Our Fa Study Group Since 1999
Greetings, revered Teacher!
Greetings, fellow practitioners!
The "Eighth Internet Experience Sharing Conference for Practitioners in China" has commenced. Looking back at my cultivation, I have so many thoughts and feelings to share, especially stories about our Fa study group. I would like to take this opportunity to share the collective cultivation experiences pertaining to our Fa study group.
Our study group consist of mostly elderly practitioners, but everyone in this group started practicing Falun Gong before July 20, 1999, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started to suppress Falun Gong. We wanted to restore our health when we first started practicing. We all suffered from a wide range of severe illnesses such as hearing loss, gynecological problems, arthritis, and illnesses that doctors failed to identify. We decided to practice because the hospitals could not do anything for us. Yet all of our illnesses disappeared in a few short months after we started practicing Falun Gong.
After July 20, 1999, these elderly practitioners were no longer able to practice Falun Gong openly and freely. Some decided to exercise their constitutional right by appealing for Falun Gong to the provincial government or the State Appeals Office in Beijing. They sought to restore their right to practice freely and openly. They also wanted to explain that Falun Gong teaches its practitioners to be kind and moral, but the CCP refused to listen. Instead, the CCP launched an unprecedented level of persecution against people who practice Falun Gong. At the time no one knew what to do. While everyone was anxious for a solution, a fellow practitioner who was a small business owner suggested studying the Fa together and exchanging cultivation insights in her home. Because she ran a small business, many people entered and left her home all day long. It would not look suspicious if we visited her. Eventually it became a routine, and to this day, we study the Fa at her home every Saturday afternoon.
I recall that we were without information of any kind about Falun Gong at the time. If a fellow practitioner was able to obtain Teacher's new article or an experience-sharing article written by a fellow practitioner, or if a fellow practitioner heard about an insight that was beneficial to our understanding of the Fa, we would share it after our group Fa study. We would read the articles and try to understand how fellow practitioners understood the Fa or what we should do. Teacher must have seen our steadfast faith in Falun Gong, because we soon obtained a computer that enabled us to read articles on the Minghui website (Chinese version of Clearwisdom). It has been those articles on Minghui hat encouraged us to face the persecution and inspired us to have righteous thoughts and actions and to clarify the truth about Falun Gong.
Just when we saw through the evil nature of the persecution and reinforced our faith in Falun Gong, the old forces tried to interfere with our Fa study and tore us apart by inflicting sickness upon one elderly practitioner. She was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Her family took her to the hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, several others of us were arrested for practicing Falun Gong and sent to a forced brainwashing center. Suddenly, we lost our Fa study group. We all felt the enormous pressure from other dimensions and were not prepared for it.
At the pivotal moment, several fellow practitioners with a clear understanding of the Fa and righteous thoughts rose to the occasion. One that had started practicing Falun Gong after July 20, 1999, volunteered to be our coordinator. She paid attention to the practitioner who was stricken with cancer and sent forth righteous thoughts for those practitioners incarcerated in the forced brainwashing center. She changed the location of the Fa study group temporarily to another small business site owned by a fellow practitioner. We kept this location for exchanging cultivation insights only. She encouraged everyone to keep righteous thoughts, study the Fa more, and persevere in our faith in Teacher and the Fa. She encouraged everyone to deny the old forces arrangements and passed along Minghui Weekly on time to everyone. By doing so, she has helped us to keep calm and keep our thoughts righteous.
When the ill practitioner returned home from the hospital, many practitioners called her. To help her recover quickly, some practitioners gave her Minghui Weekly. Others encouraged her to practice the Falun Gong exercises, persevere in her faith in Teacher and the Fa, study the Fa more, and send righteous thoughts more. Still others sent forth righteous thoughts for her and studied the Fa with her. We became one body. As we exchanged cultivation insights and searched inward for attachments, we realized the significance of studying the Fa. We also realized it would not suffice to study the Fa together once a week. We decided to study the Fa every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights together.
We have been studying the Fa as a group for many years. Naturally we have come across xinxing tests, interferences, and conflicts. We witnessed each others' attachments to our family. Each time a politically sensitive day approached, we all faced the enormous threat of potential persecution.
In 2009, a male practitioner was arrested while clarifying the truth about Falun Gong at a local market. His non-practitioner family member told the police where we studied the Fa. Some fellow practitioners stopped coming out of fear. Others told the host directly that they would not come again because they wanted to study the Fa elsewhere. We knew it was an interference. We ought to study the Fa more. Regardless, the host practitioner and I persevered in studying the Fa. We were determined to walk our path well and keep our faith in Teacher and the Fa. As long as Teacher is with us, we do not fear anyone. We were confident that they would come back and join us again. We encouraged each other to see the superficial bad news as good as it must have been arranged to eliminate our attachment to fear. It was an opportunity to temper us. While we searched inward, we would not acknowledge or accept the old forces' arrangements.
Our fellow practitioners soon re-joined us. To elevate our cultivation level, we began to reflect on our actions. Why were the police able to arrest that practitioner? Why was our faith wavering? How deep was our faith in Teacher and the Fa? We realized the root cause was that we had separatedFa study from our actual cultivation practice. It was just like what Teacher has said in Zhuan Falun:
"In the past, whether people practiced qigong in parks or at home, they did it with much effort and dedication, and they practiced quite well. Once they stepped out the door, they would act differently and go their own way, competing and fighting with others for fame and profit among everyday people. How could they increase gong? It could not increase at all, and for the same reason neither would their illnesses be healed." ("Why Doesn’t Your Gong Increase with Your Practice?" in Lecture One)
Teacher also said:
"This is especially true with Fa-study: you really need to study the Fa with utter seriousness. Do you know what has become of Fa-study in many places? In some areas it has lapsed into a formality." ("Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference")
We had been studying the Fa daily. Regardless of how late it was, we would study the Fa before we went to bed. However, some practitioners faced serious family problems for several years. Their families disapproved of Falun Gong. An elderly male practitioner did not quit smoking. Some practitioners would get upset at any criticism or feedback. When we realized our attachments, we decided to share our cultivation experiences every Saturday afternoon. We decided to evaluated what we said and did against the Fa and eliminate attachments. The practitioner who smoked knew he should quit, but had difficulty doing so. He was also very anxious about quitting smoking. In the past we just told him to quit or spoke ill of him behind his back. But we thought it was his own problem and criticized him freely.
We finally realized it might have something to do with us. When we criticized him for smoking, we were enveloped with resentment. We failed to see things from his perspective. While we were condemning and criticizing him, we kept sending him negative elements. The old forces must have been very pleased to see us condemn and resent our fellow practitioner.
"As soon as your thinking aligns with a particular type of being, it will be able to instantly exert an effect on you. Yet you won’t be aware of where your thoughts are originating from, and will still think that it is your own will. But in fact, it was precisely your attachments that resulted in those things having an effect on you, and that led to their strengthening your attachments." ("Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference")
"Isn’t it true that nothing you come across is by chance? Aren’t you traveling the path to divinity? Do you really believe that cultivation is only appealing and you can only elevate when what graces your ears are pleasing things and when Dafa disciples only say things that resonate with you?" ("To the European Fa Conference")
We repeatedly studied "To the European Fa Conference" and realized we contributed to his failure to quit smoking. We were very attached to his problem of smoking. Whenever we saw or heard him smoking, we condemned or resented him and saw it as entirely his fault.
Through our group Fa study, we realized it was not just his problem. It was arranged to eliminate our problem. We tried to see things from his perspective. He had smoked for over 50 years. It was difficult for him to quit smoking all of a sudden. But we had faith that he would be able to quit with Teacher's help. After that, we became encouraging and supportive of his efforts to quit. We exchanged our understandings of the Fa to help him quit. He also found articles on Minghui pertaining to quitting smoking. He was soon able to quit smoking. At the age of 75, he also started making materials containing important information about Falun Gong at his home.
We made a leap in cultivation together through this experience. We elevated our respective xinxing levels. One practitioner resolved her family feud and another became more receptive to feedback. We knew better to search inward. We have realized that we should study the Fa well—and read Minghui Weekly to learn from fellow practitioners' cultivation experiences. We should learn from each other in terms of Fa study and cultivation.
Because we have made a lot of progress on our xinxing, we have also made progress in clarifying the truth about Falun Gong. The practitioner diagnosed with rectal cancer has prevailed over the cancer because of her faith, her xinxing elevation, Teacher's protection, help from fellow practitioners, and Minghui Weekly. She often says, "It is Teacher that has given me a second lease on life to cultivate and to offer people His salvation." When the weather is fair, she goes out to share her experiences of practicing Falun Gong with people. People comment that she looks younger. Some people thought that she had passed away due to her long absence. She called on her old friends, neighbors, and colleagues to clarify the truth about Falun Gong. Many people have started practicing Falun Gong because of her visits.
When her family, relatives, and friends witnessed her transformation, they knew Falun Gong was good and the CCP had no reason to ban Falun Gong. Her daughter, son-in-law, and son have started practicing Falun Gong. Additionally, her ex-daughter-in-law called her to ask for Falun Gong books and to learn the Falun Gong exercises. She made a quilt for her children and told them, "When you use the quilt, think of Falun Gong. Thank Teacher and Falun Gong. Without Teacher and Falun Gong, your mother would have died. Our family would have been incomplete." She also mobilized her entire family to use bills with important facts about Falun Gong printed on them. Her husband, who does not practice Falun Gong, tells people all the time that it is Falun Gong and Teacher that saved his wife.
A few years ago we handed out booklets, flyers, or posters containing important facts about Falun Gong. As the Fa-rectification progresses and China changes, we must elevate our efforts. After all, Teacher has repeatedly taught us it is our mission to offer people His salvation. We must not slack off. We should do it wholeheartedly. Therefore, we have made some improvements in the way we clarify the truth.
Teacher approves the written messages on paper currency. No one will destroy money, and the bills are widely circulated, so this has become one of our most important projects.
Initially, we only used one-yuan bills with very short messages written on them. We were quite nervous when we used them. As we continued to study the Fa, send forth righteous thoughts, and cultivate ourselves, we put more messages on each bill, as though it was a small flyer. But we put only one important message on each bill.
We try to use common, easy-to-understand phrases. We use black ink because it is easy to read. We use a small font when the message is longer. Nowadays we print messages on one-yuan, five-yuan, ten-yuan, and twenty-yuan bills. Very few people reject such bills. If anyone should refuse to accept the bill, then we refuse to make the purchase. Therefore, very few people will reject such bills. Sometimes when we use the bills, it initiates a discussion that enables us to clarify the truth quickly.
I would like to share a story about an illiterate elderly practitioner who used such bills when he was shopping. The merchant refused to accept the bills when he saw the messages. She asked about the messages and the merchant to read one to her. When the practitioner asked the merchant to explain what the message meant, the merchant told her about the message "The CCP is doomed and people should quit the CCP and its affiliated youth organizations." After she then clarified the truth to him, the merchant accepted the bills. Recently, we exposed the existence of a local brainwashing center on paper bills.
Our Fa study group has matured after many years of trials and tribulations. We all feel that we are able to help each other improve, learn from each other, and enhance our cultivation levels together in the group environment. As a result, no one in our Fa study group has attempted to damage the Fa by passing articles allegedly written by Teacher.
Many other fellow practitioners have done very well in doing the Three Things, but I cannot share every story in this article.
Whatever we have done, we have done it out of our sense of responsibility. Without Teacher and the Fa, we would never have been able to accomplish anything. We have yet many attachments to eliminate. There are new conflicts amongst us to be resolved. We have some distance between practitioners yet to be closed. But we shall resolve all of these issues in our cultivation. We are confident that, with Teacher's help, we will eliminate these problems as long as we study the Fa more, search inward, and cultivate ourselves. We shall keep up with the Fa-rectification, improve our cultivation, and complete our mission.
Thank you, Teacher!
Thank you, fellow practitioners!