Cultivating in Delusion

Xiao Mei

PureInsight | May 31, 2007

[] It has been
three years since I left my job in the university. I rarely thought
about my supervisor and his wife in the laboratory. However, my little
timer often makes me ponder.

The timer is an ordinary clock, black exterior and with the time
showing on a tiny screen. I used that a lot when I did the tests.
Because my boss had limited funding, his wife always bought the
cheapest stuff.  They did not know that there was a battery inside
or maybe that was too trivial, so they threw the timer away when the
battery was dead. What a waste! A perfect timer was thrown away just
because it needed a new battery.  I brought it home, put in a new
battery, and use it as a timer and alarm clock.

Subconsciously, I brought it home not because it was wasted being in
the trash can but because I wanted to keep it as a witness to a portion
of the my life. Strangely enough, for three years, it has followed me
and continued to tick quietly with the same battery.

Last night, it lay by my pillow and reminded me of its life's
experiences. Well, I really should say that it was my life's
experiences. I recall how I brought it with me.  After leaving the
lab, I used it to help me inspect my cultivation in that segment of my

I quit my job. But honestly, I was forced to quit. I would not have
taken that route unless I was forced into it. Nonetheless, from the
perspective of cultivation, the incident hit me right in my most
sensitive areas. For that reason, my choice to quit should be expected.
I have a gentle and calm temperament, but there are two character
traits that stand out: I have a big ego and cannot let go of
sentimentality. My parting was a direct result of my big ego. 
There is nothing wrong with having an ego, but everything should be
within limits.  Once it goes beyond that, it becomes an attachment
which, sooner or later, should be gotten rid of.

The whole event evolved like this. We just got our permanent residency
from the U.S. and needed to move from Canada to the United States. Of
course there were a lot of matters that needed to be taken care of and
I took quite a few of my vacation days. I was the only employee in the
lab and the boss and his wife had irregular working hours. However, I
always followed the rules: I went to work on time and left a note for
my boss when I needed time off if they were not there, or I would leave
a voice message on their phone. Even though I was an honest employee, I
did not earn their trust or approval. When the day we moved came, I
left them a message, with my new phone number, that I needed an extra
day off to finish the moving. They were both very upset about my not
being there and made a big deal out of it.

The following day when I went to work, the secretary in the department
told me how they reacted to my absence.  My boss and his wife
requested me to sign in with the secretary every day from that day on.
Signing in is a small matter, but I thought that it was an insult to
me. After all, I did not do anything wrong. All the secretaries looked
at me with a sympathetic eye. I forced myself to sign in every day and
felt like a victim during the Cultural Revolution.

One day, Maria talked to me in a low and kind voice, "Why do you have to work here? You can transfer to another department."

Her words served not only as a reminder but also an excuse to put an
end to the insult. I believed that if I continued to tolerate this,
even the ordinary people would feel it was  unfair. I must quit
fast. So, I said good-bye to my boss and his wife and actually that was
forever because I had no desire to see them ever again.

At that time, I felt pretty good about it. Everything has an end and I
needed to get rid of the old and let in the new. My old job was gone,
but my new job was no where to be seen until six months later. 
Meanwhile my other attachment was being taken advantage of by the evil
and it took me about two years to get out of that ordeal.

Today, three years later, I look at the whole experience calmly and I
can see my attachment. I can see my unkindness and my lack of
consideration. Even though my boss and his wife were not very kind,
they were struggling in their careers together. They had very little
grant money and, of course, they were under great pressure. But, I was
a cultivator and nothing happens without a cause.

Perhaps I had not been kind to them in previous lives. I had dreamed of
my past lives in which the wife of my boss was a servant whom I
despised. I also dreamed of that I was on a big white horse and whipped
a group of people being tied up. How can the karma I accumulated from
the previous lives simply be ignored? If I want to cultivate to
Righteous Attainment, I must repay my debt. In reality, Master has
already taken off the majority of my karma and I am paying only a small
portion of it. How can I refuse to pay for that? In addition, my ego is
really something that I need to let go of.  No matter what, if we
spent time with each other, it also means that there was a predestined
relationship between me and them. Even though it was a malevolent
predestined relationship, I still needed to resolve it with the
cultivator's compassion.  At that time, I really did not think
that way and I started to feel ashamed for my not resolving it
benevolently. Now, I truly want to find an opportunity to see them.

I stared at the little timer quietly and the scenes from three years
ago were flashing one after the other.  I asked myself," Why do I
gain understanding only after the event is over?"

A little voice answered, "Because you are cultivating in delusion."

I asked again, "Why couldn't I think about it with notions that were beyond those of ordinary people?"

The little voice sighed, "Because you did not put the Fa in your heart,
did not listen to Master, and did not study the Fa well."

The little timer is still lying quietly beside my pillow. It represents
my detour. It also reminds me of studying the Fa more, studying the Fa
well, and not taking detours again.

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