(Minghui.org) I’d like to tell you about my cultivation experiences over the past few years.

We Should Truly Cultivate Ourselves

My parents moved to the U.S. in 2004 and lived with me. My practitioner mother passed away due to illness karma in 2014. My father did not practice but was always supportive. He even scolded and stopped the police when they tried to arrest my mother in China. However, his attitude towards Falun Dafa changed dramatically after mother passed away. He thought mom caught a cold during the winter while distributing the Shen Yun Special Edition, which later turned into sickness karma. He started to say disrespectful things about Master and Dafa. He also stopped watching New Tang Dynasty TV and reading The Epoch Times newspaper. He usually said something negative when he heard mention of “Shen Yun.”

I tried to explain what happened. I used all the reasoning I could think of from Dafa’s teachings, but nothing I said changed his attitude. Our discussions usually turned into arguments. We both defended our viewpoints and refused to listen to the other one. We got angrier and angrier. In the end I even said, “You will receive retribution if you keep saying disrespectful things about Dafa and Master.” My father said that he was not afraid.

I decided to write what I had to say in a letter. I used everyday people’s terms, with rationality and compassion, trying to eliminate his misunderstandings. I decided to write the letter because he constantly interrupted me whenever I talked to him. I handed him the ten-page letter before going to work one day and asked him to read it. He didn’t say anything when I got home. I didn’t bring up the topic either since I wrote down everything I wanted to say in the letter. I felt that his attitude softened a little, but there was no fundamental change.

I still could not mention Falun Dafa. If I mentioned it a little bit he immediately said something negative. When I noticed that he read the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) websites that attacked Dafa, I blocked them.

He cursed at me when I attended the group Fa study. Sometimes he asked me to turn off the music when I did the exercises. I said, “This is my house. You can leave if you don’t want to stay here.” He said he wanted to go back to China, but I didn’t want him to go, as he might lose the chance to be saved. I was worried that he would also spread his negative attitude about Dafa to relatives and friends in China, and generate even more karma for himself.

I kept thinking about why I couldn’t change him. I thought what I said to him was very convincing. When I examined myself, I found a fundamental problem. I had a very strong connection to my mother since childhood, but I didn’t have much affection towards my father. I despised him from my heart, thinking he was incapable at work and lazy at home. He also had a bad temper. Actually, he was not bad. He did not like the CCP. He did not join any communist organizations, not even the Communist Young Pioneers. He read Falun Dafa books and did the exercises for a while, but stopped after his health did not improve. He also did not believe in supernormal things. I looked down on him for this.

With a heart like this, how could I get a positive result when I tried to clarify the truth to him? Master said,

“It’s actually because the words you say contain all of your thoughts. Your sentences have complicated thoughts included in them, such as your human emotions and desires, and even those many attachments of yours. That makes your words not so powerful and rather diluted.” (Teachings at the Conference in Switzerland)

Master also said,

“Clarifying the truth is not limited to stating things clearly by reasoning. You know what? When ordinary people are reasoning among themselves, very often, it's not that things are explained clearly through reasoning, rather, it's the thing that he shoots over when he speaks that suppresses the thought of the other party, and so the other party listens to him and believes what he says. Many people can see this thing. While clarifying the truth to ordinary people, your energy will disintegrate those prejudices and dissolve those bad things, the bad things in his mind. Isn't that in itself saving people? If you do not cultivate, how can you have that ability?” (“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”)

I knew that I needed to eliminate my notions towards him, drop my expectations, and truly care for him. I needed to develop compassion for him.

He asked me to take him to Europe in 2018. I didn’t want to go since we would be gone for a week. Fellow practitioners suggested that I should conform to everyday people’s norms. So, I bought tickets and we went to France. He had the symptoms of early stage Alzheimer’s disease by then and walked slowly.

There were many couples on the streets of Paris, but I went there with an old man who walked slowly and thought we were in Canada. He defecated in his pants one day and I cleaned him up. When I helped him put on clean pants, he said, “Thank you.” This was the first time that I heard him thanking me in this sincere tone! I said it was what I was supposed to do.

“There are just not that many ‘supposed-to-dos,’” he said.

I replied, “Then, if you want to thank someone, please thank Dafa.”

“Okay,” he said, “I thank Dafa.”

At that moment, I knew he had changed.

He no longer remembered my name due to the Alzheimer’s disease. He thought I was his brother. But he remembered Master’s name. He once asked me, “How is Mr. Li Hongzhi?” I was surprised since he had not addressed Master as “Mister” before. Now every morning after finishing breakfast, I turned on the music of Pudu and ask him what was the first thing he should do each day.

He replied, “Recite ‘Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!’” He has forgotten almost everything but remembers this most important sentence.

Now after more than a year of reciting “Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!”, his hereditary high blood pressure, which was diagnosed at a young age, and that he suffered from throughout his adult life, is completely gone.

I need to take care of him for everything. I noticed a pattern: Whenever I’m not patient and had complaining thoughts about him, he soiled in his pants the next day. He didn’t even notice that he did this. It would take me an hour to clean him up. When I was in a good state, he rarely soiled in his pants. I knew he didn’t do it on purpose, since this was beyond his mental capability. I realized that this was helping me to eliminate my attachment to complaining. It was time for me to truly let go of hatred and take suffering as joy.

Master said,

“This especially holds true in the Fa-rectification period, where all of the cosmos’s beings, both positive and negative, want to be saved. And that includes even the unimaginably massive gods at the highest of planes, as well as, notably, the sentient beings of their worlds. It is because of this that they have managed to have a presence in the human world, and in the Three Realms. Could they forgo this once-in-eons opportunity to be saved? “You have to save me”—they all utter this, imploring to be saved. But the way this comes across is not what one would expect by using the kind of reasoning and comprehension found in the human world, such as how you must be courteous and humble when asking for help—“As you are here to save me, I must first express my gratitude toward you, and I will do my part to make it easier”—it’s nothing like that. As they see it, “If you are to save me, you have to reach my level first, and you must have this measure of mighty virtue before you can save me. Without such mighty virtue, without having reached my stature, how could you save me?” So they would have you trip and fall, suffer, and eliminate your attachments, after which, with your mighty virtue having been established, you will have cultivated to that level and be able to save them. That’s how they want to have it.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)

Eliminating Attachments to Fame and Self Interest

When I left my position at the university in 2008, I received four job offers in two weeks. I did not pick the one that had the highest salary offer and best company name. Instead, I picked a non-profit organization close to my home. I thought that this would give me more flexible time and less workload. It was also easy for me to take days off and participate in events to clarify the truth. However, I also knew there was not much growth opportunity in this position. I felt that I had let go of my attachments to fame and self interest by then and taken the Fa as the most important thing.

A few years ago, my organization spent 150,000 dollars to hire a renowned data company to do a project. It also spent a decent amount to hire an outside company to maintain it. I told my organization that I could do it and do it better. I spent a few months taking classes. I then developed a model using the new algorithms I learned. My output was better than the consulting company’s. However, the non-technical manager didn’t believe that my result could beat the outside company’s, and even questioned my method.

The market said that the prediction from my model was good, and met the expectation. Some colleagues praised me, but the organization remained silent. I felt this was unfair, as my better results and significant cost savings didn’t get much recognition from the organization. I thought the organization didn’t respect talent, and maybe it was time for me to move on. I began looking for other jobs.

I found excuses from the Fa, such as one of my classmates was the chief architect at a famous software company, and another was VP at a big bank. If I had a prestigious title it would help me better clarify the truth to people. Though those reasons looked good on the surface, I knew my attachments to fame and self-interest were exposed.

Master said,

“It is more difficult for a young person to conduct himself or herself well. This person usually seems pretty good, and when he doesn’t have many abilities in ordinary human society, he cares little for fame and self-interest. Once he becomes well-known, though, oftentimes he is easily interfered with by fame and profit.” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)

I knew that if I got what everyday people considered a “better job,” I could make several tens of thousands of dollars more, but my workload would be twice as large. Everyday people say, “time is money.” For practitioners who are trying to save people, precious little time is available. What I truly need is time. I decided not to change my job, but this interfered with me for a few months.

I looked inward to see why my heart was so moved even though I thought I had given up attachments to fame and self-interest. I realized that my cultivation state had regressed. I was not as diligent as before in doing the exercises and Fa study.

I began memorizing Zhuan Falun in 2006. I thought that each time I memorized the book it should be easier and faster. However, this did not happen. The main reason was that I spent less time on it. I did not have a set time to study the Fa. Many times, I postponed Fa study as other urgent things came up. When I finally had time, I usually became sleepy. I knew this state was dangerous.

The Minghui website in Chinese posted a series of articles, “What I See about Long-Term Illness from My Angle of Enlightenment” in 2014. It pointed out many common issues among practitioners. I learned a lot from it. One phenomenon mentioned was “Diligent on the surface while lax at the root.” I felt that I was in that category.

I sometimes wondered why many people who had terminal illnesses became well after practicing Falun Dafa, but some practitioners died due to illness karma. For those with terminal diseases who truly want to cultivate, they cultivate sincerely—from their hearts. Their motive is not to cure their disease via cultivation. Their xinxing elevated from the everyday people level to that of a cultivator. How big of a jump that is! If we want to come out of severe illness karma, our xinxing also needs to significantly improve, then our bodies will also undergo corresponding changes.

Xinxing improvement is done gradually over time. Master said:

“A person’s every thought is built on a long period of cultivation.” (“Teaching the Fa in New York City,” Lectures in the United States)

If we haven’t improved in certain areas of our cultivation, it will be hard for us to do so when we are faced with a critical tribulation.

Master said,

“That is, although our discipline refines a person very quickly, will this person’s remaining lifetime be enough for cultivation? Strictly speaking, it’s enough for anyone, regardless of how old they are. But there is one point: Most of us cannot handle things well. You say that you can handle things well, but you actually can’t, because you haven’t reached that high of a realm in cultivation, and your heart has not reached that high of a standard, so you can’t handle things well.” (Fa-Teaching Given at the Conference in Sydney)

I now have a set time to study the Fa online with other practitioners for an hour every day. In about five months we have read all of Master’s teachings. Memorizing the Fa is hard to coordinate with other practitioners, so I still need to set a time to do this on my own. This is something that I need to break through.

Changing My Thinking

As a child I developed the habit of thinking about everything. I tended to think in a negative way and I worried about all kinds of things. Because I studied science and technology I formed a very strong way of thinking using logical reasoning based on empirical science.

I found my thinking habits and processes severely blocked me, even though I might not realize it. Because I studied the Fa with the habits I developed in scientific learning, many times I was just going in circles. For example, I imagined how I should handle myself if I became angry during a conflict.

Master said,

“Practicing Ren doesn’t mean you practice Ren after you have become upset; rather, you should not become upset in the first place.” (“Teaching the Fa and Answering Questions in Guangzhou,” Zhuan Falun Fajie)

I also imagined how I would let go of all attachments when I ran into a big tribulation or faced illness karma. Master said,

“Today I read a report on the Minghui website. A student was beaten so badly that her legs were smashed and broken into pieces, and they didn’t set her bones before applying a cast. It never even occurred to the student that she would become handicapped because of this. She didn’t pay any attention to it at all. She just studied the Fa every day, and her righteous thoughts were very strong. When she was able to sit up a little bit, she started to do the exercises.” (Teachings at the 2005 Conference in San Francisco)

“What are “righteous thoughts” about? That is what righteous thoughts are about.” (Teachings at the 2005 Conference in San Francisco)

A fellow practitioner pointed out my gap, “This logic-type thinking traps oneself in a fabricated cultivation illusion; thus cultivation becomes like a merry-go-around: it keeps circling around without moving up.” I didn’t agree with this at first, but later I realized it was true.

In the process of understanding the Fa and eliminating attachments, I also tend to fall into a formula-style logical way of thinking. Einstein once said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.” A “servant” means that we can use it when we want to, but not when we don’t. We are the ones who direct our servants, not the ones who are dominated by them. We need to use logical thinking in everyday people’s work, especially in scientific research. But the formula-based logical way of thinking is a serious obstacle in cultivation practice.

As I spent more time studying the Fa, I found that my way of thinking changed gradually. I no longer had a strong pursuit to do cultivation. I had a deeper understanding of “Wuwei is the great way.” (Teachings at the First Conference in North America) I no longer tried to cultivate in my imagination, but rather just cultivate as situations came along. I no longer think of negative results when an issue occurs. If my negative thoughts come out, I identify them as negative and stop them. I no longer easily get stuck in “logic.”

This change is not something that I achieved through pursuit. The solution is to calm down, study the Fa, and immerse oneself in the Fa. Then changes naturally happen.

Of course, I still have certain kinds of logical thinking, as it is deeply rooted in me. I believe as long I keep studying the Fa and cultivating, it will gradually lessen. Cultivation is about gradually jumping out of the human way of thinking and structure, to eventually reach a god’s state.

Improving My Skills

While doing truth clarification to Western society, I found that some practitioners suffered extremely brutal persecution, but the way their stories were told was not that touching. Other practitioners didn’t suffer as much but the way they talked about their experiences was quite moving. This shows the difference in expression and communication skills.

I began paying attention to my English writing skills. I realized that it was not good to listen to the Fa while driving as I could not focus on what Master said. I purchased some audiobooks on English writing and communication. I listen to them while I drive or when I take a walk with my dad. I have listened to about ten books and learned quite a lot. I also read about English writing while eating. When I read a wonderful sentence in the English Epoch Times or other media, I write it down. I have been improving my English writing and communication skills over time.

Cherishing the Opportunity To Cultivate

I helped tow a Falun Dafa float in 2002 so practitioners could participate in local parades. One day, I needed to get a banner from my car. When I opened the trunk I suddenly had a strong feeling that the countless gods in the cosmos envied me because I could validate Dafa in the human world. I wasn’t thinking about this, so I wasn’t sure how this idea came into my mind. My celestial eye isn’t open—but that feeling was so strong that I immediately shed tears. Years later I still recall that moment vividly.

I hope we all cherish this opportunity that countless gods admire, to cultivate ourselves and validate the Fa well in the human world. Let’s all walk the final steps on our cultivation paths well!

Chinese version available

Category: Journeys of Cultivation