In Zhuan Falun Master Li says, “If you want to be a practitioner, it all depends on cultivating your heart and on you, yourself being enlightened since there are no role models.” (Zhuan Falun, Chapter, Paragraph)
When I began cultivation 14 months ago I did not understand Master’s words so when it came to doing Fa-Rectification work I often did what I saw others doing, whether it made sense to do so or not. I tried to do all of what I saw people urgently doing around me. From the beginning of cultivation I had thoughts of “You’re not worthy.” My motivation was to try to do enough to be worthy of Teacher’s benevolence. I realize now how selfish that was and how I lacked compassion for myself and others.
One day while frantically trying to finish a project, I became aware of how my actions were not pure and my mind was not calm. I looked inward and began to see my lack of compassion more clearly. It was a few weeks after this that I had the thought to create a public tile project that would show the beauty of Dafa, which would perhaps help people obtain Dafa. I began work on the tiles but because of these thoughts of unworthiness I doubted my decision and had thoughts like, “Is this project worth doing?” I knew it would take a significant amount of time and again I wondered if I should be doing what others were doing instead, like doing SOS walks, passing out fliers at Westlake, etc. Periodically, I would get distracted by other projects that seemed more pressing. In November of last year I decided to go to Beijing to validate Dafa. While in Beijing, these thoughts of unworthiness and lack of dignity were taken advantage of by old forces and I was jailed in China for 5 days. Ultimately, I lacked compassion and righteous thoughts because in my mind I felt I had broken their law instead of seeing my actions as most correct and seeing that preventing people from harming Dafa and committing sins against Dafa is most compassionate.
When I returned from Beijing I felt more hurried than before I left. I realized that I was beating myself up for having shortcomings that prevented me from doing better with clarifying the truth in Beijing. I felt I had failed and didn’t deserve Master’s benevolence. I came to realize this was my ego and again lack of kindness toward myself. Master continued to provide me with further hints about how I lacked compassion. For example, one day I was on the bus coming home from work, reading Zhuan Falun. All was calm around me. All of a sudden, as if the volume was turned up and a spotlight was shown. I saw a mother berating her son. She yelled, “You made a mistake and you need to learn from it!” What she said was OK, but the tone she used lacked compassion. She continued to yell and then hit him. I felt compassion for the son because he was the one who was being mistreated and I saw the humiliation he was experiencing. I lacked compassion for her for she appeared to have the upper hand. As I reflected on this I came to have compassion for her as well as she was truly suffering and doing harm to herself. Even though I was getting more insights into how I treated myself, I hadn’t made a breakthrough so I still continued to rush around. Because of this haste, I made more work for myself and experienced demonic interference. The evil continued to use this loophole.
One day for example I was testing colors for the tiles. Because I hurried and did not do it thoroughly, I ended up having to do it two more times.
On another occasion I rushed to take the tiles to my friend’s house to fire in a kiln. As I hurriedly drove I almost got into a car accident and was cursed out by the other driver. A minute later as I parked my car, as if expressly for my eyes, I witnessed a potentially devastating car accident where two cars almost collided but one swerved onto the sidewalk. I looked inward and saw that I was being controlled by Time and by my selfishness. I thought about how I could do more to be worthy of Teacher’s benevolence and as usual I judged myself because I had these thoughts. Instead of realizing that cultivation is for improving one’s self, we are bound to do things incorrectly and what Teacher requires of us is to learn from mistakes, be determined and do better (not to obsess about shortcomings.)
Up until that point it had been seven months since I had begun working on the tiles. After talking with another cultivator about how we each have our own path and unique talents to bring to Dafa with which to validate Dafa, it became more clear to me the that working on the tiles was the correct thing to do and that something was preventing me from calmly, compassionately, and consistently working on and completing the tiles.
Finally, at the end of April, I had a week off from work and I decided to complete the tiles. On the first couple of days I listened to Master’s lectures while I worked. I noticed I felt uneasy. On the third day of working on the mural I began to experience paranoia, fear, and felt completely overwhelmed. It became so bad that I had to stop working on the mural. I asked Master for guidance and went to the Clearwisdom website and found articles on effects of righteous thoughts. I then had a thought to read “Cleaning Out,”
The dark clouds have passed
yet winds remain fierce
Though the Red Dragon is slain
humans are still confused
Where there is Evil
there is dark, dense haze
hold the palm erect
Eliminate the remaining Evil
summon righteous thoughts
Clarify the truth
rescue the sentient beings
Thoroughly annihilate the Evil
and sweep the entire cosmos clean
It became clear to me that I needed to send forth righteous thoughts and eliminate my attachment so that the evil does not have a loophole to persecute me or prevent me from finishing the mural. I began to send forth righteous thoughts every hour, intermittently reading and memorizing “Clearing Out.” A few hours later, the fear and paranoia subsided. The next day I felt uneasy so I continued to send forth righteous thoughts on the hour again. I had this thought and feeling that I might die as I began to get worried. Then I had another thought: Maybe it’s my karma that will die.
I thought that maybe because I was working on eliminating fundamental attachments and creating a public display to validate Dafa, karma would be eliminated. I thoughts of Master Li’s words:
“Since everything in other dimensions has life, karma is also the same, when one begins to practice cultivation in a righteous way, one must eliminate one’s karma. Eliminating karma means having karma wiped out and transformed. Of course karma will resist and so one will have tribulations and obstacles.” (Zhuan Falun, Chapter, Paragraph p. 204)
I became absolutely firm that I would eliminate karma and break away from old ways of thinking. From listening to the lectures more it was clear that these thoughts and murky substances were separate from my true nature. So I continued to clear myself and send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the old forces. The next day, I was able to work on the tiles, listen to lectures and send forth righteous thoughts all day. A few days later I completed the tiles without interference. The last stage of this project will be complete next week, when the tiles will be mounted on the outside of a bus shelter.
Through these experiences I have gained a deeper understanding of having my own path and what it means to really look inside my heart when I encounter tribulations (big and small), I also learned how important it is to send forth righteous thoughts and ultimately how to better assist Teacher with Fa Rectification.