The Path of Return Grows Ever Wider
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings, revered Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I began practicing Falun Dafa in 1996. I feel a plethora of emotions when I reflect on the cultivation path I have traveled over the past 13 years, which include joy and frustration.
Obtaining the Fa
I used to be a very sensitive and shy person, yet deep down I was a perfectionist. My ideals crash-landed when confronted with cruel reality, and I struggled bitterly. I sought the truth when my best friend and colleague recommended Falun Gong to me one day in May 1996. After reading Falun Gong books, I suddenly understood the reason why there is so much suffering in life, and why are we here. As Master teaches us, our goal is not to be human, but to return to our true origins. I had finally obtained the Fa! My restless mind settled down, and I felt unprecedented, true happiness.
At the time I had a great, white-collar job, the best of its kind in my county. Many people envied me. My husband was laid off, so I cherished this job even more. After I started practicing Falun Dafa I conducted myself according to Master's requirements. I went to work early and returned home late and always diligently carried out my duties. All of the illnesses that used to afflict me disappeared within one month. I was able to discard lots of emotional baggage, because Dafa taught me that there is reason behind all conflicts, and you must repay every debt.
Just as I started to understand Dafa from a rational perspective and practiced cultivation with determination, an overwhelming tribulation was looming on the horizon. Due to lack of regulations and loopholes in the financial system at my workplace, someone committed fraud and took more than 200,000 yuan [25,000 USD]. I was an innocent victim, but I was partially responsible for the loss. I lost my job. When it was confirmed that the money was gone, I felt as if the earth had caved in from underneath me. I was speechless, but I knew I was passing a major test. It took almost one year from the time the incident happened and when I was fired, because Master was waiting for me to improve my xinxing; otherwise I would have suffered a mental breakdown. During that year, besides eating and sleeping, I spent all of my time studying and reciting the Fa and letting go of attachments to self-interest and emotions.
"Yet as a practitioner you will find the things that people take seriously to be very, very trivial--even too trivial--because your goal is extremely long-term and far-reaching. You will live as long as this universe. Then think about those things again: It doesn't matter if you have them or not. You can put them all aside when you think from a broader perspective." (Chapter III, Falun Gong, 5th Translation Edition)
Yes, I thought, I will live eternally; what is this tribulation compared to my ultimate goal? Perhaps I am paying back all the lives I've killed over the course of many lifetimes! I was able to face the situation with a calm mind. Master published a series of lectures he gave abroad. I joined other local practitioners as we watched Master's videos. I constantly studied and memorized the Fa, which laid a solid foundation for validating Dafa and rescuing sentient beings in the days to come. I saw Master on the videos on a daily basis and felt as if I was living next to Master. Those precious days were the most treasured memory of my life. Now I know Master was afraid that his disciples couldn't stand up to the most unspeakable hardship in the universe and gave lectures from around the world. Master is so magnificent and compassionate! He toiled so much to rescue the universe and help us overcome tribulations. Just as Master said,
"Handling human affairs of every sort,
Burdened with all of heaven's troubles."
("Cold and Alone Up High" in Hong Yin)
Petition in Beijing
The Communist regime began attacking Dafa with vicious lies in July 1999, and propaganda filled newspapers, TV and radio stations. Dafa practitioners shouldered pressure from their families and the society at this critical time. I spoke with people about the wonders of Dafa. I explained to them how great Master is and how wrong the Party is for persecuting Falun Gong. Upon learning about the Party's plans to further denigrate Master in October 1999 I joined several practitioners. We took a train to Beijing. I wanted to safeguard Master's reputation and the sanctity of Dafa with my life!
My husband followed me everywhere on the day I decided to go to Beijing, making we wonder, "How am I going to leave?" We booked an afternoon train. Just as I was about to leave someone called my husband, and he left home. I immediately went to the train station and met the other practitioners. We gave each other a knowing smile. As long as what we do conforms to Dafa's standard, Master will help us.
My xinxing improved rapidly during my time in Beijing. I clearly felt fear was being eliminated bit-by-bit, and righteous thoughts increased day by day. I saw groups of Dafa practitioners from all over the country being arrested in Tiananmen Square. They never cowered and had such a calm and fearless look on their faces. Many practitioners went to Beijing and Tiananmen Square. I felt how glorious it was to be able to step forward and safeguard Dafa when Dafa is being persecuted, and how great and meaningful it is to assist Master to rectify the Fa!
When I arrived at Tiananmen Square the morning of October 26, 1999 I saw police officers everywhere. "The air was so thick, you could cut it with a knife." I did not know then I could validate Dafa by shouting something or unfurl a banner and thought by stepping forward I was validating the Fa. Some plainclothes police officers asked us right after we reached the center of the square whether we were Falun Gong practitioners. We firmly answered, "Yes." They shoved us into a police vehicle. Practitioners from different parts of the country were held at the Tiananmen Police Station. We recited "Lunyu", and Hong Yin out loud. Our voices reached the heavens. I was later taken back to my local county and held at a detention center for six months.
Dispel lies and rescue people
Once released from the detention center I pondered again and again, "How many people's minds have been poisoned by the evil regime with such earth-blanketing lies?" What should I do? It was no longer possible to petition, and we did not have a newspaper or TV station; how many people could we rescue by talking to people one at a time?
At that time Master published a series of articles including "Toward Consummation." They lit up my path like beacons in a dark sky, and I realized the heavy responsibility of rescuing sentient beings. While we cultivate ourselves, we also must rescue people.
So, I talked to other practitioners. All of us understood the sacred mission of Fa rectification Dafa disciples is to assist Master rectify the Fa. We quickly established a Dafa materials production site in late 2000. The persecution was severe. We risked our lives by stepping forward and widely distributing materials to people. Even though the possibility of arrest, ransacking, detention, labor camp and prison loomed over us at all times, we never stopped validating the Fa or rescuing sentient beings in the local area. Each incident of practitioners who had close contact with me being arrested or detained was a life-and-death moment for me. I had to make a painful choice--whether to continue or to give up.
Looking back it is easy to talk about it now, but then I constantly lived on edge. When someone knocked on my door I would wonder whether it was a police officer or a 610 Office agent. Every time I left home to hand out flyers I wondered if this was the last time. I overcame fear and negated wrong thoughts in order to help people learn the truth, to rescue sentient beings, and to fulfill my sacred vows. That's how I made it.
Our local production site was destroyed in 2003. Several practitioners in charge were arrested and sentenced to a prison term. Many practitioners developed fear, and fewer practitioners were willing to step forward and explain the facts to people. I offered to pick up and distribute materials. A few practitioners were then held in prisons and labor camps. Many practitioners stayed home, so the truth clarification progress slowed down. Practitioners from another city gave me too many Dafa materials, while the majority of practitioners in my area did not want any; so, I faced a great deal of pressure. I did not keep up with Fa study, and my workload was very heavy. I had piles of Dafa materials. The evil seized my human thoughts and attachments and I was arrested and held for more than a month. Prior to the arrest, Master prompted me many times and hinted at danger, but I had done some work to validate Dafa and heard lots of praise, and my ego became inflated. I ignored the signals and was obsessed with proving myself. Looked at superficially, someone betrayed me to the police, but the evil actually took advantage of my strong show-off mentality and complacency.
It was a serious lesson, and because I fell so heavily, I was despondent for nearly one year before returning to Fa-rectification. We eventually learned from our lessons and decided to do as Master requires of us, which was to have many small-scale production sites instead of large sites. We no longer let the evil take advantage of our gaps. We have achieved this goal; our production sites are running steadily and playing an important role in rescuing sentient beings.
Doing away with attachments and the old forces' arrangements
Three officials from the Domestic Security Division ransacked my home one day in July 2006. I calmed my mind and sent righteous thoughts, and had a firm thought they could not see my Dafa books and the bags containing Dafa materials. I told myself, "No matter what, this will stop with me, and I absolutely will not sell anyone out." They didn't find anything and ordered me to go with them. I firmly refused. I locked my door and sat on my bed to send righteous thoughts. After sending righteous thoughts for 30 minutes I heard them leave and decided to go out to shop for food. When I came home my husband said, "Someone from the shop [the author runs a family-owned business] just called and said the police found some Dafa materials." Hearing this scared me. I tossed the food down and ran out of the home. Quite upset, I went to a fellow practitioner's home. I thought, "Now I'm done. I have to live in exile now."
The practitioner cultivates diligently. She and I studied the Fa and sent righteous thoughts together, and she shared stories from her cultivation. I could feel her compassion and calmness. Her life is very simple, and she often eats only bitter melon with rice for weeks at a time in order to save money. But when she talks to people about Falun Gong, she often buys MP3 players and DVD players for them. She often leaves home at 7:00 a.m. and returns home at dusk, and at times as late as the next morning.
Looking at her made me face my own shortcomings and attachments. I had done a really poor job. Over the past few years I replaced cultivation with doing things and did not really cultivate myself. Master arranged for me to stay with her. I have learned so much that I would never forget. I saw her righteous belief in Dafa and Master, and how much she cherishes the opportunity to practice the cultivation in the Fa-rectification period. I learned how to look inward and truly enlightened to Dafa's principles.
After several days of Master's prompts and Fa study and sending righteous thoughts I calmed down and looked inward and found the reason why I was persecuted. My husband didn't have a job. He has a bad temper, and he refused to find work for many years and treats my family with a bad attitude. I resented him for it. I bore grudges because he hit me on a few occasions. I always felt my marriage was not as good as it should be. I often flirted with boyfriends in my dreams as I did not eliminate strong sexual desires. These fundamental attachments attracted the demons. After identifying these attachments I sent righteous thoughts even more frequently until they were completely gone. The practitioner encouraged me to go back to work, and I thought it was about time to leave her home.
After I left her I felt a sudden fear. When I was walking in the street I always felt as if someone was following me and was terrified when someone knocked on my door at home. Because of my previous work related arrest I thought, "If I go back to work, would I get arrested again?" Should I work or not? It was a choice of life and death. Then a practitioner helped me find a job in another city. She said, "You'll put yourself in harm's way if you go back to work. The officials will interrogate you about the source of Dafa materials. Now it's time for you to give up everything." I repeated her words to my husband. He was resolutely opposed to me working elsewhere. I realized cultivation is just like students in school - you would take a periodic exam that includes multiple-choice questions, and both right and wrong answers are right in front of you. It depends on whether you have studied the Fa well; because if you did, you would have no problem choosing the right answer. I thought, "Living in exile is absolutely not Master's arrangements."
I repeatedly recited Master's words,
"When disciples have ample righteous thoughts
Master has the power to turn back the tide"
("The Master-Disciple Bond" in Hong Yin Vol. II)
While sending righteous thoughts I clearly felt Master removing lots of bad substances for me, and Master's boundless compassion moved me to tears.
I had a dream that night where everyone at the cafeteria had a bowl. They got food, but I could not find a bowl. After I woke up I realized Master was telling me I should not go into exile and should keep my job, which is my rice bowl. So I went to work as usual and completely negated the old force's arrangements and persecution.
Rescuing fellow practitioners
Domestic Security agents arrested a practitioner in my area in 2007. The officials went to the practitioner's workplace and dormitory, where they rummaged through everything, beat the practitioner and arrested him. When I learned about it, I wrote a report and submitted it to the Minghui website and called on overseas practitioners to make phone calls. I also joined other practitioners in making flyers and posters that exposed this crime. Similar to prior incidents, each time a practitioner was arrested, other practitioners meet severe interference from the old forces; especially practitioners who produce materials constantly run into all sorts of troubles, though we appear very passive and indifferent.
I remembered Master's words,
"I said earlier, and it sounded like I was kidding, that if only one person succeeded in cultivation, then I would have that person become the cosmos." ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference" in 2003)
I knew there is profound meaning in this sentence. My understanding is there is hope for the universe, even if only one person succeeds in cultivation. Along the same vein, even if others did not realize the importance of cooperating as a whole body, I should do it if I realized it. It would be enough even if one person could achieve it. When my xinxing was up to the standard, Master arranged for a practitioner to come talk to me. She said she was touched by my diligence, so we worked overnight and produced lots of pamphlets and posters. We invited five practitioners the next day and together, we studied the Fa and sent righteous thoughts for five hours in the afternoon.
After returning home right after the group study, my husband gave me hard time and threatened to send me back to my parents' home. He said he wanted a divorce. I knew there was a fierce battle between good and evil in other dimensions, and the evil was manipulating him to interfere with my efforts to rescue detained practitioners. I quietly sent righteous thoughts to disintegrate the evil behind him. Soon, he went out and came back late at night, acting as if nothing had happened.
We quickly covered the dormitory where the fellow practitioner lived with posters and pamphlets. The next day, people discovered the information; it was the talk of the town. The practitioner's superiors felt the heat and pressure and went to the Domestic Security Division to ask for his release. He returned home in the afternoon. We want to thank practitioners inside and outside China for their great support via phone calls!
Negating financial persecution
After I was expelled from work, I worked in a shop for 300 yuan a month. My husband was still unemployed, and our son was going to middle school. Our life became difficult. I worked 12-hour days between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. with one day off in a week. This was my work schedule for ten years. During the first five years, which were the most difficult, I kept in my mind that I am a Dafa disciple and never complained, regardless of the hardship I encountered. I was eliminating karma by suffering, and I came across many people whom I was able to help by telling them the facts about Falun Gong. Several of them are now solid Dafa practitioners who are in charge of validating Dafa and rescuing sentient beings in their area. After a long day of work I would study the Fa after returning home in the evening and then distribute materials in the street. Other people who became aware of my situation were surprised, asking me, "How could your family survive on such a pitiful amount of money?" But I was able to make it with Master's guidance and protection. Practitioners generously helped me then; my relatives and friends gave me money, which was an important reason why I was able to make it through the most difficult days. I sincerely thank Master for his protection and compassion, as well as for the selfless help from other practitioners!
Once I participated in a high school reunion; everyone took turns paying for the tab. When it was my turn I couldn't afford to pay the bill. They eventually asked me not to come, thus making me lose lots of opportunities to clarify things with them. This was a wake-up call. I had to calm down and reflect on whether I have walked the right path.
"Gods walk the earth,
Validating the Fa" ("What's to Fear?" in Hong Yin Vol. II)
Was I really validating the Fa? I was validating how much I was willing and able to endure hardship! I felt ashamed. We are Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples, and everything should revolve around validating the Fa and rescuing sentient beings, every aspect of our life should serve to validate the Fa. This is unlike when we were cultivating as individuals, when the more one suffers, the more mighty virtue one would have. The old forces persecute Dafa disciples physically, financially and also destroy our reputation. Isn't my current situation a form of persecution? Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples should build their mighty virtue by opposing the persecution instead of passively enduring the persecution.
After I cleared up my understanding on this Fa principle I sent righteous thoughts to oppose the persecution, saying, "I am a Dafa disciple; rescuing sentient beings is my sacred mission. I do not want any arrangement that will interfere with my validating Dafa and rescuing sentient beings. I will completely negate the old forces' persecution and twisted arrangements regarding my cultivation path, cultivation environment, financial condition and validating Fa."
After I persisted for a while my situation improved. As of 2005, my salary went from 300 yuan to 500 yuan, to then to 900 yuan, and finally to 1,200 yuan. My year-end bonus went from 1,000 yuan to 3,000 yuan year last year. My son has finished high school and is now in college. He will graduate next year. My shop is doing very well. We installed a computer at the shop in 2005. I access the Internet when I have time. I often read articles on the Minghui website and occasionally write articles and submit them to the Minghui website, or help other practitioners quit the Party. I am also participating and coordinating several projects to validate the Fa. My xinxing is improving, and the path of validating the Fa grows ever wider under Master's guidance!