Cultivation Experience: Dream and Exam

An Overseas Practitioner

PureInsight | November 24, 2008

[] Last night, I had a dream about taking several important exams. I did not yet know the exact time of the exams, but I was supposed to be notified through email. However, the exams could start at any minute, and I had still not received copies of the exams. Surprisingly, in the dream, I was not nervous or worried, but instead was very relaxed, as if I did not realize what it meant for me to miss those several exams.

After waking up, I felt very bad. I have not been diligent recently, and I was not determined to change that situation, either. In Zhuan Falun, Lecture 6, Teacher said, “Everyone knows that this person does qigong practice. People in his workplace know it, and it is known throughout the neighborhood as well as by those who live next door. But think about it, everyone: In terms of true cultivation practice, who did such a thing a few years ago? Nobody did. Only if one truly practices cultivation can one’s journey of life be changed. But as a regular person, this person is practicing qigong only for healing and fitness. Who will change his path of life?” In the past, I was often very touched when reading this paragraph. I also used it to discipline myself, especially in times of tribulation. Recently, however, life and work have been relatively smooth, and I seemed to have slacked off.

Yesterday, when eating with my wife who is not a practitioner yet, we talked about something in everyday society. I became emotional, and she was upset upon seeing it and said, “Right now you don’t look peaceful at all. How can you call yourself a practitioner? Do you think that Teacher will do everything for you once you practice and you no longer need to discipline yourself?” I was stunned upon hearing those words. I knew that Teacher was using this opportunity to let me realize my shortcomings.

Today when driving, I was thinking that in the past, people used to cultivate for decades or even longer. Sakyamuni spread his Fa for forty-nine years and did not slack off. As for myself, after cultivating for merely several years, I already feel less motivated. I’ve forgotten that I’ve been waiting for this chance for at least thousands of years.

When talking with my wife today about teaching our child English, she said, “Your English pronunciation isn’t very accurate. When I first got to know you, I could hardly understand your English.” I replied, “Yes, you’re right. Sometimes I think I’m doing pretty well, when actually I am not. It seems that I need to develop more self-awareness.” She said, “You don’t need to worry about being self-aware or unaware. Just work on improving your pronunciation and everything will be fine.”

That reminded me of my cultivation. When pronouncing an English word, it very often sounds close to the actual pronunciation, but not exactly right. This is just like my cultivation. I can be considered as a practitioner since I seem to be doing each of the three things, but am I really a practitioner? I have been doing none of the three things very well. During Fa-study, it is hard for me to concentrate for half an hour or one hour without distraction. When doing the sitting meditation, I seldom sit up clear-mindedly without falling asleep. During everyday work and life, although strongly attached to fame and material interest, I often make excuses for myself—although virtually none of them are justifiable. I have done poorly in face-to-face truth-clarification. When sending forth righteous thoughts, I’m seldom able to be calm and not fall asleep. From a bystander’s point of view, am I a qualified practitioner?

When reading novels or watching movies in the past, I was often touched by some stories. For example, one cold-hearted person abandoned his family and relatives to pursue his own self-interest. Those he abandoned lived in deep misery and despair until the end of their lives. Thinking about myself, I came to this world and have started to practice cultivation. There are a large number of people waiting to be saved, and many of them are my relatives from past generations. Here in this life however, I am on the fringe of cultivation and almost lost in pursuing material interest. By doing poorly, the losses I have caused during this period of time are probably beyond what I can pay for even using my own life.

Now, I have come to realize this, and every day is the most precious day of my life. Every day is an exam. In the morning after waking up, I think about how to do well during the coming day. At night, before going to sleep, I review where I have done poorly. Every opportunity to improve comes just once and then it’s gone.

This is just my personal understanding, and I am sharing it here in the hope that we will all become more diligent.

September 23, 2008

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