Steadfastly Cultivate Dafa with Unflinching Will - Improve as a Whole to Save Sentient Beings
Greetings to Teacher! Greetings to all fellow practitioners!
I am a 72-year-old Dafa practitioner from mainland China. I used to be illiterate but the power of Dafa has made me wiser and helped me to share my experiences. During the five years that Teacher has suffered injustice, Dafa has undergone tribulations, and as Dafa disciples have encountered persecution, I have bravely validated Dafa. I can recall my experiences as vividly as if they happened yesterday, and now I wish to share them with Teacher and my fellow practitioners.
1. My health improved greatly after I began to practice Falun Dafa
I had suffered nephritis and stomach disorders for more than thirty years. My glaucoma was so serious that I almost became blind in my left eye. I was hovering between life and death for a long time, and wasted a lot of money on different medications without any improvements. Fortunately, in the spring of 1996 I encountered Falun Dafa. Soon afterward I was able to collect all my medicines and syringes into one basket and throw them away. As expected, all the chronic diseases that had tortured me for decades totally disappeared. I had forgotten what it felt like to be healthy and whole, and everyone who saw me said that I was like a new person since beginning Falun Dafa practice. I was so very grateful to Teacher and Dafa for giving me a second chance at life that I decided to persist in cultivation in spite of all the difficulties.
When I expressed this wish, Teacher helped me both mentally and physically. Soon I could read and write. Through deep Fa study I gradually realized some Fa-principles, and my heart filled with happiness. I forged ahead diligently with practice and Fa study. During the personal cultivation stage, I studied and eagerly recited the Fa, practiced diligently, and transcribed a Dafa book. This laid a solid foundation for my Fa-rectification cultivation.
2. Validating Dafa and suffering persecution
In July 1999, dark clouds gathered over China as the persecution began. Our local practice site coordinator was arrested, and on July 22, we went to the provincial government to appeal for the release of all coordinators. As a result we were detained overnight, and forced to watch a video that slandered Teacher.
On the evening of December 25, fellow practitioners and I practiced the exercises at the local square to validate Dafa. Officers from the county police department arrested us and hit and abused us during interrogations in their office. At midnight several dozen of us were detained in one cell, and due to the cold winter and lack of blankets we huddled closely to warm each other. We suffered various tortures there. For example, although our porridge was made of leftover rice eaten from the foul smelling chamber pots of criminals, we still were ordered to pay 30 Yuan (1) for food each day. The persecutors illegally interrogated us and demanded we write a Guarantee Statement, giving up our practice of Falun Dafa, but only one elderly person was scared into giving up the practice and released. The other eleven affirmed that they would persist in practicing. As a result of this we were detained illegally for two weeks, and each was fined between 1000 and 3000 Yuan.
After I was released and returned to work, the office staff told me that practicing Falun Gong was not allowed among Communist party members, and asked whether I would continue practicing. I responded that I would definitely continue since Falun Gong leads people to become more compassionate, and fit and healthy. Consequently, I lost my party membership that I had held for forty years.
In January 8, 2002, four of us older practitioners agreed to go to Beijing to appeal. Despite the cold and rain nothing blocked our determination to validate the Fa. We took a bus to Wuhan City and then bought train tickets to Beijing at 5:00 p.m. But half an hour before we were to board the train, local plainclothes police arrested us illegally and snatched our tickets. Although they demanded to know why we were traveling to Beijing we did not cooperate with the evil. Later they recognized our accents and called in our local police, who recognized us, and started to hit and kick us fiercely until we were left with bloody noses and swollen faces. After this we were handcuffed, dragged into a police car, and taken back to the local detention center, where we arrived at midnight. Since one evil policeman found no one else around, he extorted 680 Yuan from us and swaggered off.
Before the two conferences last year, I heard news of an evil police scheme to abduct groups of Dafa practitioners in the event they appealed in Beijing. The next night I dreamt that there was a dark hole in which there were two black snakes who worked cooperatively with three people. At the time it surprised me that the snakes did not bite them. At 4:00 p.m. three days later, five staff from the police department arrived at my house. Seeing their clothes and inner mood I realized the situation was similar to my dream. It turned out the two snakes were the evildoers from the police department, while the other three staff were guards from three units that cooperated with the police to arrest me. I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil and refused to open the door. After a while they left.
When my daughter returned from work, I told her what had happened. She said: "Don't worry. We won't turn on the lights tonight and tomorrow I'll take you to a rural area to hide." The next night, still unsatisfied, five evildoers caused trouble with my daughter. They said that the central government was about to convene two major political conferences and would like to talk with me. They threatened her with the loss of her job unless she told them my whereabouts. My daughter answered confidently and firmly, "How can you suspend my job? My mother has personal freedoms and the freedom of belief. Falun Gong teaches people to be compassionate and fit and healthy, so how can that violate the law? You'd better stop making trouble for her." The evildoers changed their attitude slightly, saying that they had not come to arrest her but to talk about her going to Beijing to appeal, which she should not do. Despite this they still did not give up, and returned secretly the next day. Since it was dark and raining they went to the wrong door, and we were able to drive away without being noticed.
In November last year, another fellow practitioner and I organized an experience sharing conference with over forty participants. The police later came to arrest me, claiming that someone had reported that we had held a conference, and that I was the organizer. The day they came, I had gone out thirty minutes before the authorities arrived at 11:30 a.m. They called at my outer gate while my daughter and nephew were inside. Seeing the police, they refused to open the doors. My daughter came to find me right after and explained what had happened. She told me not to go back home in case the evildoers came again. Actually, they returned three times that day, so I was forced to remain away from home for quite some time.
3. Clarifying the Truth About Falun Dafa to save sentient beings.
Between June 1999 and August 2002 I wrote many letters. On June 13 1999, Teacher published the article "Stability," in which He said:
"With regard to the information the students have on how the relevant regions or the relevant departments have directly or covertly interfered with and disrupted Falun Gong students' practicing, and with regard to the situation in which some people used their power to stir up a Falun Gong 'incident', to put a broad segment of the people and government in opposition to one another, and to thereby gain politically, the students can report these cases through the normal channels to different levels of the government or to the country's leaders." (Essentials for Further Advancement II)
This inspired me to write letters to leaders in the county committee to validate Dafa and to clarify the facts.
At the very beginning I ran into many difficulties, particularly the common problem of being old and illiterate. Possibly Teacher saw my thoughts, so when I sat in meditation at night His golden picture appeared above my left forehead and smiled slightly at me. I realized that Teacher was encouraging me since my idea was correct, so I decided to proceed. The next day, I began to draft letters to the county committee, the county government, the People's Congress, and the People's Political Consultative Committee. After writing I exchanged my views with fellow practitioners, and asked them to improve on them before sending them out. Soon afterwards I began to write a letter to Premier Zhu Rongji. My actions also drove other practitioners to write letters to validate Dafa one after another. Later, practitioners who went to appeal in Beijing copied the letter and distributed it in Wuhan City, Shijiazhuang City, and Handan City, and even in Beijing.
When I went to a fellow practitioner's home to edit my letter a third time, he was not at home. Without understanding I asked a young practitioner to help instead. He said that he didn't know how to, but I still didn't understand. Then I heard Teacher's voice in my ear saying, "you'd better retouch it yourself." I was both happy and ashamed since I realized that I shouldn't rely on fellow practitioners since they have their own work to do. After that, I started to write and edit the letters myself, and soon it was not as strenuous as before. Later, when I picked up my pen to consider how to write, a miracle occurred - the whole article appeared in my brain, so I copied it down line by line. Even my handwriting improved significantly. Sometimes, Teacher taught me new words and how to use punctuation marks. Since my thinking was so nimble and the writing so quick I forgot that I had been illiterate. I realized that this wisdom was given by Teacher and that he was beside me while I wrote. I persisted in writing letters to leaders of different levels, enterprises, governmental offices, schools, and police stations, and also helped fellow practitioners to write. When I showed the letters to my family they all said: "It is miraculous that you can write so well." I smiled, saying, "That is due to Dafa's might and Teacher's help."
The second stage, from August 2002 until now involved clarifying the truth face-to-face. On August 21, 2002, Teacher told us to hurry up and tell people the facts. I understood that it was most urgent to save sentient beings, so I made a schedule to clarify the truth everywhere I went. I spoke from cities to rural areas. In June last year, on a very hot day I took a hat, towel, and water, and visited a friend with whom I used to mountain climb when we were young. Now being both over 70 years old, and having not seen each other for several decades, we hardly recognized each other. When she learned the facts of Dafa she was moved to tears and said excitedly "You are so old yet you walked such a long distance in the heat to tell us the facts of Dafa. I am really grateful to you. We have been deceived by lies on TV for years, and have followed the TV to slander Dafa. No wonder my eyes have been painful for years. We will never believe the lies again and we will remember that Falun Dafa is good!"
One of my colleague's sons worked overseas in a highly paid position after graduation. When she and her husband saw many overseas disasters on TV they constantly worried about his safety and begged God to bless him every day. I told her the facts of the persecution and how Dafa will bring happiness and glory to human beings, and suggested she write to her son telling him that one will have good fortune and avoid disasters by saying aloud "Falun Dafa is good." The old couple felt extremely grateful after learning these facts.
An 86-year-old man felt uneasy when I was telling him the facts of Dafa. He said anxiously "I did a wrong thing by burning a copy of Zhuan Falun. What should I do now?" I felt a bit sad and asked "How could you burn a book from heaven!?" He replied "When Dafa was distributed widely, someone gave me a copy of Zhuan Falun. Since I can cure some minor diseases, I tried to find some mistakes in the book. Later when the persecution began, I saw that Falun Gong practitioners were arrested and I was so scared that I burned the book. But soon after that my 62-year-old son was beaten to death by someone, and many of my previous diseases recurred. Is that due to my burning the book?" As he showed some penitence and prayed for forgiveness, I said compassionately "As a Dafa disciple I am responsible for you so I must let you know that Dafa is merciful to all sentient beings, but it is also solemn. No matter who commits crimes against Dafa, he will have to pay for it. Zhuan Falun is the law of the cosmos and saves sentient beings. Whether you destroyed it with intention or not, it counts as an offence. Fortunately you spoke out so you may have chance to make it up."
Indeed after learning the facts of Dafa, the old man insisted on greeting Teacher by putting his palms together and saying aloud "Falun Dafa is good, Teacher Li is good." Soon his diseases disappeared and he was in glowing health. He told everyone he met about his personal experience of benefiting from Dafa both mentally and physically, and that one will benefit by saying aloud "Falun Dafa is good." Since he is old and in such good health, everyone believes him.
There are many cases like this. Many people got rid of their diseases after learning the truth through my face-to-face clarification. They called at my house to thank me, and some borrowed Dafa books from me. I understood that this is Teacher's grace rather than my own talent.
4. Follow the Fa as teacher to help fellow practitioners
Teacher said in "Towards Consummation,"
"Despite this, and the situation in which a large number of disciples who are true cultivators are suffering severe hardships, the time of conclusion has been repeatedly postponed so as to wait for those people to recognize their own fundamental attachments. This is because many among them are predestined and have the potential to reach Consummation." (Essentials for Further Advancement II)
The persecution was severe in our county. At first, the coordinators were arrested, some fellow practitioners were forced to leave home and go from place to place to avoid being persecuted, and some did not step out of their homes. As the persecution escalated, some practitioners did poorly due to fear and worry. As a result, the entire country was not very good. Aiming at changing this situation, I shared my thoughts with another practitioner and decided to help practitioners who had fallen down to improve in the Fa, to reduce the loss of Dafa, to strengthen their righteous thoughts, and to achieve the goal of improving as a whole so as to catch up with the process of Teacher's Fa-rectification.
We called those who were afraid, staying quietly in their homes, to exchange views. For those who did not forge ahead diligently, we convened a Fa conference to share our experiences and identify our shortcomings. This was very effective.
There was one older couple who were practitioners. The husband was retired and his wife was illiterate, so he started to teach her to read and write. They studied the Fa, practiced the exercises, and cultivated their "mind nature" very diligently. After the persecution started on July 20, 1999, the husband became afraid, as his work unit cooperated with the evil to coerce him into handing over all his Dafa books and Teacher's picture. They destroyed all of these materials and threatened him, telling him to stop practicing. In his agony he was too scared to speak up, to contact others, or to teach his wife to read, and he fell down on the path of cultivation. His wife worried about how she could study the Fa without her husband's direction, and gazing at Teacher's picture on the wall, she wept "Teacher, what is all this for?"
The interference from her husband's work unit, her children's misunderstanding of Dafa, the censure of colleagues, and outside pressure weighed heavily on the old woman. It was almost beyond her endurance. Despite the dangers, I visited her often to assist and encourage her. "It is not necessary to fear as the Fa and Teacher are with you. As long as you treat yourself as a cultivator and always believe in Teacher and the Fa unwaveringly you can pass any trial." After two years of continuous effort, the woman passed these huge tribulations, and her husband also came to realize his errors. Now they are both doing "the three things" very well and following Teacher's requirements.
Another coordinator made great efforts to distribute Dafa materials before the persecution. The moment the persecution started, she was put into jail. Since the persecution was so severe, she became scared and later moved to a remote place to do business. This kept her very busy so she gave up Fa study and practice. I was often concerned about her, and soon after Teacher published the article "Suggestion" I understood that he is unwilling to let go of even one disciple, and that I must help her, so I went to visit her with the article. I found her only after much searching, but I was very happy to eventually find her and give her the article. She kept shedding tears after reading it, and said with regret "Teacher is still waiting for me to catch up." I answered her, "Teacher is too graceful to let one disciple go. You suffered so much hardship when Dafa was everywhere, but after the persecution began you moved away for various reasons. I came here several times to help you understand and not fall down, since the Fa is so hard to attain." She said right away "I must resume cultivation."
Another practitioner had been practicing for many years, but she did not study the Fa deeply, and her enlightenment was poor. After the persecution began she saw the evildoers collect and destroy Dafa books everywhere, so she gave up cultivation. After a long time, she came to visit me and explained her situation, asking if I was still cultivating. I said that I was, and to help her I opened the page in Zhuan Falun where Teacher says,
"Only when there is interference from demons can you show whether you can keep up your cultivation, whether you can really grasp the truth, whether you can take the interference, and whether you can be steadfast in this discipline. Great tides wash away the sand, that is how cultivation is, and what's left is true gold." (Zhuan Falun)
Through Fa study and sharing ideas, she realized that she had fallen behind in cultivation! Now we always study the Fa together and her comprehension has gradually improved.
Even though time was limited, we achieved good outcomes over the many years of this evil environment by convening Fa conferences to help practitioners who had not forged ahead diligently. Before each conference we made careful arrangements to ensure its success and the participants' safety. Each time, some practitioners realized their shortcomings and improved. Teacher taught us in "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference":
"And then there are a number of people who are like this: they too haven't stepped forward all along, but have been hiding at home and reading [Dafa] books, and have even been making excuses for doing that, when the truth is, it's their fear at work. I hope that the other Dafa disciples in Mainland China will help these people and ask them to step forward and do what a Dafa disciple should do." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
I was gratified after I read this since I was doing what I should do.
All of this is what I did in Fa-rectification cultivation due to Fa's might and Teacher's grace. Still, I feel I have far to go. Looking back over these five years of trials and hardships, I realize that I have forged forward step by step under the care of Teacher. As a previously unhealthy 70-year-old woman I am greatly honored that Teacher allowed me to be a Dafa disciple in the Fa-rectification period, and I really cherish this chance, which is so hard to come by.
Finally I'd like to share a story of how Teacher protected me and fellow practitioners.
In January 2003, I went to the second floor of a fellow practitioner's home to participate in a Fa conference with veteran practitioners from two other counties and cities. At 10:00 p.m. we learned that we were surrounded by the police, but none of us was afraid, and we all sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil. Later the police rushed in to beat and arrest us, but everyone shunned the evil by leaving. Shortly after, I was beat to the ground but when I got up to escape by leaping from the building, Teacher told me to lie down, so I did.
The police continued searching upstairs and downstairs but didn't notice me. Later an old policeman came upstairs and asked me to go with him, but I sent forth righteous thoughts and refused to cooperate. He said "You are so old. What happened?" I said that the police had hit me and I couldn't move. So he lifted me onto a bed and left hurriedly. I stood up right away as a young 7-year-old practitioner came upstairs to tell me that they had left and that I should go straight downstairs. Before I got out the door, several police returned with flashlights looking especially for me, but I quickly went into the bathroom. I heard one saying "She was lying on the bed a moment ago. How did she disappear so quickly?" After they left the young practitioner told me again, "Leave quickly now." I asked, "Which direction should I go?" He said that I should go to the side of the vegetable garden, so I walked ahead into the darkness until I passed by a pile of straw. Another practitioner stepped out and led me along. I knew that this was our compassionate Teacher's ingenious arrangement to help me safely escape the danger.
Thank you Teacher! Thank you fellow practitioners!
(1) Yuan is the Chinese currency. The average monthly salary of an urban worker in China is 500 Yuan.
(Sharing article selected from The First Written Experience Sharing Conference of the Practitioners on Mainland China)