Breaking Through Difficult Obstacles After a Thirty Four Day Hunger Strike
(Clearwisdom.net) Cultivation is a serious matter, and everyone's personal cultivation history is recorded. During the same time span, some might achieve great things due to diligent practice, and some might achieve nothing due to laziness.
One day in April 2002, one of my relatives who worked in the Public Security sector inadvertently talked about hunting a certain practitioner. I tried to set him straight immediately. However, the police officers who were lying in wait arrested me. Because I graduated from a famous university, many policemen came over and talked to me about Dafa-related issues. During the conversation I discovered that many people didn't have much aversion to Dafa at all. Some just could not understand the firm determination of Dafa practitioners and others found certain articles in the Dafa truth-clarifying materials hard to accept.
The next day I was illegally detained at a detention center. Police officers interrogated me on the second day. I remembered that Master once said that we should not be afraid of the evil in the face of persecution. So I talked with them in a very relaxed manner. Every now and then I joked with them, and everyone there laughed. One of the police interrogators later told me privately that he admired the composure and calmness of Dafa practitioners.
It might have had something to do with my manner of speaking - after that day the police didn't interrogate me anymore. Later, I heard that there were Dafa practitioners on a hunger strike in the detention center. I thought, why not support them? So since then I started a hunger strike as well.
The day that I started the hunger strike I exchanged ideas with a practitioner who was later released because he was found to have kidney disease. During several days of force-feeding we encouraged each other and further strengthened our righteous thoughts.
Two days after I started the hunger strike, the police began to force-feed me. In order to detain Dafa practitioners long term, they persecuted Dafa practitioners when force-feeding them, in an attempt to make Dafa practitioners give up the hunger strike in fear of torture. The force-feeding, even when done in a moderate manner, is very uncomfortable. If the tube were inserted into the trachea, it would cause severe coughing. If it were used as a deliberate means of torture, the feeling would be even more unbearable. It required a strong will to keep it up for a long period of time.
During the early days of force-feeding I kept a daily thought in my mind: "I am a Dafa practitioner. The more difficult it is, the stronger I should be." This thought helped me strengthen my will. When it was too difficult, I would call Master in my heart; then the pain from the force-feeding would be reduced to nothing. On the first day in the detention center, many inmates in the same cell admired my knowledge and asked me a lot of questions. I told them many stories from throughout history, of respecting virtue and cultivating the mind, to enlighten their kindness and their righteous thoughts toward Dafa. Some criminals, including those who had received death penalty, told me that they would like to practice Dafa.
Because force-feeding is extremely painful, it is very hard to endure it once you have a fear of pain. While force-feeding, the police always try to use your human mentalities to seduce you. For example, they may speak softly to you, "How painful it is to have the tube inserted into your stomach! How about we inject the stuff into your mouth. It is less miserable!" Two practitioners swallowed the bait like this. When force-feeding me, the police were talking to each other about this, mostly ridiculing those two practitioners. I felt very upset upon hearing this. One day it happened that all three of us were together during force-feeding. In order to remind the other two practitioners, I intentionally raised my voice, "All we do will be our own legacy." A practitioner would understand what those words meant.
Unfortunately, a few days later, a practitioner started to eat. After another two days, not being able to get enough food, he asked his family members to order extra food and pay for it from their own pocket. After hearing this, I cried. Police officers continuously injected milk into another practitioner's mouth. Thus, during this month, I heard police officers laughing at him behind his back. In fact, any time did not conduct ourselves according to high standards, we became the butt of their jokes.
During the period when I was holding hunger strike, I would think of delicious food, even in my dreams. I repeatedly recited Dafa articles and scriptures I had memorized before. Sometimes, I would keep reciting several dozen times, "Eat but taste not - Mouth free from attachment." ["In the Dao" from Hong Yin, unofficial translation] After that, there were no longer any food attachment interferences. Sometimes I felt it was so joyful. This state of mind is difficult to describe in words. Thus I always recited Dafa articles and books. My willingness to further improve myself became stronger. I remembered Teacher once said that in the past, once a person left home and became a monk, he would immediately became a semi-deity. I understood why monks could become a semi-deity, since they indeed no longer had the mindset of a human being. This kind of comprehension gave me a sense I had never had before.
In a dream after about half a month later I read an article called "Preface on a Vine." When I woke up I thought no matter how precipitous a cliff is, they look like a smooth, broad site for the vine. For a vine there is no concept of steep and hard. They freely move around in any area. Thus I learned by following Dafa; there is nothing that cannot be done.
During that period, trying the obtain enlightenment within the Fa was very important. For example, during the hunger strike I constantly kept myself alert. I did not pay any attention to the pain during force-feedings. One day I even thought how fast it would be to eliminate karma this way. Later I questioned if this would be equivalent to accepting the evil's persecution? When I changed my thought, my situation changed after that.
During the whole cultivation process, cultivating diligently is so important. It is important in adversity; it is even more important in a peaceful environment. If we do not cultivate diligently, the outcome would be the same. It is like sailing against the current - if we do not move forward, we will move backward.
Sometimes the vicious people used all kinds of methods to test me. I thought that I should not cooperate with them, so I did not respond to them. They spoke to themselves, "Your arms are so thin that we could not get your blood pressure." They kicked at me, while I was lying weakly on the ground, with a foot and said, "We shall let you go; just get up and sign your name." I did not answer them. After that when they saw me not giving any response, they talked to each other, "X (another practitioner's name) was fooled in this way. We let him get up and sign his name, and he got up right away." Thus I felt the actions during the hunger strike must be consistent from the beginning to the end; otherwise, the evil could take advantage of them.
I am very thin by nature. During the hunger strike I became even thinner. One day I took a look at my hands and found the skin was barely covering the bones. I felt very uncomfortable. I knew this was another test. During the whole period of the hunger strike, similar situations always came. I often felt my body and mind suffering from all kinds of interference. However I was always able to demand of myself to keep firm, righteous thoughts. Thus the tests could never affect me.
After more than 30 days the daily force-feeding became easier for me than eating. Thinking that there was still a lot of truth-clarifying work outside that I needed to do, I became very anxious. I thought that since this test no longer had any effect on me it should end.
A few days later, the application for sending me to a labor camp was rejected. I was soon transferred to administration detention, the lightest punishment. Soon after, the police authorities and my work unit sent someone to take me out. First I was transferred to the detention center; then after some paperwork I was released straight away. This was unheard of in my local area. Dafa's dignity is incomparable.
What I sensed most from this experience is that without a firm foundation of Fa-study and a solid cultivation process, when facing difficulties, it is very easy to go astray in tribulation. During this time, on many occasions when I wanted to strengthen my righteous thoughts, many words from Dafa would appear in my mind. If I had not studied the Fa well, I could not have been able to do so. Master said, "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."
This time I was illegally detained for 35 days. Last time it was one and an half months. During both detention periods I saw [in my mind's eye] the records of my cultivation: The first time it was about half a page, but this time it was a book.
In Explaining the Fa for Falun Dafa Assistants in Changchun, Master said, "There's no time limit, and whether or not you cultivate is your own issue. How high you cultivate to, how great your ability to forbear is, and how great your ability to endure is, these are also your own issues. If Teacher were to set a time limit for you to cultivate out of here, would your mind be able to reach there? Would your xinxing be able to rise up there? Would your understanding of the Fa reach that high? Would you be able let go of the attachments you have among ordinary people? Would you be able to let go when it comes to your own self-interest and things you fight over with others? All of these are issues of a person's own cultivation. No one sets rules for you, and there's no time limit. Some people might be able to cultivate to Arhat Status really quickly, while some people might need a lifetime to do so. It depends on your ability to endure and whether you're strict with yourself--it's all up to you."
At home, if I missed one meal in a day I would feel very hungry. However, I didn't feel as bad during the hunger strike that lasted for over a month. I feel that Master only looks at disciples' hearts, and Master endured many of our real tribulations. How many people can truly understand this?
On the way back home I remembered what Master said,
"...in the process of your cultivation, and in the process of your safeguarding the Fa, there have been all kinds of tribulations and you've encountered all kinds of difficulties. Relying on your own thinking and decisions, you've made it through. Master hasn't done all this in vain. Whatever Master has done for you was worth it!" ("Teaching the Fa at the Great Lakes Fa Conference in North America")
Thinking about this, I burst into tears.