Helping a Former Fellow Practitioner Return to Falun Dafa
(Minghui.org) I began practicing Falun Dafa in 1995, almost two decades ago. I am grateful for Master’s guidance in every step I take. I am like a naive urchin who constantly makes mistakes, sometimes even knowingly. Compassionate Master has never given up on me. He has used a variety of ways to keep me in line and help me to stay on Dafa’s righteous path. I also try to help my fellow practitioners stay on the path.
I would like to share how I successfully encouraged a former fellow practitioner to return to the practice.
I knew a male practitioner, an old friend, who had begun practicing Falun Dafa early on, and had been very diligent before the persecution began in 1999. In fact, he continued to be diligent even during the first few years afterward.
However, when his wife was arrested and tortured, an attachment to fear took hold of him, and his diligence in the practice gradually waned. In time he came into contact with practitioners who had gone astray in brainwashing centers, and he gave up his Dafa practice about seven years ago.
During that time, although his wife persevered in cultivation, she was gripped by memories of being tortured, and her continued fear caused her to not do the three things well. On top of that, her husband stayed away from Dafa, making her feel stressed, mentally and physically exhausted, helpless, and hopeless.
After the persecution began, I slowly lost contact with this couple. Last summer, the man's wife showed up at my shop to extend an invitation to me on the occasion of their daughter’s graduation celebration dinner. She also told me about her husband’s situation in hopes I would speak with him.
I attended the celebration dinner. Many practitioners I hadn’t seen for a while were present. Some had persevered in practicing, while others were either barely hanging on or had completely given up. I recalled our daily Fa study sessions, our daily early morning group exercises, and our joy in spreading the Fa together. I was saddened at the current situation.
When I was saying my good-bye, I said to my old friend, “It will be my greatest regret if you don’t return to Dafa...”
I choked up and started to cry. I couldn’t go on.
Tears filled my friend’s eyes, too. I could tell he was in pain over having been estranged from Dafa all these years. I could feel his helplessness, and could see that deep down in his heart he was yearning for Dafa. It was only that the old forces had him tight in their grasp, making him unable to do anything.
I was firmly convinced that he would return to Dafa one day.
I wrote him a letter and asked his wife to give it to him. It contained not a word of blame or complaint, just reminiscences of our past experiences in practicing and spreading the Fa together. Because I had learned from his wife that he had yet to renounce the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), I also added some pertinent information regarding the importance of withdrawing from the CCP and its affiliates.
His wife later told me that he read my letter and praised it, but did not express a desire to return to Dafa.
I was very hopeful that he would return. I made a promise to myself that I would actively seek him out and help him.
I asked his wife to bring him to my shop as a guest. We conversed easily, mostly about our cultivation in the past. At first, he was rather contrary, and even said something that reflected an evil “enlightenment.”
His wife was sitting close by, silently sending forth righteous thoughts. I kept a smile on my face. I talked quietly with him, citing several examples of everyday people being blessed because of their belief in Dafa. I told him how new practitioners advance diligently once they began practicing. When I mentioned Master, I made it a point to impress on him that Master was also his Master.
During our conversation, I did not give even the slightest indication that he had given up on Dafa practice or been “enlightened” along an evil path. I wanted him to feel that I still looked upon him as a fellow practitioner. I kept mentioning "our Master," "our practice site," "our fellow practitioners at our site," and so on.
That evening, I invited them to dinner at a restaurant, and treated them to a nice meal. I then invited them back to my house, and we watched the Shen Yun DVD and listened to Dafa songs. We then read some paragraphs from “20th Anniversary Fa Teaching.”
“I sometimes think that while an individual being might seem quite trivial, each has its own life story. Some are solemn and stirring, some are complex and full of twists and turns, some are joyous, some are painful, and some are compassionate or kind, each having the different traits of that being. I really cherish them.”
“A while back, some Dafa disciples had not yet stepped forward, so we had to wait and do our best to have them come forth. But the time for this is running out. When I saw students who came out of China, I urged them to tell the students who haven’t stepped forward to quickly do so—to have them quickly find those lost students and spell the facts out for them, for what they otherwise face is a most tragic of ends.” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching”)
My old friend listened very attentively during the Fa reading. Master’s words were like sweet spring water quenching his dried-up heart.
After Fa study, I opened the Minghui website and let him see Master’s photo taken on the mountain where He was quietly watching the world below.
I then read to him Master’s statement on the Tuidang (withdrawing from the Party) website. Striking while the iron was hot, I urged him, “Let me help you withdraw from the CCP. Do you want to use your real name or a pseudonym?” He answered firmly, “My real name, of course!”
I helped him fill in the form to make a sincere statement renouncing the Chinese Communist Party. I then reminded him to be sure to check out articles on the Minghui website.
Everything, from my initial letter to that evening’s planned events, was carried out under Master’s compassionate support and guidance.
After I had successfully implemented the first step, I had a discussion with a veteran practitioner who recommended that we continue meeting with my old friend to create opportunities to guide him back to the Dafa cultivation path.
The veteran practitioner sent a dinner invitation to my old friend and his wife, and included me and several other practitioners. The dinner was simple fare, but we were not too concerned with what food was being served. We were more interested in sharing memories of our joy in Dafa cultivation.
We reminisced about how we had studied the Fa and done the exercises together, and how we had participated in experience sharing conferences. We talked about how we had encouraged each other, and advanced together. Another new practitioner shared how he started cultivation, and how Dafa helped him change his former bad habits.
During the meal and all the exchanges, my old friend did not say much. All his negative thoughts seemed to be suppressed by the positive energy around him. He listened quietly and attentively. Gradually, we witnessed his expression begin to change. His initially gray skin turned a shade lighter. He looked ten years younger.
After dinner, my old friend’s wife invited me and my practitioner son to be overnight guests at her home. There, we studied Zhuan Falun together. My old friend read very carefully, very quietly. Then, we did the exercises. After years of not doing the exercises, some of his movements needed correcting.
The next morning when we did the exercises in the early hours, my friend was able to do the sitting meditation for half an hour. This was great encouragement for him, to build up his so confidence as he made his way back to Dafa. Master is so merciful!
That was how my old friend returned to Dafa, step by encouraging step.
The entire process of his returning to the Dafa family has provided me some insight.
Whether we are clarifying the truth to save people or awakening those who have fallen by the wayside, Master is there offering assistance in other dimensions. Dafa disciples need only have the heart to save people. Of course, studying the Fa is first and foremost. Sending forth righteous thoughts is essential, too. Most importantly, even when we are very eager to save people, we must refrain from exposing their shortcomings. No matter how grave their mistakes have been, if they renew their cultivation, Dafa will be there to guide them back.
When we talk to them, we should let them take the lead, inspire their good sides, never hurt their self-esteem, allow them to recall the bright spots of their diligent progress when they first obtained the Fa and during their cultivation, praise them appropriately, keep in constant contact, and make them feel they are not being judged or rejected.
I believe that fellow practitioners who are lost or who have allowed themselves to be “reformed,” although superficially appearing to be indifferent, are deep down feeling small, inadequate, and vulnerable. That is because their understanding side is fully aware. They are lost from being temporarily under the control of the old forces.
We need to clarify the facts to them and inspire their righteous thoughts. We need to be sincere and patient, and persevere. Most importantly, we will need to guide these persons back to Fa study.
"Clarify the facts to him just as you do with someone who hasn’t learned the Fa. That’s because once he has fallen, he won’t even be able to recite Lunyu anymore, and he won’t be able to call to mind any passages from the Dafa books. If he really wants to come back, he must begin studying anew. He must start over again.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference”)
My old friend is now back on the cultivation path, and he is beginning to go out to clarify the truth and save other people. He is also making plans to contact others who are lost and were instrumental for his becoming lost. He wants to bring them back so they can be saved as he has been saved.
If there is anything innapropriate in what I have written, please kindly correct me.