The Radiance of an Enlightened Being -- The Story of Zhao Ming
(Clearwisdom.net) Editor's note: Many of our readers probably still remember an article entitled "The Radiance of an Enlightened Being" that we published on October 11, 2001. At that time, the protagonist in the story was still being persecuted at vicious "re-education through labor" facilities. For reasons that are known to everyone, we suppressed his real name at the time of publishing. Now, thanks to the support and rescue efforts of the international community, Zhao Ming, that story's protagonist and a Dafa disciple with unshakable righteous belief, has finally regained his freedom and come back to Ireland to practice and study the Fa in a peaceful environment. Indeed, like so many Dafa disciples, Zhao Ming has taken a truly extraordinary path. His path, however, is still extraordinary compared with the many remarkable experiences of others. So much so that we don't know where to start when recounting his story...
Let's revisit a brief episode in Zhao Ming's experiences. Needless to say, what is recounted in this article is no more than a small portion of his ordeal in the past two years. However, the brilliance of "Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance" shining forth from him has already and will continue to illuminate the souls of millions.
This is a story about a Dafa disciple who endured countless ordeals for his belief in "Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance," and who through steadfastly holding "Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance" in his heart has become indomitable.
I was a brainwashed Falun Gong practitioner in a labor camp. I do not intend to say anything about myself; instead, I very much want to tell another practitioner's story.
The labor camp I was in was initially a men's labor camp. It has two four-story buildings. Since too many female practitioners were arrested and the women's labor camp could not hold them, some of them were exchanged with those detained in the men's labor camp.
Originally, the labor camp only had two squadrons, but this was increased to three after we entered. The three squadrons were in the same building. Another building held young male prisoners under the age of eighteen. Male and female prisoners were not supposed to live in the same building; however, since so many practitioners were arrested, the building was also used to detain female Falun Gong practitioners. The total number of people in the camp increased from the usual one or two hundred to one thousand, ninety percent of whom were Falun Gong practitioners. The authorized size of the camp grew to eight sizeable groups.
Last December, we heard that six very determined male practitioners were transferred from the men's labor camp to the women's camp. The camp authorities had used all available means but were unable to brainwash these practitioners successfully. The fear was that the determination of the six men would affect other practitioners who might otherwise accept the brainwashing.
The six practitioners were detained in the teen-education team and several teenage prisoners monitored each one. They were detained separately and absolutely not allowed to see each other or talk to each other. Once, a young boy helped them pass a note. The guards found out and then badly shocked the boy with electric batons. From then on, in order not to bring trouble to those kids, the practitioners did not even wink at each other. In that evil environment, everything depended upon oneself.
The work of brainwashing each of the six practitioners was "contracted" to a female team. One of the practitioners that was "contracted" to my team was Zhao Ming.
The first time that I heard the name of Zhao Ming was from the mouth of a so-called brainwashing activist [a person who diligently brainwashes others--Translator] who was in the same class I was in. She was a college graduate, and used her education to diligently poison others after she herself enlightened along an evil path. She had a handy set of crooked principles and evil theories, so she could easily confuse those who did not study the Fa deeply.
One day when she came back, when others asked her who she had brainwashed, she said, "Zhao Ming." When others asked how he was, she said that he was wonderful but he was tortured by all kinds of means in the male labor camp; for example, he was shocked with seven or eight electric batons. He was also forced to sit in a basin and was then squeezed under a bed. After that, several people sat on the bed and pressed him down. He was required to squat until three o'clock in the morning and was then allowed to sleep briefly. Before five o'clock, he was awakened again, and this torture lasted for three months.
Ultimately, the brainwashing activist said she was proud that Master had such a disciple. This was the first time I heard her praise a determined Falun Gong practitioner. I was shocked by her words, because in the eyes of people like her who have enlightened along an evil path, only by "being brainwashed" can one continue one's cultivation. Only by "being brainwashed" can one reach "consummation."
She successively went to Zhao Ming's place for several days. Every time she came back, there was someone asking her whether Zhao Ming was transformed or not. She always shook her head. I was secretly happy in my heart. Although I was forced to accept the brainwashing, my mind was not completely confused. I knew that accepting brainwashing was absolutely wrong, and that it would be especially difficult to save those who had demonic interference in their minds. People who were sent to bewilder Zhao Ming were changed one after another, but he kept firm and unshakable all along. At last, the team leader was at her wits end, and for some reason, she thought of me. In the past, they never let me join the brainwashing of others, because they did not trust me.
That was almost the first time that I brainwashed others. I followed those who had enlightened along an evil path and arrived at the building that housed the teen-education team. Zhao Ming was told to go to the duty office [the office that is in charge of mail, reception, and so on--Translator] and was once again besieged, with several traitors attacking him again. (Incidentally, the "transformed" ones always attacked determined practitioners in groups.)
There was a stern and inviolable expression in his look. From the beginning to the end, he looked indifferent and was unshakable.
Those enlightened along an evil path started to laugh at him, saying that he had become numb. On the other side of the room I looked at the notes they had recorded, laughing secretly. They made a great show of being in earnest and had written, "on such and such a day, when we said so-and-so, Zhao Ming's look changed a little bit; it seems that we can make a breakthrough from the so-and-so aspect, etc." They even recorded Zhao Ming's yawning, thinking it was an indication that they could find the true key to transforming him. How could they know that, as Master Li said, "The evil no longer has any way to change the determination that Dafa disciples have developed from their true understanding of the Fa through cultivation and from their Buddha-nature after the elevation of their benti." ("Coercion Cannot Change People's Hearts") After they enlightened along an evil path, they could not understand what the Buddha law was at all. They had become like traveling entertainers playing those clown-like cheap tricks. Yet they were very pleased with themselves, as though they had enlightened to "heavenly secrets."
I went with them day after day, but hardly said anything. If indeed I was unable to avoid it, I said a few words. I once asked him, "Zhao Ming, what is the deepest experience in your cultivation?" Those traitors looked at me in confusion, but after a while, they nodded happily, thinking that I had come up with a new trick to brainwash him. He looked at me with the usual indifferent and firm expression, and did not speak for a long time. Finally, he uttered one word, "Determination."
I didn't remember how many days passed. Our brainwashing work had not made any progress yet. One day, the team leader was angry and said, "Bring Zhao Ming to our building; ask more people to come and attack him in turn."
Zhao Ming was taken to the team office in our building, and the team leader asked dozens of people to besiege him. Among them were some old ladies who had entered into cultivation for healing illness and keeping fit. They obtained many benefits from Dafa but had not yet understood what cultivation truly was, so they went towards enlightenment along an evil path. Since Zhao Ming was a post-graduate, the team leader always asked highly educated people to brainwash him. Those old ladies thought the opportunity was rare, so they spared no effort. They attacked him one by one, selling their crooked principles.
I had seen many practitioners come into the labor camp. They had heard that there were traitors in the camp, so from the moment they entered, they were very alert and were very careful not to listen to those traitors' opinions. However, in their minds, some of them had great hostility and dissatisfaction within. Although in the beginning they tried their best to resist those who had enlightened along the evil path, later, that little part of them which lacked compassion, or contained omissions, and was being affected by moods and emotions, was taken advantage of by the evil forces. Those people also used their evil to magnify and inflame the last existing demonic nature and impure compassion of those cultivators and finally led them to an evil path. I believed that many of them could still become enlightened to their mistakes and get back on the right track, but after all they had left a stain in their course of cultivation and harmed Dafa. If they could not enlighten back to the right way, it would be terrible.
Zhao Ming was not like those who gave in to the brainwashing. I could see clearly that there was no bit of resentment and hatred in his heart, that all he had was pure and righteous compassion. He had experienced a long period of "fatigue warfare"or "wheel warfare" [whereby those enlightened along an evil path attack him in turn--Translator] and "psychological attack," and his physical body had borne it to the limit. Although the demonic nature of those enlightened along an evil path desperately threw their evil materials at him, and although in another dimension, unknown numbers of demons wanted to drag him down, he always maintained a pure and peaceful mind and calmly reasoned things out with those "transformation" activists.
While those old ladies started to talk about the so-called "six characteristics of an evil cult" put out by the government, Zhao Ming calmly said, "Those six items were crafted by human beings, not by heaven. The standard itself is all wrong. Using the feature 'the worship of the founder of religion' as an example, he said that right after Sakyamuni was born, with one hand pointing to heaven, and another pointing to the earth, he said, "In heaven and on earth, only I can be respected." Jesus directly claimed that he was the son of God. He required his followers to obey him absolutely. Which orthodox religion has no worship of its founder? If you want to denounce it, you should first denounce Sakyamuni and Jesus. Moreover, in the ancestral halls of many big Chinese families, the memorial tablets of their ancestors are enshrined and worshipped. Accordingly, we should denounce those worshipped ancestors, shouldn't we?"
The evil enlightened people were rendered speechless. I secretly commended him in my heart. After having heard so many crooked principles and evil theories, I was very happy to hear righteous insights and righteous enlightenment once again.
In order to hear more from him, I asked, "Zhao Ming, would you please tell us what kind of feelings you have for Master?" The reason I asked this was that many people went towards enlightenment along the evil path because they were not clear about the relationship between the Fa and Master, nor did they understand the difference between rational belief and emotional worship. He thought for a while, and then said, "I believe in Master; just one word--believe."
"Believing in Master" sounds very simple. Which cultivator does not believe in Master? If one does not believe in Master, what is the point of practicing cultivation? However, the extent to which one believes in Master and the extent to which one can give up one's acquired warped notions are absolutely related to the level to which one cultivates. If one has not cultivated oneself to a certain level, then one's belief would not rise to that level either.
Zhao Ming's "believe" reminded me of two things. One was a story I heard in the detention center. There was an old farmer. Ever since the persecution of Falun Gong by the government began, he went to Beijing to validate Dafa and along his way, he collected trash to make up the traveling expenses. After he was arrested, he said to a fellow practitioner in the same cell that his cultivation was very simple and it could be summarized in just two words. The fellow practitioner opened his eyes wide, thinking in his mind, "Teacher has taught so many Fa principles that we feel unable to be enlightened to all of them. Also, each practitioner has so much experience in his or her cultivation, how come he only has two words? What are these two words?"
The fellow practitioner hastened to ask his advice; the old farmer said, "Be obedient."
The second one was what happened when I was first put into the labor camp. At that time, I was very determined. The director of the Education Section frequently looked for me to have a talk, trying to "transform" me as quickly as possible. To be frank, he would be considered knowledgeable among ordinary people because he had read a lot of books. He knew this and thus thought highly of himself. The first time he talked to me, he asked me right away, "Have you read Zizhi Tongjian [a famous Chinese historical record with many volumes --Translator]?" I knew that he felt I was a very proud person and he wanted to use this to dispel my pride. However, how could he understand that a cultivator's self-confidence, which originates from his or her belief in the Fa, is not the same as the pride of everyday people?
He used all kinds of everyday people's principles, while at the same time not allowing me to talk about the principles of Falun Gong. He wanted to trap me. I turned his tricks against him and talked about everyday principles with him. How could he know that Dafa is harmonized, and penetrates each level, including human society? Using the principles at the everyday people's level, he could not trap me.
He considered himself superior, and so rather than resorting to violence, he thought people like me could be easily defeated theoretically and psychologically. How could he know that even though he racked his brains in scheming, he could not move me even a little bit? On the contrary, his mental and physical effort was exhausted. Finally, he slapped his head and shouted at me, "Do you know who is the most difficult to transform? An uneducated person! You have read so many books, yet why are you like an uneducated person?"
Zhao Ming's "believe," the old farmer's "be obedient" and the conclusion that "uneducated persons are hard to transform" all manifest a very important principle for us--when cultivators cultivate themselves to the last step, it is critical whether they can completely give up their egos and acquired notions, and truly dissolve their lives into the Fa.
Among those who enlightened along an evil path in the labor camp, a vast number of them did so because they could not give up their acquired selves. Giving up one's self includes many aspects. Giving up material interests was relatively easy, but the acquired notions developed throughout our different lifetimes were the hardest to give up since many people regarded them as truly their own. Furthermore, if they had the attachment of showing-off, they imperceptibly considered the Fa as an everyday people's theory for analyzing and studying, or as pointed out by Master in "Learning the Fa" (Essentials for Further Advancement), they wanted to "dig out" something from the Fa, so this would easily bring them problems. Many intellectuals in the labor camp who regarded themselves as infallible went towards enlightenment along an evil path this way. Some of them became completely given over to demonic interference in their mind. The lesson is grievously deep. Cultivation is serious, and should not be mixed with bits of humanness.
Now let us return to the story of Zhao Ming.
One day, he talked a lot. He had read "Speech by Master Li Hongzhi at the Western US Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference of Falun Dafa" and "Master Li Hongzhi's Lecture at the Great Lakes Conference in North America" when he was in the men's labor camp. In the face of those traitors, he calmly talked about the Fa that Master recently taught. When he mentioned Master's words, "I can tell you that what all gods in the cosmos--whether it's the ones who've been rectified or the ones who haven't been--say that, with regard to everything you've been doing today, we're incredibly compassionate." (Speech by Master Li Hongzhi at the Western US Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference of Falun Dafa) My tears fell immediately. In such an evil environment, when I again heard the Fa Master taught, when I again saw a disciple in such a lofty realm, the deepest part of my life was touched greatly.
So those enlightened along an evil path could not see my tears, I tried hard to turn my head aside. At that moment, I felt Zhao Ming in front of me was an enlightened being in a heaven. He carried himself with incomparable dignity and compassion, radiating unparalleled purity and warmth that covered everything around him with the radiance of his world. At that moment, he did not belong to this secular world and this dimension at all, nor could any demons approach him. It was a pity that no one in front of him deserved to listen to him. They were already completely lost.
Later, I had two minutes to stay with him alone. My heart beat fast and I hastened to tell him I was not really transformed. I never agreed with everything those traitors said. Before I finished my words, someone came in and I had to stop. His facial expression was as usual; I could not see what he thought of me. However, after that, whenever he saw me, there was a tiny bit of warmth and care in his look that was not perceived by others. Surrounded and monitored by evil demons, this tiny bit of warmth and care was as precious as an oasis in the desert, and it gave me great encouragement and consolation. Later on, my team indeed could not transform him, and they had to pass him to another team. I lost the chance to talk with him, but every time I went downstairs to get in line for a meal, I saw him in the team office surrounded by people talking at him. I knew that they could not move him at all.
Then I was released to go home. I heard from the practitioners who were released later than me that after Zhao Ming was passed to team No. 4, they beat him brutally. They punished him by making him squat and stand, not allowing him to sleep, etc. After that, he was detained in the assembly room for training. He was made to stand for over ten hours and his body was swollen all over. They also forced him to clean out the garbage. After that, he was taken away and no one knew where he went.
With my whole heart, I hope those who read this article will relay the story of Zhao Ming to more people. Based on my own experience, I know all the determined disciples detained in the labor camps bear inhuman torture and tremendous pressure every moment, every second. What they have borne has already gone far beyond what they should have borne. If we outside disciples are unable to try our best to expose the evil and clarify the truth, we will let them down.