Dear Master, hello fellow practitioners,
My name is Maria Carman, I’m from Spain and I have been practising Falun Gong for four years. There have been many things worth looking back on over the past four years. Here I’d like to share some of my experiences which have influenced me the deepest.
When I first came across Falun Dafa, my situation was pretty complicated at that time due to various reasons. At first, my work was quite demanding, so my body grew tireder and tireder. I made up my mind to change my life from such a chaotic situation. Firstly I quit my job and tried to look for another position. Besides that, I tried my best to recover my health. As a result of my chronic but benign tumour of the uterus and some complications such as high cholesterol, anaemia, digestive ailment, and depression, my situation worsened gradually. The doctor said I needed to undergo an operation. However, coincidentally, back then the doctors in the hospital were staging a long term strike, so my operation was delayed for several months. The doctors decided to give me medication at first in a bid to control my ailment and set up a series of treatments.
At this time I got to learn about Falun Dafa via another Falun Gong practitioner. The cultivation practise that the practitioner talked of aroused a huge interest in me. I wanted to try to cultivate immediately. I began to learn the five sets of exercises at his home. From that moment, I could hardly imagine the immense transformation in my life.
The prompt change stunned me, and my health began to show improvement in a very short period of time. The heavy feeling in my body disappeared, my usual headaches disappeared, and food no longer harmed me. I truly experienced a sense of relief all over my body. Furthermore, I really like to practise the exercises as they give me such a feeling of relaxation and comfort which rises from the bottom of my heart. So, I put the six or seven kinds of medicine that I brought back home from the hospital into the recycle bin for medicine to be donated to the third world. Falun Gong started to transform my life. This was a very important point in my life, because from that time on I opened up to a deeper understanding of Falun Dafa and became more diligent in my cultivation of Falun Dafa.
After several months, I came to the hospital again. The doctor was very happy when he saw I looked so great, and immediately said, "Look, my treatments worked for you." Following a series of checks, the various readings of my body were in the normal range; therefore, the doctor cancelled the previous operation plan. In despite of my recovery, the doctor still insisted on medication. Although I clearly knew my body was much better than the doctor could have imagined, I was still very pleasant in the wake of acquiring the positive response from the doctor, and from this my confidence grew in Falun Dafa as a genuine cultivation practise. The doctor arranged another appointment for a check-up again; however, I didn’t go, because I knew I no longer needed it.
I kept practising the exercises as time went on. When my body obviously changed for the better, I also noticed a transformation in my mind. Through studying the Falun Gong teachings and practising the exercises I have gradually altered my attitudes and behaviour of getting on with people. My discomfort and touchy mood began to settle down. My mentality of looking for fresh things disappeared. The dis-satisfactory mood about many things also faded away. I could feel all the people and everything around me growing more calm and peaceful.
One day, on a Saturday morning, when I was cleaning my house I instantly felt that I was surrounded by an immense peaceful presence, which not only covered my body but everything around me, like my clothes, the things in my hands, and even the air. In an instant, everything around me became so beautiful and peaceful. This was a brand new feeling, and I had never experienced such a feeling before. It was so magic, so amazing. I realised that only after cultivating in Falun Dafa could I experience the compassion and mercy of Falun Dafa.
After experiencing the "incomparably immense peacefulness," I deeply comprehended the precious teachings given by the founder of Falun Gong, Master Li and the mercy that Master has bestowed upon us. Although I didn't understand some teachings at that time, I firmly believed I would understand them in the long run if I kept cultivating. Thus, I didn't need to have any more doubts. Facing such an immense cultivation practise I realised that what I needed to do is to diligently keep cultivating and spread the immeasurable wonderfulness of Falun Dafa to more people. Experiencing such a beautiful moment, I made up my mind to keep cultivating. From that moment on, I truly stepped on the path of returning to my origin, the true self.
This is also a milestone on my path of cultivation. Originally I only studied the Falun Gong teachings once a week, but then, after that experience, I began to study one lecture of Zhuan Falun every day with fellow practitioners. Meanwhile, I started to do some work for the European Yuanming website, the Clearharmony website. Working for the Falun Dafa websites and doing studying the Falun Gong teachings as usual opened up a new vision for my cultivation.
Through the work for the websites, I got to read a great amount of articles written by fellow practitioners everyday. I could see the change in myself very soon. I began to sense that other practitioners also encountered similar hardships as I did. Their experiences and understandings have helped me a lot, especially in my everyday work and even in all environments. I learnt how to be patient, to listen to others' opinions and how to keep the mentality of a cultivator at all times while facing conflicts. Every article I translate and proofread has been a chance for me to elevate and look inside myself.
At the same time, I had a more profound understanding from those articles which exposed the persecution. I started to realise the importance and necessity of letting people around me know about the brutal persecution which is happening in China. Therefore, I told my family, colleagues, friends, neighbours, and even passersby about the facts of the persecution.
I remembered when I mentioned Falun Dafa to people before, I always spoke of the physical and psychological benefits that Falun Dafa brought to people. Now I could add the facts about the persecution so as to talk comprehensively about the truth of Falun Dafa, because we couldn't leave out the topic of persecution occurring in China while we mentioned Falun Dafa. At the same time, as a Falun Dafa practitioner, I felt more and more that I couldn't limit myself to the current work on websites and distributing leaflets. I needed to go out to tell the truth about Falun Dafa in those cities which have no practitioners. Among those inhabitants, there are many people who have predestined relationships, and they need to be saved as well.
In my view, it was another milestone in my cultivation for me to take part in the work on Falun Dafa websites. During the year, I assisted in and participated in a series of Falun Dafa activities. These activities were different and new to me. However, what these activities have in common is that they bring the truth and beauty of Falun Dafa to more people, allowing them to be saved.
For example, in March of this year, I had the honour to participate in a Falun Dafa related activity held in Maspalomas on the southern part of the island during International Women's Day. When I heard of this activity for the first time, I actively took part because I knew this will be a good chance for a lot of people to learn about Falun Dafa, making me feel that I shouldered a great responsibility. On the other hand, this would be the first time for me to speak in front of so many people. I have never liked speaking in public, and I knew it would be very difficult for me. At this moment, Master's teaching appeared in my mind, "however difficult it is, it can be done." Therefore, I said firmly in the depth of my heart. "Yes, because this is what I should do." Only the strength of Falun Dafa can help me make this decision, and only the strength of Falun Dafa can help me leave all fears and worries behind.
This activity was very successful, and it brought about a series of activities subsequently. In Telde Germany, 20 kilometres from Maspalomas, members of a local women's organisation formed a new practise site by themselves. In the meantime they took up the work of distributing Falun Dafa materials to people. They also contacted two local radio stations and a TV station to conduct interviews with practitioners and recorded how the practitioners practised the four sets of exercises in the park. The program was broadcast many times within one week, attracting a lot of local people to come to the practise site.
In this way, a group of new practitioners showed up in front of us. They were not only interested in practising the exercises, but also began to study Falun Gong teachings and require themselves to act in accordance with the Fa (Law or Principle, the teachings in Falun Dafa). Looking at them, I again felt the heavy responsibility of being a Falun Dafa practitioner and it was a very rare chance for me to cultivate myself. On the one hand I set a standard for myself to do well what I should do at any time, on the other hand I repeatedly reminded them to assimilate to the principles of the Fa--"Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance"--and to treat everything with a kind heart. Thus these principles of the Fa also grew stronger and stronger in my mind.
Next I would like to share with you one of my experiences of discovering my attachments and cultivating myself through participating in Falun Dafa activities.
During Fa study and exchanging experiences with other Dafa (Great Law, the same as in Falun Dafa) practitioners in Spain on the Internet, one fellow practitioner mentioned the idea of a new project: introducing Dafa and Dafa books to bookshops in order for them to be sold in every large bookshop. I remember the fellow practitioner said: "There are a lot of people who have predestined relationships but live in places where we might not get to. If Dafa books are sold in bookshops there, Master's law body will guide them to the bookshop to buy the book so that they too can have a chance to practise Falun Dafa." When I heard this, I felt its importance immediately, though I did not know at that time what to do. I clearly knew that it was what I should do and it was also part of my cultivation. With the help of that fellow practitioner, I visited many bookshops in my city, with the result being very good. At present, the Spanish edition of the core Falun Gong book Zhuan Falun is sold in four bookshops in my city, and the retailers are ordering Zhuan Falun in a larger quantity too.
Seeing this result, I felt very satisfied. I remember one day on my way home from the bookstore when I analysed my "satisfaction" conscientiously, I found a heart of "happiness." I asked myself several questions, such as "where does this happiness come from?" "Am I really happy because more lives are being saved? ""If the result isn’t good, will you still have the same feeling?" I began conscientiously and honestly to look inwards through these questions. Suddenly I recalled the above-mentioned experience of "incomparable immense peacefulness." Comparatively, though both the two experiences are pleasant, there is a great difference between them.
That "incomparable immense peacefulness" was silent and derived from "nothingness," while the happiness in the latter case came from "desire," desiring for results. The former came from deep in my heart, while the latter was external. The former is beautiful and far-reaching, while the latter is superficial and unreal. The difference between them is as far apart as heaven and earth. Master says in Zhuan Falun: "I'll tell you a story from Buddhism. There was this person who put in a ton of effort and finally cultivated into an Arhat. He was about to achieve a True Fruition and become an Arhat--how could he not be happy? He was breaking out of the Three Realms! That happiness was an attachment, though, an attachment of excitement. An Arhat should always be in a state of nonaction, with a mind that's unshakable. But he dropped, and he cultivated in vain. Since he cultivated in vain he had to cultivate all over again, so again he cultivated himself upward. After he put in a ton of effort, he again moved up by cultivating. But this time he got worried and said to himself, 'I'd better not get happy this time. If I get happy again I'll drop all over again.' When he got afraid he dropped again. Fear is an attachment." My own understanding is that being Dafa practitioners we should be able to “be in a state of nonaction, with a mind that's unshakable”. In fact everything has been arranged by Master and we just carry out things in the way everyday people do amongst ordinary society in accordance with Master's arrangement, while cultivating ourselves at the same time. We must have righteous thoughts and righteous actions. We must require ourselves in accordance with the Fa. Don't be afraid because it is difficult or because we do not know how to do it. Don't arouse happiness because of good achievements. Only by so doing can we become "attached to nothing, and find a way at our feet” (No obstacle, Hong Yin II)
Little by little, I discovered in my heart happiness, fear, and state of showing off. In general, "selfishness" still appeared from time to time in my actions. Yet, I could not sense it most of the time because it was hid in an extremely obscure way. Had I not experienced that "enormous peacefulness" it would be very difficult to find my selfishness and I would not have stopped to look for my attachments. Meanwhile, in every Dafa activity and at every opportunity, we should always take the initiative; because by being active we can have more opportunities to unravel the attachments hidden deeply in ourselves. If we give up these opportunities, we might not discover those attachments.
I hope to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to our merciful Master, to his saving me with mercy, to Master's teachings about the universe law of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, and to Master's meticulous care of us whilst we are on the road of cultivation!
I would also like to send many thanks to my fellow practitioners too, and hope we can vigorously forge ahead shoulder to shoulder.
The above is my personal understanding. Please kindly correct me if it is not appropriate in any way.
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