Meditation and Cultivation of our Characters

Presented at the 2006 Singapore Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference

Greetings to our Master and greetings to all fellow practitioners!

Today, I am here to share my experience about meditation and cultivating one's xinxing, that is our state of mind and character. Please correct me if there is anything that is inappropriate.

I became a Falun Dafa practitioner in 1998. At the beginning of my practise, I started with single-leg meditation as I had never done double-leg meditation before. Even so, doing the meditation was still quite a painful task. At that time, the assistant at the practice site used to start the meditation music just a short while after we had finished the first four sets of exercises. As I could not do the double-leg meditation quickly, I would always complain, in my heart, about the assistant. I blamed the assistant for not considering my plight as a beginner and starting the music before I could put my legs into position for the meditation. But after that, I remembered that Master wanted us to cultivate our inner self. So I searched myself to see what was wrong with me and I realised that I should not always be asking others to wait for me. Why couldn't I be stricter with myself and try to do the double-leg meditation more quickly? In this way, I would be able to rectify my relationship with the assistant.

At that time, there were many fellow practitioners at our practice site who were able to withstand the pain. There was one fellow practitioner who seemed to be meditating painlessly, as he always sat up straight during meditation. However, I know that he was always in pain during meditation, as I frequently heard him breathing heavily when I meditated beside him. Even so, he just sat there without moving an inch.

Besides him, there was another fellow practitioner who was eliminating his karma at that time. The skin on the inner side of his kneecap had split open and he did not treat it, except to wash it with some plain water. Despite this, that practitioner would do the meditation continuously for an hour whenever he meditated, even when there was blood and pus oozing out of his wound. He would also make himself to sit upright during meditation.

These practitioners' perseverance and spirit of not giving in to pain was a great help to beginners like me. There was a period of time when I could not calm my heart, thus I was not able to do the double-leg meditation for 45 minutes like I used to in the past. My meditation then could last no more than 20 minutes. Despite fellow practitioners' encouragement to persist and constantly telling myself not to give up, I just could not continue my meditation past 20 minutes. Later, I told myself to start practising from scratch and start with a meditation time of half an hour. After persisting past that half an hour, everything was back to normal. I can do my meditation for 45 minutes again. During this whole process, not only did I receive encouragement from fellow practitioners and learn the spirit of persisting till the end, I also understood that "perseverance" is something that you cannot achieve just by talking about it constantly. It is something that can only be achieved when there is an improvement in your xinxing.

Once when I was meditating, a fellow practitioner told me not to grit my teeth. At that time, I thought to myself that we had to meditate with a space between the upper and lower teeth, and close our lips. Would I not know it myself? He must be wrong. After I went home, I still thought that the fellow practitioner was the one who had made a mistake. At that moment, I remembered Master's saying, "In one's cultivation nothing happens without a reason." So where was my problem? I realised that I tended to lean in different directions when I meditated because my legs hurt. What I then had on my mind during my meditation was to continue to the end despite all the pain. I shared the encouragement, "being painful for one hour is an hour gone, being in comfort for an hour is also an hour gone, so why not persist for that one hour" with a fellow practitioner, and based on such thoughts, we both tried to persist in our meditation for at least an hour every time. At that moment, I suddenly thought of the preparation for meditation whereby we sit with legs crossed, keep the back and neck upright, leave a space between the upper and lower teeth, let compassion arise in the heart and assume a peaceful facial expression. After I let go of the attachment in my heart, my legs were still painful, but my heart was no longer affected by it. Now I am able to have a peaceful facial expression when I meditate, despite the pain in my legs.

At the practice site, a practitioner often criticised my exercises, saying they were always faster than the others. At that point, I felt that my movements were far more accurate than his. I told him that his practise was not accurate and he too saw his own problem. However, he still continued to criticise my exercises, saying that they were much faster than others'. I recalled Master's Fa, "Immutable" in Essentials for Further Advancement:

"How could it be possible that everyone's movements are exactly the same, without any slight differences? Don't focus your mind on such trivialities."

I used this as an excuse to cover my own flaws. However, this practitioner continued to criticise me. At this point, I thought to myself that if we are just going to look at the problem based on all the surface problems, such as his criticisms of my hand movements being too fast and my criticism of his movements being inaccurate, we would just be blaming each other. What good would that do me? I cannot follow the Chinese Communist Party's way of thinking that Master described:

"You haven't done well yourself. Don't tell me what to do. If you want to tell me what to do, you first have to do well yourself." ("Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. International Fa Conference")

Even if his movements were not accurate, he still could request that I do my movements accurately. All the while, I have been rejecting the criticism with such excuses. I finally saw my own problem. I should have been stricter with myself and done a better job. Since then, I no longer treated his comments as a form of criticism, but rather as something for my own good. Whenever my movements were not accurate, I would use his comments to remind myself to concentrate on my practise.

Every time when I wake up at four or five a.m. in the morning to do meditation and send forth righteous thoughts in the park, I put the Falun picture in front of me. I told myself that not only am I practising, I am also letting more people come to know about Falun Gong. I asked myself whether I could persist in sitting upright during meditation even when no one was watching me. Others are watching us. If we do not sit upright during meditation, what kind of impression will we give them? If we can all start with ourselves, requiring ourselves to sit upright during meditation, isn't that setting the correct image? During this process, there may be some practitioners who cannot sit up straight. In the eyes of others, they indeed do not sit upright during meditation, but in their hearts, they know very clearly themselves whether they are strict with themselves and if they are trying their best to sit upright during meditation. Similarly, in our cultivation and practise process, when others see us not doing very well, is it that we are not being strict enough with ourselves, that we have relaxed in our own self-expectations, or that we are in the process of changing for the better? The answer lies in ourselves. If we only look at the problem superficially, fellow practitioners' inadequacies could become a sore point, causing division among us. Master told us at the "Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference:"

"For Dafa disciples as a whole, in the process of validating the Fa, when you work together in concert, the Fa power is great."

Thus I need to ask myself if Falun Dafa is important or if proving myself is more important. In the process of cultivation and practise, who wouldn't make mistakes? We all make mistakes. Therefore, I should be able to accept other people's mistakes, use the Falun Gong teachings to rectify all my bad thoughts and opinions, and cherish this precious chance to cultivate and practise with Falun Dafa. All I know is that what Master gave me is the best. Did I listen to Master and do my best in my self cultivation? I often tell Master, "Master, don't worry, we will definitely do our best."

Now, with Fa rectification in its final phase, it is just like sitting in an examination where the invigilator's bell will ring at anytime. When the bell rings, everybody has to stop writing. Whatever is written after that is no longer valid. Thus, we should not be complacent, but treat Dafa with utmost importance, search ourselves for those parts that we did not do well, and then do it well. Sometimes I think about how Master has gone through so much for us but He does not want anything from us. So how should we reciprocate Master's magnanimity? Teachers in school do not want their students to pay them back for educating them. They just hope that their students can all achieve good results in their studies. Just like students in school, I think I can only try my best to cultivate myself and use my cultivation results to repay our Master for his benevolent salvation.

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