Western Practitioner: On Being a Dafa Disciple during Fa-Rectification
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings Master,
Greetings fellow practitioners,
I am a Norwegian practitioner currently living in Århus in Denmark. I am a relatively new practitioner and would like to share some experiences on obtaining the Fa during Fa-rectification and experiences in cultivating into Fa-rectification.
I obtained the Fa in May 2003. Before this, I had been searching and searching for many years. I read everything I could come across on history and religion, and after a while, also about cultivation. I tried several Qigong methods and meditation methods during my search. But, even though all of my spare-time was used practicing and reading, the effect was not good.
I bought the book Falun Gong and the video-instructions on a Friday. This particular weekend I was alone at home as my wife was out on a trip in connection with her studies. After just having read a few lines of Lunyu, I got an overwhelming feeling that I stood by the most serious crossroads of my life. If I kept reading, my life would change fundamentally, but at the same time I knew I had found what I had been searching for. I read through Falun Gong that same afternoon, learned the exercises and practiced until I went to bed that night. The next day I went to town, bought a copy of the book Zhuan Falun, and read it the same day. The rest of the weekend I spent practicing and reading. I experienced many phenomena that weekend, and in hindsight I understood that it was Teacher who had prepared these days for me, so I could obtain the Fa quickly.
I came into contact with practitioners in Oslo, and started attending group practice and Fa-study. One episode that made a big impression on me was the first time I attended group practice. It was raining, so the group practice had been moved into a room at the University of Oslo. I came about five minutes early, opened the door to the room and saw everybody sending forth righteous thoughts. One of the practitioners opened her eyes, waved and smiled at me, welcoming me into the room, while others made space for me and found a sitting-cushion. This simple gesture touched my heart deeply, and I will not forget it. During the sitting meditation on this first day at group practice, my body was filled with wonderful warmth. I had an overwhelming feeling of finally having come home and that this was the greatest, greatest gift.
The first steps on the path of Fa-rectification
Through reading various Falun Dafa websites on the Internet and being together with other practitioners, I soon learned about Master's Jingwen, and started systematically reading all the Fa-lectures and Jingwen. I started to understand what it meant to obtain the Fa during Fa-rectification and started to understand the responsibilities practitioners have. Fortunately, at this time I lived only a two-minute walk away from the Chinese Embassy in Oslo. So, after work, I started going to the embassy to send forth righteous thoughts and pass out information about the persecution in China. This period was a period where I learned many things. I was constantly being shown new things I had to improve in my Xinxing.
Once when I was outside the embassy sending forth righteous thoughts, a sports car suddenly rushed around the corner and passed by with loud music thundering out. Almost automatically a prejudiced notion appeared in my mind that this person was ignorant and surely without interest in Falun Gong or the suffering of practitioners in China. At that exact moment, the car braked and stopped. The driver jumped out, called for my attention and came over. I opened my eyes, and he asked what I was doing. I told him about Falun Gong and the persecution Falun Gong practitioners were being subjected to. He was shocked when he heard about it. He said he had seen practitioners here many times, and that now that he understood why they were here, he admired them. He wished us good luck and jumped back into his car. I sat there feeling a bit ashamed. I should not judge a person by appearances. Since then, this lesson has been a good reminder for me many times during truth-clarification work.
From Explaining the Fa during the 2003 Lantern Festival at the US West Fa Conference:
"Dafa disciples should handle everything positively. Don't look at the negative side of other people. You should always look at their positive side. Actually, did you know that back when I was teaching you Dafa, during the classes a lot of human thoughts were sent out from the audience down there? The thoughts sent out by some people were really bad, but I didn't look at any of that. I just look at your positive side, and thus I can save you."
A new environment
About one year ago, my family (me, my wife and our little daughter) moved from Oslo to Århus in Denmark. Århus is the second largest city in Denmark, and important both financially and culturally, but there were only two practitioners in Århus. In addition, the other practitioner could speak Chinese and Danish. I could read Chinese, but speak very little. Norwegian and Danish are almost identical in writing, but very different in speech. Therefore, experience sharing and communication were a bit difficult in the beginning. Even though we started doing regular activities to clarify the truth about the persecution, I quickly felt the challenge of being in a smaller cultivation environment.
Last Christmas, my family went to Norway to spend the Christmas holiday with my parents there. It was a time with many social activities and many relatives and friends. I made sure I could study the "Fa" every day, but there was little time for practice and it was difficult to send righteous thoughts at the set times. After we came back to Denmark, my daughter fell ill and she was hospitalized for an operation. This was also a busy time, where I had difficulties ensuring time to send righteous thoughts and do the exercises. Soon I started having difficulties getting up for sending forth righteous thoughts in the morning and I started becoming drowsy while studying the Fa. Even after my days returned to their normal routine, I was in a problematic cultivation state, which also had started affecting my Fa-rectification work. At this time, I read on Clearwisdom some articles about those practitioners who managed fine with 3-4 hours sleep a day, and sometimes no sleep at all. I thought I had found a solution to my problems, and decided to test if I also could do this as well. It was ok for two days, but then it rebounded on me. The same problems resurfaced even stronger. I had gone in with a selfish mentality stuck in the old cosmos - I wanted disrespectfully to test if Dafa could easily solve a problem for me as if there were miracle cures. I intensified my Fa-study to help me see the problem more clearly.
One day, on my way home from an event, I studied Master's Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference. There was one small sentence that stuck to my mind: "Approach everything with righteous thoughts..."
It repeated itself over and over again in my mind until I understood why. Normally, when I was out doing Falun Dafa activities, I was always very aware of my thoughts and my behavior, trying to speak and act according to the Fa. I found that the slightest bad thought would manifest very quickly in that situation as fewer people would stop to talk and listen. But in everyday life and at home, one's Xinxing problems do not necessarily manifest in such a rapid manner or so clearly in the surrounding environment. Over the period of time of Christmas and after, I became more and more contaminated by ordinary people's things and because things still seemed nice and harmonious at home with my wife and child, I developed a mentality where I thought I could relax a little more at home and non-practitioners.
For me this meant that I gradually loosened my Xinxing-requirements for myself while I was at home. Even though it seemed like small things - such as watching a bit more TV with my family, eating a bit more sweets and so forth, gradually more and more attachments I had not seen for a long time started surfacing, and things of ordinary people took more and more space in my daily life. I used outer circumstances to evaluate my cultivation state and therefore I did not see my deeper Xinxing problems, which do not always manifest so immediately and clearly on the surface. This omission in my cultivation gave way for many other attachments and problems such as laziness, trying to please others and complacency.
I had not lived up to "Approach everything with righteous thoughts" in meeting the small things of daily life, and as a result I gradually fell into a trap and fooled myself by using two different standards in my cultivation. When I understood this, I thought about what kind of consequences this could have for all the living beings I correspond to, and how this affected my responsibilities in Fa-rectification. I got a deeper understanding of the responsibilities we as Dafa-disciples have for the lives we correspond to in our cosmic systems, the lives we have to save in Fa-rectification and the lives we have close predestined relationships with and who today are our family and friends during Fa-rectification. It was meaningless to talk about my own existence, if it wasn't by way of responsibility for others. I saw that my efforts to solve the problems were not based on a sense of responsibility for others, but concern for myself and my own consummation. This was a filthy mentality stuck in the old cosmos' selfish nature.
After this, I felt stronger and felt in a deeper way that everything and everyone we come into contact with are all related to Fa-rectification and helping sentient beings to enter the future in the best way. When I get up in the morning now I know it is not for me, but for others - and this gives me strength and joy.
I have learned to cherish Clearwisdom and other Dafa websites, our national Fa-study gatherings in Denmark and Fa conferences, and all the work being done by practitioners to give us these valuable possibilities to improve together and help each other in cultivation. In the time after I moved to Århus with my family, the greatest challenge has been that I have less contact with a wider cultivation environment and more contact with ordinary people - so every opportunity to meet with other practitioners is extremely precious. Maintaining a high standard at all times when I always am around ordinary people is a great challenge and very hard, but it is also the path Teacher has given me and a path I must walk well, so in the challenge there is also inspiration.
Studying the Fa in Chinese
Some months after I obtained the Fa, I developed a strong wish to learn Chinese so I could read Fa in Chinese. I would like to finish by sharing some experiences in connection with this, since many western practitioners say they have a desire to learn Chinese so they can study Fa in Chinese. For me, learning Chinese has been a great help and strong support.
When I decided to start reading Zhuan Falun in Chinese, I knew that Teacher would help me. I read Zhuan Falun with a Chinese-English dictionary in both traditional characters and pinyin, so I could learn both the characters and pronunciation. Every time I came across a new character, I would look it up in the dictionary, learn the character, pronunciation and its meaning, memorize the sentence and repeat it thrice in my head. It was a slow process, but Teacher was always inspiring me throughout the process. Many times when I read the words out loud I would feel warm throughout my whole body. Sometimes I would start crying while reading. It took me about half a year to read through Zhuan Falun for the first time. Since then it has gone quicker and quicker, and now I read Zhuan Falun in Chinese as fast as I did in English.
Trying to memorize Fa is another experience that has proved invaluable for me. Before I started studying Fa in Chinese, I had only made one or two feeble attempts to memorize Fa. But as I started reading Fa in Chinese, it became natural to start memorizing Fa. I have memorized Lunyu and many of Teacher's poems. I started memorizing Zhuan Falun and the newer articles. Now I use every free moment, no matter how brief, to study Fa - anywhere at anytime. I never felt that learning to read Fa in Chinese was some big task or anything special. If I had thought so, it would definitely have led to obstacles. My thought about learning came from a deep wish to assimilate as deep as possible to Fa and Zhen-Shan-Ren, and I believe this is why Teacher helped me.
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest thanks for Teacher's unending patience, mercy and compassion. When I think of what fortune and joy I have to be under Teacher's protective wing, my thoughts become empty and I can only cry. I promise to strive forward diligently and do better in the three things. I would like to end with a small poem I have written in traditional Norwegian on obtaining the Fa. I will first read it in Norwegian and then read a translation in English:
Løynd heim lagt i gløymsle,
lagnad kverv, rinn dagen.
Brist hjartet, høg kjærleik,
heilag Dafa sakna.
Hidden home shrouded in forgetfulness
Destined fate withers away as day rises
The heart bursts from high compassion
Sacred Dafa longed for.