Becoming a True Falun Dafa Practitioner
(Minghui.org) I grew up in a town located south of the Santa Fe Province, and have now turned 43. My childhood revolved around riding a bicycle, flying a kite, and simple children games that today have mostly been lost, even in the same village. I was raised by my grandparents in a humble environment in a country way of life, where decent words were still highly valued.
Leading a Depraved Life
At the age of 18, I left the country life for a city, about 180 km from where I grew up. I studied music and took up a job. Life was good at times, while there were times where life was not that easy.
Many years of my life was spent in being a musician, and with this came the excesses of alcohol, night life, drugs, and so on. I had retained several friends for many years, and one had grown up with me, although he was a few years younger. He often shared his books with me. This friend noticed that I was sliding down, and that I was in a bad state. At that time my mind was very turbulent. I had closed my heart, had low morals and was addicted to drugs.
Introduced to Falun Dafa
At the end of 2009, my friend gave me Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa. He told me that his book was what I needed, and that there were also exercises. He described the exercise movements, and we did the first exercise.
When I held Zhuan Falun in my hands, I said, “Wow, a blue book, with letters gilded in gold.” I had never seen a book like this, and was greatly attracted to it.
Reading Zhuan Falun for the first time, I noticed that it was different from the other books I had read in the past. I must admit, that in the beginning I read only a little in Zhuan Falun, and stopped. But, then I picked it up for the third time and read it from beginning to end. Since then I have not stopped reading Zhuan Falun.
From this first complete reading of Zhuan Falun, I obtained something extremely valuable. With the passing of time, I could feel that the knowledge contained in Zhuan Falun stayed in my mind. I understood that this is a guide for me to become a better person. Before, I wanted to be a better person, but I had strayed very far from that path. Besides, I realized that this is about cultivation.
“Let me tell you, however, that to truly practice cultivation toward high levels, one must be single-minded with one practice. There is one thing that I must also point out: At present, no other person is truly teaching people toward high levels like me. In the future you will realize what I have done for you. Thus, I hope that you do not have very poor enlightenment quality. A lot of people want to practice cultivation toward high levels. This is now provided right before you, and you may still be unaware of it. You have been everywhere looking for a teacher and spent a fortune, yet you have found nothing. Today, it is offered to you at your doorstep, and maybe you have not realized it! This is an issue of whether you can become enlightened to it and whether you can be saved.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
Deciding to Practice Dafa
Taking the first step onto the cultivation path, I felt immediately the preciousness of this cultivation practice.
My younger brother who is married to a Mendoza woman [from Argentine], invited me to take a trip to Mendoza, the capital of Mendoza province to visit his relatives. I accepted, and thought to decide if I wanted to truly practice Dafa during that trip.
My mind was made up to practice Falun Dafa. After returning home, I came down with vomiting and diarrhea, and had to stay in bed. My family wanted to take me to a doctor, which I refused, because I knew that Teacher was cleansing my body. It took a few days to recover. Immediately after I recovered I decided to get in touch with other practitioners.
After a few months I was certain that I had to join the group practice. But, it was not easy. During a Sunday, in mid 2010, I went to the practice site. When there, my mind was calm and I held no intention. While I was doing the third exercise, I felt that something similar to a big balloon was removed from my brain. After that day I stopped doing drugs. After being on drugs for so many years, Teacher eliminated my craving for drugs.
“We are teaching you to ascend in cultivation, rather than letting you develop any attachments or ruin your own body. Our exercise sites are better than any other qigong exercise sites. As long as you go to our exercise sites for practice, it is much better than your treating your own illness. My fashen sit in a circle, and above the exercise site is a shield on which there is a big Falun. A large fashen guards the site above the shield. This site is not an ordinary site, and neither is it a site for an ordinary qigong practice: It is a site for cultivation practice.” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
Recognizing Fundamental Attachments
When Shen Yun came to Buenos Aires in 2012, I bought a suit to watch Shen Yun. The performance touched me deep in my heart. After seeing the body of practitioners in Buenos Aires, and all the activities that they were doing, I thought that this was a very good environment for my cultivation. So, I moved to Buenos Aires. I lived with several practitioners. We had Fa study daily.
Practitioners started a gastronomy project, which developed fast, and I was invited to participate. I refused, because I had worked several years in gastronomy and knew how exhausting it is. I had promised myself at the time that I was never going to participate in anything that had to do with gastronomy. Anyway, my earnings were sufficient for my survival.
However, I changed my mind by letting go of my negative attitude, and agreed to work in a restaurant. I let go of wanting to being my own boss, and the attachment to pride. This job was directly related to my cultivation path. Anyway, it was a blessing, as everyone – from my boss to my colleagues – were practitioners.
Then, I went to neighboring Uruguay to promote Shen Yun in mid 2017. We wanted to bring Shen Yun to the people of Argentina who go there for their summer vacation. This was the first time in my seven years of cultivation to be on my own. This situation brought suffering, and internal discomfort, but I could not understand what was happening. Then, I realized that this suffering had to to with the attachment to sentiment. I could only recognize it, because I was alone, and it included the attachment to loneliness.
Everything was about work and cultivation. There was no one to make jokes with and smile. That kind of interaction with others made me feel good, and gave me mental satisfaction. This was an attachment that had to be eliminated.
“Cultivation practice must take place through tribulations so as to test whether you can part with and care less about different kinds of human sentimentality and desires. If you are attached to these things, you will not succeed in cultivation. Everything has its karmic relationship. Why can human beings be human? It is because human beings have sentimentality. They live just for this sentimentality. Affection among family members, love between a man and a woman, love for parents, feelings, friendship, doing things for friendship, and everything else all relate to this sentimentality.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
“Whether a person likes to do something or not, is happy or unhappy, loves or hates something, and everything in the entire human society comes from this sentimentality. If this sentimentality is not relinquished, you will be unable to practice cultivation. If you are free from this sentimentality, nobody can affect you. An everyday person’s mind will be unable to sway you. What takes over in its place is benevolence, which is something more noble. Of course, it is not easy to abandon this sentimentality right away. Cultivation practice is a long process and a process of gradually giving up one’s attachments. Nonetheless, you must be strict with yourself. “ (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
The Attachment of Validating Oneself
The heart of validating myself is a strong attachment that I have to led go. Especially when, on the surface, I seem to be doing something good, but in my heart I want to be recognized for that. Thanks to a fellow practitioner who pointed it out to me more than once, I finally began to pay attention to it.
The first time it was pointed out to me, I didn't accept it. I defended myself and explained my reasoning. The second time when I was told, I internalized it and struggled in my heart. I realized that maybe I truly had this attachment. But, I chose to justify myself again.
From that moment I began to look inward. I discovered that to a certain extent, I had developed an ego, and it had been something that I had held onto all my life as a survival tool in society. I never thought that this ego was harming me and my cultivation environment.
I say harm, because when it manifests itself strongly, I try to impose my ideas on others, and refuse to listen. Then, it becomes harmful to myself and others. I also realized that it had its root in the attachment to envy. Recognizing this fundamental attachment was the beginning of eliminating the attachment.
Attachment to Fear and Lust
Before I stepped into cultivation, I was very arrogant. I boasted that I feared nothing. On the surface, I gave this impression, and with time, I formed this kind of character. With Fa study, I began to understand my character, and behind the surface of arrogance, the caring of my reputation and a scheming heart, was my heart of fear.
For example, when I went for the first time to get a visa to go to the United States to attend Fahui, I was afraid. When I faced the Embassy official that fear made me hesitate, and I responded differently than what I wrote in the form. So, the embassy refused my application.
The second time I went to get my visa, I still had fear in my heart, but I suppressed it. At that moment I did not understand that suppression was not enough. I have to be more determined in my cultivation to eliminate this attachment of sentimentality to reach the standard. I was refused a visa again. In fact my state of mind was even worse than the first time.
I was not only interfered with my heart of fear, but also by lust. In all of my attachments, this attachment presented a great difficulty to my cultivation. I drowned mentally and physically in this attachment. I could not find mental and physical pleasure, and for a very long time I contemplated giving up cultivation, and that I was not worthy of cultivating in Dafa.
The corrupt substances inside me were interfering with the activities we were doing at that time. This has been a great stain on my cultivation path that I will never forget.
I will always be grateful for the support of fellow practitioners. All the effort by our local Dafa association kept me on my cultivation path. The activities, and the projects that I participated in helped strengthen my will to continue cultivation.
Then, one day I got down on my knees and asked Teacher to help me eliminate this substance of lust. I was determined that I did not want this. Gradually my head became clear. I understood that I could only improve by studying the Fa, cleanse myself, and endure criticism. I was determined for several years, but could not eliminate this attachment. Every now and then I did not pass a test. My state is now completely different than in the past when I was trapped deeply in this attachment. I can feel that I have improved, but I still need to be much more diligent, so I can eliminate fully this attachment of lust.
This year, encouraged by my fellow practitioners and the Falun Dafa Association, I applied for a visa to the U.S. for the third time – I got it. It was really something wonderful, a unique experience that I am going to carry in my heart forever. To obtain a visa means that I was able to attend the conference, see Teacher, be with many fellow practitioners, participate in the parade, and do the formation of Chinese characters with almost 5,000 practitioners. For my cultivation, it was a huge achievement. It was as if I was bestowed with a fresh and renewing air – I am deeply grateful to Teacher.
Additionally, I want to thank my fellow practitioners, for their unconditional support over the years.
(Presented at the 2019 Argentina Fa Conference)