An Incarcerated Falun Dafa Practitioner Still Has a Path to Walk
(Minghui.org) You would think that Falun Dafa practitioners that have been incarcerated by the Chinese authorities would have no freedom, but if we follow Master's requirements, without fail or compromise, there is definitely a cultivation path we can take.
I have been practicing Falun Dafa since 1994, and always paid close attention to studying the Fa. However, when I became a coordinator for a truth-clarification materials production site I became preoccupied with the work and slacked off on my Fa study.
Human attachments began to surface and I failed to measure myself against the Fa. I ended up pointing fingers at others, and easily got into conflicts and arguments. I became indignant towards practitioners who were experiencing trials and tribulation, and fell to the level of an ordinary person.
Another practitioner and I were taken to a detention center a little over a month later.
I remembered being taken to a detention center before, when I went to Beijing to speak up for Falun Gong. I went on a hunger strike to protest my innocence. I let go of my fear of death, and relied on my pure heart to maintain one thought: to defend Dafa. I used all my strength to shout out, “My Master is not wrong! Dafa is not wrong! My cultivation practice is not wrong!”
The head of the detention center, who was usually very vicious, had tears in his eyes. I was released later that day.
But this time, my human notions prevented me from getting released. I went on a hunger strike as before, with the thought that I would be sent home when my life was on the line. I didn’t stand up for Dafa or clarify the facts to the guards or inmates. A guard told me, “Dead or alive, you wont be released.”
I knew that Master was the one to decide my fate, but I didn't think of rejecting the perpetrators' words. I didn’t have the mindset of a practitioner and was thrown into prison as a result.
Rejecting the Old Forces' Arrangements
I was first put in the “Group Training Unit” in prison because I refused to give up my belief. The guards ordered some inmates to brutally beat me until I fell to the ground twitching uncontrollably. I was then forced to sit on a small stool from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Sitting for extended hours on a small stool is extremely torturous, as the buttocks start to fester, becoming infected, making every second practically unbearable. Humiliating curses were continuously thrown my way to add insult to injury.
I was filled with human notions and fear, but no matter what I was forced to endure every day, I continued to recite the Fa and sent forth righteous thoughts. I began to gain inner strength and exposed my mistreatment to the prison officials and inspectors.
The torture is usually intensified when practitioners hold firm and refuse to renounce their belief, but my environment actually became more relaxed as I continued to send forth strong righteous thoughts and tell the people there about Falun Dafa and how it has been wronged.
I was taken to another unit three months later, and was put in a cell that had a sign with a bad message on the door. I sent forth a strong righteous thought: “A practitioner cannot stay in a room with that kind of sign!”
The sign was removed several days later.
While I was putting my blanket on the bed, a kind-hearted inmate said to me, “Hurry up and sleep for a while…” I knew what she meant, but why should I prepare for persecution and get some rest before being tortured. They do not have the right to persecute me.
I should stand up against this persecution, not give the old forces any recognition and reject all of their imposed arrangements.
But how do we help those under the manipulating control of the old forces? Master told us that “Clarifying the truth is the master key.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference”), so I said to them all, “Why do I practice Falun Dafa? Why don’t I believe in the Communist Party? Even children know that beating up people is wrong, that being unreasonable is wrong. The Communist Party relies on lies, deceit and beatings. Doesn't this behavior show us exactly what the Party is?”
The head of the inmates rolled her eyes. “We don’t beat up anybody here,” she replied. “We resort only to reason.”
The guards instructed me to write down my understanding of what I had done wrong, so I used the opportunity to tell them about Falun Dafa. I wrote about the goodness and beauty of Dafa, about the lies used to defame the practice, and about the evil deeds that the Communist Party has done that would bring about its collapse.
Master gave me wisdom, and I wrote a total of 12 pages.
I was not allowed to have any contact with other practitioners in the unit, even when using the toilet. Inmates had to make sure nobody else was is the bathroom before allowing me to use the facilities.
They even used the excuse that somebody was in the restroom to stop me from relieving myself. I told them, “This is a form of persecution.” I then sought out the guards to tell them what was happening. I even wrote to the head of the prison.
I told them why Dafa practitioners stand firm in our belief, and that persecuting practitioners is breaking the law, that officials who actively authorize or silently encourage inmates to persecute practitioners are still accomplices to the crime. I warned them of the harm they will bring to themselves if they continue to participate in the persecution.
By the seventh month, I made a firm declaration that I would never renounce my belief and I wanted to be transferred to a different unit.
I was transferred the next day, which is incredible. Practitioners who refuse to renounce their belief have never been transferred to another unit on their own request. It is completely unheard of.
My new environment afforded me much more freedom. I could regularly use the toilet, do my laundry, and even go shopping in the prison supermarket.
Creating an Environment for Fa Study, Exercises and Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts
There were six practitioners in this new unit. We worked together to create a good environment for Fa study, exercises and sending forth righteous thoughts.
When the guards and inmates tried to stop us we wouldn't listen to them. When they forbade us to talk, we would talk freely. When forbidden from doing the exercises, we would do them. I even challenged a guard, “Nobody can touch me!”
I was then put in solitary confinement, while another practitioner was tied to a bed for days. We fought the persecution and brought on persecution. But why?
I began to look inward and realized that the problem stemmed from my attachment to combativeness. I was looking at this persecution as people persecuting people, and my understanding was not on the Fa. I consistently emphasized “I” was innocent, “I” was being persecuted, “I” wanted to do exercises, “I” would stand up against persecution…
Why didn’t I consider the guards and the inmates? They are the ones being controlled by the old forces. They are the ones who are truly being persecuted.
I finally realized my mistake. I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate my attachments to combativeness, resentment, defiance, antagonism and selfishness.
Ten days later, I was let out of solitary confinement.
We practitioners came to a consensus: We would clarify the facts to the guards for their sake. We would write separately to the head, the deputy head and the prison guards, and request to talk to them face-to-face. If they refused, we would stand at their front gate without leaving until they agreed to see us.
If a practitioner was persecuted, the rest of us would join together to make our voices heard. We worked closely to withstand the harsh environment.
The inmates started to admire us, and no longer reported us to the guards when we were doing our exercises. Instead of watching over us, they were watching out for us.
Practitioners were eventually allowed to speak freely to each other, study the Fa, do the exercises and send forth righteous thoughts openly without any interference.
Everything went well because we practitioners had corrected our mindset and looked upon the guards and inmates as people we should save.
About 6:30 every morning, right after breakfast, the criminal inmates would leave for work and only return at about 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. During the evenings, when inmates spent time together, we would talk to them about Dafa and the persecution.
We had group Fa study for about seven hours every day. We did the exercises and sent forth righteous thought at all four designated times, extending the time to 45 minutes.
We made sure we did the three things as much and as well as we could.
Raising Xinxing to Help Save Sentient Beings
To have the desire to help save sentient beings is not enough. To facilitate this desire, we must cultivate ourselves well and let the people who have been tricked into believing the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) lies and propaganda about Falun Dafa know the truth about the practice.
Prison inmates are labeled the dregs of society, with low moral standards, coarse behavior and filthy language. They are known for cheating and stealing without any remorse, and cursing and fighting upon the slightest provocation.
As practitioners, we must be strict with ourselves and not succumb to such negative thoughts about these people. We must act according to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance in our every word and deed.
“…it was for the Fa that they all came here, only they have been turned bad—at the hands of the old forces, bad factors, as well as the red dragon which takes the form of the evil CCP in this world, degenerate beings, Satan, and demons—and imbued with things that denigrate mankind’s traditional, true culture, and imbued with the evil culture of atheism that leads people to “struggle against” fellow man, the earth, and heaven, and which is intentionally damaging China’s traditional culture—something created by the divine. The wicked party and its philosophy of “struggle” instills evil in people, runs counter to the cosmos, and even demons wish they could abolish it.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa”)
Our righteous thoughts help us cherish these lost souls and make us want to save them, but we had to approach this with care and concern for their situation.
If the prison guards learn that the inmates have become friendly with practitioners or have accepted Dafa, it could lead to serious consequences for them, especially in regards of their treatment, privileges and possible length of their sentence. So we have to take this into serious consideration when we attempt to talk to them and help them withdraw their membership from the Party of its affiliated organizations.
There are generally between 12 to 20 inmates in each cell. So how do we talk to them individually?
We followed Master's arrangement.
Whenever we wanted to speak to a particular inmate, that person somehow would end up coming over to us, and, generally, within a few words of telling them about Dafa, we would help them quit the Party.
An inmate who slept on the upper bunk had only joined the Young Pioneers, but it was so difficult to convince her to withdraw from that Party organization. I talked to her constantly without success, and felt that I had exhausted all avenues. But I persisted, and often talked to her long into the night.
One time, after another long night, the inmate suddenly said to me in excitement, “Last night, I dreamed you were still talking to me, so I asked the gods to give me a sign to prove that what you said is the truth. All of a sudden, a bright red light appeared in front of my eyes…”
I asked her eagerly if she believed in the sign, and if she wanted to quit the Party? She answered with sincerity, “Yes!” and then asked, “But, what about my son?” as she was concerned that he may oppose Falun Dafa.
As it turned out, her son called her a month later, and said to her, “Are there Falun Dafa practitioners in your cell? You must treat them well.”
Master watches over everything and everyone.
I tried my best to be kind to every inmate in my cell. I talked to them about the goodness and beauty of Dafa, its principles and teachings, and shared with them how to live an honest and meaningful life. I also told them stories from traditional Chinese cultural, taught them to sing Dafa songs, helped them write letters home, took care of them when they were ill, and helped them out wherever they needed it.
The inmates started to look at practitioners as confidants. Even the guards began to respect us.
Within the Fa, Helping Practitioners is the Same as Helping Ourselves
During my last year of imprisonment, I was transferred to another unit where the Fa study, exercise and sending forth righteous thought environment was already in place, but I encountered another problem.
In the process of mutual elevation in cultivation and being one with the group, I gained a deeper understanding of Master’s Fa, relating to: “The next person's things are your things...” (“Teaching the Fa at the Washington D.C. Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference II)
The first practitioner I met there was rumored to be having a homosexual relationship with an inmate. My initial reaction was in disbelief. But when I found out that the rumors had been substantiated with some rather intimate incidents, I sought out the practitioner to have a talk with her, requesting that she safeguard Dafa’s image.
The practitioner’s reaction was one of anger and rejection.
I sent in a request to the prison warden to have her transferred, but my request was refused. It was only then that I remembered to look inward. The deeper I looked, the more I realized that I was at fault. My tone of voice and lack of compassion all pointed to the fact that my approach was not one of care for the other person. But, why?
I thought all the way back to the incident before I was arrested.
At that time, my accusations and complaint all indicated that I had not exercised my compassion to help out a fellow practitioner in her time of need, but only sought out to blame and shame her.
I failed my test then, and now Master is presenting me with another opportunity to improve. It clearly was not a case of me helping a fellow practitioner, but a fellow practitioner helping me!
When I rectified my incorrect thoughts, Master arranged for me to meet up with this practitioner again. This time, I said to her calmly and sincerely, “Although the two of you have not actually done anything inappropriate, others have already formed opinions. As practitioners, we need to safeguard Dafa’s image first and foremost. We also have to make sure we don’t pose harm to another person and possibly drag them to hell.”
Tears swelled up in her eyes as she finally accepted my words. I said, “Let’s send forth righteous thought and ask for Master's help.”
Within three days, the other inmate was involved in a fight and was transferred. Master helped to have the other inmate moved, thereby stopping any further distraction for the practitioner.
There was another practitioner. At first, when she was not allowed to study the Fa, she would study the Fa under her blanket; when she was not allowed to do the exercises, she would suffer beatings but continued to do them.
However, now when we grasped every opportunity to study the Fa and do the exercises, she didn’t join us. And when she talked to people about Dafa, her behavior was quite odd and the way she spoke was incomprehensible.
When I asked her what was wrong, she raised her head proudly and said, “I've already passed all my tests.”
This practitioner had stood firm in her belief for years of brutal persecution, but developed attachments to showing off and zealotry. The old forces wasted no time in taking advantage of her attachments and created an illusion for her.
I blurted out, “Isn’t this demonic interference from one’s own mind?” The practitioner instantly gave me the cold shoulder and completely ignored me.
Again, I looked inward to clean out any attachments and thought deeply about how I could help this practitioner come back to Dafa. I realized that we could only resort to studying the Fa.
Hong Yin III was published around that time, so I sought out the practitioner and we learned the verses together. Each day we would recite one or two verses. Then, we would talk about what we had learned from Master's words.
We had soon memorized all of the verses in the book, and slowly the practitioner’s attitude changed.
Dafa practitioners belong to one body. Fellow practitioners and I coordinated well to help save people and elevate ourselves.
There was one practitioner who had been “transformed” and turned against Dafa. When she failed to “transform” me, she said to me, “Here, you don’t want to be persecuted, you want to study the Fa, do the exercises, convince people to quit the Party, and also expect people to respect your Master, respect Dafa, respect you and treat you with honest sincerity. There is no way you can walk through this path.”
When I met up with her at a later date, I called out to her, “I walked through the path!”
“If viewed in historical terms this is indeed such a major thing, then consider what kind of preparation it would have called for. The arrangements that were made were, in fact, quite detailed, to the extent that how each Dafa disciple would walk his path; what situations each would meet with; how each would advance or fall back; and how things would be handled when inappropriate states eventually came about, was all meticulously arranged.” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference XI)
Master is in control of everything. The power of Dafa is limitless. It all depends on whether we cultivate our hearts and do what practitioners are supposed to do.
Even in the darkest of prisons, even when we have made mistakes, Dafa can work out a path for each of us to travel.