Improving Myself by Helping Fellow Practitioners–Fulfilling My Vows and Responsibilities as a Dafa Disciple
(Clearwisdom.net) I obtained the Fa in January 1999. Due to my lack of diligence in Fa study, I have not fared well in my cultivation. However, no matter how difficult cultivation has been, I haven't given up. I like to help others, which is easily accepted in everyday people's society, but can lead to issues in cultivation. To help others in everyday people's society does not involve other dimensions, but doing so in cultivation is a completely different story due to interference from other dimensions.
– From the author
Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I obtained the Fa in January 1999. Due to my lack of diligence in Fa study, I have not fared well in my cultivation. No matter how difficult cultivation has been for me, I haven't given up. Master has never given up on me and has been protecting me. I would like to thank Master for his benevolent salvation.
During past Internet experience sharing conferences for practitioners in China, I only briefly wrote out my cultivation experiences for our local Fa conferences. I didn't think that I was cultivating well, so I thought I had nothing special to talk about. I did not have miraculous experiences like other Falun Dafa practitioners with very righteous thoughts and actions. I even had some bad cultivation states that I needed to rectify. Thus, I was hesitant to submit my experience articles to Minghui.
However, this time I had a very different understanding. When the call for articles came out for the Eighth Internet Experience Sharing Conference for Practitioners in China, I realized that participating in Fa conferences is part of our cultivation and our way of harmonizing with the Fa. It is not validating ourselves, but is a great way to eliminate our selfishness and indifference to Fa rectification in other locations. As Dafa disciples, we should work as a group, no matter where we are located, to help break through the Internet censorship in China. We should therefore participate in Fa conferences with a deep understanding of what Master requires from us from the perspective of Fa-rectification, rather than looking at them as a formality. I also realized that every Falun Dafa practitioner is responsible for every major event during the Fa-rectification.
This is my first time submitting an experience sharing article for the Internet Experience Sharing Conference. I would like to take this great opportunity to share with fellow practitioners my cultivation experiences and report my cultivation state to Master.
1. Spreading the Fa
Before practicing Falun Gong, I had been bothered by several illnesses. I went to see quite a few doctors, but none could help me. I then turned to quite a few qigong masters to find cures. None of them worked either. Even worse, I went astray during my qigong practice. My family was scared to death. With a strong main consciousness, I later quit the sham qigong practices I had been following. The bad substances were then diminished, but I was still struggling with my painful illnesses.
In January 1999, I was very fortunate to obtain the Fa and get the book Zhuan Falun. After reading just a few topics, I realized that Zhuan Falun was very different from other qigong books. Also, I finally understood the reasons behind the issues I had with other qigong practices. Therefore, I made up my mind to practice Falun Gong.
My previous terrible experiences with other qigong practices made my family members disfavor qigong. So at the beginning, they were strongly against my decision to practice Falun Gong, since they suspected it would be another sham qigong practice. I showed Zhuan Falun to my father and told him that this book was very different from the other qigong books. Out of concern for me, he decided to read the book himself to see what it was about. After he finished reading the first thirty pages, smoking left him with a bitter taste in his mouth. After eighty pages, he stopped drinking. He asked me why he no longer liked smoking and drinking, which had been difficult for him to quit before. I told him that it was great news and that he must have a predestined relationship with Falun Dafa. Since then, he has not intervened in my cultivation. He even started practicing Falun Gong himself.
Although I started Falun Dafa cultivation due to my illnesses, I didn't have an attachment to healing illnesses. I knew that I should be a good person, cultivate myself, and be compassionate. Within one month of cultivation, I successfully eliminated many of my bad habits. Seeing great changes in me, my wife also started practicing Falun Gong, as did my younger brother, his wife, my nephew, and my parents-in-law. All of us have been practicing Falun Gong ever since.
Our family experienced the beauty of Falun Dafa. I really hoped that more and more people could benefit from Falun Dafa. Also, I knew that as a Falun Dafa disciple, I should spread the Fa and help more people obtain it. Together with my wife, we did our best to spread the Fa. She usually took care of our shop alone, freeing me up to participate in Fa-rectification with fellow practitioners. We invited practitioners from nearby our town to have group practice and put up Falun Gong exercise demonstration boards. Our boards were welcomed by the local residents. We went to different villages by bike to introduce Falun Gong to local residents. Whenever there were people who wanted to learn Falun Gong, we set up new practice sites. Within three to four months we had successfully set up six group practice sites. As a result, quite a few people started practicing Falun Gong. We also upgraded ourselves through the Fa-rectification process. It was an unforgettable experience.
2. Validating the Fa
On July 20, 1999, the CCP initiated the persecution of Falun Gong. I was arrested at 2:00 p.m. the same day. I was forced to watch TV programs that slandered Falun Gong. I was told that I was not allowed to practice Falun Gong any longer, but I was not afraid. I told them how good Falun Gong was, that there was nothing wrong with the practice, and that our Master teaches us to be good people. I said that maybe the government did not understand what Falun Dafa was. They asked me whether I would continue practicing Falun Gong if the government didn't allow us to do so. I responded with confidence that I would definitely continue, since it was such a great practice. I was released that same night, probably due to my strong belief in Falun Gong and Master's protection. When I returned home, my body was light and comfortable, a wonderful feeling that I had not experienced before. I believe that it was Master encouraging me.
In "Dafa is Indestructible," from Essentials for Further Advancement II, Master said,
“Why are Dafa disciples ruthlessly tortured by the evil? Because they persist in their righteous faith in Dafa, and because they are particles of Dafa.”
The evil subsequently became more and more frenzied in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. I held steadfast belief in Falun Dafa, and always said “Falun Dafa is good” under any circumstances. I believed that as Falun Dafa disciples, firmly stating “Falun Dafa is good” and reiterating our belief in public was a great way to validate the Fa.
In early February 2000, I had the symptoms of an illness. My feces were red and white, and I needed to use the bathroom quite a few times each day. It was also agonizingly painful. At the time, I didn't find it to be a bad thing since I didn't think the pain would kill me. I also didn't think of seeing a doctor. For four months I stayed in bed with great pain and could not sleep. One day, I was arrested by the police and put into a detention center. I almost forgot about the pain during the day, but when the night came, I was in a lot of pain. I went to the bathroom and my pain was seen by the people detained in the same cell. They were scared by my painful expressions and wanted to report it to the police. I thought to myself that as a Falun Dafa practitioner, I should be in good health, and I didn't want them to report it to the police. I told them that I would be fine soon. The next day, I recovered miraculously. Everyone there witnessed the miracle of Falun Dafa. They were amazed. When I clarified the truth to them later, they easily understood. Some of them even recited Falun Dafa articles and practiced the exercises.
I was arrested again in March 2001. I held a hunger strike to protest against the persecution, and I was later transferred to a rehabilitation center for drug addicts. There were many people detained there, but there was not too much constraint. I realized that I should validate the Fa and save sentient beings there, so I stopped the hunger strike. I then offered to clean the public restrooms. The restrooms started out very dirty, but they were nice and clean after I was done. The drug addicts were astonished at what I did, and it created a favorable impression of Dafa in their minds. I clarified the truth to them and told them the basic principles, which they were willing to accept. The officers in charge saw their changes, and approached me for a talk. I then clarified the truth about Falun Gong to them, too. Sometimes, I talked to them about Falun Gong in public. They had no aversion to what I said and even accepted my words. The environment in the rehabilitation center became more and more comfortable for us to validate the Fa and save sentient beings. During the outdoor walk times, I was able to meet fellow practitioners who were also detained there. We exchanged ideas on how to save sentient beings. As long as we have the heart to save sentient beings, Master will help us.
3. Upgrading Myself by Helping Fellow Practitioners
I like to help others, which is easily accepted in the everyday people's society but can lead to issues in cultivation. Helping others in everyday people's society doesn't involve other dimensions, but doing so in cultivation is a completely different story due to interference from other dimensions.
An older female practitioner I knew had conflicts with her son. Her son ignored her for a long time. Seeing this, I shared my understanding with her and told her that it was not a correct state, and since her son was also a sentient being, she should approach him and talk to him. She followed what I said, but her son still ignored her. When I found out, I asked her to look within to find out what attachments she had that led to this situation. After hearing this, she became very angry at me. She yelled, “What else can I do? Do you want me to kowtow to him and beg him to be kind to me?” She was so angry that she didn't sleep the entire night.
I thought to myself, “I haven't helped her out, but instead made things even worse. Why is that? Am I pushing her away?” I started looking within myself and found my attachment of doing things at the superficial level. When I saw her problem with her son, I didn't find her as a mirror to look within myself. When I was trying to help her, I had the feeling that I was better than her. She did not read at all, so she had been listening to Master's lectures during the past ten years, which made me feel superior to her. Actually, no matter what happened, even if I was not involved, I needed look within and upgrade myself. After realizing this, I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the barriers between us. When I saw her the next day, we talked and everything went just fine.
A fellow practitioner who obtained the Fa after the persecution started, once had the symptoms of an illness. His family was not supportive of him practicing Falun Gong. Together with a few other practitioners, I went to his home to send forth righteous thoughts. It was the first time I visited his home, so I brought some snacks with me for his grandchildren, hoping that I could leave his family with a good impression.
On the way to his home, we sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate any evil interference, and asked Master to strengthen us. We arrived and there were a few guests at his home. I realized that we should clarify the truth and save them so that we could rectify the environment at his home. Through truth-clarification, both his family members and guests understood what happened and were happy to quit the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations. I later talked with him and sent forth righteous thoughts together with him. The next day there were three more practitioners going to visit him. They saw that he was in good shape and we were so happy that we started chatting a lot with him. We also reminded him of a lot of things. The third day, his family called and told us that he was not in good condition. Hearing this, I was very worried. I stood in front of Master's picture, asking Master to enlighten me, and I sat down and looked within. I realized that I should not have become worried when I heard the bad news. Everything bad is only phenomenon that is used to test us. I continued looking within and found my attachment of seeking changes on the superficial level. During those past few days we visited his home every day with an attachment. When we talked to him, we took turns telling him what we understood, just like dumping everything we knew onto him. The reason we succeeded the first time was because we had the right thoughts of saving sentient beings as we clarified the truth to his guests.
With a deeper understanding of what was going on, we went to visit him for the third time. This time, we were not influenced by the superficial phenomena. We sat down peacefully and discussed what attachments we had during the process of helping him. This time, we didn't mention his illness at all. We sent forth righteous thoughts together to eliminate our attachments, and refused to acknowledge the interference by the evil forces in taking advantage of our loopholes. We said to him, “You obtained the Fa very late, so you should study the Fa more to catch up. No matter what tactics the evil forces employ, they are all useless. Please don't take them seriously. Just do what you are supposed to do.”
A few days later, I heard that he was now able to work on the farm. I actually didn't think about his issues since we returned from his home. I have now realized that the process of helping the fellow practitioner was actually for me to improve myself and cultivate. As Falun Dafa practitioners, we should not miss any opportunities like this to improve ourselves, although sometimes it looks as if it is another practitioner's issues.
4. Dafa Practitioners Must Do the Three Things Well
As we all know, Teacher requires Dafa disciples to do the three things, which includes studying the Fa, sending forth righteous thoughts, and clarifying the truth. The Fa rectification is approaching its end, and as Dafa disciples, we should all be doing the three things well. But it is not easy to study the Fa well, send forth righteous thoughts well, and clarify the truth well, because doing them well is directly related to our daily cultivation. Studying the Fa well and solidly cultivating ourselves is the assurance for doing everything else well.
I regard Fa study as being of great importance. When I first obtained the Fa, I regretted obtaining the Fa so late, and I just hoped to catch up with veteran practitioners. Thus every day I studied as many lectures as possible, and when I listened to Teacher's recordings, I often went through several lectures. Some days I even listened to all nine lectures together, and I was very energetic afterwards. Over the past ten years, I have managed to study the Fa every day as well as Teacher's lectures and other articles. I also read all of the Minghui Weekly. I can usually concentrate well when I study the Fa. Even when I was arrested for practicing Falun Gong, I still persisted in reciting several dozen of Master's articles and Hong Yin, which I had memorized. I recited all of them several times per day so that my thoughts were assimilated to the Fa all the time. Teacher said in “To All Students at the Nordic Fa Conference,”
“...no matter how busy you are, you cannot neglect Fa-study. This is what fundamentally assures that you move toward Consummation and do Dafa work well.” (Essentials for Further Advancement II)
For sending forth righteous thoughts, besides the four global times, I do three more in the evening, on the hour, (during the time we have group Fa study and exercises in the evening until midnight). I also think that cleansing myself is very important. Sometimes I extend the times for sending righteous thoughts, and sometimes I cleanse myself for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or even 30 minutes beforehand. The effect of the righteous thoughts afterwards is then better. During normal times, when there is nothing on my mind, I send righteous thoughts when I can. To everyone, everything I see, and to everything in other dimensions that I cannot see, I always tell them to remember “Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good,” and only by remembering this would one have a bright future. I also maintained a thought to eliminate all the evil factors that try to interfere with sentient beings being saved. I think a Dafa disciple's every thought should be out of consideration for saving sentient beings. It is not difficult to have this thought, but if one's cultivation is not solid, then he will not be able to remember this when his mind is idle. The key is to persist in doing it.
I also have another habit. Before going to sleep, I always cleanse myself or recite the Fa-rectification verses. This way I can maintain a righteous mind in my sleep. If I encounter interference during my sleep, I can eliminate it. If I encounter people with predestined relationships during my sleep, I can also clarify the facts to them. During the time I was in prison, late one night when I was sleeping, I saw two big snakes on my sides holding me up and I could barely breathe. My mind then suddenly recited the Fa-rectification verses and my hand immediately formed the upright palm position. The two snakes then disintegrated, and it was quite magical. When I woke up, my hand was still in the position. In this dimension, it was two collaborators that fell on my body and once my righteous thoughts went out, they immediately moved away. After I changed to a different cell, the same thing happened again. I think it was Teacher hinting to me that I needed to send righteous thoughts more. That was in 2002, when there were many evil factors in the prisons. I sent righteous thoughts whenever I got into bed. Every night there were still a lot of evil things to eliminate. There was also one time that my main consciousness left my body. It was only for several seconds but it felt quite good. Later on in my mind I was asking for the feeling and thus it never occurred again. But my righteous thoughts never stopped. Teacher said in “Dafa Disciples' Righteous Thoughts are Powerful,”
“Actually, every Dafa disciple has abilities. It’s just that the abilities do not manifest in the surface dimension, so they think that they don’t have supernormal abilities. But regardless of whether they can manifest in the surface dimension or not, when a person’s True Thoughts come forth they are very powerful.” (Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Clarifying the truth is saving people. This is something that Dafa disciples during Fa-rectification period must do well, and it is something that is most sacred. Teacher said in “Let Go of Human Attachments and Save the World's People,”
“For a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple, personal liberation is not the goal of cultivation: when you came, saving sentient beings was your great aspiration, and that is the responsibility and mission history has bestowed upon you in Fa-rectification. Thus great numbers of beings are to be saved by you.”
Each of us has the supernatural abilities that Teacher has given to us. We must not break our vows, and must assist Teacher in Fa-rectification and fulfill what Teacher wants.
In order to clarify the facts well, we must study the Fa well, read lots of articles on Minghui and know the basic materials; only by doing so and with Teacher's help and righteous thoughts, are we able to save people.
When I first clarified the facts, it felt like something was holding me back. When I returned from prison, my friends and other people I knew would ask me different things, and gradually I was able to speak to them about it. At that time I was mostly only saying the basic facts, and it was relatively easy for everyday people to accept them. As the process of Fa-rectification moves forward, we must also expose the persecution and convince people to quit the CCP when we clarify the facts. This is a bit more difficult, especially convincing people to quit the CCP. If we Dafa disciples cannot understand things based on the Fa, including the essence of the CCP, its form and manifestation in this world, its role in Fa-rectification, and its outcome after Fa-rectification, then it will be difficult for us to clarify the facts.
I got out of the prison in the second half of 2007, and I didn't know how to convince people to quit the CCP. All the Dafa disciples were doing it, and I rushed into clarifying the facts and convincing people to quit the CCP. Soon after I returned home, my older cousin came to see me and I began trying to convince him to quit. I talked to him for quite a while but he hadn't accepted what I was saying by the time he left around lunchtime. A fellow practitioner in my family later told me that my older cousin had quit the CCP. Why did he not accept it when I talked to him? It was because we cannot pursue quick results. Teacher told us in “Drive Out Interference,”
“The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts.” (Essentials for Further Advancement II)
I began to calm myself down to study the Fa. Besides studying Zhuan Falun every day, I also systematically studied the other Fa lectures and also read Minghui Weekly and other truth-clarification materials. Through Fa study, I realized that there were certain factors of the CCP culture on my body that had not been disintegrated. Then how would I be able to disintegrate the evil spirits behind others? If I did not have strong righteous thoughts, how could I help others to break through the lies? If I had the attachment of pursuit, then how would I be able to save other people? When I realized these Fa principles, my thoughts of saving people became purer, and along with reading the valuable experiences on Minghui, I became more and more mature about clarifying the facts. When people came to my shop, I would take the initiative to tell them the basic persecution facts about Falun Gong, about the persecution that I suffered, about the CCP persecuting good people, about how heaven will destroy the CCP, and about the stone in Guizhou Province that has the words, “The Chinese Communist Party will perish” on it. Heaven's warning is for saving those predestined people who are tricked by the CCP, but don't want to be grouped in with the evil. If we can approach them based on the Fa, most of them can accept it.
Sometimes when I cannot focus during Fa study and when my state is not good enough, I have a hard time taking the initiative to clarify the truth. I will then strengthen my Fa study and righteous thoughts, and go to Teacher's photo to ask Teacher to bring predestined people to me. One time I was reading a Dafa book in front of my shop. Three people were waiting for the bus and they came up to me. I asked them to sit down, and they asked me what I was reading. I told them it was a Falun Gong book. I then followed the subject to clarify the facts to them and in the end, they all quit the CCP. This form has also played a positive role. When the persecution first began, I also openly studied the Fa like this. Once someone came to shop and saw me reading Falun Gong books and said, “Wouldn't it be nice if Falun Gong was vindicated? Then everyone can openly read like this!” As Dafa disciples, our open and righteous minds can give people the hope to be saved.
As I continue to clarify the truth, my righteous thoughts get stronger and stronger, and I've also gained more experience. I later cooperated with fellow practitioners in my family, and we clarified the facts with all of our friends, relatives, and neighbors of both our original and current homes. We also talk to all of the predestined people who we meet when we go out shopping. Most of them quit the CCP. I also clarify the facts with people who come to my booth. Teacher said,
“Every person you come into contact with in society is someone to clarify the truth to, and what’s manifest in clarifying the truth is Dafa disciples’ mercy and their salvation of the world’s people. I hope that every Dafa disciple will fully take initiative and fully play his role as a Dafa disciple.” (Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Teacher has also talked about in the Fa that we should still leave people with our compassion and kindness, even when we pass by them so quickly that we we don't have a chance to talk to them. I was thinking about how I can utilize the several minutes people are at my booth, to clarify the facts with the customers, so that I can provide each of them some hope of being saved. I once began to clarify the facts in front of the booth. At first I was a little rushed. Sometimes I clarified the facts and didn't convince people to quit the CCP. Sometimes I convinced someone to quit the CCP but didn't have the anonymous names ready. I gradually got more experienced, and every day I prepared many names before going there. I also sent forth righteous thoughts and asked for Teacher's help. When a customer came to me, I first asked where he was from, what his last name was, and then thought of a good anonymous name in my mind for the person to use to quit the party. As they choose their goods, I clarify the facts, convince them to quit the CCP, give them amulets, and sometimes give them truth-clarification materials. Because of the short time-frame, sometimes I am not able to cover everything I want to cover. But most people agree to quit the CCP and accept the amulets, so the effect is pretty good. Most days the range is from 12 to 30 people. Sometimes it is not quite that many, which is directly related to the state of my mind on that day.
I encounter all types of people and have learned to follow the different types of attachments of each person to help untangle the knots in their minds. We must truly think for them and not stir up their negative sides. For example, for the people who are in other religions, I do not talk to them about how to keep oneself safe, whose school is higher, whose divine being is better, and so on. Instead, I talk to them about the evil CCP's atheist stance and persecution of spiritual beliefs, that Falun Gong is being persecuted, and we all pursue goodness. I say to them that compassion is good and Falun Gong cultivation follows “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” Most people can accept this, and agree to quit the CCP. To the people who are atheists, I try not to talk too much about divine things. I just say that Falun Gong teaches people to be good following the principle of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” and tell them it is about the right-to-believe and it is protected by the Constitution, thus Falun Gong is legal. This way most of them are able to accept it as well. When I clarify the truth to many people at once, I answer their questions in front of everyone, but then I individually convince them to quit the CCP. One time we had a alumni gathering. After clarifying the truth to them, I gave each of them Falun Gong materials. During the short moment when I said goodbye to each of them individually, I shook each of their hands and asked them, “Please do quit the CCP, just to be safe. Here only heaven knows, you know, and I know.” They all agreed. On the surface, they didn't know that each other had quit the CCP. The reason is that they all hold different positions and among them there were leaders in the counties and cities, so it would be difficult for them to quit the CCP in front of everyone else. We must think about our methods when we do things. If we do things with care then more people will be saved.
My mind was blank before I wrote this. I was about to go through the formality as every other year, but suddenly a thought appeared in my mind. This is a notion that is irresponsible and this type of thought is unworthy of Teacher's salvation. I immediately lit an incense for Teacher and expressed that I will treat this correctly and will take it as a responsibility and mission. Once my righteous thought came forth, there were eight characters that appeared in my mind, “Don't fail to fulfill the vows.” That is right! We have come here from cosmic worlds that are very far away, and wasn't that done to fulfill a vow? With great courage, we came down layer by layer and have reincarnated many times. We have endured all types of suffering in each life and have finally obtained the Fa and Dafa cultivation. Our Fa study, our improvement, the three things that we do, aren't they all for assisting Teacher in Fa-rectification? Isn't it that we are fulfilling our vows? Isn't it that we are completing our historical missions? This is the great Fa creating the great beings, and shouldn't they be written out? As disciples, we definitely need to validate the Fa.
Through writing this sharing, I truly saw that I am far away from the Fa's requirements. When I clarify the truth, I still choose people and am unable to just do it for everyone I encounter. I still have many attachments and notions that I have not realized, or have not yet eliminated. From now on I will study the Fa more, study the Fa well, truly not fail in our mission, and fulfill our sacred vows.
The above is my personal understanding. If there is anything inappropriate, please kindly point it out.
Thanks to our great Teacher!