[Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day] An Atheist Encounters a Genuine Cultivation Path
(Minghui.org) During times of disaster, everyone prays to gods or Buddhas. Even if one does not know anything about gods, it is human nature that drives one to seek protection from gods when facing a hardship.
Search Leads to Success
I am a 55-year-old teacher who was once searching for a holy man—not the divine from religion—but rather a type of medicine man who would help me remove my blemishes.
When I was in my late 30s, my appearance became quite ugly. Among other disfigurements, my face was the color of ocher and dark rims circled my eyes, as if I was wearing glasses. I dreaded to face my family, friends, and students.
I pitied myself, did not want to look into a mirror or have a picture taken. All my illnesses somehow showed on my face. In addition, I developed age marks and dark pigments on my face before I was 40 years old. When my mother and I were seen together, people would take us as sisters, which upset me.
Thus, I asked my mother to help me find a qigong master who could treat me. I had tried acupuncture, looked for a Taoist in the mountains, and asked animal-possessed ladies to dig out my family and illness history. None was of any help; instead, my condition worsened.
When I was at my younger brother's house to take care of his daughter, I suddenly had the urge to read some of his books. It was quite out of character for me, as I did not enjoy reading. I searched for books on my brother's book shelves, but there were only technical books.
Finally, my mother said that she had the book I was looking for, yet I had refused to look at it. I said that it was a qigong book, which taught weird things just like all other such books. Mother responded that it was not like other books. Since she could not convince me, I decided not to read it.
As she persisted through my agitation, I finally decided to look at mother's book. On the cover page, it said Zhuan Falun. I was told that this was the main book of Falun Gong.
On the third page, Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, said,
“It is because there is such a principle in the universe: Ordinary human affairs, according to the Buddha School, all have predestined relationships. Birth, old age, illness, and death exist as such for ordinary people.” (Zhuan Falun)
The word “Buddha” reminded me of an incident that had taken place over a decade before.
When I was just over 20 years old, six fellow teachers and I took a trip to the Emei Mountains during our summer vacation. They burned incense and kowtowed to the Buddha statues in each temple, which annoyed me.
When they kowtowed again, I commented that even Bodhisattva statues had to be dusted by people—so why should we kowtow to her? They told me I was being disrespectful, which did not bother me, because I was young, arrogant, and proud of being an atheist.
To make a point about atheism, I stepped on the pedestal that held a Bodhisattva statue. They told me I was stubborn. Suddenly, I fell off the pedestal and fainted, yet I was certain that no one had pushed me. Although, I did hear someone say that I had a predestined relationship with Buddha, and that I should not show disrespect to Buddhas.
I faced another round of accusations before we decided to head back down the mountain. On the way down, I fell and broke my ankle. A man happened to pass by us. He had a basket on his back, a double-layered, sturdy basket, for carrying someone. He agreed to carry me down the mountain for 20 yuan. A doctor in the Chengdu City hospital then treated my ankle.
At this point, I regretted my actions. Many years passed, but I still remembered vividly what happened during my trip to the Emei Mountains. When I saw the word Buddha, I was reminded that it could very well be that I had a predestined relationship.
Zhuan Falun: No Ordinary Book
I continued to read Zhuan Falun. All its words spoke to my heart. I was excited and marked sentences which I deemed to be important because I wanted to reread them later. Then I suddenly realized that since each sentence was important, I would have to mark each and every word. But since I could not wait to finish reading, I gave up marking anything at all. I decided just to mark important sentences during the second reading. When coming close to the end, I learned that this was not an ordinary book, and that it should not be marked at all. I held regret and blamed my mother for not telling me.
Mother told me she was not aware of that as she had not read the book yet. I was puzzled because I thought she had practiced Falun Gong for several months, and because all of her illnesses were gone. How could it be that she never read the book?
She told me that although everyone bought the book, many of the practitioners were illiterate. They did the exercises, which took care of any illness. I told her that she had to read this book over and over again.
My mother had not read Zhuan Falun because she had learned so many qigong practices and bought all kinds of qigong books. So she paid attention only to qigong exercises. She figured that Zhuan Falun was just another qigong book. She learned from many qigong practitioners she met in the park that Falun Gong was better and had miraculous healing effects. She hence started learning Falun Gong. Others who switched to Falun Gong also felt the effectiveness.
It was then when I learned that my mother's illnesses were all gone because of Falun Gong. She is now 75 years old, and she has been in good health all these years.
Decades of Indoctrination Shattered
After I finished reading Zhuan Falun, I felt shock waves in my heart. I knew this was a significant event in my life. At the same time, I was not sure what I should do. The way I had looked at and thought about things for decades had been shattered.
My mother asked me to watch Master's Fa-lecture video, so I began watching them at my school. In the middle of watching the lectures, I felt sharp pain from the corns in my foot. I stood up and headed out of the classroom.
The Party secretary of the school asked what happened. It was explained to me that “It's a good thing. It will go away if you bear it for a while.” I was reminded of what I had read in Zhuan Falun, returned to my seat, and finished watching the lectures.
On my way home, my thoughts were still dwelling on the Fa lectures. A lot went through my mind in the days that followed. However, after that night, my foot never felt any more pain. I was quite amazed, and I made up my mind to practice Falun Gong with my full heart. That was July 1997.
During the first month of practicing, I recovered from all my illnesses. However, some blemishes in my face took several years to fade.
I went with my mother to the practice site daily. After doing the exercises, we would read Zhuan Falun. Although we were several dozens of people during the exercises, only a dozen or so would stay to read the book. Most practitioners were retired, and many paid more attention to doing the exercises than studying. The assistant at our practice site then told everyone that we should spend more time studying the Fa than doing exercises. Gradually, others realized the importance of studying the Fa and stayed to read the book.
As more and more people joined us, we had to set up other sites. Soon there were about eight practice sites in our area.
Spreading Falun Gong
Master Li,the founder of Falun Gong came to Yunnan to meet with 12 practitioners in the Baoshan Hotel in Kunming. This was in 1998. They briefed us the next day about Master's visit, and we understood that it was our responsibility to spread the Fa.
During my summer and winter vacations, I went with fellow practitioners to various counties to promote Falun Gong. Several practitioners were over 60 years old, but they had energy just like young people. We traveled by bus, train, horse-drawn wagon, and foot.
During this trip, many people appeared to be waiting for us. Even strangers invited us to have meals with them and stay overnight. They did not watch us with suspicion and they talked frankly with us; it was as if we were family members.
We were told many stories of how people's lives had turned around or changed completely, and how they recovered from poor health. We heard of people who were illiterate yet could suddenly read the Dafa books.
These stories were living testimony to what Master said:
“Predestined ties of countless lifetimesEach has Dafa as its guiding thread” (“The Difficult Path to Godhood” from Hong Yin Volume II)
One day, another practitioner and I were waiting at a practice site for people to purchase Zhuan Falun. We were wearing red sweatshirts. All of a sudden, a woman in her thirties arrived, took a copy of Zhuan Falun, and asked how much she owed us. She told us that she had not read the book and proceeded to tell her story.
“I had a dream this morning,” she said. “Yet, it wasn't dreamlike but quite clear. A person told me that after getting up, I should take a bus to this park. Two people in red would be selling books, and that I should buy one. After waking up, I was amazed and decided to give it a try. And here you are, the two of you, in red.”
We gave her a brief introduction to Falun Gong and invited her to learn the five sets of exercises.
We were greatly encouraged by such happenings during our tour of promoting Falun Gong. In less than two years, we set up Falun Gong assistance centers in all nearby counties.
Two Questions Before Release from Prison
After the persecution began in 1999, I also faced rounds of harassment and imprisonment. In fact, I was incarcerated for nine years. During this time I was detained, however, I never caught a cold. This was certainly a testament to the power of the Fa.
Before my release in 2011, I was asked two questions by a prison guard. The first question was if I would get angry at others for what they said or did against Falun Gong. I told her no.
“I do not get angry, because these people are not aware of the facts,” I explained. “Yet, I am aware of the magnificence of Falun Gong. If I got angry with them, wouldn't I have cultivated in vain?"
The other question she asked was why I stayed healthy without doing the exercises, and if I would remain healthy without doing exercises after I were released. I told her that it was not the exercises that spared me of illnesses. She got quite excited, and wanted to know why my situation was different from all other practitioners who said that their illnesses were healed by practicing Falun Gong.
“It was cultivating in Falun Gong,” I said, “not merely doing the exercises. It wasn't that I didn't want to do the exercises, but the inmates pulled my arms to stop me.
“When we walked into Falun Gong and made up our minds to cultivate in it, Master removed our illnesses. We would not develop illnesses as the root cause had been taken away. Because of my belief, my refusal to give up cultivation practice, and my loyalty to Master, the illnesses removed by Master were not returned to me. That's why I didn't develop any illness.”
Superb Psychological Condition of Practitioner
Prior to my spending nine years in prison, I was also arrested in 2000 and not released until 2002. During this time, I was asked to take two psychological tests.
A female officer asked me to meet with her. During our long conversation, she did not seem to care about my belief in Falun Gong, nor did she place any blame on me.
In the end, the officer told me that I scored high in the two psychological tests, much higher than one could possibly achieve. Apparently, she assumed from propaganda slandering Falun Gong that practitioners would be psychologically unhealthy. She started to question whether the two tests were poorly designed, and she failed to provide a scientific profile in my case. After talking to me, she believed the tests were well designed, which essentially highlighted my superb psychological condition.
However, I knew my health of mind was a result of my cultivation in Falun Gong. The test thus served to validate that the practice not only has the extraordinary power to heal, but that it also gives practitioners wisdom, brings out their kindness, and helps them return to their true selves.
In Spite of a Medicine Man
It was beyond my expectations that in the course of looking for a medicine man, I would encounter a genuine path to godhood! Who would have imagined that in this chaotic world, where morality is declining, gods and Buddhas quietly descended, taking the form of Jesus or Sakyamuni?
People are praying to gods and Buddhas. Yet who are the genuine gods or Buddhas? Demons spread lies just to prevent people from recognizing gods, to prevent them from being saved. I hope more people can escape from the haze and instead treasure the limited time left for cultivating themselves.
In this way, they must listen quietly to kind persuasions, say goodbye to atheism, and take the step toward godhood.