Western Practitioner: "Who Do You Belong To?"
On true self and my self
When I was a little boy, I used to spend summers in the village where my mother was born. Catching sight of me on the street, old people would often stop me to ask: "Who do you belong to, boy?" I would not say my family name, as expected. I just replied: "I belong to myself".
Back then, I was still an innocent child and that wouldn't insult anyone. I was more attracted to stars than people of the world I couldn't understand at all. I felt there was something beyond, something I should know of, but I could not remember what. I was so frustrated. I recall one of the toughest moments of my childhood when contemplating death. "Never more... Never more... How could it be - never more?" I repeated in my mind, with tears in my eyes. I was so desperate, but didn't run to my mother to seek comfort. It was my true being crying, one who's mother was not of this Earth.
In my teenage years, I experienced third eye sensations. Just like Teacher said in Zhuan Falun Lecture 2: "... it will blossom like the flowers seen on television or in a movie..."
At night, when I'd go to bed, any thought I'd have, any face, any shape visualized would suddenly start blossoming in variety of colors and rush towards my eyes. I could not stabilize any shape in my mind and was terrified. I kept asking myself: "Am I a normal kid, or there's something wrong?"
I felt so relieved when it ceased. At that time I was a teenager. I was losing my innocence and slowly falling into this grand illusion, this big dye vat of ordinary people. Acquiring various notions, I was losing my true self.
Nevertheless I was convinced I was on my way to finding my "self". I was ready to fight in order to protect that "self" due to a notion that my "self" is more important and worthy than other's "selves". But this lead me only to became more selfish, arrogant and self-centered. I kept striving through life trying to prove the point. I got married, had kids, changed jobs, but still couldn't do it. The more I tried the more I hurt people, and more I hurt others, more I was hurt myself. I felt great injustice.
Years were passing and I was becoming bitter, cynical and unbalanced. I was sick of everything including my "self". That's when I obtained the Fa.
Obtaining the Fa
First time I read Zhuan Falun, I was dazzled beyond words. I swallowed the contents of the book, practically without interruption. It was like a treasure chest had been opened up before me. And I started to change immediately.
After initial complacence, great compassion filled my heart. My attachment to lust was gone in an instant, and first time after more that 40 years of my life I stopped biting my nails.
Severe diarrhea followed. And suddenly I was sick when eating meat.
Teacher said in Zhuan Falun:
"Someday or after my lecture today, some people may enter into this state: They cannot eat meat, and meat smells sickening. If they eat it, they will want to throw up. You are not forced by anyone, and neither do you force yourself to not eat the meat. Instead, this comes from your own mind. After reaching this level, you will not be able to eat meat, as it is being reflected from the gong. If you really swallow the meat, you will indeed throw up."
Although I wouldn't eat a meal without meat before, now I could enjoy in a variety of other foods and discover another world. I felt light, like never before. I though it was because of the altered menu, but now I believe Teacher was cleansing my body from the start. With a wave of the hand Teacher removed high mountains of my attachments. I was blessed beyond imagination.
Unfortunately, my enlightenment quality was not up to par. I still held to that stubborn notion that I should do something in this world before digging into cultivation. That's how I lost almost two years. During that period I didn't study or practice; I kept striving to accomplish what I was attached to, but when that was over, it gave me no satisfaction - just more frustration.
Finally I was standing in front of a huge wall I could not pass. There was nothing in life for me anymore.
So I started studying again. I just hoped it will have the same effect.
Buddha's infinite grace
While reading the book for the second time, I felt a strange sensation. It was as if something was rotating inside my body. I believe it started from the top of my head, and then went down my face to my chest, descending lower each day. It felt like a propeller and it was quite unpleasant. Finally, the rotation went down to my lower abdomen and stayed there until reading the book was over.
At that time I didn't know what was that all about. But I was determined. With solemn heart I talked to my wife and told her of some of my revelations from Zhuan Falun. I said I decided to become a Falun Dafa practitioner. She could not understand and thought this was just one my episodes. But I knew it was for all my life. Teacher knew that too. And that's when, I believe, I obtained a Falun.
One thought determines the outcome
I started to practice as diligently as I could. I wasn't able to sit in the lotus position, however. But after some time I received a hint. I read an article on the Clearwisdom website about a practitioner in China who was beaten in jail to the point of both legs broken. In hospital, doctors operated her and installed steel bars in her legs. She thought she'll never again be able to sit in lotus. But she was determined and she made it in the end.
Even with steel bars she was able to fold her legs! Healthy as I am, how could it be that I can't?
I then tried to sit in the full lotus position, and was able to do so. I've never sat in half-lotus since.
Long lost family
After one year of practice and Fa-study, I was lucky to attend a European Fa-conference. Before, I actually haven't had much contact with other practitioners. Although I knew cultivation was between Master and his disciple, I was a bit worried whether I'd be able to identify myself with the larger group of practitioners.
From the moment I saw them, however, I felt they were my long lost family. I was exalted, so happy. The last big obstacle was gone. That's when I had this dream.
Melting into the Fa
In a dream, I was driving through countryside with a vividly red soil. I was stopped by Chinese police, got arrested, and taken to my hometown. A Chinese lady in short white dress interrogated me. She didn't attract me, nor scare me. She asked questions in Chinese and I returned with smiles.
In the end I was offered a blue kind of paper or a red kind of paper. After signing, I knew I'd be obliged to report to Chinese jail, there in my hometown. However, my plan was to make fun of them and run away - once again. Thinking of this, with smile on my face, I sign one of the papers. Then I take a glance and see words Falun Gong instead of my signature.
A thought comes: Maybe I'm not arrested because of practicing Dafa after all? To change Falun Gong into my own name, I add a few lines with pen. What stays on the paper is my name and Falun Gong, mixed together, written in some fancy, heavenly script. Then I wake up with my heart beating fast.
Teacher said in Essentials for further advancement:
"The ancients have a saying, "Having heard the Dao in the morning, one can die in the evening." No one among mankind today can really understand its meaning. Did you know that when a person's mind accepts the Fa, that part of his mind that accepts the Fa is assimilated to the Fa?"
I was assimilating to the Fa. That's how I understand it now.
Spreading the Fa
As I mentioned, in the beginning there were no other practitioners nearby. I tried to spread the Fa to my friends and family, but they couldn't grasp it. In my heart I begged Teacher to help me find fellow practitioners as from time to time I felt lonely and needed someone to share with.
But that was my selfish heart once again.
In Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students in New York, 2004, Teacher said:
"The more you put you first or mix in [factors of] self, the less mighty-virtue you have, and that's why it is less likely that you succeed at things or do them well."
Not until I reached a certain level of selflessness did other practitioners join me. Not before I understood that they are not there for me, but I whom should be there for them. I should treat them with respect, I shouldn't expect anything from them or want anything of them, just as Teacher doesn't want anything from us. If they have predestined connection, they will come. If they have that wish, they will practice. I shouldn't judge them. I belong to them - not to my self.
In the Fa-rectification period, Dafa disciples are supposed to do three things. As I entered late in the Fa-rectification stage, I always knew I had to catch up. However, at first I could not understand Teacher's newer lectures. I was not able to send righteous thoughts right at the start, nor validate the Fa to others.
With Teacher's hints, however, soon I realized there is another level of selflessness and that is being a Dafa disciple and saving people by clarifying the truth.
"All of the future beings will be selfless, while the beings of the past were selfish," said Teacher in Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York.
I enlightened to the fact that personal cultivation is something from the old cosmos. Saving oneself is from the old cosmos. In the new cosmos, there will also be personal cultivation, but not the kind we practice today. We're told so many Fa-truths in order to enable us to assist Teacher in Fa-rectification. And only as long as we are ready to do what we are supposed to do, can we enlighten to those truths.
Insights to other dimensions
There's still many attachments to cultivate away. In order to assist, Teacher sometimes allows me insights into another dimensions. Thus, during meditation, one time I saw a man as tall as heaven, standing on planet Earth, which was the size of his foot. "What's he doing on such a tiny Earth," I asked myself. Then I noticed that roots grew from his head, his back, his legs. The roots were dug deep into the ground and he was stuck there like a gigantic tree. He was so big, but not so free.
Six years after obtaining the Fa, I still must be bound to worldly substances. But all the same, I came a long way. When people ask what benefits did I have, I say I'm another person. Before, I was nervous and impatient - now I'm quite calm. Before, I was cynical and had a chip on my shoulder, mad at all - now I'm easy for most of the time. Before, I loved only myself. Now, love is something else...
Who do I belong to?
Last summer, after so many years, I returned to the old village of my childhood. Most of the old folks who bothered me with their questions were gone, but few of those who remained, I gladly met. Some were surprised noticing changes in me, so I explained how Dafa saved me. I also used the opportunity to tell them of many good people in China being persecuted. Unlike before, it was very easy for me to communicate with those folks. It's because I had respect for them, because I felt I belong to them, as well.
It's because I loved them. And not only them: with sincere heart I found I loved every tree, every house, and every crop field. Just as Teacher said in Lecture 7 of Zhuan Falun:
"In addition to human beings and animals, plants are also lives. Any matter's life can manifest in other dimensions. When your Celestial Eye reaches the level of Fa Eyesight, you will find that rocks, walls, or anything can talk to you and greet you."
That's exactly how I felt. How could I ever thank Teacher for such a feeling? With ongoing cultivation, my view of the universe gets deeper and deeper and my heart constantly expands to hold more beings inside. It's something I could never imagine before. I feel so lucky to be a Dafa disciple.
Thank you, Teacher.