified myself starting with each detail, each thought, and each action, in my personal life, my work, the community, and society. I finally understand that the meaning of life is to return to our origin, our true selves.
I now know that only when one fully assimilates to the universal principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, can you be a good person. There is a criterion for distinguishing good people from bad. To be a better person, you have to hold yourself to higher standards. When we encounter problems or conflicts, we need to examine ourselves and find our own shortcomings. We should correct ourselves so we can become good, and even better people.