Italian Practitioner: How I Learned to Truly Look Inward
(Minghui.org) I'm from Italy. I started reading Zhuan Falun in 2007 after a friend recommended it, and I immediately realized that I'd found what I'd been looking for. As I continued practicing, I began to feel how wonderful and profound Falun Dafa is. My family also developed a positive attitude towards Dafa.
I Experienced How Amazing Falun Dafa Is
A few months after I began practicing, my nephew, who was only two, suddenly began running a high fever and started to jerk violently.
On our way to the hospital, I began to rationally think about what was happening. My nephew lay in my arms. He kept losing consciousness and then he suddenly stopped breathing.
Even though I had just begun practicing, I was deeply impressed by Master’s Fa regarding karma. I felt that I needed to ask Master for help. I kept calling my nephew's name, but he didn't respond.
I didn’t really know what righteous thoughts were at the time. However, the only thought I had was to let go of fear and to save his life. I had a very strong feeling: "Master will protect us." I tried to focus on this thought. My nephew began to breathe again.
My nephew was hospitalized for a few days and then discharged. During his time in the hospital, my sister kept reading Zhuan Falun and reciting “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good” to her little boy over and over again.
My nephew is now eight years old, and he's never suffered from any seizures or convulsions or any other diseases that the doctors predicted he would. From this first experience, I learned that our compassionate Master has truly come to save us. Falun Dafa is the genuine great cultivation way.
Learning to Look Inwards and See Through Old Force Interferences
Even though I knew what to do, it was very difficult to be diligent all the time, particularly when the karma attached to my attachments interfered with my cultivation and prevented me from fulfilling my responsibilities. Karma can manifest in various forms: from sickness karma to thought karma, or from passive cultivation to failure to coordinate unconditionally.
On one hand, I had understood the Fa principles in a rational way. On the other hand, I began to feel the difficulty of genuinely assimilating to the Fa with the increasing demand to upgrade xinxing.
When I began practicing, I didn’t realize how much karma could influence a cultivator’s righteous belief and his cultivation, as well as misleading him to enlighten on an evil path, and finally not allowing him to cooperate with fellow practitioners and fulfill his vow. From the limited experiences I had, I could tell that all these were arranged by the old forces.
This past year, I could sense the tension among local practitioners. Everyone emphasized his or her own suggestion, and everyone said that he would follow Master’s words but no one was willing to step back. In such a tense environment, a few practitioners tried to avoid conflicts, but the situation didn't seem to improve.
As time went on, I began to distance myself from the group. I didn’t realize that I had been looking outward and was focusing on other people’s shortcomings. As I examined others' shortcomings, my attitude became harsh and desperate, and I was more and more entangled with the old forces' arrangements. I started to bear all the consequences of these negative attitudes and isolated myself from the main group. I rarely participate in local activities or the weekly Fa study.
When I analyzed the situation, I could see how interference quickly appeared, creeping into my daily life. Soon my workload increased dramatically, and I had to work for 12 hours at a time. I experienced a few manifestations of sickness karma. Even my relationship with my family became tense. Going along with this interference not only messed up my personal life but, more importantly, interfered with the quality of my Fa study and doing the three things that Dafa disciples should do. I suddenly realized my predicament after I studied the Fa principles in Master’s lecture,
“But some people really don’t do much and what they do, they don’t do well. To sum it up, you’re not willing to trouble yourself and you want to have it easy. Or in other words, you’re not willing to make good on what you are to do. That doesn’t work, and that is dangerous.” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching”)
Thanks to Master’s teaching I gradually began to realize that my negative attitude didn’t comply with the requirements for a cultivator. Unknowingly I was also contributing to the local not-righteous state and wasn't doing my duty as a Dafa disciple. I also discovered my hidden strong attachment of wanting to be better than others.
For a while, I regarded other people with suspicion. If my suggestion was not adopted, I would jealously examine that person from head to the toe. This exhausted me both physically and mentally. Looking inward, I realized that I had been passively and arrogantly waiting for the environment to change or improve so that I could continue my cultivation.
I deeply realized how wrong my attitude was after studying Master’s lecture “Be More Diligent.”
From my limited cultivation experiences, I understood that when I didn’t do well with my own cultivation, it would significantly affect my cooperation with fellow practitioners. If the starting point was based on personal, selfish thoughts, then one could well be plunged into a vicious circle. One could find it very hard to extricate himself, just like falling into the tangled network of attachments and it would become very difficult to think of others.
I often thought to myself how difficult it was for one to break away from human attachments. However, I tried very hard to remember Master’s words:
“No matter what, in everything you do, including doing Dafa work, you should do your best to put Dafa as the top priority, put validating Dafa and saving the people of the world as the top priority and have validating Dafa as the primary basis of your thinking.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia,” 1999)
I felt deep remorse that I had failed to properly face the things that were happening right in front of me, and I stayed away from our group cultivation environment due to severe interference. So I talked with other fellow practitioners and said that I wanted to cooperate with them and wanted to cultivate.
I realized I sincerely needed to look inward. If I still had those hidden attachments that I hadn't yet relinquished, then, inevitably, these attachments would be exposed when unconditional cooperation was required. Through Fa study and by talking with other practitioners, I began to understand the responsibility of being a Dafa disciple.
This experience made me realize that it was time for me to genuinely cultivate. I returned to the local group and joined the group Fa study and activities. We planned to re-examine our problems, using Dafa as a reflection to measure our thoughts and actions.
The first significant improvement was that our group grew. Last year only four practitioners helped with activities, but this year there were eight, enough so that we can hold activities simultaneously in two different locations.
A cultivator should treat all the tribulations he experiences as cultivation opportunities and conduct himself even better. We should not be controlled by interference. I also understood that, if I fail, I should immediately get up and do better next time. I should not be discouraged or leave a loophole for the old forces to use. If there are no loopholes, then there's no excuse for the persecution to continue.
I began to organize some activities and projects in 2012. I took part in the Genzano (Flower Festival) in Rome, a traditional festival that's been held for over two centuries. Enormous flower carpets are spread out over 2000 square meters in the central city streets.
We set up an information booth, and many people stopped by to read the posters about the persecution. One man was a representative from the Education Department. He suggested that we promote Dafa every week. The City Council would provide space to do the exercises, and he also suggested adding Falun Dafa to one of the city council's recommended courses and subjects.
We started the free exercise demonstration class in October 2012, and more than 40 people came to learn the exercises that year. We were invited again by the representative of the education department the next year and this year as well.
Some who came stayed, and many found the practice very good and benefited from it. We organized Fa study during the class so that people who were interested could combine the exercises with Fa study and gain a deeper understanding of Dafa.
During these two years, Master arranged many opportunities for me to cultivate my xinxing through our truth-clarification work and promoting Dafa with the free classes. Each time, if my starting point was not based on the Fa (if I validated myself or sought to protect myself), I would encounter interference if I failed to relinquish these selfish thoughts immediately.
Here's an example. A few days before the third class began, I suddenly felt quite scared to talk to all these people. I felt I was not competent enough. The city council representative contacted me the day before the class, saying there was no room for us because they needed the space for another course. That meant we had to contact the 40-some people who had planned to come. At first I didn’t think about denying the interference straightaway. I looked inward instead.
I was, in fact, experiencing all kinds of human emotions, such as fear of failure, fear of not being able to do it, fear of talking in front of so many people, and fear of losing face. I was already aware of these attachments that turned me towards being more and more selfish and lazy, always wanting to do things in a comfortable way, and avoiding difficulties and responsibilities. The old forces were able to use this to interfere with me.
I listened to other practitioners’ opinions. They all regarded this as interference. They told me that I had to face the situation with righteous thoughts and with an open heart of a cultivator.
“Whenever there is interference of one kind or another in qigong practice, you should look for reasons within yourself and determine what you still have not let go.” (Lecture Six in Zhuan Falun)
I got rid of those fearful thoughts and focused on what I ought to do. I decided to make a phone call to talk to the government representative. I was very calm when I spoke to him. I was aware of the responsibility I had taken on, and I was aware of what I was doing. I knew he needed to make a choice and position himself.
I told him that it was very short notice to cancel the class, that perhaps we could work together to find another way to solve the problem, especially since we didn’t have contact information for everyone, some of whom were traveling long distances to attend.
We talked quite a bit about the consequences and responsibilities and that the Falun Dafa Association should not be held responsible for this inconvenience. He told me he would give me a ring to tell me the outcome. My righteous thoughts remained very strong the entire time.
He called a few minutes later and said the problem was solved, that the class did not have to be canceled after all. This experience made me realize that as long as I'm within the Fa, nothing can deter or sabotage what I'm supposed to do.
I was able to understand that, by maintaining righteous thoughts, a Falun Dafa practitioner can do the three things well. When one hasn’t cultivate well, one may encounter unnecessary difficulties. Everything is determined by how we view things.
Whenever I encountered difficulties before, I didn’t think any further and avoided it. Now, I see difficulties as opportunities to cultivate myself. Therefore, the old forces are not able to use my gaps and I am able to upgrade my xinxing at the same time.
I can see my shortcomings. When I run into challenging situations with other practitioners, I try my best not to say: “We should do it this way, you should do it this way, we should say it this way or say it that way…” Instead, I try my best to look inward and say: “I should do it this way, I should do it that way, I should say it this way...”
If I want to upgrade my xinxing, I stop pointing at or judging others, and tensions and interference between myself and fellow practitioners, family members, friends, or even work colleagues disappear quickly. I know I still have a lot of attachments to get rid of. However, compared to how I was in the past, I feel my righteous thoughts are stronger, and I'm able to strive hard to cultivate myself to reach Master’s requirement.
Thank you, Master, for letting me have this rare opportunity to cultivate myself in Dafa.
Please compassionately point out my gaps and correct anything not assimilated to the Fa.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Shared at the 2014 European Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)