Treating Myself As a Genuine Dafa Practitioner
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master and fellow practitioners:
I am a practitioner from Virginia. I began to cultivate at a young age with my mother, and 21 years have passed. Before I came to America, I always had my mother to guide me in my cultivation. Whenever I had difficulties in life or in my studies, it was always my mother who helped me look at things from a Fa perspective and improve my xinxing.
After I came to America, I had to rely on myself for everything. I eventually realized that I was a Dafa practitioner and that whenever I encountered tribulations, I should look within, find the reason, and improve my character.
After I arrived in America, with the help of fellow practitioners, my cultivation and life were going very well—until a practitioner friend of mine also came to America. Because both of our mothers practiced Dafa and were friends, we shared an apartment after she arrived. I helped her find a job, studied the Fa and did the exercises with her, and took her to buy daily necessities on my days off.
Slowly, I began to feel as though I were raising a child. We were the same age and we were young fellow practitioners, but I had to lead her in cultivation. If I didn’t wake her up in the morning, she would have slept through Fa study and the exercises. Because our daily habits and personalities were different, we began to have more and more disagreements, and I consequently encountered my biggest cultivation trial to date.
After she arrived, I thought that, because we were fellow practitioners, we would be able to live and interact harmoniously, look inward during conflicts, and point out each other’s flaws. But slowly, I found that I had to point out her problems, and where she did wrong. Yet, she wouldn’t change. I felt that I was contributing so much, and even if I did look inward, I didn’t find anything that I had done wrong. Whenever I met with other practitioners, I couldn’t hold it in, and I just had to complain about her.
During a video call with my mother, I even had the thought of going back to China. Every day when I saw that person, no matter what she did, it bothered me. This xinxing test was unbearable for me. I continued to look inward; reminded myself to be a cultivator; reminded myself to reach the standard of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance; and tried to think about things from her perspective. But whenever she did something that wasn’t up to my standards, I couldn’t stand it. The feelings I tried to suppress would surface, and I felt that even if I were her, I wouldn’t do things the way she did.
For over a year, I was tormented by the fact that I repeatedly wanted to pass this test but failed to do so. This continued up until she left the city I lived in and moved somewhere else. I slowly started to calm down and realized where I had not cultivated well. When I saw her do something that didn’t live up to what I thought was the standard, I felt that she had done something wrong, and I would point out her flaw right away. I thought that being straightforward and pointing out her flaws was being truthful, so I also didn’t feel like I was talking behind her back when I talked about her to other practitioners since I had already said it to her face.
I realized there was no compassion in my words, let alone tolerance. I could only see where she did not meet my standard, and I felt that, since I had been in America for longer than her, I had the right to give her advice. I thought that, since I studied the Fa every day, my actions were in line with the Fa, while in reality I had not cultivated Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
When I saw other people’s problems, I didn’t reflect on myself but actually used the excuse of wanting to be truthful to demand better of others. When I realized this, I began to contact her and became friends with her again. She would share details about her life with me, and I didn’t try to point out any flaw. Instead, I would patiently and compassionately encourage her. I truly began to view her as a fellow practitioner and made suggestions, instead of trying to demand that she act based on my beliefs. I felt like it finally became clear to me how I should act. I knew that in the future I would no longer force my opinion on other people. Instead, I would try to be tolerant, look inward, and explain my thoughts and understandings based on compassion and truly cultivating Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Persevering in Doing the Three Things
In school in America, I felt a lot of academic pressure. Because English is not my native language, it took me longer than usual to study and learn the course material. Slowly, I became less diligent in studying the Fa and doing the exercises. The most trivial quizzes and tests started to stress me out, and I spend many sleepless nights. But the more I worried, the worse my grades. I remember during my first semester, I even failed a class and became very discouraged. Every day I was diligent about my schoolwork, but I still could not make progress. I began to wonder if I was even cut out to be in college.
As I was speaking with another practitioner, I realized that I had not prioritized the Fa. I had a lot of schoolwork, but outside of my studies, I still participated in a lot of activities that wasted a lot of time. I did this because I wanted to live the life of an American student, which meant that I found excuses to study the teachings and do the exercises less, and I didn’t validate the Fa. After realizing this, I added daily exercises and Fa study into my planner.
Regardless of how busy I was, I no longer neglected to do the exercises and send forth righteous thoughts every day. I even clarified the truth to my classmates. After doing this for a week, I realized that I wasn’t as anxious as I was before. Every day, I was at peace and wouldn’t have trouble falling asleep due to schoolwork. Because I’d failed my midterm, the professor told me that if I did better on my final exam, he would cancel my midterm grade and use my final exam grade as the scores for both my exams. By continuing to do the three things well, all my final exam grades were very good, and my final exam grade replaced the midterm exam that I’d failed.
“For a Dafa disciple, cultivation is first priority. That’s because if you fail to cultivate well, you will not be able to accomplish what you are to do; and if you fail to cultivate well, your power to save sentient beings will not be that great. And if you cultivate a little worse, then you will view and consider problems in the manner that ordinary people do, which would be still more awful.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
Since I've begun to hold myself to the standard of a Dafa disciple, whenever I encounter a problem, I first look within and measure myself against the Fa. Through persistent Fa study, exercises, and doing well the three things, I don’t panic when I face issues but am able to treat them with compassion and tolerance.
Before I decided to write my experience sharing article, I felt that there wasn’t much to share. Once I sat down to think about my cultivation journey, I realized that there were many areas where I haven’t done well.
I’m not focused during Fa study, and I frequently treat Fa study as a task that needs to be completed. I’m not able to achieve tranquility while doing the exercises but always think about ordinary people’s things.
When clarifying the truth about Dafa, I realized that I’m not knowledgeable enough and am unable to answer people’s questions. Afterward, I don’t try to understand the problems I encounter. It wasn’t until I looked back at the areas where I’ve done poorly that I realized I haven’t cultivated diligently. I am full of regret. I’m very grateful to be able to participate in this Fa conference. I was able to reflect upon myself, recognize my problems, and, from now on, continue to steadily improve and cultivate.
(Presented at the 2020 International Falun Dafa Young Practitioners’ Online Fa Conference)