Do Not Go to Extremes in Cultivation
(Minghui.org) I was fortunate to start practicing Falun Dafa in May 1999. I came to the United States from China in 2014 and opened a clothing store in Flushing, New York in 2016.
Through my interactions with customers and my own cultivation environment at home, I noticed that when it comes to fulfilling our family responsibilities or interacting with non-practitioners, some practitioners think it is a waste of time and their doing the three things will be affected. They tend to skip certain responsibilities in order to maintain their “diligent” status. But, in fact, this extreme way of handling things is very likely to cause people to develop misunderstandings about us. In their eyes, we have no “common sense” because we practice Falun Gong.
I would like to share two examples, one about my observation of other practitioners, and the other about myself. I don't mean to point fingers at anyone, but I hope I can take this opportunity to remind fellow practitioners of the importance of not going to extremes. No matter what we do or where we are, we must always consider others first and be a really good person.
The Angry Customers in My Store
My clothing store is not big, but it has been a very good platform to clarify the truth about Dafa to my customers.
Through my interactions with my customers, I discovered that a lot of their misunderstandings about Dafa stemmed from their bad impressions of practitioners who went to extremes.
I was chatting with a customer one day and mentioned the practice of Falun Dafa. She became angry right away and stopped me. I asked her why, and she began to complain about the practitioners who rented her houses but never cleaned their rooms. She said they just went out to distribute flyers or studied Dafa books at home. She also disliked them for receiving welfare benefits without actively looking for jobs when they were still quite young and physically able. She said she couldn't tolerate them any longer and drove them out.
I told her that our distributing flyers was totally voluntary, that some practitioners may do poorly in certain regards, but that we shouldn't blame Falun Dafa for it. I gave an example of a good teacher having not-so-good students. I told her more about practicing Falun Dafa and how we strive to follow its principles in our daily lives.
She seemed to understand and began to smile.
I also told her that I had been incarcerated in China for seven years for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. She was touched by my story and agreed to quit the communist party before she left.
A few days later, she brought her husband to my store and asked me to repeat what I had said the other day to him.
From then on, she often came to my store and showed me the paper lotus flowers or flyers other practitioners gave her.
Another customer who frequented my store was a college professor. One day, she came in and began praising me for my good taste in clothing, my personality, and my approach to business. I took that as an opportunity to broach the subject of Falun Dafa with her.
She was immediately alarmed, “You are a Falun Dafa practitioner, aren't you? If you mention Falun Dafa again, I will leave right away.”
I asked why, and she said, “I get angry whenever I hear about Falun Dafa. One time, I was followed all the way to a supermarket by someone who insisted that I withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). I really hated that. It was ridiculous.”
When I explained why it is important to quit the CCP, she seemed to understand. She complained that the Falun Dafa practitioner who followed her to the supermarket never told her why she should quit. I pointed out that, while we practitioners can always conduct ourselves better, she might not have given the one who followed her a chance to explain. She smiled and said that was true.
There are many other examples of practitioners going to extremes in their cultivation and driving people away. Some practitioners became very cold and distanced themselves from their family members after they picked up the practice. I myself almost stopped my daughter-in-law from visiting me in the U.S. Fortunately, she came and developed a very positive attitude about Dafa.
Last year, my eldest son told me that my daughter-in-law was pregnant with their second child. She planned to travel with my grandson to the United States and have the baby here in New York.
As soon as I heard this, I felt an inexplicable pressure—my selfishness was being stirred up. I was worried that they would disrupt my stable cultivation environment and seriously affect my doing the three things, so I wanted to find an excuse to keep my daughter-in-law from visiting.
I had recently read that babies born in the United States would no longer be granted automatic citizenship. (I later learned this “news” was not real.) I quickly forwarded the article to my son. When my son did not respond, I confirmed he had received the email and asked about his plans. He told me he did not necessarily want American citizenship for their child.
Then he told me the real reason he wanted his wife to come to America: It would be an opportunity for her to learn more about Dafa and hopefully start to practice it herself. He said that she held a neutral attitude toward Dafa, but that since he, who is also a practitioner, was not diligent enough, he was unable to influence her. It would be a good opportunity for her to stay with me for a while.
After hearing that, I had no reason to stop her and my grandson from coming. I just went with the flow.
With two more people in my life, my workload increased. I felt it also impacted my cultivation. I later realized it was a good thing because it gave me many opportunities to get rid of my attachments.
What was even more gratifying was that my daughter-in-law and grandson started to practice Dafa less than six months after they got here. If I had stopped her from coming to the United States, I would have really kept her from entering the practice.
There were several unexpected things that changed her mind and made her admire Dafa.
The day after she arrived, for example, I gave her the book Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. Even before she had finished it, she started commenting on how bad the CCP was.
When I went to the United Nations to clarify the truth one day, I took my daughter-in-law and grandson with me. Several Chinese tourists scolded me when I tried to talk to them. They called me a traitor and other unkind things.
My grandson handed a flyer to another child, who happily accepted it. His parents grabbed the flyer, threw it on the ground, and warned the boy angrily, “Do not approach Falun Dafa children!”
My little grandson was frightened and overwhelmed. “It is ok if they do not want the flyer,” I told him gently. “Pick it up. You can give it to someone else who wants it.”
My daughter-in-law witnessed the entire incident. And she saw tourists swearing at other practitioners. The practitioners were not angry and were still in good spirits. She had tears in her eyes when she told me how touched she was by their noble behavior. When we got home, she asked me for a copy of Zhuan Falun.
She was also curious about Shen Yun. In China, the state-run media reported that no one went to see the show or that people were paid to see the show. When she went to see it, however, she saw it was completely sold out and that the audience was mainly Westerners. The beautiful costumes and amazing backdrops left her in awe.
She knew then that what she heard in China were all rumors and lies.
Shortly after her baby was born, she went to see Shen Yun a second time. She also asked me to teach her the five exercises and recovered very quickly from childbirth.
“I really cannot bear to leave you,” she said to me one day. “You are so good to me, much better than my own mother in some ways. I am not sensible and sometimes have a temper, but you have never been angry with me, even when we’ve had conflicts. No mother-in-law in my circle of friends could ever do better.”
“I am not good enough and am still far from the requirements of Dafa,” I told her. “But I hope to do better and better.”
She went back to China shortly after that conversation. After she returned home, she began telling her family and friends about Dafa. Many of them even decided to give the Dafa books a try, and some asked me to mail a few books to them. My son, who was not that diligent in cultivation before, was influenced by his wife to become diligent.
I was really glad I hadn't let my selfish attachments keep all this from happening.