A Young Practitioner's Path of Cultivation and Clarifying the Truth
1. Practicing Falun Dafa at a Young Age
I started practicing Falun Dafa during my elementary school years in early 1999, which was the same time my family did. I genuinely started to cultivate around 2001, when I started to use the Fa principles as my guide.
Due to the persecution, my father supported my mother’s cultivation but not mine. Therefore, I had to work on creating a cultivation environment for myself. My bedroom faces a balcony, which is connected to the living room. During my mother’s lunch break, she would play the Dafa exercise music in the living room, keeping the balcony door open so I could hear the music in my bedroom. Thanks to this, we managed to do the exercises together every day.
In the evening, I would read half a chapter of Zhuan Falun after my bedtime. But sometimes my father would check up on me. Whenever I heard his footsteps, I would immediately turn off the lamp and cover myself with my blanket. I didn’t study the Fa for long, but the quality was good.
During my years in middle school, I shared my desk with a student who often misbehaved. Every day at the end of class, he always dropped my pencil box on the ground; there was nothing I could do to stop him.
Once I asked him, “Why are you dropping my pencil box?” He didn’t say anything, simply grinned, and dropped my pencil box again. I was so angry that I was speechless. I told myself that, as a cultivator, I should be tolerant. I would pick up my pencil box every time he dropped it. I had to sharpen my pencils every night because the lead in the pencils had broken to pieces. This continued for a semester before he stopped.
2. Clarifying the Truth and Breaking Through Fear
I knew that, as a cultivator, truth-clarification was something that I must do. However, for a long time, I wasn’t able to break through my fear. In early 2002, I read Master’s lecture “Touring North America to Teach the Fa” and was in tears while I read it; my heart became quite calm and compassionate afterward. I made up my mind to let go of fear.
Fear is a type of attachment, but it is only a reflection of other attachments. What we are truly afraid of is losing our reputation or money, of being emotionally hurt, or of losing our life.
Breaking through fear is simple. I ask myself a question each time before I clarify the truth: “If I were not able to go to school and were to lose everything in my life, lose a bright future, and enter a juvenile detention center or even a prison, am I going to save this person?” When my fear would arise, I would send righteous thoughts to expel it, until I could say “yes” without any hesitation. Then I knew that I was ready to clarify the truth.
The question seemed to be a simple one, but I spent several weeks asking myself this question before I started to actually clarify the truth. I kept up my Fa study and sending righteous thoughts.
Who was the first person I clarified the truth to? The classmate who used to drop my pencil box. He was no longer dropping my pencil box and we actually became good friends. We played soccer together every day.
After a soccer game one day, we were bicycling home together. I didn’t clarify the truth to him directly, but I gave him some truth-clarification materials when we parted ways. Afterward, fear and pressure overwhelmed me. I felt like someone trying to stay balanced in a dark thunderstorm. I would collapse if I let my guard down. All I could do was study the Fa and send forth righteous thoughts.
I saw him again the next day and chatted with him. I was surprised that he was much more receptive than I expected. Looking back, connections between people are so interesting. He might have dropped my pencil box to establish a predestined relationship with me.
He quit the communist Youth League in high school and quit the communist party in college. I didn’t have to say much to help him. He even helped me when I tried to persuade a mutual friend to quit the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations. After that, I started clarifying the truth face to face to friends, classmates, and teachers.
In mainland China, the political curriculum slanders Dafa. Sometimes those things are taught in class or show up in exams. I said to myself, “What should I do? I cannot let the slandering continue.”
When this issue arose in a politics class, I decided to face it head-on. I sent righteous thoughts to clear away my fear. After a process of being fearful and trying to summon righteous thoughts, my fear faded.
I stood up and talked to the teacher and my entire class. I started with the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen massacre and went on to the persecution of Falun Gong. I was so nervous that my palms were soaked in sweat.
Surprisingly, my political teacher looked at me with a smile and didn’t interrupt me. I talked until the end of the class. The teacher didn’t cover content against Dafa in his class anymore. The exams didn’t contain any of the bad content, either.
Besides the joy of saving sentient beings, happiness wells up inside me when I run into a fellow practitioner. Once, I gave truth-clarification materials to a friend who played soccer with me. He pulled me aside and asked me, “You practice this?” I said, “My mother does.” He smiled, “My father does, too.” I realized that I had met a fellow practitioner, so I said, “Actually, I do, too.” He smiled, “I do, too.” It was a pity that I was so used to cultivating alone then. I didn’t know how to share with other practitioners and didn’t collaborate on creating a better cultivation environment for both of us.
I often thought about the following issue: Although I had opportunities to tell people the truth in person, what about the thousands of students and faculty members at my school? How could I help more people be saved? I wouldn’t be able to clarify the truth to everyone one-on-one. The majority of students biked to school, which had a big garage. I was caught by a school security guard while putting truth-clarification materials in bike baskets. He said, “I finally caught you. Are you the one who’s been putting things in people’s baskets?” I didn’t say anything. He was going to take me to the principal’s office.
My mind was blank. Fear and pressure came from all directions like sea waves. On the way to the principal’s office, I kept sending righteous thoughts, eliminating all human attachments. The school knew that I was practicing Falun Gong for several years because my English teacher reported me when she got a new job. She turned my truth-clarification materials over to the school. The school was also aware of my truth-clarification in the politics class. They protected me and hoped that I would continue to practice Dafa at home. I thanked them for their kindness.
My high school was located away from my hometown, and I lived with other students. It was difficult to find time and space to practice. In China, high schools make very strict arrangements for students. Bedtime is 10:30 p.m., and there was very little free time.
It was hard to find time to do the exercises. Also, the location was problematic. I had to do the exercises in the least visited bathrooms in the school. There was no space for exercises 1 and 5 in a bathroom in China. For Fa study, I had to find a corner to read the electronic versions of Dafa books on a device. Without a cultivation environment, my cultivation state started to slide. I also clarified the truth less and less.
I was in this cultivation state until I got a chance to continue my studies abroad. With group Fa study and exercises, and opportunities to promote Shen Yun, little by little, I regained my determination to cultivate; it was like I had just started cultivating again.
One of the main forced organ harvesting investigators from Canada, David Matas, was invited to give a speech in my city. He flew from Canada to our little city in Florida. When I saw him, I thought, “Even an ordinary person is trying his best to help us. He has done better than me, a cultivator.” I was very touched but also felt guilty. There would be no excuses for me to slack off in my cultivation and efforts to validate the Fa.
3. Clarifying the Truth to the Government
When I arrived in Florida, I joined the project to clarify the truth to the government. I wasn’t very confident about speaking English. I didn’t know how to interact with the seasoned politicians appropriately. My low self-esteem caused me to be too self-conscious when dealing with VIPs.
My emotions told me, “Don’t do it.” My rational side told me that, as a cultivator, I couldn’t let my emotions rule my behavior, that I should evaluate things based on the Fa and not my emotions. I said to myself, “If I should do this based on the Fa, then I’m going to do it.”
In retrospect, I realize that Master has made arrangements for us. The arrangements are different for different people but are the best for the individual’s personality. My congressman had understood some of the truth and supported House Resolution 343, which condemns forced organ harvesting. When I decided to attend more of his election events, I had a simple thought: to help him and thank him. I am not very good at socializing, so I thought I would do more and talk less.
I joined a campaign walk in the election that year. At one of the events, I was the only volunteer aside from the congressman’s staff members. The congressman came over to my table and chatted with me during the lunch break. He asked about my parents and the persecution I experienced in mainland China. During our conversation, we realized that we both had extended family living in the same city in the northern United States. Also, my school is next door to his parents’ school.
Politicians are elites in American society. They are very observant. I was frustrated about how to interact with them appropriately. There were many times when I thought about this over and over again and thought about how I behaved. I didn’t know how to go forward.
Based on this experience, I realized that I didn’t need to change myself to “blend in.” I should simply behave according to a cultivator’s standards. Sincerity and kindness are especially touching in such a complex society. Others hear my words and see my actions. The congressman gave me a special mention during his victory speech at the election. I made many friends and was invited to a lot of dinners and even Thanksgiving dinner.
I ate hot dogs with my congressman and his district director after an event last year. I told the congressman that the mother of a local practitioner was being persecuted. The congressman told me that he would like to help us more and that he supported freedom of belief. The congressman invited me to join his family's Christmas dinner. On Christmas day, the congressman told his family members about the persecution of Falun Gong.
I met another congressman at a dinner commemorating U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. This congressman is a Deputy Whip of the majority party in the Congress. He wrote a letter to the leader of the CCP a year ago about releasing a practitioner’s family member. I sincerely thanked him. He asked about the practitioner. I told him that what he did was significant and very important for people on the other side of the world. He responded sincerely, “You’ve made my day.” This congressman also founded the Victims of Communism Caucus.
What I have learned from my experience is not to let human emotions control me. I’ve been happy when things went smoothly and frustrated when I encountered setbacks. My emotions were like a pendulum. Once we are overwhelmed by our emotions, we cannot make rational judgments and decisions.
I told myself, “I don’t want to be controlled by human emotions anymore!” Humans have emotions because they have sentimentality. Emotions are reflections of sentimentality. And I tend to be moved by superficial phenomena when I am attached to results and stray from the standpoint of saving sentient beings. I may be happy one day and may be sad for exactly the same thing the next day. Whether I’m happy, sad, angry, or joyful, I should examine what is driving my emotions. Am I validating myself? Are my thoughts aligned with the Fa? Am I validating the Fa with human emotions or the righteous thoughts of a cultivator?
4. What Kind of Person Would I Like to Become?
I have been asking myself a question for a long time, “What kind of person would I like to become?”
In middle school, I wanted to be a knowledgeable person. In high school, I wanted to be a decisive person. Later, I wanted to become a mature and responsible person. However, I didn’t think those kinds of people were what I truly wanted to become.
I had the opportunity to interact with the artists in Shen Yun Performing Arts. They toured the world with a packed schedule. I saw them practicing their instruments in corners of theaters or even dark basements. I saw them memorizing the Fa, doing the exercises, and sending righteous thoughts. I realized that I wanted to become like them, a cultivator who assists Master in rectifying the Fa.
Some audience members said that they saw hope from Shen Yun. I think Shen Yun brings hope to people in the world; it also brings hope to cultivators.
I have met many young practitioners; some are older than me and some younger. We all started cultivation in various ways and due to various reasons. Some treat cultivation as a force of habit learned from their parents; some treat cultivation as a spiritual dependence; some cultivate seriously and advance diligently. I think at some point, each of us should ask ourselves, “What kind of a person would I like to become?” If you are thinking like this, let’s be cultivators who assist Master in rectifying the Fa. As Master said, “Strive forward with every effort until Consummation.” (“Enlightenment” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
Thank you, Master. Thank you, everyone!
(Presented at the 2018 Washington DC Fa Conference)