Recognizing my attachments in cultivation

I first read Zhuan Falun when I was about 10 years old. I did not read it in one go, and I hardly understood the content, but I did not doubt a word of what was written. I used to read it in bed every night or lying down because at the time I did not know that I should pay respect to Master. Then I read Falun Gong and Essentials for Further Advancement. I kept reading these books in succession even though I did not have a good understanding, because I always remembered what Master said in "A Heavy Blow" in Essentials for Further Advancement:

“Why not read the books more? I suggest that everyone set his mind to reading ten times the book I wrote, Essentials for Further Advancement, which you call scripture.”

My mother also did the exercises, but due to her language barrier did not read the books so much. We live in a countryside area and there were no other practitioners nearby. Due to various attachments and interference arranged by the old forces we did not get into contact with any other practitioners until 2004. I’ll mainly talk about the attachments I recognized and am still recognizing today.

The main thing that held back my mother was fear. Recently, I have seen this in myself, which I had never thought of before. I found it could be categorized into two types which are 1. Fear of what people may think of you, this is the attachment of reputation 2. Trying to protect oneself and not thinking of others. I often got scared for no reason, but then came a stage when I realized that “fear” itself is not a part of me.

The following two question and answers are from "Teaching the Fa at the Assistants’ Fa Conference in Changchun":

Question: Sometimes as soon as I see your picture I become afraid. I wonder why this is.
Teacher: It isn’t you who fears—it is your thought karma.

Question: My thought karma has been particularly strong of late. I even fear that I’m a demon who came here by arrangement. Is this the thought karma, not me?
Teacher: Don’t worry—that isn’t you yourself. It is karma. But I’ll tell you, since the amount that everyone has of that thing is different, some people may have more, so it’s stronger. People who have more may need to endure more. Maybe previously you did more wrongdoing of this sort, so you have to do everything in your power to suppress it and defy it. As long as you can tell it apart from yourself, the rest is easy to deal with.

Therefore now if I get scared before Hong Fa or during Fa study, I know it is not me who is scared but the thought karma – and instead it is a good thing as it is about to be eliminated – it is only scared before it is eliminated.

The other day I opened Zhuan Falun on the page Wanting to Get Things (2003 version). Before I ever heard of Falun Gong I remember a dream I once had. I was about 7 years old. In my dream I was flying high in the clouds and I could see wonderful green fields beneath and the sun was shining. I sat in a bus and the seat belt kept floating up. However soon after I saw a couple of these dreams I decided I wanted to see this dream again. Taken advantage by this heart of pursuit, I prayed down on my knees saying I wanted to have the dream again. This was not my true self.

A few days later I had a dream again. I really wanted to fly and I tried and tried and struggled to float up in the sky. There was no longer any beautiful scenery and I could not fly very high. Finally I left the ground but I only hovered at the same level as a black chimney with black smoke pouring out of it. The air was dirty and I knew it was not right – I just thought it was odd. This was probably the reflection of my realm at that point.

By the time I understood the true meaning of these dreams it was already too late. From the end of 2004 through to the year 2005, influenced by the ordinary human society I started to pursue a life of comfort, and of human happiness, driven by my attachment to reputation. I had a sense it was wrong at the time, but nonetheless decided that I needed to go on a diet to achieve my selfish aims. I felt I had to do it, and completely got controlled by human notions. I can see now that instead of seizing the day to cultivate I had got swept along with ordinary society; my human side dominated.

In 2005 I lost my period due to my dieting and from what I remember I was very emotional and a great burden on my family. My mother was deeply affected as she had not given up the attachment of sentimentality towards her daughter. She said I had said awful things to her then, which I don’t really remember, but I do remember vaguely crying a lot out of self-centredness. My father (a non-practitioner) was less affected as he believed it was just a phase I was going through.

After getting out of my state of mild anorexia I found it hard to control my eating habits. I got used to having little or nothing at meal times, but a lot more at other times. At this point my master consciousness was weak, and I was controlled by rushes of emotion, but I never gave up Falun Gong because I had a vague sensation it was good to do. During this time compassionate Master never gave up on me, and I still felt the Falun and pressure of the Tianmu. I went through a time of feeling deep regret after I made mistakes with my eating habits, but at the time my mother gave me the following passage from Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival:

Teacher: It’s not a big deal if you haven’t done well. Just do things well next time and try to find out where the problem was. There’s a prominent phenomenon in you folks’ cultivation, which is, after you haven’t done something well, you’re only overwhelmed with regret, and you don’t do it over. If you regret it too much then that’s another attachment. Once you’ve done something wrong, seen where it was wrong, and recognized it, then do it well next time, do it over. If you trip and fall, and just keep lying there instead of getting up, then that’s no good.

As soon as I started to show small signs of righteousness, Master arranged for my mother and I to meet up with other practitioners and gradually get involved in Hong Fa activities. Earlier this year when I had been doing Hong Fa, I had got used to explaining… “Falun Gong practitioners believe in Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.” Then I thought to myself: Am I actually following these principles? Am I truly cultivating? My father gave me a big hint a few days later which encouraged me to do something about this shortcoming – I had been doing Hong Fa without actually cultivating my character. When this thought came out I had a body purification.

Soon after I really felt I wanted to meet Master. Then I remembered I have the video lectures – that’s just the same as meeting Master in person! I watched them every night after everyone had gone to bed. After 20 minutes of watching Lecture One, I saw a bright light emitting from Master’s body, which was covering the side of my bed and the walls, then I had the unrighteous thought: “Wow, my eyes are amazing if I can see this.” It then took me about 10 minutes to realise that this was actually nothing to do with my eyes but it was Master’s powerful and compassionate gong energy. I felt a bit ashamed at the petty thought I originally had.

Now at the end of this final time, it feels as though sentient beings are trying to learn about the Fa as soon as they can. In order to fulfil their hopes I must cultivate myself well. I cannot validate the Fa well if I don’t live up to the Fa-principles. I still have so many shortcomings that keep on revealing themselves, which mostly come down to selfishness, attachment to fame and superiority, or getting affected by emotions.

Lastly I would like to thank all practitioners for their patience and compassion, and thank Master for waiting for me! I must study the Fa well to keep the Fa in my heart and to never forget Master’s boundless Compassion.

Thank you everyone.

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