The Best Decision I Ever Made In My Life - Reflecting On My First Year as a Falun Dafa Practitioner
As I grew older and experienced many ups-and-downs in my life, I felt sad and sorry that I was born into a world where people fight when their self-interests are infringed upon in the slightest way. "Why has mankind fallen so low and become so corrupted?" I asked in despair. "Where can I find a piece of pure land?" From elementary school to college, I often had the desire to explore the mysteries of life.
In 1998, I graduated from university and started my career. I never stopped my search for the meaning of life. I tried to find answers in books of all kinds: philosophy, Buddhism, history, etc. I would pick up a book full of hope, but ended up putting it down in disappointment.
Finally, I stopped looking for answers. I put my heart into poetry, literature, music, and having fun with friends. Although I was busy, I had a sense of being lost and felt sorrow deep in my heart that I hid from others.
Seemingly by a chance, something happened that changed my life at the time of the 2002 Chinese New Year.
Right before the Chinese New Year festivities began, I received several emails about Falun Gong. They claimed that the persecution of Falun Gong was "the greatest injustice in history," and that "the China Central Television was framing Falun Gong." Because the information in the emails was so different from the official propaganda, I thought it was not very believable.
I went back to my hometown during the Chinese New Year. While chatting with my father, who is a policeman, I learned that Falun Gong practitioners are indeed not like the people described in the official stories. On the contrary, they really are good people, surprisingly good people. I was very surprised and confused at the same time. "If they are such good people," I wondered, "then why is the government spreading such a big lie and making so much effort against them?"
After the Chinese New Year, I went back to work in City A. Driven by my curiosity, I tried to use the Internet to get more information about Falun Gong. I wanted to visit the Minghui [Clearwisdom] website and see what Falun Gong was all about. When I couldn't break through the internet blockade, I visited a colleague's mother when I heard that she practices Falun Gong.
This lady kindly told me about Falun Gong and described her family situation. She told me about the changes she had experienced since she started practicing in 1996. She told me that her whole family lived in harmony until 1999, when Falun Gong began to be slandered, distorted, and persecuted. Hearing her story was like waking up from a dream. I was shocked by what had happened in the land of China.
When I got back home I watched the video CD she had given me. The video showed an elderly farmer who had walked to Tiananmen Square from Shanxi province just to tell people that Falun Dafa is good. On his journey, he lived and camped in the open, and had worn out nine pairs of shoes. The video showed the government labeled "surrounding and charging Zhongnanhai" incident that happened on April 25, 1999, yet the picture showed the facts: about ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners had peacefully appealed to the government. This is a government that has a reputation for brutality. Yet so many people, knowing they could face death, were willing to disregard their own lives and appeal for Falun Gong. They looked so calm, so peaceful, and so unperturbed.
Here was a group of ordinary citizens who were willing to sacrifice so much; not for fame, not for self-interest, only to clarify the truth to everyone. I was deeply moved by their extraordinary heroism. When I saw that people kept holding up the banner with the words, "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance," even when the police were beating them, I could not stop my tears. With extraordinary actions, these people demonstrated unbelievable selflessness and great virtue! They were clearly using their lives to protect kindness, to defend justice, and to call out to other's consciences. In an instant, the banners they held above their heads with the three words, "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance," made me understand everything they were doing. At that moment, I made the best decision in my life, a decision I will never regret: "I want to become a person just like them."
On that day, March 3, 2002, I declared to all my friends, "I want to be a Falun Gong practitioner." Facing their astonished faces, I earnestly explained to them, "Falun Gong practitioners have been wrongly accused. They are all good people, and they are being persecuted! I am going to tell everyone I know about the truth of the persecution!" In the atmosphere of violence and intimidation in China, and out of concern for my safety, my friends immediately called my father and informed him of this shocking news. My father rushed to see me the very next day.
My father lectured me for a long time, and I also heard my mother crying over the phone. They were deeply hurt by my "impulsive" decision. My father knew that Falun Gong is good. In his eyes, however, I was like a moth flying into a flame; my mother didn't understand the truth, and she believed that a person should go with the flow in all situations. They pressured me to give up my choice. My father even threatened to sever our father-son relationship.
Because I chose to cultivate in Falun Gong, my family might become divided, I might lose my job, and I might be put in jail and persecuted at any moment. All of a sudden, I faced a pressure I had never experienced before. At that moment, I truly comprehended the unimaginable difficulties behind every step and every decision made by those Falun Gong practitioners. The scene from Tiananmen Square where the banners were recurrently held up high by the practitioners came to my mind. Deep inside my soul a voice told me, "For justice, for compassion, I will never give in!" Finally, I told my father, "Dad, I do not regret my decision. Even if I am going to be put in jail and beaten to death, I will not regret it." Knowing he could not change my mind, my father left feeling disappointed and worried three days later.
I started to study Teacher's books, from Essentials for Further Advancement and Guiding the Voyage, to Zhuan Falun. Although my understanding was not deep, my soul was deeply touched over and over again. I was moved and convinced by the profound principles of the Fa. My wish to cultivate became firmer and firmer. All my doubts about human society and life disappeared. I no longer felt sorry that I lived in a world full of evil and deceit. I no longer felt lost because I lacked purpose and direction in life. I no longer felt sad for all those sentient beings who cannot escape the misery of having feelings such as gratitude, resentment, and hatred. On the contrary, I feel lucky to be living in the time when Falun Dafa is spreading around the world. I feel very proud of choosing the path of cultivation, because this is the path along which I can return to my true self and obtain eternal life. I feel joyful and encouraged because Buddha's infinite grace and compassion have come to the human world for the first time since the beginning of heaven and earth.
I started to learn the exercises, and went from doing the single leg crossing position to doing the double leg crossing position. I endured the exhaustion of the standing meditation, and the discomfort of the sitting meditation. Although I still can't sit in the double leg crossing position for very long, I can feel the Law Wheel turning strongly inside of me. I have also had many other wonderful experiences during the exercises. I became more convinced that Falun Dafa is true to its name and reputation. My confidence in practicing grew as well.
I started to carefully contemplate the meaning of "Fa-rectification." As a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple, since the Master has bestowed on us this honorable title, we should "validate the Fa with rationality, clarify the truth with wisdom, spread the Fa and save people with mercy." ("Rationality" from Essentials for Further Advancement II). The honor and duty of every practitioner go hand in hand, and they are equally important. Facing this unprecedented opportunity, I told myself that I must do well, or I would really be ashamed of myself. So, without thinking twice or looking back, I came out to post banners, distribute CDs, hand out flyers, and explain the facts. I followed the guidance of the Fa, and used my wisdom, determination, and courage to validate Dafa.
Looking back over the past year, I have changed from being hostile towards Dafa to obtaining the Fa, I am grateful to the unknown fellow practitioner who sent me the email, my father, and my colleague's mother. If it were not for them, I would still be wandering along the path to hell. From personal cultivation to validating Dafa, I am grateful for all the help and countless encouragements of my fellow practitioners. I am also grateful for the teaching and numerous enlightenment opportunities provided by Teacher. Only with all this help and support am I able to raise my level step by step.
Most of my friends think that this choice of mine is rather foolish; they even feel sorry for me. For an ordinary person, it is indeed very hard to understand: when a person's heart is filled with concern for others instead of oneself, when a person's heart is filled with kindness and justice instead of evil, when a person's heart is filled with the truth of the universe instead of misconceptions and lies, then fame, self-interest, and sentiment all become insignificant. Nothing can waver a cultivator's firm belief in the universal principles and truth.
Looking back, I sigh with deep feelings:
I have no regret at my motivation to become a practitioner, even though I am still not as diligent as many true Dafa disciples.
I have no regret about my choice, even though the path ahead is tortuous and perilous.
Looking forward, I am filled with thoughts: I am proud and honored to be able to participate in this historically unprecedented Fa-rectification of the universe. I feel fortunate and proud to have a teacher whose greatness and compassion cannot be described with human words. I am full of confidence in the future. Teachings of the enlightened being, experiences of the brave ones, wisdom of the wise ones, sympathy of the kind ones, support of the just ones, and everything from the human world to the heavens, are they not prophecies of the ending of this giant play of history?
Oh people, please look and listen carefully, and please think about this important event happening right in front of you. Because it is closely linked to every living being, and it concerns the future of every life, including yours.
Oh police, please think twice before you arrest, hit, or even persecute this group of kind people. People who support justice and people who treat Dafa disciples kindly may not receive any material returns. But their kindness and protection will bring them a bright future.
Oh fellow practitioners, together let us move forward hand-in-hand. With the compassion and wisdom of a practitioner, under this immense light of the Fa, with righteous thoughts and righteous deeds, constantly improving, let us shine as individual particles of Dafa in the magnificent future after the Fa-rectification of the human world.