Cultivating with My Daughter
(Minghui.org) Greeting benevolent Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
I started practicing Falun Dafa in September 1998. My daughter is now 18 years old. For more than ten years we experienced ups and downs together. It is only because of Master’s protection that we have been able to stay on our cultivation path. I’d like to tell you about some of our cultivation experiences.
When my daughter was 4 years old, I started to take her with me to study the Fa and do the exercises. When she was 6 years old, our family of three moved to South Korea. At that time, I was very strict with her. I brought her to group exercise and Fa study every day. She did the exercises like an adult, for 2 hours a day. We studied one chapter in Zhuan Falun in group study, and I then read Master’s recent articles with her. When we went out, I recited the Fa, and she quietly listened. I communicated with her from the Fa’s perspective when anything happened. For example, when buying cold drinks, I told her that I found my attachment to food; when clarifying the truth to a salesperson, I found that I had an attachment to saving face, etc.
At first she just listened, but later she slowly started to share some of her experiences with me. For instance, she told me that a little boy in kindergarten kicked her, but she was not angry, for the boy gave her virtue (de).
Another time, she had a fever for a few days. Her forehead was burning hot to the touch. I sent righteous thoughts for her and let her listen to Master’s lectures and music, but it didn’t work. She then wept and said, “Mom, I can’t bear it anymore.” I felt a little unstable and thought she was a child after all. I didn’t know how much she understood the Fa. I asked her, “Do you think you are sick? Or, are you eliminating karma?” She immediately said, “I'm eliminating karma.” Within 24 hours her fever was gone.
I had a sudden and intense manifestation of sickness karma one day. The old forces were eager to drag me away. I strengthened my Fa study and main consciousness. It was extremely difficult, and I felt discouraged and hopeless. My daughter’s celestial eye was open at that time, and she often saw scenes in other dimensions. She occasionally told me what she saw to encourage me. For example, she told me there was a lotus on my head and on her head as well; she told me what color they were. When she saw me in a low mood one day, she encouraged me: “Mom, don’t be discouraged. You find it difficult now, just like pushing a very heavy door open. But, then, there is another door. And when you push that door open, there is another door. But when you open the last door and come out, you will look back and find that you have gone very far.” I was inspired by her words. Afterwards, I often used this story to encourage fellow practitioners who were enduring sickness karma.
The Big Dye Vat of Ordinary Society
“Some Dafa disciples’ children didn’t really have any notions when they were young, and they did the exercises along with the adults and behaved pretty well. Since they were young kids, their Third Eyes could see some scenes and it was helpful to you too. But once they grew up, they developed their own notions and became strongly influenced by society; if you are too lenient with them, they will just follow the trends.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference”)
We moved to Canada when my daughter was nine years old. In the beginning she remained diligent. But after being exposed to society, especially interacting with ordinary children in school all day, she slowly started to follow the crowd. Being affected by ordinary people’s notions, she began to challenge my advice and rebel against me.
For example, her school is right across the street from our apartment. I told her not to jaywalk, but to cross at the traffic lights. At first, she did as I said. However, one day she said to me unhappily, “Mom, I look so stupid. I walk with my schoolmates, and when everyone else jaywalked, I had to go the long way. And I don’t know anything about the topics my classmates are talking about. I can’t even talk.” Sometimes she complained that she never enjoyed herself. Her parents never took her out to do fun things, she didn’t eat anything good, and she didn't have new clothes. Her Chinese classmates kept bragging about how rich they were, what brand names they bought, and where they traveled, which all made her very uncomfortable.
She later said that her two best friends bullied her. She was miserable, no longer wanted to go to school, and sometimes she didn’t want to live anymore. I noticed that she looked unhappy every day when she came back from school. During that period of time, she only studied the Fa a little and rarely did the exercises. She seldom sent righteous thoughts. She said that cultivation was too hard, and she no longer wanted to practice.
When I saw her mental state, I was very anxious. I kept encouraging her and told her that Dafa disciples were different from ordinary children, and were cultivators with high morals. I felt that my words were empty, however, and I couldn’t give her any substantial help. She later became hooked on the Internet and began watching videos on social media. She watched videos from 3:00 p.m. when she returned from school, until I came home from work. I sometimes became angry and unplugged the Internet cable so that she couldn’t access the Internet after school. She complained angrily that she couldn’t do her homework or anything at home.
I was very sad when I saw the change in this young disciple who had been so diligent. When she was in a better state, she said, “Mom, I feel like a flower. Although the petals have withered, my roots are still grounded in Dafa. Sometimes, I really want to run to a large rock in a park to study the Fa by myself for all day. But I can’t do that. I am really struggling.” Hearing those words, I felt as if a knife was piercing my heart. I cried my heart out behind her back. After I calmed down, I started looking inside.
Realizing I Needed To Look Inward
First of all, I needed to let go of my affection for my child. Everyone has their own destiny. Being moved so much by affection, complaining, finger-pointing, or feeling sad would not help my child at all.
Second, I realized I had gone to an extreme by not providing my daughter with a normal environment. I enclosed her and myself in a circle of cultivators. We did no recreational activities, and she had not learned some of the things necessary for ordinary people’s lives. I did not provide guidance to my child on how to get along with her classmates. She felt totally out of place in an ordinary environment.
The hardship of the living environment and fear of persecution in Korea did not allow my daughter to see anything about cultivation’s positive side, like brightness, nobility, and honor. She saw cultivation only as hard work, being discriminated against, and being persecuted. Behind this extreme approach, there was actually selfishness. I didn’t want to waste time arranging my child’s activities in ordinary life. I would rather leave time for myself to study the Fa.
Thirdly, and also most importantly, I found my CCP culture. I imposed my ideas on others. I forced my child to accept my opinion, and often punished her wrongdoings in a forceful way. I had no tolerance or kindness, which led to the child’s conflict and rebellion.
My daughter liked to talk with a female practitioner from Taiwan. Every time I saw them talking, they seemed happy. What was the difference between me and this fellow practitioner? I discovered later that no matter what my daughter complained about, this Taiwanese practitioner would listen happily and express her understanding. She did not tell my daughter to look inward or tell her that she should be a better practitioner. First, she would affirm my child’s good points, and then use Master's Fa to encourage her to improve. I found that this Taiwanese practitioner did not just say things to comfort my daughter. She truly spoke from her heart. I felt that she could always understand others’ shortcomings, and never criticized or imposed a standard on the child. As long as the child made a little progress, she was sincerely happy for her. What my daughter got from her was always positive motivation with understanding and encouragement. But what she got from me was often a blow or criticism.
After comparing the difference in the way I treated my daughter, I decided to change, and treat my child’s problems with benevolence and tolerance. I acknowledged the difficulties of a young disciple’s cultivation and cherished her persistence in continuing to practice in this chaotic world. I started to carefully choose birthday gifts for my child, and surprised her by writing some words of praise and encouragement on her birthday card.
I took her to a popular family park, and had fun with her. In the past, I let her play by herself while I stood on the side and recited the Fa. I also took her to movies that she liked. Afterward, we discussed the movie enthusiastically. I guided her to think about the good and bad aspects of the movie using Dafa’s standards. My daughter chatted very happily.
I no longer viewed these things as an ordinary person’s attachment and a waste of time. I hoped that my sincere efforts would help my child feel unconditional love and support from a parent/fellow practitioner. When I had tribulations, she did not blame me or ask me anything. Instead, she gave me a lot of help and encouragement. Looking back at my behavior, what I did was really inadequate.
My daughter’s situation improved, but she still fluctuated. I tried to remind myself not to be affected, not to be attached to the result. As long as I thought it was right, I persevered and did not give up.
An Unexpected Tribulation
While my daughter was on a school break in 2016, my husband suffered from illness karma and suddenly passed away. My daughter was in the United States attending spring camp for a week. When she returned home and learned that her father had died, she couldn’t believe it. She was devastated and wept for several days.
During that time, the teachers from the Minghui School and several fellow practitioners provided us with a lot of support. They often brought their children to stay with my daughter. They sympathized with us and encouraged us. I was under great pressure. I had to take care of my husband’s funeral, and deal with his family's misunderstandings. I also had to attend to my Dafa project and take care of my daughter at the same time. I was in a low mood every day after I finished work.
In order not to let my negative emotions affect my child, I went to a place on the top floor of the apartment building after work, where I quietly sent righteous thoughts or studied the Fa for a while. When my mood stabilized, I went downstairs with a smile on my face and talked to my daughter. At that time, I strongly felt that our Master was by my side, taking care of me and my child. I saw the magic of Dafa in many things, and my heart was filled with ease and warmth.
My daughter’s mood gradually stabilized. This incident was a major hit for her. But at the same time, she also realized the seriousness of cultivation and how transient life is. I felt that my child’s cultivation state improved little by little after this incident. She began to study the Fa seriously, and studied more than before.
Young Disciple Learns To Practice by Herself
When I saw the notice for applying to Fei Tian School in the United States, I encouraged my daughter to sign up, but she hesitated. I hoped she could make a decision, so that she could slowly learn to walk by herself and take responsibility for her actions. I said, “I wish you could go to Fei Tian, but I don’t want to force you. You decide whether you want to go or not. But I hope that once you decide, you don’t change your mind, and continue the journey no matter how difficult it is.” She thought about it for a while and said, “Mom, I decided to go to Fei Tian, because I can’t give up dancing.” Then, she said, “Mom, I chose the hardest path.” I encouraged her and said, “You did very well. You should be proud of yourself. I am proud of you. I will be your strongest supporter.”
My daughter found it very hard to adjust to her life there when she first arrived at Fei Tian. She complained almost every time when she called me. I always listened quietly. I knew that she needed someone to talk to, but I was not moved by her emotions. When she finished complaining, I always encouraged her by saying that I understood her very well, and as a fellow practitioner, I admired her greatly. She could accomplish all things in such a difficult environment. She could endure hardships. As the first group of students in Fei Tian, they would be recorded in history, which was extremely glorious and fortunate. So, she should keep on going.
Meanwhile, I tried to study the Fa more frequently with her. However, she could not go on the Internet as needed, and this made it hard to study on the Internet platform. Plus, she returned to the dormitory late at night. If she read out loud, it would affect other students in the dormitory. Then, I came up with an idea. I called her at night, and she listened to me read the Fa with her headphones. I often fell asleep when reading the Fa because it was so late. So I went outside, reading while walking on the sidewalk, and found myself quite focused. My daughter also said that she could study better in this way.
We had a long talk over the phone every weekend. We shared some experiences in xinxing cultivation. She liked to listen to me and would also share some of her stories in improving xinxing. My daughter gradually adapted to her life in Fei Tian. Her cultivation made substantial progress as well. She was able to concentrate while studying the Fa, doing the exercises, and sending forth righteous thoughts.
She told me later, “Mom, thank you for not giving up when I was in such a bad state. You tried different ways to keep me from falling, and you never forced me. You are the best mother in the world.” I was deeply touched.
My daughter has now participated in the Shen Yun world tour. After experiencing some hardships, she is honoring her vow to help Master rectify the Fa and save sentient beings. Looking back at my daughter’s cultivation path, I actually did not do well. Master’s compassion provided a wonderful cultivation environment for this young disciple and helped me solve this problem.
In talking about my experience, I hope to encourage and remind fellow practitioners who have similar situations to avoid detours. I hope that everyone will work together to raise the young disciples and improve together, so as not to let Master down.
My level is limited. Please feel free to make suggestions or point out anything inappropriate.
Thank you Master! Thank you fellow practitioners!