(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!

In the blink of an eye, 25 years have passed since I began practicing Falun Dafa. My understandings advanced from perceptual to rational, and eventually I assimilated to the teachings. I would like to share a few stories of my cultivation journey.

The Stronger One’s Righteous Thoughts, the More Powerfully the Fa Manifests

Falun Dafa is a practice of both mind and body. The teachings were deeply rooted in my mind ever since I read Falun Gong and started my cultivation practice. I didn’t expect to be physically rejuvenated, so I was surprised my aging slowed down.

I was so happy after I began practicing. When my colleagues asked why I was always so upbeat, I told them about Falun Dafa and suggested they read Zhuan Falun. I played videos of Master’s lectures during lunch break. One colleague said, “What Master says is great, but cultivation is too difficult for me.” My belief in Dafa never wavered even after the persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started in 1999.

China’s economy changed, and more than twelve coworkers joined other private companies. New hires filled their positions. Some newly hired employees said, “You look younger than other people in the office. We’re surprised you’re older than them.” I told them I was 4 to 8 years older than some colleagues and that I benefited from a self-cultivation practice that kept me young. Another colleague told me many times that after seven or eight years of working together, I always looked as young as the first time he met me.

Our general manager and I had a meeting with the director working on one of our projects. The director later said, “If you follow your boss closely, you will take his position after he retires.” I told him that I was only three years younger than our general manager and that I would retire soon after he did. He was surprised to learn my real age.

I’m now over 50 years old, but many people still think I’m in my 30s.

Taking Hardship as Joy

I was an office worker in China and hardly did any physical labor. After I came to the U.S., everything changed, including my work and cultivation environment. I volunteered to help with a project full time, six days a week. It involved physical labor, and after the first day I had pain in my hands and arms, as well as a sore back. The following morning, every joint in my hands was swollen and sore. Even though I was uncomfortable physically, I felt joyful and fulfilled.

Some tasks are dangerous. Due to my physical fatigue, my reaction time slowed down. I often cut my hands, hit my legs, smashed my toes, or hit my head. One day, a fellow practitioner jokingly asked, “How many injuries have you gotten today?” I laughed and showed him the cuts and bruises on my head, arms and legs.

The physical exhaustion was easy to endure, but what was hard was enduring both physical and mental pressure when I began having doubts. Some things were done incorrectly and had to be torn down and re-done. Other tasks were repeated, and we moved around often. When my body felt like it was reaching the limit of my endurance, I began wondering whether my work was meaningful: “Is this validating the Fa? Is it saving sentient beings? Isn’t this wasting practitioners’ time? We can volunteer with other projects, too. Isn’t this project wasting valuable resources?”

When I had doubts, the physical pain was magnified. I thought of quitting and volunteering for other projects. I also looked for encouragement by sharing my doubts with fellow practitioners. Some said, “All projects are the same. They all had difficulties at the beginning.” Others encouraged me to learn from Buddha Milarepa, whose master repeatedly told him to build a house, tear it down, and then build it again.

But I didn’t buy their explanations. It sounded like an excuse for doing a poor job. I felt if other projects made mistakes, we should not repeat the same mistakes.

Buddha Milarepa followed a cultivation practice that improved the cultivator through hardships. Falun Dafa focuses on cultivating through raising one’s xinxing. I felt the difficulties we encountered in the project were due to poor planning or having no plan at all. I felt some project leaders were stubborn, had big egos or refused to listen to suggestions.

I couldn’t take it and complained. Because my attitude was bad, the response I received was not sympathetic. “Nobody forces you to be here,” one said. Another said, “What you’ve suffered is nothing compared to those before you.”

Master talked about how cultivators, “...temper oneself physically and mentally.” (Lecture 9, Zhuan Falun)

I had no choice but to calm down and look within. I thought, “Shouldn’t cultivators look inward? How can you increase your gong comfortably? How can you improve your character without experiencing challenges? Everything you do is for yourself, not for others, the person in charge, or for Master.” So why did I feel my situation was unfair? Once I understood, my heart gradually calmed down, and I passed the test.

Letting Go of Self

I felt sacred and proud when I first joined the project. After I grew more familiar with it, I saw the challenges involved. The project lost the halo it had for me when I heard of it in China. Fellow practitioners often reminded me, “Aren’t you supposed to look at yourself when you encounter problems?” Yes, we’re supposed to look inward when things get difficult. But I thought it was not being responsible to the project if participants saw issues that could be avoided by simple communication or a small change but kept the observation to oneself and allowed the issue to halt the project’s progress.

Master said,

“...this selfishness reaches all the way up to very high levels. As a matter of fact, for cultivators in the past to say, “I’m doing such and such,” “I want to do such and such,” “I want to obtain such and such,” “I’m cultivating,” “I want to become a Buddha,” or “I wish to attain such and such,” none of that was outside of selfishness. But what I want you to do is to truly, purely, and unselfishly Consummate with the real righteous Fa and righteous Enlightenment—only then can you achieve eternal non-extinction.” (Teachings at the Conference in Switzerland)

My understanding is that a practitioner should not limit himself to personal cultivation when encountering a problem. If so, it would still be a manifestation of the old universe’s selfishness.

To reach the realm of real selflessness requires solid cultivation. On the journey, different attachments are exposed. Sometimes I thought, “I have not reached selflessness yet and I don’t have enough compassion. I’d better keep my opinion to myself.” Other times I thought, “Since I saw the issue, does it mean that Master wants me to speak up? It’s not validating myself—it’s being responsible to the project. Even if I don’t have enough compassion, it will have the same effect because my heart is righteous.”

There were setbacks, more contemplation, and searching inward during the cultivation process, and I eventually understood it was an orderly arrangement from Master.

Practitioners of different ages, backgrounds, ways of thinking, and personalities come together. Everyone has their attachments exposed while we work together. If each of us can use this opportunity to cultivate well, not only would everyone be able to achieve Consummation, but the project would also be done very well. In the process, we would live up to the sacred title of Dafa disciple. Every Dafa disciple represents his or her own world, and perhaps the characteristics of each disciple are the characteristics of that world. It is impossible for everyone to be the same.

The contradictions and shortcomings exposed in the process enable everyone to cultivate themselves. We should tolerate and accommodate each other.

After I jumped out of the constraints of selfishness, my compassion and understanding immediately opened up. It is like watching a performance, in which everything is arranged and orderly. We shouldn’t cling to our own understandings or hope for specific results. We should be peaceful and do what we should without pursuit. This state of detachment is very beautiful. I have to be more diligent on the path of cultivation and strive to maintain this state at all times.

These are my personal understandings. Fellow practitioners, please kindly correct whatever I’ve said that is inappropriate.

(Presented at the 2021 Orange County Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing, New York)

Chinese version available

Category: Improving Oneself