Continuing Our Cultivation Path as We Did at the Beginning
Esteemed Master and fellow practitioners!
Ralf (R): We are a couple from Germany who began to cultivate in November 2001. Despite working together in Falun Gong truth-clarification projects, such as our participation at vigils outside the Cologne Cathedral, contacting politicians, and preparing for the Shen Yun shows, each of us exhibited different attachments. Our initial great enthusiasm and vigor became rou-tine, and inertia set in. We would like to share how we recognized this and improved our-selves.
Birgit (B): In the summer of 2001, I read in an esoteric newspaper about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. I could not understand why such a peaceful qigong practice was persecuted. At that time I had practiced yoga for quite some time. However, I was impressed by the practitioners’ perseverance despite the persecution of their faith.
It was imperative that I find out where these people found the strength to persevere because at the time I was in a very bad physical condition and frame of mind. I suffered from asthma and could hardly sleep because of cough attacks. Moreover, my life was governed by fear. Sometimes I even thought that I would not live for long. Given my despair, I bought esoteric books and took many courses in the hopes of improving my situation, but nothing helped.
Therefore, I decided to give Falun Gong a try, but I had little hope because I thought that Falun Gong was only practiced in China. Shortly afterwards, I took a walk in my hometown and saw in the distance a banner imprinted with the words “Falun Gong”. I could hardly believe my eyes and immediately went to find out more.
A practitioner told me about the persecution. I was very surprised and glad when I found out I could learn the exercises in Germany. A couple who practiced Falun Gong lived in our city. Not long after, I contacted them and they agreed to introduce Falun Gong to me.
R: I too was in a bad physical condition at that time. Throughout my childhood, I could not attend school for several weeks a year because I suffered from chronic bronchitis, recurring pneumonia, and high fevers. A chest X-ray showed that quite a bit of my lung tissue had al-ready been destroyed. I could not cope with stressful situations. I did not know what Falun Gong was, but I accompanied my wife out of curiosity to meet the practitioners.
B: During our first conversation, the female practitioner asked us if we wanted to return to our original nature. This sentence touched my heart deeply. This was what I had been looking for. My face was covered with tears.
We started to attend the nine-day seminar that same day because my husband had to go on a business trip ten days later. I was deeply impressed by what Master said. The compassion ra-diating from Master convinced me that I finally found my path.
R: I fell asleep while watching the nine-day seminar tape, but I felt Master's special aura. Ap-parently, Master was cleansing my head, just as He said in Zhuan Falun, Lecture Two, “A few individuals may fall asleep and wake up as soon as I finish my lecture. Why is that? It is be-cause their brains have illnesses that need to be treated.”
However, I could absorb much of what Master said, and after having viewed the entire semi-nar, I was also determined to take this cultivation path. Shortly after, I experienced my first test. I objected in my mind to practicing just one cultivation way as I had just recently begun to practice yoga. But to be honest, I truly wanted to practice Falun Gong, so I gave up yoga.
B: I also decided to quit yoga. It was a difficult decision as I had a good relationship with the teacher and did not want to disappoint him. In addition, I decided to get rid of my entire eso-teric literature collection. It was tremendously difficult to walk to the bin, but as soon as I had disposed of all the books I felt great relief.
R: During the following weeks and months, we practiced the exercises diligently and learned the Fa. We both felt deeply connected to Falun Gong and were highly motivated in our culti-vation.
One year into the practice, we began our truth clarification efforts at the vigil in Cologne. Alt-hough we were quite fainthearted about it, for the following six to seven years, we were vig-orous and earnest in doing the three things Master asked of his practitioners.
Then we slowly began to slack off, but we were not aware of it. We slowed down in doing the exercises because it was rather difficult to get up in the morning. I also noticed that I was turning passive during the truth clarification effort. Inertia and comfort became the norm. I justified this by saying that my burden at work had increased. In addition, I faced conflicts with my colleagues, which included bullying. This was difficult to take. We stopped putting the Fa before everything else and stopped going to the group Fa study for an entire year.
B: I noticed more and more that my cultivation state worsened. I was unhappy about it, but I just could not overcome my state. Often I felt depressed, which put great pressure on me. I began to fall asleep during Fa study and could not take in what Master said. I was in a daze, which worried me.
R: In the end, we reached the lowest point in our cultivation. We got into a horrible fight with the practitioner who used to be closely involved with us in our politics project. Driven by human feelings, we neglected to look inside and thus did not recognize our shortcomings and attachments. Master said in Zhuan Falun, Lecture Nine: “In genuine cultivation practice one must cultivate one’s own heart and inner self. One should search inside oneself rather than outside.” Anger, a fighting spirit, and the desire to be working with the most important politi-cians evidenced my shortcomings and attachments.
B: I also was full of anger. However, my greatest disappointment was that the practitioner did not behave as I had imagined. This attachment to disappointment, which I had known from childhood, has its deepest root in selfishness. There was a sense of impotence, passivity, and lack of strength. Thus, we missed many opportunities to clarify the truth and save sentient beings. Unfortunately, this condition lasted far too long.
We went to the 2015 Fa Conference in Los Angeles. I was shocked to listen to Master's lec-ture.
Master said in Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference, “Some people still have a chance, but some no longer do. For some there is still time left, and for some their only hope is to sprint. But if the person hasn’t laid an adequate foundation, and if the person’s understand-ing of the Fa is limited, how could he have the drive to persist?”
After hearing Master's words, I could barely breathe. A great fear that I would not be able to make it grabbed me. I suddenly realized that I did not have that much time left to fulfill the vow I made to Master.
R: I felt exactly the same and was affected by a sense of impotence and hopelessness. We exchanged thoughts with many fellow practitioners and tried to improve our cultivation state, but that was more difficult than we had thought. We did the exercises more and did more Fa study. We also achieved progress in our truth clarification efforts as we could arrange more appointments with politicians.
However, I felt that the inertia that gripped us was difficult to overcome. The cultivation path is narrow. When one steps off the given path, danger is around the corner.
B: We went to New York in May 2016 to attend the Fa conference. I was worried. Although my cultivation state had improved, I thought it had not reached the point where it was sup-posed to be.
Master's solemn words touched me. If I remember correctly, Master said at the European meeting that Europe had started off well but then weakened with time. I felt that Master was directly speaking to me. That was exactly what had happened to me.
Master hinted that we could not catch up what we had missed, but we should not look to the past and instead move forwards and improve our cultivation state.
These words gave me hope. I realized that I instinctively was stuck in a negative depressive state, which always paralyzed me on my path of cultivation. I decided to overcome it. Master gave us some more time to catch up and save more sentient beings.
R: We promised Master to improve during the European meeting. We took this very seriously because it is perhaps the last chance to fulfill our vow. Back in Germany, we participate sever-al times a week in different Fa study groups if possible. When sending forth righteous thoughts, we try to focus so our abilities can work. We are now always looking inward, no matter the tribulation we are facing so that we can find our attachments and eliminate them.
We want to share something that happened recently which was a true test for us.
B: We have participated in the Cologne vigil for about 13 years. A practitioner told us during a group meeting that we had not done well at all throughout previous years and thus did not have any good effect. This prevented practitioners from other cities to come and support this project. This accusation was aimed at both of us as well as another practitioner who had orga-nized and participated in this project for a long time.
I did not expect this, and anger arose within me. At the same time, I felt that I was unfairly treated. However, after thinking over the situation I found some attachments. For example, I feel that I am treated unfairly, I stick to old methods, I have an aversion to change, and I dis-like criticism.
R: My attachments included bossiness, losing face, and a fighting spirit. When compared to attachments influencing our involvement in the politics project, we found our attachments relatively fast. We let go of our attachments and went to see the practitioners who were will-ing to suggest improvements.
A small group of us created new banners within a few weeks and worked on the further development of the information booth.
B: We want to improve on our cultivation path. Let us come together, raise our cultivation level, and save more sentient beings, just as Master has asked of us.
Master said in Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference, “Of course many Dafa dis-ciples are doing very well, though having stumbled to varying degrees. It does not matter, Master has seen that some tribulations are not what humans can endure, and they do not count. Stand up when you fall, and that is the most remarkable. Start again and do well!” “Dafa disciples, although Master spoke a little sternly, it was to lift up your spirits, because you are the hope for humanity! The hope for sentient beings! You are also Master's hope!”
Many thanks esteemed Master and fellow practitioners!
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/155664