A Thief's Change of Heart
Life As a Thief
I was despised since I was a young boy because I always liked to do bad things. Walking past fields of vegetables, for instance, I would often pluck off random leaves or flowers just for the fun of it.
One day when we were celebrating my grandpa's birthday, a Taoist monk passed by and asked for some water. My grandpa gave him some and also invited him to join our meal. The monk was very grateful and they chatted a while afterward. Upon hearing that the monk could foresee the future, my grandpa asked him if he would say something about his grandchildren. The monk asked about some information of mine, but then he became hesitant.
My mother encouraged him to speak freely of what he saw. The monk continued to say that if I studied well at school, I could become a high ranking military officer, which could also create huge karmic debts for my life. If I could not focus on school study, I would do many deeds and turn into a robber. In that case, I would die between 30 and 33. However, he also pointed out that I had a predestined relationship with Buddha Fa. If I was lucky, I would not only avoid dying at an early age, but I would also become a great person who benefits others instead of being a thief. Unfortunately, he also said my father and brothers would die soon.
One by one the monk's words came true. My father and brothers died not long after the meeting with him, and several years later, my stepfather also died. I thus lived with my mother and another brother—the son of my stepfather.
Many people soon took advantage of us, and my personality became more and more distorted and violent: I was an alcoholic at the age of 11. I soon had to drink large amounts of liquor every day to simply get by. My mother was forced to run a small sewing business to eke out a living.
However, despite our poverty and my poor performance at school, my mother persuaded me to earn a high school diploma. But after that, I just wandered around, unable and unwilling to find a job. To help me become mature, as well as to reduce her own burden, my mother arranged for me to get married. But that did not help my situation either, and I continued to drift about with the current of life. Many people looked down on me, and I often complained about being born into such a poor family.
The Beginnings of a Turning Point
To make things worse, a major flood occurred in 1998, which ruined our house and my mother's small business. Out of despair, she took my infant daughter to the county government seeking help. There she met some Falun Gong practitioners, who helped her both materially and mentally. Suddenly seeing hope in life, my mother was very excited and she told me about the situation. But, of course, I was not interested at all.
Not long after, I was jailed for selling counterfeit goods. While imprisoned, one inmate noted that I appeared to have an upright nature despite my vicious appearance. We talked a lot and he said that we both needed to find a religious belief. He knew a calamity was coming, and that only by following a religious belief could we survive it. He recommended that I hold fast to our discussions after being released. In that unique environment, his words sank deeply into my mind.
One day, one of my uncles came to visit us, saying he had started following a particular religious belief. I agreed to follow the same belief as him, but my mother tried to stop me, imploring that I practice Falun Gong; however, I refused, refuting her with claims that such a way would take too much effort. Plus, I noted how the government did not allow people to practice Falun Gong anyway.
In this way, I began following my uncle's belief. Later, I came to realize that the religious followers were not completely honest in their way of doing things, and they used many mind games. In the end, I gave it up.
At that time, I took both society and myself as hopeless failures. I tried to find a job but instead decided to produce counterfeit goods again, which soon led to me being jailed once more.
One day after my release, I leaned against a bike for a rest. Then someone came up and said that I was trying to steal his bike. Therefore, I was arrested and forced to stay in a detention center for two more weeks. These negative experiences pushed me further along the aimless current of society, and I became even more reckless at the mere age of 30. At that time, I often stole things, and I would steal anything from cigarettes and liquor to chicken and fish.
Because I always carried a knife and a gun with me, nobody dared to mess with me. I thus became worse and worse, and sometimes I even thought about killing people. My wife was constantly upset about my lifestyle, and she often went to stay with her mother. She also threatened divorce unless I found a job. I felt I had no other choice and agreed to look for a job.
A New Life
One morning in 2008, I planned to go out to find a job. When I passed by my mother's place, she asked me where I was going. I told her everything that had been happening and commented that there was no way out of my plight in life. But then she gently smiled and said that there was only one solution: She then told me again about Falun Gong. She said she had practiced it for many years, and if I could settle down to see it through, my life would improve.
Although I was not fully convinced, I was afraid that if I went to another city to find a job, I may not be able to control myself and might even do something more horrible like kill somebody. I did not want to lose my life between 30 and 33 as the monk predicted. Therefore, I agreed to read through Zhuan Falun in a quiet place.
I found a deserted storage place that we had in the past and stayed there to read the book. I also asked my mother to bring me some food. However, I felt at the time time that I would be unable to calm down unless I had some cigarettes and alcohol. When I had those, I finally started to calm down so that I could focus to read. But then, when reading Teacher Li Hongzhi's words in Lecture Four that “I advise everyone that if you truly want to practice cultivation you should quit smoking from now on, and it is guaranteed that you can quit,” I immediately decided to put away those habits. Since that moment, I never smoked or drank again.
In this way, I locked myself in that storage place and read the book for seven days straight. I came to understand the meaning of life and how one should lead his life. My mother had such a difficult life while losing two husbands and two sons, so I felt guilty for not helping her reduce her burdens—instead, I caused her even more worry and anguish! Suddenly, I found myself fortunate to be the son of my mother, and that I was able to know about Falun Gong through her.
At that point, and despite the poverty, she lived a life of happiness and health. She seemed to be only 40 years old although she was almost 60. She had also passed down her sewing skills to her two daughters-in-law, and they had formed a very good relationship. How could I ignore all her great characteristics and instead choose to do such bad things?
As I continued to read the book and learn the exercises, my health greatly improved. Then on the seventh day, I had a dream of having a shop for selling window curtains. I knew it could be a hint for me to start making a living.
After finishing Zhuan Falun , I finally went out into public for the first time since locking myself in the storage place. All of the sudden, people seemed nicer to me. I was so impressed by Falun Gong's power to completely improve my environment in such a short amount of time.
After a while my wife came to see me with our daughter. I told her how I had changed and quit smoking as well as drinking. She did not believe it and said, “If you'd could quit smoking and drinking, the rivers would start flowing backward.”
After several days, however, she began noticing my changes, and she was very pleased. We talked about my dream of the curtain store, and so we opened one up. I also got rid of all the knives, guns, and other weapons that I owned.
Shortly after opening the store, we only had a few customers. Then I remembered Teacher's words from Lecture Seven of Zhuan Falun: “If something is yours, you will not lose it. If something is not yours, you will not have it even if you fight for it.” I thus disciplined myself more firmly according to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and the business began to improve immediately.
After one year, I paid back the tens of thousands yuan that I had borrowed in the past. In addition, I made a surplus of profit that was allotted for basic living expenses. Seeing the changes in me and the store, my wife, sister-in-law, and several other relatives also began to practice Falun Gong.
I am very grateful to Teacher for saving me. I also want to wholeheartedly recommend Falun Gong to everyone!