(Minghui.org) Esteemed Master, and fellow practitioners:
I practiced Falun Dafa as a young child. My mother was introduced to Falun Dafa by her parents on a trip back to China. She worked hard on helping me to attain the Fa. I remember that before the onset of the persecution in China, Falun Dafa spread very quickly in the small German town where I grew up, especially among the many Chinese students. Thus, many small exercise groups were set up. Then, one day, a practitioner came up to my father and surprised him by explaining that she read bad things about Falun Dafa in the newspaper. After that, the number of practitioners dwindled to just two or three.
Since then, my father's attitude towards Dafa changed. In the beginning, I continued to validate the Fa, and ignored his behavior. However, he was increasingly influenced by the lies and the Chinese Communist Party propaganda, and changed more and more. At the same time, my fear of a confrontation with him intensified. Therefore, I avoided these confrontations and cultivation opportunities more and more. The old forces took advantage of this loophole, and avoiding my father had the opposite effect.
I was afraid of reading the Fa and doing the exercises. My mother remained steadfast in her belief in Dafa during these years, and could break through the old forces' arrangement. She continued, with a lot of effort and courage, to bring stability to my cultivation. However, if she did not insist or actively reading Zhuan Falun with me, I preferred to go out with and seek support from my friends. While entangled in the dye vat of society, I lost my way over time. Without realizing that I accepted the old forces' arrangements.
Our family situation made me angry over time, Thus, I rebelled and drifted further away from the Fa. During my teenage years, I associated with ordinary friends, and went partying and drinking.
The old forces set up an arrangement I could not break through for years. Because of my attachment to a comfortable and harmonious life I avoided difficulties and looked for an easier way out. Then, I realized that I had to strengthen my main conscience.
My mother described my attitude as remotely controlled and that I was lacking self-will. Whenever the old forces pressed a button, I reacted with the desired behavior. I was given the choice of which path to follow over and over again. However, at the time, I could not take the step toward the path arranged by Master, and simply gave in to the pressure when facing conflicts.
At the time, I did not realize the seriousness of the situation, and the consequences I would face. Then, I came down with abnormal health conditions, which disappeared only after I returned to cultivation. I was short of breath, or my heart missed a beat when out with my friends.
Despite slowly developing doubts about the Fa, I had moments when I remembered Master Li and the Fa. During these brief moments, my clear side wished to reach consummation. I understand that Master did not give up on me despite endless mistakes and bad deeds.
On New Year's Eve, my girlfriend and I met two drunk men who spoke to us. They got upset because of my friend's angry reaction. I intervened, and they also raised their hand against me. At the same time, my head became clear and was freed of any thoughts. Then, I confronted them and told them in no uncertain terms to leave. Suddenly, their expression changed. Submissively they gave in and apologized before quickly turning and running off. Then, we heard a loud scream. We turned and noticed that another person from our group lay bleeding on the ground. The two men who had just apologized kicked him. Although I was not cultivating at the time, I knew that Master helped me. I later remembered other situations when Master protected me.
I accompanied my mother to a Fa conference in New York the next year. However, I kept noticing that no matter how hard I tried, I was simply unable to absorb Master's words. There was only one moment during the entire Fa explanation when my head was clear. At that moment I heard clear and distinctively Master saying the following words, “Are you still a Dafa disciple?”
Although I knew quite well that I was not a practitioner, I would have never dared to make such a statement. I realized that as an adult I had to consciously make my own decision whether or not to cultivate. I was no longer able to remain in a state of flux and driven passively by my surroundings. Therefore, I decided to study the Fa diligently to make inroads.
Master saw my desire to cultivate, as I was invited to join the Tian Guo Marching Band. This way, I entered a cultivation environment where I could learn from other practitioners and could exchange thoughts for the first time.
In the beginning, I was not aware of the importance of this task and underestimated the importance of being the conductor. I did not expect much for myself and thought that the parades were rather relaxed events. However, over time, I noticed how Master showed me step by step the right path, and the requirements slowly increased. For this, I could recognize fundamental attachments during the 10-day Eastern European tour. Towards the end of the tour, I realized that the smallest thoughts could make a difference as if the old forces were always waiting to find my loophole.
I had never spent so much time with many practitioners. Thus, the Eastern European tour represented a very intensive cultivation opportunity. I learned the meaning of doing everything based on the Fa, what the thoughts of a Dafa practitioner could effectuate, and how a practitioner looks within.
Participation in the Tian Guo Marching Band gave me a good cultivation environment. However, I studied in an environment where there were no practitioners, and all my friends were ordinary people. When I was not involved in Dafa activities for some time, I became inattentive and stopped doing the exercises, or study the Fa. It became more and more apparent that my priorities changed. I had returned to Dafa cultivation, but behaved as if the Dafa projects were just a hobby. While I still wanted to diligently clarify the truth, and partake in other Dafa activities, I slowly began to notice the difference between myself and other practitioners.
Student life is often portrayed as a big party. Although this was not so in my case, I went along with that situation, and I did not truly live the life of a practitioner. Besides, my university friends were very ambitious, resulting in a competition. At the same time, I tried to let go of my attachment to being social and put a greater effort into whatever I was doing – resulting in the improvement of my grades. I used to not share my accomplishments, or show off other achievements. However, I developed an uncomfortable feeling if I could not share comparable results with my classmates.
All students had to be involved in a mandatory internship during my fifth semester. When I was offered an internship in a large firm, I was very happy. I thought of finding something better, after receiving good grades, hoping to show greater improvement. I persuaded myself that a Dafa practitioner should give a good impression, and do everything conscientiously and well. But, deep within in, I knew that I wanted to prove myself.
My thoughts slowly changed, the longer I remained in this everyday environment. Slowly, gains in ordinary society gained in importance.
“That is why I’ve said all students should go to practice sites to exercise and attend group study regardless of whether you’re beginners or veterans. That environment will cleanse you, and constantly cleanse your language, conduct, and notions that have been contaminated by everyday people.” (Teaching the Fa at the Eastern U.S. Fa Conference)
Within time, different expectations about my future developed, which were filled with all my attachments. Nowadays, one worries that during that period of life one would be satisfied with too little, or would be discriminated against. Thus, I developed different requirements. Given my poor cultivation state and attachments, I developed a weird understanding of the Fa. I used the Fa as an excuse to pursue my attachments.
For example, I wanted to work in an ordinary company after graduation, because I knew that I needed to gain different types of experiences. Although this starting point sounds rational, I realized after thinking about it on a deeper level that this was just an excuse. In reality, I had the attachment to earning a stable income, which would allow me to travel frequently. Anyway, I just recently gained an understanding of the airline industry and wanted to stick to that lifestyle. However, nothing happens by chance. It was time to let go and integrate into a Dafa environment.
Master awakened me with his Fa:
“You think that everything is so simple, and you feel that every move, every thought of yours is all very natural and simple. "It's not a big deal, is it? What’s a big deal?" What do you mean by "not a big deal”?! Your responsibility is enormous! How could it not be a big deal?! If you are just being a good person among ordinary people and do not cultivate, you are still committing an extremely huge crime! That's because you are not saving the sentient beings that you are supposed to save!! You are not fulfilling the contract you signed in prehistory!!” (“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”, Team Blue Translation)
After reading Master's Fa, I moved to a different town and worked full-time on Dafa projects.
For the first few weeks, I tried to always remind myself of the enormous responsibility of a Dafa disciple, and that we had little time left. Although I often felt in the past that I was not doing enough to validate the Fa, then thousands of thoughts suddenly prevented me from working diligently on this Dafa project. That's why I was put to the test over little things, and often doubted whether I should not have followed another path.
It was decided that I would stay two-and-a-half months with the Dafa media in New York, so I could get the training I needed for my future tasks.
The working day in New York, passed slowly at first. As in the past, I always chose tasks myself and tried to proactively approach the team leader. However, with my firm determination to contribute to Dafa and do my job well, the situation changed suddenly after the first week.
With the start of the online campaigns, my work increased and another department approached me. In the end, I divided my work between two departments. This meant that I had to be in the office at 7 a.m. to meet the first deadline. From then on, I experienced a tight work schedule. Most of the time I did the exercises during lunch and dinner. Immediately after the exercises in the evening, we read the Fa during group Fa-study every day, and after that, we partook in discussions. Thus, I spent 14 hours in the office daily. Although this was a regular schedule for some practitioners, such a daily program was completely new to me. In retrospect, this sounds like a lot, but time passed like a flash. I felt fulfilled and valued every minute because I was actively contributing to the Fa-rectification, and did not want to waste a second. It felt as if I was finally pursuing my destiny as a Dafa disciple and catching up on valuable time that I had wasted in the past. No ordinary thoughts interfered with my work, everything happened naturally, and every doubt that I used to have was gone.
Most valuable for me was the exchange and the many points of contact with fellow practitioners. Every one of the practitioners exhibited the importance of mutual trust, and what unconditional cooperation actually meant. Time is very valuable for everyone. If one asked for something from a fellow practitioner, they immediately worked on it, “with no question asked,” or without needing an explanation.
In particular, I was shown that one needs to let go of self. Most negative and disturbing thoughts I experienced during the day were an outcome of my attachments to selfishness and ego. Some days, for example, when working, out of nowhere distractive thoughts came to mind. Then, I realized that they could only disturb me because of my attachments. I gave in to the thoughts instead of immediately rejecting them. It could develop from the smallest interference, and interrupt my work.
When cooperating with each other, it became very obvious which words contained attachments. All practitioners were very forgiving and did not say a word. But, after I had said something, I felt embarrassed. I was clearly shown that the attachment presented a false image and blocked access to the wisdom that the Fa gives me. Also, no one ever showed any resentment, although I could be quite direct. Even when my words were a little rude, fellow practitioners were smiling and looked within until they found the best results for the project.
In comparison, I realized that I was not willing to put much into Dafa projects. Instead, everything was just about myself, which is why I put trifles like tiredness, feelings, or the pursuit of fun, as an excuse to not show 100 percent commitment. Slowly I understood that to be involved in Fa projects well, strive for any benefits, no matter how small, there is no room for anything else but Dafa work.
“You should be noble and high-minded, and cooperate well with others. It’s not about whose idea is the best. When someone’s idea isn’t great, or all that well thought out, you should quietly and discreetly find a way to help make it work, and help get all the bases covered! That will be what earns you the admiration of divine beings, and you will have done it without saying anything! Who came up with the idea is not what’s important, but rather, who has fully developed himself through the process...” (“Fa Teaching at the 2019 New York Fa Conference”, Team Yellow Translation)
Master's Fa told me that success is not about striving for results, but rather about letting go. This realization allowed for good cooperation without interpersonal friction.
The old forces did not rest, so there were violent distractions during my stay in New York. I noticed that despite these enormous disturbances, practitioners hung in there. On the contrary, no matter how difficult and hopeless the situation seemed, in the end, practitioners made something positive out of it. Despite great blows of fate, and the incredibly tense situations, all practitioners remained firm. They not only rejected the old forces' arrangement, but actively took strong action against them. They almost always encountered any obstruction with a positive attitude, but also found an appropriate response in how to deal with the problem. In the process, they did not doubt their actions, but simply followed the natural course. Their behavior showed their trust in the Fa, and the tireless effort they were willing to make.
This behavior inspired me a lot, and I realized that I had not enough trust in the Fa. This resulted in my giving up during the most important and crucial moments. How could I take the lead role when asked to do so as a Dafa disciple. No matter how hopeless and final a situation may seem, it is only a phenomenon in our dimension. Given my human notions, I looked at everything from a wrong angle. Often, the difference arose from something trifle, but when one is able to regard everything based on the Fa, one discovers the path that was always there.
Master said, “Cultivation depends on one’s own efforts, while the transformation of gong is done by one’s master.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun) There is nothing that Master cannot do, and when we are within the Fa, our actions can have an unlimited effect. Then, I understood that many big changes can be affected by practitioners, especially today, when we are aware of the final step of the Fa-rectification.
Master said, “One righteous mind can subdue one hundred evils.” (Lecture Five, Zhuan Falun) I understand from Master's Fa that any negative situation one faces during Fa-rectification work can become something positive or great. However, it depends on the strength of one's righteous thoughts. For that, we have to watch every one of our steps, and should not take our thoughts lightly.
As soon as I turned on the computer today, and took a look at media publications, it appeared that war broke out in the human world. I noticed the madness of the evil substances, and how the old forces took advantage of the smallest gaps to attack Dafa disciples.
I read a Minghui article not long ago, which left a lasting impression on me. In it, the author described that he saw that the old forces' mechanisms are starting to crumble. He saw that the old forces were in despair, and would not hesitate to pounce on practitioners' attachments to reinforce them with black substances.
Practitioners who were not aware of this and thought of the interference as an insurmountable obstacle, were attacked by the old forces, as they are dead set against practitioners cultivating successfully, Many things have happened recently. Many practitioner experienced strong interference, and some lost their lives from one day to the next.
The further the time advances, the more important is each decision we make. If our behavior is not on the Fa, the old forces will capitalize on this. I believe that the old forces want to assure that the Fa-rectification fails, and that practitioners will not cultivate successfully. At times I remember that Master told us that not even 80 percent of sentient beings can be saved. Then, I remember Master's Fa.
“..., but that if I could save even just one person, if even just one person were to succeed at the practice, what I was doing wouldn’t be in vain.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the New York Fa Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Dafa’s Spreading”, Team Yellow Translation)
This reminded me of the importance of every sentient being to the Fa-rectification. Thus, we should take every step well during the remaining time.
Thank you esteemed Master, and fellow practitioners.