(Minghui.org) Esteemed Master and fellow practitioners:
I learned Falun Dafa from my parents in 1997 in Germany, when I was just a few months old. Since then I have cultivated right up until today.
From an early age I faced tests of my confidence as a practitioner. Many practitioners questioned if I would cultivate and be a practitioner. This questioning bothered me and I thought that I was being challenged, although I always believed that I was a true practitioner. Even as a youngster I studied the Fa, did the exercises, and identified as a Dafa practitioner.
My insecurities kept rising as I grew older, and I wondered if I truly was a practitioner. I was influenced and increasingly distracted by ordinary people's behavior. The resulting thought karma disturbed me, and I gradually became less diligent. I studied the Fa less, and rarely did the exercises.
As a result, I had problems with my studies that shocked me, especially as I was previously a good student. I started to worry and developed doubts about myself and my life. Many thoughts ran through my mind, and it turned into a situation as Master described in Zhuan Falun:
“At a certain point in time, you will be made unable to discern clearly whether something is true, whether your gong exists, whether you can practice cultivation and make it, or whether there are Buddhas and if they are real. In the future, these situations will surface again to give you this false impression and make you feel as though they do not exist and are all false—it is to see whether you are determined. You say that you must be firm and sure-footed.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
After recalling this paragraph from Zhuan Falun, I knew that my thoughts were wrong. They disappeared after some time, but doubts still cluttered my mind. However, I did not want to give up cultivation because Master hinted about this in the above passage from the Fa.
At university, during the winter semester of 2016, I studied microbiology. As an introduction we were given an agar plate [a petri dish that contains agar, which is a mixture of two components that are released on boiling]. These plates are used to multiply microorganisms when doing experiments. Students were asked to fingerprint on a blood agar plate to find out how dirty our hands were.
The plates were placed into an incubator to incubate any bacteria, so that they would multiply and become visible. For an additional experiment we were given a contact plate on which we could swipe something at our home. I chose a paper banknote. During our next class we turned in our contact plates, which were placed into an incubator, after which we were given back our fingerprinted plates.
Many students saw bacterial colonies on their plates, while mine showed almost nothing. I was amazed and wondered why there was nothing on my plate. Did I wash my hands before class? But, I had touched a few things before handling the agar plate. I was confused, partly because I saw this as a hint from Master. However, in the end, I decided that the experiment did not work for me.
The contact plate was returned to us after a few hours. I was startled, as this plate was also “clean” while those of my classmates showed the growth of colonies of bacteria. I was confused, as anyone knows that banknotes are really dirty.
I wondered what I had done wrong in my experiment; something must have gone wrong this time. My surface thoughts told me that no bacterial colonies could grow if, for example, other things touch the plate. Then, I remembered that I had warm food in my pocket, and thought that the steam had affected the contact plate. Therefore, the bacteria could not grow.
For the third experiment, we were asked to take a swab test in the throat and nose and apply it to an agar plate. I was asked to take a nose swab, as the others were doing a throat swab. The agar plates were returned to us after a few days, and we were given a data sheet indicating the name and an analysis of the discovery. This time there was a bacterial colony on my plate, and the bacteria's name was Staphylococcus lugdunensis. The lecturer told everyone, except myself, the kind of bacteria they had. No one had the same bacteria as me.
I was the last person to talk to the lecturer. When he heard the bacteria's name, he was very excited, and said that it was a newly discovered species. Information was only published recently, as it had just been discovered that this bacteria kills “Staphylococcus aureus” bacteria, a type of bacteria that could be pathogenic and cause many serious diseases. Very few people would have this bacteria in their nose. When he said that, all of the students turned around and looked at me. At this moment I understood and thanked Master in my mind.
“As a person with genuine gong and energy, you do not need to give it off intentionally; you will leave energy on whatever you touch, and it will all be shining brightly.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
“As a practitioner, you do not mind them and you are immune to them...” (Lecture Seven, Zhuan Falun)
Given this hint from Master, I realized that Master was still there for me, and I still had another opportunity. I thanked Master from deep within my heart. I let go of my self-doubts about being able to cultivate. I studied more and more of the Fa, did the exercises, and participated in Dafa projects, all of which improved my cultivation state. I understood later that I used to be attached to my doubts and worries, instead of looking within so that I could elevate in my cultivation.
“To tell you the truth, the entire cultivation process for a practitioner is one of constantly giving up human attachments.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
Participating in the European Tian Guo Marching Band a few years ago increased my self-confidence as a practitioner. My cultivation state improved for that reason.
When the European Tian Guo Marching Band was formed, my parents and I participated for about one year. I still remember that it was a nice and eventful time. My parents could no longer participate and although I had a strong desire to continue as a member of this band, I could not participate as a small child. Besides, I entered high school, which kept me busy. Years passed and I forgot all about the Tian Guo Marching Band.
Then, at the time of the 2014 New York Fahui, I felt a strong desire to participate in a Dafa project. Master must have seen my wish, as an opportunity came up after about one year.
A Dafa event was planned in Trier, in which the Marching Band was supposed to perform. Only then did I remember the Tian Guo Marching Band again. Then, my mother told me that after all these years her email address was still on the Band's email list. That meant I could register with the band for participation in the parade. I realized that Master gave me a chance to rejoin the band.
I really wanted to join but worried, as I did not know how to meet up with the band members and my parents could not come along. It would be the first time I attended an event without my parents. Besides, I did not know how I would be treated by the band members, and whether anyone would recognize me. Additionally, I was uncertain if I would dare to go on my own.
I found out that a practitioner, who lives near by me, could take me to Trier. I was very grateful for that. Thus, I decided to go to Trier, signed up on the band's roster, and started to practice the music.
After we arrived in Trier, I was on my own. Although I was a little unsure, it did not stop me from finding my way to the Marching Band. Although most members did not know me, I was still allowed to participate and play my instrument.
When the parade started, I was able to play my piccolo and felt that it was a great honor to participate. I remembered my past participation, and I realized why I really wanted to be a member of this band.
The following year we were informed of a regional training session. I hesitated. I was not familiar with the location, and the city was almost 2 hours by train. Apart from trips to university, I never went anywhere outside my hometown alone. Anyway, I did not think it necessary to partake in the training, as I had been playing the piano for about 10 years, so I had some musical knowledge.
I hesitated to go there until the morning of the training. Ultimately, I decided to attend the training, because this was the only opportunity for me to meet other practitioners and find out if anyone could give me a ride to other parades. After arriving, my anxieties and fears disappeared.
The music training made me realize that I still had a lot to learn. I also met practitioners and one agreed to take me to the next parade in his car. I was very grateful for that. If I hadn't decided to participate in the training, I might not have had another opportunity to be a member of the band.
“We have said that good or evil comes from a person’s spontaneous thought, and the thought at that moment can bring about different consequences.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
After experiencing all that, I realized that the opportunities were there. But, I would have to eliminate attachments to fear and worries, such as the fear of foreign environments and the unknown, as well as the worry of being by myself and having to tackle this all by myself.
Since then, I have participated often in daily sharing activities, such as Fa study and doing the exercises, with members of the Tian Guo Marching Band. My cultivation state has improved.
Thank you esteemed Master, and fellow practitioners.