(Minghui.org) I heard about Falun Dafa in 2016 and immediately realized that this was just what I had been looking for all my life.
I got married soon after I began practicing. We lived in a suburban area of a big city. The housing was expensive, and the traffic was terrible. I got up early every day to send forth righteous thoughts and do the exercises. However, after a busy day at work and the long commute to and from work, I had very little time to participate in Dafa-validation projects or read the Fa.
I became busier after the birth of my son in 2020. It was even more challenging for me to find time to do the three things well. I hoped to buy a bigger house for my growing family and get a better job with higher pay. I spent a lot of time browsing job postings and advertisements for homes for sale. I had several job interviews. Although my qualifications and abilities met the employer’s requirements and I felt the interviews went well, I didn’t get any offers.
I became anxious when my plan to buy a bigger house had to be postponed again and again because I could not find a better job. To comfort me, I reminded myself that Master Li (Dafa’s founder) arranged the difficulties in my life to cultivate my patience and that the situation would improve because Master would help me.
I was entitled to a bonus based on the performance of the stores I manage. I worked very hard, so I expected to get a bonus equivalent to one and a half months of my salary. However, at the last minute, my boss told me that our company’s sales were affected because of the pandemic and I wouldn’t get a bonus. He didn’t discuss it with me in detail and just said that he would talk about it later.
I felt angry and resentful. I felt hurt and had bad thoughts about my boss. I knew that nothing was coincidental and that I should let go of my attachment to money. But I felt I was unfairly treated and thought about arguing with him.
I debated with myself for a while. On the one hand, I wanted to defend my interests. On the other hand, I knew that this was an opportunity to improve myself as a practitioner. I reminded myself of the principles of “no gain, no loss” and asked myself if I could successfully pass this test.
The Paintings Helped Me Look Inward
During this period, I came across an article in The Epoch Times about a series of four paintings created by Thomas Cole. The series of paintings called “The Voyage of Life” represents an allegory of the four stages of human life. The paintings, Childhood, Youth, Manhood, and Old Age, depict a voyager who travels in a boat on the River of Life. In each painting, the voyager is accompanied by a guardian angel. The connotations behind these works deeply touched me. In two of the paintings, I saw my current situation.
In the painting “Youth” a young man excitedly takes control of the boat and aims for a shining castle in the sky. However, he turns his back to his guardian angel on the riverbank, while the palace in front of him looks transient and unreal.
I asked myself, “Am I like this youth? Am I still letting myself be deceived by this transient world?”
“Thus, even less should our cultivators be like this, as a cultivator should follow the course of nature. If something is yours, you will not lose it. If something is not yours, you will not have it even if you fight for it.” (Lecture Seven, Zhuan Falun)
I realized that the bonus was most likely not mine, so I should follow the course of nature and remain calm. My boss was right. The company was recovering from slow business due to the one-year lockdown. How could I be so greedy when I should be happy to have a job? And, it’s ridiculous for me to fight for the fleeting benefits of the human world and lose the opportunity to improve myself in cultivation. I should not turn away from the angel like the young man in the painting and leave great regret for myself in the future.
I was very calm when my supervisor discussed the bonus issue with me again. I told him that I understood his decision and that because of this current situation it really was not the right time to pay a bonus. He was surprised and told me that he was satisfied with my performance and decided to give me a fifteen percent pay increase.
Digging Out the Root of My Attachments
At first, I felt happy and that I had passed this test pretty well. But after a second thought, I asked myself if I had really enlightened to what I should understand through this test.
“Thus, what people consider good for a person is to fulfill more self-interest among everyday people, thereby living a better life. To the great enlightened beings, this person is worse off. (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
I realized that I may have removed a greedy heart and the attachment to material gains to some extent, but I didn’t dig out the roots of my attachment. I looked inward further for the source of my notions.
I wanted to revisit the series of paintings that inspired me. I felt it wasn’t accidental for me to come across them. When I looked more closely at the painting “Manhood,” I saw some details I hadn’t noticed before.
In this painting, the man’s boat is heading into rough waters and a threatening landscape. He pleads with some shadowy beings in the sky for help but continues to turn his back on his guardian angel. In the end, this man can only suffer the consequences of the mistakes he made in the past, which usher in great suffering.
I didn’t notice the shadowy beings the adult was praying to before. After looking at the painting again, I remembered what Master said in the section “Practicing Evil Cultivation” in Zhuan Falun about “How should I fight him...?” I then realized that this was an example given by Master.
At that moment, I suddenly realized the seriousness of my problem. Not only did I have a strong attachment to comfort and a good life, but I was also walking on an evil path. My thinking was not correct.
Identifying and Eliminating the Heart of Pursuit
“...and those who want to have you obtain good things in ordinary human society are demons.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
I used to hope that Master could give me a better life in the human world. Before every job interview, I asked for Master’s help and thought, “This must be Master’s arrangement. I will get the job!”
I also hoped that Master would arrange for me to find the perfect house. In other situations, I often had these kinds of thoughts. I counted on Master to bring me the benefits of this human society. When I asked Master for help in all these personal interests, wasn’t I like the adult in the “Journey of Life” painting who begs for help from the dark beings? Wasn’t I being disrespectful to Master?
When I discovered these attachments, I felt very ashamed. I was completely unaware of these deep-rooted attachments. Although on the surface, I gave up some human notions, I was actually lying to myself because deep in my heart, I gave up my attachment with a purpose. I hoped that this would please Master so he would reward me.
Master has arranged our paths of cultivation. Our journeys of cultivation are like mountain paths that no one before us has walked. The path is not easy, it can even be very challenging, but we can reach peaks that no one has ever achieved.
“When it’s difficult to endure, you can endure it. When it’s impossible to do, you can do it.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)
Master has arranged my path and I can reach the end and succeed. All I need to do is get rid of my human notions and eliminate my karma. When I had this realization I told Master, “No matter how difficult it is, I can overcome it because I am walking the path Master arranged.”
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