Return Home by Following Dafa
(Shared at 2001 Chicago Conference)
I began to practice Falun Dafa during the course of Fa-rectification, and have been practicing Falun Dafa for about one and a half years. Here I would like to report briefly my experiences of cultivation to our most respectable Master.
Although I had practiced Qigong for ten years in Mainland China, I had never heard of Falun Gong. During that period, I used Qigong to treat sickness for many people. As the effects were pretty good, I was proud of myself for having such a skill. This pride actually created tremendous obstacles for me when learning Dafa later on.
I came to the U.S. in May 1998, and I live in Chicago. In September, one of my good friends introduced me to Falun Gong, which he thought was totally different from other Qigong practices. However, I never listened to him, and read nothing about Falun Gong. I just regarded it as another kind of Qigong. In June 1999, he said he would come to Chicago for an "Experience-Sharing Conference." I was quite curious: Why would a Qigong practice need a conference? Moreover, how could they spend a whole day sharing experiences? I asked him if I could also attend the conference as a non-practitioner. He told me that the conference would be open to the public. At that time, I happened to be at a Scientific Symposium in Madison, WI. If I decided to go back to Chicago for the Experience-Sharing Conference, I would have to give up half a day of my own meeting time. I hesitated for a while and finally decided not to go. Therefore, I missed this precious opportunity. After the Conference, my friend gave me a copy of Zhuan Falun. During my following two-week vacation, I started to read the book. However, since I read the book with strong attachments, I was not able to believe completely in the magnificent Buddha Law that was displayed in front of me. I was the kind of person that Master Li mentioned, " Some people only want to heal illnesses. Once I mention here that qigong is not used to heal illnesses whatsoever, their minds will react negatively and, therefore, they will not believe what is taught later. " When my vacation was over, I had only finished less than five chapters of the book. Shortly afterwards came July 20th, and I was pleased that I had not begun practicing Falun Gong. Later on, my friend kept calling me and asking if I had finished the book. I remembered that when he first gave me the book he said that if I could not finish it the first time, it would be very hard for me to pick it up again. The side of my true nature told me that I must finish the book no matter how hard it would be. So, I forced myself to read the book and finally finished it a couple of months later.
From my early childhood, I was not interested in most of the things in this world. I never understood the purpose of human life, and nobody could offer me a satisfactory answer. However, facing the magnificent Buddha Law, my heart was deeply touched. In the meantime, the behavior of the practitioners in China with their boundless benevolence and forbearance made me wonder: Why did they keep appealing after being persecuted for nearly half a year? How can they be so peaceful yet so rational at the same time? Is Falun Gong indeed so powerful? Can everything in the book be true? I had no idea what the ultimate purpose of practicing was, although I had been practicing Qigong for so many years. I thought: Isn't practicing Qigong just for health and fitness? What is the significance of living as a human being? Perhaps this book really does have all the answers. I then had the thought of giving the practice a try. I called my friend and asked him where I could learn Falun Gong. He told me that there were many practice sites right here in Chicago, and sent me a list of the addresses of local contacts right away. In fact, there happened to be a contact at the University of Chicago where I attended. So I gave her a call immediately, and learned the exercise movements from her in two days. That's how I started to learn Falun Gong.
Since the very beginning of my cultivation practice, other practitioners kept telling me that learning Dafa was extremely important. However, I seldom read Dafa . In addition, as I was very busy with my work, I rarely had time to read and would take a long time to finish a single chapter. Moreover, I always felt fatigued. After the Experience- Sharing Conference in New York in April 2000, I happened to join a weekend group study in Chicago. It was then that I realized the importance of studying the Fa. Zhuan Falun was definitely not an ordinary book! From that day on, I began to join the group study every weekend. It was not an easy job to read Zhuan Falun from cover to cover in a single day, especially for a new practitioner full of karma like me. During the early stages, I tried all means to get rid of my drowsiness, including walking, slapping my head with my hands or banging my head onto the wall. I never succeeded and was so sleepy that I could barely read the words in the book. I was extremely tired every time I came back from the group study. Moreover, this fatigue would last for three to four days even though I was doing the sitting meditation everyday. I clearly understood that this sleepiness was caused by my karma that did not want me to learn Dafa. Right after a one-day break, the group study for the next week was approaching. Thinking of all the karma I had accumulated in my previous lifetimes and those with whom I had exchanged my virtue, how could I not pay it back? The stronger the reaction was, the more persistent I should be. So, I made every effort to persist and study the Fa. After a couple of months, I finally passed this trial, and was able to read through Zhuan Falun in one weekend with no sleepiness, just like other veteran practitioners. More importantly, although I did not clearly feel that I had enlightened to some principles, my way of viewing problems and my attitude towards every issue gradually changed. (I will discuss that in a moment.) I deeply realized what Master Li has said, "I have already infused all my power into this Dafa. As long as you learn, you are changing. As long as you learn, you are improving. As long as you learn, you will reach consummation."
Joining the course of Fa-rectification
During the initial three months of my cultivation, I only went to Chinatown to do the exercises on the weekends. I did not spend much time on Fa study, and was afraid that others would find out I was practicing Falun Dafa. Several times, when I heard that journalists would come to the practice site, I was scared and felt very upset. I thought: I only practice here on Saturdays, yet the reporters have decided to come only on these days. Now people will know I practice Falun Dafa. The reporters have messed it all up! I said I did not want to be photographed. The practitioners who did not want to be included in the picture went to practice in a corner. During the meditation, when I felt the camera flashes, I was afraid that I had already been photographed. Because of this fear and not having a clear understanding if we were getting involved in politics or not, I did not go to support the Candlelight Vigil on April 25th, 2000 (the day 10,000 practitioners in China went to Zhongnanhai to appeal). Later, I attended a Fa- promoting activity at Northwestern University. After the event, we gathered together to study the Fa. We took turns reading Master Li's book Essentials for Further Advancement one paragraph at a time. Everyone else read very fluently but I kept mispronouncing characters and speaking in broken sentences. I was strongly disturbed by this. I asked myself: What was I doing here? Was I really practicing if I could not even read the Fa? I made up my mind that I would treat this issue very seriously and would not allow a similar thing to happen again. When we read the article "Environment," the teaching of Master Li strongly struck my heart: "There are also many new Dafa practitioners who are secretly practicing at home, fearing the embarrassment of others finding out. Think about it: What kind of thought is this? An ordinary fear is an attachment that needs to be eliminated through cultivation practice. Yet you are afraid of others finding out that you're learning Dafa? Cultivation practice is a very serious matter. How should you regard yourself and the Fa? " I asked, "Am I conducting myself as a genuine practitioner?"
I was a visiting scholar sponsored by the Chinese government with a J1 visa. Because of my excellent work, I became an essential part of the research program that I was working on. So, my boss asked me to stay longer and work in the U.S. Therefore, I had to apply for a waiver from the Chinese government. Although I could not get the "No Objection Letter," my boss was eager to help me obtain the "unilateral waiver" through the channels of an interested U.S. Government Agency. However, before I could get the waiver, the agency needed to prove two things: the program I was working on was rather unique and had an international interest. Second, the program would definitely collapse if I were to leave. It was a hard and complicated process, and I had no clue if I would be able to stay in the U.S. If I didn't get the waiver I would have to go back to China by May, 2001. That gave me less than a year before I would possibly have to return.
Whether a person can step out to protect the Fa or not illustrates the extent of his belief in the Fa. As I studied the Fa constantly, my understanding of the Fa became deeper and my belief in the Fa became firm and unshakable. I understood very clearly that I had an opportunity to learn the Fa only because many practitioners in China had stepped out to validate and protect the Fa. Without their efforts, I would not have had the chance to know the Fa. Accordingly, I should expose and clarify the truth when my fellow practitioners in China were persecuted. With this thought, I joined the group practice and appeal in front of the Chinese Consulate. When I first distributed fliers near the Chinese Consulate, I was very scared. I noticed that many special agents from China were walking about. I said to myself with fear, "Now they will definitely have solid proof that I practice Falun Dafa when I go back to China." Because of this mentality, very few people accepted the fliers from my hand.
In July, we planned to go to Washington D.C. for the Experience-Sharing Conference and to deliver truth clarifying materials to Congressmen and Senators. I was not clear whether or not this was getting involved in politics. Before figuring this out, I further learned that my fellow practitioners had already made an appointment with our Congressmen and Senators for me. I was even more confused and asked her why she did not notify me in advance. However, my cultivated side knew this was an opportunity Master Li gave me to step out. Therefore, although she said they could replace me with others if I did not want to go, I thought I should go. After discussing this issue with another practitioner, I roughly straightened out my thinking with her explanations: As practitioners, we should have no interest in politics. However, several people in the current Chinese government are persecuting Falun Gong viciously out of their personal interest, which is bringing endless disasters to the Chinese people. As we practice Truthfulness, Benevolence, and Forbearance, we should always consider others first, and we should not be indifferent to seeing people being cheated by evils and sliding into the abyss with no hope of redemption. Congressmen and Senators are also human beings, and they have the right to know the truth. Moreover, once they know the truth, they could help to let more people know the truth as well. If our appealing would allow more people to lend their hands and help resolve the current crisis in China as soon as possible, not only would these kindhearted people have better destinies, but our country and people would also be saved from the most dangerous circumstances. So, what we are doing has nothing to do with politics. Furthermore, it shows our love for our country and is not against China. After figuring out why we were not involved in politics and why we were not against China, the next problem I faced was fear. As I was worried that I would be persecuted if I returned to China in the near future, I still could not make up my mind on whether or not to attend the meeting. However, the next day was the day planned for me to meet the Congressmen and Senators. Surprisingly, the next morning when I woke up, the Dafa music was resounding in my mind. I almost burst into tears. At that time, I had not even finished listening to all of the Dafa music. I knew Master Li was encouraging me to step forward. So, I stepped forward steadfastly, and fulfilled the task with my fellow practitioners with a peaceful mind.
Master Li said, " what you do then, with a pure heart, will be the best and most sacred."
Master Li also said, "Cultivation practice is not child's play. It is more serious than anything of everyday people--it isn't something to take for granted. Once you miss the opportunity, when will you be able to get a human body again in the six-fold path of reincarnation? Opportunity knocks but once. Once the illusion that you cannot let go of disappears, you will realize what you have lost. " The whole process of my application for a waiver was also the process that tested whether I wanted Dafa or just wanted to hold tightly to human things. The process of my application was not smooth at all. Interestingly, whenever there was a problem in the process, there was always a corresponding appealing activity in front of the Chinese Consulate. The biggest trial I met with was in last October when the process for obtaining the waiver approached the last step. DOS said they approved my application, and would transfer my application to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). However, I had to mail the related documentations to INS myself. The final decision would be made by INS, and the "No Objection Letter" that I didn't have was strictly required. I was a little shocked. I had attempted to get my waiver through the unilateral channel because I wasn't able to obtain the " No Objection Letter." Now, all my efforts seemed good for nothing. The attorney also told me that the "No Objection Letter" was absolutely necessary; otherwise, there would be no way for me to get the waiver. At that time, our Chicago practitioners had already decided to practice and appeal in front of the Chinese Consulate every Saturday until the persecution was over. Although I was very disappointed with my current situation, I thought my path was pre-arranged by Master Li. If I could not get my waiver approved through the regular channels, it must mean that I was meant to go back to China. No matter what came, the path arranged by Master Li would be the best for my cultivation. So, I let go of my anxiety and did not think about it any more. In the middle of November, my boss asked me for the result of my waiver. I told him that I didn't have the proper documentations to submit to the INS, as I could not get the " No Objection Letter." He then suggested that it might be worth trying anyways without the "No Objection Letter." I thought it would not hurt to give it a try and submitted the documents I had. To my surprise, I received the notice for the approval of my waiver at the end of this February.
One weekend during our group practice in front of the Chinese Consulate, I was told that the consulate was initiating a meeting at the University of Chicago to slander Falun Dafa, and we should send some people there to stop them. At that moment a thought flashed through my mind: would I run into the consul member I knew? I quickly realized that this was my fear turning up again and this was the perfect time to get rid of it. So I should go to the University. As soon as I stepped into the meeting, the consul member who was in charge of my stipend walked directly towards me, followed by other people from the consulate. He told others, " I know her, she is a visiting scholar from the Chinese Academy of Sciences." At that moment, I was completely at ease with no fear. I said to him, "Yes, I am, and you are a Chinese consul member. I came here just because I want to tell you the truth. Falun Dafa is good, and the persecution by the Chinese government is totally wrong."
Master Li told us "Dafa can rectify all human hearts." I started my cultivation so late that I cannot compare with other practitioners, and I am far away from meeting the standard Master Li requires. However, I am also a particle of Dafa. I should strive forward vigorously in order to be worthy of the magnificent benevolence of our Master. Please correct me if you feel anything is not appropriate.