Memorizing the Fa
(Clearwisdom.net) I have just finished memorizing Zhuan Falun for another time. It has made me remember the past and there are some stories that I would like to share.
I was lucky enough to discover the practice of Falun Dafa at the end of 1998. I often felt that I did not come across it early enough. When I read Zhuan Falun, I often lost focus. I also liked to read the lectures Teacher gave outside China. One time I read an experience sharing from the Minghui website about studying the Fa and it occurred to me that I would not lose focus if I memorized the Fa. So I began to memorize the Fa starting in March of 1999.
When I first began it was very difficult for me because I had only read the whole book a few times and there still were many things not yet cleaned up in me. I really liked memorizing the book. I still remember when I progressed to the paragraph where Teacher explained "Why can this be done for a practitioner, then?" It was in the spring of 1999. One day while I was riding my bike home after a group exercise session, I was memorizing "We see that in this universe a human life is not created in ordinary human society; the creation of one's actual life is in the space of the universe." I really felt that every single part of me could sense that the spring had come. I was not really sure about this feeling, but now that I look back at it, that moment was when my life really began.
The best thing about memorizing the Fa is that you can't lose focus while you are memorizing it because you have to be mentally involved. Another great advantage is that you can study the Fa wherever you go and you can enlighten to things at anytime. It is very easy. When you make up your mind to pick up the book and memorize it, your battle with thought karma and all kinds of interference begins. However, very soon you will finish the battle and find that you have won.
When I had almost finished memorizing the second lecture, July 20, 1999 came. Everyone was flooded with tons of propaganda from the media. I gradually became confused. I wanted to log onto Minghui but it was blocked, and I was left with no source of positive information. I thought, "Forget it, let me stop it for a while." I discontinued memorizing the Fa for the first time.
This "giving up" was really serious, and all the bad things came back to me. One time a friend of mine offered me a cigarette, at first I hesitated for a bit, but then I lit up. I vaguely remembered Teacher at that moment, but it seemed like a long time ago. By the end of August, I was struggling with the desires of fame and personal gain. All of a sudden a thought came up, "Is all of the propaganda true? Do Buddhas exist? Are there other dimensions?"
I pondered these questions a lot that day and felt that such thoughts were very important. I had to find some answers. If there were no Buddhas, then I would forget about it and move on. So I went to the largest bookstore in the city and started to read some books. By coincidence, I came across an encyclopedia entry talking about some important archaeological discoveries in the 20th century. I randomly flipped through it and realized that what was said in Zhuan Falun was true. There were also other important discoveries not mentioned in Zhuan Falun in the field of archaeology that pointed to the existence of gods. I read the book for a long time.
After I went home, I thought, "It seems that Buddhas do exist. I must keep on cultivating. But should I practice Buddhism or Falun Dafa?" The minute this thought came up, I chose Falun Dafa. If Buddhas exist, I must practice Falun Dafa. So I picked up Zhuan Falun again and continued memorizing the book after I had stopped for more than a month.
The very next day after I resumed memorizing the book, I ran into a veteran practitioner I had met once and she gave me an IP address. When I logged on, the Minghui website appeared, and I thought, "Ah, this is the truth. The reports from the media are vicious lies."
Now that I think about it, it was really amazing. Teacher always watched over me, seeing whether I could enlighten independently in this important test and make my final choice. "Once a person wants to practice cultivation, his or her Buddha-nature is considered to have come forth. Such a thought is most precious, for this person wants to return to his or her original, true self and transcend the ordinary human level." Teacher had waited for me patiently after I had stopped the practice for a month. Luckily my true nature was not totally covered up, and Teacher helped me to come back.
I continued memorizing the book. This time there was a totally different feeling and I was able to memorize it faster and faster. I started with four pages a day, then ten pages or more each day. I usually memorized the book in the morning and reviewed it in the afternoon (I did not work at the time). My head was full of pages from Zhuan Falun. Often I woke up in the middle of the night, and the first thing I would do was to memorize the book until I fell asleep again. Eventually it became that I could not tell whether I was memorizing the book while I was awake or in a dream.
Towards the end of 1999, I finally finished memorizing the whole text of Zhuan Falun for the first time. I remembered reading another practitioner's experience: you need to go through it ten times before you can remember it well. So I began to memorize it for the second time. This time I progressed much faster. It took me one day to recite the first lecture, and two days to recite the second lecture. In the beginning of 2000, I reached the 5th lecture for the second time.
At this point, I started to go outside to practice every day. However, someone tipped off the police, and I was jailed for 15 days. After I came out, I went to work at a new company. As I did not have as much free time, I gave up reciting Zhuan Falun. Three years had passed before I realized the tremendous price I paid for not continuing.
During those three years, many things happened. Fa-rectification had turned the universe and the human world inside out. I myself also went through a lot. I have been held in brainwashing centers, detention centers, and forced labor camps many times. Sometimes I did better; other times, I did poorly. It was a long, winding road. It was very hard. Although I was able to recite the whole text of Zhuan Falun one time and the first five lectures a second time, I could only now remember vaguely the first two lectures. I regretted that I did not persist in memorizing Zhuan Falun.
What made me decide to pick it up again was when I recited Master' text at the detention center. Even a short passage would demonstrate to me the boundless and magnificent Fa principles. At that time, I was also sending forth righteous thoughts persistently. I kept reciting the first two lectures that I remembered. I did not do it to accomplish a task or to lighten the persecution, it was only for my own improvement. I felt so wonderful.
For example, one day, while I was reciting the passage, "when a person's body moves, the cells in the body will also move, and at the microscopic level all elements, such as all molecules, protons, electrons, and the most microscopic particles, will also move. Yet they have their own independent forms of existence, and the forms of the body in other dimensions will also undergo a change." (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Two), suddenly, I understood the wonder of our own bodies; the divine bodies at different levels move along with the righteous thoughts of the main body: they are studying the Fa, practicing the exercises, sending forth righteous thoughts and clarifying the truth, and doing magnificent things at their levels. And yet, we look so ordinary in the human world. When I understood the truth, I was very excited. I told my fellow practitioners whenever I had a chance, "You don't know how great you are when you are sending forth righteous thoughts. Never feel it is too ordinary or get frustrated simply because you cannot see the outcome."
The more I recited, the more I regretted that I hadn't continued earlier. There is so much wonder in the Fa. One day, I was reciting this passage, "It's about a monk who meditated and his soul went to the Western Paradise and saw some scenes. He strolled around for a day there and came back to the human world, where a good six years had passed." Right away, I remembered the Fa taught by Master Li in the USA about Buddha Amitabha and the Paradise of Ultimate Bliss. My mind went over the Paradise of Ultimate Bliss and looked back at Sumeru Mountain. I thought, "Oh, it is like this." My mind traveled in the dazzlingly, wonderful world...
As I continued to recite the Fa, I came to understand one thing: why had it been so difficult in the past few years? Why did I make so many mistakes? It was the price I paid for giving up on reciting the Fa. It was not so much the fact that I gave up reciting Zhuan Falun; it was more because I had given up being diligent with Fa-study. In the face of the unprecedented tribulations in human history, at the critical moments of Fa-rectification, I did not spend an unprecedented effort on Fa-study and Fa assimilation. It was easy to see why I could not walk well on my path.
I realized clearly that if I had not given up reciting the Fa and had continued to recite, maintaining the diligence, I would not have been arrested and held by the evil. My path would have been different and the losses would have been minimized. I made up my mind then that the first thing I would do would be to recite Zhuan Falun when I got out.
However, when I was released I slacked off again. I was faced with tremendous tribulations, to the point where I was almost destroyed. I finally picked up Zhuan Falun in August 2003 and started to recite it again. Three years and eight months had passed since the last time I recited it.
This time, my experience was different from the last two times. Having experienced so much, I have a different understanding of the Fa and my perspective is different. I realized what it means to be "born again."
I completed this round of reciting Zhuan Falun in a very tight schedule. I am a technical person and I am responsible for the maintenance of production sites for truth-clarifying materials. I spend a lot of time traveling on long-distance buses, but I feel that Master Li is watching over me and strengthening me all of the time. Whichever lecture I am reciting, there are always incidents which help me understand the Fa principles. As I continue to recite the Fa, our production sites are getting better and better, and I feel that my abilities are getting stronger.
When I started lecture 7, I could not control the tears flowing from my eyes while I memorized the Fa. One day, while I read,
"The child will begin to suffer from an early age. When it grows mature, the master will come back. Of course, the child cannot recognize him. Using supernormal abilities, the master will unlock its saved memory. It will at once recall everything. 'Isn't this my master?' The master will tell it: 'Now, it's time to start the practice.' Thus, after many years the master will pass the teachings to it."
I had to stop and I burst into tears for a long time. In the human world, I had lost my father when I was a teenager and I had lost my mom when I was a youth. During the next few dozen years, I experienced many hardships and difficulties and I cried. But never had I cried like I did on that day. It was the return to my true self. I deeply feel Teacher's graciousness and a debt that I cannot repay.
Last week, I finally finished memorizing the last sentence of Zhuan Falun. I silently burst into tears, feeling an incomparable happiness.
I am not sure if fellow practitioners have ever thought about this question: If Fa-rectification ends one day, our cultivation will also end, then will there be an end to our time of studying the Fa? Will it be cut off on a certain day as well? Are we losing one day every day? Sometimes when I see fellow practitioners spending their thoughts and energy on unnecessary things, I really feel distressed. We should really have a good idea of what we are here for, and what the most precious, biggest, most ultimate happiness for a living being is. We should repeatedly and clearly think about these questions!
When I was holding the book yesterday, I truly and clearly felt that it is not an ordinary book, but the creator of my life and the end result as well. I had the mentality of completing the task, improving myself, and lessening the persecution or wanting to gain something when I memorized the Fa before, but now I can clearly feel happiness that comes from simply memorizing the Fa. The most cheerful time in my day is when I memorize the book. Therefore my reason for memorizing the book is very simple: I "like" to do so.
For the moment, I will finish my story about memorizing the Fa. I would like to share a small bit of my experience with the practitioners who want to memorize the Fa but have not yet started:
1. It is better not to expect that you can completely remember it the first time, otherwise it will be very difficult, and easy to give up if you can't reach the goal. You need to be prepared to memorize it a few times, just like reading through the whole book many times.
2. Don't be afraid of forgetting the contents, because it is normal that you will remember the latter part and forget the earlier part. The part that you have cultivated well would be moved over, and it is the same for the part of you that can memorize the Fa well. If you always fear that you will forget the earlier part and repeatedly memorize it, it may affect your confidence and slow down the progress. It can severely affect your confidence. In fact, when you memorize it the second time, you may find that you have actually not forgotten the parts you thought you had.
3. It is the best to be focused. My experience is that if I memorize the Fa, it is better to not read through the book. I used all the time of reading Zhuan Falun to memorize the Fa, and used all my brain's spare time to memorize the Fa. (Previously all sorts of messy thoughts often occupied my brain). Staying focused on one task is more efficient.
4. Don't worry that your memory may not be good, and don't think your speed is too slow. "Cultivation depends on one's own efforts, while transforming gong is done by one's master." Just recite without any attachment and wait to see the result. It is guaranteed that it will be different from what you initially imagined.
The last point is that reciting the book is not the end goal, it is only the method. The ultimate significance is to assimilate into Dafa.
Finally, let's review together Teacher's Fa in relation to reciting the book:
"Question: Time is limited. While I want to read through the book, I also want to memorize the book. But then I feel that memorizing the book will affect my reading through the book. How can I balance the two?
Teacher: Reading through the book contributes tremendously to your improvement. If you want to memorize the book, you can only put your effort into trying to memorize it within a designated time. This will spare you later on from having to read with the book in hand. But you'll have to set aside some time to concentrate on memorizing it. Otherwise, if you want to read, then you also want to memorize, and then you go back to wanting to read again, thinking like this all the time will get you stuck in this situation. Your memorizing the book won't affect your reading, nor will it hinder your advancement due to a lack of reading through the book. This is because when you memorize the book, behind every word there are infinite Buddhas, Daos, and Gods, and every word can enable you to understand the principles at different levels." (Lecture at the Conference in Europe)
"Some of you are able to memorize the Fa. Why is it that after some time you forget even the parts that you'd memorized really well? It's because the part of you that had memorized the book really well became fully cultivated and was moved over. What's left is the part that still doesn't understand, so you still need to continue to study the Fa." (Lecture at the Assistants' Fa Conference in Changchun)
"I'm just giving you the idea. They said: "Why don't we memorize something that's this good? It requires us to be good people at every moment among everyday people and it enables us to improve, wouldn't it be better if we could memorize it? Then we'll have something we can measure ourselves against at every moment." That's how they started a "book-memorizing upsurge." (Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa)
Note: Above quotes of Teacher's words are all from Zhuan Falun except otherwise indicated.