Sharing Understandings Gained through Calling Labor Camps and Prisons
(Clearwisdom.net) Before I started telephoning people at labor camps and prisons in China to clarify the truth about Falun Gong, I thought that calling them would be a painful thing. I expected that not only would they verbally abuse me, but I would have to face some extremely cruel cases. However, it would pain me even more if I didn't care about these cases involving human life. Thus, after I gained some experience clarifying the truth in Internet chat rooms for one year, I finally picked up the phone and clarified the truth to the units involved in the actual persecution of Falun Gong.
I know that many fellow practitioners would like to make telephone calls to China to help the practitioners being persecuted there, but they have the perception that it is a very difficult task and they feel that they can't step forward. Actually, the difficulty of making a phone call is far less than the difficulty that practitioners in China face, risking their lives to clarify the truth in the cold winter and the burning summer. Not to mention that it does not compare with the suffering of the practitioners who are being persecuted. Through making phone calls, I realized that the so-called difficulties I had imagined were all the attachments that I couldn't give up.
Fear and no self-confidence
Making phone calls is not difficult, what is difficult is letting go of human attachments. Let me talk about the attachment of fear. The majority of practitioners making phone calls are afraid of the malicious attitude of the people on the other end of the line; they are afraid of being verbally abused. Some practitioners are timid; they even have difficulty asking strangers for directions. Aren't timidity and fear attachments that we should let go of? Enlightened beings are not timid. Even in human society, those who have earned great honor are never timid. Furthermore, if we have strong righteous thoughts, how can we be afraid of anything? Of course the evil will take advantage of our attachment of fear. If you have even one part fear, the evil will strengthen it and make it even more severe. This is exactly why we should send forth righteous thoughts before clarifying the truth. It is to eliminate the interference of the evil.
Let's carefully examine the attachment of fear. Is it that we don't want to listen to something that is displeasing? Master told us in "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference,"
"since you're cultivators and you're among ordinary people, you just have to listen to those displeasing words, and you have to be able to listen to those displeasing words. (Applause) Otherwise, when you haven't even resolved this most basic cultivation issue, how could you call yourself a Dafa disciple?"
How serious it is. These are only the most basic cultivation issues!
There are also some practitioners who are afraid that they cannot clarify the truth well, and lack confidence. Most practitioners are afraid that if they cannot clarify the truth well, they will damage the dignity of Dafa and be unable to resolve the resultant problems. Master once said,
"and just clarify the facts to people with compassion, and you will be safeguarding Dafa's dignity," ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference")
Of course, there is deep meaning in Teacher's words. Whether we can do well relates to our cultivation status. We are often held up by worrying about whether what we say is good, or not, or whether we cannot think of a good reply to somebody's question. My understanding is that if we are truly compassionate, even if we can't answer the question directly, we can simply tell them some other side of the issue that we do know how to answer. It won't damage Dafa's dignity. Instead, it is aggressive words and lack of compassion that will bring about bad effects.
Some practitioners cannot speak eloquently about principles, but their kind hearts and their own experiences themselves validate Dafa. One elderly female practitioner who obtained Dafa less than a year ago called a police officer in China. What she talked about was very simple. She only spoke of how she benefited from Dafa. Because of the power of compassion, the police officer didn't hang up and waited until she finished speaking. The police officer didn't counter with a question, nor did he verbally abuse her. After I heard her call, I thought that her words would be deeply impressed in the memory of the police officer. I suddenly understood a deeper meaning of "saving sentient beings."
Disliking trouble, and lack of patience
Perhaps we are still worried: What if I haven't reached the necessary level of compassion? Of course we must do what we should do. Hasn't Master told us that our consummation is achieved through the process of studying the Fa, clarifying the truth and sending forth righteous thoughts? Cultivation is a process. Before we achieve the status of being compassionate, we can use normal ways to solve some problems. Confidence and capability actually comes from one's self-improvement. Therefore, the preparation before doing a thing is necessary. That is, we need to collect, read, and compile some materials. Some practitioners find difficulty in getting the truth-clarifying materials. This can actually delay practitioners from acting. I saw that many practitioners were happy to attend the experience sharing on clarifying the truth through making phone calls, but just couldn't start to do anything. This is the attachment of disliking inconvenience that is blocking us. Our Dafa directly targets such attachments and points out the attachment so that we can remove the attachment!
Some practitioners broke through the obstacles discussed above and picked up the phone. However they were hindered by lack of patience: No patience when encountering a lot of phone numbers that don't go through; no patience when being hung up on frequently, no patience when the opposite side says something confusing, no patience to establish good relations with the other side, and so on. If there is "no patience," can it still be called cultivation?
Some practitioners gave up if their phone calls didn't achieve a good effect for a period of time (that is, either the phone numbers did not go through, or the other side didn't listen at all, or once the other side picked up the phone, he or she hung up immediately). However, we can see this situation from several aspects: 1) Dafa practitioners' hearts can change the environment. Perhaps we hope that the call recipient isn't there, perhaps we have hidden hostility, or perhaps we have an attachment to making the other side agree with us. 2) We shouldn't give up on making phone calls because of these situations. We should do what we must do. We only need to think about what we haven't done well and how we can improve. 3) Cultivation itself is a process of letting go of attachments. It's obvious that we still don't want to eliminate some of our attachments. 4) This is exactly the opportunity for us to establish our mighty virtue. If someday we realize that everybody is happily listening to us clarify the truth, it is the effect of Fa-rectification's enormous force and not because we are validating Dafa!
Let go of attachments and regularly make phone calls
The process, from the thought of making phone calls to truly making calls, is a process of letting go of attachments. In practice, I experienced how difficult it is to make phone calls if you do not let go of attachments. At the beginning, when I heard the opposite side's distorted and false reasoning, sometimes I felt agitated. When I read the torture cases, many of my latent attachments, such as hostility, worry, rebuke, and fighting all showed up. About cultivation -- when facing one's critical self-interests, Master said,
"When your friends or family suffer, are you moved? How do you weigh them? This is how difficult it is to be a practitioner!" (Zhuan Falun)
No matter how hard it is, we still need to do it! Master also said,
"When you see problems, make changes, and when you see shortcomings, overcome them.... and you're not a cultivator if you don't do the things within your power." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York")
There are so many human attachments, and the attachment of desiring ease and disliking work is deeply ingrained. At the beginning, in order to prevent myself from stopping making calls (it seemed that I had sufficient reasons to justify/prove to myself not to choose this method to clarify the truth), I asked Master to strengthen me so that I could persist. Every time I floundered in whether to make calls or not, thanks to Master's benevolent strength, at last I would pick up the phone. No matter what the result, every time when I finished a call, I felt quite calm.
Even after I had made calls for six months, sometimes I would still get agitated. Sometimes I would find excuses to do some unnecessary odd jobs. I found that my attachment to avoiding making calls hadn't been removed yet. It was because I didn't have enough compassion. However, I clearly knew that making calls was my responsibility; therefore I made up my mind to not allow myself to avoid it for any reason.
After six months, I ordered myself to make calls at a fixed time in the afternoon every day except on weekends. Before, I only made calls when I was free, and with this method I noticed that I would find excuses to be busy. Since I made the decision myself, the attachment was finally removed. Making calls became something I had to do. In the process, if I encountered any setbacks or interference, I would call my fellow practitioners and share with them. We encouraged each other this way. Because there are not many practitioners who make calls, and even less practitioners who can persist with it, I must persist in making calls!
Being eager for quick success
At the beginning, when I prepared to call, I was always impatient to start and didn't send forth righteous thoughts before beginning, so the effect was not good sometimes. The attitude of the person that receives our call can directly reflect our cultivation state. I have an experience in this regard. Once I read about a severe persecution case that happened in a notorious forced labor camp. I had already called that place several times. The situation each time was that the opposing party either shouted at me or didn't pick the phone at all. As soon as I read about the case, I wanted to call the forced labor camp to stop the persecution. Then I read these words at the end of the report: "Fellow practitioners who have the convenience to make phone calls, please calmly clarify the truth with compassion." I stared at the words. I realized that my state didn't conform to the required conditions. The fellow practitioner's words reminded me that I didn't comply with the requirements of the Fa. I thus calmed down and adjusted myself so that I achieved a compassionate state.
Then I placed the call. To my surprise, somebody took the phone and was very friendly. She even listened to me clarify the truth for a while. Seeing her side that was aware, I felt that I should tell her more so that she could be saved. I was thus a little pushy. It made her feel pressed and she hung up. I looked at the phone and felt deeply sorry. Because I didn't reach the state of a true cultivator, she missed this opportunity.
"Shan isn't something pretended, nor is it a state that's just maintained on the surface. Shan truly comes from within and can only be attained and embodied through cultivation. When you're before sentient beings, as soon as words come out of your mouth and as soon as your thoughts emerge, they are able to disintegrate bad elements and the bad things that poison the world's people and that exist in people's minds. And then people will come to understand, and you'll be able to save them. Without the mighty power of true Shan at work, you won't be able to disintegrate those things, and you won't achieve anything in clarifying the truth."
("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference" )
Another problem I discovered was that I often developed the thought of wanting to save someone or not wanting to save someone based on the other person's attitude. This problem came from the attachment of qing. Before, because I thought saving sentient beings was my mission, I also had an attachment to other people accepting me. When I let go of this attachment, I clarified the truth very naturally, the opposing party listened to me calmly, and the effect of clarifying the truth was even better.
Upgrade xinxing and truly cultivate and assimilate to Dafa
Because a practitioner's xinxing and state reflects in the attitude of the person who listens on the other end of the phone (and I noticed this), I changed from not being strict with myself to treating my everyday words and actions seriously. I also require myself to be considerate of others and put others' interest before my own in everyday life. I try to maintain a heart of benevolence and a mind of kindness, because it is the root of Shan [one of the core principles of Falun Gong]. Only in practice can one truly assimilate to the Fa. Before, I placed the most importance on reading the book Zhuan Falun and didn't pay enough attention to actual cultivation.
The most important thing in cultivation is to be strict with ourselves. Only when we are strict with ourselves is it being responsible to the Fa and to ourselves. Lest I forget, I put down on a piece paper all the attachments that I can find in myself, along with the relevant behaviors, and put it under a glass on my desk so that it reminds me all the time: Let them go quickly!
Actually, phoning the relevant persons involved in the persecution is not as big of a problem as is the time issue for most practitioners. During the daytime, night, or on holidays, we have different targets to call. Is it that we are obstructed by attachments? To encourage fellow practitioners, I will conclude with a quote from Master's teaching about ordinary people's love of ease, dislike of work and the heart of avoiding conflicts.
"Cultivators look at things in just the opposite way. They see tribulations and suffering as good opportunities for improvement. [To cultivators] these are all good things, and the more there are and the faster they come, the faster the improvement. Some cultivators want to push them away and think, "Don't come." Whenever [conflicts and turmoil] come up they think that others have a problem with them and they can't stand it when others say anything negative about them. You just want to live a more pleasant life, but is that cultivation? Can you really cultivate that way? If to this day you still can't come around on this concept, then as your master, I don't know how you will ever move towards Consummation."
("Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005 (Lecture and Q&A)")