The test that made me look inward

Experience sharing from the 2017 Euriopean Fa Conference in Paris
 

I am a Falun Dafa practitioner from Latvia. I learned about the Fa in 2007, but I began practising knowingly in 2009. Although quite a long period of time has passed since then, I have never participated in any of the Falun Dafa practitioners’ cultivation experience sharing conferences in New York. I decided that this year I would definitely go to the conference, but in the end I did not go because I was not given a visa. The fact that I did not get to the conference was a big shock for me. Since everything that happens to practitioners is not just by chance, my understanding was that I had to look inward to find the reasons why I could not get there. My understanding is: since Master usually attends conferences in the USA, it is something sacred, it is like a pilgrimage, it is such a solemn moment like reaching Consummation. How could it happen that I did not get there?

Lack of Enthusiasm

On the surface, I am quite active at doing the three things. When looking under the surface, there is a lack of enthusiasm in all of this; there is no eager heart in it. Why have I lost the state I was in when I just obtained the Fa? In the beginning, each of the activities organized by practitioners was like a festivity for me. I remember the feeling of joy when I was given a T-shirt with the Falun Dafa emblem, it was something that cannot be described. When I put on a T-shirt for the first time, I did not want to take it off, I was feeling so wonderful, I was so proud. I was glad for each opportunity to spend time with other practitioners. I was inspired not only to take part in activities organized by other practitioners but also to participate in organizing them. Why did this wonderful feeling get lost with time passing by?

Not Getting to the Conference

I was thinking to myself: other practitioners are in New York now, but I cannot be there. I also started evaluating how diligent those practitioners were, I started comparing myself with them. I came to the conclusion that in many aspects I was better than they were. How come that they have got there but I have not? Then I enlightened that I did not have to evaluate who was better or worse. I had to cultivate myself. They did get there, but I did not, - there must be some reasons for that. I discovered once again that I had jealousy and arrogance towards other practitioners, I had a wish to blame others, I was also lazy and had a wish for comfort. My wish for comfort manifested in the following way: I did not want to start doing additional things, I did not want to burden myself. I have noticed that as soon as I take on some additional responsibilities, I have to face additional hardships. I have understood – from what Master has said – that having hardships is a good thing. It is an opportunity to eliminate karma and to increase one's level. But is it still cultivation if I do not want to elevate myself? I saw that I had a wish to reach Consummation while practising in comfort. But how can something like this be possible? I enlightened that my attitude towards cultivating myself was not serious. I also saw that I had a wish to feast my eyes on women’s bodies, I had lust.

Master has said in Zhuan Falun: “Let me tell a joke. If someone among everyday people with all kinds of human emotions and desires is allowed to ascend and become a Buddha—think about it—could this be possible? He may have a wicked thought upon finding a Bodhisattva so beautiful. This person may start a conflict with a Buddha because his jealousy has not been eliminated. How can these things be allowed to take place? What should be done about it, then? You must eliminate all bad thoughts among everyday people—only then can you move up.” (“Why Doesn’t Your Gong Increase with Your Practice?”, Lecture One)

I thought to myself that it was no wonder that I had not gone to New York, – it was not possible if I had such attachments. Still, why did not I get to New York if I had noticed them?

I had clarified the truth both when I attended interviews at the USA consulate and when I called the consulate by phone. I had also written a letter to clarify the truth to the USA ambassador in Latvia. From that point of view, I had done every possible thing. I had also noticed many things in myself and tried to work on them. But – despite all of this – I still did not get to the conference. I enlightened that there had to be something else in addition to all of the things that I had already noticed. What was that?

When I did not receive a visa after the first interview, a fellow practitioner shared with me his experience. From what he said I remember that if we have a pure heart and believe in Master, everything will be all right. I agreed with him, but I did not pay much attention to it.

I once shared my experience with a fellow practitioner, and I told her that I had noticed my arrogance towards another practitioner. The practitioner told me she had noticed that I had a kind of resentment towards Master. I was very surprised when she told that to me. I was telling her absolutely another kind of thing, but she saw something like that.

Just recently, I truly noticed that my belief in Master had decreased. At difficult times, I have even allowed myself to show disrespect towards Master. I also noticed that I was expressing dissatisfaction about everything. A couple of years ago, I had already noticed that I expressed dissatisfaction, but I had not paid enough attention to that.

Dissatisfaction and Illness Karma

In 2014, I took on the responsibility for organizing a cultivation sharing conference for Latvian Falun Dafa practitioners. During the organization process I noticed in myself some dissatisfaction and resentment towards other practitioners because of their unresponsiveness and passivity. In the end, we managed to cope with all of the issues because other practitioners provided some help when it was exactly needed. It seemed to me that my dissatisfaction and resentment had been eliminated, but it turned out that they were taken away only on the surface.

Approximately one month after the conference my right knee started aching, and shortly afterwards my left knee also started aching. When I got up after sitting on a chair, it was hard for me to start walking, it was hurting very much, but I did not pay attention to that. I was thinking that it was a process of karma elimination, so at some moment it should be over. It became harder and harder for me to do the meditation for an hour. Just a thought that I had to cross my legs in a full lotus position made me feel sick in my stomach. Step by step, I started doing meditation for only half an hour. After some time had passed, I enlightened that – no matter how much pain I felt, I still had to do the meditation for an hour every day; if I became less demanding on myself, soon I might not be able to cross my legs in a full lotus position. I know that there are practitioners who used to sit in a full lotus position, but for some reasons they have stopped doing it. It seems to me that it is very hard for them to start doing it again. I did not want to have the same fate. Along with becoming more demanding on myself, I started looking for the reason for my aching legs, I started looking inward. I enlightened that the reason was my dissatisfaction, resentment, and anger. Little by little, the pain stopped.

Lack of Righteous Thoughts

After the Latvian practitioners’ conference in 2014 was over, I took a photograph of Master and an image of Falun to keep them at my place. As soon as I got home I put them on the wall at once, because I thought that keeping them packed somewhere in my flat would be like showing disrespect towards them.

In 2014, I started to translate articles for the Clear Harmony website. I also continued helping the international art exhibition “The Art of Zhen Shan Ren”. I was responsible for inviting VIPs to the exhibition. I continued organizing group Fa studies and truth clarification activities in my city too. In the middle of 2015 I started feeling exhausted and was not able to cope with the responsibilities I was in charge with. When I looked inward, I enlightened that it had happened because I had not studied the Fa with a calm heart for quite a long period of time. I could not calm down my thoughts while studying the Fa. I was thinking about work to be done, about my responsibility etc. It was not possible that the Fa would come into me if I was in such a condition while studying it.

I enlightened that diligence is not measured by how many projects I am involved in, but by my ability to do well the work that I am responsible for. To do well the things that one is entrusted with, one has to cultivate oneself well and has to be demanding towards oneself. I have studied the Fa just on the surface many times, just as a formality. If one does so, one forgets to look inward. Instead of cultivating myself, I had started cultivating others.

Since I was losing righteous thoughts from time to time, I started showing disrespect towards Master. It manifested as feeling ashamed in front of my guests for having a photograph of Master on the wall in my flat. I wondered what they would think about it. I also expressed dissatisfaction in my thoughts towards Master that I could not walk around in my own flat the way I wanted to, for example, half-naked etc. I started blaming Master for not helping me, too. It happened mostly when I could not get over hardships, when my soul was in a depressive state. After the Latvian practitioners’ conference in 2015, the photograph of Master and the image of Falun were not taken back to my place any more. I understood that it had some connection with my feeling of shame, but I did not have any deeper understanding. After the New York conference in 2016, a fellow practitioner brought me a portrait of Master and an image of Falun – although I had not asked for them. So I got them again, but I kept them packed, I did not frame them.

Getting a Visa to the USA

At the beginning of August I still did not have any deeper enlightenment as to why I had not been able to get to the conference in New York.

In 2017, I took on the responsibility to organize a conference in Latvia again, since I had an understanding that I had to do it. I believed that I would be able to do everything much better than in previous years. I believed that I would be able to improve on the things that had not been done well enough before. But when facing with practitioners' passive behaviour, my dissatisfaction appeared again. I had a feeling as if I was the only one who needed this conference to take place.

In general, all the organizational issues were completed and the conference could be held. Practitioners had written their experience sharing articles, although it was not done in time and the number of articles was not quite enough. Experience sharing articles were translated, too. Despite all of this, a decision was made that the conference would not be held in solemn circumstances. The reason for that: my dissatisfaction. I had told the main coordinator that I did not have any joy to continue organizing the conference. I could do it, but it would be like “through gritted teeth”. Afterwards he made a decision to replace a conference in solemn circumstances with a usual group Fa study – to study the Fa together and share our experiences.

As this conference was not held in solemn circumstances, when practitioners read their experience sharing articles I was taken over by a huge feeling of regret because I had been such a big egotist. It made me think about my attitude and about what kind of heart I had while doing things for Dafa. Only after this conference did I begin to understand what it means to look inward. I began to understand that I had to cultivate each of my thoughts, each of the words I say, and each of the deeds I do. On the surface, I had already noticed before that my dissatisfaction manifested in everything, even in tiny things. I felt that I had accepted it as something belonging to me. Only now I enlightened that I had to make an effort to change all of this. I had to stop blaming others. I had to give up resentment, dissatisfaction, and anger. At last, I had to start cultivating! I have really started doing it. When dissatisfaction appears in my thoughts, I reject it. I say that it is not mine. And the changes are obviously seen. My heart has become much calmer, I have a wish to smile. I would even say that I am happy.

Once again after a couple of weeks, on August 17, I enlightened that I should change my attitude towards others, that I should control my thoughts. I had a deeper enlightenment that it is necessary to show respect towards Master in everyday life and how important it is to believe in Master with all of my heart. A thought appeared in my mind that I should frame the portrait of Master that I was keeping in my flat, and I should put it on the wall.

On August 18 I received a phone-call from the USA consulate, they were calling me about my visa. Did I still need it? I said that I was not planning to go to the USA at the present moment, but I would go next year in May when a Falun Dafa conference in New York would be held. I was told that I was given a visa with a five-year validity, so I should go to them to hand in my passport.

Conclusion

After all these tests I have had some deeper enlightenment that cultivation is a very serious thing. The closer the end of Fa-rectification comes, the higher the requirements for Falun Dafa practitioners are being set. I have noticed: When I was faced with hardships, I intensified looking inward and did the three things more actively; but as soon as I overcame these hardships, I eased off. I have decided to steadfastly change the things I have noticed in myself. I have enlightened that it is very dangerous to lose belief in Master. I also enlightened that it is not enough just to know the principles; it is necessary to really cultivate in everyday life.

I will finish my experience sharing by quoting what Master has said:
“As I have always said, as Dafa disciples your historic missions are simply huge, with you shouldering the responsibility of saving sentient beings. So for sure there is a path that you will be able to walk through to completion. It is a path that has to meet the requirements, and only that way will the sentient beings of the cosmos admire you and not be able to interfere; will your path be free of problems; and will your journey go smoothly.” (20th Anniversary Fa Teaching)

Thank you, Revered Master!
Thank you, fellow practitioners!

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