(Minghui.org) For years before the COVID pandemic, my cultivation state was stuck at one level for a long time. I felt like I was cultivating and I did the three things. In fact, my xinxing was no longer the state that a Dafa disciple in the Fa-rectification period should be. Even though I studied the Fa, I did not really follow the Fa’s requirements of looking inward unconditionally and solidly cultivating myself. I rarely did all five sets of exercises each day. Because I did not send righteous thoughts four times a day every day, I could not clear interference in time. I also no longer took the initiative to help with Dafa projects and was usually just passively pulled in by fellow practitioners.

Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, my city had several lockdowns, and my work changed from going in, to working on the telephone. I was home almost 24 hours a day. I read and memorized Zhuan Falun, and I also systematically read all the other lectures Master gave.

After studying and memorizing the Fa regularly for a period of time, I realized I was far from what Master required of us. Only by solidly cultivating in accordance with the Fa could I rectify myself.

Doing the Exercises Outdoors

Master said, “Group Fa study is what I left for everyone, and group exercise is what I left for everyone. Other than in situations of severe persecution, it should be done this way in other areas outside mainland China. There is no reason not to do it, as it relates to the issue of the future humans obtaining the Fa and cultivating. Therefore, group exercise and group Fa study is not something you can do without.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”, Team Blue Translation, Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XIV)

Local practitioners often emphasize the importance of group Fa study, but we rarely mentioned doing exercises as a group. It almost seemed as if group exercise was no longer important since practitioners were involved in so many truth-clarification projects.

I used to think this way, too. After the city locked down in 2020, the local government did not allow people to travel or gather outdoors, but doing outdoor exercises that did not cross districts was allowed. People were worried about their health, and thus I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce Dafa to them. I asked a young practitioner to help make truth-clarification flyers related to the pandemic and health. I then began doing the Falun Dafa exercises in a park next to the regional city hall with two other practitioners. We talked with local residents who came out for walks or to exercise, and the effect was very good.

After the lockdowns ended in 2021, local practitioners’ activities were focused on collecting signatures to raise awareness of the persecution, or to ask Chinese people to withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations. There were very few group exercise sites or large-scale group exercise activities purely for presenting Dafa. There were also very few group exercise sites listed on the Internet. Most of our group exercises were held very early in the morning, so few people saw us. I decided to establish multiple group exercise sites near my home, and I set the time for doing the exercises from 9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

I researched online and found some beautiful parks and attraction sites, and another practitioner and I drove to these locations to check the surroundings and to see how many people there were. We selected seven sites, and we went to one each day of the week. We wanted to tell people that Dafa is here, and present Dafa’s beauty to them. We wanted to build a good relationship with residents, and clarify the truth them.

I remember the first day when I did the mudras in the fifth exercise, I felt that the energy mechanisms and the energy field were very powerful, so powerful that I didn’t need to do the movements myself, and the mechanisms pushed my hands and arms to do them. I never experienced this before, but afterwards I often experienced it at this exercise site. I enlightened that it was Master’s encouragement telling us that it was good to have a group exercise site there, especially since it was an area where many Chinese people gathered.

Starting in February 2022, several of us worked together to maintain these group exercise sites. I prepared a basket with some flyers and put a small display board next to it when we did the exercises. Every time I went to a group exercise site, I reminded myself to pick up any trash so people would be happy that we were there. I drafted a petition calling to end the persecution of Falun Dafa in China, giving people a chance to express their voices. The residents were becoming more and more familiar with us, and the energy field kept improving.

Many residents picked up our flyers; some joined us in doing the exercises; some sat and chatted with us; some began to do the exercises at home after doing them with us for a few weeks. As long as we did the group exercises outdoors, we were giving people an opportunity to learn about Falun Dafa.

The Thursday group exercise site is next to a shopping mall. We often see residents in their 50s and 60s. They are part of a walking club and they always meet where we are and set out together.

One time I arrived early, and a gentleman from the walking club also arrived early. I greeted him and introduced myself and Falun Dafa. While we chatted, I learned that he was influenced by an ordinary media program and had negative thoughts about Dafa. He was very thankful when I explained about Falun Dafa. I also told him why there was so much information slandering Dafa on the Internet, the origin of the CCP’s “50 Cent Army,” and so on. When their group came back, many people smiled at us. I thought this gentleman must have explained the truth to them.

I originally only wanted to establish the group exercise sites to clarify the truth and save sentient beings. I did not expect that it would also be great help to my own cultivation. For example, I’ve always been dissatisfied with my exercise movements – I did not achieve “Shenshen Heyi” - “The Mind and Body Join Together.” (“Chapter II Illustrations and Explanations of the Exercise Movements”, The Great Way of Spiritual Perfection)

When a local practitioner joined us, I immediately noticed that she was very still and focused, and her movements were graceful. By observing her, I realized that a person’s state of mind and level of tranquility during the exercises directly affected how much attention people paid to us and how many people wanted to learn about Dafa. I started thinking seriously about how to improve myself.

One day when I was studying the Fa, I read what Master said in “Chapter V Questions and Answers” of Falun Gong, “I know a Buddhist monk who understands this facet of cultivation. He is the abbot of a temple and has many tasks, but once he sits down [to meditate] he separates himself from those things. He’s sure not to think of them, and that is an ability. When you are really, truly doing your exercises there is no trace of self or distracting thoughts.”

I followed Master’s teachings to get rid of my selfish thoughts when I did the exercises.

I realized that the movements and level of tranquility a practitioner exhibits when doing the exercises are closely related to one’s xinxing. Many qualities such as compassion and calmness that practitioners obtained from cultivation are reflected in our movements when we do the exercises.

As my xinxing improved, I could feel the power of Dafa when I did the exercises. Some incorrect conditions in my body, such as pollen allergies, abdominal bloating, etc., gradually lessened and eventually disappeared.

Letting Go of Self

I’ve always had negative thoughts about the effectiveness of some projects to save people. I felt that after so many years, all our efforts had little or no effect. I gradually became indifferent to these projects, and I started to do other things that I thought were more effective, such as translating and asking people to withdraw from the CCP.

As I increased my daily Fa study, memorized the Fa, looked inward, and did the five sets of exercises every day, I could feel my cultivation state was constantly improving. However, my negative attitude towards some projects seemed to have created a distance between myself and local practitioners. As I continued to study the Fa, I gradually saw my own issues.

By reading the Fa I realized that Master holds all Dafa disciples and all sentient beings in the world in his heart. Master would never abandon any of us. He always encourages us while enduring the karma for us. Even when he sees we have a major issue, he still affirms us and then patiently and kindly reminds us. He never despises us. However, I measured other practitioners’ shortcomings in the projects. I let my acquired notions dominate my thoughts and passively treated issues as something we all needed to overcome. I didn’t think I had issues in my cultivation.

I realized that as long as a practitioner has a selfish mentality, no matter how he thinks he is improving in cultivation, his realm will still be very limited.

I also realized that due to my attachments and notions, I was exactly like what Master described in Teachings at the Conference in Los Angeles, “You have left the state in which a Dafa disciple cultivates and are about to leave the arena in which you are to validate the Fa.”

I felt ashamed and told myself that I must live up to Master’s compassionate and painstaking efforts to save us, get rid of my selfish mentality, and become a righteous and selfless being created by Dafa.

In a recent lecture Master said, “Don’t mistakenly think that when you have helped to raise awareness about Dafa and the persecution, joined in Dafa activities, or participated in Dafa projects, you have done something for Dafa or for me. That is my providing you with ways to save and help one another, to rescue people together, and at the same time save yourselves; so during these latter days, beings are able to help save one another.” (“Stay Out of Danger”)

I understood that this form of cultivation means we must follow Master’s requirements, look at issues with righteous thoughts, and look inside unconditionally during conflicts. Only then can we form an indestructible one body and fulfill our prehistoric vows. This is what Master wants. On the other hand, when I ran away from difficulties, I rejected Master’s arrangement of “saving one another,” and regarded the best cultivation environment for improving myself as an obstacle.

Soon after I realized this, something happened in our local cultivation environment that gave me an opportunity to solidly cultivate myself.

Local practitioners organized an indoor dinner event to clarify the truth to people. However, due to the content of the invitation letters sent out as well as some other things, it caused some controversy among fellow practitioners. Some felt the wording of letter must be changed; others felt we should cancel the event, because the content of the invitation was inappropriate and would have negative effect on saving sentient beings.

My child was scheduled to perform in the event, and give a solo performance. A practitioner called me and told me that the content of the invitation letter was not in accordance with the Fa and asked me to seriously consider whether we should participate.

I thought the fellow practitioner’s concerns were reasonable, and so I contacted the main coordinator for the event. I explained some of feedback I heard and wanted to see if it was possible to change the invitation letter.

He patiently explained the background for this event. Fellow practitioners’ intention was to show the beauty of Dafa to political VIPs and mainstream people, and to clarify the truth to them in a relaxed environment with performances. Many invitations had been sent and many guests made reservations. It was too late to change the invitation, let alone cancel the event, because this would affect many people who planned to attend.

That evening, I read what Master said in, “Be More Diligent” in Collected Teachings Given Around the World, Volume X, “So how exactly should things be handled? The truth is, no person’s viewpoint is perfect, nor is any one person’s idea flawlessly brilliant. On critical things, when someone raises some issue or tries to resolve some problem, or offers suggestions for improvement, as long as we feel his starting point is sound, and that the things to be done are generally correct, we should actively support it.”

I knew fellow practitioners’ starting point was good, but what I was struggling with was what is “generally correct”? I felt there was something very inappropriate about this invitation letter. However, the coordinator made the decision to hold the event after weighing the pros and cons. If everyone decided to not cooperate, it would only add to the negative impact as the event would not be a success. In this case, we could only cooperate, let our divine side work in other dimensions, and ask Master for help to eliminate all possible negative influence.

I realized that human beings see things as static; however, divine beings do not see things as static. Everything in this world is controlled by divine beings in other dimensions. Whether our thoughts are good or bad, and selfish or selfless, are the most important factors that determine the final outcome of an event.

I let go of myself and decided to focus on sending forth righteous thoughts, so that more sentient beings could participate and understand the truth. On the day of the event, I went there with my family and friends with a pure mind. I saw that fellow practitioners who organized the event did a great job in handling everything, including the quality of the performances. This experience in organizing such an event would be very valuable for us. We also learned some lessons so we would not make the same mistakes again in the future.

In fact, after letting go of myself, my own gains and losses became unimportant. I felt that I have unknowingly stepped away from selfishness and self-interest, stepped away from the good and bad, right and wrong in the ordinary sense, and my human attachments were replaced by compassion. All of this came from the Fa and the compassionate care of our great Master!

Due to my limited level, if anything isn’t in accordance with the Fa, please kindly point it out.