PureInsight | May 19, 2015
Greetings Master. Greetings fellow disciples.
I started learning Falun Dafa when I was 18, and started to truly cultivate when I was 21. Master has always been by my side, watching over me. My mother obtained the Fa back in 2003, several years before I did. She never pushed it onto me; in fact I think she gave up on the idea of me becoming a cultivator.
When I look back, it seems like a miracle I entered into Dafa, but it was Master who made all the arrangements. It helped that my mother was not attached to me cultivating, letting Master’s arrangements unfold naturally. Sometimes I see practitioner parents very worried about their children obtaining the Fa, and some ask how I entered. My response is that Master did everything. My mother simply let me know it was always there, but knew I had to be the one to take the first step.
“You are unable to interfere with the lives of others, and neither can you control others’ fates, including those of your wife, sons, daughters, parents, or brothers. Can you decide those things?” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Four)
I have benefitted from Dafa so much as a young woman. It has helped me in every aspect of my life, it’s improved my relationships with my family, it’s helped me be successful academically, it’s helped me as I develop in my career, and it’s helped me overcome emotional difficulties I thought I would be trapped in forever.
It can be difficult to see the value in cultivation when you are young. Thoughts of fame, gain, developing a career, getting married and having your own family can often take priority over cultivation. When we’re young, it is easy to think we have so much time and we still have so much to accomplish. But really, this moment in history is just a blink of an eye. When it’s gone this precious opportunity to cultivate during the time when Master rectifies the Fa will never come again.
“And then when you consider that you, out of all the simply countless, unimaginable numbers of sentient beings that exist, got to be a disciple of Dafa, how could you not do well at this? Follow Dafa’s requirements, and fulfill the vows you made before the dawn of history. Validating the Fa and saving sentient beings look, from the appearance, just like things that occur in ordinary society. But what you are doing in this case is true cultivation. The goal behind this is different from that behind ordinary people’s actions; what ordinary people want to gain is altogether different from what you want. What cultivators seek is to elevate their realms, to fulfill their vows, and to ultimately achieve Consummation. The goal is completely different.” (Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan (2006) published 2009)
Part 1: Digging out Deep Attachments to Sentimentality
Since I was a young girl, I longed to get married. Whenever I saw happy couples, I longed for the same thing. It is an attachment that has vexed me for many years, to the point I would get frustrated that I couldn’t let it go. Once when speaking with a veteran practitioner about things like marriage, he simply just told me not to worry about it and I should just try to find more of my original true self.
It was very good advice. I began to ask myself why I desire such things. I discovered I had a fear of feeling lonely, I desired someone who could support me, to feel warmth, safety, and love.
It was so clear these were all human desires and pursuits. Sentiment, similar to wealth cannot be brought with birth nor taken after death. Having happy memories, warmth, safety, love, depending on another person is searching externally. It desires a beautiful life of illusions. These things do not help me assimilate to Zhen-Shan-Ren. I am the chosen representative of my cosmos. My sentient beings are waiting to hear the truth about Dafa. If I waste time to attain such desires, I will be so regretful when the illusion disappears.
“In being saved, only when you seek righteousness can your attachments be eliminated. You all know that a person won’t succeed in cultivation without getting rid of attachments. Why don’t you dare to abandon more and go one step further? In fact, there must be an unspeakable reason for my teaching this Dafa. Once the truth is revealed it will be too late for regrets.”(Essentials for Further Advancement, Further Elimination of Attachments)
There’s a saying in Western society, “Be careful what you wish for”. When I finally met the person who I was meant to marry, at first I was very excited and happy, but later realized this is another level of cultivation, one even more difficult. For younger practitioners it’s very easy to get caught up in sentimentality, lust, and the desire for romantic love. As a practitioner we should be extremely clear these are evil things that tempt us away from cultivation. Master says young practitioners should still have families, but I realized I couldn’t use this as an excuse to indulge in my attachments.
Some of the more difficult attachments are the ones that mask themselves as pleasant or pleasurable things. They lure you with sweetness, but they are just another form of evil trying to take down a cultivator.
One weekend I came down with illness karma. My Fa study had been lacking in the past few days and I developed many human thoughts. I kept on thinking I just needed more rest, but even with more sleep some days I would feel worse. My head was very foggy and I found it difficult to do any work.
When I mentioned to a fellow practitioner I had not been feeling well and needed more rest she reminded me that this was human thinking and maybe I needed to look inside or my Fa study wasn’t adequate. At first I felt uncomfortable because my attachments didn’t want me to look inside. But I knew she was right so I started to see where my problems were.
The first problem was I had not put Fa study as a priority. Work and my relationship had taken over in its importance.
“If you don’t study the Fa, the number of ordinary human attachments that you have will grow, and become increasingly pronounced, just as you will come to resemble an ordinary person more and more. And the impression that you give others will not be that of a cultivator.”(Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa- Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference)
My second problem was I had indulged too much in my sentimentality.
“In other dimensions, everything is dazzling to the eye, very beautiful and nice, all of which may lure your heart. Once you are moved by it, you might be interfered with and your gong will be messed up—it is usually this way.” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six)
When I enjoy something I find it’s more difficult to recognize it as an attachment. Each time I indulged in my sentimentality my illness karma would get worse. For about a week I had very sticky substances coming out from my nose and throat. I think it was Master giving me a hint that sentimentality is exactly that: a very sticky, dirty substance, something I shouldn’t hang onto.
That evening after the practitioner pointed out my shortcomings, I went home and asked Master to help strengthen me to overcome this attachment and said I did not want it any more, read Zhuan Falun for a couple hours and the feeling of illness and being tired disappeared. After reading with a heart to cultivate, focusing on each sentence carefully I was able break through another layer of sentimentality.。
Part 2: A Cultivator Should Take Compliments as Tests.
In Essentials for Further Advancement Master says, “For a cultivator, all the frustrations he comes across among everyday people are trials, and all the compliments he receives are tests.”
From when I was little I always enjoyed hearing compliments. When people said they liked what I was wearing, or I was smart, or I was a good person I would become very happy. Even when I became a cultivator I stilled took enjoyment in hearing pleasant things about myself. I never took compliments as tests.
Hearing compliments, like other attachments are addictive, and I found myself seeking them. If I didn’t receive them I would feel insecure. Conversely, if someone said bad things to me or criticized me, I would get upset. Just like how Master mentions in Zhuan Falun Lecture 2, “When others call him a qigong master, he will become, delighted and very pleased. Isn’t that an attachment? When he cannot cure an illness, he drops his head and feels fizzled out. Isn’t it caused by his attachment to fame and personal gain?”
Not taking compliments as tests brought me a lot of trouble and held me back from doing well what I should be doing at DJY.
Because of some earlier successes doing sales in DJY, I received a lot of praise and my head got very big. I believe this happened because Master saw I still had a very strong attachment to wanting others to say good things about me. I was still very attached to validating myself.
“He thinks: ‘At this exercise site, only my Celestial Eye is opened very well. Am I perhaps an unusual person? I was able to learn Teacher Li’s Falun Dafa and have studied it so well, better than all the others. Perhaps I’m also not an ordinary person.’ This thought is already not right” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six).
I began to have thoughts that I was more capable than others, and I had to do everything because they didn’t have the same skill level. Demonic interference slowly crept into my mind, and jealousy developed too. When I heard other people’s successes I would get uncomfortable right away. Because of these notions, I also developed a strong show off mentality. Even though on the surface I was sharing my success with others in order to help them, deep down inside it was to show how capable I was.
Eventually, more and more people began asking for my help and my workload increased drastically to the point where I felt overwhelmed. Being overloaded, my cultivation state deteriorated, a lot of human thinking developed, and I got interfered with.
A couple of years ago I shared an experience where I felt I was having trouble breathing and my heart was beating so fast I thought I was losing control of my body.
One year later, it was déjà. A fellow practitioner and I were again at the same restaurant where I had the previous episode and I started having the same reaction. I ended up leaving the dinner very abruptly. It was the same familiar sensation where my heart was pounding so hard and fast it almost felt like a heart attack. I sat in the car reading Lun Yu until the sensation finally stopped.
The following Wednesday morning, I woke up with the same sensation. This time my roommate had to sit with me and read Zhuan Falun until I calmed down.
All sorts of fears and ordinary thinking began popping into my head. I thought maybe I was having heart problems because of all the stress from work and I should be a lot more careful in the kinds of food I eat and get more exercise. Maybe I should work less and take more time to rest.
A fellow practitioner pointed out to me that this was all human thinking and that everything was going to be all right and I should really look inside. We talked about how being a younger practitioner; it is easy to have a big ego. She reminded me other people are also very capable and perhaps in different environments or situations they are really extraordinary.
“It was more difficult for a young person to conduct himself or herself well. Maybe you would have found this person usually very good, caring little for fame and self-interest, when he did not have many abilities in ordinary human society. Once he became well-known, fame and profit would easily interfere.” (Zhuan Falun Lecture 3)
For weeks after, anytime my heart began to beat a little faster I would get very worried, which probably made the situation even worse. Slowly my heart problem disappeared, but the pressure and stress of work still felt like I was carrying mountains. Although my heart was back to normal, sometimes I would feel so stressed I couldn’t think straight which made me extremely unproductive at work.
I knew it was related to my Fa study, even though I was studying everyday my mind wasn’t focused.
“In some areas it has lapsed into a formality. When some people read Zhuan Falun they are not concentrating, but rather thinking about other things, and not able to focus their attention on cultivation. It thus amounts to wasting time” (Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa- Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference)
Even though I knew not concentrating during Fa study was very bad, sometimes I couldn’t focus. Cultivation seems to get harder as time goes by. When I first began cultivating, every time I read the Fa I felt as if being lifted up.
In the lecture, Fa teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference, Master says, “Often, people say to me things like, ‘In the past, when I read the Fa my level rose so quickly. And as I read the book, things that would improve my understanding were constantly revealed to me. How come I don’t experience that anymore?’ Then think about this: are you ‘cultivating with the heart you once had’?”
These words hit me hard, I knew deep down I had gotten lazy and my resolve to be diligent had weakened. Why was this happening?
I realized I was too attached to the project and to getting things done. Master in What is a Dafa Disciple, Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 New York Fa Conference says, “My hope is that Dafa disciples can all be like how they were with each other in the old times, and as diligent as before when you first obtained the Fa” and “Cherishing the path that you travel is cherishing yourselves.”
I wasn’t cherishing my cultivation path; I was always in a hurry to get to the next step to finish the next task or project.
Part 3: Don’t do Dafa Things with a Human Mind, Let Go of Self-Validation
Upon reflection, I see in many of the Dafa things I do, they are still done with a human mindset, often in consideration of my own personal gain and interest. In a sense, I have been treating mighty virtue similar to worldly interests. I am afraid others are holding me back from gaining mighty virtue. I have a notion that the harder I work the more mighty virtue I will attain. It causes me to get frustrated and blame others as to why we may not be successful in a project. It also causes me to get jealous when others succeed. What I do should be sacred, but if I approach it with this mentality of gaining, I believe there is no mighty virtue in that.
When many practitioners I knew left for New York to work on EET, I developed this notion they had cultivated better, or they would definitely achieve consummation because they were closer to Master. I was still stuck in a very selfish state. I have a strong attachment to achieve and succeed, often wanting to associate myself with those considered capable and talented. Often I put the things I want to do before considering others, and it has resulted in hurting other practitioners.
“You should always be benevolent and kind to others, and consider others when doing anything. Whenever you encounter a problem, you should first consider whether others can put up with this matter or if it will hurt anyone. In doing so, there will not be any problems. Therefore, in cultivation practice you should follow a higher and higher standard for yourself.” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Four)
Would a divine being only care about their own successes and achievements, without regarding others situations and perspectives? I found I have a fear of doing background work, because I'm not in direct contact with sentient beings and unsure if I’m really saving people.
In order to make a breakthrough I had to fundamentally change my thinking from a perspective of self and look at the bigger picture.
Switching from a very front line position doing sales at DJY to more of a background role has been an extremely precious opportunity for me to see many of my shortcomings and attachments to self-interest. Thank you Master for making these arrangements. When I run into difficult situations I remember Masters words, “You need to seize the opportunity to cultivate yourselves. The more chaotic things are, the more so you can cultivate yourselves amidst the chaos; the more you encounter ordeals, or unpleasant things, the more it is an occasion for you to look at the problems in a different way and think to yourself, ‘All of these are stepping stones by which to cultivate and improve.’ Isn’t that the case?” (Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa- Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference)
As I continue to study the Fa, letting go of my desires and pursuit, I can find more of my true self and my original nature, the part that is assimilated to Zhen-Shan-Ren. The more I uncover about my true self, the easier it is for me to cherish myself and to cherish others.
When I accept who I am, and don’t compare myself to other cultivators, wishing my level was as high as theirs, wanting to be as pure as they are or wishing I was as capable as them, my mind becomes broad and calm, my tolerance increases and the attachment of jealousy subsides. It’s much easier to cherish others when you cherish yourself.
Working together with other practitioners helps me learn how to put myself in other people’s shoes, and accept that not everyone thinks like me. I’m sure many people don’t agree or understand with what I think, but it doesn’t matter in the end. I believe what matters is treating each other with kindness and understanding. Master looks at our hearts, not the surface things we do.
“So what's their state of mind? It's tolerance, an extremely immense tolerance, being able to accept other beings, and being able to truly think from other beings' perspectives. This is something a lot of you haven't achieved yet in your cultivation, but you're gradually catching on and achieving it. When another God proposes an idea, they aren't eager to reject it, and they aren't eager to express their own ideas and they don't believe that their own ideas are good. Instead, they look at what the end result of the other God's proposed approach will be. The paths are different--everyone's path is different--and the truths that beings validate and enlighten to in the Fa are different, too, but the results might very well be the same.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.)
There are an uncountable number of beings existing in this cosmos; it isn’t about who is higher or lower, or who got more mighty virtue. We’re all part of one body and we each play our allotted role directed by Master. Each Dafa disciple is important in this final phase of Fa-Rectification. I would like to end with Master’s words, “I hope that you all cherish yourselves, cherish others, and cherish this environment that you have. Cherishing the path that you travel is cherishing yourselves.” (What is a Dafa Disciple, Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 New York Fa Conference)
Thank-you Master. Thank-you fellow practitioners.