1. Destiny Brought Me to Falun Gong
From a young age, I wanted to explore the secrets of life and the universe. Therefore, I became interested in science fiction novels and the wonders of nature and astronomy. But they are far from the truth of life and the universe. Although they made me wonder more about the secrets the universe kept from us, I could not find the answer to the questions that haunted me, such as, "Where did man come from? What is mankind's future? Why is the universe infinite? Why do planets rotate endlessly?"
Because I grew up while the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was in power, I was taught to be an atheist. I practiced many types of qigong, but it did not occur to me that there was a connection between qigong, life, and the universe, and I fell prey to fake qigong masters. After having practiced many different qigong systems, I became very frail, even though I still was very young. I was in so much pain that I felt I'd be better off dead.
All my problems were solved when destiny brought me to Falun Gong. When I opened the book Zhuan Falun for the very first time during the first half of 1997, I detected a very familiar fragrance similar to the ethereal fragrance one would smell in a Buddhist monastery. I thought this book to be very precious. When reading it for the first time, I finished it in one sitting. As a result, my perspective on life changed completely. I was once poisoned by the CCP's atheism. Now, I suddenly understood the true meaning of life. All the questions that had haunted me were answered by what was written in Zhuan Falun. I felt like a bedridden patient who suddenly was able to stand up. I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness.
After I started practicing Falun Gong I became a new man, and I began to conduct myself at work and at home according to Falun Gong's high standards. I paid attention to my speech and behavior and checked constantly whether my thoughts complied with Falun Gong's principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance." I used to steal resources at work. It was as if they belonged to me. Now I will not take what is not mine because I understand that stealing is wrong, especially for a cultivator. I no longer lie, drink, smoke, or have any other bad behaviors. I know I have found my true self.
2. Cultivation Takes Persistence and Perseverance
Cultivation is hard work, but it is also brings one happiness. The sitting meditation was a big challenge for me because my body is not flexible. At first I could not even meditate in the half-lotus position. Even within a few minutes of sitting with my legs crossed I would be in terrible pain. Later, I came up with a plan. At that time many fellow practitioners were transcribing Zhuan Falun. I decided to transcribe Zhuan Falun while sitting in the meditation position with a wooden board on my legs, topped with about 100 pounds of dumbbells. This way I could transcribe Zhuan Falun and make my legs more flexible. I became soaked in sweat and experienced a lot of pain, yet I always felt very happy because I was journeying towards my true self and was on the path to godhood. Around July 1999, I decided it was time to meditate in the full-lotus position. But I could only sit in the half-lotus position, with my knees sticking up high, and it took a while before I could force them down. I had to meditate in the half-lotus position for over 30 minutes before I could attempt the full-lotus position. I remember that the first time I sat in the full-lotus position it was only for a few seconds, but I was ecstatic. It proved that I had the level of persistence and perseverance required to grind a metal rod into a needle. Now I can meditate in the full-lotus position for an hour.
Enduring physical pain to practice the Falun Gong meditation exercise is one thing, but controlling my thoughts is another. At first, my thought karma was very strong. Sometimes thought karma would generate bad thoughts and opinions concerning Teacher and the practice, but I managed to identify the presence of thought karma and suppress it in time. I knew that thought karma was not part of me. Every time I doubted Teacher and the Fa, I knew it was thought karma and I told myself, "Everything Teacher says is true. Everything in Zhuan Falun is true." Thus I repeatedly suppressed and eradicated thought karma and bad notions with righteous thoughts.
It was not smooth sailing. I stumbled and fell often. I was once illegally arrested for clarifying the truth about Falun Gong, and sent to a forced labor camp. I once renounced Falun Gong in writing when my family begged me to. Regardless of how it happens, it is shameful for a cultivator to betray his faith. A genuine cultivator's environment is arranged according to his xinxing. A cultivator is supposed to prevail over an adverse environment, as he should over xinxing tests. How could I allow an adverse environment to change me or compromise my belief? I shouldn't have compromised my faith even with white lies. If Teacher had not postponed the end of the Fa-rectification repeatedly, I would not have had opportunities to validate Falun Gong, save sentient beings, or forge my mighty virtue. Teacher said:
"During a human being's journey toward divinity, since it is a human being--and not a god--cultivating, he will definitely make mistakes in the process of cultivating, and there will definitely be tests that he doesn't pass well. And of course there are those who make huge mistakes. Once you have recognized your problem, the key question is whether you are determined to get rid of it. Only when you are determined to emerge from it can it be called cultivation, and that is cultivation." ("Pass the Deadly Test")
After I was released from the forced labor camp, I was resolute about being diligent to make up for the losses I caused.
3. Learning to Use a Computer to Validate the Fa
I was previously computer illiterate. I didn't even know how to turn a computer on and off. But I wanted to learn to use a computer so that I could validate the Fa. Teacher must have heard my wish because I kept getting ideas and inspirations. A friend of mine bought a notebook computer and had an operating system and the necessary software installed. But he didn't know how to surf the Internet via a mobile phone. I had no choice but to travel several miles to get technical assistance from a fellow practitioner.
During the first few days everything went well. But one day I somehow lost the connection to the Internet. I called many fellow practitioners, but no one knew how to fix it. I stared at the computer screen, feeling frustrated with myself. Why was I so careless that I lost the Internet connection? I decided to find a solution on my own. It seemed like a ridiculous idea, as I didn't even have basic computer training. I decided to change my system settings randomly for about a week. I must have tried every possible combination of system settings. Through trial and error, I became very good at using the mouse. I didn't know how I did it, but one day I accidentally restored my Internet connection. I was ecstatic. But it didn't last long. Late in the day the Internet connection failed again. I fell into despair again. But suddenly I seemed to understand something important. As a Falun Gong practitioner, I am supposed to keep righteous thoughts and be calm at all times. I'm supposed to have righteous thoughts even when the sky collapses. Finally I calmed down and sat down again.
I solved the problem within a few days, and since then, I have been teaching myself by going to a technical assistance website built by fellow practitioners. Within a few months, I changed from being computer illiterate to being a technical support person for fellow practitioners in my area. I have become very good at installing and setting up software, compiling and printing materials, and overcoming the CCP's firewall using various software. I have helped solve many technical problems.
Although this may seem just like a process to learn information technology, in reality it was a genuine cultivation process. It was a troublesome matter when I suddenly lost the Internet connection, but it was a specific opportunity for me to improve my cultivation level. Without that week of trials and errors, I would not have learned how to use the mouse. I might never have thought of elevating my xinxing or learning about the information technology issues on my own. More importantly, I have learned to walk my own cultivation path without depending on fellow practitioners, and I felt Teacher's help throughout the process. For example, while I was at a loss about what to do next, solutions would suddenly come to my mind. When I could not find certain symbols, I often accidentally hit on a combination of keys that brought up that special symbol. There were countless examples like these. Nowadays when a fellow practitioner asks me to fix his/her computer, I sit down at the computer that is having difficulties and think, "As long as my mind is tranquil, no one may attempt to interrupt my tranquility." Then I am able to fix the problem quickly. It is because Teacher bestows wisdom upon me that I am able to learn information technology quickly.
4. Eliminating Selfishness
It has been ten years since I started practicing Falun Gong. I thought I had a good enlightenment quality and a good foundation, but I never imagined that cultivation would be so difficult. Perhaps I feel that cultivation is challenging because I am breaking towards the surface. Lately the same mental picture keeps appearing. There is a large clam that keeps opening and closing its shell. When poked by a hard object, the clam immediately closes its shell and hides silently to protect itself. I was very inspired by this vision. The clam was so much like a selfish person that thinks of protecting himself at the first sign of some external attack. People tend to guard their own gains and are unwilling to part with them. People tend to save face and hold onto their dignity, and they tend to selfishly protect their own interests while blinded by their notions. The clam's thick shells are a good metaphor for the layer after layer of notions people have accumulated over many lifetimes. To reach Consummation and to break the shell of the old universe, one must courageously break through the thick shell, and live unfettered by notions, in order to truly assimilate to the characteristics of the universe--Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance--and enter the magnificent new universe. Teacher said,
"If you do not change the human logic that you, as an ordinary human, have formed deep in your bones over thousands of years, you will be unable to break away from this superficial human shell and reach Consummation." ("Cautionary Advice")
As a result of actual cultivation practice, I came to realize the importance of enlightening to the Fa. But it's not enough to enlighten to the Fa. We must also follow what we enlighten to. I haven't done well in this respect. In fact, I am lagging behind in what the Fa requires of me. As I progress towards Consummation, selfishness, karma, and notions accumulated over many lifetimes, as well as the old forces' interference, pose critical tests for me. It may be difficult to prevail over these challenges, but it is a process of establishing my mighty virtue. It also shows how precious cultivation is. If we are to live up to Master's plan for us, practitioners must follow their paths diligently and live up to the honorable title of Falun Gong practitioners.
I have also realized that letting go is very important for a cultivator. It is truly remarkable when cultivators are able to let go of all kinds of material interests and the temptations of worldly desires. Teacher said,
"It has been said: 'When I come to this ordinary human society, it's just like checking into a hotel for a few days. Then I leave in a hurry.' Some people are just obsessed with this place and have forgotten their own homes." ("A Clear and Clean Mind" from Lecture Nine of Zhuan Falun)
I often think of this passage of the Fa when I encounter a difficult attachment, as it seems to give me the ability to let it go. Indeed, I have come down to the human realm and fulfilled my wish to become a Falun Gong practitioner in the Fa-rectification period. This is what I came for. Why am I attached to things in the secular world? Teacher said,
"...giving up ordinary people's different desires and attachments..." ("Why Doesn't Your Gong Increase with Your Practice?" from Lecture One of Zhuan Falun)
Then why do I complain about being treated unfairly? Why do I hold fast to attachments? These attachments are not my true self.
Every Falun Gong practitioner has a great history and origin that even divine beings from the old universe do not know of. I sometimes have a feeling that Teacher has been watching over me in many of my previous lives. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to assimilate to the Fa, and thus become the envy of many divine beings in the universe. Since Teacher has arranged my cultivation path, I must walk it well and walk it righteously so as not to disappoint Teacher, tarnish Falun Gong's good name, or let down sentient beings.