Practice Diligently and Remain Firm in Your Practice
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings esteemed Teacher! Greetings fellow practitioners!
I have practiced Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, for seven years. There is so much that has changed within me. I would like to share some of my cultivation stories with Teacher and fellow practitioners.
1. Practicing Diligently
I have suffered much persecution over the last seven years. After the persecution began on July 20, 1999, I was asked by my work supervisors to write a guarantee statement and renounce Falun Dafa,. I explained to my supervisors the benefits I derived from practicing Falun Dafa and that I wouldn't renounce it. My place of work reported that they had four employees who practiced Falun Gong. If truth be told, there were more. Practitioners' righteous thoughts affected the actions of the company officials and they no longer reported on practitioners in order to avoid problems. I was the only one who didn't write the guarantee statement.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came up with many ways to persecute me. They demanded that all employees at my workplace monitor me and make sure that I didn't go to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Dafa. They threatened to hold my coworkers accountable for my actions and bring trouble to them if I should go to Beijing. If no one saw me at work for more than 15 minutes, I had to give a report as to my whereabouts. I wasn't allowed to take a break or take days off unless headquarters agreed. They notified me in writing that if I didn't follow orders I would be fired and detained. They used different tricks daily. My family members (practitioners) stopped them from making harassing calls to me at home with the help of righteous thoughts.
The CCP did a thorough study on me. They found a co-worker who used to help me a lot and was a family friend. He told me on the phone not to be too stubborn. When he used the phrase "my son," my face was bathed in tears. My human affection came into play.
In 2000, my work unit was dismantled. The new unit refused to accept me into their group although I had passed all the tests and evaluations; it was because I insisted on practicing Falun Gong. I was given a job in an old factory that was about to be closed down. I didn't feel bad, although many people felt sorry for me.
I did my best to follow the Fa and clarify the truth with compassion. The environment gradually changed just like Teacher said in "Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference," "People have a side of them that's aware, and they'll be moved on the human surface too." At the time I was threatened with arrest frequently by staff at my work place. One day, the head of a division told me, "If you talk about practicing again, they will arrest you tomorrow. What are you going to do?" I spoke from the bottom of my heart, "Now, I am not thinking about my safety but yours." I told him about the conversation Jesus had with a woman before he was crucified. I told him that good is rewarded with good and bad deeds result in retribution, and let him know about the benefits one gains from practicing Dafa. I saw tears in the eyes of this 50-year-old man.
I signed a blank piece of paper knowing full well the CCP would forge a document above my signature, saying that I renounced Falun Dafa. I did this out of fear. I later wrote a repentance statement. After they left I knelt in front of Teacher's picture and couldn't stop crying, I swore that I would do better in the future. Later on, when a local policeman tried to arrest me, I told him earnestly that Dafa was good and that I would be firm in my practice. Two of my supervisors helped me resist the evil and protected me from the persecution.
By the end of 2000 I was forced to go to the public safety bureau daily. One day a policeman wanted to slander Dafa and showed me two of Teacher's articles "Towards Consummation" and "Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland." I felt that if I read the Fa in a police station I was not a good practitioner. I enlightened from reading "Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland" that I hadn't given up the attachment of lust and desire. The police told me to go home for the weekend, and said if I didn't want to write the guarantee statement by Monday, I would have to bring my luggage with me. I studied the Fa most of that weekend, because I didn't know when I could study the Fa again if they arrested me. I regretted having wasted a lot of time in the past. As I left my home holding my luggage, I felt that I might never come home again.
However, I felt peaceful and relaxed and not sentimental at all. I wasn't feeling heroic or hopeless. I left my luggage at work and went to the public safety bureau. I later realized that I shouldn't do what the evil asked me to do because that would be admitting the persecution. In the end, the police let me go back to work and nothing happened.
In 2001, I was taken to a brainwashing center. Several practitioners from other counties or districts were also unlawfully imprisoned there. Not long before this, 610 Office head had suffered severe retribution and thus the evil was less rampant. We clarified the truth and the environment improved. Later, a staff member from the brainwashing center saw me on the street and told me that she had quit the 610 Office.
After the brainwashing session had ended, local 610 Office staff told me that I could go back to work. After I returned to my unit, the administration and public safety unit staff were waiting for me. They told me I had passed the hurdle. I knew Teacher was encouraging me. I smiled and felt peaceful. One of them said, "Don't smile at us. We don't know how to take it." I didn't know about sending righteous thoughts at that time, but the righteous thoughts of a practitioner were changing everything. From then on, no one asked me again to "transform" or write a guarantee statement.
During the persecution, I found many attachments I thought I had eliminated already. I realized that I hadn't eliminated the attachment of lust and desire. But Teacher resolved one attachment after another because I had firm belief in Dafa.
2. Eliminating Attachments
At the end of 2004, I suffered severe sickness karma. I had a swollen throat and couldn't swallow anything. I choked on my saliva. Half of my head and my neck hurt so bad that I couldn't sleep at night. I still insisted to go to work. However it was very difficult because I couldn't eat, drink or sleep, and had a high fever. I couldn't really say the words when I studied the Fa. Sending righteous thoughts didn't work. In the end, I realized it was my attachment to lust and desire.
I had told Teacher that I would eliminate it but I never really did. That was why my throat was suffering - for saying something that wasn't true. I thought I had found the root of my illness but I was still sick. Teacher said:
"When problems occur, instead of searching for problems in their xinxing, fundamentally improving themselves, or truly letting go of the matter and coming through in an open and dignified manner by another route, they focus on the thing at hand--'Goodness, why is it that I still can't overcome this thing? I've done better today, so it should have improved a little. Tomorrow I'll do even better and it should improve some more.' He can never let go of that thing. On the surface it appears that he's letting it go--'Look, I'm doing well now.' You're doing well now but you are doing well now for its sake. You aren't doing that for the purpose of doing what a true Dafa disciple should do!" ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference.")
Teacher was talking about me! My belief was never shaken even though I was physically and mentally suffering.
I told Teacher in my mind, "Teacher, you gave me life. I am handing my life to you and shall listen to you at all times." From then on, I stopped thinking about my throat. But, my numerous attachments hadn't been eliminated. Half an hour later, I began to vomit a mixture blood and puss for about 30 minutes. Everything was back to normal after that.
3. Harmonizing with Fellow Practitioners
One day a colleague told me, "There was a flier posted on my door. I am not against Falun Gong, but why did you post that on my door?" I asked what he did with it. He said he tore it down. My heart sank and I blamed the practitioner who had posted that flier. I had read on the Minghui website many times not to post such fliers, as ordinary people wouldn't understand it! Now, not only did we not save this person, we made him do bad things to Dafa. I told my colleague that practitioners had good intentions and it wasn't good to tear up the flier. He laughed coldly and looked at me as if he despised me. I told him to remember this incident if one day something bad happened, and to learn from it. He talked back with a smirk on his face, "What bad thing will happen to me?"
Later I knew something was wrong. Why did he say this to me? Nothing is accidental, especially now. Was it to expose my attachments? The result of the truth clarification wasn't good. There must be something wrong with me. I found a bad attachment - arrogance.
I always thought myself of being right and looked for excuses in the Fa. I never wanted to eliminate my attachments. This attachment of arrogance made me be a show off, made me unforgiving or considerate of other practitioners, and manifested in my pointing fingers at others often. During this incident, the first thought I had was to blame other practitioners. Newsletters were OK to post on doors but not the truth clarification slogans. Other practitioners might not have thought of everything, but the intention was good. Being able to stand up and go out to clarify the truth was a precious act. Since the loss was made, why couldn't I harmonize and encompass it? Didn't I have an opportunity to clarify the truth? The impression I gave others was that I was always right and couldn't take criticism; criticism was a threat to me. Even during this incident, I wanted to protect myself and the other practitioner, so I didn't clarify the truth to save my colleague, but pushed him away. I even thought that my colleague was too lost in the world.
I wanted to make up for it. I sent righteous thoughts when I had time and Teacher granted me the wish. One day he mentioned it to me again, and I told him sincerely, "If you couldn't let go of it and think this incident is affecting your life in a negative way, I apologize." He looked at me shocked and took me seriously. I smiled and told him, "I can't represent anyone because Dafa practitioners are one body. Though I didn't do it, I am willing to apologize."
I then explained to him why practitioners spread fliers and told him that although practitioners suffered they cared about the world's people and were being compassionate. He listened to me carefully and nodded his head occasionally. He no longer brought up this issue.
Later he lost his job. I met him a few years later at a wedding. He came over to me and shook my hand.
I used to have problems with a coordinator. I felt that she had some problems and I pointed them out. She never accepted my comments and we couldn't communicate on many issues. I knew I had attachments but didn't want to make things worse, so I tried to look inward and watch my attitude and tone when I spoke. I thought that it was my problem.
Nothing I did helped, she didn't want to deal with me. I felt that I did everything I could and she was not a good practitioner. I thought the evil exploited her gap and and caused problems between her and other practitioners. I sent righteous thoughts to eliminate the elements that cause separation between practitioners. One day I was putting some information together and saw "What is the separation (between practitioners)? Isn't it human notions?" I knew Teacher was giving me a hint. I looked inward and wondered if I really was as great as I thought I was, "Did I really reach the standard the Fa created for me? Where is my fundamental attachment?"
I didn't think about this issue when I studied the Fa, but I still asked Teacher to give me a hint some time. One day I was searching for an answer for a practitioner and something Teacher had taught caught my eyes,
"In that case, have we become really attached to his mistakes during this process and can't let it go? If so, then you have become attached to it, and it turns out you are looking outward. Why can't you think about why you saw his mistake? It's his mistake, but why are you so unhappy about it? Is it because there is something that you didn't do right? Why do you consider it such a big deal? No matter what the situation, when you encounter a problem you should always cultivate yourself and examine yourself." ( "Falun Buddha Law- Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference.")
Yes, I was too attached to her mistakes, so she made more mistakes. Regarding this issue, I insisted on doing what Teacher said,
"As for pointing them out for others, if you did it with good intentions, that's what you should have done. Shouldn't you care about the well-being of others when you cultivate? You should think of others first. When you see someone else's shortcomings, why not tell him, since he too is cultivating? No matter how he takes it, if it's necessary to tell him, you should let him know." (Falun Buddha Fa -- Teaching the Fa at the Conference in New Zealand")
I continued to tell her when I discovered a problem, but at the same time corrected myself. One time I felt that one of the truth clarification fliers used to rescue practitioners was not explaining the situation well enough. After thinking about it, I explained it to her. She said nothing as usual. I didn't take that flier and left. I knelt down in front of Teacher's picture and all of a sudden a thought came to me, "She didn't do well and you are not helping her either." I made a mistake. I went there again and the content of the flier had already changed. Though the content wasn't what I had suggested, I was still happy.
During that time, I watched myself when I interacted with her. I decided to be considerate, look at her side of the situation and treat her kindly. Gradually, I recognized what was good in her, and I began to cherish and respect her. I thought first of her when interacting with her and was kind at all times. I found that this behavior of mine became a habit after some time. I started to treat most people around me like that. Though I wasn't perfect, my compassion became more pronounced. Despite my changes, our relationship didn't improve that much. I believed that I still had a problem that I hadn't recognized. Therefore, I asked Teacher to help me.
I suggested a way of rescuing practitioners to the coordinator. I felt that my intention, purpose and approach were good, and other practitioners felt so too. The coordinator still kept silent. She told another practitioner that I shouldn't have gotten involved in this. I didn't want to argue but I couldn't help but say something. A practitioner who had been quiet all along said something that made me think, "One who always wants to put someone down with a few words during a discussion is actually validating oneself." He said this in a mild tone and didn't directly point at me. Perhaps he didn't think I'd take it very well. I saw the difference between his and my way of wanting to help.
I understood where the problem was now. I offered suggestions with good intentions, but I also wanted to prove that I studied the Fa well and I did more to rescue practitioners. I looked within during a conflict, but I unknowingly tried to hide my thought of wanting to prove that I was a better practitioner. I stepped back in a conflict first, but still wanted to prove that I was better. Though I tried to look for my attachments, I tried harder to look for other's attachments. "Even though you've made mistakes, you insist on figuring out others' mistakes." ("Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference at the U.S. Capital") On the surface, I was doing everything according to the Fa; in fact, I was covering up this filthy attachment, and didn't want to admit to myself that I harbored it. Teacher kept on pointing it out to me but I wasn't enlightening to it. In the end Teacher had to use another practitioner's words to point it out. Teacher arranged everything so He could help me eliminate my every attachment.
Another attachment emerged: I wanted to avoid her. My excuse this time was that I didn't want to worsen the conflict. I needed something else, so I looked for another practitioner. However, Teacher cherished me too much. On my way to see the practitioner, the coordinator called me and asked me to pick up an article. I knew that it was wrong to avoid her. I was sure that no matter how she behaved today, I must do well.
As I walked into her home with a sincere, benevolent, and peaceful heart, she was the same! She smiled and told me, "Teacher explained everything" in "Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles." "Those who can't take criticism are not practitioners." She too was looking within. That was the first time that we shared our opinion based on the Fa, although we had known each other for many years.
The article she gave me was "The Ukraine Fa Conference." Looking at the phrase "Although in your cultivation it is painful to get rid of your human attachments, this path is a sacred one," I almost cried. Teacher knew everything! From then on, whenever I felt the test was hard and was about to withdraw, I would remember what Teacher said:
"When you truly look at things from the perspective of being responsible to the Fa and truly have a heart that can melt steel, I just don't believe that things can't be handled well. And don't insist that another practitioner is no good based on some rigid concept you have--I, your Master, believe that he's fine. And don't think that it's hard to communicate. Neither side has lived up to "great compassion" when doing things. If you can truly embody great compassion, I think those things that aren't right will definitely be rectified." ("Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference")
Indeed, no matter how hard cultivation is, we shouldn't lose confidence in fellow practitioners and ourselves. This is because we have firm belief in the Fa. As long as we walk every step firmly, live up to the Fa standard, rectify every act and every thought of ours with the Fa, there is no test that we can't pass and there is nothing we can't do. The Fa is omnipotent. I don't have great enlightenment quality and was fortunate that Teacher accepted me as a Dafa practitioner. During ten years of cultivation practice I experienced tribulations before and after July 20, 1999. It is because of Teacher's immense compassion, tremendous suffering and shouldering of much for me that I can move forward on my cultivation path. My highest esteem to Teacher. Thank you, Teacher! Your immense Buddha grace has created a brand new world for me.