My Mother’s Behavior Is a Mirror for My Cultivation
(Minghui.org) My mother is strong-willed and domineering, and has been a leader for most of her life. She has worked hard and been very capable in her job and at home. She still has the final say on everything, even at her advanced age of nearly 80. During the pandemic, I brought her to my home to take care of her. I live alone but now the place is bustling. It also presented opportunities to improve my character.
Finding My Hidden “Self”
After helping my mom take a shower, I took one myself. My mother helped rub my back, and said, “It's really good to have a mother, isn’t it?”
“Yes!” I replied.
In her mind, she came to my home to take care of me, not vice versa, and I am always the child in need of her care. Her position in the household cannot be shaken. But it made me look at myself and my behavior.
In the process of looking inward, I found that I was passive and unable to take the initiative in validating the Fa. For example, when other practitioners approached me about helping those suffering from sickness karma, I was often reluctant to do it, with excuses like, “I don’t know the practitioner well. I have many shortcomings in my own cultivation and wouldn’t know what to say. Others can do the same without me, or maybe they can do better than me.”
When it came to the things that I liked to do however, such as being asked to install computer operating systems, my thoughts were more positive, such as “This is what I have to do since others are not able to.”
In fact, all this was the result of my selfish mentality.
I was really shocked when I found this ego, but I also found more attachments within, such as showing-off, jealousy, complacency, and seeking comfort.
Master Li Hongzhi said,
“There's something you must pay attention to: you are validating the Fa, not validating yourselves. A Dafa disciple's responsibility is to validate the Fa. Validating the Fa is cultivation, and what you remove in the cultivation process is none other than the attachment to self; you can't, instead, go and exacerbate the problem of validating oneself, even if you do it unwittingly. When you're validating the Fa and cultivating, that is a process of removing self, and only when you do that are you really validating yourself. That's because ultimately you have to let go of all your human things, and only after you've let go of all your human attachments can you step out from the throngs of everyday people.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI )
On the day I retired and handed over the office keys, I still felt empty, even though I was mentally prepared. I thought that I was no longer valued. This was also that deep-rooted concept of “self” in play.
My Pushy Attitude
My mother decides what to eat for every meal. She was going to cook corn porridge using the smart rice cooker, but she didn't know how to use it. When I tried to correct her, she became unhappy, so I quickly shut up.
Looking at her, I couldn’t help but think of an incident that took place a few days earlier, when I forcefully imposed my opinion on another practitioner.
A practitioner had been arrested while distributing truth-clarification calendars, and other practitioners quickly organized themselves in an attempt to rescue her.
One practitioner told me that practitioner Mei’s husband’s uncle was the head of the Domestic Security Division, and that we might be able to ask him about the situation of the arrested practitioner, and at the same time clarify the truth to him.
I managed to find Mei’s home, and told her of our intention. She responded by saying, “Cultivation should not depend on appealing to others with gifts.”
I was a little bit annoyed and answered emotionally, “My fellow practitioner, we are not asking for your uncle's help by showering him with gifts. We are trying to save him.”
The air seemed frozen at that time. I realized that my pushy attitude was on display, and I tried to lighten up, but still found myself defending my actions.
I discussed this incident with other practitioners in the Fa-study group that evening, and asked for their help in finding my attachments.
One practitioner said, “Although your intention was good, you are very pushy. I find it hard to communicate with you sometimes.” Another commented, “Please pay attention to your attitude and tone of speech. Don’t always try to get your own way because you think that you are right.”
Another said, “You are a little anxious since you have emotion toward the arrested practitioner. Your impatience came out.” I nodded sincerely and thanked them for their heartfelt replies. The aggrieved feeling then suddenly disappeared. I must eliminate this pushy, domineering attitude!
Looking Inward and Cultivating Oneself
In traditional Chinese culture, filial piety comes first. How should Dafa disciples treat “filial piety”? Some practitioners volunteered to take care of their sick parents, thinking that they were in-line with ordinary people and also validating Dafa. However, doing so caused them to have no time to do the three things that practitioners should do.
Master Li said,
“Of course, while cultivating in ordinary human society, we should be good to our parents and look after our children. 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.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
Since practitioners cultivate compassion, it is not to be directed only toward one’s family, but means having compassion toward all sentient beings.
My mother was hospitalized. As her only daughter, of course, I should take care of her. I just asked myself to do what I should do, but not get upset or emotional. I made use of the time to listen to the Fa lectures and clarify the truth to others in the hospital.
I could still eat well and sleep soundly. When my mother was discharged from the hospital, I found that I had even gained weight.
My mother’s behavior is my mirror, and she has helped me to look inward and find my many attachments. Seeing her plant vegetables at the abandoned community garden, I was able to find my attachment to self-interest. Seeing her happy expression when she hears positive words, I found my attachment to seeking praise.