Discarding Fear on the Cultivation Path
(Clearwisdom.net) First, please allow me to send greetings to compassionate and great Master, as well as fellow practitioners!
I began practicing cultivation in early Spring of 1998. I have experienced many things over the past nine years during my efforts to end the persecution, dispel misconceptions about Falun Gong, help people free their minds from the poisonous Communist propaganda, and validate the greatness of Dafa. In particular, I wanted to share my experiences on how I abandoned fear.
"That's because when you get scared you have fear, and isn't that an attachment? And when your attachment comes out, shouldn't you get rid of it? The more scared you are, the more the problem feels like sickness--that attachment of yours just has to go. It's to have you learn a lesson and get rid of the attachment of fear, improving yourself." (The Sixth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I think I must be the most easily frightened person in the world! Well, this is a heavy topic and a long story, so let me start from when I was a child.
I was always easily frightened. When I was little, my ill-tempered father shouted at me, and I immediately began shivering from head to toe and was unable to move. Several days after this, I was unable to recover from fear and acted as if my soul had departed from my body. Because I was physically weak, my father never hit me.
Fortunately, after I began practicing cultivation in 1998, I was ecstatic when I realized that the fear had lessened. I could exercise alone in the park at 4:00 a.m. I felt Master pulling me up. I threw away all my medications. I was full of energy and walked like the wind was at my back. Falun Dafa is wonderful. I decided, "Since I am lucky enough to study such an amazing practice and have such a wonderful Master, I will study the Fa well and cultivate until the end."
True courage emerging
The brutal persecution began on July 20, 1999. Some people at my workplace slandered Falun Gong to my face. I did not know how to explain things in a more organized manner, but simply asked them calmly, "Do you really know about Falun Gong? Haven't you seen people who practice Falun Gong? They are simply good people who are trying to stay healthy, do they look like armed rioters?" They couldn't answer and walked away. I was surprised at my ability to calmly and fearlessly state the facts. Some practitioners, including myself, went up north to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. At Tiananmen Square we unfurled a banner that read "Truth-Compassion-Forbearance." As I stood there, I felt the inside of my body expanding to an ever-greater size, accompanied by the sound of rolling thunder. For the first time in my life I was completely fearless.
I still lagged far behind diligent practitioners. Right after I returned from Beijing, the police arrested me and sent me to a detention center. I saw five other practitioners in the cell and was elated. I told them, "I'm so happy to see you guys! I thought I wasn't going to see any familiar face here. I'm only brave when I'm with other practitioners and am a coward on my own."
The officials mandated backbreaking work. I slept three to four hours a day. Fortunately, several of us stayed together, and other practitioners left one by one. Eventually I was the only person left in the cell.
The criminal inmates, including prostitutes, drug addicts and violent crime offenders, were malicious, and it was a horrible place to be. My husband took me home after one month. It was the first time I had ever stayed alone in that terrible environment. For a long time, flashbacks and nightmares scared me awake at night.
Eliminating fear amid tribulations - again
The above was merely a preliminary trial in eliminating fear. I was doing it under the old forces' arrangements. In actuality, the fear was not whittled away at all; I gave the old forces a reason to escalate the persecution and my tribulations mounted.
One day in early July 2001 someone knocked on the door, and my daughter ran over and opened it. Eight police officers stomped inside, and my child froze with fear. The police shoved my family into the living room and began ransacking our home. My heart pounded in my chest, and my daughter cried hysterically. The police took recorders and audio-cassettes, and they forced my husband and me into a police car and drove us to a detention center.
Since I had not thoroughly studied and understood the Fa and was immersed in fear and emotions, things did not go too well. While in the cell, two scenarios alternately appeared in my head: my home, which had been ransacked and was a complete mess, and my tearful children. What worried me more was my husband's poor health. One practitioner asked me, "In which cell is your husband held?" I told her, and she said that's a well-known "violent unit." "Several days ago one stout male practitioner was seriously injured after a criminal in that unit had beaten him." The other practitioners were worried about my husband. I often heard the sound of beating outside my cell; even the veteran criminals commented, "What's going on these days? Why are they beating people every day?"
My heart cringed whenever I heard the guards shouting, and someone's painful cries. I couldn't even mention or think about my husband without shedding tears. One day a practitioner scolded me, "Don't you speak to me. You cannot abandon your human emotions! You are not a Dafa disciple." The other people in the cell called her cold-blooded, but I said, "She is right! I'm not doing well." Her harsh words helped me calm down, and I stopped thinking about those things for a few days and recited Hong Yin in my head.
The police interrogated me one day at the station and also brought my children to the police station. My daughter cried and said to me, "Mom, someone said you and Dad practice Falun Gong, and they'll throw all of our stuff in a warehouse and kick us out." I remained calm as I remembered Master's words,
"Each and every barrier must be broken through,
And everywhere does evil lurk." ("Tempering the Will," Hong Yin)
I realized that the tribulation had increased because I had not abandoned fear and emotional love. I urged myself, "Quick, give them up already, it'll be harder still if I cling to them. I am a cultivator!" Master said,
"In cultivation you need to eliminate karma, and eliminating karma is painful--how on earth could you increase gong in total comfort! And how else could you get rid of your attachments?" (The Sixth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I calmly told my daughter what to do and in the end simply told her, "Just grab the bank CD slip and you don't have to worry about anything else." She left crying. My head was then completely void of fear and anxiety. I kept reciting,
"Fame, gain, emotion--cultivate each away,
And ascend to the Firmament at Consummation,
See the human world with eyes of compassion,
Then are you freed from the spell of delusion." ("Success at Consummation," Hong Yin)
Following the interrogation, I felt lighter and stopped thinking about things that used to bother me. In the days that followed, I discovered that all the practitioners held in the same cell with me had cultivated better than me. When the guards asked an elderly practitioner where her Falun Gong articles came from, another practitioner said to her, "Just tell him I gave them to you." They saw the evil as nothing, and I really performed poorly compared to them. I was too attached to emotions and fear, which made the evildoer persecute me. I realized that I was a cultivator, and my mind became open. Life in the detention center became easier. I went home the morning of the 37th day of detention. I went home alone; everything was fine, and nothing was thrown into a warehouse.
I later learned that the police attempted to send my husband to a labor camp. I thought, "What they say don't count, what my Master says counts! What we do is not wrong, because Master asked us to do it. What do I have to fear with Master and the Fa here!" I had learned how to send righteous thoughts by this time, and my husband also came home. He said he was reciting Master's words, "When it's hard to endure, try to endure it. When it seems impossible to do, or just hard to do, give it a try and see just what you can do." (The Ninth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
He thought, "Master told me to do these things, and they are sacred. What can the evil do to me?" and other righteous thoughts. He said the guards hit him, but none of the inmates did, though he was indeed held at the violent unit, known for inmate brutality.
Letting go of attachments to life and death
The police arrested me again and took me to the police station in June 2003, but I was not the least afraid this time. I thought, "These policemen are so vicious; they have completely lost their minds while being manipulated by the old forces; so, I absolutely will not cooperate with them." I decided not to talk to them at the station. I refused to answer any question, and I refused to eat or drink; I simply sent righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil behind them. But, in actuality my mind was not steadfast and my righteous thoughts were not powerful. The police took me to the detention center.
While I was held there I recited "Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions" from Hong Yin II, and I felt Master's protection at every single moment. I never felt hungry or thirsty during my protest hunger strike. The guards force-fed me. The weather was hot, and the guards themselves were dripping sweat, but I shed not a single drop of sweat, and miraculously my lips were still moist. The guards tried to give me a saline infusion. I felt something spinning in one of my palms as they made preparations. It stopped after a while, and something began spinning in my other palm. I didn't know what was happening. When they were ready, they dragged me into another room, tied me spread-eagle to a wooden board, and four guards held my arms down.
I thought, "Your scheme will fail." First, they stuck a needle into the back of my right hand. I suddenly withdrew my hand, and the needle poked a guard's hand instead. He screamed, and the guard to his left said, "What a bunch of useless punks! You can't even hold down a woman who hasn't eaten in days? Watch how I do it!" The two guards on my left clamped down on my left arm. I thought, "No, you cannot do it, either." They put the needle in a vein, and I again yanked out my hand. They were stunned and speechless. Later on I heard one guard say, "Falun Gong people are incredible!" I finally realized why I felt something spinning in my palms--Master was protecting me! I am deeply grateful toward revered Master! I know very well that Master was bearing everything for me. While in the cell, I exposed the Party's persecution and its lies. I broke free nine days later with Master's help.
Eliminating additional fear through establishing a home-based materials production site and again dealing with fear
Many practitioners thought that it was too dangerous to maintain a home-based Falun Gong materials production site. We depended on others for flyers and pamphlets and had relatively few materials the first few years. Fourteen people shared one copy of the "Minghui Weekly" newsletter, which was always late. With help from the coordinator, however, my husband and I successfully began to produce materials in late 2006.
I encountered production problems like many other practitioners because computers were new to me. Worse yet, the nagging fear constantly reared its ugly head. When we first brought the equipment home, my heart almost leaped out of my chest. I was so scared that I couldn't even figure out how to destroy the computer's cardboard packing box. Each time before I turned the computer on, I would go out and look around to make sure no one was looking or listening. The more I feared, the more the old forces created illusions. Just as Master said, "When you aren't doing the exercises the environment is pretty good, but as soon as you do them it gets like this." (The Sixth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
Police sirens pierced the air, and sometimes a police car was parked right outside our apartment for hours at a time. We sent righteous thoughts, and I thought, "We are doing the most righteous thing in the universe; no one can persecute us, as no one is worthy." After sending righteous thoughts, we continued to produce the materials. When we looked outside again the police car had left.
In order not to give the old forces any reason to persecute us, we spent every moment these past two years on reciting the Fa, doing the exercises, explaining what Falun Gong is to people and producing materials. Our site has operated smoothly under Master's guidance. We did encounter some interference during the Olympics and some sites had difficulties producing materials, so we took the responsibility of printing and delivering more materials, which would have been unimaginable three years ago.
The root of my fear
One practitioner gave a very good explanation on the word fear and said the character "fear" consists of "heart" and "vain." However, Master has changed our destiny into a path of cultivation. Master said,
"So nobody can predict things right since this is an altered life--a life of cultivation." (The Sixth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
"Could anything that happens in Dafa cultivation, in Fa-rectification, or in validating the Fa be simply by chance?" ("Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference")
Things that have nothing to do with our cultivation will not exist, as Master told us; anything that happens must target a certain attachment. I realize that the things I come across during cultivation indicate the necessity for me to get rid of fear. There are three reasons fear is able to interfere with me: my ego and attachment to self, my incompletely negating the old forces' arrangements, and a lack of firm belief in Master and Dafa.
To put it in plain terms, I did not handle myself as a Falun Gong practitioner. In that case, what can Master do about this? How do divine beings view that? We follow Master on the path of cultivation in order to become Buddhas and gods! Would a divine being fear anything? Would a god dread what an ordinary person has to say? Would an enlightened person obsess about things in this world? I think Master has given us a precious treasure - looking inward - so that we can identify all our human notions and discard them, thus eventually becoming truly divine beings.
I must let go of fear, which is what a cultivator is not supposed to have. I must correct my every thought and deed through the Fa, regard everything with the mindset of a divine being, and identify each reason for my fear. When we have truly overcome fear, we will have entered another state of cultivation.
I think that for the past nine years, there are too many things I could report to Master, so I emphasized the issue of fear. It would have been difficult for me to make it to this day if it was not for Master's compassionate protection.
Thank you, Master! Heshi.