This is the story of a 30-year-old medical doctor who moved to the U.S. from China nearly ten years ago. This individual began to practice Falun Gong after the historic April 25, 1999 appeal in Beijing. For the 11th anniversary of the April 25 appeal, Clearwisdom (CW) interviewed him.
CW: Please tell us your background.
Doctor: I was born in 1980 and turned 30 this year. My parents and I came to the U.S.A. almost ten years ago as immigrants. I graduated from a medical school in China, and attended medical training programs in the U.S. and received an MD and a Ph.D. I am a resident doctor at one of the top ten hospitals in this country.
CW: What kind of person were you while growing up? What were your main interests?
Doctor: Our family enjoyed a comfortable standard of living following China's economic reform and open door policies in the 1980's. As a child I loved to play. I went to college earlier than my peers, and played sports, such as swimming, bowling, basketball, and others, and I liked to play on computers, watch movies and other types of entertainment. I also enjoyed reading. My family was affluent, and I could read books on medicine, and history. I read China's four famous classical novels at a young age. While in college I frequented the San Lian Bookstore and read many books on humanity, literature and science. I also visited the Beijing University and Qinghua University libraries. Although I was a medical student, I read many books on social sciences. Now that I am a Falun Gong practitioner, I spend most of my spare time working on Dafa projects, reading Dafa books and doing the exercises.
CW: When did you hear of Falun Gong?
Doctor: It was at the end of 1998. I drank a lot during a party and felt unwell. A classmate showed me the book Zhuan Falun. As a college student, I realized I had many options in life. If I put in the effort, I could easily get and did get rewards such as money, degrees and high social status. This remains true even today. At that time my understanding about life was just like that, as if these things were everything. But after I had achieved all the goals, I somehow still felt a little empty. Having read Zhuan Falun, I found myself agreeing with almost everything the book covered. I read the book almost by chance.
CW: You were only 18. Could you really accept all the points in Zhuan Falun at 18?
Doctor: I read a lot before that, such as about physics, general science and astronomy. As a medical student I studied genetics and life sciences. Young people are curious. I was also interested in China's political environment, and more. Now Han Han is an icon in China. What he writes about today -- I had the same thoughts back then. I read about Buddhism; I read the Bible twice, and I also read Dao De Jing. After reading all those texts I found that Zhuan Falun answered all the questions pertaining to other religions. It also answered questions regarding science. You know, science cannot explain matters of religions, and vice-versa; but Falun Dafa explained everything.
I had no health issues, and my life was pretty successful. After reading the book I thought: Wow, this is the truth! Although I did not start to practice right away, I knew that Falun Dafa is a good cultivation system.
CW: After reading Zhuan Falun and other Falun Gong books, you realized the books tell the truth. Did you decide to practice some day?
Doctor: Sorry, I was young. Although I knew Dafa is good, I also knew that I had to give up many bad habits. So, I thought, let me wait for a while. I will enjoy life a bit more as a young man. But I still read the [Falun Dafa] books every so often.
CW: When the Communist Party began the Falun Gong persecution in 1999 you were still in China. What did you feel at the time?
Doctor: I was surfing the web at an Internet Café on April 25, 1999. The government had a tight control on newspapers, but the Internet media was not as tight as it is now. The Internet reports said Falun Gong practitioners gathered at Zhongnanhai and did not repeat the official media story that accused Falun Gong of "besieging" Zhongnanhai. I told myself, now I have to begin practicing Falun Gong. Otherwise, who knows what will happen next week. I went and found a practice site. So, I began to practice right after April 25, 1999.
CW: Most people tend to become discouraged and stay away from controversy during a political campaign when negative propaganda is being broadcast. You took an opposite approach, why?
Doctor: The Chinese people have been under Communist suppression for generations; it's automatic to fear the darkness and danger. When I was little I knew the official version of the June 4, 1989 incident was a lie [Tiananmen Square Massacre]. Some of my relatives are high-ranking officials in the Party. I had access to some secret documents. When I was six, I found out that the high-ranking officials read classified papers completely out of reach to the people on the street. During the June 4 event, foreign radio broadcasts told a very different story from China's version. Some of my neighbors were college students in Beijing, and they told me many things. So, I knew back then when the CCP criticizes something, the opposite is probably true.
I told myself, I have to decide what's best for me. Why do I have to listen to you (the CCP)? In addition, the CCP is certainly unable to provide me all the benefits Falun Gong does. For instance, I was a meritorious student, and the Party lured me to join it. But if I were not that good, the Party would not bother with me. People are practical and choose what's good for them. So, I paid no attention to the CCP's propaganda. Even after the persecution started I refused to listen to the Party's words.
CW: Was there any other special reason then for you to choose Falun Gong?
Doctor: Although I was a new practitioner, I was determined to continue. Soon, veteran practitioners gave me Master Li's new lectures, and I began to read Minghui [Chinese version of Clearwisdom.net]. I was deeply moved by stories about practitioners stepping forward to defend Dafa under huge pressure. Some practitioners felt that they were safeguarding the truth of the universe. At such a critical moment they forgot their own safety and told the public about Dafa's merits. It was a very honorable thing to do. These stories changed my thinking. Gradually, I felt that I could not remain passive and silent. Later on I began to distribute information about Falun Dafa and the persecution to my classmates and friends, using my own methods. It was a gradual process. I could have done better, of course.
CW: You have been in the U.S. for almost ten years. You chose to continue practicing Falun Gong in this free country. What do your friends and family think? Do they understand your choice?
Doctor: In the beginning they did not. Some of them were afraid. They also worried about my future, although I had been in the U.S. for so long. They eventually began to know the facts and learned that the Tiananmen "Self Immolation" was a hoax. Although they did not say it out loud, they could tell right from wrong. When my family members know that I don't smoke, don't drink and don't do bad things, and am making a stable living, they will make their own judgment.
In my medical practice I specialize in a highly competitive area; even most U.S. medical school graduates find it hard to get in. It's even harder for a Chinese immigrant. Each year in the U.S., less than 200 positions are open, but several thousand people apply. My undergraduate education was in China, which is a disadvantage for me. As a Falun Gong practitioner I look at my good luck as a special fortune from Dafa cultivation. Practicing Falun Gong gives me a better life. It is hard to explain to people using conventional thinking.
CW: Now, your family members are happy about your situation, aren't they?
Doctor: All that people care about are tangible things such as my academic achievements, don't they? They can look at my family life, also. My wife is a practitioner, too. She is an excellent person, and we are a very happy family. So, my parents have nothing bad to say. They are indeed satisfied.
CW: After more than ten years of cultivation in Falun Gong, what is your biggest change?
Doctor: My biggest change is that I can bravely face my own shortcomings. Ordinary people, no matter how accomplished they are, for instance the best professors or successful businessmen, if you criticize them they will be unhappy, and will likely argue back. Falun Gong teaches people, "...don't even hit back when you're attacked, or talk back when people insult you.." (The Ninth Talk, Zhuan Falun, Translation Version 2003 ) Practitioners always look for our own problems whenever a conflict occurs. This sounds simple, but it is very difficult to follow in reality. But these principles can greatly improve people's moral standards and lift up people's spiritual qualities. These unique requirements point directly at people's minds and give practitioners huge rewards in their physical health and character.
CW: Do you have any specific examples in trying to follow these principles?
Doctor: A simple example. In medical practice, veteran doctors always supervise junior ones. When veteran/senior doctors criticize younger ones, the junior doctors don't like it and will sometimes argue. Some keep silent for fear of more criticism or future ramifications to their career. But when they have an opportunity in the future, they criticize others the same way--especially when they attain senior ranks, they will do the same thing to junior doctors. I did not feel that bad when, as a practitioner, I heard negative comments. In addition, I looked for my problem that caused the criticism. Then I would try to do better and improve . This is hard to do for a young man with a big ego. We call it cultivation of the heart/mind. Falun Gong teaches people why you have to do that.
When facing patients, especially some difficult ones, the patients make things very hard for you. When you become tired and impatient, can you remain calm and positive? Can you follow the teachings of the ancient sages, be sympathetic, and really feel for them, putting yourself in their shoes? This is difficult to do for a non-practitioner, unless the person has a special value system in tune with ancient wisdom. As a practitioner, I know how to do it without outside force. I have to improve myself in these situations. These principles are hard to understand for people without a cultivation background.
CW: Falun Gong practitioners have upheld their belief and ethics for more than ten years, and they keep telling people the facts. They have made a lot of sacrifices.
Doctor: Did I really lose anything? No. Life goes on for me. I have a fairly large house and a car. Although I am not that wealthy, we have everything we need. I will have a much bigger income when I complete my residency. I don't think cultivation makes one lose anything. But our personal uplifting, especially our joy, is unspeakable. When we tell people about Falun Dafa and the persecution and they begin to see the facts and make the right choice for their future, they will be so happy. Compared with the reward, all our sacrifices are worth it.
CW: You have two doctoral degrees, and you said they are not that difficult to earn. But you also said cultivation is really difficult. Have you ever questioned your choice and become unsure?
Doctor: Early on in my cultivation I had my doubts. Cultivation is a gradual process. But I did not encounter a big hurdle that I could not jump over. When a difficult situation arises I have to overcome my emotion, stay firm and do the right thing. This is a basic part of cultivation. Following the process, things will keep getting better and easier. In other words, one becomes more willing to do the right thing. This cannot be accomplished overnight, of course.
As long as one wants to cultivate, Master will make arrangements for you during the entire process. Master is looking after the practitioners every step of the way. So, things can become pretty easy for practitioners. Falun Dafa is a great cultivation way, simple and straightforward. One does not have to become a monk. As long as one reads the books, everything in one's life may be used for improvement.
CW: Based on your own experience, do you have any advice to people who have not practiced Falun Gong, or those who know little about the practice?
Doctor: People might say: you want me to practice? Do you have any motivation? I do not mean that at all. People born in the 1980's tend to be more self-centered. The more you try to persuade them, the more they become annoyed. I was the same way. No one really pushed me to do anything. Someone showed me the book. After reading it, I was convinced.
Falun Gong has been taught since 1992, for almost 20 years, and the persecution has lasted more than 10 years. New practitioners join the practice every day. Many practitioners possess high social status; some are highly accomplished people. They don't go around and brag about it; most are low-key. Anyone who reads the Falun Gong books makes his or her own choice. Falun Dafa never forces anyone to practice, and the activities are strictly voluntary. But if you never read the books, or you refuse to learn about it, if you are prejudiced against Falun Gong, especially if you are fooled by the CCP's lies, that is indeed a terrible shame.
People should have professional ethics. As a doctor, if I don't tell my patients the truth about their medical condition I would fail in my medical ethics. By the same token, we practitioners have to tell people the truth about Falun Dafa and the persecution. I hope people will read Zhuan Falun and find out for themselves. You can make a choice after that. If someone refuses to learn about it, then this person has really missed the boat, big time.
CW: Thank you for the interview.