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[European Fa Conference] Going Back to Truly Cultivating

Sept. 22, 2022 |   By a Falun Dafa practitioner in Europe

(Minghui.org) Fellow practitioners, it’s an honor to be here with you all today. I started practicing Falun Dafa when I was 24 years old, and I’m now 33. One year after I began practicing, my boyfriend died of cancer, and it took me three years to put myself back together. After that, I only focused on work, as it seemed it was the only thing that gave me a sense of purpose.

Last year I started asking myself “Am I truly cultivating? What does it mean to be a true cultivator?” I’d like to share with you how a change in environment helped me identify and let go of many attachments, and put me back on a path of doing spiritual practice in earnest.

Letting Go of the Attachment to a Career

The project I participated in before I decided to join the media changed substantially at the beginning of 2021. My workflow changed drastically—I went from being overwhelmed and doing multiple different things at once to having very little to do. I could not understand why, when I was capable of doing many things, I was only working on one type of task. It made me feel that I was wasting time, and I became depressed. A feeling of guilt developed, and I started asking myself where was I heading and why was I involved in this project.

In Zhuan Falun Master said,

“She considered herself better than others and extraordinary. She mistakenly thought that she was given the energy to become a qigong master and make a big fortune, when in fact it was for her to cultivate.” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)

I realized that I had a wrong understanding—that if I wasn’t achieving something on the project, I wasn’t fulfilling my role as a Dafa disciple. I then understood that everything that is given to me—my role in the project, the material and financial resources—is all for my cultivation and not for me to achieve something and make a name for myself. I started to feel that I was pursuing something, but it wasn’t clear to me what.

I decided to leave that project and join the media. While going through the interview process, I was told there were no positions in the legal department and I was offered two other positions. At first I told myself, “I have certain abilities, yet I am asked to do something I don’t know much about, but it’s easy to learn.” It was hard for me to understand and accept why I was not given something challenging. Instead I’d have to work on something different from my accumulated experience. While reading the Fa, I understood that, as practitioners, one’s path is not arranged according to one’s abilities but is based on one’s karmic relationships.

While letting go of my desire to work on what I had the ability to do, I saw my attachment to pursuing a career and status. Since I was a small child, I’d been taught to follow my dreams and become someone significant. As a result, all my life I pursued status. Because this notion had become part of me, it was hard to detect. Even though after I started practicing Falun Dafa I let go of my desire to have a career as a lawyer and choose to work on different projects instead, the attachment of pursuing status was still there.

Master said,

“Don’t do Dafa things with impure human attachments. Dafa disciples’ cultivation is solemn. No matter how clearheaded you may think you are, in reality, all of your involvement stems from your wisdom having been clouded by the attachment of pursuit that you have had since early on. Though you have made it to where you are today, you have always been the object of ridicule by divine beings. How sad it is that you have come close to Dafa, but cannot enter.” (“Cleaning Up,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress III)

How could I have not been aware that all this time I was actually doing things out of pursuit? I always thought that, because I didn’t practice Dafa to gain supernormal abilities or to cure my diseases and so on, what Master said about “The Issue of Pursuit” in Zhuan Falun did not apply to me. I failed to analyze myself during the process of cultivation because of my false impression. I was deceived by human notions—that what I’m doing is actually something good, and that what I am doing is for saving sentient beings.

What have I cultivated all this time? Foremost in my mind was my desire to achieve this or accomplish that. I had the false impression that I was doing it for a Dafa project, when in fact I was seeing things with my human notions. Participating in a project to save people is not for us to climb the career ladder with the false impression that what we’re doing is for a good cause. When I had this realization, I was so saddened by my selfishness and by my trying to get things from Dafa.

Letting Go of Pride and Competition

After joining the media, unexpected things started to happen. I had never seen a difference between myself and my Asian friends, but after I began participating in the media I was told on different occasions, “You’re not Asian.” At first I didn’t pay attention. After making a number of mistakes on one of the tasks I was assigned, and being removed from it, I was told again that I was not Asian and I didn’t understand the culture. It was the first time it hurt when I heard this, and I started feeling put down. I asked, “What culture? We all practice the same Fa. Is there an Asian way and a Western way for looking within? We all apply the same principles in cultivation, right?”

At my first team meeting, everyone spoke to each other in Chinese. Afterwards I was told that there was no need for me to be at the meetings. My understanding was that, since I was the only non-Asian, it was too difficult for people to speak English just for me to know what they were discussing. I told myself I would not allow negative thoughts to creep in and allow this to separate me from my team members.

The same person that said this to me suddenly changed the way she spoke to me and started talking about me to different people. I noticed again and again how people’s behavior towards me changed, including my friend. It hurt me, first of all because I wasn’t expecting something like this coming from her. I did not understand what I did wrong for them to behave like that. Second, I eventually lost the only people I kept close to my heart due to what this person did.

I simply wanted to clarify the situation or understand what I did wrong. I found it unfair that now they were thinking something about me that was not the truth. But then I realized I would just react the same way and start competing. Even when this person had a mean attitude towards me, my first thought was to respond by behaving the same way. My attachment to competition surfaced.

The situation was not easy to tolerate. It went on for weeks, to the point where I felt I did not belong there. I seriously considered getting a plane ticket and going back to my country. My only righteous thought was, “Don’t give up on everything because of a wave of emotions.” This entire situation showed me another attachment that I had very well hidden—pride. I realized one walks one’s own path; I should not care what others think about me. It didn’t matter if they told people the very worst things about me. What matters is that I always apply Master’s teachings in my daily life. As long as I don’t do anything to undermine the Fa, it does not matter what others say or think about me, I must walk my path righteously. I just focused on doing my work and stopped caring about what others thought of me.

I recalled the “...story about Han Xin, which says that he endured the humiliation of crawling between someone’s legs.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun) How I failed to do that every time a similar test was presented to me! I could not tolerate being humiliated.

Master said,

“It is an ordinary person’s motto that one should live to prove one’s point or save face. Think about it, everyone: Living to prove one’s point or to save face—isn’t it tiring? Isn’t it painful? Is it worthwhile? Han Xin was an everyday person after all. As cultivators, we should be much better than him.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)

After pride stopped affecting me, the situation stabilized. I also noticed how some people’s behavior towards me returned to normal.

Understanding What Compassion Really Is

Out of the three principles, Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, I always validated Truthfulness very strongly. Ever since I was an everyday person, I’ve always been honest to the point of saying things directly without being very diplomatic.

Once, when I’d first started practicing, I fell asleep while sending righteous thoughts. I saw myself in a dark world—even the grass was black. I was dressed in white. I was suddenly hit by a wave of energy and thrown to the ground. I woke up, hurt and scared. When I told the other practitioners about this, we realized that, in my dream, I was wearing a long Wudang Daoist robe with open cuffs worn by the people who practice in the mountains. One practitioner exclaimed, “No wonder you hit people with the truth on their heads!” meaning, I’m not being polite when I say things directly.

Because of my strong need to validate my perspective of the Truth, I could not accept anyone I felt was lying or playing mind games. I either called them out for their behavior or avoided them.

Feeling hurt from the experience of someone talking about me behind my back, I asked myself, “What is compassion actually?” All I wanted to do was to directly tell that person all the bad things I saw about them, personally and professionally. I realized I had no consideration for their feelings. It seemed I did nothing wrong when I said things bluntly, because to me it was just saying the truth. But that’s not how a good person behaves and that will only make people defensive and create barriers between us.

Master said,

“Human society never had true principles to guide it before, so man has not resolved his problems via Shan. Instead, man has always resolved things through fighting and conquest, and that has thus become man's norm. If man wants to become divine and transcend the human state, then he must forsake that frame of mind and use compassion to resolve things.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2009 Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference,” Collected Teachings Given Around the World Volume IX)

“Compassion is an enormous energy, the energy of righteous gods. The more compassion that is present, the greater this energy becomes, and it can disintegrate anything that is bad.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2009 Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference,” Collected Teachings Given Around the World Volume IX)

I understood how, as practitioners, we’re all nice and friendly, but when encountering a test, our true nature is shown and what we do during that test determines if we’re actually good people. As Falun Dafa practitioners, we cultivate Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. How could I be a good person when my insistence on how I see the Truth did not allow me to be compassionate exactly when I was supposed to show it the most?

The Importance of Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts

Usually when I experienced sickness karma, I just felt it was a cleansing. I did not pay too much attention to it and passively endured it. When I returned to the dorm one night I felt very ill. My whole body was burning up. I coughed, and the back of my body hurt from head to toe. My roommate started sending righteous thoughts for me and asked our dorm mates to send righteous thoughts. I asked her why she was doing that since I was just going through some cleansing and eliminating karma. She responded that we didn’t know if it was that or interference. I didn’t expect much to happen since to me it just seemed normal to go through things like this.

The next day I felt better, I could feel the support of my dorm mates. Two days later the pain in the back of my body got worse. It was very hard to do the third position while holding the wheel during exercise two. I ignored the pain all day, considering it was just a process of eliminating karma. After I went to bed, the pain became unbearable. I told myself that if I ignored it I might fall asleep and forget about the pain. Suddenly, even though my body was still burning, I started feeling very cold. I started shaking uncontrollably. I didn’t know if it was because of the pain, or because I was cold. I got out of bed and sat in front of the heater, continuing to shake uncontrollably.

My roommate wasn’t asleep yet. She heard me and got up. I told her to please go back to bed and not to worry about me. I would be fine after eliminating the karma, but she said, “No, I will send righteous thoughts for you!” Seeing how determined she was, I joined her in sending righteous thoughts. But I didn’t know why. I just said I’m not accepting anything that’s not from Master. By the time we did the second part of righteous thoughts, the trembling stopped, and the pain was almost gone. I was shocked. By the time we finished, I’d calmed down and the pain in my back was gone. My roommate told me, “I felt that after the second part, Master helped you because your righteous thoughts became stronger.” I told her how the pain went away. I was shocked, and my understanding of righteous thoughts changed.

From this experience I realized I was passively enduring and accepting some hardships. I was validating a path that wasn’t right, just because I had the impression I’m negating the old forces’ arrangements by not considering the hardship as interference.

Weeks later, a friend on social media described her experience after contracting the COVID Omicron variant, and her symptoms were exactly the same as mine. I asked myself, “Did I get the virus?” But then I remembered how the back pain went away during righteous thoughts. I saw how my first reaction was to think with human notions. As cultivators, if we have shortcomings in cultivation, we can attract interference, and one of the forms it might take is sickness karma. We should not think of it, or treat it as a virus or disease. We should send forth righteous thoughts to clear out that interference, especially if it’s something serious.

Going through this helped me experience how powerful righteous thoughts are. It reinforced my faith and ability to concentrate while sending them. I was also grateful to have such a tolerant and compassionate roommate.

A Person That Aligns with Dafa

When I returned to my home country, the tests in cultivation changed significantly, from a very active environment, full of people, to being home alone all day in front of a computer. Years ago I used to say, “All I wish is a place of my own, which would allow me to do my work with no one to bother me.” Back then I thought this would be the best option. But when it happened, I realized I wasn’t able to do my work or the three things well. It was all because a great state of loneliness swept over me. At work, even though a lot of movie producers and distributors wanted to work with us, in the end we had to let go of most of them because of our very limited budget. I put a lot of heart into doing my tasks well and making our clients happy with us, but in the end nothing happened. Work went from being my only satisfaction in life to becoming a huge disappointment. The only thing that kept me going was knowing we reached out to and clarified the truth to a lot of people through this undertaking.

I felt stuck, with no hope, and as if life had no meaning. I discovered Korean reality shows and I started watching them because they were funny and the interaction between the guests gave me a sense of living. Every time I felt down I would watch them, just like taking medicine to alleviate pain and help me go through a sickness. I began feeling like I needed to start cultivating all over again.

One day while reciting On Dafa, I realized, “I’m not a person who becomes one with Dafa, I’m just a person that aligns with Dafa.” I was reading the Fa every day but not for more than an hour. Sometimes I did the exercises, sometimes I did not, although I behaved according to the Fa principles in my daily life. I saw how I had fallen into complacency, but I thought that this was cultivation practice. Nothing that I was doing was because it came from the heart, but because I had a list of things that I knew I needed to do.

For July 20th we had a lot of activities to introduce Falun Dafa to the public, including a national Fa conference. For three days I got out of my daily routine. I spent time with practitioners from around the country and listened to their sharings. The solemnity of the events ignited my wish to do well in cultivation again. I felt a change in my heart: I started to once again prioritize growing spiritually and raising my cultivation level.

With this wish in my heart, I saw how my mind was filled with intentions about worldly things that I had to do and they all prevented me from growing spiritually. Without realizing it, my mindset had become worldly instead of doing spiritual practice in earnest.

It took me seven years to understand that through cultivation practice I need to reach the purity I once had and nine years to understand how to truly cultivate. I hope this awareness will stay with me forever. I hope that I will not lose it again and get caught up in doing things!

These are just my limited understandings. Please kindly point out what I might have said wrong.

Thank you, compassionate Master, for giving me chance after chance to enlighten and improve myself and for always being there for me!

Thank you, fellow disciples!

(Presented at the 2022 European Fa Conference)