PureInsight | January 19, 2009
[PureInsight.org] I am a 28-year-old unmarried female practitioner and I would like to share some understandings on the issue of sentimentality and relationships.
Since I was very young, I was very attached to sentimentality. One time, my mother had to run some errands after work and she did not get back home at the usual time. I was afraid something had happened to her, so I kowtowed to heaven, hoping she could return peacefully. At the age of 10, we left my grandmother’s home were we had lived with her. I was so upset and cried a lot. Whenever we went back to visit her, I was always in tears.
After growing up, I liked to read love stories and hoped for a romantic life. I was 18 years old when my mother and I started to practice Falun Gong. Seeing that I was so attached to sentimentality, Teacher hinted to me in a dream not to read love stories anymore. However, because of my strong attachment and poor enlightenment quality, I was not strict with myself and kept reading them. At the age of 20, I left my hometown to continue my education. Because of the attachment and lacking self-discipline, I made mistakes in my relationships and suffered pains and many regrets. However, in the end, I was able to make it through under Teacher’s compassionate guidance.
For a long time, I was thinking of writing down my experiences in getting rid of sentimentality and the lessons I learned. At the same time however, I was afraid other practitioners had already realized these principals and there was not much to write about. But with help from my mother, I realized that many young practitioners are still suffering because of the attachment of sentimentality. Among them, some might have been planned for destruction by the old forces. When cultivating in the maze, we are unable to see the real reasons behind our relationships and the things we encounter. As a result, we are suffering from these tribulations.
After a hint from Teacher, I realized that my process of getting rid of the attachment of sentimentality could be used to help Dafa practitioners validate the Fa and benevolently resolve predestined relationships with others. So here I would like to write down my experiences over the past several years. From these, we can see that love stories are actually manifestations of karmic relationships and we cannot be too attached to them.
The first experience I had actually has its karmic roots from about a thousand years ago. During the Tang Dynasty, I helped a monk spread the Buddha Fa, and we suffered a lot together because of it. He also sacrificed a lot for me.
During this human life, I first met this man again in a company in early 2004. When I saw him walk towards me for the first time, my heart was moved and a single voice sounded in my mind, “This is him!” Such a feeling of familiarity shocked me. As I looked back, I realized I had already dreamed about him even before meeting him, although I had not seen his face in the dream.
As our relationship got more involved, I became less and less diligent in Fa-study and was unable to keep doing the exercises, either. In hindsight, one can see clearly how when the test of sentimentality came, I could not tell the difference between it and my arranged path, and I naturally accepted him.
On the issue of love, my experience agreed with a passage from the Clearwisdom.net Compilation of Articles Related to Uplifting Xinxing and Eliminating Lust: “When the attachment first arose, it was sweet. Later, one would find it not beneficial. When one starts to regret, the mistakes were already made.” When first getting involved with him, I could clearly tell the difference between a practitioner and an everyday person. When I was doing well in Fa-study, I could see many differences between what was on our minds and our goals, topics of interest, etc. But when doing poorly in Fa-study, I was more attached to sentimentality and found that we had many things in common. Reinforcing this was a thought that I was old enough to have a relationship with him and I should let things happen naturally.
During everyday conflicts, I considered myself able to forbear and sacrifice selflessly. I even thought that, “It is indeed hard to find such a good person as me as a girlfriend.” Because of this long-held mindset, I did not realize my pursuit for comfort and stability. The sentimentality became heavier and heavier and it started to interfere with my Fa-study and exercises.
During that period of time, my mother was worried about me. She said, “I was afraid that after you began dating him, you would probably live with him and pursue an everyday life. With less and less Fa-study and group exercises, you may drop off from the body of practitioners.” Teacher also gave me several hints. In a dream, I saw a train begin to leave and I had to keep running and running to catch up with it. Due to my severe attachment to sentimentality, sometimes I was diligent and sometimes not. In the end, I walked on the path arranged by the old forces.
In the winter of 2005, I had a dream where I saw three red threads connecting the sky to the earth. I was touched by this dream and felt that it affirmed my predestined relationship with this man. I told others about it and they said, “You two probably have had a predestined relationship for three generations.” I also thought this way. However, my hopes for a long-lasting relationship were broken the next year. In the end, he broke up with me, saying, “I don't think I can meet your expectations.” By then, I realized that the three threads actually meant that we had three years of relationship. Indeed, from the time we met to the time that we broke up, it was exactly three years. But I was not convinced by his reason for wanting to break up. I asked myself, “Did I expect too much? No, not at all. I did not ask him for this or that like other girls, nor did I push him to make more money or struggle in his career. So why did he still say I expected too much.” I was very frustrated. Actually, today when looking back at our breakup, it does remind me of something: shouldn't I discipline myself more? As the Fa-rectification moves forward, how can an everyday person meet such requirements?
Several months after my breakup, my mother brought me the Clearwisdom.net Compilation of Articles Related to Uplifting Xinxing and Eliminating Lust. In the experience-sharing articles, veteran practitioners recommended that it was better not to get married to new practitioners or everyday people. They also mentioned the high requirements regarding sex between a husband and wife. I was touched by their understandings and was ashamed of my own behaviors. Teacher said, “This method and form of cultivation that I've told everyone to take today is to cultivate while conforming to ordinary human society and to validate Dafa using ordinary human means to the greatest extent possible (applause), and that's unprecedented” (Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York). I deeply felt that instead of following Teacher's words, I covered up my attachments with human notions, thinking I was conforming to the everyday society by doing so. As a result, I felt justified in dating that man and I enjoyed it. When having conflicts with him, I did try to look within. On the surface, I also tried to act out of consideration for him as a practitioner should. However, the real motive for this was to maintain the relationship. Simply put, I did not want to let go of the state of being an everyday person.
Teacher said in Hong Yin in the poem “Distinction Between Human and Enlightened Beings,” “What is a human? Sentiments and desires fill the body.” In Zhuan Falun, Teacher also said, “We have said that you should not cause disharmony in your family because of this issue. Therefore, at the present stage, you should care less about it. It is good to keep a normal and harmonious marriage life. In the future, when you reach a certain level, there will be another situation at that level. At present, it should be this way, and it will be fine if you meet this requirement.”
Like many practitioners, I realized that in the end we are expected to completely eliminate the attachment to lust. Teacher said, “When human thinking gains the upper hand, that person heads toward humanness; when divine thinking and a person's righteous thoughts gain the upper hand, he heads toward godhood” (Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005). From the title of the Clearwisdom.net Compilation of Articles Related to Uplifting Xinxing and Eliminating Lust, I understood the difference between a human and a god, and this meant that it was time for me to completely eliminate this attachment.
In late 2007, there was a very popular movie playing in society, and motivated by lust, many people liked it a lot. From this, one can see that the everyday moral standard has become degenerated. I remember Teacher said, “I just said that the principles of cultivators and those of ordinary people are opposite” (Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005). Indeed, during my relationship with that man, the test of sentimentality was rampant and destructive for me, and I had a difficult time.
Then it turned to the year 2008 and I was already 28 years old. Being an unmarried female at this age caught the attention of many people, including my supervisor, coworkers, classmates, friends, and relatives. They were all concerned about me not having a boyfriend. I knew it was impossible to marry an everyday person because of the big gap in understandings. However, it was also difficult to find an ideal male practitioner to marry. If I were to stay single much longer, would my parents be upset?
With this thinking, I began to think that I should find a boyfriend so that people would not worry about me. I even regarded it as a task that I had to accomplish. After a while, I met a person who looked like a pretty good match, and we began dating. I remember when we first met, he talked about love stories and wanted us to have a better relationship. However, I was not interested in those things and instead kept sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil elements in his dimension. When seeing degenerated pictures during an art exhibition, I wanted to install a shield in other dimensions so that their bad messages would not be able to interfere with us. When walking together or going away on a picnic, I intentionally kept a distance from him in order to avoid the potential for any sexual contact. When seeing other people hug each other, I suddenly remembered how fellow practitioners wrote in experience-sharing articles, “During dating, are you able to guarantee not going beyond holding hands?”
Soon afterwards, my mother again recommended that I read the Clearwisdom.net Compilation of Articles Related to Uplifting Xinxing and Eliminating Lust. I felt embarrassed and regretful. During that period of time, I remember Teacher said, “The truth is, you're no longer one of the ordinary human beings, and you couldn't even go back anymore, you really can't. (Applause) The difference between you and ordinary people has grown downright large” (Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students). I felt very bad when seeing my boyfriend eat raw shrimp, or when he asked me one time: “Someone said love is painful, and another person said love should only involve happiness. What do you think?” In fact, what was I even doing in this relationship? Was it just to satisfy my vanity so that when other people talked about me, I could say, “Please do not worry about me. I already have a boyfriend?” Using others to cover up my own selfishness, isn't this a dreadful human notion? As I dug further, I found my attachment of relying on others, deeply hidden desires, seeking comfort, and other attachments.
Then, my mother and I decided to call him and clarify the truth, and we sent forth righteous thoughts at the same time. I also read him a poem from Teacher so that he could have a positive attitude towards Dafa. After several days, mother told me that when she sent forth righteous thoughts for him, she saw him like a tree, straight yet with roots entirely in the ground. Both my mother and I realized that the relationship should end. After all, he was different from me. Just like I heard from a practitioner, “Everyday people enjoy dating, while practitioners just want to get back to reading Dafa books.” From this understanding, he and I agreed to be regular friends.
Through this process my mother also saw her attachments. Although she supported me marrying a practitioner or remaining single, she was still afraid inside that I would feel lonely if I never married. So she hoped someone would come to care for me, which was also her attachment to sentimentality for me.
For an everyday person, my romantic life does not seem normal or straightforward. However, for myself, I know that in history I had been tested regarding sentimentality again and again. In one lifetime, my husband was chosen to go help build statues for others and he traveled far away. When he didn’t return after a very long time, he was pronounced dead and I became a widow. But then after many years, he finished his work and returned home. He told me about all of his wonderful accomplishments during that time: creating many splendid Buddha statues, similar to what I saw in the backdrop of one of NTDTV's performances. I was very happy for him. However, I had gone more than halfway through my life without him, and I was torn inside. In another generation, my husband died in a war. I was extremely painful inside, but then I told myself to stop being sad and to instead go to the front line to fight as a soldier myself. Generation after generation, sometimes I was a man who forbore the pain; sometimes I was a woman who lived with dignity. All these past lives helped me to be a better Dafa disciple today: to validate the Fa and to break through the attachment of sentimentality.
My fellow practitioners, we are the most fortunate lives because we are together with Teacher in the human world during the Fa-rectification period. Let us let go of sentimentality and return home together with Teacher.
(in Yuan verse)
Cultivation is not hard,
It’s attachments that are hard to part with.
When will you sever those many attachments?
All know the sea of hardship has no shore.
If your will is not firm,
The hurdles are like mountains.
How will you transcend this mortal life?
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2008/11/22/56123.html