Doing Things vs. Cultivation
Experience sharing from the 2009 Canada Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] Greeting Master, greetings fellow practitioners:
I had the thought of writing an article for the Toronto Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference. When I began to write, I suddenly realized that while I could remember how many Dafa projects I was involved in, I had not let go of many attachments during that period of time. I wasn't sure if I was truly cultivating. This is a truly serious issue. Therefore, my sharing topic for today is called “Doing Things vs. Cultivation.”
I started practicing in early 2003. Since I obtained the Fa late, at the very beginning, I was always afraid that I wouldn’t be able to catch up. In addition, I was the only practitioner in the small town where I lived. Therefore, I lacked a good cultivation environment. Maybe this was the cultivation path arranged by Master for me, a new practitioner. There were not many activities, so I spent most of my time studying the Fa and practicing the exercises on a daily basis. But I had a lot of opportunities to clarify the truth to my classmates, professors, and local MPs about the benefits Falun Dafa brought to me and about the persecution happening in Mainland China.
Master said, “I would like to tell you: Dafa disciples are the sole hope of salvation for the beings in each region and each nation. Cherishing what they are doing amounts to cherishing yourselves!” ("My Thanks to Sentient Beings Who Have Sent Greetings")
Realizing this point, I formed a Falun Dafa club and taught westerners the exercises. With Master's encouragement, within a year, there were over 300 people who joined the club and about 10 people who practiced on a regular basis. There are many touching stories. One Canadian student, at the beginning of the persecution, went to China to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). He was supposed to teach in a big city, such as Beijing, however, the agent in China deceived him and he was assigned to a small town. He did not complain about it. Nothing is a coincidence. There he met a practitioner and became a Dafa disciple. He did the exercises with that practitioner and shared cultivation experiences. That practitioner was illegally arrested and they lost contact. He came back to Canada. The first time he saw the Falun Dafa banner hanging on the university campus he was extremely excited. He approached me and shared his experience. I was happy to hear that he had obtained the Fa. When more and more people were starting to come to learn the exercises, I was about to graduate, and became worried about the continuity of the club. That is when the young man I just mentioned appeared. I know everything is all under the arrangement of Master. As of now, this Falun Dafa club is still alive and active at this university and its members are spreading the truth about the practice to people.
After graduating, I found a job in Toronto. My cultivation environment changed from independent to cooperating with many people. Recalling my cultivation at the university, I woke up with a light body, feeling fresh and energetic daily. But since I only associated with non-practitioners, I did not face many xinxing tests. Therefore, a lot of attachments were still hidden inside me. When I came to Toronto, due to the many projects I got involved in, plus not doing the exercises on a regularly basis, I always felt very tired and wasn't energetic. I always felt that I was a young practitioner and I should get involved in more projects. Thus, many attachments were exposed.
When I was little, I was a very jealous girl. I was jealous whenever someone earned a higher grade than I or if they received something I didn’t. I always was jealous. When I was an ordinary person, I always felt life was unfair and I was tired of living. I didn’t know why it was like that.
Master said, “Ordinary people can’t see it, so they always think they should do what they’re fit to and supposed to do. So they fight tooth and nail for things all their lives, they feel badly hurt, they think life is hard and tiring, and they always think things are unfair and they can’t get over them.” (Zhuan Falun)
Knowing about cultivation, I realized that I had a strong attachment of jealousy. I tried hard to let it go, but I still have not completely rooted it out. I finally realized the seriousness of this bad attachment when I worked on Shen Yun promotion.
During Shen Yun promotion, another practitioner and I were responsible for getting a license to sell tickets in downtown Toronto's office buildings. The other practitioner was able to obtain the license for a few buildings. I had approached some of them, but failed to get the approval. She was able to get the permission, and I was very jealous. In fact, it was a truly great thing to get more licenses, so we had more opportunities to promote the gala. Master said, “So that can stir up jealousy, and people then get upset when something good happens to other people, instead of being happy for them. That’s what happens” (Zhuan Falun).
During the Shen Yun promotional period, my attachment of jealousy exposed itself again. I got jealous when other experienced reporters interviewed VIPs and the interviews that were arranged for me were of common people. I felt very jealous. I thought that I was so great. Master said, “He thinks to himself, ‘If they ask me to be factory director or manager, I can do it. I could even handle a higher position. I think I could even be Premier’” (Zhuan Falun).
I realized that jealousy is a very serious attachment. It can stir up many other attachments. Master said, “If jealousy isn’t eliminated, all the thoughts you’ve cultivated become fragile. There’s a rule: a person who doesn’t get rid of jealousy while cultivating cannot achieve a True Fruition—he definitely won’t achieve a True Fruition” (Zhuan Falun). I hope by exposing this terrible attachment of jealousy I can finally let go of it. One has to truly cultivate to eliminate attachments at their roots.
Doing Things Because of Human Sentiments
I was a good student and grew up with lots of praise. Ordinary people enjoy praise and seek it. As a Dafa disciple, if you get a lot of praise, it creates hardship. The principles in the three-realms are reversed. Master said, “For a cultivator, all the frustrations he comes across among everyday people are trials, and all the compliments he receives are tests” ("A Cultivator is Naturally Part of It," Essentials for Further Advancement). Because I seek compliments from practitioners and ordinary people, I do not want to reject anybody or hurt anybody. I never say “No” when practitioners ask me for help. Many times, I do not even have time to study the Fa and do the exercises. Yet, I continue to promise to help. I thought I was doing the right thing by helping others.
“If you don't study this Great Law well your own Consummation won't be secured. What's more, all the important Dafa things you should do will be like ordinary people going about their business, with ordinary-person thoughts and with an ordinary person's basis, and then that's just ordinary people, at best that's just ordinary people doing good deeds for Dafa." ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference")
Isn’t it true? When I don’t study the Fa and practice the exercises, am I still a Dafa disciple? Ordinary people can do Dafa work, but they can only receive blessings and virtue. They do not have the mighty virtue of Dafa disciples. Therefore, I realized that I can't do things due to human sentiments. These are all human attachments, which are the things we need to get rid of. Master said, “You can only reach Consummation after you have abandoned all of your attachments and none of them remain" ("Cultivation Practice is Not Political," Essentials for Further Advancement).
Doing Things to Show off
There was a period of time, in which my cultivation was not good at all. Too many things piled up and I was quite stressed out. In my eyes, everyone appeared to have problems. I wanted to get angry with everyone I met and I also wanted to complain about everything. One day, I couldn't take it anymore; I went into a temper tantrum and complained to fellow practitioners.
A few days later, I calmed down. I reviewed my cultivation state and I found that I had gone astray from the Great Law of the universe, the Fa. I had seen myself as a person with a pure heart when trying to improve our TV programs and I was responsible for the TV project. Only when TV programs are good do ordinary people want to see them. This gives us the opportunity to save them. Logically, there was nothing wrong. But why didn’t any one support me? Why was there so much resistance?
Whatever we do, as long as we do it as the Fa requires, things should work out smoothly, and we should be very efficient. When other practitioners thought that we were not ready to go on with certain things that I wanted to do, I couldn't listen to them, I was attached to the thought that to solve a problem, we need to push things harder, push ourselves and force things through. When looking within I realized that I was using the excuse of improving the TV program to cover up my attachments of validating myself, showing off and believing that I had the ability to achieve great things. As Master said in “Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference,” “in cultivation the most prominent sign that a person still harbors human attachments is his doing things that are not to validate Dafa but instead to validate himself!”
Doing Things — Unfairness
When I saw that unemployed practitioners had plenty of time to study the Fa and do the exercises at home, and when I noticed that some practitioners only worked on various Dafa projects after studying the Fa and finishing the exercises, I felt that they were very selfish. I thought that I was too busy with these Dafa projects and that I didn’t have any time to study the Fa and do the exercises. Why can't some of you help me, ease my load and take some pressure off of me? I felt that I was pretty good, that I was getting rid of many notions, including my own time to study the Fa and doing the exercises. In my eyes, this was the highest cultivation state. However, indeed, it represented an attachment of unfairness and jealousy. Every practitioner’s cultivation path is arranged by the master, as Master said in “Unimpeded,” Hong Yin Vol. II that “The paths of cultivation are varied, but none is outside the Great Law.”
Also, as Master said in Zhuan Falun, Lecture 3, “When a person doesn’t cultivate his mind, he can’t go up, no matter who he is.” True cultivation should adhere to the principles of our cultivation practice. It is getting rid of every single attachment we have during the course of cultivation. “I’ll tell you a truth: the whole process of cultivation is a process of constantly getting rid of human attachments,” Master said at the beginning of Zhuan Falun. Sometimes, when there were too many things on my to-do list, I felt I was doing things just for the sake of doing things, without understanding the true meaning of cultivation.
Doing Things — Purifying the Heart
During the shooting of the TV programs, if my cultivation state was not good, sometimes I would keep saying the wrong words again and again, the microphone battery might be dead, the light bulb may malfunction, or even worse. Once we shot for one hour. The recording device had failed and only recorded the voice but no video pictures. Master said, "Cultivation is about cultivating one's self. No matter what kind of state emerges, you need to take a hard look at yourself" (“Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference at the U.S. Capital”).
One time, I was inspired when I co-hosted a show with a practitioner, Dr. Hu, a Chinese medical doctor from Taiwan. Generally, I am not very calm when doing things. I was not prepared well for that show. During the TV shooting, I only paid attention to how I looked in front of the camera, but not how I was communicating with the person I was interviewing. Hence, I spoke fast, and I made many mistakes. When Dr. Hu saw me like this, he only said one sentence: “Let’s recite “On Buddha Law” from Zhuan Falun.” Of course, after we recited, I started to calm down.
Dr. Hu mentioned that in Taiwan, before they start to shoot any TV program, they always send righteous thoughts to clear the environment, recite “On Buddha Law” and then shoot the TV program. Every time before he shoots a TV program, he repeatedly asks himself, “Why am I doing this?” It is not because he wants to tell ordinary people the things he knows, but to save sentient beings. He said, “If this is the case, then whatever I speak is just what Master requires of me to save more people. It appears that we are shooting a TV program. However it is because we do a TV program that we can save more people with a very pure heart. The motivation is different from ordinary people shooting a TV program, and thus the result is different.”
As Master said in “Teaching the Fa at the Meeting on Writing Music,”
“As I have said, the TV station you run, your newspaper, radio station, etc., all
seem to face many challenges. But slowly those challenges will all be resolved. The crucial thing is to give to humankind a good form of culture. You will see
that the people of the future will follow, in each and every regard, everything
that Dafa disciples are doing. It will later become the principal culture of
the future human race. So what's critical is whether or not you are able today
to produce good things.”
I understood that only when one has a pure heart and is not attached to oneself, will the wisdom flow out non-stop. In this time period when practitioners participate in the many Dafa multimedia projects, they have enormous responsibilities and missions. They are not just showing their faces in front of the camera and showing off their talents. They can absolutely not have any superiority complex of being better or higher than anyone else.
Doing Things — Compassion
I spent most of my weekends on shooting TV programs. One day, I suddenly realized that it had been a year already since the last time I had clarified the truth about Dafa to ordinary people. As a TV news reporter, I do sometimes have the opportunity to meet Chinese people. But, every time I only thought of how to write an awesome news report. I forgot that my real mission is to clarify the truth to Chinese people.
Then, last year, with the Flushing incident—I felt that I had not seen many Chinese people for a long time. Although we were standing on the opposite side, we held no hatred. We had only compassion in our hearts. I felt that they were all great sentient beings and maybe once in our previous lives, they were our friends and family.
I recalled that before I obtained the Fa, if it were not for practitioners clarifying the truth to me, wouldn’t I be one of those unawakened Chinese and also against Falun Gong, accumulating karma without even knowing it? When I stood on the street in Flushing and sang the song, “Coming for You,” I cried. I felt I was lucky and honored to be a Dafa practitioner. I also felt heartsick and worried for the Chinese people that were still lost and whose minds were poisoned.
As Master said in “Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference,”
“I've told you before that Shan isn't something pretended, nor is it a state that's just maintained on the surface. Shan truly comes from within and can only be attained and embodied through cultivation. When you're before sentient beings, as soon as words come out of your mouth and as soon as your thoughts emerge, they are able to disintegrate bad elements and the bad things that poison the world's people and that exist in people's minds. And then people will come to understand, and you'll be able to save them.”
Maybe I have not talked to Chinese people for too long of a time. Maybe the compassion from the bottom of my heart really touched the Chinese people on the opposite side. During one of the most severe days in Flushing, outside the Flushing Library, I clarified the truth to a person. He resigned from the Chinese Communist Party and wanted to start practicing Falun Gong exercises. I also met many other Chinese people that smiled at me. I began to understand that one can't use ordinary people’s means against evilness. Only the Shan (Compassion) that comes from true cultivation can dissolve the evil elements.
Six years of cultivation have passed. I still have many attachments that I need to let go of. Although I am still young, and I started to cultivate late, the standard of the Fa for every practitioner is unchangeable. We need to cultivate diligently.
Before I end my sharing, let me recall one of Master’s poems from Hong Yin: “Destined Return for the Holy Fruition:”
Destined Return for the Holy Fruition
Oh how many the years, looking for the master,
Finally the day has arrived to meet him.
Cultivate and return, the Fa now gained,
And follow your master to return, consummated.
The above is my limited understanding of the Fa due to being a relatively newer practitioner. Please kindly correct anything inappropriate.
Thank you Master. Thank you fellow practitioners.