(Minghui.org) I share a kitchen and bathroom with my landlords who are in their 70s. All the household chores including grocery shopping, preparing meals, washing the dishes and cleaning the house are done by the husband (who I call Uncle). He is very nit-picky and always criticizes the way his wife (who I call Auntie) does things. As a result, she let him do everything. 

I have been living with them for eight years. Before the pandemic, they worked at a casino. Although I had many conflicts and xinxing tribulations with them over the years, I never truly eliminated the root of my attachments. In order to avoid Uncle’s criticism, I usually finished what I had to do and stayed in my room when they returned from work. I knew I needed to eliminate my attachments, but I avoided conflicts due to my attachment to comfort. 

The Pandemic Lockdown Exposes My Fundamental Attachments

We all had to stay home due to the pandemic. I had no way of avoiding Uncle’s nit-picking.

Uncle likes to sleep in the kitchen because that way he can monitor everything in the house. As soon as I come out of my room, he watches me to see what I am up to. While preparing meals in the kitchen, he turns his head and watches me enter the bathroom. Because he always stares at me I feel very uncomfortable. I had to constantly remind myself that I needed to upgrade my xinxing every time I stepped out of my room. I reminded myself of something Master said:

“...you did not strike back when hit or talk back when cursed at. (Lecture Given at the Conference in Sydney)

Uncle did not hit nor curse at me—so, why did these trifling things bother me? The Divine and Buddha are compassionate towards sentient beings. As a cultivator, I knew I needed to eliminate this attachment. I began to let go of this attachment and overcame this tribulation.

Next, I needed to let go of my attachment to fear. Uncle disliked it when I used the kitchen while he was in there, so I prepared my meals between breakfast and lunchtime. However, he always came in and started to nit-pick at me. He placed a big cutting board over the countertop and I had to use the space next to the sink to cut my vegetables. Then he would walk back and forth and say things like, “You put too much water in the pot.” “Turn down the water faucet.” “Turn down the stove.” “Your food is cooking too long.” It made me very nervous. When I washed the kitchen floor afterward, he would say, “The mop is too dirty.” When I cleaned the stovetop and countertop, he would say, “The dishcloth is too dirty.” To avoid his criticism, I started to use my own mop and dishcloth. Uncle also complained about the strong smell whenever I cooked. He demanded that I open the door to let fresh air in. He even complained about the smell of rice coming from the rice cooker and told me to cook my rice outside on the balcony. When it rained or snowed, I had no choice but to cook the rice in my room. 

The more I was afraid of making mistakes, the more he complained. If I forgot to turn off the lights in the bathroom or forgot to tighten the water faucets, Uncle angrily knocked on my door and reprimanded me. He and his wife said they paid an extra 50 dollars on water because I did not tighten the water faucets. When the water bill came, the balance showed that the bill wasn’t even 50 dollars for two months.

I always felt very stressed whenever Uncle was home. Everything I did bothered him. He urged me to finish cooking, but he would not start cooking until an hour after I was done. Whenever I used the bathroom, he waited right outside the door.

Uncle always dols me that I was making mistakes. This made me stressed and nervous every day. I recited Master’s lectures each time and reminded myself that I am upgrading my xinxing.

Master said, 

“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing.” (“What is Forbearance (Ren)?” Essentials for Further Advancement)

Attachments Began to Surface

I enlightened one day that I had issues with my cultivation. The fundamental reason behind my fear was my inability to take criticism. I was attached to saving face and pride and hadn’t eliminated my ego. After I identified these attachments, the attachment to fear disappeared. I realized I was not thinking of others nor of Uncle. I did everything to avoid being criticized. It was a very selfish thought. I decided to change my mentality and be altruistic. This is the state a cultivator should strive for. 

After eliminating my attachment to fear, other attachments such as my competitive mentality surfaced. I started to make up excuses and justify myself whenever Uncle corrected me. 

He began to have a bad temper. He would yell and stare at me viciously. Upon coming across his bad temper, I would return back to my room and recite Master’s lectures in Zhuan Falun

One day I asked Uncle when he planned to prepare lunch because I wanted to cook some ribs. When Auntie told me that I could go ahead and cook the ribs, Uncle stomped over and pointed angrily at me, “You can only cook from 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. from now on!” I told Auntie that this was very unfair—I barely had time to cook. She told me to disregard what Uncle said. She then said, “Don’t you cultivate Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance? Don’t argue with him.” I said, “I would have already moved out if I didn’t practice Falun Dafa.” 

She was very nervous when I mentioned moving out. She phoned her daughter and her daughter apologized to me. I felt ashamed of myself and apologized for causing a big fuss. From then on, Auntie would bring Uncle back to his room whenever I cooked. However, he still found excuses to come out. I knew I had to improve in my cultivation, have a heart of forbearance, and not argue. Isn’t this what a cultivator should achieve? After that, I was no longer moved when he yelled at me. 

Cultivating Away My Attachments Layer by Layer

I began to think that many layers of my attachments were eliminated—but I felt hopeless and depressed after witnessing the decline of human moral values during the last presidential election. I was in the bathroom when Uncle yelled at me for taking too long. If this had happened in the past, I would have just let this pass, but tribulations often catch you off guard. I was unable to hold it in because I was already upset. I became angrier when I recalled how he treated me in the past. I no longer wanted to look inward and walked around the house with a long face. I began to think of ways to make their lives miserable. It was not until that evening when I decided to look inward that I calmed down. Although I was no longer angry, I still had an unhappy expression on my face while talking to Uncle and Auntie. I thought, “How can I call myself a cultivator with such evil thoughts?!”

Uncle waited outside the bathroom the next day and said he wanted to have a chat with me. He said, “I apologize for my attitude yesterday.” I felt ashamed immediately. How can an ordinary, elderly person apologize to a cultivator? Auntie said, “Uncle isn’t usually like this. He only treats you this way. Perhaps the divine beings in your dimension are using Uncle to treat you this way so you can upgrade in cultivation. How else can you reach consummation?” I replied, “It is all my fault. I am not a very diligent cultivator. If I were more diligent, I would not have argued with Uncle.”

This experience pointed out that I needed to look inward and identify my shortcomings. I should be compassionate towards them and endure their behavior. Not only should I eliminate my attachments, I should also move beyond the ordinary human realm and conduct myself as a true cultivator. 

Uncle no longer supervised my cooking or gave me evil stares. Perhaps I improved in cultivation because he did not nit-pick at me as much. I realized that he helped me improve in my cultivation. How could he feel comfortable when he acquired karma to help me eliminate my attachments? I should thank him instead. 

During the cold winter days, Uncle and Auntie always turn off the heat when they go to work. I freeze in my room even though I’m wearing my winter jacket and pants. During the summer, they turn off the air conditioning whenever they sense a breeze outside. My room is extremely hot to the point that I get heat rashes. I managed to overcome these tribulations by thinking of the jailed and persecuted Falun Dafa practitioners in China.

It would have been impossible for me to endure these tribulations if I did not practice Falun Dafa. A colleague of mine in China once said, “We couldn’t talk to you before. If we said something that was not to your liking, you might ignore us for days. You have changed a lot after you began practicing Falun Dafa.” I am amazed at these changes myself. How could I have done it without the power of Dafa? Only Dafa is capable of changing a person fundamentally. I have experienced Dafa’s magnificence and power! 

I am grateful for Master’s arrangements and thankful for Master’s salvation.