Genuinely Cultivating
 

Genuinely Cultivating

Experience sharing from the 2017 Euriopean Fa Conference in Paris
 

I am a practitioner from Spain who obtained the Fa just over four years ago. Before I started to practise, I suffered from sciatica and acute pains in my lower back. This stopped me from sleeping more than four hours in a row at nights, and I also suffered from other conditions. I could not even stand for more than 10 minutes straight without feeling a stinging pain on the soles of my feet. I was also frequently in a sad and melancholic state. Nothing was making sense to me, nor did I have any will to live on. Due to such a poor state of mind, I started getting into vices such as regular drinking and smoking. And I also took all kinds of drugs from time to time. Little by little I separated myself more and more from my family. Although I went through various treatments – read a lot about spiritual teachings and tried all kinds of meditation practices – nothing worked for me and my situation got even worse.

But everything changed for me one day, when I found out on the Internet that a Master had made a qigong practice popular in China, called Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa). Apparently anyone could practise it. It consisted of teachings and exercises, and all the materials were given totally free on the web. So I told myself that I had nothing to lose. Two weeks after starting to practise Falun Dafa, all my illnesses disappeared. I also resumed my relationship with my family, which by the way is now fantastic. Over the last four years, my mind and body have not ceased to experience drastic improvements. I know that it is impossible for me to thank Master Li more for all he has done for me. But I realize that I can show him my gratitude by being more diligent and by doing better the three things on my cultivation path. I feel that I should take better advantage of this unique opportunity that Master gives me to assist him in the salvation of sentient beings, one that will not repeat itself in all of history.

I would like to share some of my cultivation experiences with the hope of inspiring other fellow practitioners, so that we may remain faithful to our vow and do all the three things better in this last stage of Fa-rectification. I sincerely hope that all Dafa disciples will be able to return to their true homes when the time comes.

Expanding my Righteous Thoughts in Order to Save More People

Almost a year ago, I came to a point where I was totally lost. It seemed that nothing was working. Even though on the surface I cultivated and refined myself, sent righteous thoughts at the global times, saved people throughout my daily life and took responsibilities in some projects. But I felt no drive and did all this immersed in a kind of routine. I felt that even though I was walking on my cultivation path, I had not been discarding attachments or desires. And that on the contrary, I had only been focusing on completing my Dafa disciple's work. I noticed that my attachments and desires became so strong that they would not even allow me to concentrate when reading the Fa. I could only act as a Dafa disciple on the surface while my thoughts were not only unrighteous, but indeed really bad. With the excuse of working for Dafa I had neglected my cultivation, and my Main Spirit was weakening.

I did not study the Fa much as the Dafa projects demanded a lot of my time and effort. Suddenly I noticed how one word was standing out to me every time I read Zhuan Falun – the word "truly". I felt how Master was teaching me this Fa with patience and compassion. He explained to me how I had to "truly" cultivate and refine myself, how I had to "truly" abandon my attachments, and that I had to "truly" liberate myself. When I looked inside, I discovered that I had been so busy meeting my projects' goals that I had forgotten to cultivate "Zhen-Shan-Ren" during the process. My cultivation was not being truthful. Although on the surface it seemed liked I was doing a lot of Dafa work, I had instead been feeding my attachments and given free rein to my desires whilst doing my tasks and coordination.

So I increased my reading time by reading jingwens, in an attempt to understand how to get out of my situation. Then I again realized that Master was always repeating something, something I always shared about with other practitioners and that I took for granted. Master always insisted we should study the Fa, study the Fa more, and study the Fa well. Regardless of the situation we are in or whether we had time available or not, a Dafa disciple should study the Fa a lot and well. He explained to us that as soon as we encountered a problem we could not resolve, we should sit down to study the Fa, without neglecting our other duties.

At that time I shared a house with other Dafa disciples, and in the mornings, after doing FZN and doing the five exercises in one go, we always studied a lecture of Zhuan Falun. But then I realized I was not studying properly due to feeling sleepy and tired and having worries about projects and so on. So I decided to increase my Fa study time and read another lecture after lunch, and another one at night. I also put a lot of effort in focusing well on what I was reading. Then I noticed how my xinxing was elevating and how everything changed.

Of course, before then I went through a process that went from the pain and suffering of not being able to feel or see, to the struggle against sleepiness and fatigue and other interference, until now when a sacred feeling of magnificence and beauty when I read the immense Fa of the Cosmos is sometimes revealed to me. Many fellow practitioners have experienced these changes of state and elevation, which I find similar to the experience of meditating whilst sitting in the double lotus. At the beginning, at our earliest stage of cultivation, many of us feel some panic for days at a time, when we start thinking that sooner or later the time would come when we should sit and meditate for an hour straight, and thus suffer the terrible pains from the dissolution of our karma. But once we pass this test of faith, and our xinxing has elevated, our concentration and serenity begins to increase. Then we get to experience some of the beauty of emptiness, and this encourages us to keep improving. After years of studying the Fa and experiencing constant changes, I believe the steps are always the same when we improve ourselves. It always starts with bitter steps in the dark. When one cannot take it any longer and thinks there is no hope, when boredom has completely taken one over and one does not know if one's strength will be enough to carry on, then suddenly the situation changes completely.

Master said in Zhuan Falun: "When you are overcoming a real hardship or tribulation, you try it. When it is difficult to endure, try to endure it. When it looks impossible and is said to be impossible, give it a try and see if it is possible. If you can actually do it, you will indeed find: 'After passing the shady willow trees, there will be bright flowers and another village ahead!' (Lecture 9, People with Great Inborn Quality)

It also helped me immensely to take up again reading the sharing-papers from the Minghui website. Although I thought at first it was something for new practitioners to do, as soon as I began reading them I discovered it was not so at all. I was able to find many attachments I had not yet detected, and work towards eradicating them. I find it very helpful to see the elevated attitude and Fa based perspectives of other practitioners when confronted with tribulations. Up to this day some of those understandings keep having an influence on me, and everything I read on the web encourages me to keep going. With the passage of time, reading the sharing-papers from other practitioners on Minghui has become an invaluable help in my cultivation.

It's been almost a year since, and I continue reading three lectures a day and I even memorize some paragraphs of Zhuan Falun in the evenings. Looking back, I can confirm that as soon as I increased my Fa study, I went from having no time to study to having time for both reading experience sharing-papers and participating in new projects, and being more responsible towards Dafa and my own cultivation. Since I began to study more, my mind has become more lucid, my Main Consciousness has become stronger, my xinxing has elevated and I am now able to look inside in more depth in almost every conflict that arises. I can confirm that these changes are for real because when I clarify the truth or collaborate in hongfa projects, the results have remarkably improved. I have also stopped looking at others and comparing myself to them, as now I only use the Fa standard to measure myself to.

But I must be careful not to fall into formalities. If I just cultivate myself or save people as if it were a common job and seek the recognition from other practitioners, all kinds of attachments will increase, and I will not be able to assist Master in rectifying the Fa, nor return to my true home.

After a radical change in the course of my cultivation, thanks to the increase and improvement of my Fa study, I experienced many interesting situations that I would like to share with you in order to encourage fellow practitioners.

Overcoming the Illusion of Sleepiness and Tiredness

I had heard that some practitioners were getting up in the mornings around 5:00 am to do FZN and do the five sets of exercises, but at the beginning I never imagined I could do this every day, even though I did manage it during some specific projects.

I was fortunate enough to share a home with other Dafa disciples, who helped me and encouraged me when I felt very tired, and so I gradually managed to reach that goal. After a while, we always did FZN in the mornings, then did the five sets of exercises, and we also read one lecture. With time, this has now become the norm for me, which I try to meet allowing for no excuses, no matter what time I went to bed the night before or in what situation I find myself in.

This does not mean that I'm not harassed by sleep and tiredness nor that they don't suffocate me. On many occasions my body aches so much, it is so weak and stiff upon awakening that I cannot even walk normally. To this I should add that the mental suffering is no less. I would even say that it far surpasses it. Every thought tries to convince me to go back to sleep. Sometimes I find myself in a severe state of nerves. But then I think about how I'm moving in the right direction and that there is no need to worry since Master cares for all things. I notice how my righteous thoughts come easily when I've studied the Fa a lot and well. Also, over time I have come to realize that if I don't do them in my morning schedule, I end up finding excuses to not do them that day. Then these excuses would easily come up again the following days, and it could become a habit. It is clear to me that this is a cultivation way that includes refinement. And if one does not refine gong, one will not be able to transform one's body, nor achieve perfection.

Master explained in The Great Way of Spiritual Perfection: "Dafa requires both cultivation and exercises, with cultivation taking priority over the exercises. A person's gong will not increase if he merely does the exercises and fails to cultivate his character. Meanwhile, a person who only cultivates his character but does not perform the exercises of the Great Way of Spiritual Perfection will find the growth of his gong strength impeded and his innate body (ben-ti) unchanged."

I remember how one morning, I got up feeling especially exhausted and sore. I did FZN and then started doing the exercises. When I did the second set, I suddenly heard a body falling to the floor. I woke up lying on the floor – it was my own body that I heard falling. I got off the floor without knowing very well what had happened, nor where I was, and even without remembering my name, and just with the thought that I was practising Dafa. I then resumed the position of the second exercise and continued doing the practice. I did not get even one scratch during my fall. What is more, I felt how my body was very light and a seemingly absolute and reassuring emptiness dominated my mind. I remember how my heart was very serene. I did not doubt for a moment that Master is always protecting us. Little by little my normal state of consciousness returned to me. I completed the five sets of exercises without giving it more thought and then read a lecture from Zhuan Falun.

Just after finishing my reading, I felt how some tiredness and sleepiness came back to me and how they were tempting me to go back to sleep for a little while before leaving for work. I could not get rid of that evil thought. It was especially strong and I was about to give in, but I managed not to since I had an early appointment at work with someone. I had to help that person so that Master could save him. Even though my exhaustion reached its peak at that time, I got myself ready to go to work. Since the fatigue I felt was incredibly enormous, I began to accumulate negative thoughts, such as, since for many days I had been sleeping very little it would be normal to sleep a little bit, even if it wasn't much. Or that it was neither logical nor reasonable to make war with my sleepiness. And that if I were to sleep more, everything would change for the better, etc.

I carried on even though the mental and physical pressure was rising. I started reciting “Lunyu” to try to mitigate my fatigue and low spirits, but it did not work. So I decided to mentally send righteous thoughts and as soon as I started doing it, my body felt a jolt. It bent itself in half, and each of my muscles tensed up. I continued sending forth righteous thoughts, while at the same time strengthening my already tensed muscles. As I was trying to keep my balance as my body was fully tensed, all of a sudden the situation changed. I felt as if a deafening explosion happened in my mind and body, and several shock waves followed. In a fraction of a second, my body straightened itself out, and I regained control of it. Suddenly I felt how my whole body was incredibly rested and fresh. My mind was completely lucid and peaceful, and my heart was calm and happy. That morning I felt I had overcome the illusion of sleepiness and tiredness. Then I calmly went to work.

A Good or Bad Outcome Comes from One Thought

One afternoon I was in an important industrial area of a big city, searching door-to-door for advertisers for our Dafa disciple's media projects. Even though the cold weather was harsh and there was much wind, I didn't give it much thought and kept on walking. Since I started cultivation and to collaborate in different projects, I have been aware that Master does everything, and that he has already paved the road to save sentient beings – all I do is walking and talking.

As soon as I left, it began to rain. I was so overwhelmed that I even began to breathe with difficulty. My heart started to complain, I felt frustrated and helpless at this added difficulty. In addition I began to feel much anger and injustice, and I lost my serenity. The pressure in my head became huge. I thought that I could withstand the cold and the wind, but the rain was too much – I could not present myself to the heads of the companies I intended to visit all soaked, as I did not even carry an umbrella. Also the long walking distances between the companies I had to cover represented a problem. It all sounded very reasonable and logical in my head. I had collapsed myself in just a few seconds and wanted to go home.

I somehow summoned some strength from I don't know where, calmed myself down, stopped dramatizing and started walking whilst sending forth righteous thoughts. As the rain started soaking my coat and trousers, I thought: "If I keep doing my job, the rain will stop – it's just another test to see if I'm determined or not to do my job." I got to the next client's door and went in. I got through to the right contact and everything went very well – nobody seemed to care if I was wet.

When I left the place, the rain had not stopped. I began to feel impatient once again and my resolve to go back home became stronger than ever. So I sent forth righteous thoughts again.

All of a sudden my Main Consciousness took over. I calmed myself down completely and even though I was under the rain with no umbrella and facing what I considered to be an impossible mission, a thought arose in my heart: "Can a simple rain shower prevent a Dafa disciple from doing what he has to do? ".

All of a sudden the scenario changed completely. The rain was still falling, but it was no longer important whether or not it would stop. The only important thing was to do what I had to do. Now my body was light. I stopped walking bent over because of my fear of the rain. I was at peace with everything around me and I began walking without a problem in my mind. I felt an indescribable joy in my heart and realized how truly fortunate I was being able to do this Dafa work.

Master said in Zhuan Falun: "We have said that good or evil comes from a person's spontaneous thought, and the thought at that moment can bring about different consequences." (Lecture 4)

The rain did not stop all afternoon, and I continued sending forth righteous thoughts as I walked from company to company. I also recited fragments from the Fa. And if the walking distance was much longer, I would even listen to Master's audio lectures. I just focused on doing my job well. Sometimes I would look at my coat and it was completely soaked, as well as my trousers and shoes. But when I looked at them again after a visit or walking for a while and then touched them, they were completely dry. I remember thinking how curious it was that the rain never touched my face nor my hands – it just fell on my clothes and got my hair a little wet. After two and a half hours of sending forth righteous thoughts while walking in the rain, I completed my quota of visits and went back home to attend our group Fa Study. As I sat inside the train, a drop fell down from my hair and it reminded me of how I had walked in the rain for such a long time. And then I noticed that neither my clothes (not even the bottoms of my trousers) nor my shoes were wet.

I got back home and while I was eating, I remembered how I had not eaten or drunk anything for more than seven hours. Then I attended the group Fa Study and managed to calm my mind during the reading. During the study, I realized that I was attached to listening to my own voice as well as to my intonation and my way of reciting the lectures. I considered mine to be firmer and better, but then I understood that those thoughts were not aligned with the Fa. After looking inside, I felt the greatness of Dafa and felt true compassion arise in my heart towards each one of my fellow practitioners. I noticed how numerous attachments, such as the attachment of competition and showing off, were dissolved by the energy of the group.

After group study, I contributed to another project on the Internet for a couple of hours. I also tried compensating for the global FZN that I did not do during the day, by extending the time of the last global FZN to half an hour. Ever since I started giving more importance to sending forth righteous thoughts, both my concentration and attitude have improved when studying the Fa and assisting Master with saving people.

Eliminating Thought Karma During Conflicts

After encountering numerous conflicts with some fellow practitioners, I could not manage to look inside. I always seemed to focus my attention on the faults of others and never on their virtues. This reached the point that, alarmingly, I was seeing how the actions and words of others were posing a risk to projects and to the Dafa body in general.

Master taught us in Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Singapore (1998): "If you spend your energy on external things and look for others’ shortcomings instead of working hard on your own mind, how can you improve yourself? Others will improve and advance in cultivation after you point out their shortcomings, but you’ll still be here. That’s why I tell you that whenever any problems occur or whenever you feel uneasy inside, you should look inside yourself for causes. I can guarantee that the problem lies within you."

I understand that Master makes use of our conflicts to help us look inside. But some thoughts are so deeply rooted, so difficult to detect, that whenever a conflict arises they cause me to look outside and look for whom to blame. This gets even worse when I'm feeling frustrated at work or in my path of cultivation. Such thoughts seem to be on another plane, to be untouchable and not to be subject for discussion. Then based on these thoughts one emits new ones, since they've been settling in our mind for a long time and been shaping our thinking. They seem to be correct and very useful, but their basis is none other than selfishness. Thus my numerous attachments are sustained.

It turned out I could not eliminate them even after identifying these thoughts through Fa-Study and reading sharing experiences on Minghui. Although I knew these thoughts were not aligned with the Fa, I could not get rid of them. Although I tried to discard them by not recognizing them as mine, they came back again and again. They even tried to take control of my emotions and urged me to react according to human thinking, and with that strengthening my attachments and desires.

Although I made a conscious effort to eliminate them every day, the intensity of the conflicts with my fellow practitioners did not lessen. Even some physical ailments began to manifest in my body because I was unable to dismiss this thought karma.

One day, as I was sitting in front of my computer, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps it would help me to write down in detail all about this thought karma that seemed to me to be indestructible. And so I wrote: "My most hidden thoughts are those that tell me that someone is no longer worthy – that once the person has said something improper or acted in an improper way, the person is already unusable, useless, someone I cannot trust, someone without criteria, and that I should not even listen to their ideas. Also that their minds are not clear and they are always causing problems, and their attachments are enormous. But in reality such a person is actually pointing out my own shortcomings. "

After writing this down on my computer, this issue then no longer mattered to me as this thought karma had almost completely disappeared, weakened to the extreme. Then my relationships with other practitioners became good again, since the conflict inside me no longer existed.

Following my writing this simple sharing-paper, I noticed how I could suddenly listen to others without my thoughts and attachments stirring up in my mind. I stopped feeling the need to add my own understandings when having conversations with others in order to "improve" them, and I stopped trying to elaborate an intelligent reply while I was listening to them. As Master's fashen had cleansed much of this thought karma for me, I could now listen to others with a calm heart, and I could even learn something from others' perspectives. I began to treasure more my fellow practitioners, which is actually to treasure oneself.

I have no way of expressing my gratitude to my Master for all he has given me. I only hope to improve faster so that I can help my fellow practitioners, and my local group more and better assist in the salvation of sentient beings.

Thank you Master ! Thank you fellow practitioners !

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