Making Further Advances in Cultivation

Shared at the 2014 European Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference
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I obtained the Fa in 2008. Six years have swiftly passed since I started following Master’s Fa-rectification path. Among the ups and downs, I gradually learned to look inward and cooperate with others. The whole of my cultivation process has been filled with Master’s compassionate salvation. Now I would like to make a report to Master regarding some of my cultivation experiences and also share with fellow practitioners.

1. Overcoming the attachment of fear
I was a very introverted person from a young age. What I feared the most was to speak in front of strangers. Very often I could get into the situation where my brain was blank all of a sudden and my tongue was tied. As a result I only clarified the truth and asked people to do the Three Withdrawals among people whom I knew well. I very much wanted to make a breakthrough; however, the attachment of the fear really dragged at me from behind and hindered me from taking the first step.

When I first arrived in Sweden, I always chose to go to the group exercise practice if there were group events. Since I had to face many people, in particular, Chinese people, I had an unspeakable fear within me. The direct physical signs were increased heartbeat, shaking legs and a dry mouth.

It was then arranged by Master for me to stay at a fellow practitioner’s home. She goes to the tourist spots to clarify the truth every day. She encouraged me to take the first step by suggesting that I didn’t have to speak to others but just to hold the newspapers over there to begin with.

I was very nervous on the subway when I went to the tourist spot to clarify the truth for the first time. I had a strong desire to return home. However, since I promised the fellow practitioner I would go, I had to force myself to go. I stood against the wall while holding the newspaper upside down. With Master’s encouragement, a tourist approached me and he started reading the newspaper with his head leaning to one side. Finally he took the newspaper with him and left. This inspired me greatly.

You meet various kinds of people when going to clarify the truth at the tourist spots, just like the monk wandering the secular world. Some Chinese people were brainwashed badly by the CCP. When they starred at you, their eyes were filled with hatred and anger. Some of them even called us names.

When I encountered them in the beginning, my heart fluctuated with lots of anger. Sometimes I could have thoughts like---you are so evil and you’d better wait for your elimination. Don’t blame me for not saving you by then.

Later on, I got to watch the Fa lecture video of Master speaking to the Australian practitioners in 2007. In the video, I briefly recalled Master mentioning that true compassion refers to when one would feel sad if one person was failed to be saved. How could I say something like, if you want to go to hell then go to hell? I realised that I still did not have true compassion in me and a lack of mercy.

Once, just before I went to the tourist spot, a thought suddenly appeared in my mind: I am just about to meet with my sentient beings now and I need to look well-spirited. Don’t let them fail to recognise me. Although I regarded it as a bit of a joke with myself, I managed to find a pretty orange dress. I even wore my earrings.

When Chinese tourists came, I smiled at them from the bottom of my heart, calling them not to miss the opportunity to return home. The result for that day was that the volume of newspapers given out was exceptionally good. Almost everyone there smiled at me. Some people even surrounded me and asked various questions and they were very friendly.

I recalled the Fa principle of “the appearance stems from the mind” that Master said in the past. To a large extent, the negative attitude from sentient beings can be caused by ourselves. Perhaps there was karma to pay back or our heart had not reached the standard.

After that, when I encountered some wicked people, my heart was not moved by them a single bit when my state of mind was good. It seemed that those evil words could not get close to me at all. I now no longer hated them even when my state of mind was not good enough. I just sent righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil behind them.

2. Realising a Dafa disciple’s responsibility and making further advances
For a long time, I was merely contented with giving out truth clarification materials. Each time when I wanted to speak up to clarify the truth and do Three Withdrawals, I was hindered by the attachment of fear, using the excuse that I was introverted and not good at talking.

Master could see that I was not enlightened to it so he used my work colleague’s mouth to provide hints for me. All of a sudden, one of my western colleagues became unsatisfied with my work. For a period of time, he slighted me and blamed me almost on a daily base. My attachment to criticism was provoked to a very uncomfortable level. Every morning after getting up, I could barely go to work for fear of facing possible blame again today. I even considered changing to a different department at work.

I said to myself, this could be a form of paying off my own karma and getting rid of the attachment to nice words. I could not escape. It didn’t really matter where I went if I still had the attachment to get rid of.

One of my colleague’s criticisms made me realise a new problem. He said on that occasion: “The reason our team was given the new project is because you and the other colleague are the responsible people in this field. However, I don’t feel you have taken up this responsibility yet. You have the ability but you have not played your role. We are a team and if you don’t do your part then others will have to share your responsibility. I used to know you as being enterprising and now you are more contented with the current state.”

Master once said in “Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005”: “Work is not cultivation but your cultivation will be reflected in your work.” These words of my colleague immediately reminded me of my cultivation state.

Each and every Dafa disciple has the responsibility. We came down to the human world with the expectations of sentient beings as well as a god’s vow. We came to assist Master to rectify the Fa and save all sentient beings. If I didn’t make breakthroughs now and step up to the task of saving sentient beings, then wouldn’t it regarded as not taking on my responsibility and wouldn’t it increase the burdens on fellow practitioners?

Behind the attachment of fear is selfishness, a powerful attachment of self-protection. The so-called inferiority complex is indeed an attachment to oneself.

At my current understanding, inferiority and arrogance are like the two sides of a coin. Arrogance can be easily found but inferiority can be more deceiving. People with feelings of inferiority quite often care about what other people think of them. They very much hope to get affirmation from others and achieve something just like others have done. When the attachment to fame and profit cannot be satisfied, they will then feel sorry for themselves and have self-pity. As time passes by, a deep-rooted attachment of inferiority is then developed.

If these attachments are not eliminated, over a long period one can gradually develop more and more excuses for oneself. For example, I would excuse and comfort myself by saying I am still participating in projects such as NTD and Epoch Times. The work of saving people has not lagged behind.

Master said in “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference”: “Only if one can persevere and continually forge ahead does it amount to true diligence. It’s easy to talk about, but putting it into action is tremendously difficult. That is why it’s said that always cultivating as if you were just starting will surely result in achieving your ultimate rank.”

I live a comfortable life abroad and I also take part in other projects. If not careful, I could easily abandon the face-to-face truth clarification work and Three Withdrawals work, especially if I still had the attachment to fear and inferiority.

Every sentence of my colleague’s criticism pointed me to the right place. As soon as I realised this problem, the unexamined feeling which had dominated me for a long time seemed suddenly blasted away. I started to think about my responsibility and what was making advances in cultivation when I wanted to step back.

3. Learn to let go of myself during Shen Yun promotion
Since I had arrived in Sweden, another important project for me to participate in was the promotion of Shen Yun shows.

When promoting Shen Yun two years ago, there were some difficulties in finding venues for ticket-selling booths in Stockholm. As a result, no single ticket-selling booth existed for over an entire week. Then two Chinese fellow practitioners found two large supermarkets. However, problems followed as we were short of hands. Many fellow practitioners had already pre-arranged their time to go to hand out promotional leaflets in wealthy areas and at the entrances to the theatres, etc. At that time, the coordinator approached me and asked if I could take a few days off work. I understood that at that time helping hands were really needed, otherwise the coordinator would not demand such a favour from me. Therefore, I agreed. But my mind was in turmoil.

During the Shen Yun promotion period, the company I was in was about to undergo large-scale redundancies and roughly one out of ten staff would have to leave. According to the rumors, newer employees would be made redundant first based on Swedish law. Most staff in our group were veterans with ten to twenty years of working experience. I had only just been working there for a full two years so I was at high risk. By no coincidence, our company had just adjusted its organizational structure. The manager who employed me was transferred elsewhere. Although I was already familiar with the new manager, he seemed to have had some issues with me all the way along. At this critical moment, almost all of my colleagues were trying to work overtime to prove themselves, claiming that they could finish the two-week work load within one week. However, since I had Dafa projects in the evenings, I had to stick to the work timetable every day. Now I had to ask for time off temporarily; wouldn’t that make my manager even more dissatisfied with me? What would happen if I was made redundant? I didn’t speak the Swedish language and this would make it very hard for me to find a job here. I was allowed to stay in the country with my working visa and if I failed to find a new job then I would have to return home within three months. Would I have enough time to deal with the house I bought? If I remained unemployed, should I apply for asylum? How could I say that to my family? Would that cause them to have misunderstandings about Dafa?

I had thought these questions over in the past but suddenly all of them emerged again. It seemed that whether I took the time off or not became the focal point of my job destiny. I asked myself while these thoughts were fighting inside: where is your righteous thought? Shen Yun promotion work is the best thing to do but now the company was playing with redundancy during these few months. Wasn’t that interference? Wasn’t that a test? Being a Dafa disciple, everything was arranged by our Master. So what could I worry about? Even if I was indeed made redundant, perhaps it was an opportunity given by the Master to change my cultivation environment. It might not look good from the human aspect, but actually it could benefit my cultivation more. It had been just over 10 minutes but it seemed like a long time passed by. While my mind was still busy thinking, I suddenly realized all the thoughts were about my self. How could I not think about what Master wanted and what was needed to save sentient beings? For an everyday person, the way to consider things is based on fame, profit and emotion. I am a Dafa disciple. How could I think the same way as everyday people? At that moment, I made up my mind and I felt calm from within. After the Shen Yun promotion period finished, the manager publicised the result of the redundancy. I was to stay. Everything was a test.

Shen Yun is coming back to Stockholm again in 2015. This news made every fellow practitioner very happy. However, I felt very frustrated after knowing the show would still be held at Cirkus.

But I quickly recalled Master’s Fa on cooperation without pre-condition. I then said to myself: although I didn’t want this theatre, the coordinator had already decided and the Shen Yun Office had also accepted it. All I needed to do was to let go of all of my notions and to cooperate whole-heartedly. I must not develop any resistance to create a loophole for the old forces.

At that moment, a piece of Master’s Fa appeared in my mind from “Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference”: “The things seen in the human eyes are not changeable but through God’s eyes, everything is changeable.” I immediately understood that Master was telling me, if we cultivated well, cooperated well and moved forward as a whole body, then we could have a chance to obtain a better theatre.

After some time, the responsible person from the Swedish Dafa Association told us to let go of our old notions and made great efforts to obtain Gothenburg Opera House this year. I was thinking maybe the word “changeable” hinted at by Master was referring to this.

After reviewing my cultivation history, I realised that all the tests I encountered were the checkpoints set up to examine whether I could manage to believe in Master and the Fa as well as whether I could let go of myself. Although quite often I didn't do well, Master often gave me hints, dragged me along and looked after me all the way along. In front of Master’s compassionate salvation, I can only say: I need to make earnest efforts to thank Master.

Thank you Master, thank you fellow practitioners. Please compassionately point out if there is anything improper.

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