Starting Cultivation Anew from the Heart
I began practicing Falun Gong in the beginning of 1999. I felt great during that time. I suddenly realized many things and let go of many attachments. But when the persecution began, I collapsed right away; I felt terrified, miserable, and depressed. I refused to listen or read the slanderous propaganda, and I never doubted Dafa. Even so, I could not stand up and protect Dafa.
In 2002, due to significant lack of technical personnel, fellow practitioners suggested that I learn and take charge of our area. I began handling more and more projects, and helped solve problems from small to big. Sometimes it took me a long time to learn new skills to solve a problem. I seemed to be working endlessly and could not focus when studying the Fa, nor did I have time to do the meditation. My cultivation was stalled, and the conflicts between other practitioners and me grew more severe. After several years, I was full of resentment and gave up the projects and did not want to associate with certain practitioners at all.
Because I could not resolve the problems with fellow practitioners, I avoided them. But I could not avoid conflicts with my wife, who is also a practitioner. When we married, I thought it would be easy to get along with fellow practitioners. My wife said, “One can only see fellow practitioners cultivating well on the Minghui website. You will not find any in reality.” She was really talking about me. The more she thought that way, the less I cared for her. I felt disappointed and frustrated. I thought, “If you think others are not cultivating well, then you can try and do it well; otherwise who are you cultivating for?” I did not tell her my thoughts. She even told fellow practitioners that she would give up cultivation. We fought almost on a daily basis. I could not control my temper when I got mad; I smashed a glass cup on the floor so hard it turned to powder; I pounded my palm on the table so hard that I bruised it and my nail. When I saw my face in the mirror it was the face of a devil, and I had a vicious look in my eyes. I knew that I had dropped down, and I became even more resentful towards fellow practitioners. They used me, and now nobody cared about my cultivation state or my life or death.
The light of dawn
A fellow practitioner from out of town talked to me about safety via e-mail during the festival that year. I told him, “I might not be able to handle this anymore.” (I was very depressed since I'd had a big fight with my wife.) I told him my experiences and about my mental state. He replied, “You always worry things will go wrong, and you are intolerant of whoever does not do well, you or your fellow practitioners. You are overly critical of yourself as well as others, and you treat others harshly. You can no longer control yourself: you want to be tolerant but you cannot, you want to follow the course of nature but you cannot, and you have become stuck in this vicious cycle. It is the old forces persecuting you. Even though you have not been arrested or harassed, the old forces will use this way to destroy you.”
I felt he was right, even though I understood that one's life is arranged, including one's character and temperament. It was arranged by the old forces to try and destroy me along the way. Now that I knew that, how was I going to negate them?
That practitioner suggested I come to his city to discuss my problems in person. As soon as I decided to go, interference surfaced, but I recognized the old forces' attempts to distract me, and I resolved it was all the more reason to go.
He asked me about my main cultivation situation over the years. As he listened quietly, he analyzed step by step my fundamental attachments on the basis of the Fa. Gradually I became more active, looking and searching within. This was the first time that I had truly looked within. I did not realize that I had so many attachments and had been covering them up! It was self-deception that I thought I did not have any of these attachments, and, when they were exposed, I still could not believe that I was that way. I had so many human attachments: the mentality of fighting, showing off, resentment, jealousy, lust, fear. Several practitioners I did not know personally all sent forth righteous thoughts for me for a long period of time to eliminate those substances in other dimensions, thereby negating the old force arrangements.
I felt so strong sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate my jealousy! In my mind I said, “Jealousy is not mine, it is something the old forces arranged, and I do not want jealousy!” I felt the thought was coming from deep inside me, but it grew larger and larger, and light and fire emanated from my lotus hand position. Immediately I felt the ice mountain surrounding me melting away and my heart getting warmer, and tears ran down my face.
I had to go home after two days, but I had realized the big gap between fellow practitioners and me. Their schedules were full, they did not waste a minute, and when they got together, there was no small talk. They talked about their cultivation, for example: “I wonder what kind of attachment I have—I saw a fellow practitioner act a certain way, I need to talk to him about it; I could not hold my palm erect during sending froth righteous thoughts lately—I need to search within to find what went wrong; etc.” In just two days, I felt much lighter, and my heart had opened.
On my way home, I realized one thing: I knew how much my wife complained about me, and however much she complained, that was how much I did it to her. No matter how strong she appeared to be, she was actually vulnerable. She needed help—how could I resent her? When I came home, she greeted me. In the past that would have been impossible, because once we fought, it took a long time to resolve the situation.
I noticed my change. In the past, whenever I ran into a conflict, I could not help but get emotional and was unable to extricate myself. But now I could immediately ask myself “What's wrong, which part of my heart has been touched?” I found it and got rid of it quickly by sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the substances along with the old forces.
In a conflict, if one focuses on others' attachments, demanding that others improve but not oneself, the situation can only get worse and worse. Only when one truly searches within and sends forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the attachment (the substance in other dimensions) and the old force's arrangement can one finally overcome the tribulation. I could not wait to share my awareness with fellow practitioners. They told me they could see the change in me by my expression. Some of them agreed that they, too, should cultivate with attentiveness and should no longer cultivate in a daze.
Searching for our fundamental attachment
I had never thought about my fundamental attachment to cultivation. I obtained Dafa naturally. I felt it was good as soon as read the Fa, and I did not feel that I had any pursuit when I began cultivation. Fellow practitioners reminded me, “No matter how easily you obtained Dafa, there had to be a reason. Search more; if you really cannot find it, try to see where you've had the most difficulty over the years. If you still cannot find it, ask Master.”
Afterwards I remembered the first Dafa book I read was “Essentials for Further Advancement.” In it Master said:
“Even if someone were to grasp all of mankind’s knowledge, he would still remain an everyday person.” (“What is Wisdom?” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
That was what moved me! It fit my feelings of superiority at that time. I had always felt that I was special. I thought, “That's right, I am not an ordinary person to begin with—I have good inborn quality, good enlightenment quality. That is why I recognized this Fa as soon as I read it.” Why did I feel I was better than anyone else? It was because, deep down, I felt inferior, and it was a self-protection mechanism to protect myself. I had no money, no skills, nothing, and yet I had a high opinion of myself. In other words, basically, I was jealous by nature. That might be my fundamental attachment. Cultivating in Dafa satisfied my mentality, and I found a way to balance my jealousy.
When I visited a practitioner couple, I noticed the husband often criticized his wife for being slow and careless. I said, “You seem to always worry that your wife does not do things as well as you do. Do you have some attachment in your heart?” I only knew that as a fellow practitioner I should point out others' shortcomings, but at that time I did not think, “Why did I notice this problem, and why did I have such a strong reaction to his behavior?”
One night around 11 p.m., it was time for me to close the store. To save time, my mother (also a practitioner) began cleaning my tools. I immediately got upset. In the past, I would have said, “Wait. I'll do it.” Why? I was not considerate of her. I was afraid that she would not clean them properly or put them in the right place. In order to show the world “I do it best,” I would rather take on all the work myself. I was stunned: “Validating myself” permeated everything in my life!
I sounded so confident, and it was all to validate my true attachment. How profound! Even when I wrote an article, I liked to use obscure words that were hard to understand to subconsciously validate how intelligent and knowledgeable I was.
Also, because of my strong attachment to validating myself, I could not put up with fellow practitioners who were also validating themselves. Along with this, I developed the attachments of showing off, the mentality of fighting, jealousy, and resentment. I particularly liked to condemn others behind their backs, consciously or unconsciously making me look better. When others objected, on the surface I appeared to not care, but I always remembered those who had disapproved of me and I remembered them for a long time, which separated me from fellow practitioners.
Yes, I had always pursued perfection, and automatically thought whatever I did was perfect, so I wouldn’t tolerant disapproval or modification. Everything I did was to validate the value of my existence, my position in the human world, and the admiration and respect I felt I deserved. When I did not get that respect, I was jealous. On the surface I looked carefree, but in reality I was jealous when I thought, “I am better than others” to justify myself. After so many years of cultivation, I only just realized that the reason I first became a cultivator had been to validate myself and that this was my fundamental attachment. To cultivate in order to get respect and save face--isn't that pursuing fame? Isn't that selfish? How could I not realize this until today? I finally realized why I had studied the Fa but had not obtained the Fa in all these years.
Before I obtained Dafa, even in elementary school, I was always a “good student.” I became accustomed to my teachers' praise and believed that all the criticisms were for others. When I was in middle school, I was failing all my subjects except composition. I could not handle the reality that I was inferior, so I became arrogant, jealous, and less confident, and I developed a strong sense of validating myself. After graduation, I became even more useless by failing as husband. I almost lost hope in life. I could not accept the reality, and, yet, even in such circumstances, I obtained Dafa. If I could not validate myself in society, then I could validate myself in Dafa. I carried this mentality of “I’m better than others” into my cultivation. When Master talked about certain problems, such as unhealthy phenomena and shortcomings, it was as if He was speaking to others but not to me. I studied the Fa as if I was gaining knowledge, and I used it to evaluate others but not myself. I only studied for the formality of studying the Fa, so I did not actually obtain the true meaning of Dafa.
Now I understand why, when the persecution began, I did not ponder whether Dafa was true or false, whether I should believe or not--because if Dafa was false then I had to return to the human world, and that was too perilous and sinister to consider. I was not truly unmoved by the persecution, but I used this to validate that I cultivated well. But, in actuality, I was scared to death, collapsed, and did not want to see anyone. It was not true belief in the righteous Fa, so how could I stand up and safeguard Dafa?
I used Dafa to validate my filthy human heart, instead of using compassion to save sentient beings, and that’s why I could not bear any unfairness while doing Fa rectification projects, and why, when I felt unfairly treated, I would give up. All my involvement was to gain from the Fa, and that was why, when anyone dared to object or ignored my work, I developed enormous resentment. I never truly, solidly cultivated! My false, uncultivated heart was hidden so well that it was easy for the old forces to persecute me covertly. I was not arrested, but I almost destroyed myself with the old force's arrangements, all the while believing that I was firmly in the Fa.
The Fa rectification journey has reached its final stage. If we still do not cherish this opportunity, there will be no more chances. I know I've wasted so much time, but Master still did not give up on me. I cannot help but cry whenever I realize how many times I've thought about this. I will re-cultivate myself from the start, from the heart, and I will not let Master down.