(Minghui.org) Recently, the topic “Consecration” in Zhuan Falun caught my eye:
“In fact, it is not through suffering that they have gained gong. How do they get it? It resembles the case of a regular person: One has a lot of attachments in youth, but by the time one becomes old, with the passage of time one’s future seems hopeless. Those attachments are naturally relinquished and worn out. These side-path practices also use this method.” (Lecture Five, Zhuan Falun)
Specifically, the word “worn out” caught my attention. I thought about my cultivation: were my human attachments eliminated through cultivation or “worn out?”
My answer was: they were “worn out.” Did that mean that I took a deviant path or a side-path practice instead of following a righteous way in my cultivation?
I deeply felt how serious cultivation is! I may read the Fa, do the exercises, and do some Dafa-related projects every day, but does it mean that I am truly cultivating?
As Master told us: “You must truly and genuinely cultivate your heart for it to work.” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
Sometimes, it is not easy to tell if one is truly cultivating unless one carefully scrutinizes oneself.
Enduring a Difficult Family Life
I experienced a lot of suffering and hardships in my family life. I endured them. But the reason I endured was to reduce conflicts instead of improving my character. I did that in hope that I would have a smoother and better life. My complaints toward my family members slowly disappeared. Yet, I did not actually cultivate concerning this issue. I did not realize that I was unconsciously taking a side-path cultivation practice!
On the night before I was writing this sharing article, I came across Master’s teaching:
“But when a student from mainland China hasn’t done something well and others point it out to him, he will immediately say, “You don’t know what happened. The situation at that time was such and such.”” (“Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles”)
That is how I acted. I felt embarrassed. Why didn't I realize this earlier? During past family conflicts, the problem worsened because I refused to admit my faults. I had such poor enlightenment quality!
Every time a conflict occurred between me and my husband, who is also a practitioner, he pointed out that I was defending myself, while I felt that I was being wronged. I thought he was displaying his machismo. He threw a fit, refusing to let me explain things, while I insisted on getting to the bottom of who was wrong and who was right.
Forgetting to Be a Cultivator
Even at times when I behaved better, I was not like a true cultivator. I would tell myself: “All right, I will stop arguing with you. I refuse to deal with you!”
I always found excuses to protect this attachment of mine, and not to let anyone touch it. I never cultivated to eliminate it!
“How could a human being not make mistakes? It is human beings cultivating, so how could they not make mistakes? And yet no one has seen you admit to your mistakes. (Audience laughs) Aren’t you giving away the fact that something is wrong with you?” (“Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles”)
I suddenly felt sorry for my husband. For the past 20 years, how often did he have to endure my wrongdoing? Every time we had conflicts, he pointed out my problems, and many times he quoted Master. But, I thought my husband was being mean. I did not realize that Master was using my husband’s mouth to help me understand and find my problem!
I was deeply ashamed. For so many years, I always thought I cultivated pretty well. Even if I didn’t do some things so well, I thought those were small mistakes – and should be ignored – as compared to my husband’s problems. I thought he was just looking for my faults.
I remember once my husband blamed me, “Every child knows it. How come you just don’t understand?”
I got angry. I thought he was so acrimonious! After that, I disagreed with him, no matter what he said.
“Yes, I won’t understand it!” I replied sharply after he gave a long speech detailing my wrongdoings. I almost drove him crazy. He could not understand why I was so unreasonable. Meanwhile, I was driven crazy by his non-stop “ranting.”
Now, in hindsight, I kept defending myself because I tried to hide my attachments. The attachments were afraid of getting exposed and eliminated. I hung onto the attachments, forgetting I was a cultivator.
Because I insisted on my point of view, and I never acknowledged that anything could be my fault, I experienced family conflicts one after another. For a period of time I felt lost.
But Master did not give up on me. Master wanted me to study the Fa more and see my problems. When I was clearly unable to overcome my problems, Master arranged a fellow practitioner to memorize and recite the Fa with me, as well as discuss cultivation issues. Several times, when I stumbled, that practitioner encouraged me and urged me to continue. Through memorizing the Fa, I gradually learned to truly cultivate myself.
Master told us,
“That’s because, as I have taught, there is a reason for everything that you experience in life once you become part of our spiritual community, and all of it is for your growth. Yet how many of you instead try to pin the blame somewhere. And on top of that, you have even gotten quite cunning about it.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2019 New York Fa Conference”)
I read the above Fa repeatedly and finally saw my problems. I have never felt so relieved. I memorized this paragraph of the Fa. I told myself: “Next time I face an opportunity to improve, I won’t push it away, for I now know it was arranged by Master!”
The next day, I apologized to my husband. At that time he was upset about a previous conflict. I told him I realized that the conflicts were caused by me. It was my fault. I thought he would be happy or at least feel better, since he had been waiting for my apology for more than 20 years!
But, his mood did not improve at all! At first, he said he was not tolerant. Then he criticized me, saying I always tried to prove myself. He said he held resentment toward me.
Finding Problems Galore
I was disappointed. I did not get the result I expected. I asked myself: “What attachments of mine led to this situation?” I found the following problems:
1. I demanded that others meet my expectations. This time, I felt I understood something, so I expected my husband to come to the same understanding as mine.
2. I liked to force my opinion on other people. When I saw that my husband was not in a right state, I tried to instruct him on what to do and expected him to follow my instructions right away.
3. I was not considerate of others. I did not put myself in my husband’s shoes and listen to what he thought.
4. I had an attachment of showing off. When I found my attachment, I was proud of myself: “Look, I enlightened to a higher level; I am doing so great!” I did not think about how much damage my attachment had caused. How could I be proud of myself?
5. I was eager to prove myself. My husband and I ran a business together. In general I made more mistakes than he did. Whenever he questioned me, I never admitted I did anything wrong. That hurt him a lot. On the other hand, when he made a mistake, I usually would not say anything. But, it was not because I was lenient, rather, I knew he was better in business than I, and I wanted to maintain the family harmony – from an ordinary people’s point of view.
I was often bitter: “I am tolerant and overlook your mistakes, but why can’t you be tolerant when I’m in the wrong?” I wanted him to think I was capable. As a result, new conflicts happened before the old ones got resolved. I was upset and made more mistakes. In the end, it was a relief as long as I did not make a mistake. My husband often pointed out that I wanted to prove myself too much.
6. I had a strong mentality of fighting. During conflicts with my husband, the confrontation worsened because I did not admit to any fault. Then, I would think: “Well, since you hurt me, I won’t acknowledge anything you’ve done, no matter how well you did it!”
Improved Family Environment
Having found my attachments, I tried to correct myself. My family environment got better. My husband and children also changed their behavior for the better. Now, our entire family sits together every evening to read the Fa and meditate. My family is now bathed in an atmosphere of serenity and peace.
It is just as Master said, “The Buddha-light illuminates everywhere and harmonizes everything.” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
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