Some Thoughts about Hunger Strikes
(Clearwisdom.net) Reading the article "About Hunger Strikes" published on Clearwisdom.net (http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2003/11/12/42181.html) inspired me with many thoughts. It reminded me of some experiences that I had when I was in a detention center. I think there are some good points in the article.
In 2002, I was abducted to a detention center because I distributed truth-clarifying literature. The next day, several of our fellow practitioners discussed holding a hunger strike. Some said, "The massive arrests this time are very unusual. It is very difficult to get out of here even with a hunger strike. One practitioner has been on a hunger strike for 80 days, she is already all skin and bones but she is still detained here. Her hunger strike was also off and on. She was chained to the ground and brutally force-fed. Many practitioners could not bear the painful torture, so their hunger strike could not achieve the desired results. Instead, they suffered a lot. There is one practitioner who is even waiting for her family to pay money and get her out through bribery. I am wondering if this nourishes the evil? I would rather die than do that."
We talked for a while and then we decided that we would go on a hunger strike but would not let other detainees find out. We all thought that it would still be difficult for us to get out of the detention center even with a hunger strike. Then I shared my thoughts with others, "Now the evil persecution is very vicious. Even though the old forces have arranged the persecution systematically, Master is in control. It is just a matter if we can do well. The difference is that by going on a hunger strike here, we will have to bear more hardship, make more effort, than validating Dafa outside."
Five fellow practitioners and I all came to an understanding that we should be able to get out of the detention center with dignity by going on a hunger strike; we then started our hunger strike. During the eating hours, we pretended to also eat, but when other criminals did not pay attention we spat the food back into the bowl. Within four days of the hunger strike, I started to vomit black fluid from my stomach and my chest felt like it was burning inside. My mouth and tongue felt indescribably dry. At night when I went to bed, as soon as I closed my eyes I saw water. On the fifth day I could not bear it any more and I drank some water. From then on I had to drink water, but I still did not eat. After more than twenty days, I was all skin and bones. I could not even sit and talk. Due to my excessive weakness, I could not calm my distressed mind nor could I go to sleep at night. I had a fever and was coughing up blood. I thought that I would die. The detention center doctor had reported my situation, but the public security department still would not release me. I also longed for Master to help me get out of there. But I was still held there. Later I was really unable to bear the suffering anymore. Tears ran down my face and I said in my mind, "Master, I cannot take it anymore. I have taken it to the extreme. I am not a firm practitioner. I have let Master down and let Dafa down; I have started to eat."
Then I thought, "This way I will not be able to get out of here till the day when the Fa rectifies the human world. Since I cannot get out anyway, I should settle down and validate Dafa here. I should make use of the environment to cultivate myself, to get rid of my impurities, and to improve my capability of entering and staying in the state of tranquility." I recalled that while Sakyamuni was meditating under a Bodhi tree, he did not move when birds built nests on his head; he did not move when demonic girls tried to seduce him and demons tried to attack him. I made up my mind that I would make use of the environment to cultivate my ability of entering and staying in the state of tranquility; the deeper the tranquility I could achieve, the more power I would send forth to eliminate the evil more effectively. In this physical world, I would expel my impure thoughts with all my effort, clear all ordinary people's thoughts, get rid of my mentality of weakness and being afraid. As a true cultivator, the noise from the criminal prisoners could not interfere with my entering the state of tranquility and sending forth righteous thoughts. (Actually, at that time I still to a large extent limited myself to personal cultivation. As a Dafa practitioner during the Fa-rectification period, my attitude was negative, passive, and it acknowledged the persecution. But focusing my entire mind on sending forth righteous thoughts every day did have a critical effect on eliminating the evil.)
One and a half months later, one morning a policeman called my name out first; he told me to collect my belongings and go to a labor camp. It did not bother me at all. I thought that I could not get out anyway, and that no matter where I go I would validate Dafa and eliminate the evil. After I arrived at the labor camp, I received a notice telling me that I was sentenced to three years of forced labor. I thought, "Three years of labor is nothing; it does not matter even if it were eight or ten years. Is it up to the evil to say?"
I was waiting in line with more than 40 people to have a physical exam, and the physical exam took a long time. While I was waiting, I suddenly thought that fellow practitioners in my residential area were all captured and nobody was doing Dafa work there. I must find a way to get out of here! I asked Master in my mind, "Master, please help me get out of here; please change my body and let my heart pump fast, the faster the better." As soon as I had the thought, my heart started to beat very fast. I was then released for tachycardia at my physical exam. This was really beyond my expectation.
Later I thought about this very carefully. With so much effort on a hunger strike why couldn't I get out of there? At last, with only one thought, why did my body change in such a way that I was able to get out? I looked inside. While I was on a hunger strike, even though I said that I was doing it to break the old forces' arrangement, to return back to the current of the Fa-rectification to save people, deep in my mind I had thoughts of not staying in the detention center to endure the hardship. That was my true internal motivation and that motivation was based on selfishness. But when I talked to other fellow practitioners, I hid that thought. I had thought that the hunger strike would be painful; as soon as I got out, I would drink a few nice beverages, eat everything I wanted to eat; I would make up for the suffering during the hunger strike. I thought about getting out of there every day. With such strong attachments, my thoughts had already deviated from Dafa; then how could the evil not make use of it to persecute me more? As a result I got scabies all over my body, how could I get out of there with those strong attachments?
Later on when I had true thoughts based on Dafa, when I let go of my attachments of selfishness and of being afraid of the hardship, when I persistently focused all my effort to send forth righteous thoughts, and later when I clearly understood the importance of getting out to tell the truth to save people and when I strongly wanted to get out to do Fa-rectification work, Master helped me get out of there.
Through this stern test, I came to understand one principle: to get out of the labor camp or brainwashing center, a hunger strike is not the only way. As long as we are qualified for the standard of a Dafa practitioner during the Fa-rectification period, we can get out of labor camps and detention centers with dignity.
December 5, 2003