Teacher Leads Me to Embark on the Path of Cultivation
1. Teacher Shows Me the Way
Before I learned to practice Falun Dafa, I was an atheist. I liked to read books since I was a child. However, everything that I read was Communist Party dogma. Therefore, I followed the Party to completely negate all the prophets and sages, whether Chinese or foreign, ancient or contemporary. I established a way of thinking that was extremely conceited. As a result, I would either turn up my nose at them or arrogantly laugh at them or criticize them.
My health was pretty good as a whole. However, during the winter of 1997 and the following spring, I suffered from a cold, and medicine failed to work. One of my colleagues lent me a copy of Zhuan Falun, saying that it was a remarkable book, a book from heaven. He also said that if I could accept it then I could start to learn the exercises. I always thought that qigong was similar to sports and had never heard that practicing qigong required reading books. What's more, he said that Zhuan Falun was a "book from heaven." I was very curious, so I took the book and went back home to read. I was surprised to find that the language in the book was easy to understand, and I was moved when I read about the principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance." However, I did not believe some other things in it such as the "Sixfold Path of Reincarnation." Therefore, I returned the book, saying that I could not accept what it said.
A few days later, I came across another colleague who was also a Falun Gong practitioner. She learned that I had finished reading the book, so she said, "Now let me teach you the first set of exercises." I declined, saying that I did not have time. She said, "One set of exercises only takes about ten minutes, so you only need to squeeze in a little bit of time." At the time, I was new to my workplace and her husband was my boss. I thought that if I refused, it would be considered as not showing respect for her feelings and that she would be not happy. Under such circumstances, I decided to learn the exercises with her. I imitated her standing stance. When I first stood in the position, I felt something enter my lower abdomen and Falun began turning. The phenomenon described in Zhuan Falun, which I did not believe before, did appear. Strangely, I did not have any fear. I was amazed and decided to begin to practice Falun Gong. Otherwise, I thought that I would really let Teacher down. Therefore, I went to the bookshop and bought a copy of Zhuan Falun.
Teacher purified my body shortly after I learned the exercises. At a group exercise site not long after that, Teacher let me see with my celestial eye. I began to reconsider my viewpoint of atheism. Was atheism correct? Why would I believe in atheism? Where did this concept of atheism come from? Was it my own understanding? I began to pay attention to the religious phenomena that I had not seriously looked at before. I was very much surprised to find that I had never given any consideration to such obvious facts. Why do eighty percent of the people in the world believe in religion? Were our forefathers, who created such a splendid civilization, really superstitious and ignorant? If theism is superstition and anti-science then why do the Western countries, that represent the most advanced science, all believe in religions? Why did the greatest scientists in the world, including Einstein and Newton, all believe in God?
We all know that the relationship between cause and effect is the fundamental essence of all things and is inevitable. Why does Buddhism dare to say, "Everything has cause and effect?" Atheism always uses the term "natural phenomenon" to put people off, in an attempt to stop people from thinking. I emerged from the misunderstanding of theism and embarked on the path to truly understanding the universe and life: the path of cultivation.
Though I had embarked on the path of cultivation, my understanding of the Fa was very shallow at the beginning. First, my purpose for learning the exercises was to cure my illnesses. Gradually, this kind of thinking changed. I began to want to be a good person, a better person. Regrettably, my understanding of the Fa was still shallow, since I had only started to study the Fa. Therefore, I was still using human concepts to look at things. When the persecution of Falun Dafa began, I still considered it to be a persecution of human beings and that the evil Party was being utterly unreasonable. So, at the time when Teacher and Dafa were being slandered, I did not step forward to protect Teacher and rectify the Fa. I failed to do what a practitioner must do.
2. I Should Not Let Any Family Members Misunderstand Falun Dafa Simply Because I Was Not Doing Well
In the first stage of my cultivation, my tests mainly came from family conflicts. My mother-in-law was a farmer and was in poor health. She placed great hope in me, her daughter-in-law. My husband has quite a few sisters who all cared very much about what I said and did.
Since the time I was a child, I lived away from my hometown with my parents, so I was accustomed to that kind of freedom. I had little knowledge of moral principles and the common knowledge of daily life. As a result, there were a lot of misunderstandings and conflicts in the family. Since it was a big family and many family members lived together, small conflicts usually intensified. Members of the family were not satisfied with one another.
My mother suffered from depression and she was a bit muddle-headed; it was very difficult for her son and daughter-in-law to bear. Therefore, a lot of family chores fell on my shoulders. This included bathing my mother and doing the laundry. Mother liked to blame others. She continuously blamed me and got of out of control. I knew it was a test that I must do well and must pass. I was trying to do well, but felt it was very hard, especially when my human attachments were provoked. However, I knew that I must do it well and must not let any of my family members misunderstand Falun Dafa simply because I did not do well.
In the past, if my aunts showed dissatisfaction with me, I would feel uneasy for a long time. Now I responded with a smile and looked inward. Whenever someone in the family ran into financial difficulty, I would try to help support them on my own accord. Soon, none of my aunts had any problems with me. Instead, they all liked to talk to me and asked for my opinion whenever they had things that they could not decide.
One day after I learned to practice Falun Dafa, my mother was not happy with me. She said coldly, "Falun Gong asks people not to show filial respect to their parents." I was very much shocked and hurried to tell her that our Teacher asked us to show filial respect to parents and treat our parents well. Thereafter when she blamed me she would say, "From my observation you do not look like a Falun Gong practitioner."
I must cultivate myself well. Sometimes I recite silently what Teacher said at the end of Zhuan Falun:
"It's hard to endure, but you can endure it. It's hard to do, but you can do it."
I let go of my attachment bit by bit, and my forbearance also improved, from forbearing with tears to forbearing with tolerance. I feel that my tolerance level has gradually improved and I am able to be more tolerant of other people.
I also stopped complaining. I tried to understand my mother from her point of view, and gradually I felt that I was able to do so. My mother had had a very miserable childhood, which had greatly harmed her personality, especially causing her loneliness. She needed to be respected. Sometimes I read Zhuan Falun to her. She would say, "Teacher Li is really great! Falun Dafa is really great!" She had no schooling at all and only learned to read and write a few words at work. Sometimes she would try to read Zhuan Falun by herself and would spend half a day, but only read a few lines. She had never read any book or newspaper before. However, the good thing was that she could remember some words from Zhuan Falun. She would say, "I did not do well. I have an attachment." The most amazing thing was that she often said, "Ah, I haven't obtained the Fa." I had never mentioned to her the words "obtaining the Fa." Mother's spirit was getting much better. She never said again that I did not look like a Falun Dafa practitioner. She even tried to persuade other family members to learn Falun Dafa and would not allow anyone in the family to say anything disrespectful about Falun Dafa.
Father told me one of his experiences. He said that he often chatted with a group of people. They would always sigh with regret about the rampant corruption in China. One day, one person said angrily, "Nowadays there are no good people anymore." Father said, "Yes, there are good people!" They asked in unison, "Who?" Father got closer to them, lowered his voice and said, "Falun Dafa." No one denied it.
In the past, I had an unbalanced mentality. Therefore, even if I put in a lot of hard work, my brothers' wives were still guarded against me. Now I have a carefree mentality, and they all feel very happy and relaxed. When I clarify the truth to them, they all like to listen. There are about a dozen families from both my parents' side and my husband's side. They all agreed that Falun Dafa is good and all quit the CCP, the Youth League, and the Young Pioneers.
Before I learned Falun Dafa, I had very strong attachments to money and material goods. Before I possessed them, I would not contend for them. However, once I owned them, I would act like a miser. After learning Falun Dafa, I often felt that this attachment still tightly surrounded me. Whenever it came up, I would study the Fa and try to let go of the attachment. However, each time, there were still remnants of the attachment there. I was a bit worried and Teacher would give me hints. Later on, I found that the reason was that deep in my heart I was still reluctant to let go of human life. Therefore, my letting go had conditions. Since the attachment was always there, I began to develop a mentality of fear that affected my cultivation and interfered with me going out to clarify the truth to save sentient beings. Fellow practitioners around me thought that I had lowered my level. The deeds of the righteous thoughts and righteous actions of fellow practitioners published on Clearwisdom.net inspired me and touched me. I asked myself, "If it was the last day of my life, what would I choose? Would I still be reluctant to let go of human life?"
3. Clarifying the Truth Face to Face
The truth-clarification material printing site in our area was sabotaged. Several practitioners are still imprisoned as a result. I also suffered from harassment and being under surveillance. In view of my own situation, I focused on clarifying the truth face to face. At the same time, I tried to use other methods as well. I really benefited a lot from reading the articles on the Clearwisdom website. To those people with whom I was not acquainted, I usually spoke in the third person. To those people I knew, I spoke to them directly. In the past, I did not like to talk when meeting other people. Now, I smiled first when I met someone. Some practitioners were afraid of being persecuted by the CCP, so they dared not speak. This motivated me to sum up my experience to share with them and encourage them.
I tried to persuade my husband to learn Falun Dafa, but he said, "I know you are earnest and taking care of me, but I cannot learn it now. I will leave it for the future." Therefore, I could only continue to clarify the truth to him in a way that was easy for him to accept. He was a person with extremely high self-esteem and a man of his word. We had been married for over twenty years, and during this time he never spoke humbly. He hated people who shed tears. Not long after I went out to clarify the truth, he seemed to feel something. One evening after coming home from work, he called me by my name and said with tears in his eyes, "I beg you, don't say anything outside--for me, for our child, and for this family." He knew that Falun Dafa was good, but he was afraid of the persecution by the evil Party. Of course I could not yield to his words, however, I had to show my understanding and had to calm him down. I knew that I must also do well in my truth-clarification, because only by doing well would I be safe. I did not answer him directly. I looked at him and said, "Please rest assured that I will be responsible to you, to our child, and to this family." Even though I said this, I still felt pressure in my heart.
In clarifying the truth, I could always feel that Teacher was strengthening and protecting me. One day I accompanied my husband to attend a function. My husband had something to do and left before the dinner started. At the time, everyone else was chatting. I sat there looking for opportunities to clarify the truth. Two people sitting next to me were talking. One of them was a bureau chief from another county and I did not know who the other one was. I heard this stranger say, "It's as crazy as the self-immolation by Falun Gong practitioners." I said sternly, "Don't talk nonsense! Falun Gong does not allow people to commit suicide. The Tiananmen Square Self-immolation Incident was staged!" The two of them were stunned. The bureau chief left very quickly but the other one questioned me sternly, "Who are you? Where do you work?" I sensed that there might be trouble. Instantly, I asked Teacher for help. I calmed down very quickly and told him where I worked. I also told him that I was with my husband. He relaxed a little bit and asked, "Why do you want to defend Falun Gong? How do you know the Tiananmen Square self-immolation was staged?" I said, "There are people at my job who practice Falun Gong. Before 1999, I read Falun Gong books which clearly stated that it does not allow suicide." Then he asked, "What are the names of those who practice Falun Gong at your job?" I knew he would ask questions like that. One practitioner at my workplace had been imprisoned for two years and it was big news then. It was a well-known fact. I told him that the practitioner was very rational and reasonable and was considered to be a good person by both his leaders and peers. He paused and then said, "Do you know that I am from the city Procuratorate? I said, "Really? I thought you were one of my husband's colleagues. People in my workplace all say that Falun Gong is good and is a cultivation way of the Buddha School. What I said is for your own good, and I hope you can meet with good rewards." He changed to a more caring tone and explained what he had heard from his superiors and said that we should all stay in line with the superiors. I did not refute him directly. Instead I said to him, "When I first started to work in the 1970s, whenever we had a meeting my boss would shout the slogan 'Down with Deng Xiaoping.' We simply followed. After Deng was rehabilitated, no one shouted that slogan anymore. When Deng was overthrown for the second time, I did not follow my boss to shout slogans anymore."
He urged me, "You shout! You shout! It has nothing to do with you." Suddenly he understood what I had implied. He stopped and looked at me. I did not say anything but looked back at him. After some time he said, "You know, I was in charge of the management of prisons, and I had four prisons under my control. Since I worked there for so long, my way of thinking has not changed. My wife said it was an occupational disease." I smiled and said, "I can understand." He nodded his head. Then I said, "My husband does not allow me to talk about this outside. Would you please not tell him?" He said, "No, I will not!" Later on at the dinner table he found out that I did not drink. He stared blankly for a few seconds. I thought he realized the reason. He told my husband, "I talked to your wife. She is very good and very straight forward." I really felt happy for him. When reviewing the incident afterwards, I found that I was a bit rash and impatient at the very beginning. I should have acted more calmly and it would have been more appropriate if I had raised the doubt with a question.
4. Cultivation Is a Very Serious Matter
After the organ harvesting at concentration camps was exposed, I was very upset and became impatient about clarifying the truth. I was pursuing results and developed the mentality of accomplishing tasks. When the truth-clarification went smoothly, the mentality of complacency and the mentality of validating myself was magnified. One day, people that did not know the truth reported me to the police and I was taken to a police station. During my stay there, I was determined that I would not give up Falun Dafa nor would I betray my fellow practitioners. However, many times I used human thinking and failed to fundamentally negate the persecution. As a result, I did not do well in several other aspects. When the police asked me to give up my cultivation and tell them who my fellow practitioners were, I thought to myself that I would rather die than agree with them. At the same time, I thought that they did not have any evidence, so I simply would not cooperate. I also wanted to leave the demon's den as soon as possible. The evil forces took advantage of my human thoughts of trusting in luck and acting in a perfunctory manner. As a result, I promised not to promote Falun Dafa and not to do the exercises in public. At the time, I thought that I had always practiced the exercises at home anyway. I even thought that if I did not satisfy them, they would not release me. In that case, I could accomplish nothing. This thought was clearly not in the Fa.
After returning home, I still did not realize my problem at the beginning. I only thought that something was not right and I did not even bother to think about it. Teacher gave me hints. When I was doing the sitting meditation, I saw a picture. I was holding a bamboo punt-pole and stood on a boat made of willow twigs that was moving forward in a muddy river. I woke up with a start--a boat made of willow twigs? Teacher was trying to tell me that I was full of omissions. I felt very bad, so I began to look inward and tried to dig out my attachments. On the following day, Teacher showed me a bucket with a spade. The spake was digging sand out of the bucket. The spade was about to reach the bottom of the bucket, but it was still digging at full speed. I enlightened that Teacher was asking me to continue to look inward, and I tried hard to find my omissions.
I realized that cultivation is a serious matter and that in cultivation, everything is important, no matter how small it is. From the surface, it seemed that I only wanted to deal with a small matter perfunctorily. As a matter of fact, it was not a small matter at all. It exposed my human attachments. Deep in my heart, I still had the mentality of fear. I was afraid of losing a stable life, afraid of losing my salary, and afraid that my husband could not bear it. In my heart, I was still reluctant to let go of the human attachments. I often read articles from the Clearwisdom website and was in tears many times when reading about the moving deeds of my fellow practitioners. I often recited to myself, "With no attachment to living or dying." However, at the critical moment, I still left omissions for the evil forces to take advantage of. How could I make such mistakes? It was because I had failed to truly cultivate my xinxing. As a matter of fact, my cultivation was carried out under a disguised human attachment.
"What's given up is not oneself
But instead the folly of delusion"
("Discarding Attachments" from Hong Yin II)
"When you're compared with those Dafa disciples who have strong righteous thoughts and have done well, [I have to ask,] can you really not raise your ultimate understanding of Dafa beyond this human plane? What are you really cultivating for, then? To achieve something for human society? To achieve something for China? To achieve something for the side of Dafa disciples that's in the human world? Or to merely have the world bring justice to Dafa disciples in the human world? Did I impart the Fa to you to accomplish something for human society? What I am doing is leading you toward godhood in cultivation, leading your understanding, little by little, out of humanness and beyond that of man, and the goal is to lead you to Consummation and the ascension of your being. " ("In Fa-Rectification Your Thoughts Have to be Righteous, Not Human")
Reading this paragraph of the Fa now gave me much food for thought. Hadn't my understand of the Fa stopped at the human level over a long period of time? When I failed to let go of my attachments, didn't I still pursue the human side? When I felt excited or sad or angry, wasn't I pursuing the goal of having the world's people give practitioners justice in the human world?
When I failed to let go of human attachments, then studying the Fa became a mere formality. When I failed to let go of human attachments, I was unable to clarify the truth with righteous words and deeds. The manifestation was that sometimes I would have the mentality of fear in clarifying the truth, and at other times when I did not have the mentality of fear, I would show my stubbornness or anger during the process. If I could not let go of human attachments, it would be only natural for me to have a mentality of trusting in luck" and a mentality of opportunism at the critical moment. How could it be possible for the evil forces to persecute practitioners like me? It was my own omissions that were taken advantage of by the evil forces. I was a victim of my human attachments. I felt ashamed for letting Teacher down.
When I woke up on the morning of the third day, I did not want to do anything, because I had a heavy heart. Just then I saw a golden Falun spinning in front of my eyes. My tears fell. I knew Teacher was encouraging me, a non-diligent practitioner. Teacher has always guided me forward. Though I fell, I knew that I had to get up from where I fell. I wanted to be an upright and noble Falun Dafa practitioner. I took out a piece of paper and carefully wrote, "I declare all my words and actions that were not in line with the Fa to be null and void. I will closely follow Teacher, help Teacher to rectify the Fa and save sentient beings, as well as do well the three things Teacher asked us to do." Then I signed my name. I said loudly in my heart, "All heavenly beings, please listen. I will help Teacher to rectify the Fa and save sentient beings. Don't interfere with me in whatever form." I told my fellow practitioners, "I have never had such a clear understanding of what the old forces were and I have never been so confident in clarifying the truth to save the sentient beings as I am today."
No human language could ever express my respect for and gratitude to our venerable Teacher. The only thing I need to do now is to let go of myself and save sentient beings. Thank you, Teacher!