My Experience Sharing
In my cultivation a big obstacle has been believing enough in myself and therefore believing in the Fa. I would say "I'm not worthy of this," or "I'm not good enough to be able to do that," or "I'm not ready in my cultivation to do that," or "somebody else can do that better than me." I've seen this be a pretty common problem for new practitioners when we start realizing how profound the practice of Falun Gong is and what the actual potential for us to help others is. While I see these statements coming from obvious attachments of fear and self doubt, it has been a problem for me even up until recently. Here are some times that I have overcome these obstacles with the help and guidance of Teacher Li.
At the beginning of my cultivation I faced interference along these lines. Mostly these early tests were gaps in my self-confidence and confidence in the Fa. I had my tianmu opened the first day I learned the exercises so even at the very beginning I knew everything Master Li said was true. What I had trouble realizing then and still do sometimes is that it is not only true but also true for me too. A lot of times when driving home late at night from work a lot of beings would come and tell me who they thought Master Li was. Basically they were testing me to see who I thought he was and trying to tempt me into selfishness. At that time I was sure that I wanted to be a Falun Gong practitioner but I wasn't sure if it was arranged for me to be a practitioner or not. This self-doubt left holes for these beings to persecute me. As time progressed I realized that what they were trying to communicate to me was a total lie and a lie that was deceivingly close to the truth. So, gradually I realized that anything like that which came into my mind I would eliminate the best that I could.
After practicing for three or four months I went to my first experience sharing conference. It was the 2000 Washington D.C conference. Up until that point I had only read Zhuan Falun. I had experienced many things in other dimensions and been through a lot of instances of personal growth after reading that book many times. I still had many questions about my own cultivation, like could I be counted as a Dafa practitioner? I think I had read "The Knowing Heart" and "Towards Consummation" but nothing else that Teacher had written. I was under the incorrect understanding that if I read anything else it would slow my understanding and my progress wouldn't be as valid. One by one Master broke through all the notions that I had at that time.
After the first day of sharing experiences we watched a video of Master's "Lecture at the US East Coast Conference" from 1999. I hadn't seen a nine-day lecture yet or even the exercise video, so the only picture of Teacher I'd seen was in the book. After he started to speak I saw with my eyes open a lot of things happening. Most notably I saw layers and layers of rotating red and gold Falun. In lecture Five of Zhuan Falun on the section of the Falun emblem Teacher said, "Those who have raised beyond the level of Tathagata will have more symbols. A Buddha whose level is twice as high as a Tathagata will have two symbols." Now the Teacher's video image had so many layers deep of Falun that they were uncountable. Each layer of Falun had so many across that they were uncountable for me at least. All of them were rotating. Everyone in the audience had a column going towards them. It wasn't selective. Every being that I could see had a column going towards them too. Every being was being made right, healed, remade, protected by the Teacher. It was the shear force of his compassion (Shan) that was doing this. Then his lecture answered in order all the questions I had remaining in my life. I was truly a new being. When I got back I read in chronological order everything that Teacher wrote that was in English at that time. I think reading it in order really helped me open up to the Fa. Now everything I read before had an even deeper and profound meaning and I felt so much compassion for everything. I really suggest that new practitioners read in order everything that Teacher wrote.
Within the last year one of my focuses has been clarifying the truth to the people of the world about what Falun Dafa is. One of the things I took part in was a peaceful appeal on Tiananmen Square last November. I heard about the possibility of westerners and myself going to appeal maybe a couple of months before it was supposed to happen. It was a difficult decision for me to decide to go or not. Part of the interference was, "AmI good enough? Is it time for me to go? Am I prepared enough?" After reading and talking to practitioners, I came to a few realizations that made it more clear to me. Going to Tianamen square is more than just clarifying the truth to the people there; it is an action of compassion and Faith in Dafa. Going there validates Dafa in the human world. It shows from within the world that any being can stand up for goodness, can stand up for righteousness, can stand up for Zhen-Shan-Ren. It says that as a human being I stand up for Zhen-Shan-Ren no matter what the consequences. Regardless of any arrangement, any being can stand up for Zhen-Shan-Ren. It acknowledges yourself as a particle of Zhen-Shan-Ren and a particle of Dafa. What choice would I expect any other being to make had he my experiences and abilities. This is a decision that history will look at. So I went.
I've passed out a lot of flyers in my time but recently I was in front of the Chinese consulate in LA and I ran into interference from my self. A van pulled up and I could see it was a van for a group home for boys with disabilities. I was with a fellow practitioner. We had both worked at a group home and I thought this was obviously an arrangement for us to clarify the truth to the staff of the group home. I said I hope my fellow practitioner goes over there and clarifies the truth to them because I don't want them to miss this opportunity. He had just talked to a bunch of Chinese people from the consulate and I was feeling a lack of confidence in myself and my abilities in comparison. Realizing something was wrong because I didn't go talk to the man in the van, my fellow practitioner asked, "What's wrong?"
I realized my own fear and self-doubt had paralyzed me during possibly this man's only opportunity to know about Falun Gong. This man worked the same job as I did, with all the things that Teacher has given to me how could I not help this man? Practicing Falun Gong has taught me a lot and one of the most vibrant lessons is how important every life is and how important every moment that we are given is.
I've worked in group homes for two years. I've been bitten, hit, insulted, and emotionally attacked every day I worked for those two years. Also a lot of the joy I experience in my life has come from those jobs and also the people who worked there, and all because I practiced Dafa. Stepping back from the attachment I realized more deeply that Teacher says, "For a Dafa disciple it is only natural to clarify the truth." So I walked over there and had a nice talk with him. It turned out he had practiced another type of qigong and gratefully accepted the information I gave to him.
Sometimes the "I'm not good enough" or "He's better at it than me" mentalities take away from the precious time that we have to clarify the truth. We don't know how much time we'll need. It's not that we as humans are good or bad, it's Masters arrangements that save beings. We just have to take the initiative to try and follow them.
Recently I was in St. Petersburg, Russia. During a group discussion, some of the Russian practitioners told us that a practitioner had been wrongfully arrested by the Chinese police and then sent to a Russian secret police station where the practitioner was to be held for 5 days. It had been three days. At first I was a little upset because I knew this practitioner and found out that it seemed that nothing had been done by the Russian practitioners to contact the U.S. practitioners (I found out later they had). To me this was like an attack on the Fa. Where would we draw the line on the persecution? I wanted it to not spread if there was anything I could do to stop it. Some practitioners from all over the world had similar understandings and we all worked together to help the Russian practitioners. We eventually held a media event and clarified the truth through the media for the first time in St. Petersburg. We also had meetings with government offices all over St. Petersburg. We met with the people in charge of human rights, education, health, activities for youth, pretty much all the government that we could. We also had a little parade that we put on ourselves as about 30 practitioners walked through St. Petersburg singing "Falun Dafa Hao" and passing out flyers. During the days there were a lot of people learning the exercises in the parks. We got the practitioner out, and had another more successful media event.
After being blacklisted in Paris and not allowed to enter Iceland we finally made it in. In the airport some ladies noticed I was wearing a Falun Dafa sweater. They told me they were with Iceland broadcasting and wanted to have an interview when I got a place to stay in Iceland. It turned out they were in charge of the radio and TV in Iceland. In Iceland everybody stopped to apologize for their government when they saw I had a Falun Gong sweater. In Iceland I met with other practitioners and we read constantly and sent forth righteous thoughts every hour. After a long time I couldn't read anymore because I was falling asleep, so I got up and walked towards Jiang's hotel. I met some practitioners who found out where he was really staying and we drove over there to check it out. They then left to tell the other practitioners where he was staying. I climbed up a nearby hill to send forth righteous thoughts. There I saw some Germans that I knew from Tiananmen Square. After a long time of sending forth righteous thoughts every hour and some times every half hour, some police came to check us out. We were meditating and they saw what we were doing and left. Cars full of practitioners kept driving around the hotel. I think Iceland people were driving them. Sometimes busses full of practitioners would drive by. It got to be pretty cold for me. It was like when you have a fever and are cold and achy. Also I only had a sweater and a light jacket. So after a few hours I was so cold I was shaking. I got up and tried to find a bathroom. I saw a couple of cars full of practitioners parked further down the hill. They let me sit there and helped me warm up. I found myself fighting to stay awake and sometimes could just stay up for righteous thoughts. Then we moved to the highway where Jiang was supposed to drive by on the way to the airport. As each busload of people from the delegation moved by, our righteous thoughts grew stronger. A Chinese delegation came over and had banners and drums to try and break our concentration.
The part of the town where the Chinese delegation stayed was dark and cloudy, and the people over there were grumpy. The other side of town was bright and the people acted like it was a party. This was the side the practitioners were on. When the plane the delegation was in finally left, the clouds broke. The plane flew into the darkest part of the clouds. Then the Iceland police came by and saluted us.
I would like to share some of my understandings and plans for the upcoming weeks and why those plans would be helpful for the community as a whole.
Saturdays, after helping at my local practice site, I usually drive to the Chinese consulate. I would like to share my understandings on why I do this.
As I see it the Chinese Consulate is the place that directly feeds and manufactures the evil for the region where the consulate is. For example in Los Angeles it feeds the evil in Southern California, in San Francisco for Northern California, and also helps to feed the evil force that is persecuting the practitioners in Mainland china. The evil acts like an army and breaks the world up into divisions.
Every practitioner has unique abilities and in order to completely annihilate the evil in all dimensions we must act as one body and send forth righteous thoughts together.
California's areas are of tremendous demonic influences. I feel it's our responsibility to eliminate this evil.
It's also important because we have no way of telling how important on the macrocosm the importance of our righteous thoughts is to the future of our heavenly kingdoms. How many lives are saved by our righteous thoughts? How many more lives will be saved if we eliminate a lot more evil close to the consulates? For me if I could save one more life by driving two hours on a weekend day I would do it. But the actual reality as I see it is that our righteous thoughts save galaxies of lives, not just individual lives. I rarely miss a week in San Francisco even though I live two hours away and barely have enough money for gas every week. (My car also isn't that good.) What if the persecution could end a day sooner? Would you go? What if we had to be there for a thousand days, wouldn't you like to start today?
Why do you think Master came all the way down here? Really ask yourself how hard it must have been for him to come down all this way just to save us. And we have the chance to save a being that we are responsible for and all we have to do is go somewhere in this dimension.
Also while in the cities with consulates, I study with the practitioners there. In Los Angeles there is a sharing every week at Cal Tech and in the Bay Area it is in Stanford. We really have to cultivate our environment to catch up with the practitioners in the rest of the world. I know I recently went to Europe and talked to practitioners from all over the world. I also have been to many parts of the USA and met with many practitioners from Canada. We need to take responsibility to catch up together. It is hard but we should raise our entire environment. We all need to do our part.
In my area in Northern California there are two Fa rectification practitioners. We drive every week to the consulate even though we both go to college and work and have the responsibility of three practice sites and we don't make that much money. We've both gone to Tiananmen Square and in my area five out of the seven cities have given proclamations and our Congresswoman is the head of the committee investigating local Chinese government interference. I think a lot of that is due to our faith in sending forth righteous thoughts and going there every week.
The evil comes from not just the Chinese consulate but also the parts of our own hearts that don't want to eliminate the evil or haven't been cultivated yet. If we don't do this, more people will suffer. I don't know how else to say it.
In conclusion I hope we can strive forward together and eliminate all of our selfishness and fear and attachments. I look forward to the time when the whole world appreciates Master Li's teachings of Zhen-Shan-Ren.