Studying the Fa and Cultivating Oneself, Walking the Path Arranged by Master
(Minghui.org) Here, I would like to share my recent cultivation experiences.
I. Studying the Fa Well
During these past years, no matter how busy I am with Fa validation work, whether it is a face-to-face truth clarification or media project, I try to make sure that I have enough time to study the Fa. As my Fa study goes deeper, many of my attachments disappear and I can take things in the human world lightly. It all happens naturally and many times unnoticed. For example, I used to go to parties on holidays, but now I have stopped going. I used to enjoy sports, but now I almost have forgotten about them. I used to crave good food, but now I can eat anything as long as it does not take me a lot of time. This is because I understand that cultivation is serious, that the real goal for a human being is to return to his original, true self, and that personal preferences are also attachments, which cultivators need to get rid of. Also, cultivation is urgent and we can’t relax even a little bit.
After being diligent for a while, I noticed that there was a problem when I studied the Fa. I would read the Fa, but my mind was wandering around. Just as Teacher said in “Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference:”
“When some people read Zhuan Falun they are not concentrating, but rather, thinking about other things, and not able to focus their attention on cultivation. It thus amounts to wasting time. And not just wasting time—instead of it being the time when they are to be elevating, they are using their minds to think over issues and things that they shouldn’t concern themselves with, and thus, not only aren’t they elevating, but on the contrary, they are often dropping in level.”
I looked for the root cause in myself: “Why didn’t I have this problem before? Is it because I am so familiar with the book that I don’t have to go through my mind and can just skip through? Or is it because I think I know it already so I just take Fa study as a formality?” Later, I found that it was because I didn’t treat Fa study seriously, didn’t really understand the Fa, and didn’t truly believe in the Fa and Teacher. When I realized the root cause, I tried to be respectful when studying the Fa, carefully read every word and every sentence, and rejected my bad thoughts. After doing this for a while, I was able to fully concentrate when studying the Fa.
Teacher said in “Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York:”
“Without that environment, then... think about it, it's the same with today's Dafa disciples: when you go back out there into ordinary society, you are in the environment of ordinary society. If you don't seize the day [to cultivate], then today you might feel like reading and so you read a little, but tomorrow you might get lazy and read less... so without that environment it's hard to stay diligent. After all, it's human beings who are cultivating. So with human laziness and all kinds of disturbances affecting people in this world, it's very hard for you to see on your own where you fall short. And in particular, if on top of that you aren't diligent, you don't read the book a lot, or you don't comprehend the Fa very well, you won't be able to see your attachments at all. That's why you have to participate in group study and exercises.”
In the past, I used to join the News group's Fa study. Later, the group study was stopped due to work assignment changes. My work schedule allowed me to attend group study only every other week. Without a stable Fa study environment, I studied the Fa on my own. However, after a while, I felt that I was too relaxed. I read the Fa more when I had time and read less when I didn't have time. I realized that I needed to join a group. When I had this thought, Teacher arranged a solution for me. I joined a group to study the Fa at midnight after sending forth righteous thoughts. We also shared our understandings after the Fa study. It was a great environment.
II. Getting Rid of Attachments While Cooperating with Others
One of my biggest experiences when working on projects for a media outlet run by Dafa practitioners was: when I simply followed the instructions of the coordinator and added no personal thoughts, I was able to achieve the result with only half the effort. But sometimes it was hard to follow unconditionally. For example, if someone pointed out my mistakes or gaps, on the surface I accepted it, but deep down inside I was not at ease. I knew this was due to my own attachments, such as being sensitive to my own reputation, not being willing to accept criticism, not being humble, and not being tolerant of others. As I elevated in my cultivation level, I suppressed these attachments right after they jumped out at me. Gradually, I was able to easily face criticism.
For example, a practitioner and I were responsible for a certain job. We started from ground zero and gradually could do it. At the beginning, since we didn't know how to do this work, we frequently ran into problems and had conflicts and quarrels. We didn't look within, nor did we realize that this was an opportunity for us to advance.
Once, my partner received a complaint from a customer. He got angry and yelled at me, saying that it was my mistake. I didn't guard my xinxing either, so I tried to explain to him that it was not my fault. Our conversation ended unhappily. I found my attachments of being too sensitive to my own reputation and not being open to criticism. He also found his attachments. The next day he apologized to me and I admitted my mistake.
Later, we also ran into similar problems. Whenever there was a conflict, when I did not try to defend myself, the conflict would immediately disappear. But whenever I tried to explain myself, even with a single sentence, we would have arguments. Therefore, whenever I saw a conflict, I tried to hold back, even if it was my partner's mistake. When it was too hard to restrain myself, I recited Teacher's Fa: “Wanting to explain just feeds the attachment” (“Don't Argue,” Hong Yin, Vol III). Also, I noticed that behind my explanation, there was my attachment to validating myself.
As the problems got resolved, our cooperation got smoother and smoother. When we cooperated well, we had less problems and less interference. During the time when we promoted Shen Yun performances, we took turns to do the promotion. On many occasions, my partner had more work than I had, so he let me do the promotion work. Once, a city needed people to help with their promotion when it was close to showtime. He told me he could take care of all the work and asked me to stay in that city for a few more days. I was quite moved by his unselfishness.
Another time, I planned to participate in a parade in another city. I had signed up the month before, but didn't tell my partner until two weeks before the parade. When I was about to tell him, he told me that he needed to take that day off to take his family for a vacation. It was exactly the same day! I asked myself, “Should I tell him about the parade?” Then I decided not to mention it to him. He worked very hard and always had a heavy workload. He also had to take care of his family. So I should let him take a day off. I was calm at first, but as the date got closer and closer, many thoughts came into my mind: “I have almost never missed a Celestial Band parade; this time it is to help another city; they asked for trumpet players; and I have registered for the parade a long while ago...” When I shared this with another practitioner, that practitioner quoted Teacher's Fa to me:
“If you're thinking, 'I'll have XYZ happen to me if I've gained such and such amount of merit,' well, yes, that's how it works for an ordinary person, and it might be what's looked at as far as certain facets of the cosmos's Fa-truths go or in a particular situation. But true improvements come from letting go, not from gaining.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.,” Teaching the Fa at the Conference II)
Then what really bothered me? Why couldn't I have a peaceful mind? While constantly looking within, I found that it was my attachment to validating myself and a selfish thought of not wanting to lose an opportunity to save people. After I had discovered these attachments and understood them from the standpoint of the Fa, I calmed down.
However, another test came shortly after. One day I finished my work in the afternoon. When I was in a group Fa study in the evening, my cell phone rang. My colleague told me that I had set up a program at a wrong time and there was only three minutes to fix it before it was put on the air. He criticized me. I was unhappy but I managed to control myself. I fixed the program immediately. Then I started thinking, “I didn't put the program in the wrong place. That practitioner changed the program list but didn't communicate it to me. Of course, I missed it during my check, but it shouldn't be counted as my mistake.” I kept thinking that I was somehow innocent. When I came back to the Fa study, it was my turn to read the following:
“Why don't you look at yourself? The true reason lies with you yourself, and that's the only reason it can exploit your gap!”
“When problems arise, when something doesn't feel right, you have to look at yourself! Look at where you were wrong and allowed the evil to exploit your gaps. If you were wrong you should recognize it and do better.”
(“Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference,” Teaching the Fa at the Conference III)
I smiled, wasn't Teacher telling me this? I made a mistake but still wanted to blame others? Teacher was looking after us all the time. Thank you Teacher for pointing this out to me!
III. Teacher's Arrangement Is the Best
It is almost four years since I started working at for the media project. In the beginning, when the coordinator told me that the company needed people, I went there without any hesitation. From not knowing what to do at the beginning, to becoming an experienced person via learning and doing, I felt that all tribulations, whether problems from work or conflicts among practitioners, are just for us to improve in our cultivation and to get rid of attachments. This is the process of cultivation.
For example, I participated in one project, starting as a newbie from the beginning. I was able to do this through learning and practicing. After two years, I stopped working on it due to technical limitations that prevented me from meeting the project requirements. When I left, I was quite calm, because I knew that everything had its reason. Also, we work on Fa-validation projects to save people. The essence is to save people; we should not get attached to projects themselves. We need to be able to join and leave a project with ease.
I joined another media project, also starting as a beginner. Later, a practitioner asked me, “Didn't you waste what you have learned, when you switched to this project?” I replied, “Thinking back, that experience was precious. It was a process of getting rid of attachments and of cultivating.” I felt that this experience had laid down the cultivation foundation for me. Without it, I might not have been able to get to the next step, because every step was a setup for the next one. Just as when I first joined the media company, I felt that it was a wonderful cultivation environment because there was group Fa study every week. I had lagged behind in my cultivation before. Joining this cultivation environment allowed me to spend all my energy saving people and all spare time to study the Fa, which was a great help in my cultivation. If I was still in an ordinary people's environment, based on my cultivation foundation and state at that time, it would have been very hard for me to be more diligent and to improve.
I really cherished the cultivation environment at the media company. I also cherish every step I went through in my cultivation. There were many problems and conflicts and some practitioners may have different thoughts about the media company. As a practitioner, I take them as good things and opportunities for us to improve. I cherish this opportunity and I will do well what I need to do. Teacher told us to build up the media company, so it for sure will be done well. I believe Teacher's arrangement is the best!
My understanding is limited at my level. Please point out my gaps.