PureInsight | July 5, 2004
[PureInsight.org] My heart was filled with feelings of regret after I studied "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference" yesterday.
I have cultivated in Dafa long enough to be called a veteran practitioner. Although I have been helping with several truth-clarification projects [to aid in clarifying the facts about Dafa and to help end the persecution against Falun Dafa], I knew I still had some attachments. And yet I felt I was above average regarding my cultivation practice, because I have been doing the three things that Teacher has required of us: studying the Fa, sending forth righteous thoughts and clarifying the truth about Falun Dafa. After studying "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference," I suddenly realized that it was wrong to feel smug about my cultivation practice, and that I was far from what Dafa requires of us.
As Dafa disciples have clarified the facts you have saved many beings who were supposed to be saved, but it's not enough. In fact, so far, what you've accomplished is still limited, and in terms of numbers the proportion is still quite small.
(From "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
I seriously reflected upon my cultivation practice up to this point and discovered that I have paid scant attention to my cultivation practice on a number of different levels. For example, I have volunteered to deliver free Chinese newspapers, containing the truth about Falun Dafa to several Chinese restaurants in the area on a weekly basis. Although I persevere in delivering the newspapers week after week, despite all weather conditions and believe that I am helping with the truth-clarification work by delivering the newspapers, I haven't really put my heart into it. I have learned from my weekly delivery trips that each Chinese restaurant has a different number of Chinese customers, so I should have distributed a different amount of newspapers to each; otherwise, the excess number of newspapers will be trashed. It is a waste of our valuable resources, because the money that went into printing those newspapers failed to achieve its purpose. Besides relying on my perception, I could have also asked each restaurant about the actual consumption rate of our truth-clarification newspapers in his restaurant so that I can adjust the distribution volume accordingly. During such an informal survey, I could also have clarified the truth to these Chinese restaurant owners and made them aware that all the staff on our truth-clarification newspaper are volunteers and that the cost of printing the newspapers are borne by Falun Gong practitioners. Perhaps then they will begin to value our newspapers. We could have saved newspapers for other Chinese restaurants that we have not yet reached.
This is just one of many things that I have paid scant attention to during my cultivation practice. Now that I think of it, there are so many things in my cultivation practice I have neglected in the past. For example, when a person shows little interest after I tell him a few facts about Falun Gong, I often lose my motivation right away. I had no qualms about my loss of motivation. I often thought, "Well, I tried. It is not my fault that you don't want to listen." I think I often took truth-clarification work as just another kind of work, to get over with. I did tell you facts about Dafa. It's none of my business if you don't want to listen! Studying "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference" helped me become more clear-headed. In hindsight, I was far from compassionate. I was indifferent and cold. If I had clarified the facts to a person truly for his good, he might have responded differently. In hindsight, I didn't have truly righteous thoughts and didn't even think of using my wisdom when I clarified the truth.
Now, I have realized that it is not enough for me to just clarify the truth about Dafa to people. It is imperative that I help them accept the truth about Dafa. I have a lot of contacts with other Chinese people because of my work and I often take the opportunity to clarify the truth to them. In the past I easily lost my morale when they showed little interest or refused to accept the truth they heard. Then I stepped back and told myself, "Perhaps I should conduct myself as a Dafa practitioner and they will see the truth about Dafa in my behavior." Later I discovered that a person's opinion of a Dafa practitioner may or may not represent his opinion of Dafa. Some people still have a biased perception of Dafa, although they regard me highly.
Then I concluded that I should continue to conduct myself as a Dafa practitioner, but that's not good enough. Overseas Chinese and Westerners might come across positive media reports about Falun Dafa, or receive emails containing the truth about Dafa, but the media reports and emails can only complement our face-to-face truth-clarification efforts. After all, these reports and emails may not untie the knots in the hearts and minds. Perhaps these knots can only be untied in face-to-face encounters. Without face-to-face interactive communication, it is difficult for many people to understand and accept the truth about Dafa.
When I studied "Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students" several days ago, I started to feel it is really not a good idea to get a swelled head during Fa-rectification work. For instance, such notion as "I want to do this and that" cannot be truly good for Fa-rectification. I should evaluate what needs to be done from the perspective of Fa-rectification. I should start to change my perspective. I should think about what needs to be done now and what would be helpful to Fa-rectification. Then it will be clear how I can help to accomplish those goals.
Besides, it does not seem proper for me to limit my Fa-validation or truth-clarification work because of my environmental constraints. Taking myself as an example: my wife has not started to cultivate in Dafa yet, so I envy those fellow practitioners whose spouse also cultivate in Dafa or those who are single. I often imagined that if my wife had started to cultivate in Dafa, or if I were still single, nothing would restrict me from participating in Falun Dafa cultivation experience sharing conferences or Fa activities. I would also have more time for Fa-rectification work. It is as if I were entitled to relax my cultivation practice because my wife hasn't started to cultivate yet. Moreover, I also felt I was more entitled to point out those fellow practitioners' shortcomings because, compared to me, I felt that those Falun Gong practitioners who were married to fellow practitioners, as well as those single fellow practitioner, were at an advantage and should do better. These seem to be reasonable arguments on the surface, but in fact they are loopholes in my mentality.
Allow me to illustrate my flawed notion with two examples. I have two relatives who are also Falun Gong practitioners. One of them went to Beijing to appeal for Dafa and ended up being incarcerated in a forced labor camp for two years. After he was released, he was very depressed for some time. Later, he gradually came out of his depression and began to contact fellow practitioners despite all risks. The other relative didn't step out for Dafa much, although I thought he was a very good cultivator before July 20, 1999. He moved to North America a few months ago. I was happy for him. I expected that he would now become diligent again in his cultivation, because in North America he did not have to worry about his safety. But things didn't turn out the way I expected. After suffering five years of persecution in China, he now takes it as his top priority to provide for his wife and son and to give them a comfortable life. Several months have passed, but he still has had no time to resume his cultivation practice.
The two contrasting cases helped me realized that it is our mindset that really matters in cultivation. It is a reflection on our attachments to compromise our cultivation practice because of our environmental constraints. As such, even if we were in a better situation, our cultivation practice would not improve much, because the attachments would still be there. The same attachments that obstructed our cultivation practice in the previous environment would surface in the new environment, continuing to hold us back from our cultivation practice.
If I have a true intention to validate the Fa and to help save sentient beings, I should always be able to find things I can help with. At least, I have a mouth to clarify the facts and a pair of hands to distribute truth-clarification materials. If I am not able to help with one truth-clarification project, I can help with another. The question that I really need to ask myself honestly is: Is it really that I cannot do it, or is it actually that I do not want to do it?
Frequently, when my true righteous thoughts emerge, the Fa will manifest Its power for me. Besides, Teacher will help me when I have righteous thoughts.
I have found though my observations that we all have different noble traits as well as different attachments. I am capable of discovering some of my attachments, but I am unaware of other attachments or rid myself of them only by studying the Fa and diligently advancing in my cultivation practice. All the people and events that we come across in our daily life and work may have to do with our cultivation. When we strictly conduct ourselves according to the Fa and do the right things wherever we go, our families, coworkers and friends will see the beauty and the truth of Dafa. We will also remove our attachments during that process and genuinely raise our cultivation level.
For example, I know I have the tendency to procrastinate. It will therefore take me much more time than others to finish something. I have tried to change, but never succeeded. It was not until later, when my everyday job required me to work fast, that I stopped procrastinating. I also learned to prioritize, plan and arrange my research projects. Once I had formed this good habit, I found that I could apply these skills to Dafa work. In the past it would take me a lot of time to finish a very simple task. One or two nights would slip by in a flash before I accomplished anything. Now that my thoughts are much clearer, I can do things more smoothly and quickly.
I do a lot of truth-clarification work on my computer. Sometimes, when it takes me a lot of time to write an article or to translate an article, I start to wonder: How can it possibly take me more time to write and edit an article on a computer than it would take the ancient Chinese people to write an article by hand with a brush pen? I arrived at the conclusion that I am less pure at heart and have more attachments and degenerate notions than my ancestors. I have learned from my personal experiences that I write and translate articles a lot faster when I study the Fa well and have righteous thoughts.
I once had a dream in which many fellow practitioners and I needed to move to different homes. They didn't own a lot of stuff. In contrast, I had a ton of stuff to move, because I was reluctant to part with any of my belongings, even those that I no longer needed. In the end, I was the only person who had two truckloads of stuff. In addition, I even had to ask some fellow practitioners to carry my stuff in their trucks. Among all of us, it took me the longest time to transport my stuff. I contemplated this dream for a long time.
This concludes my personal understanding inspired by "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference." Please kindly point out anything inappropriate. After studying "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference," I truly feel that we should have and could have done better on our truth-clarification work on a number of different levels, and that we really must strive to offer Teacher's salvation to more people in larger areas.
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2004/6/7/27509.html