"Li Hongzhi Is My Shifu!"
(Clearwisdom.net) In the latest Spanish language version of Zhuan Falun, the translation of "Teacher" was changed from "Maestro" to "Shifu," a transliteration. This is because even though "Maestro" means "Teacher" or "Master," it does not fully convey the meaning of the Chinese word, "Shifu."
At first, Spanish-speaking Falun Gong practitioners in my area had a hard time adjusting to the new translation, so I explained the meaning of Shifu to them. Shi means Teacher in Chinese and Fu means Father. Therefore, Shifu refers to someone who is both your teacher and father. No other culture has the matching word for Shifu, so it is more appropriate to use its transliteration. I also explained to them that Chinese people do not address regular schoolteachers as Shifu. It is a special term used only in the cultivation field. A cultivator must go through a solemn ceremony before he may address his master as Shifu. I also shared with them that I started my Falun Gong cultivation practice alone and did not dare to address Teacher as Shifu until after eight months. The reason is two-fold. First, when I first started my cultivation practice, I did not know the proper way to address Teacher. Secondly, I felt I was not qualified to be Teacher's disciple. It was not until eight months later that I suddenly called out, "Shifu" in my heart.
When I read the Fa lectures following Zhuan Falun, Teacher said he is our Shifu and we are his disciples, I felt that "Maestro" (meaning Teacher or Master) in the Spanish version of Zhuan Falun did not fully express the meaning of Shifu. Besides, Teacher often said (in Chinese) in the Fa lectures, "As your Shifu..." or "I am your Shifu..." So I truly believe that the transliteration, Shifu, is a better choice. Although most Spanish-speaking practitioners here have not met Teacher, they feel closer to Teacher when they read or hear the word Shifu. They said that they did not have such a feeling when they read the word, "Maestro."
The Spanish-speaking practitioners are very fond of the meaning of Shifu, so they all started saying Shifu during the cultivation experience sharing gatherings. A Spanish-speaking practitioner once told me an interesting story that happened during the experience-sharing time following a group Fa study. A Spanish-speaking practitioner continued to refer to Teacher as "Maestro" and another Spanish-speaking practitioner immediately corrected him. "No. Please do not say Maestro. Please say Shifu."
About four months ago, I was distributing truth-clarification materials in front of the Chinese Embassy in Argentina when I saw two local Chinese people, with a close relationship with the Embassy, standing near the entrance. I immediately approached them to offer them the materials. One of them was an elderly man who was talking on his cellular phone, so I offered a copy of the truth-clarification material to the other man first. When he saw that it was Falun Gong's truth-clarification material, he shook his head and refused to take the material. Then the elderly man turned his head and asked what I offered to his friend. I replied, "It is the truth about China's persecution against Falun Gong." He began to look nervous and shouted at me, "Get out of here! You have no right to distribute flyers here! This is the Chinese Embassy. If you don't leave, I will call the police and have you arrested and beaten!" I said to him in a composed manner, "This is Argentina, not China. You are welcome to call the police. We are glad to have them understand the truth about China' persecution against Falun Gong." He jumped and yelled at me, "You are not afraid of the police? We will see if you are afraid!" I said, "Falun Gong practitioners inside China have courageously stepped forward to speak for Falun Gong at Tiananmen Square at the risk of their own precious lives. I must not be afraid to speak the truth when I am outside of China."
His young friend tried to pull him away, but the man was tenacious and refused to leave. He stared at me fiercely for a moment and turned red. Then he suddenly pointed at my nose, while shouting at top of his lungs, "What is the relationship between Li Hongzhi and you?" I was speechless for a second because this was the last question I had expected he would ask. Then I immediately answered peacefully, "Li Hongzhi is my Shifu." He looked very angry and paced in circles. Next he turned to me and shouted, "Tell me! What is your relationship to Li Hongzhi!" I gave him the same answer, "Li Hongzhi is my Shifu." He looked even angrier this time. He paced in circles again. Then he pointed at my nose and shouted even louder, "Answer me again! What is your relationship?" This time I answered him out loud, "Li Hongzhi is our Shifu!" He stared at me fiercely. While I kept sending forth righteous thoughts in my heart, I asked him in a kind manner, "Why are you so angry?" Surprisingly, he lowered his head and stared at the ground for a while, as if he was contemplating something. Next I heard him mumbling, "I am not angry. I am not angry at all." Then his friend finally pulled him into their car and took off. I stood there thinking about what had just happened. I had a feeling that the repeated question did not come from the elderly man himself, but rather was from the dark minions and demons manipulating him from other dimensions.
I realized how much it means and how significant the title, Shifu, is to all the Falun Gong practitioners around the word who are helping Teacher with his Fa-rectification!
In this year's Chinese New Year greeting, we told Teacher that Spanish-speaking Falun Gong practitioners are very fond of calling him Shifu, a highly respectful and affectionate title. We would like to take the opportunity to thank Teacher again. We know it must have been difficult to help us find Falun Gong and start our Falun Gong cultivation practice. Without Teacher's protection and guidance, we would not have the unprecedented opportunity and honor to be Falun Gong practitioners in the Fa-rectification period. Teacher, you have repeatedly said, out of your infinite compassion, that you will not let us down. But the truth is that we are not worthy of you saying such a modest thing to us. It is we that should promise you that we won't let you down. We would like to extend our most heartfelt gratitude to you for letting us become your disciples!
These are my personal understandings. Please point out anything that may be improper.