Cultivating in Dafa
Greetings, Teacher! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I am a Falun Dafa practitioner from Northern China who initially began practicing Falun Dafa in 1994. I persisted until this day with Teacher's protection, and with help from other practitioners. I survived dangerous situations and came out unscathed. Each Dafa practitioner's cultivation experience over the past seven years of trials and tribulations can fill a book. I want to report to Teacher and share with fellow practitioners some of my understandings.
Taking Fa study seriously and being strict with myself
I felt very fortunate when I encountered Dafa for the first time in 1994 and was fortunate enough to have attended Teacher's classes. I joined group Fa study and exercises on a daily basis and never took a break from these activities. I spread Dafa by establishing new practice sites and teaching people the exercises on holidays, and my heart was filled with gratitude and joy. I never felt it was difficult, and I never felt tired. I felt solid and proud that I am a cultivator, guided by Teacher. My life was filled with hope and I knew that no test was too big for me.
When I first came back to work from having attended Teacher's classes in another city, my colleagues asked how I felt and I said these heartfelt words, "Teacher is the only one in this world who truly helps me to improve myself and does not ask for anything in return. Teacher's Fa principles are so profound, I feel that nothing can obstruct me now." Teacher is magnificent and sacred in my heart. Although I cannot see anything in other dimensions, I believe all of Teacher's Fa. Safeguarding Dafa and spreading Dafa are the top priorities for me.
I love studying the Fa, because when I study the Fa my mind is wide open and my heart is compassionate. Fa principles unfold before me. I feel clear and empty and no longer worry about anything. I began memorizing and copying Zhuan Falun early on and continued after the book was published. Because I had laid a solid foundation in Fa study, I usually passed cultivations tests the first time, the second time at most. I never allowed myself to dwell on any attachment. I was strict with myself, thereby laying a solid foundation for validating Dafa later on.
Regard safeguarding the Fa as top priority and successfully passing the test
More than twenty police officers had taken me away the morning of July 20, 1999. I was interrogated, but I saw the interrogation as the police officers wanting to learn about Dafa. I explained to them my understanding of the Fa. I regarded the arrest, interrogation and detention as tests for me and I was determined to score high on the test. I explained things according to my understanding of the Fa, regardless of the situation. I never mentioned other practitioners' names so that the police could not arrest other practitioners.
In the notebook I had with me I had recorded the details of an experience-sharing conference for volunteer assistants at Dafa practice sites in our province. The police were ecstatic when they looked at the notebook and wanted to "dig deeper" into the so-called "Falun Gong organization." I was determined to not say anything about it and told them I could remember it well. The police interrogated me for a whole day. They were angry, but they dared not touch me at the time. I repeatedly told myself, "My words and actions must conform to the Fa. I won't say anything that does not validate the Fa." Although my notes contained the time, location, some names, including members of the Falun Dafa Research Association, I simply told them, "I can't remember."
Conforming to standards for the Fa, I regarded safeguarding and validating Dafa as my top priority and I did not think about my own safety. No one can touch me when I have resolute righteous thoughts. What I had written in my notebook was considered "ironclad evidence" at the time. It could have brought danger to lots of practitioners if handled improperly. I completely negated the persecution with a firm belief in Dafa, and the police never brought it up again.
Firmly believing in Teacher; the evil is afraid, and I return to work
My belief in Dafa was strengthened after the interrogation. The police forced me to watch Dafa-slandering TV programs and read newspaper articles that attacked Teacher. None of it worked on me. Although I didn't know all the facts a voice in my heart said, "How can humans understand a Buddha's will? Teacher is always helping sentient beings and makes it possible for them to be saved in whatever he chooses to do."
I never once doubted Teacher or Dafa, and I was never hindered by not understanding something in the teachings. I simply studied, memorized and copied the Fa repeatedly. I knew that the meaning of my life is to unconditionally and determinedly follow Teacher's words, assimilate to Dafa and assist Teacher in rectifying the Fa.
The evil was afraid of me because of my steadfast belief in Dafa. During all those days of interrogation, no one ever asked me whether I would continue to practice Dafa, and no one told me to write a guarantee statement. I was arrested two more times later on, and no one brought up those questions during those two times, either. No one ordered me to wear a prison uniform. I figured they knew that it would not work on me.
Now I realize that no matter how thorough the old forces' arrangements are, as long as I don't have any omissions they would not dare to subject me to any destructive test. During the past seven years I have completely negated anything that I clearly knew I should not acknowledge, based on Fa principles. Sometimes we know from Fa principles that we "do not acknowledge the old forces' arrangements," but if it is not a righteous thought from our heart and mind, we can therefore not melt into the Fa and are thus separated from the Fa by our notions and attachments. Our original "righteous thoughts" would waver amid rampant evil.
My experience tells me that through studying the Fa we can guard every single thought, recognize our true self, eliminate interference by removing acquired notions and attachments and purify ourselves. Our righteous thoughts would naturally strengthen, our minds would stabilize, and the evil would self-destruct. We should strictly conduct ourselves by doing the three things well, regardless of the environment. By doing so we then will have already negated the old forces' arrangements. We don't have to constantly worry about the evil taking advantage of our omissions. Dafa disciples should simply do well and do better, according to Teacher's requirements. We do well because we want to assimilate to the Fa and rescue sentient beings, and there isn't any mandatory connection with the old forces.
I exposed the evil lies and slanders to the police with my understanding of Dafa and my experiences from Dafa activities. The police slowly gained a better understanding of Dafa, and they became less vicious. In the end they said, "You Falun Gong people are really good." This conclusion was rare at the time, given the earth-blanketing negative propaganda bombarding the public. These few police officers didn't do too many bad things against me. I always took memorizing the Fa seriously, and although I was isolated from the outside during detention, I continued to recite the Fa. Those who had monitored me let me do Dafa exercises. It wasn't very long before officials from my workplace bailed me out, and no one mentioned the "guarantee statement."
I heard later that the police who interrogated me showed great respect for me and were even thankful to me saying, "Look, she was organized and rational; she never mentioned any names, so we didn't have to exhaust ourselves by going out and conducting investigations, and we were able to seal the case quickly and smoothly." I learned that on the surface, the police were aggressive and pressed me for information [in order to comply with government policies], but in fact they didn't want to involve too many people, as they didn't want trouble for themselves. They had also looked down on those who betray others. Fa principles are harmonious and connected throughout the universe.
I clarified the truth to people at my workplace according to their ability to understand the facts. My work performance was excellent and my superiors really thought highly of me. The expenses for food and board expenses for the duration of my detention had been paid and I returned to work. Instead of getting my salary reduced, I was promoted.
Understand Fa principles; doing away with the evil and openly returning home
After I went home, the local police considered me a "leader." They monitored me and repeatedly threatened me saying, "You are a special case. If you go to Beijing to appeal, we'll sentence you to prison." I was a little confused in terms of Fa principles and agreed with their threat, "I'll get sentenced to prison if I do anything."
I was harboring strong fear. Increasing numbers of reports on the Clearwisdom website told of fellow practitioners who had gone to Beijing and were held in detention centers and brutally tortured; many of them went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution. The persecution was horrific. Some practitioners who returned from Beijing risked arrest [as my home was under surveillance] to visit me and share their understandings with me and tried to help me. We talked of "giving up all that we have in ordinary society; stepping forward and validating the Fa;" we understood it from Fa principles, and I felt that I could do it. I had a comfortable home, a great job, a loving husband and a young daughter, and it was difficult for me to give up everything. I knew that my daughter was a young Dafa disciple and Teacher was looking after her, but I still felt that she was too young and it'd be cruel to separate myself from her. I felt anguish, and I gained a deeper understanding of Teacher's words,
"Whenever someone tells you how to gain something out in the ordinary world, that's a demon." ("Breeding Demons in Your Own Mind" in The Sixth Talk of Zhuan Falun)
Through Fa study and sharing with fellow practitioners I strengthened the thought to "validating the Fa with my life." Although my thought was not completely righteous, I was finally able to take this difficult step. From this point on I truly transcended individual cultivation and melted into the magnificent current of Fa-validation.
Another practitioner and I went to Beijing to unfurl a banner at the end of 2000. The other practitioner had always encouraged me to go there and return together. I simply said, "Ok," but in fact I was thinking, "Nothing else matters as long as I fulfill my wish to validate the Fa by unfurling the banner in Tiananmen Square." I thought the police would try to arrest me whenever I left home. I ended up unfurling the banner as I had hoped, but because of my acknowledgement of the persecution and lack of righteous thoughts, the military police at a far corner of the square saw me. They arrested me after I had taken only a few steps. They beat me cruelly. The other practitioner left safely with the power of righteous thoughts.
Several practitioners including me were taken to a police department in Beijing. We were sent to a Beijing detention center after 48 hours of interrogation. Although I had the determination to "validate the Fa with my life" I didn't exactly know what to do. I lacked righteous thoughts when faced with apparently vicious evildoers, and I lacked the pure mentality I had back on July 20, 1999. Human notions constantly surfaced, and I was quite afraid. I was nervous all the time, worrying about the officials from my local government liaison office in Beijing recognizing me and taking me back. The environment was terrible; the inmates frequently abused Dafa practitioners, verbally and physically, and the police constantly interrogated us. They tried to get our home addresses so they could send us back to the local district and persecute us and our families.
I seized every opportunity to recite the Fa and tried to clarify the truth, but few people were willing to listen. Fifteen days later I felt my mind had stabilized. I went on a hunger strike and demanded unconditional release. I was sent to a detention center in Tangshan City the third day of my hunger strike. I clarified the truth to all the inmates and guards. The environment was much better. Dafa practitioners could recite the Fa as a group, and we also did the exercises in a group. I heard the inmates say that the guards are ruthless, and that local practitioners had suffered a great deal at their hands. We were transferred there because we had gone on a hunger strike and they wanted to "fix" us, but they dared not beat us. A hunger strike was an effective way to safeguard the Fa under these extreme circumstances. Everything has two sides, though, and I think Dafa practitioners are using this method in a positive way.
The environment kept improving. Many of the inmates started to study the Fa. The guards also learned some facts and were kind toward us. They were merely going through the motions during the daily interrogations. Various Dafa practitioners had different understandings regarding a hunger strike. We resumed eating and drinking at different times.
I felt there is no point in staying at the detention center, but I was also confused about how to further validate the Fa. I thought that perhaps all practitioners had already stepped forward and are being held at different places. I didn't know what else I could do at home, so I decided to just stay at the detention center with other practitioners. I didn't really want to go home and I was not confident about breaking free. Looking within, I thought that it was that I was afraid of labor camps. These thoughts were based on individual cultivation. I decided that I should go back to my home district and face any tribulation. I told them my address, and the local police picked me up.
I was temporarily held at the local police station. One practitioner heard about it and came to me and said, "Mom [code name for Teacher] said, 'Beyond the Limits of Forbearance;' why are you still here? You have so many things at home to take care of." I was surprised to see him, because I had thought he and other practitioners were detained at various places. A light went on and I thought, "If Teacher doesn't acknowledge it, I absolutely won't acknowledge it. I must go home!" I became clear on Fa principles, and what followed was simple and straightforward. I was held at the county detention center for one day and I no longer held a hunger strike. I clarified the truth for a whole day and was taken home the next day, exactly 30 days after I had first gone to Beijing.
Firmly believing in Dafa; breaking through financial persecution, and the path to validate the Fa becomes ever wider
I was forced to resign from my job as the persecution escalated. I then worked at a small company with a low salary but loose working conditions. I could study the Fa when I didn't have anything to do at work. The police staked out my home 24 hours a day. I could share with other practitioners at work, and I was happy with the work environment. When I spoke with other practitioners later I heard that many practitioners had to leave their jobs and homes and their lives were very difficult. People saw them as victims and pitied them, and the impact on their family and friends was profoundly negative. I encountered similar situations. I sent forth a thought from the depth of my mind, "All good things in this world are brought forth by Dafa practitioners. Each Dafa practitioner should have an environment that is good for cultivation; that also conforms to the state of ordinary people. I should have a good job according to my abilities and work experience. I believe that Teacher has made arrangements for us, but I haven't realized it because of my poor enlightenment quality."
Soon after I had this thought, someone invited me to work as a high-level clerk at a large company. My salary is about six times more than my previous salary. I even had money to help other practitioners out. After clarifying the truth I created a great environment for validating the Fa. I could study the Fa and edit truth clarification materials when there was no work. My boss and most colleagues had a positive attitude toward Dafa. They protected me when the persecution was at its worst. During family reunions and friends' gatherings, when clarifying the truth to the police, my abilities and high salary validated Dafa. People who met me didn't believe in the lies on TV because of my personal experience and achievements. I was also quite successful in helping my relatives to quit the Party and its affiliated organizations due to their respect for me.
Do not take a detour in the face of troubles; clarify the truth to the police face-to-face and create a positive cultivation environment
My husband had been arrested at the end of 2000 for practicing Falun Gong. The evildoers were running rampant then and did not tell me his whereabouts. They said they would arrest me as well. I firmly believed in Dafa and exposed the evil and clarified the truth, despite the great pressure. I posted and distributed copies of "Missing Person's Announcement." The evildoers grew afraid and hastily sent my husband to a labor camp. Two other practitioners who had been concurrently arrested were each sentenced to eight years in prison and 11 years in prison, respectively.
The labor camp officials forbade letters or visits. I wrote a letter to the guards to clarify the truth. I also wrote appeal letters explaining my husband's persecution experiences. I distributed and mailed lots of these letters. I had also sought legal assistance and had gone to almost all of the local attorneys' offices. I requested meetings with local officials, asking for legal documents. Furthermore, I clarified the truth to the local police chief, political head, to the head of the branch police department and to the head of the Political and Security Division. I phoned them, wrote letters to them, and sometimes I clarified the truth to them face-to-face. When I had run into vicious people, I suppressed the evil and exposed their evil deeds in articles I wrote. I clarified the truth to whoever would listen to me. I utilized my husband's experience to clarify the truth and suppressed the evil on a large scale.
My husband was released in 2003, one year early. According to Party policies he was supposed to report to the local police station. I had phoned the police station and the person in charge at the Administration Division and told them that my husband is physically weak and psychologically fragile, and that they cannot harass us. They must talk to me if they have anything to say to us. They had heard the truth from me many times before, and they never gave us trouble.
Sometimes I feel that I've cultivated well and done well, but actually, everything comes from the Fa. I can neither protect my own life nor my cultivation without Teacher's protection and help. When I do something well, I would reflect on it afterwards and see if I could have done better.
The above-mentioned thoughts are some things that I feel deeply about. I truly hope that I can stay diligent. I will practice cultivation solidly while doing the three things well in gratitude toward Teacher.