210 Days in a Detention Center
(Minghui.org) I'm a 72-year-old Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) practitioner in China. I was fortunate to learn Falun Dafa in July 2010 and have been cultivating myself ever since. The following is my experience of being held in a detention center for participating in efforts to tell the public about the persecution of Falun Dafa.
In the summer of 2017, I was talking to people in a park about Dafa when someone reported me to the police. I was arrested and detained for 20 days. A policeman threatened my son, saying I would be sentenced to between three and seven years in prison. My children were worried about me and paid a great deal of money to have me released.
The security guard in my residential area was ordered to monitor me around the clock and to make a record of every time I entered and left the building. The police station hired someone to follow me, but I continued to tell people and post letters on the street about Falun Gong.
Fifteen days after I was released, I was arrested in my home. I wrote a letter to my son from the detention center right away, telling him not to bribe anyone and that my wish was for him to carry on with his normal life. I told him I was determined to stay firm in my belief no matter what happened.
I was detained in a “transition ward” at first. Most of us in the ward were new. As more and more people were moved into the ward, those who came in first were moved out. I seized the time to tell the detainees the facts about Dafa. Everyone thrown into the detention center was very sad. I did my best to comfort them and tell them the facts about Dafa. Of the four people I spoke with, three agreed to quit the communist organizations they had joined. When I was in the middle of speaking to the fifth person, the head inmate wailed while pointing at me, “Stop talking to the newcomers! I’ll tell the guards if you keep going.” I didn't argue with her.
A couple of days later, the head inmate received the court's decision to sentence her to two years in prison. She was devastated and lost interest in restricting my actions. I spent most of my time speaking with the newcomers, helping them to stabilize their emotions and telling them about Dafa. They were very thankful. Some told me I had soothed their nerves. Some told me I was a great mentor. Some told me that getting to know me was the turning point in their life. I told them that all that I had done was because I practice Falun Dafa.
One of the inmates in the transition ward had originally been sentenced to life in prison. She appealed to the intermediate municipal court. Her case dragged on for almost three years. The jailers in charge and the head inmate had to talk to her once in a while, worrying that she would have a mental breakdown.
She seemed to enjoy talking to me. I told her the benefits of Falun Dafa and taught her to recite, “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” She loved to hear this and recited these words every day. Soon afterward, she experienced huge changes: her illnesses were gone, she looked much younger than before, and she stopped cursing at others. The director and jailers were surprised to see the changes in her and asked if she had learned Falun Gong from me. All the other inmates were shaken by her change too. During her trial, she continued to recite in her mind, “Falun Dafa is good. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” She told me later that her mind had become very clear, and she was able to answer all the questions in the best way. She was excited to learn that her term had been reduced from a life sentence to four years. The outcome was much better than she had expected. She said it was because she had been blessed by Falun Dafa.
A business owner was thrown into our ward one day. She has hundreds of millions of yuan worth of assets. She was detained due to issues regarding compensation for house removals. Local government officials took special care of her because she knew a lot of insider information about their corruption. They sent her clothes, food, and money and talked with her once in a while. The woman looked at me in contempt when she learned that I practice Falun Dafa. When she got sick, I tried to check on her, but she wouldn't talk to me.
However, she witnessed how my actions followed Dafa's principles. Our toilet was often clogged. No one was willing to unclog or clean it except me. A new inmate had serious constipation. She couldn't relieve her bowels after trying for an hour. She was in such pain that she cried. I helped her by digging out her stool by hand without hesitation. Everyone in the ward was shocked.
I didn't have a commissary card when I first entered the ward. A kind woman gave me a cracker and an apple. I gave them to someone who needed them more badly. After I got my commissary card, I bought some food to share with others. They were very touched. In a ward of less than 20 square meters, where food was scarce, everyone remembered any generosity they received.
Winter was extremely cold in the ward. Most people had to wear three pairs of pants and three pairs of socks. The female business owner wore two coats over a sweater and a pair of cotton-padded pants over leggings. However, I only wore three thin shirts, one pair of thin pants and no socks. I loaned all my other clothes to those who needed them. I persisted in meditating for an hour every day no matter what the temperature.
One evening, a woman complained that she was too cold to fall asleep. The boss woman said, “If you want to stay warm, learn Falun Gong from Auntie Deng. She isn't afraid of cold or suffering. She is healthy and considerate of others. It's great!” She added, “When I first came here, the director told me that I would find Buddhists, Christians and Falun Gong here. I asked what Falun Gong was. He repeated the lies about Falun Gong that are in the media. I now know they were lies. I was fooled.” Everyone agreed with her that Falun Gong is great. They all wanted to learn Falun Gong from me after they were released. I was so happy that they all had a good attitude toward Falun Gong!
When I was thrown into the detention center, I found the food too terrible to eat. I had to throw it away after swallowing a couple of spoonfuls. Others did the same. I felt bad for wasting so much food. One day, I was reciting “On Dafa” when I was enlightened by these sentences,
“When people show the appropriate respect and reverence toward Dafa as it manifests here in this world, they, their race, or their nation will enjoy blessings or honor.” (On Dafa from Zhuan Falun)
It dawned on me that wasting food every day isn't appropriate respect and reverence toward Dafa as it manifests here in this world. It's actually going against Dafa, but how could I eat such bad food?
I sent forth righteous thoughts to the employees of the detention center dining hall, saying, “Our lives and everything in the world are made possible by the blessings of Buddhas and Gods. Let's treasure food and everything else. Please do well with your cooking and reduce the waste. Thank you!” I sent forth this thought at 5 am. At lunchtime, the head of our ward said, “It tastes good today.” I tried a bite and found the food was pretty good. Everyone said lunch tasted good. From that time on, I ate all my food without any waste. Other people rarely dumped any leftovers.
Due to my decades-old human notions, I had thought that my body was cold-natured. I had avoided certain vegetables, especially cabbage. I had not eaten cabbage for several decades because of my human notions. One morning, I recited Master's poem, which says,
“The Buddha’s grace remolds Heaven and Earth” (“The Master-Disciple Bond” from Hong Yin Volume II)
It dawned on me that Master had blessed us with all manners of living things and that these were all beneficial to sentient beings. Actually, every kind of vegetable helps our bodies. I should treasure them all. There happened to be twice as much cabbage as usual at lunch that day. I took a bite and found it especially delicious. I ate all the cabbage in my bowl and felt great afterward. I stopped avoiding certain vegetables and have been feeling great. Thank you, Master! I felt I was being replenished and energized with every bite of food that I ate. I know deep in my heart that Master has put his wisdom, compassion and hard work into every bit of his blessings. Everything I have been blessed with is very precious!
I was detained for seven months and sentenced to 18 months in prison with two years of probation. During the 210 days I spent in the detention center, Master gave me many opportunities to improve myself. I stumbled over some tests and didn't do well with all of them. I beg for Master's pardon.
I learned from my experience that no obstacles can block a Dafa disciple as long as we are able to put others before ourselves under all circumstances. This is the kind of disciple Master wants. Thank you, Master!