My Story -- Why I Chose Falun Gong
(Shared at 2001 Chicago Conference)
I am 46 years old. I began to practice Falun Gong in March 1997. I am honored to have this opportunity to share my story with everyone.1. Acquired the Fa
I was born in China and brought up in an atheist environment. For the first 30 years of my life, I did not believe in anything other than the orthodox materialistic ideology that was dominating the society. Because I had no knowledge about Buddhas, Taos and Gods, I thought of religions as products of ignorance. In my mind, science was the only answer to all questions in this world. I believed the so-called "superstitious" practices happened mostly in the countryside and were believed by less educated people. All the experts, professors, officials and intellectuals that I knew believed in science and they all looked down on people holding religious beliefs.
In 1979 during my sophomore year in college, a Chinese official newspaper published a story about a boy in Sichuan province who could read with his ears. This was the first time in China's modern history that such a story was published in an official newspaper. I brought the paper to my uncle-in-law, a medical school professor, and hoped to get some scientific explanation. To my surprise, he laughed at the story and declared that it was a hoax. "Everyone knows that eyes are for seeing and ears are for listening," he said. "Reading with ears? This is a joke. It's a shame to China that this story gets published in the paper. What if foreigners find out about this?" Surely enough, before long, some articles criticizing this story appeared in official newspapers. A famous scholar ruled out the authenticity of the ear-reading story. His evidence? -- Marxism and materialism.
However, things did not stop there. More and more reports about supernormal abilities were being published everywhere. Many credible universities and research institutions began to conduct research and experiments, and the new discoveries were mind-boggling. At the same time, Qigong masters began to teach and heal. Many of them performed miracles in public. This phenomenon fundamentally shocked those with orthodox ideology. It also affected the intellectual and political arena. Many high-ranking officials and celebrities invited Qigong masters to treat diseases and perform miracles. In Beijing, this became a fashionable pastime. These incidences had a profound impact on my beliefs, and I began to doubt materialism and modern science.
In 1984, I left China to pursue graduate studies in Canada, and there I had the opportunity to visit various churches. I learned that, contrary to Chinese government propaganda, people who believe in God are not necessarily less educated. Many professors and scientists are deeply religious. I also found that most people of virtue happen to be members of a religion, and that criminals are often without true belief. I began to like Christianity and felt that I would eventually become a Christian. But for some unknown reason, I could not persuade myself to join a church.
In 1990, my wife's uncle, a prominent chemist and a member of the China Academy of Sciences, came to the U.S. for a visit. To my surprise, he was practicing a form of Qigong and was quite knowledgeable about human supernatural phenomena. He told me two stories that he had witnessed. One well-known professor at Beijing Aeronautical and Airspace University and his son both had the ability to diagnose illnesses from a remote location. The son accurately told a college president that he had a brain tumor. The president was shocked, and later confirmed this bad news in the hospital. The amazing thing was that the two never met, and only spoke for a while by telephone. My uncle-in-law also saw a Qigong master shaking medicine pills out of a sealed glass bottle. Neither the bottle nor the pills showed any damage after the pills penetrated the glass. He genuinely believed that these were no tricks. "I am a scientist, of course I have to believe in the truth," he told us. However, his profound scientific theory has proven quite useless in front of such simple facts. This experience has further convinced me that modern science has its limitations.
In the years that followed, I began a journey to look for the truth. I read many books about Qigong, human supernormal ability, I-Ching, Fengshui, Buddhism and Taoism. These readings broadened my scope of knowledge. I realized that outside of modern science, there exists a wide variety of knowledge. The theories and practices are often rooted in ancient history and are beyond any plausible scientific interpretation. However, modern people often regard these as superstition. I was overwhelmed by the vast knowledge and didn't know what to do with it. The Qigong I was practicing at that time offered no high level teaching beyond healing and fitness. "Where is the ultimate truth of the universe?" I asked. The more I read, the more questions I had.
In January 1996 while I was traveling in Harbin, China, I began to read a new book that I had bought not long before. The book was Zhuan Falun. As a curious reader, I was quite impressed by the book. The theories about pre-historical cultures, De, Karma, and attachments were all new to me. After I returned to the U.S., I introduced the book to several friends who were also practicing Qigong. To my surprise, they were so drawn to the book that they immediately abandoned their Qigong and began to practice Falun Gong. It was as if a new continent had been discovered. I did not realize Falun Gong's profound power and thought; to me it was just another new Qigong. Fortunately, my bias did not last long.
In March 1997, a friend told me that Master Li Hongzhi had come to New York from China and would give a lecture. I immediately decided to attend this lecture. On March 23, I attended the meeting and listened to Master Li's lecture. Using simple languages, Master Li told the audience about the structure of the Universe, from the super micro to the macro levels. Although I could not understand all the content, I was completely shaken by Master's great wisdom and compassion.
I began to practice and cultivate upon returning from New York. After reading Zhuan Falun several times, I came to understand many truths unknown to mankind. My morality was raised and my body was purified. I felt and looked younger and healthier. Diseases that were part of my life for years just vanished without leaving a trace. I felt so energetic and happy that no words could describe the feeling. The health benefit was merely a by-product--the main result was xinxing improvement.
For the first time in my 43 years of life, I realized what constitutes a good person and how to become one. Master Li wrote in Zhuan Falun, "The characteristic of Zhen-Shan-Ren is the only standard to measure good and bad in the Universe. ... No matter how much the human moral standard changes, the Universal Character does not change." Before I became a Dafa practitioner, I considered myself a good person. I paid taxes and obeyed the law. I tried to be a nice guy to every one. But in reality, I was only better than some bad persons. I had no concept of what a genuinely good person should be, but after studying the principles of Zhen-Shan-Ren, my nature truly changed.
When I studied in Canada, I had received a scholarship from the Chinese government. Later on, because I chose to come to the U.S. on my own, I paid some of the scholarship money back but there was still a balance of about $5,000. In 1995, I applied for a passport extension. The Chinese consulate requested that I write a payback plan. I developed a ten-year payback plan and sent a check of one-tenth of the balance. After they issued me a new passport, I purposely "forgot" this remaining balance and never sent any additional payments. I told myself that I did not owe the government any money, since the money was a scholarship, not a student loan. I became an American citizen in 1998; the unpaid balance was probably forgotten by everyone else but me. I was now a Dafa practitioner, so this issue bothered me. Since I couldn't find the original receipts and my hand-written payback plan, I called the Chinese Consulate in Chicago. The person who handled the case three years before had left and the new consul could find no record. At my request, he told me that I could pay any amount based on my own recollection. I sent a check of $4500 and closed this case. The consul told me that he has never seen anybody do this. In fact, if I were not a Dafa practitioner, there was no way in the past that I would be such a "fool."
Such things are not very common in ordinary people's society. But among Falun Dafa practitioners, they are very common. Falun Dafa's mighty power has attracted more and more people in China and the rest of the world. In this era of corrupt moral standards and sliding social values, countless Dafa practitioners acquired health and virtues. The good people of the world have seen hope in Falun Gong.2. Fa-Rectification
Jiang Zemin and his followers see Falun Gong as their number one enemy. They started to gather data and fabricate lies about Falun Gong several years before 1999 and hoped to find the basis for a crackdown. On July 20, 1999, the government declared Falun Gong an illegal organization, and thus kicked off the most malicious and brutal illegal persecution in history. Undaunted by the pressure, Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing to appeal to the government. They hoped to help the government to see the truth and reverse the wrong decision. But what they got in return was brutal torture, arrests and jail sentences. Many practitioners were permanently injured. Some were tortured to death. The evil forces were so desperate that they listed our Master as the most wanted person.
Back In 1997, I bought a book on Nostradamus. The book discussed a prophecy in which Nostradamus predicted that a world teacher from the East would bring truth to the world at the turn of the century. The author believed that the government would ban the movement and the teacher would move to the West. I could tell that there would be trouble down the road and was mentally prepared for the sudden crackdown. But when I read into the details of the papers and articles released by the Chinese government, I became somewhat confused. I originally thought the practitioners in China could have exercised a little more self-control, a little more forbearance. "If the government didn't want to reason, then we shouldn't bother talking to them." I thought. But later I realized that this crackdown was a test to every individual practitioner. We are safeguarding Dafa when we tell people the truth. The peaceful truth clarification has reflected Master's grace and compassion towards all the people (including those opposed to Dafa) and it is the manifestation of Zhen-Shan-Ren.
After July 20, 1999, many practitioners stepped forward and protested the crackdown. They visited the Chinese embassy and consulates, and appealed to the U.S. government and politicians for moral support. In everyday people's eyes, these activities are political. As a Dafa practitioner, I knew clearly that Falun Gong has no political agenda. But for a while, I had my reservations and attachments. I thought we should be careful and avoid contacting politicians. "We should not feed the enemies with any more ammunition," I argued. Because of this attachment, I was not actively involved in Hongfa and truth clarification activities. In May 2000, Master broke his ten-month silence and published "The Knowing Heart," before long, Master also published "Towards Consummation" and "In Reference of Prophecy." Master has explained the Fa-rectification process at different levels of the universe. I realized that, as genuine disciples, we have to wait no longer and step forward now.
Because of different understandings of the Fa, my wife then also had some reservation towards Hongfa activities. She didn't want people to think Falun Gong was political. Because of my own attachment, I didn't cultivate my own xinxing and always blamed her for not stepping forward with the rest of the practitioners and having too much of everyday people's mindset. As a result, we got into arguments a lot.
In April of this year, two weeks after the Geneva Conference, I learned that Dafa needed a number of practitioners in Geneva during the UN's human rights commission meeting. Among the Michigan practitioners who could go, most had just returned from there. I had not attended the conference and had vacation days I could use. I couldn't think of any reason why I shouldn't go. Due to the urgency of the situation, I ordered the ticket before discussing it with my wife. I knew that it would be hard to reach an agreement with her at that time. In our 18 years of marriage, this was the first time that I had made a major decision knowing that she would not agree. But I told myself that I did no wrong and I would make up to her later.
In Geneva, I met many practitioners from all over the world. I spoke with many western practitioners, and found that their understanding of the Fa and determination was much better and stronger than mine. Especially some European practitioners--many of them are cultivating based purely on belief and faith. Some places have no Chinese practitioners. All this did not prevent them from advancing in their cultivation. An American practitioner had to resign from his job before he came to Geneva. A German practitioner told me that he was the only practitioner in his town, and during his Hongfa activities, many people did not understand why he was so passionate about this Chinese practice. Practitioners from Canada came in large groups. I learned a lot from them. Their devotion to Dafa and preparation for the activities in Geneva made me feel ashamed of my own attachments. During the few days in Geneva, I kept thinking how special it was to be with the future Buddhas, Taos and Gods. I sensed a tremendous energy field. Everyone was so pure and close to each other, and the feeling was beyond expression.
After I returned home, I had so much to share with my wife. But before we had a chance to sit down, I spent the next weekend at the New York Conference. She was quite upset about my spending all this time traveling, and as a result our relationship became very tense. Now, I couldn't even talk with her about Dafa. What should I do? A veteran Dafa Disciple and his wife found out about our problem and invited us over for dinner. During dinner, he shared his own cultivation experience over the years with us. He also talked about some supernormal phenomena that he experienced in order to validate Dafa. Some of them he had never told anyone before. Later, my wife told me, "He is truly remarkable. His xinxing is much better than yours." She also said, "In fact I always wanted to cultivate, but whenever I saw you, I would find something wrong." Soon after that dinner talk, my wife started to listen to CD's of Master's lecture in Dalian while driving in her car everyday. She also supported making and distributing VCD's about the Tiananmen self-immolation. She started to read Clearwisdom and Pureinsight articles everyday. As I witnessed the changes she was going through, I reviewed my past behavior and found many attachments. In the past, I spent most of my time on company work and Hongfa work, while paying little attention to my family life and children's education. My wife had to do the housework after doing her job. When she complained, I would blame her for her low xinxing and poor enlightenment quality while ignoring my own attachments. I thought I was doing the world a big favor by telling people the truth. But I forgot that as a practitioner I should cultivate myself during Hongfa work. I should be a good husband, a good father and a good employee, as well as a good person in society.
In the recent Ottawa Conference, Master said, "I know that you've all worked so hard. You have to work and have to study, you have your family life and social activities, and at the same time you have to take care of your family, do a good job at work, and you have to study the Fa well and do the exercises well, and what's more, you have to clarify the truth. It is hard! It's pretty hard both time-wise and financially. It's hard, so your mighty virtue is displayed; it's hard, and so it's a good opportunity to establish your mighty virtue. Remarkable! Since you are cultivators, even though it's hard you should do even better."
Master's words are the Fa, and they are requirements for all disciples. We must follow the Master closely and cultivate with determination, in order to assist Master in his mission. We must treasure this special period and participate in Fa-rectification and cultivation until completion.