Maturing through Trials and Tribulations
Revered Teacher! Fellow practitioners!
I began my cultivation in Dafa in 1996, and now 15 years have passed. In what follows I shall report to Teacher and share with fellow practitioners how I carried out the three things that Teacher has asked us to do.
1. Fa study
When I began cultivating I was diligent in Fa study. At that time I read one chapter of Zhuan Falun every day after work and usually after dinner. I did not watch television. When the persecution of Falun Gong started in 1999, I was more focused on my job and not diligent in either Fa study or doing the exercises. I was arrested six times. When I returned from a forced labor camp in 2006, I began to take a serious look at why I had been persecuted. I realized that it was because of negligence in my cultivation. Hence, I vowed to read two chapters of Zhuan Falun every morning, and in the afternoon or evening I would do housework or validate the Fa. By the end of 2007 I started to memorize Zhuan Falun and was fairly successful with Teacher's guidance.
The interference I experienced was fatigue. While holding Zhuan Falun, my mind went blank. At this point I recalled what Teacher said, "Because it’s the Fa, your studying the Fa is eliminating them.”
(“Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia,” 1999)
I told myself that I would not succumb to fatigue, because, "A demon will never be higher than a Tao.” (Zhuan Falun)
One day I decided to ignore the sleepiness and carried on reading instead of succumbing to the fatigue. Suddenly, the words became colorful and I knew I had overcome that interference. I recognized that not letting me study the Fa in the labor camp and at home were different forms of persecution. I wanted to share with fellow practitioners, “When you are tired, don't quit your study and go to sleep. If you do, you are following the old forces who don't want you to study the Fa or succeed in your cultivation. This is a serious matter.” When a practitioner is sent to a forced labor camp, he has no chance to study the Fa. By making him feel sleepy at home, he then cannot study the Fa there, either. One must have determination to overcome these interferences.
My approach to studying the Fa is to memorize it. It took me three months to be able to recite Zhuan Falun the first time I tried. Later, I only needed a month and 20 days. Gradually, the time was reduced to one month, and then to 27 days. At first I wanted to quickly accomplish the task. I always wanted to see how many pages I could cover. Teacher's words then appeared in my mind: “We should look not only at the tools’ appearance, but also at their effectiveness.” (Zhuan Falun)
I understood that studying the Fa meant applying the Fa to cultivate myself. Now I memorize and recite the book for about an hour in the morning and then read other articles by Teacher. I have gone through Zhuan Falun more than 30 times. Although I cannot recite it through perfectly, guidance does come to me whenever I encounter a problem. Studying the Fa is now the major activity in my cultivation. Whatever the circumstances I do not give up this study. When I was in the labor camp I continued reciting the Fa.
In 2000 I was taken to a brainwashing center. The evildoers noted that I was not cooperating with their demands, so they sent me and another practitioner to an interrogation room. I continued to recite the Fa every day. When the police officers were looking for the books, I told them that the book was in my mind. One officer said to the other, “This woman is special. She can recite the entire book of Zhuan Falun.” I knew this was Teacher using that fellow's mouth to encourage me. Twelve days later Teacher had me appear to be very ill and I was sent home. I was still reciting the Fa as I left the camp.
In 2003 I was sent to a forced labor camp for a year and a half. Every day I recited the Fa and sent righteous thoughts. Whenever I met someone, I clarified the facts about Dafa to him. I was able to write from memory more than 500 Dafa articles and distribute them to fellow practitioners. Some of these articles were taken away by officers. However, none of the officers bothered me. Some people who had enlightened along an evil path wanted to tell me things. I just recited the Fa instead of listening to them. Finally, one guard said, “She has nothing else in her head.” With support from Teacher, the Fa, and my righteous thoughts, my possessions were not searched except after I went to bed.
2. Sending Righteous Thoughts
Sending righteous thoughts is another important task, as Teacher told us at the Fa conference in Canada on May 19, 2001. I have never missed doing this task. In addition to the four required times on the hour, I also do it on the hour from 6 to 12 in the morning, 2 and 3 in the afternoon and 8 to 10 in the evening. In what follows I want to tell a few stories about how miraculous sending righteous thoughts is.
Just before the Olympics in 2008 the Communist Party was seizing Dafa practitioners, including more than 10 in my city. One of them had to appear in court. That day, practitioners went to the courthouse to send righteous thoughts, and some of them were arrested there. Later, a practitioner in a forced labor camp went on a hunger strike to voice his objections to the persecution. On two occasions, members of his family had tried to visit this practitioner but they were refused permission. We then arranged for the family to speak to the officers while we sent righteous thoughts outside the camp. This time they were allowed in to see the practitioner. One guard asked the family, “Why did you come today?” A family member replied, “Why not?” The guard said, “Today is April 25, 2008. It is the day when more than 10,000 practitioners went to appeal to the higher authorities in 1999. We don't usually allow any visitors on this date.” However, things worked out for the family because of the power of righteous thoughts. Just over two months later, this practitioner was released, although according to the arrangements by the old forces he was supposed to be imprisoned for a year and nine months.
Another thing we did was bring money and clothes to imprisoned practitioners. We did not know where they were and went to the brainwashing center first. We were told to go to the detention center. Generally, without the required documents, they will not handle either money or clothes for us. We had one practitioner lined up at the window to send money and another one lined up to send clothes, while I sat by the door sending righteous thoughts, targeting first the money handling window. The officer there accepted our money. The officer handling clothes wanted the document that we did not have. I went over to that window and sent righteous thoughts toward that particular officer. The officer said, “I'll make an exception this time, but next time you must bring the document.” A fellow practitioner told his family that the reason things worked out was because I sent righteous thoughts. The family members were moved. I took the opportunity to explain to them about the consequences of good and evil, and that a correct view of Falun Dafa was important for them.
Every day I send righteous thoughts on the hour at least 10 times and take another hour to clear my personal space by resolving any conflicts peacefully. Of course, this has to do with the choice of other lives. One night I had a dream in which I saw many people lining up in order and walking out of my house. I was very happy when I woke up, knowing that the conflicts with these people had been resolved peacefully. The purpose of sending righteous thoughts is for saving sentient beings, not for personal salvation.
3. Clarifying the facts to save sentient beings
Initially, I only distributed truth-clarification flyers. It was difficult for me to speak to people face to face. In 2009, when the Shen Yun DVD became available, I thought it was necessary to speak to people in person. When I first tried to give away a DVD, I was hesitant. Then I saw a fellow walking towards me with great difficulty. I recognized that this was an opportunity, but still I did not know how to begin until the following words came to mind: “These things are arranged by the master and performed by the master.” (Zhuan Falun)
I said to the fellow, “Hi! Do you have a problem with your legs?” He replied, “ No, it is hemorrhoids.” I said, “I had that problem before, but they are gone now.” He asked me what I did and I told him I had been practicing Falun Dafa. He was surprised and talked about what he had seen on television [the propaganda about Falun Gong]. Before he could say more, I told him the facts about Dafa, especially about healing, how to be a good person, the fabricated self-immolation, etc. He was amazed and was happy to take the DVD. That day I handed out five DVDs and overcame the fear of speaking to people.
With teacher's encouragement I was able to clarify the facts to people. The following are some more stories I would like to share.
One time I saw approximately 10 farm workers waiting to be picked up for work. I asked Teacher to keep me from being seen by the police and walked towards the workers, saying, “How are you? I have come to bring you good news.” I then distributed the flyers. One young guy did not want to take one. An older man said to him, “Why don't you take it?” I said to the old man, “Sir, you have a good understanding.” He replied, “These articles are well written and very moving.” I asked him whether he had done the three withdrawals [withdrawn his membership from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations]. He said he did it a long time ago. Most others present had withdrawn also. I then came across a Party member and said, “Many others have understood the facts. Why do you still hold on to this Party? You can see that there are numerous disasters these days caused by corruption in the CCP. When people become evil, heaven will eliminate them. It does not matter whether you have committed any crimes or not. As long as you have sworn to give your life to the CCP, you will be eliminated along with the CCP. For your own safety, why not withdraw?” He agreed to do it, and I picked a pseudonym for him. When I was about to leave, someone shouted, “Don't leave! There is another Party member not yet withdrawn from the CCP.” So I returned and explained to him once more why he should withdraw, and he did. Everyone was happy. Then, the fellow who had just withdrawn said to me, “You'd better leave now.” I realized that, indeed, I should leave, because there were lots of people in the street and I should be concerned about safety.
After clarifying the facts to people, some of them take the initiative to distribute flyers themselves. One fellow, a vegetable seller, understood from reading our flyers that he should withdraw from the CCP, but did not know how to go about it. He went to the government in his village and was asked, “Are you a Dafa practitioner?” He said he wasn't. They asked, “From which Party do you want to withdraw?” He then told me that he was put into a detention center for no reason, was fined 500 yuan, and beaten. He said the Communist Party was evil. He put a Dafa poster on his steering wheel and takes it wherever he goes.
Two examples of miracles resulting from righteous thoughts
One time I put up a poster on a telephone pole beside a major road. Immediately, a police tricycle drove up and stopped about three meters away. I said to Teacher in my mind, “Teacher! Don't let this officer create more karma. Save him and let him leave.” Then, I recited,
"With such an enormous Fa here, the Fa will be with you when your thoughts are righteous, and this is the greatest assurance.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan,” 2006)
and the righteous thoughts verses. I walked away from the poster without any problem.
Once, I went to an information center at a construction site to clarify the facts. There were two men in the center and a guard standing outside. The two men inside accepted the flyers I gave them. Then the guard came in. I said to him, “How are you? I would like to give you some good news.” He put on a serious look and looked at my bag of flyers saying, “Good! You are here. Don't leave now. Take all your things out.” I replied to him kindly, “Sir, I know you are a good man. That is why I gave the flyer to you. I am here to save people.” His attitude suddenly changed and he said, “Am I saving you or are you saving me today? You'd better leave now.” As he pushed me out the door, I said, “May peace be with you.” He replied, “Today the sun rises from the west. You are safe and I am safe.”
There are many more incidents of this kind where Teacher protected me. I often thought that when I did what I should, I gained virtue, but Teacher had to take care of a lot of things.
After the article, “Buy firecrackers Set off firecrackers” appeared on the Minghui website (Chinese version of Clearwisdom), we added it to our flyers. I thought that this was a step in Fa-rectification and also a cosmic change. Teacher said,
"Without human action happening under cosmic changes, such conditions would not have been brought to ordinary human society, and neither would they be called cosmic changes.” (Zhuan Falun)
Then when we spoke to people we told them that Jiang Zemin was brain dead, but the CCP would not let people know about it. Setting off firecrackers can remove evil and bring blessings.
4. Improving character while saving sentient beings
A few days ago a fellow practitioner gave me a poster to put up . I thought, “Why give it to me? Why don't you post it instead?” I was not happy about it. At any rate, I went to a small district where the doors are controlled electronically. I had to go up six steps from the roadway to reach a door and put the poster on it. As I turned and stepped back, I forgot about the stairs and was off balance. Teacher helped me and I regained my balance without falling. When I looked inward, I understood that I erroneously thought I was doing a job for my fellow practitioner, a human notion, which put an additional burden on Teacher. My apologies!
Two of us were distributing flyers one day, and there were just a few left. I said to the other practitioner, “You have the right attitude. You can distribute the rest of these flyers.” Before long she gave two flyers to a pair of undercover officers. They would not let her go. I went over and said, “Brothers! We can tell that you are kind people. That is why we gave the flyers to you.” One of them said to me, “Take out what is in your bag.” I took out two flyers and he grabbed my bag and took out six or seven more. He said, “You are seniors, otherwise, based on having these flyers, you would be imprisoned for two years. Go now. Don't do this anymore. You are victims.” I put my palms in together in the heshi gesture with tears flowing down my face and said, “You are the real victims. We are trying to save sentient beings.” On our way home I said to my fellow practitioner, “We must look inward to find out why we had this incident.” At first I thought that the other practitioner had not been careful. Then I realized that I had the tendency to complain. After my spouse passed away, I had to do everything myself and subconsciously I always complained that I didn't get enough help.
As I looked within, Teacher's words came to my mind,
“But consider what I have said: if whatever it is that you’re doing is not grounded in the Fa, if it does not have the power of the Fa, and if you haven’t cultivated well, you will not do those things well. Although you might have done whatever it is, it has not achieved any effect and simply cannot save people, for you are ineffective in dissolving evil factors.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” 2011)
I was ashamed of myself that after so many trials and tribulations I still used human notions and was not following the Fa as closely as I should. I should not put more burden on Teacher.
Recently, during a Fa sharing session I told a story. One day while making a purchase I said to the store owner, “Do you know that Falun Dafa is good?” He was weighing things, and I thought he did not hear me, so I repeated what I had said. He said he did not think so. When I asked him why not, he said that all practitioners he knew had been arrested. I then tried to tell him the facts about Dafa, but he would not listen and asked me to leave. I give this example to show that when we don't do well, our actions bring negative effects. One practitioner commented, “You are letting the guy create more karma.” I did not like his comment and argued with him. Finally, I slammed the door and left. On the way home, a fellow practitioner said to me, “Your actions today did not match the level of your cultivation.” I was still angry at the time. Later, when I calmed down, I felt really bad.
I realized that just avoiding an issue would not help. I must look inward and find the cause. Finally, I realized that I like to dictate things and did not want to listen to others. I especially didn't like to hear negative comments. Knowing this, I decided to change myself based on the Fa. I shared my understanding sincerely with other practitioners and listened to their suggestions and comments. After I corrected myself, fellow practitioners not only forgave me but also tried to help me. When I thought about what Teacher said, I understood that I was too focused on myself. After I let go of my ego, I felt a lot better physically and spiritually. I am truly grateful to Teacher for supporting me.
The above are some of my experiences in doing the three things. Due to my limited understanding, please point out anything that is improper. I think through sharing we can find what is lacking so that we can become more stable and mature and move rationally towards consummation.
Thank you, Teacher! Thank you, fellow practitioners!