The Cultivation Experiences of a Former Christian Minister
Shared at the Los Angeles 2002 Conference
I have been a practitioner since November 2000. I experienced the body purification at that time. My daughter Gina took me to a park and I started to learn Dafa exercises. I don't feel that I have cultivated well enough to be up here sharing my experiences with you since there are many people who cultivate better than I do. On the other hand, I know that I have cultivated to a higher xinxing level. My xinxing level is not as high as I would like, but I know it is higher than when I began cultivation. This realization is one thing that keeps me cultivating and makes me realize that Falun Dafa is genuine and something to be taken seriously.
I've had to face many difficulties in raising my xinxing level. I have found it to be very helpful when Teacher intervenes and gives clues that things are progressing according to plan. For example, recently I was not feeling well (but of course feelings count for nothing) and opened Zhuan Falun to the last place I had been reading. The next section I encountered was entitled, "Your Mind Must be Right." After reading it, tears came to my eyes, because I knew even my reading of this section was planned to coincide with some minor doubts I was beginning to experience as a cultivator. This scenario made me see the reality of my cultivation practice and I marveled at the wonder of the experience. There have been some minor doubts that have popped up from time to time, never any serious doubts, but Master Li has always provided hints to let me know that I am still on the right track and that I am an authentic cultivator. I suppose one reason these minor doubts have popped up is because so much has happened in such a very short period of time.
I first learned of Falun Dafa from my daughter, Gina. She had experienced many things from the spiritual side in her life, so in a way it was no surprise to me that she sought a Qigong master a little more than 3 years ago. I won't go into details. I already knew she was special, even beyond being my daughter. She was the only practitioner in the family for two years, and it wasn't easy for her. I did not accept Falun Dafa and thought she had gone a little too far. However, she maintained a good attitude and always tried to provide good answers to my questions. One day before going on a short vacation, Gina handed me Zhuan Falun and told me to read it. Actually, she had suggested I read the book on several occasions. Despite my questions and criticisms she continually suggested that I read Zhuan Falun. I resisted for several months. During a summer vacation, I took the book with me at Gina's urging. I felt compelled to read the book in order to appease my daughter.
At the house in Lake Tahoe, I had one beautiful, quiet day all to myself to read Zhuan Falun. I had only read the first 50 pages when my thinking changed. I marveled at the new concepts and new truths that I was learning. I probably read each sentence three times in order to understand this whole new way of looking at life and the universe. Because I had been a Christian minister years before, I still did not fully accept it. So when I returned home I decided to completely read Zhuan Falun to see exactly what it taught. It took me about 3 weeks to read it from cover to cover. I read most of the sentences at least 3 times and very slowly because the concepts were so new to me. The Chinese culture and terminology were very hard to understand. The Buddha's symbol was a stumbling block for me until I researched it and realized the symbol's true significance.
I also evaluated what I was taught as a Christian minister in a Church headquartered in Pasadena. It was a difficult period of time because I had trouble giving up accepted beliefs that I had accumulated throughout my life. I had left the church many years ago because of what I perceived as hypocrisy. I had longed to find a group that taught and lived by higher principles but could not find one. Therefore, after reading Zhuan Falun and not finding anything wrong, I realized that this was what I was looking for all my life. I used to dream and think about building a small meditation structure in my back yard. For many years I thought about this, but never did anything about it because I did not know how to proceed. I realized now why this was so. I am now doing what I only used to dream and think about. To me, this is my own proof of predestination. There are several other things that have happened in my life, Gina's life, and in my parents' life that have caused me to believe in predestination.
A practitioner gave Gina a set of English audio tapes. I listened to them over and over again for almost a year. What Master Li said seemed simple enough, yet I never got tired of listening. When I returned them to the practitioner that lent them to me I found that he had completely forgotten about them. After listening to the tapes and reading Zhuan Falun, I got sick. I wondered what was going on. I was feeling pretty good when I read Zhuan Falun. About 1 hour later, I developed an itch in the back of the throat and a running nose. Yet, I had been feeling too good for this to happen. So it must have been Master Li purifying my body. The next day I kept having a running nose (but this was not possible, since at the time I was very healthy and did not eat anything that would lead to this situation). That same night I had very strong cold shivers in bed and started thinking about Falun Dafa. I wondered whether it was the truth or not, and asked to be shown the truth. I thought practitioners were not supposed to get sick. So why was I sick? I opened Zhuan Falun and quickly found the reason at the end of Lecture 2... "From today on, some people will feel chilly all over their bodies as though they suffer a heavy cold, and their bones may ache as well. Most of you will feel uncomfortable somewhere. Your legs may ache and you head may feel dizzy." Again, the Master made it easy for me to see what was happening in my cultivation. It was not a sickness but a purification. I experienced the exact same thing that the Teacher said I would experience. This was a wonderful confirmation. I have had several similar experiences where I am troubled by something and then immediately find the answer in Zhuan Falun. This has confirmed my belief in the arrangement of events for cultivators.
In addition, I noticed a small round circle develop on the skin between my eyebrows and I also felt pressure in my head. I could only guess that this had to do with the opening of my third eye. I have not seen anything, except once, which is okay. I have also experienced feelings on several occasions where my body was being adjusted and I felt uncomfortable. I broke down in tears because I knew it was something external that was being done to me and for me.
Other things that have naturally happened to me as a cultivator are that I have quit going to the gym to work out and basically stopped playing golf. I was a golfer for about 40 years and it was my number one hobby. I used to pride myself on driving golf balls over the driving range fence, even in my older age. That does not mean anything to me anymore. My only hobby now is Falun Dafa, but it is more than a hobby---it is my life's study and pursuit and it is serious business. I had made very good progress at the gym, working out and lifting weights for two years. I gave it up based on Master Li's explanation of physical exercise versus Qigong cultivation. This was not easy, because I took pride in my accomplishments. Today, it doesn't hold any special significance to me.
One thing that my wife noticed is that I get up early every morning, which I could not do in the past. I was never a morning person. I felt like the Master woke me up in the morning. I used to be very groggy in the morning. I am not groggy any more, even though I may not get enough sleep. My wife has noticed that I treat her a lot better and I that I help out around the house a little more than before.
Recently, I felt that Master Li had enabled me to deeply feel and understand the importance of Fa Rectification and Clarifying the truth. The Master let me see and feel the preciousness of Fa Rectification. In other words, it was time to move away from feeling comfortable as a regular cultivator with no additional responsibilities. This is why, with Gina's initial help, I started getting involved in letter writing, Spanish translations and making several presentations before the Pasadena City Council and the Human Relations Commission. I also got involved with some press releases and conferences. This would not have happened without the intervention of Master Li because I definitely felt the impetus came primarily from him and not from me. Sending forth righteous thoughts has become more real for me and more effective.
In conclusion, the past year has gone by very fast. I feel as if I have not done enough. However, looking back on how I started and where I am now, I see the progress. With Master's continuing help on my arranged path, I will understand more of the Buddha Fa and continue to participate in the Fa Rectification process.