PureInsight | April 19, 2019
[PureInsight.org] Greetings benevolent Master, greeting fellow practitioners. I have been a Dafa practitioner since 2002, when I was 7 years old. While I have been a Dafa disciple for most of my life, I have since recognized that for many of those years, I have not been fully diligent in walking a Dafa practitioner’s path and maximizing opportunities to do the three things well and cultivating myself. In my experience sharing, I will document some shortcomings in my cultivation that I have identified, and some xinxing tests that I have encountered.
I am currently a second year dental school student in Philadelphia, and in the past year, I underwent a tribulation that forced me to recognize and remove an attachment to money and jealousy. In 2017, I began to attend a dental school at an institution that would cost my parents almost $400,000. I therefore searched beforehand for scholarships and opportunities that would help lighten the financial burden on my parents. I found a great scholarship that would not only pay my tuition, but also give me a living stipend each month. The only catch of this scholarship was that after I graduated, I was expected to work as a dentist at a low-income area health center. I have always been enthusiastic about doing community service, and knew immediately that this scholarship was perfect for me.
I immediately became engrossed in all things related to obtaining it. I pored over my essays obsessively, and asked impressive people to write recommendation letters. All summer long, I read online forums made by previous applicants who documented their experiences and unofficial ways that to tell if they were still in the running for the scholarship. I continuously thought about how much money I would save my family, and became elated in July when I unofficially found out that I had moved on to the next round. Then in early August, I discovered that I had not received the scholarship, and I was devastated. I remembered crying and feeling so sorry for myself because I felt as though I was so qualified and a perfect fit for this scholarship. Later when I discovered that a classmate of mine had received the scholarship, I also began to feel angry and jealous. It felt so unfair—this classmate was an overly arrogant individual who always bragged and lied about his personal accomplishments and all of his money. How was it fair that he got the community service scholarship, something I was so passionate about? I would never be that arrogant, and how could he possibly do a better job than I could?
It wasn’t until many months later as I was studying the Fa that I truly began to understand this experience for what it was. In Lecture 7 of Zhuan Falun, Jealousy, Master says, “There might be instances where something seems to be yours, and people might say so too, and you believe it is yours, when in fact it’s not and in the end it goes to someone else. From this it will be seen whether you can let it go. If you cannot, it means that you have an attachment. We use this approach to rid you of your worldly wants, for that is what’s most important. Everyday people lack this perspective and so they contend over things.”
I realized that I had allowed myself to be overtaken by an attachment to money and lessening of a financial burden. Additionally, I had stepped out of a Dafa disciple’s mindset to approach this issue, and stooped to the level of an ordinary person in viewing this situation. Instead of remaining level-headed, I became one of the very people Master speaks about in Lecture 7 of Zhuan Falun, who “always think that they should get whatever position or role they’re fit for” and “spend their lives competing with others and end up hurt, believing that life is painful and tiring”, never knowing peace or contentment. I should have trusted Master, and embodied a practitioner’s thinking in letting things happen naturally.
This year, I applied for the same scholarship again, but felt as though I was a completely different person going into the process this time around. I had relinquished my attachment to the money, and truly stopped being a jealous person who becomes “terribly envious when someone shares his or her good news.” I truly understood and believed in my heart what Master says later in Lecture 7 of Zhuan Falun, that Dafa practitioners “won’t be deprived of what is rightfully ours, and shouldn’t labor to get what is not.” I realized that my failure the first time was actually set in place by Master to teach me this important lesson that I could not see before when I was blinded by my jealousy and desire for material gain.
I enthusiastically encouraged one of my good friends to apply for the scholarship with me, telling him that I could help him with whatever he needed since I had done this once before. I barely thought about the scholarship all summer, and any time I felt myself becoming excited or thinking about it too much, I reminded myself that to let things happen naturally, and to trust in Master’s arrangements for me. This time around, I had truly given up the attachment and believed that whatever happens, happens. When I received notice in August that I had received the scholarship this time around, my heart was unmoved, and remained that way even amidst my parents and friends congratulating me for my achievement. I did not feel triumphant or victorious. I am very grateful to Master for putting this xinxing test before me so I could have the opportunity to remove a huge attachment to material gain and jealousy.
I believe that Master arranged for me to choose a dental school away from home to test my belief and dedication to Dafa. Many of my childhood friends, once they were outside the direct influence of their parents, no longer continued cultivating. When I left home, I knew that the decision to remain a Dafa disciple was purely my own, and that anything I chose to do from that point on would be on my own, independent cultivation path. One of my biggest tribulations, all throughout my cultivation experience, has been my attachment to fear and obtaining good results in clarifying the truth. I have always been somewhat scared and fearful of clarifying the truth to others, despite knowing how wonderful Dafa is, and knowing that it is one of the three things Master requests from all Dafa disciples. I did not do a good job of clarifying the truth during my childhood and during my college years, and now that I have moved away from my family to attend dental school, it is one of my personal goals that I must improve on. Even so, our benevolent Master has continued to support me on my path by encouraging me and giving me great opportunities to clarify the truth.
In college, I did not do well in the three things, and continuously made excuses for four years and procrastinated making a “Falun Dafa Club” at school under the guise of being too busy and being afraid that my grades would suffer. Because of this, I lost the precious opportunity of being on a college campus with several fellow practitioner students around who could have helped me clarify the truth. Now at dental school, I am the only practitioner student, and it is much harder to coordinate events. Even so, I knew that this inherently was a test to see if I would make the same mistakes again, or if I would improve and quickly take advantage of this chance to clarify the truth on a prominent college campus.
Last year, I quickly set up a Falun Dafa Club at my dental school soon after orientation, and asked several of my close friends to be officers for the club, which is required to be approved as an official club. One of my close friends who I planned to ask is from mainland China, and I immediately felt fear in my heart when I made the decision to ask her to be a part of my club. I was worried that she had heard false things about Dafa in China, and would react badly. I feared that she had not known me long enough, and that upon hearing that I was a Dafa practitioner, she would not only be opposed to it, but also no longer want to be my friend. It didn’t occur to me in the moment that these were not righteous thoughts, and they would interfere with my ability to clarify the truth to her. I felt nervous for several days up until I finally gained the courage to ask my friend one day when we were walking home together from school. I cautiously asked if she had ever heard of Falun Dafa, and was both surprised and relieved when she said she thinks so, and asked if it was related to Shen Yun. When I said yes, she told me that she heard about it because her mother had watched Shen Yun, and told her that it was a show that she must see at least once in her life, but she didn’t know much about Dafa. I knew in that moment that Master had arranged this to encourage me to let go of my fear and approach all truth clarification with a righteous mind. I know that as long as I trust in Master, there will always be opportunities to clarify the truth and do well. I was able to clarify the truth to my friend that day, and even though she declined a position in my club because she still has family in China, I was very grateful to Master for arranging this friendship and the opportunity to clarify the truth to someone. In that moment, I saw the importance of what Master taught us by saying in Zhuan Falun, “One righteous mind can subdue a hundred evils”, and helping me to remain righteous and avoid interference. This classmate remains one of my closest friends in dental school, and I plan to take her to see Shen Yun in Philadelphia some time in February.
Another encouraging incident for clarifying the truth happened to me recently in August. Last year, I joined the Chinese Dental Association as an officer, and became the treasurer of the executive board this year. Additionally, I decided this summer to be a part of the “crew head” team, which is a team of second year students who take about two weeks of their summer off to help out with first year dental student orientation by leading events and sharing some insight and experiences. Throughout the two weeks, I was able to meet a lot of new students, many of whom were Chinese or international Chinese students. I knew that this would be a precious opportunity to clarify the truth at my school. In September, the dental school held a student activities fair, and I helped man the booth for both the Falun Dafa Club and the Chinese Dental Association, which were side by side. About halfway through, a first year dental student that I met during orientation came up to the table to sign up for the Chinese Dental Association. Previously during orientation, we had bonded over the fact that we both played varsity tennis in high school, and both went to high school in similar parts of Maryland. He was very surprised upon seeing me next to the Falun Dafa Club table and fliers, responding with a “woah...this is here? You’re a part of this?” I knew that this would be an important opportunity to clarify the truth to him, and I was able to do so in a very casual and light-hearted way that I believe got through to him. He was very intrigued after this, because he had heard bad things about Dafa in the past and was now questioning what he had heard from others before. There were also several Chinese international students around me at the time, who were there to help with the Chinese Dental Association table, and I believe that hearing this encounter was beneficial to them as well.
Just about two weeks ago, I also had a very inspiring truth clarification experience with a third year dental student. That morning, I had a community oral health dental rotation in a downtown clinic, near Philadelphia Chinatown. A Uyghur third year dental student who I have never spoken to before was also working at the same clinic that morning. Around noon, just before I was about to go home for lunch, she asked if I wanted to get lunch with her somewhere around the clinic. I was about to say no because I wanted to get bubble tea nearby and just go home to sleep, but something changed my mind last second and I agreed. Together, we got bubble tea and sat down at a ramen shop nearby to eat. During our conversation, she naturally began to tell me about her parents, who are still in China, and the persecution they are suffering under the CCP. She has been unable to visit home in many years, and the government limits often communication with her family. We were even more so able to relate to each other because I also have family in XinJiang where her family lives, but our conversation also opened up the perfect chance for me to clarify the truth. I was able to bring up the fact that I practice Falun Dafa so I understood her entirely because I knew of so many people with similar experiences, and I was even able to speak about organ harvesting, as it is a mutual issue between practitioners and Uyghurs. This time, I almost felt a little fear in my heart right before I began to speak, but I immediately cleared my mind of those thoughts and interferences. She was very receptive to the information, and the conversation continued without a hitch. I am very grateful to Master for placing this opportunity before me, and for inspiring me to agree to the lunch at the last moment, giving me the chance to clarify the truth even when I am not necessarily seeking out these opportunities. I am confident that in the future, I can do a better job at clarifying the truth at school and among my peers and colleagues.
While I have mentioned some instances where Master has helped me pull through, there are still many ways in which I can improve and be a better Dafa disciple. I still see many shortcomings in my righteous thoughts, Fa study, and willingness to participate in bigger Dafa events. In the future, I am confident that I can do the three things well and diligently walk a Dafa practitioner’s path, because nothing in life comes before cultivation, and it is the most important. Often when I am feeling disheartened or discouraged in cultivation, I remind myself of this excerpt from Hong Yin III, in Master’s poem “All for this Day”,
“When disciples walk righteously the path of Dafa
Their light illumines the world, purging evil completely
Diligent disciples—plum blossoms in winter’s chill
The eons of hardship were all for this day”
Above are some of my recent experiences with cultivation; please kindly point out any areas of improvement needed. Thank you!