Maturing in the Storm
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings, revered Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I first began practicing Falun Dafa in 1996. I suffered from severe stomach illnesses and took medications all year long. Master cleansed my body after three months. I was able to make it to this day under Master's care and protection. I cannot accurately describe Master and Dafa's magnificence and divinity, even if I exhaust all human vocabulary.
Dealing with a chronic skin ulcers with righteous thoughts
After the regime began persecuting Dafa on July 20, 1999, I always played a prominent role by visiting other practitioners. Together we discussed how to petition for Dafa. As Fa-rectification pushed forward and Dafa practitioners matured, we printed materials to expose the persecution and spoke with people and explained what Falun Gong is really about.
I was irrational and did not pay too much attention to safety. Due to my attachments to getting things done, showing off, and validating myself, and because I studied the Fa less, I was arrested in 2000 during the early winter months. The officials denied me sleep for two days and tortured me with "Carrying the Sword" [The victim is handcuffed behind his back, with one hand crossed over a shoulder. To do this, the police push the person down on the ground on his stomach, then step on his back, then pull the victim's hands and cuff them together. It is very painful.] However, I did not see through the evil's true nature and revealed data about a fellow practitioner, which later I realized was wrong. But I knew they would not be able to find this practitioner based on the information I gave them.
The officials sent me to a detention center. While there, the guards instructed inmates to strip me naked and sprayed me with bone-freezing water for 30 minutes. My teeth chattered uncontrollably. They whacked my ribs while hosing me down and continued to beat me after I put my clothes back on. They probably broke my ribs, because I felt unbearable pain and could not sleep for several days. They closely monitored and abused me during the next few days and repeatedly beat me. They had just "reformed" one practitioner and attempted to do the same things to me, but I persisted in my belief.
My family spent money and used connections to obtain permission to meet with me. Each time, about 20 people--including my mother, my sister, friends, and classmates--would come to see me. They would cry, scream, and threaten me, attempting to coerce me to write a guarantee statement so I could go home. I did not allow myself to indulge in emotions.
Later on I was held in a forced labor camp for two years. Dafa practitioners protested the persecution by going on hunger strikes and refusing to wear prison uniforms.
I never cooperated with the guards, no matter how vicious they were, even if they retaliated by putting me in solitary confinement. They finally gave up and acquiesced to my not doing hard labor and not wearing the prison uniform. I had relatively more freedom compared to other practitioners detained there.
The evil elements in other dimensions then persecuted us with scabies, which affected many, including me. I developed scabies on the calves. At first I did not pay much attention to it, but the area began to ulcerate and worsen. It progressed to the extent that the ulceration was the size of an apple and looked frightening. My legs swelled and dripped pus and fluid. I sent righteous thoughts to eliminate the persecution, because I know Dafa practitioners do not have illnesses; it's the evil interfering with us. They are trying to undermine our willpower. I absolutely will not let them succeed. The doctor warned me if the condition got to my bones I might develop osteomyelitis. I did not let this thought get to me and simply sent righteous thoughts and recited the Fa daily.
When the pain was at its worst I limped to the cafeteria. I thought, "I am a Dafa practitioner and I must carry the image of one. It hurts to limp, just as it hurts to walk straight. So, why can't I straighten my back and leave a pure and righteous path for posterity?" When I came to this understanding, I was able to walk as if I had no problems at all. Because I firmly believed in Dafa and constantly disintegrated the evil, my legs healed completely on their own in six months.
The turning point came while I was held in solitary confinement. The guards locked me in a posture that forced me to stand for several days in a row, and then locked me in a squatting position for about one week; this torture lasted about two weeks total. I was in a metal cage, handcuffed to a fixed point on the railing. People who squat for extended periods usually develop swelling, yet my ulceration and swelling went away after this ordeal. I did not compromise my principles despite the torture, and they had to let me out.
Picking myself up from the ground, creating an environment, and validating Dafa
I did not study the Fa well. It was difficult to get access to Master's latest articles at the time, and I saw the persecution as something that humans did to other humans. I had show-off and competitive mentalities and a strong desire to validate myself. I did not fundamentally negate the persecution and used my human strength to fight it. The evil took advantage of my gaps and escalated the persecution. They sentenced me to five years in prison after the labor camp stay.
When I first got to the prison I talked to the political head. He quickly accepted the idea that Dafa is good. He understood Dafa practitioners. He asked me to sit in a chair each time we talked, and we were like friends. The prison authorities later punished him financially because I did not reform, but he took it in stride. I was grateful to him.
However, I relaxed my righteous thoughts and was no longer diligent in cultivation when I was no longer under attack. I relaxed in reciting the Fa, in sending righteous thoughts, and doing the exercises, and still I thought I had created a great environment. The evil, however, began to take advantage of my loopholes. They suddenly transferred me to an extremely evil prison. Because I lacked righteous thoughts, they brutally beat me during the first few days. I even lost consciousness once. When I came to, I saw them stabbing the hegu acupuncture point on my hand with a large needle, and my hand began to bleed. I signed a document renouncing my belief while I was in a wrong frame of mind.
Then, I was drowning in extreme shame and became despondent. I had made it through all these years, and yet I left a stain at the end. I was in such mental anguish that I nearly destroyed myself. This state of mind lasted for a long time. At one point I realized I was falling into the evil's trap, because they were doing everything they could to prevent us from practicing cultivation and make us give up cultivation. So I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and was determined to make it up.
I recited Lunyu, Hong Yin, and Essentials for Further Advancement daily. I recited over and over every Dafa article I could remember. At the same time I frequently sent righteous thoughts. Master said,
"'Cultivation is up to you, gong is up to the master'--if you just have that wish you're all set. When it comes to who's actually doing it, it's the master. There's no way you could do that.." ("Why Doing Cultivation Exercises Doesn't Increase Gong," The First Talk, Zhuan Falun)
When we were longing to get a copy of Zhuan Falun, Master arranged for us to get a handwritten copy. We later received some recent articles, e-books, and MP3 players.
In 2005, two practitioners and I began studying the Fa, doing the exercises and communicating with each other, and basically did not do any hard labor. It was the first step in not cooperating with the evil. We took it step by step in order to create an environment. We sent righteous thoughts more than 20 times a day. The officials could not do anything to us, so they let us do the exercises in the public washroom every morning. They assigned someone to open the door for us, because the washroom is locked up every night. We always did the five exercises during one session.
It is easy to be taken advantage of in an evil environment when we have a slight gap in righteous thoughts. Once I did not send righteous thoughts, and a guard suddenly snatched my Dafa book while I was studying. An inmate later told me, "He's been circling around you for a long time." It is difficult to protect Dafa books in prison. Fellow practitioners in another division lacked sufficient righteous thoughts. The guards searched and found lots of Dafa books and soaked the books in water, causing irreparable losses. I was in charge of protecting Dafa books at our division and would not part with the books for even a second.
The officials would conduct searches on sensitive days and would rummage through everything, including our pockets. Once I was carrying a bag of Dafa books and affirmed the thought: "Dafa is more important than my own life; I cannot allow the guards to take it away from me." With the power of righteous thoughts they only searched my pockets. I took the bag and walked over to the group that had been searched. This was another manifestation of Dafa's supernatural power.
At another time I did not wait for the guards to search me but instead walked straight into the other group, and no one tried to stop or question me. As long as we have a righteous understanding and act in a righteous manner, and our thinking is based on the Fa, the evil will not dare to persecute Dafa or Dafa practitioners. We are the ones actually causing many tribulations and losses.
Besides dealing with our own cultivation, we also talked to the inmates and asked them to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations, which many of them did. We hand-copied a few Hong Yin poems and gave them to the inmates who studied and recited them also. We washed the elderly inmates' clothes and cleaned the rooms daily. Some inmates and guards admired our selflessness. They said, "If everyone acted like a Dafa practitioner, there would be no criminals in the world." The persecution gets worse the more human concerns and notions one has. The evil persecutes humans; they cannot persecute gods.
Release from prison and rescuing sentient beings
I returned home after a long period of incarceration, but increasingly understood the true nature of this persecution through constant and diligent Fa study. This let me walk the path Master arranged for me with a clearer understanding. I did away with the old forces' arrangements and completely negated them.
I had suffered great losses during the persecution and had fallen behind in terms of rescuing sentient beings, so I went to the market the morning after I returned home and successfully helped several people withdraw from the CCP. I have continued to speak with people face-to-face, and the number of people I have helped quit the CCP has increased.
My former boss refused to let me return to work, so I sent righteous thoughts to disintegrate the financial deprivation imposed by the authorities. I found a high-paying job. My family did not say anything because they were happy with my salary. They also saw that Dafa practitioners do care about their families, and they saw the benefits of Dafa cultivation. Master's omnipresent care is behind everything!
I was initially a bit concerned at my new workplace when talking with people about Falun Gong, especially with high-level officials. As I constantly studied the Fa and corrected my mentality, I was determined to rescue them. I overlooked their social status, as it is only a human and ephemeral thing. I courageously spoke with them and helped some officials quit the CCP. It was easy. Some were wealthy, others were division and section heads. I helped everyone I came across. They acknowledged that Dafa practitioners are good people and do not take their position or money too seriously.
I took Fa study even more seriously after I got home each day. Instead of isolating myself, I constantly communicated with fellow practitioners and discovered lots of shortcomings, especially my lack of understanding of the Fa.
"We negate even the very emergence of the old forces and everything that they've arranged; we don't even acknowledge their existence. We're fundamentally negating all of their things, and all of, and only, the things you do while negating and getting rid of them is mighty-virtue. It's not that you're cultivating amidst the ordeals they created. Rather, you are to walk your own path well while not acknowledging them, not even acknowledging the elimination of their ordeals' manifestations. (Applause) So looking at it from this angle, what we need to do is completely negate the old forces. Dafa disciples and I don't even acknowledge the manifestations of their last-ditch efforts." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
Fa study made me realize the reason the old forces succeeded in persecuting me for so long was because I was cultivating amid their arrangements, although I verbalized that I had completely negated them. I unconsciously acknowledged the evil persecution. I suffered so much unnecessarily, and yet I thought I had done a good job with cultivation. If I had improved in terms of understanding Fa principles, I would have suffered less and could have completely broken through the evil persecution and been released from prison with dignity and respect. When my legs swelled, even the officials offered me medical parole, but I did not have righteous thoughts of getting out. As a result, my incarceration continued.
The old forces try to destroy us mentally and wipe us out physically. They try everything to make us give up cultivation amid an evil environment. Although they failed with me, no matter how good a prison environment I created, I was still cultivating in tribulation. Master would never arrange for us to cultivate in that kind of environment.
Rescuing sentient beings is our responsibility and mission. We should cultivate ourselves better and carry powerful righteous thoughts, disintegrate evil tribulations and arrangements in other dimensions before they happen in our dimension. Our mighty virtue comes from steadily rescuing the world's people and validating Dafa; that is a better way to become accomplished Dafa practitioners.
The above is my personal understanding. Please point out anything inappropriate.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners.