Mr. Yeonho Cho, a Judge from South Korea, Fulfills His Wish in Finding Dafa (Photo)
(Clearwisdom.net) Mr. Yeonho Cho gladly produced a notebook and showed his neat calligraphy of Chinese characters with their meanings written in small Korean fonts next to them. This is the notebook Mr. Cho uses to learn the Chinese characters he did not know in the Chinese version of Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Dafa (commonly known as Falun Gong). It shows Mr. Cho's hard-working nature.
During the interview, Mr. Cho revealed that he retired after 20 years of working as a judge in South Korea and moved to Los Angeles where he practiced as an attorney for two years before he moved back to Korea in 2002. He is currently working at an international law firm and is president of a mining company in Tanzania.
Mr. Yeonho Cho is South Korean. He dresses very simply. He appears to be very easy-going and unassuming. At the end of May 2011, Mr. Cho came to Taipei, Taiwan, in order to study Chinese at Taiwan Normal University.
"I long to understand Falun Dafa. The founder of Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongzhi, is Chinese and writes all of his Falun Gong books in Chinese. I have come to Taiwan to study Chinese at a college while studying Falun Gong books with fellow practitioners in Taiwan."
He has been studying Chinese diligently. In a few short months, Mr. Cho has made progress by leaps and bounds. It is no longer a challenge for him to speak, understand, and write in Chinese. Mr. Cho said he is fluent in Korean, Japanese, and English, but he finds Chinese to be the most challenging language. A Chinese character can have several different pronunciations and meanings. The more he studies Chinese, the more he realizes the profoundness of the language.
Mr. Cho grew up in a well-off family. He has a wonderful family with two children who grew up in the U.S. and went to Ivy League colleges. His daughter graduated from the Wellesley and his son graduated from MIT with a graduate degree in biochemistry. Life seems to be perfect for him. What led him to Falun Gong? It seems as though it was predestined. Mr. Cho and his wife and two children all practice Falun Gong.
Mr. Yeonho Cho's family portrait
A Long Search Finally Led Mr. Cho to Falun Gong
Mr. Cho's father built a temple while he was alive, and his parents often took him to the temple. Influenced by his family, Mr. Cho had been searching for a cultivation practice. After his parents lost their lives to illness, he and the rest of the family were disappointed in Buddhism. After all, Mr. Cho's father built a temple and went to the temple to worship Buddha before 5:00 a.m. every day, but he got sick anyway and died in agony.
After that, Mr. Cho had wanted to find a genuine cultivation practice. Mr. Cho said, "I visited a temple in November 2010. I heard there was a monk that had reached enlightenment. I was very desirous of meeting him, but he had already passed away. I thought I would look around and go home. When I arrived at the kitchen, a lay Buddhist cooking in the kitchen summoned me. He asked, 'Why did you come here?' 'I have come here to look for the Buddha Fa.' 'There is no Buddha Fa here,' he said. The lay Buddhist had been the driver for the monk, so he knew everything about the monk.”
Mr. Cho added, “The monk used to be a prosecutor, and he was involved in something bad. He decided to kill himself by staying in a cave and stopped eating and drinking. One day a Taoist appeared and persuaded him not to kill himself, and the Taoist took him as a disciple. After very difficult cultivation, the monk reached consummation. He then reappeared and became the head of the temple. The news of the monk being capable of prophecies quickly spread through the nation. The president, high-level government officials, celebrities, and the like went to see him.
"But the lay Buddhist told me that the monk reached consummation at a very low level. He had low-level supernormal capabilities, but he could not impart any Buddha Fa. Next he said, 'If you really want to cultivate, I will show you the way.' He took me to Daegu, a city in southeastern Korea, and introduced me to a traditional medicine doctor. The doctor used to be a Buddhist monk. After he started practicing Falun Gong, he went to study at a traditional medicine college and became a traditional medicine doctor. He was a personal doctor of the aforementioned monk. The doctor had been practicing Falun Gong for more than 10 years. The lay Buddhist learned about Falun Gong through the medical doctor."
The doctor explained what Falun Gong was in detail. He taught Mr. Cho Falun Gong's five exercises and gave him a copy of Zhuan Falun, Falun Gong's main text.
Mr. Chao said, “I stayed up all night studying Zhuan Falun. The feeling of excitement when I read the book often appeared in my dreams. In the past 30 years while I was working as a judge and attorney, I often asked myself, 'What is the Law?' I did not mean the law in society, but the truth. I find the truth lies within Zhuan Falun.”
Mr. Cho's body is very sensitive. When he was learning the five exercises of Falun Gong, he saw a Falun rotating before him. He said, "When I study Zhuan Falun and practice the Falun Gong exercises, there are Falun's rotating around me, and they cleanse my body. A week later I started telling people about Falun Gong."
Mr. Cho thinks that Falun Gong is extraordinarily profound and magnificent. "Like many people, I went through a lot of painful experiences before I found it. I tried different religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, and Catholicism. I have practiced over 20 different schools of qigong, but I didn't think they were what I was looking for. In fact, I find those qigong schools to be fraudulent."
Witnessing a Miracle Unfold Because of Faith in Falun Gong
Shen Yun Performing Arts was scheduled to have its East Asia debut in Busan, Korea. The Falun Dafa Association in Korea was the organization that extended the invitation, but the show faced a lot of interference allegedly from the Chinese Communist regime that has been suppressing Falun Gong since 1999. Near opening night, the theater canceled the contract. Mr. Cho said, "I didn't know the Chairman of the Falun Dafa Association in Korea until a month after I started practicing Falun Gong. He said, 'You are an attorney. Please help me organize Shen Yun's performance in Busan.' I was quite puzzled because the mayor of Busan had already signed the theater contract. Why would he need my help?"
Two weeks before opening night, the mayor of Busan terminated the theater contract with no explanation. Three years ago, the Busan City Cultural Center also canceled the contract for no reason. Mr. Cho filed a complaint on behalf of the Falun Dafa Association.
“To my surprise, the court ruled against the Falun Dafa Association without a good reason a day before the show, just as it did three years ago. When I received the verdict, I faced a lot of pressure. I felt sad and disappointed for the over 100 artists of Shen Yun Performing Arts. The chairman of the association told me, 'Busan is the 2011 East Asia debut, so it must be successful.'”
Mr. Cho was sad and under a lot of pressure. “It required my personal legal expertise to seek a solution, but it was not an easy legal issue. I felt disappointed and helpless.
"But I found it odd that the majority of the other Falun Gong practitioners and the Shen Yun artists did not waver. They were always sending forth righteous thoughts. They had faith that the Busan debut would take place as planned. I had just practiced Falun Gong for a little over a month, so I had no idea how much help it would be for them to send forth righteous thoughts. (Of course, I now know the function and power of sending righteous thoughts.) While I was staring blankly at them sending forth righteous thoughts, I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen. At the same time, a solution suddenly popped up in my mind.
"At 9:00 a.m. on opening day, I filed an appeal with the Busan Court and received a verdict at noon in our favor. Actually, it was incredible to get a verdict within three hours. All the Shen Yun artists were sitting on a bus outside the venue waiting for the verdict. As soon as we got it, they quickly entered the theater and put on their costumes. The Busan debut was a success."
Mr. Cho learned from the experience the essence of Falun Gong and the significance of having faith in Teacher and the Fa. "During the process, I witnessed that the Chinese consulate would stop at nothing to prevent Shen Yun performances, but I am certain it was Teacher that made the impossible possible through His power."
Eliminating Attachments Through Diligent Cultivation
In Mr. Cho's opinion, it was not easy for him to find Falun Gong. After all, he did not know about it until he had lived half of his life.
"I didn't start practicing Falun Gong until the later stage of my life. I started late, but I have finally found it. I feel very lucky, and I have made up my mind to seize the time and cultivate solidly. After I finished studying Zhuan Falun, I spent two months studying the rest of the 38 Falun Gong publications. I now know Teacher has come at the Dharma-ending period to save sentient beings."
Mr. Cho has studied all the Falun Gong books three times. He feels different when he studies Falun Gong books in Chinese. Studying in Chinese has made a big impact on his mentality.
When he first came to Taipei, Taiwan, he lived in the International House of Taipei in Xindian, a suburban area of Taipei. It is located in the middle of a mountain. It takes 30 minutes to walk to the nearest Falun Gong group exercise practice location. It was in the middle of summer, and every day he was drenched in sweat. Mosquitoes on the mountain are huge and come in large swarms. When he practiced the Falun Gong exercises, the mosquitoes seemed to attack only him and left other practitioners alone. The volunteer assistant told him that it was because he was new, that he should bear it, and that the mosquitoes would leave him alone eventually. Moreover, he came to Taiwan alone. He was lonely and missed his family. He felt it was really unbearable!
"It had been six months. It was summer when I came to Taipei, and it was very hot and humid. There were a lot of mosquitoes. I ate alone every day. It was a very harsh experience for me. I kept thinking about the comfortable life I used to have. Every single day I had to forgo my attachments."
One day Mr. Cho felt he could not bear it any longer, and he wanted to go back to Korea.
"I skipped my class. I skipped group Fa study and group exercise practice, and I went to a department store. I had Korean cuisine and watched a movie. The movie takes place in a near future when an epidemic spreads from Hong Kong and kills a lot of people. It reminded me of Zhuan Falun Volume II. I decided to be diligent in my cultivation again."
Every day dozens of mosquitoes stung him. He wanted to use bug repellent to prevent additional bites, but fellow practitioners advised him not to because it was a cultivation process that he must overcome. One day Mr. Cho went higher on the mountain and practiced alone to avoid the mosquitoes. He thought there would not be any mosquitoes on the mountain top. Afterwards fellow practitioners asked him if there were any mosquitoes on the mountain top. He replied, "There were more and bigger mosquitoes!"
After living at the International House in suburban Taipei for three and a half months, he moved closer to downtown Taipei. He now goes to a Falun Gong group practice location at Rong Xing Park in the Songshan District. He was very thankful to the volunteer assistant in Xindian. During the first three months, she would take him on her scooter to many group study sites and to many tourist sites to help clarify the truth about Falun Gong to tourists.
"When I first joined a Fa study group, I did not understand a word they were saying. I can now start to understand the conversations. When I am relaxed, I can even understand the entire conversation. Every day I spend my mornings practicing the Falun Gong exercises and my evening at group Fa study, except when I go to my Chinese classes. I hardly have any time to rest. Every day I study the Fa, practice the exercises, and send forth righteous thoughts with fellow practitioners. Every weekend I go to 'Taipei 101' (the tallest skyscraper in Taiwan). I put up poster boards, practice the exercises, and hand out fliers containing important facts about Falun Gong at the public square in front of 'Taipei 101.' Tens of thousands of tourists from China can see Falun Gong practitioners, rain or shine, when they enter 'Taipei 101.'"
One day Mr. Cho was swiping his student bus ticket card on the bus when the bus driver condemned him for using a student card. Mr. Cho explained to him that he came from South Korea and was a student studying Chinese at Taiwan Normal University. After he returned home, he talked to a fellow practitioner. He felt horrible because he has never been humiliated like that in his entire life. Why did he feel so bad? What attachment did he have? Was it because he was attached to fame and could not let go of himself? Despite the bus driver, Mr. Cho has a good impression of Taiwan.
"Taiwan is very unique. It is such a small island, but it has everything, including the essence of five thousand years of Chinese civilization. It is as though the divine beings have created this place to establish an infrastructure for the purpose of preserving human history, culture, and the arts. What would we do without Taiwan or fellow practitioners in Taiwan? It would be unimaginable."
In South Korea, rich people talk mostly about golf, stocks, and women. Before he practiced Falun Gong, Mr. Cho drank and sang karaoke with beautiful hostesses every day. On the weekends, he would play golf. He played golf for 30 years. Mr. Cho said, "It wasted my time and hurt my spine."
Mr. Cho feels he has been transformed. In addition to better health, he no longer has mundane desires. Once he started practicing Falun Gong, he felt as though his values and thoughts became different instantly. He now knows the truth and knows man must return to his true self. He studies the Fa, practices the exercises, and clarifies the truth about Falun Gong. He feels he is leading a full and meaningful life.
Mr. Cho confessed he wanted to catch up with veteran Falun Gong practitioners when he first started practicing it, but now he has relinquished that desire. It was merely an attachment. He knows that by doing the three things solidly that Teacher requires, he will improve little by little.
"In 2011 I attended the Falun Gong experience-sharing conferences in Washington, DC; New York; Taiwan; and Hong Kong. Every Taiwanese practitioner I met was extraordinary. They all cultivate solemnly. I feel I must be diligent in my cultivation in order to keep up with them. For an older man like me, I have no time to envy them."
Finally Mr. Cho said, "Last week I went to Hong Kong with the Divine Land Marching Band to attend the Falun Gong conference in Hong Kong. I was very touched by their pure minds and enthusiasm. I immediately decided to join the band." Mr. Cho played trumpet when he was in junior high.
He saw that the people in Hong Kong responded enthusiastically to the band. The streets were packed with people watching, and many Chinese people even clapped. Their response was very encouraging to Mr. Cho.