I will start at the beginning -- Lunyu1:
"The Buddha Fa is most profound; among all the theories in the world it is the most intricate and extraordinary science".
Although, I am blessed with intelligence, particularly in the field of human science, much of the Fa, that is the Falun Gong teachings, is beyond my understanding. This is only because of my attachments and notions formed over my short lifespan. During the time that I have been cultivating, especially in the last year, I have experienced many things. Most of them are very ordinary and the tests are subtle, but each one has either led to my improvement or decline. In this sense, I can say that my cultivation is going very well as I am always progressing and learning new things-- even if I make many mistakes along the way. In recent lectures Master has compassionately reminded us that mistakes are a part of cultivation, and for his immense forgiveness I am extremely grateful.
The biggest change I have noticed recently is the ability to take criticism. I have battled with this for a long time. For most of my life I have looked for approval and praise from others and have been upset inside, if not outwardly, whenever I have received criticism. Being able to take criticism is for me one of the most fundamental principles of being able to work well with others. I realised this early on when I started writing for one of our media. At first I would be upset if my articles were changed and this made problems for myself, and probably for other members of the team, also. I have to admit that I was even embarrassed to have my name on articles. Gradually, I came to a state where I stopped thinking about my own point of view and 'saving face', and started to think of others first, including the readers of the paper and its purpose in saving sentient beings. I now have very positive thoughts about the paper and can contribute whole-heartedly. The last few articles that I have written have hardly been changed at all.
Another test I face in this regard comes from my husband. I used to feel very annoyed whenever he said I should or should not do a certain thing, even if I knew he was right. After I read the Los Angeles Lecture where Master said, "I am eliminating for you the physical substance that has formed." I really feel that this was indeed the case.
Also, before I had bad thoughts about other practitioners and was quick to judge and criticise them, which in most cases was totally unfounded and a reflection of my own shortcomings. Through reflection and cultivating my character I have learnt to view practitioners not just as other people, but as precious friends on the road to consummation. My hope for the future is that we will all take seriously the precious times when we come together to study and share, and to keep our minds focused on the Fa at all times.
I learnt the hard way about the importance of the exercises and Fa study. While finishing my PhD I worked very hard from 9 or 10 a.m. until 3, 4 or 5 o'clock the next morning, every day for at least a month. I was only able to do this because Master helped me. But I did not repay His kindness and neglected Fa study and exercised only very rarely.
One evening I was working and started to feel very chilly. Soon, it developed into a fever with hot and cold phases, and I shivered uncontrollably. My whole body ached and I also had diarrhoea. I could not sleep nor eat, as even water would make me rush to the toilet. During the second night the pain was very bad and I thought about what to do. I recited the Fa in my mind - even though I have only memorised the first line of "Lunyu" - over and over and this helped me to forbear the pain. As an everyday person I would have taken a pain reliever, but I knew that this was not an ordinary illness as my mind was still quite clear, not foggy like I had been before I was a practitioner. I realised that I should get up and do the exercises, so at 3 a.m., I started to do the first exercise, even though I could barely stand or lift my arms. After the first repeat, the fever stopped and I lay down on the sofa and went to sleep. The next day I did all the standing exercises with difficulty but I was determined to complete them. By the fourth day I was feeling much better, but still had severe diarrhoea. This lasted for 2 weeks during which time I could only eat a little food and drink a little water, but I did not lose any weight! I think that it was prolonged for such a long time as even though I had experienced all this I still put my work ahead of Fa study.
I still think that I am not diligent enough with the three things and am working hard to improve myself in this respect. I am meeting a lot of resistance from my own mind, but have realised that as long as I am determined it can be overcome.
With clarifying the truth I have always been willing to attend events and festivals and talk to people on the street, but for some reason I found it very hard to remember that I was a Dafa disciple at all times and to clarify the truth to people that I met in my every day life. In two instances I was given the opportunity to clarify the truth to two Chinese people and I failed to do so because of fear. Afterwards, I was filled with a deep regret, shed some tears, and asked Master to please give them another chance to hear the truth as I had failed to fulfil my duty. After the second instance, I vowed to never let another chance slip by. Since then I have clarified the truth to Chinese and western students who have visited my home to buy items from my house, at a journalism course I attended, at a meeting with the Australian Tibet Council, and to a Christian friend and my university supervisor. Before, I could not see how to clarify the truth to people without the aid of "an event" or the support of other practitioners. Now with righteous thoughts, many opportunities present themselves quite naturally. I hope to be able to improve more in this respect so that I can save more sentient beings, especially those who may only have one chance to hear the truth.
Thank you all and especially thank you Master. Please kindly point out anything which is incorrect.
1. Lunyu: "On Buddha Law," also known as "Lunyu," written by Li Hongzhi. It prefaces Zhuan Falun and other books by Li Hongzhi.
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