The Cultivation Experiences of a Professional Soldier in Taiwan
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings venerable Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
I am a professional soldier. Currently I serve as a lieutenant at the Taiwanese Army Special Forces. I obtained Falun Dafa in March 2003 and want to share my experiences with you.
Prior to obtaining Falun Dafa
I grew up in an environment where many of my family members, relatives and friends were religious. I went to temples with my grandmother and I also went to churches. Nevertheless, I was an atheist and regarded belief in higher beings as superstition. I thought faith in gods was the creation of dictators who wanted to control people's minds. I graduated from high school during the time when war broke out in Kosovo, Yugoslavia. I saw a newspaper picture of a father comforting his daughter who was frightened in this war. I thought, "The only truth is power!" I gave up the opportunity to go to a university and instead went to a military school. After four years of military education, my pre-existing notions were strengthened.
Once, I watched a Falun Dafa truth clarification VCD at my cousin's home. I didn't believe what I saw in the VCD and thought foreign powers were behind the making of it, and they were trying to defame China. I refused to listen to my cousin who tried to tell me the facts about Falun Gong. However, I took a copy of the book Zhuan Falun from him and read it with a strong, critical mentality. I still did not believe that Falun Gong was grand and instead only had more questions. I argued with my cousin.
After I returned to school, after some thinking I calmed down and read Zhuan Falun again, without any preconceived notions. This time I truly saw the Fa. My notions were instantly destroyed. Just as Master said in "Drive Out Interference," Essentials for Further Advancement II, "The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts."
Actively assimilating into Dafa
I started to look for Dafa information on the Internet and I found a practice site. I contacted the assistant at that site and I joined other practitioners in studying the Fa and sending forth righteous thoughts. I still had questions, though, "Why is such sacred Dafa being persecuted so severely in Mainland China? Does Master permit such persecution to take place?" I thought I needed to attend experience-sharing conferences and communicate with other practitioners. After searching online I learned a conference was to be held at the Military Hero Hall in Kaohsiung. I went to the conference on my own.
During the meeting, perhaps because I had obtained the Fa only two weeks earlier, I mostly asked questions and didn't share a lot of my experiences and understandings. When I asked some important questions other practitioners told me, "You'll have the answer to those questions if you study the Fa lectures after July 20, 1999." Seeing that I still had questions, they patiently explained things to me. I gradually realized that the time at which we obtain the Fa and the differences in our levels are not isolating factors, because we should harmonize and supplement each other's efforts. As Master said,
"When there are different opinions, instead of looking at things positively and calmly, they throw out a few cold words and just shove aside what other people have to offer. Bringing out good ideas and cooperating with each other with care is the right thing to do. And especially when it comes to doing certain things as a whole you should cooperate with each other even better." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Midwest-U.S. Fa Conference")
It was not until then that I felt Dafa was the only pure land left in the world! When I studied "Fa-Lecture during the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference,"
"Back then, as I was saving you, a lot of you were cursing at me. There were people who were cursing at me even while at my classes. I don't mind. I just want to save you."
I cried and thought, "No matter how long it will take or what will happen to me, I will always follow the Fa principles."
Practicing Dafa in the military
I encountered lots of tribulations in the military. I was interrupted when sending forth righteous thoughts; some cursed at me, some played loud music; some mumbled black incantations, and some people tried to pick a fight with me. Some even teamed up and surrounded me, trying to see if I really would not hit back when attacked or talk back when people insulted me. A classmate even printed Dafa-attacking articles and threw them in my lap. I ignored them and regarded them as personal tribulations. I didn't take fellow practitioners' suggestions seriously when they advised me to send forth righteous thoughts more frequently and to clarify the truth. I thought there would be lots of time when I have cultivated myself well. With this mentality the tribulations grew: first, an instructor publicly attacked Dafa during a lecture; he took parts of Dafa writings and twisted them around; he supported the destruction of Dafa books and the persecution of Dafa. I argued with him and tried to change his opinion, but the outcome was not good and a battle of words ensued.
From then on, I was asked to sit in the seat for the chairperson during classes and all my classmates attacked me. Because I didn't study the Fa well, when they asked me questions involving Fa principles I brushed them over or I said, "I'll tell you after I have studied the Fa well." On the other hand, I had too many thoughts to protect myself and I was too attached to my own opinions and my feelings. I didn't really pay attention to their words and didn't speak from their perspective with their attachment in mind. I irresponsibly spoke of high-level Fa principles and as a result the conflict was not resolved but worsened. Even when I ate lunch people sat next to me asking me questions.
I also took on the most exhausting position, internship adviser. I had to reduce the amount of time I spent studying the Fa. Whenever I made a small mistake someone would say to me, "Falun Gong is doing so and so again..." Someone even said to me, "I didn't have any opinion of Falun Gong, but now I have negative opinions, all because of you! You have committed such a terrible crime!" I was exhausted almost all day long, and asked myself, "Is this what I want? I am practicing Dafa, but I have not read all the Dafa books. I can't sit with my legs double-crossed and have to sit with one leg on top of the other." I looked for the root cause and realized that I was trying to change others but not myself!
Through constant Fa study I gradually realized that although the environment in the military is complex, I could use it as a great opportunity to validate Dafa!
I took more time to study the Fa, which helped to build a solid foundation for validating Dafa. About one month later I had read all the Dafa books in a systematic manner. During the process I constantly clarified the truth. During class I talked with classmates with a calm and kind mindset. I avoided talking about Fa principles when people with various religious beliefs questioned me about Dafa. I stuck with human rights, "No belief system deserves to be brutally persecuted like this." I didn't argue with classmates who tried to start an argument with me and said, "I want to share good things with my friends. Since we have been classmates and friends for four years, of course I want to share this wonderful practice with you." I sent forth righteous thoughts to a person who refused to listen and simply cursed, and he could not say anything. I also spoke with the instructor who publicly attacked Dafa. I discovered that he had been practicing qigong for over 20 years, and he was quite proud of this. I discussed qigong with him with the wisdom Dafa endowed me with, and I spoke to him with compassion and from my heart. I also kept powerful righteous thoughts. In the end he acknowledged Dafa.
During organizational activities I clarified the truth to all the members as the head of the organization, and I distributed truth clarification materials in different divisions since I was the internship adviser. Some people didn't understand and said I should not spread Falun Gong in the military. I remembered that Master said everything a practitioner encounters in his cultivation is good, so I didn't regard it as a barrier; instead, I discussed Falun Gong during a political training class as the internship adviser, and I talked about how cultivation can fundamentally change one's xinxing instead of making people obey superficially. Falun Gong brings only benefits and no harm to the military and the country. They agreed with me, and some offered to help.
In my personal life I gave up Internet games that I had been mired in for a long time. I also threw out all the pornographic magazines. I conducted myself according to Dafa's requirements in words and in actions, and I voluntarily made sacrifices for classmates. Gradually, the environment around me changed. People started to support Dafa and some people said, "Falun Dafa is great!" when they saw me. The head of the class said to me, "I've been with people with all kinds of beliefs, but I've never seen anyone like you. That's why I think Falun Gong is good." I know: because I have changed, things around me have also changed.
I also bought the Falun Gong exercise instruction VCD. I got up at midnight to do the exercises. I also asked classmates from the soccer team to train me in the muscle-stretching exercises. Two months later, I was able to sit cross-legged during the fifth set of meditation exercise.
Cultivation and Work
Recently, due to my job position, I have had to spend a lot of time doing public service. I have endless things to do everyday as soon as I get up. I need to manage and take care of the students who are in lower grades and finish the tasks assigned by the supervisor. I need to resolve conflicts among classmates, and supervise my subordinates. I also have my own work and courses. Moreover, due to the SARS epidemic, my workload was several times heavier. It is hard to describe with language how many xinxing tribulation and tests I had.
Then I had a final exam. Since I did not do well in balancing the relationship between cultivation and work, I did not prepare for the final well and had to take the course over. Thus, my classmates formed negative opinions about me again. They think that I have kept running into trouble ever since I started cultivating, so they had some negative thoughts about Dafa. Tests that I thought I had already passed showed up again.
I realized that my xinxing level needed to be improved further, for the standard was higher now. After looking inward, I found that deep in my heart I was still holding onto the things that I did not want others to touch. What I had gotten rid of were just surface level things, and I had not fully put myself into Dafa to cultivate away the attachments. Then I started trying to balance the relationship between cultivation and work well. I found that the factors of cultivation are everywhere when doing work. I also realized that as a cultivator, one will automatically try to do well at one's job and whether it is done well or not is not only the surface level issue of human achievement, but also a reflection of one's xinxing level. When re-taking that course, I clarified the truth to the students in the make-up class, and they all had a positive understanding of Dafa. After the class, they also talked to their own friends and classmates, which saved some people who had had negative thoughts about Dafa. Two students from the make-up class obtained the Fa because of this.
I passed the test of the course I re-took, but there was still one big final exam, which was directly related to whether I could stay in school or not. However, my workload didn't lighten up at all, and I really could not find any extra time to study for it. I had thought about quitting some of the public service work, and resuming after this busy time. But this is not a cultivator's behavior, for it only considers one's own interest, and ignores others. So I tried to rectify my heart and mind, still doing the work an internship leader should do, and finding small pieces of time to study. During the exam, I tried my best to write down as much as I knew, but I still found my grade would be just a bit above the edge of failing. Then, one of my classmates passed his answers to me. I knew I would definitely pass the test if I cheated and copied his answers. At that time, all the thought karma and worries (such as not getting my diploma, having to pay back all the cost of training in the school, losing my job and the disappointment from family and friends) fought with the righteous side of my mind. Finally, I made the decision: Even if I would be kicked out of school, I would not abandon "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance." So I resisted the temptation to cheat, turned in the exam, and unexpectedly I felt very peaceful and content in my heart.
A few days later, the results of the exam were out and I passed it. When I was studying the Fa and looking at Master's picture, tears streamed down my face for the first time. Since that moment, 3 months after obtaining Fa, I stepped out of the status of personal cultivation and started doing some truth-clarification activities such as mailing, faxing and making phone calls. I also started guiding the students in lower grades to do things with a righteous mind, which fundamentally resolved some of the long-term problems in the workplace. The environment in the military school improved a lot as well and nobody distracts me when I am sending forth righteous thoughts or doing the exercises anymore.
Looking back, I truly realized that one can cultivate better in a complex environment. However, this must be based on solid Fa study. It would have been impossible for me to struggle through such an environment if I did not study the Fa persistently.
After graduating from the military school, I entered the army and was appointed First Lieutenant. I had to undertake many difficult tasks during the one-year training, and after the training, I was assigned a lot of important work in the army, and so I have always been balancing the relationship between cultivation and work. Cultivation is serious indeed and the standard one needs to reach is absolute. One cannot lower the standard and deceive oneself when getting rid of the attachments and one must pass the tests that one failed before. Before, my thought was always like: I need to validate Dafa, I want to cultivate, I want to improve. What I placed first was being a Dafa disciple during the Fa-rectification period instead of Dafa. This thought could make one cultivate diligently at the beginning of the cultivation, but will be an obstacle if one continues on like this. In "Let Go of Human Attachments and Save the World's People," Master said:
"For a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple, personal liberation is not the goal of cultivation: when you came, saving sentient beings was your great aspiration, and that is the responsibility and mission history has bestowed upon you in Fa-rectification. Thus great numbers of beings are to be saved by you."
I tried to give people a positive understanding of Dafa and save them by showing them my own benefits from Dafa such as improved health, improved grades and better achievement at work, but actually, there was a hidden selfish heart under it which is using Dafa to pursue wonderful things in the human world. My motivation was not purely to save people, not placing Dafa as first and essentially it contained the heart of selfishness. The xinxing standard was not reached; therefore I had to endure tribulations in work and school again and again.
After having those cultivation experiences in the army, although I had improved in many ways, I eventually developed a heart of pride. After doing something to validate Dafa or going to a Fa conference, I felt that I was terrific and that I had a better understanding of the Fa than some practitioners who had been cultivating for a long time. I felt pleased with myself after doing some Dafa work, and thought that my status had become solid, and that I was insured, for my future has been already determined. Also, I gradually developed a mindset of differentiating. I liked to get close to those who cultivated well and for those who did not cultivate well, I always wanted to teach and guide them. Thoughts of differentiating, admiring others and relying on others are habits developed unconsciously in the army. I remember at the beginning of my cultivation, after listening to Master's Fa, I admired Master in the way soldiers admire their leaders. However, this is not rational but sentimental, and it is treating Master and the Fa with a human heart.
At last, please allow me to share Master's teaching in Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference with everybody.
"Also, don't think, 'Fa-rectification has come this far, so it looks like it'll be over soon and we should start making plans for the future.' I can tell you that any attachment will bring on tremendous tribulations. You absolutely must not form any attachments! You should cultivate in an upright and dignified way, and handle well everything in front of you that you should do. If you're to Consummate tomorrow, you still have to do well what you're supposed to do today and in an orderly way. That's because everything Dafa disciples are doing today is to be left for the people of the future, and this is the path of cultivation for the people of the future. This is extremely important. Do not walk a crooked path. Dafa is the best at every level, and at this human level Dafa disciples should only make it even more complete and perfect, and not bring any losses to it."
Thank you everyone!