(Minghui.org) I learned about Falun Dafa in 1997 while studying at a university, and I soon became a practitioner. I was 20 at the time. Prior to that, even though I was a high achiever among my peers, I wasn’t happy. I felt that life was empty and meaningless. But after I began cultivating, I gained a newfound appreciation for life as well as inner peace and fulfillment.

My university was located in Changchun City, which had many practitioners. This strong cultivation environment encouraged me to study the Fa and do the exercises on a daily basis. Thus I gained a strong foundation in cultivation over the first two years. As such, I was never intimidated by the evil persecution. I have continued on my cultivation path for the last 20 years.

My Cultivation Background

During these 20 years, my greatest challenge and tribulation has been maintaining my diligence in cultivation. In the early years of the persecution, many Changchun practitioners were illegally imprisoned and severely persecuted in detention centers. But everyone remained extremely resolute, and during that time I heard many stirring stories that often moved me to tears of respect.

In the first years of the persecution, I was expelled from school, illegally imprisoned in labor camps, and brutally tortured, yet none of this shook my determination to cultivate. However, with the passage of time and while living in this complex society, I found my once resolute determination slowly eroding. Fortunately, over the years, my family members have become Dafa practitioners one after another. Thus, we gained an environment where we shared and compared with one another in study and cultivation, which helped me to remain determined.

I would like to share some of my understandings from my cultivation in Falun Dafa.

I was persecuted for over two years in a forced labor camp and was brutally tortured there. While I was passionate about cultivation at the time, I didn’t really know how to search within. I thought suffering was the way to elevate in cultivation. At times, I would sum up the “fruits of my cultivation,” which was essentially tallying how many times I had been persecuted and how I let go of the attachment to fear a few times. Otherwise, I was not making any other gains, which made me despondent at times. Subsequently, I realized that I still had many fundamental attachments that I had not been aware of and I was not truly cultivating. Simply enduring the old forces’ persecution does not transform one’s true nature. As such, and despite two years in the labor camp, I found that I had not made any progress.

I was released two years later. My family members had not become practitioners yet, but they sympathized with my suffering and no longer stopped me from practicing. When I first got home, I wanted to make up for the time I had lost in doing the exercises. But while my mind was strong, my body was weak. I could barely stay awake, and I could not meditate for longer than a few minutes. I was bitterly disappointed and desperately tried to stay awake. By chance, I leaned against the wall for a short rest and suddenly felt a strong surge of energy coursing through my whole body from the microcosmic level. My anxious attachment immediately dissipated. I realized that cultivation does not need to be willfully forced and that one cannot constantly be pushing forward forcibly.

My willful attachment appeared very “righteous” and was very subtle. It was not as easily recognized as the attachments to lust, fear, or showing off. Because it was so subtle, I had mistaken this attachment as diligence, and I often got myself worked up into an anxious state. It made me mentally fatigued and more prone to going to extremes. I was less careful in my daily life and work, and I became increasingly removed from ordinary society. Despite doing many Fa-rectification activities, I was easily persecuted and did not measure things according to Dafa's principles. All I did was use my human attachments to endure a lot of unnecessary suffering.

Realizing My Attachment of Pursuit

Over the next year, I gradually returned to rationality and steadiness. I sorted out my thoughts and feelings and came to understand that doing tasks does not equate to cultivating. A true cultivator does not pursue doing tasks for grandiosity; instead, they truly elevate their inner selves. I realized that I had an attachment to pursuit in my cultivation. Behind my diligence was a selfish motive—for example, I knew that I could obtain mighty virtue and reach consummation by studying the Fa and enduring suffering, so these became my life goals. As such, some of my actions appeared extreme and lacked compassion.

After I identified this attachment to pursuit, my cultivation state changed. When I read Zhuan Falun, I could understand many more Fa principles, and I found that I was elevating every day. In the past, I used to find cultivation exhausting and anxiety-provoking. Now I am more relaxed, as I have few thoughts of pursuit. There is nothing to pursue in Dafa—only by reading the Fa without any motives can one truly see the Fa principles.

One by one, my family members began cultivating as well. I believe this may have been related to me steadying my cultivation state—I had a stable job and was no longer being persecuted. Even though I made no special effort to encourage them to practice, without my realizing it, they became practitioners and have been doing very well. My father, for example, has been clarifying the truth daily. He has helped over 20,000 people quit the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations, and he has handed out tens of thousands of truth-clarification pamphlets.

Staying Diligent

Because we are cultivating in our everyday lives and the persecution has persisted for a long time, I enlightened to three ideas that would help me to walk on my cultivation path well: First, we must attend group Fa study and have a good cultivation environment in order to have enduring diligence. Otherwise, we will slack off or fall behind. Second, we must practice true cultivation and not go to extremes; we must do well in all aspects, including at work and at home. Third, we must not do things for grandiosity—we must be effective in rectifying the Fa, so we must be low-key and act safely. We should not communicate with other practitioners about unnecessary things, and we should eliminate our emotional attachments to fellow practitioners.

Over the years, I have met many practitioners who were all very diligent and steadfast. Some practitioners had little fear and did things openly and nobly. They were truly admirable. But among these practitioners, some were arrested by the authorities and even brutally tortured. These realities made me seriously question: Why did these practitioners, whom I deeply admired, run into problems? Why did they have to lose so much? These lessons taught me the importance of acting safely. With the current conditions in mainland China, we cannot follow the crowd and create a spectacle but should carry out our activities in a low-key manner. Practitioners are not friends or relatives. Unless the circumstances are extraordinary, there’s no need for constant mutual communication or exchange. We are here to assist Master in rectifying the Fa.

I work as a designer. After finding my attachments to pursuit, I stopped leading my life like a monk. I began integrating into society and putting energy into my work. This was unlike the past when my heart was only focused on “cultivation” and I worked half-heartedly at my job, thereby messing up my career and making a public joke of myself. Because I became more diligent in my job, after over a decade of work experience, I became the senior designer and became quite well-known locally. My earnings have been good, and I am well-respected. When I talk to my clients about Falun Dafa, I have my excellent work performance as a form of reinforcement, and this makes my clients respond positively. This has been very helpful in clarifying the truth.

I got married a few years ago, and my wife is also a practitioner. We have a child who is almost three years old. Our marriage has not affected our cultivation—conversely, my wife now has a good cultivation environment, which she did not have before getting married. She has since elevated a lot and now knows how to cultivate.

This year, while doing the fifth exercise, I saw the grand scene of Dafa practitioners reaching Consummation. There were heavenly carts, heavenly music, and divine soldiers - it was immeasurably grand and sacred. I rose up to a platform, where I saw the many, countless levels crisscrossing in my world. Everything in it was beautiful and wonderful. I thought to myself: No matter how much a practitioner sacrifices in the persecution, compared to what we gain after consummation, the sacrifices are not even worth mentioning. Seeing all this, my initially tranquil heart was filled with immeasurable gratitude to our Creator.

Twenty years is not a long time. Life is short, and Dafa is difficult to come by. We only have one historic opportunity to rectify the Fa, so we must find the heart we first had when we started cultivating and treasure every day. Thank you, Master!