Riding 3,000 Miles from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. for Others
(Minghui.org) Greetings, benevolent Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I am 15 years old. This summer, I took part in the Ride to Freedom project that aimed to rescue children in China who were orphaned by the persecution of Falun Gong.
Thirty young Falun Gong practitioners from 16 countries rode their bicycles from the West Coast to the East Coast. We started from Los Angeles on June 1 and ended in Washington, D.C. on July 16, a total of 3000 miles. I benefited a lot from the trip and would like to report this experience to Master and fellow practitioners.
Wisdom Enhanced when I Prioritize My Cultivation
In order to attend this project, I needed my teacher's approval. I was a junior high school student. Students usually spend May and June working on big projects or preparing for various tests. I was preparing for a college entrance examination at the time. I had taken the test twice but still hadn't passed the writing component. I was worried and stressed.
When I calmed down and looked within, I realized that I had prioritized it over my own cultivation. Enlightening to this, I started to wake up early to do the exercises, study the Fa, and send forth righteous thoughts.
I explained to the principal and teachers as to why it was important for me to partake in Ride to Freedom. They all supported me. Some teachers told me in advance what I should study while away from school so as to keep pace with the curriculum. Some teachers let me take some tests in advance. My history, maths, and cooking teachers enthusiastically asked me to introduce Ride to Freedom to the class. Two days before I left for the big ride, I passed the college writing examination with flying colors. I scored 99 points, whereas previously I got only 65.
In fact, I didn't spend much time preparing for the writing exam. I realized Master encouraged me and gave me the wisdom so that, in the end, everything went well.
Miracles Happened When Believing in Master and Dafa
On the third day of the trip, we were riding downhill on the highway. Cars and trucks whizzed by. Our pace was quick. At the beginning, I kept squeezing my brakes, as I was worried that I would fall off my bike. It became more and more windy. When I rode over little rocks on the road, my arms ached as I held firmly to my handlebars to keep my bike from shaking too much. It was hard to control my bike, and I was so afraid of having an accident. My arms ached so much that I doubted how much longer I could hold on. At that time, a very resolute thought appeared in my mind: “Hold firmly to the handlebars no matter what.”
I started to recite Master's poem again and again:
“In the chaotic world, like pure lotus flowers—plum blossoms, a hundred millionCold winds only accentuate their beautyThe interminable snowfall and rainare the tears of gods,Who look longingly for the plum blossoms’ returnNever, ever get preoccupied with worldly thingsSteel your righteous thoughtsFor all [that you have gone through] since ancient times,Was for none other than this time around.”( “Plum Blossoms” in Hong Yin Vol. II)
When my pace quickened, I shouted, "Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good! The Fa rectifies the Cosmos; the Evil is completely eliminated!"
In the end, I felt calmer, and my righteous thoughts became stronger and stronger. I felt that Master was next to me. A fellow practitioner said to me, "I can feel that the more you ride, the less you fear. I know the fear is not the true you."
When we finished the trip for that day, we did the exercises in the desert, where there were many mosquitoes. My arms suddenly became weightless. I understood that Master helped to eliminate the karma when I rode the bike. When we later studied the Fa and I saw Master's photo in the book, I burst into tears. Without Master's protection or bearing the pain on my behalf, I couldn't finish the 35 miles’ worth of riding that day. Looking back, I made the most progress on that day.
One day, halfway through a ride, the practitioners in front of me suddenly started shouting at something, which made me anxious. My fellow riders all stopped. Someone suddenly grabbed my hydration pack from behind, causing me to fall off my bike onto the grass.
I got up straight away, but I was upset. I immediately thought, "I am fine. I am a young Dafa practitioner." I moved my legs and thought, "I can still ride." The other practitioners came to help me disinfect my legs. My left leg was bleeding. I was told that it was best not to look at my leg. Another practitioner reminded me: "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance." I strengthened my will: "I am fine. Falun Dafa is good. I must finish this ride." I squatted and found that my legs were fine. I continued riding.
While riding, I looked within and found I had a show-off mentality. I wrongly considered myself stronger than others, thinking I could endure more than them. My field's impurity caused this incident. I reminded myself why I was participating in this project. It was not for me, but for saving the orphans of Dafa practitioners and for clarifying the truth.
It was hot that day, 90 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 32C). I rode more than five hours. My knee hurt so much at times that I cried. Mosquitoes kept stinging the wound on my leg when I meditated as well. I considered these all illusory and didn't acknowledge it. Upon seeing through the illusion and strengthening my righteous thoughts in Master and Dafa, I never fell again when riding the bike.
Of course, during the trip I sometimes didn't have righteous thoughts. One day close to the end, I found that over ten small hives had developed on my legs. I was a little worried. I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the interference, continued on the ride, and ignored them. But over the next day or two, more and more hives showed up, and they were very itchy. I couldn’t help but scratch them, especially during the night. The next day, even more hives emerged.
I started to worry a bit, thinking, “I had urticaria when I was little. Is it relapsing?” I even thought of treating them. Then, a lady in our group reminded me, “You fell on your knees twice and recovered quickly. Why don’t you have righteous thoughts this time? Think about it, isn’t this a test for you? You need to tell yourself: you must pass this test.”
So I calmed down and looked within. I found I had slackened. I felt it was so close to the end, and thus I didn’t study the Fa seriously. I didn’t actively clarify the truth. I asked myself again and again: “Do you believe in Master? Do you believe in Master?” Yes! I do, I thought.
I recited Master’s words:
“My roots are all deeply planted in the universe, and if someone could affect you, he could affect me, and to put it directly, he’d be able to affect the universe.” (Zhuan Falun)
Later, I didn’t pay attention to it, as if nothing happened. When the trip ended, my legs felt good again. From this incident, I realized that when my mind was on Dafa, miracles can occur.
Clarifying the Truth with a Right Mind
One day, we stopped by a tea house to have a drink. I saw a guy smiling at me from outside the window. I approached him and told him about the Ride to Freedom and why I was taking part in it. He asked for a photo with me and said, “I live in New York City. I've received a few Falun Gong flyers. Don’t worry, I'll learn more about Falun Gong and will cultivate.” I felt that I had a predestined relationship with him. I gave him a lotus flower and said, “This lotus flower is from Taiwan. It is precious. I hope you can remember Falun Dafa and its principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.” He thanked me sincerely. I noticed he had tears in his eyes. After he left, I cried.
On another occasion, we stayed the night at a camp site. After I took a shower and was waiting for another practitioner, a lady came into the bathroom. I said hi to her but thought the bathroom might not be a good place to clarify the truth. So I just briefly told her about Ride to Freedom. She was very interested and invited us to her camp. She told her husband about what we were doing. I told him about Dafa. He told me that they had recently read about organ harvesting online. They were confused as to what was going on in China, so I explained the persecution to him. He said, “Our family is driving from L.A. to Washington, D.C. This is our contact information. I hope to see you in D.C.” The next morning, the lady came to our camp site and learned the Falun Gong exercises. She also took photos with us.
I realized that when clarifying the truth, it doesn’t matter the time, place, or form. What’s important is the heart to save people. When you have that heart, Master will arrange people to come to us.
Because I took part in Ride to Freedom, I felt more confident in clarifying the truth to people after the project ended. I no longer hold back with all sorts of excuses. I have now talked about the persecution to the passengers next to me on the airplane, tourists at Pike Place market, and my neighbors. Everybody is waiting to hear the truth.
Discarding Attachments Amid Hardships
One day while I clarified the truth to an attorney in a government building in Illinois, I noticed my group of practitioners were all starting to leave. I thought it was important to properly clarify the truth and not suddenly leave halfway through. After I finished, I couldn't find anyone except for a photographer who was also a practitioner.
I was worried, but the photographer practitioner said it would be fine and we wouldn’t be lost. I was still scared. The practitioner asked me, “What are you scared of? We won't be lost.” I didn’t say anything. He asked me again. I said, “I'm afraid my fellow practitioners know I'm lost.” He said, “That is your dirty attachment of fear of losing face.” His words woke me up. I immediately nullified my negative thoughts.
After I calmed down, I saw I still had several flyers about Ride to Freedom. Then, I saw several people approach my direction. I clarified the truth to them. They all supported us. Then, another practitioner called me to go upstairs. Our whole group was already in the House of Representatives.
From this incident I enlightened that:1. I had the attachment of showing off. I focused too heavily on doing things. I felt that I cultivated diligently and clarified the truth better than others. I felt that I could talk well, but it was Master who was strengthening me.1. Master arranged for me to clarify the truth to those people.2. Master wanted to remind me of the importance of teamwork. Later, I looked within deeper and enlightened that everything looks coincidental but is actually arranged for our cultivation.
“...every minute and every second of your life is part of your cultivation...” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2015 New York Fa Conference”)
Only when treating oneself as a Dafa disciple at all times can one walk well on the path of cultivation.
Those 45 days were the most memorable trip of my life. There were happiness and pain, laughter as well as tears and sweat. I occasionally thought of quitting. However, when I thought of the miserable situation of the orphans of Falun Gong practitioners, when I recited Master’s teachings, I bit the bullet and continued.
My original determination never changed during the course of the stormy journey. I believe this experience will become the most precious one in my life. To me, Ride to Freedom was a brand new experience. It honed my will and helped me to get rid of many attachments. It made me a more diligent young practitioner in the Fa-rectification period.
Thank you, Master for giving me the opportunity to improve my xinxing. In the future, I will be more diligent on the path of cultivation. I will be worthy of Master’s salvation and this precious opportunity.
Thank you, Master!Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference)