[Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day] A Prodigal Son Becomes an Artist
(Minghui.org) I was once a lost person who did many bad things and was even sentenced to prison. It was Falun Dafa that saved me and completely changed my life. With only a fourth grade education, I learned painting, Chinese calligraphy, and Chinese seal engraving on my own. People now pay me well for my paintings.
From my transformation, people see the power of Dafa and how wonderful it is.
Saved by Dafa
I had many bad habits 20 years ago: I drank, smoked, gambled, and had affairs. Because I knew martial arts, criminals befriended me. I did many bad things, but nobody in my neighborhood dared to confront me.
My bad habits took a toll on me. Smoking damaged my lungs. I once fell off a motorcycle because I was too drunk. For my own health and safety, I tried many methods to quit smoking and drinking, including studying Buddhism and Christianity, but I just couldn’t stop.
I was later sentenced to several years in prison for injuring people during fight. I was first held in a detention center. One night, I suddenly realized that I was filthy and wanted to clean myself up. Suddenly, it felt as if a stream of water cascaded down my body from my head all the way to my feet. As this “water” flowed, rinsing my body from inside to out, I felt very comfortable. At that moment, I longed to be a good, clean person.
A few days later, I was released from the detention center. I didn’t serve the prison term.
I went to see my dad, who was the gatekeeper of a construction site. I saw a book in his home. It was called Zhuan Falun. I opened it at random. It was Lecture Seven, the part about quitting drinking and smoking:
“I advise everyone that if you truly want to cultivate you should quit smoking from now on, and it is guaranteed that you can quit.” (“The Issue of Eating Meat,” Zhuan Falun)
I said to myself, “I want to cultivate. I really want to cultivate.” Magically, on my way home, I couldn’t bear the smell of other people’s smoking anymore. I stopped smoking. It was that simple.
I started cultivating Falun Dafa then and there. In a short time, I quit all my bad habits.
Some of my criminal friends invited me to go with them to collect “protection fees” from store owners and street vendors. Others asked me to go in with them in a money-lending business, of course at unreasonably high rates. I felt that, as a Dafa practitioner, I should do everything openly and stay away from any shady business. So I declined and stopped contacting them.
Then I went to a construction site and started as a common laborer. Later I tried to be a chauffeur. I also started my own business, but it didn’t work out.
Learning to Paint
After my business failed, I suddenly had a thought: “Why don’t I try painting? The cost is minimal, just some paper, brushes, and paint.”
But once I started, I realized it was not easy at all. I then studied carefully Teacher’s lecture “Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art.”
“In cultivation, you're supposed to rectify yourselves by cultivating away everything that's not good. You should be a good person wherever you are. So in the field of the arts you should be a good person as well, and in your artwork you should display what's beautiful, what's upright, what's pure, what's good, and what's bright and positive.”
I learned that the importance of creating fine art was not only for one's own cultivation, but also for human beings as a whole. I started to see the chaos in China’s arts industry: corruption, imitation, sexual appeal, the pursuit of money and fame, and so on. And, overall, it was apparent the moral standards had fallen drastically.
I recalled Teacher’s words:
“So, those so-called modern art things are usually not too good, because they are not only harmful to the painters but they also bring psychological harm to those who view the work, and they seriously damage people's moral values as well.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art”)
I realized that my mission was to present the upright things and traditional methods.
My painting changed. I started to use colors that seemed to convey pure, positive messages. My wife said, “Your paintings seem to emit light!”
Improving My Skills
I knew that I should improve my skills. Shen Yun became a world class performing arts company not only because of the divine power, but also because the performers trained hard. I knew that’s what I should do.
I found a renowned art professor on the web and started to copy his paintings to learn the high-level skills.
After a while, I wondered, “How nice it would be if I could learn from this professor in person next year.” But I didn’t have high hopes: he was a nationally known artist and not easy to approach.
Surprisingly, my dream came true. Exactly a year-to-the-day later, I met this professor in person.
He liked me. He even invited me to stay in his home in Beijing for a week. During that time, he taught me many painting skills. My painting really improved.
At the same time, I talked to him about Falun Dafa. He had practiced other types of qigong before. He was surprised that I could easily sit in meditation with my legs double-crossed for a long time. “Your practice is really powerful!” he commented.
To encourage me, my wife opened a small art gallery to sell my work. In the first month, she was able to sell a painting for 700 yuan (U.S. $110). A year later, she expanded the art gallery from 24 square meters (216 square feet) to four times that size.
My paintings, which usually depict mountains, water, and clouds, present the wonderful things in life. People feel comforted by what they see. That’s because my paintings show the realm of a cultivator and the righteous and beautiful side of the world.
People are willing to pay 4,000 yuan for a painting. A nine-foot-long painting was sold for over 20,000 yuan. A Canadian winery owner brought a stack of my paintings and used them to decorate his company headquarters in Canada.
Something amusing happened. My local art association held a painting exhibit and hung my painting on the center wall. A high-ranking official who attended the opening ceremony liked it so much that he just took it with him. The exhibition staff then came to me to buy a similar painting so that they could trade with the official to get the original painting back for the exhibition.
My calligraphy skills also improved.
At beginning, when I did calligraphy, I could not keep all the characters in a straight line. I asked Teacher for help: “Teacher, please keep my characters in a straight line.” Since then I have been able to do that.
My Chinese seals engraved with “Falun Dafa Is Good; Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance Is Good” were published on the Minghui website. So was my calligraphy of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance Is Good.”
Validating Dafa with My Experience
In the past, people knew that I was hard to deal with and stayed away from me. But now things are different. Many people from my village visit me when they come to town. They also bring gifts to me and invite me to lunch.
I was arrested and sentenced to prison for a few years for going to Tiananmen Square to appeal for justice for Falun Dafa. At that time, some villagers didn’t understand: “Why do people who practice Dafa have such a hard time?”
Through these years, I have been able to help them change their view of Dafa. Now they think, “Such a good person was tortured by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) so badly. The CCP is really evil!”
I began to understand that, since a cultivator’s realm is a wonderful one, his or her life in the human world should also be wonderful. So, as a Falun Dafa cultivator, I should portray the wonderfulness of Dafa and reject any evil arrangement to make me poor or miserable.
Recently I finished a big painting, 4.6 meter (40 feet) long, titled “Returning Home, True Origin.” It shows a peaceful, beautiful place with many mountains standing above the sea, their peaks surrounded by clouds. A tower on the tallest peak shines light in all directions, representing Teacher’s Dafa giving people direction. Many boats, with the implication that they are carrying cultivators, are rowing toward the shore. Some have landed and some are still in the sea.