My Wake-Up Call about Pyramid Schemes
(Minghui.org) I started practicing Falun Dafa in 1995. Because of the persecution, I was imprisoned for five years. At one point I went on a 30-day hunger strike. I was jailed in a labor camp for three months. After I got out of the labor camp, I was sent to brainwashing centers. No amount of persecution made me waver in my belief in Dafa.
However, at the end of the Fa-rectification, I fell badly, and nearly died. I hope that by exposing my involvement in a pyramid scheme I can help other practitioners. The following is my understanding.
After I read Master's latest lecture given in New York a few times, I realized that I was involved in something that we practitioners should not do. Master did not give up on me, and gave me the opportunity to correct it. I know that I needed to recognize and expose the mistake I made.
With the help of the fellow practitioners, I now understand the ramifications of what I was involved in. Because I did not clearly understand what a pyramid scheme really was, I made mistakes again and again, and I even convinced other practitioners to get involved. My behavior almost destroyed me as well as the practitioners I recruited.
I read the article published on Minghui.org: "Dafa Disciples Cannot Engage In Pyramid Selling or Direct Sales." In the lecture “Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York,” Master spoke about pyramid schemes. In the lecture "Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference," Master talked about it again. I didn't know that participating in pyramid schemes would cause great harm until I read these lectures. I was actively involved in a pyramid scheme. I'm a Dafa disciple, so why didn't I heed Master's warning? Some practitioners also warned me, but I did not listen to them or take it seriously.
In pyramid schemes, the higher levels make profits from the lower levels, which stimulate the higher levels to get more people involved. The financial investment that I was involved in also used this business model.
I thought that I could live on the money I made from the pyramid scheme, instead of going to work. Now, I realize that as a disciple, I cannot arrange my own path, and that I cannot see the causal effect relationships of the things I encounter. I thought I was smart. Instead I got myself into a trap and also involved other practitioners. No matter how good you think your motive is, if the direction is wrong, you are making a mistake.
After I was released from prison and the labor camp, I didn't look for a job, because I am not young and I have health problems. Also, I was not professionally trained, so I lived with my parents. After they passed away, I lived on their savings, which were soon spent. I developed the attachment of seeking self-interest instead of focusing on saving people. I heard that if I invested in a pyramid scheme I could make money quickly. This attachment is another reason I was lured into the money making scheme.
Over the last few years, I moved from place to place. Since I never settled down I could not study the Fa or do the exercises calmly. I could not calm down even when I did have time to read. This was a big loophole in my cultivation, which led to my mistake. When we slack off in Fa-study we already have xinxing problems.
After I talked with other practitioners, I had a better understanding of the seriousness of what I was involved in. Pulling fellow practitioners into the pyramid scheme was helping to destroy them. What I did had the effect of damaging Dafa's resources, and interfering with Fa-rectification. I brought many practitioners into this scheme, and I feel that nothing is worse than this sin.
Many practitioners who I talked into getting involved in the pyramid scheme, actually had financial difficulties, and some of them borrowed money to make the investments. If they needed money urgently, they had no savings to resort to. If they needed money for a Fa-rectification project, then what I did was actually interfering with the project.
Getting practitioners involved in a pyramid scheme may have interfered with their relationships with their family members. Thus, I sincerely apologize to those who I talked into getting involved in this. I hope that by exposing my part in this, you will also awaken and break free from it. Right now, I don't have the money to repay my debt, but I will make up for my mistakes.
After I realized how negative pyramid schemes are, I kept telling practitioners around me not to get involved any more. I tried to make up for my mistake, but I had a lot of sickness karma. Last May, I started to cough, I had difficulty breathing, and I felt tired and was in pain. This sickness karma almost destroyed my mind, and its purpose was to take my life away.
I've been cultivating for many years, and have experienced many tribulations. But this time, the tribulation was nearly overwhelming. I lost a lot of weight, and had difficulty eating and walking. Master didn't give up on me, and gave me opportunities. If it wasn't for Master enduring the pain for me, I would not be alive today. My “illness” went on for more than a month, but I survived.
Here, I would like to warn those who are still involved in pyramid schemes. Please awaken and quit. You are ruining yourselves and others. The physical tribulations I just went through were the consequences of my being involved in these investments and advocating for them. Please see your mistakes, correct them, and make up for them.
Once again, I thank Master for saving my life!
This is my current understanding. Please correct me if you see anything wrong.