Australian: Zhuan Falun Set Me on a Cultivation Journey That Has Been Going Strong for 19 Years and Counting
Finding the Fa
I first started cultivating Falun Dafa in May 1999, just before the persecution started in China. It was my first exposure to any sort of Eastern faith.
I was brought up by my parents in England as a Christian – we attended church every week and tried to live by the principles of Christianity. I married someone from the same faith and we seemed to have a lot in common. However, when I was about 30, I started to question some of the Christian doctrines.
By that time, my marriage was not going well, I had three small children, and I felt that something was missing in my faith. The world seemed a horrible place to raise children and it was impossible to make sense of life anymore – I had absolutely no peace of mind. I started wavering in my belief that gods even existed. If they did, why was there so much terror and suffering? But at the same time, I had a strong feeling that I needed to find out more about meditation. It was something that was barely mentioned in my upbringing and I thought perhaps if I learned how to meditate, it might help strengthen my faith.
I started looking into different meditation practices and reading books about other spiritual practices, but nothing seemed to help much. Then one day I came across Falun Dafa quite by accident (or so it seemed) in May 1999. A friend told me about it and I went to a local park where a Chinese couple taught me the exercises and lent me the book Zhuan Falun.
I remember the first time I read Zhuan Falun, I didn’t understand most of it—and I had so many questions! I had no understanding of Eastern spiritual teachings, had never heard of qigong, and, as a Christian, I had never looked into the Buddha school teachings. But the parts of the book that I did understand made so much sense to me that I wanted to find out more. So I carried on reading Zhuan Falun, over and over, and bit by bit I started to improve my understanding.
I realized pretty quickly that the reason my marriage was failing was because I was looking outward at my husband and all the things he was doing wrong and needed to change. I had no understanding of the concept of looking within at myself. Once I realized that’s what cultivation was about, I started to look at my own behavior and speech. And when I started changing for the better, so did my husband. Following the teachings of Falun Dafa certainly saved my marriage, even though my husband didn’t practice. He was very supportive of me, though, because he could see it was benefiting our marriage and our family.
Physical, Mental and Spiritual Benefits
I’m fortunate to live very close to a practice site. We start doing the exercises at 6 a.m., and when I first heard that, I thought, “That is so early! How can I get up at 5:30 a.m. every day to be there on time?” But I thought I should at least try. After doing it for a while, I realized I didn’t need nearly as much sleep as I had before. Instead of the 7½ or 8 hours that I was used to, I would wake up after 5 or 6 hours and feel refreshed.
When I started practicing Falun Dafa, I wanted to improve myself spiritually and wasn’t even thinking about physical benefits—but they came anyway. I’d suffered with psoriasis on my hands for years and had tried all kinds of treatments, but it wouldn’t leave. One day, a few months after I’d started Falun Dafa, I was washing my hands and looked down at them and suddenly realized the psoriasis had completely cleared up. Shortly afterward, a thyroid problem that I’d had for a couple of years—and had been told I’d have to live with for the rest of my life and manage with medication—also went away. My back problems disappeared, too.
These physical changes were wonderful, but the mental and spiritual changes were even more powerful. I didn’t really know what I was looking for in my life, but when I found Falun Dafa, I stopped looking. The teachings have answered all the questions I’ve ever had about life, as well as many questions I never even thought to ask! It has given me complete peace of mind.
I realized that so many things I’d grown up believing were true hadn’t helped me make sense of the world. But after reading Zhuan Falun, my thinking on many things was turned completely upside down, and things started to make so much more sense. An acceptance of past lives (which was not part of my previous faith) and the explanation of karma and de (virtue) helped me view the world in a completely different way—and life began to make more sense, and the universe seemed fair and just.
I also realized that my standard of what it meant to be a good person was so low compared to the way a cultivator should behave. I used to think I was a good person, until I read Zhuan Falun and realized what it really meant to be a good person and to follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
I cultivated by myself for 10 years before my husband decided to cultivate. I remember when he started practicing, it was almost like getting married all over again and getting to know someone afresh – there were so many different things that we could now share together as cultivators.
I’ve now been cultivating for almost 19 years. I have three children and was able to bring them up by teaching them the principles of Falun Dafa, including how to treat others at school, how to understand pain and suffering, and how to look within during conflicts. When I first started to cultivate, I knew that eventually I would need to let go of my emotional attachment (qing) to my three daughters, who were very young at the time. But I put it aside as something I wasn’t ready for then but would deal with later. And as the years have passed, it has naturally lessened and been replaced with deeper understanding and compassion.
Ever since I started practicing 19 years ago, the Chinese communist regime has been persecuting practitioners in China. I have been involved in many different activities, from exercise classes in local parks and libraries to the many and varied truth-clarification projects, such as the Petals of Peace project; the SOS peace walk through major cities; walls of truth banners; parades to raise awareness about the persecution; anti-torture exhibits; visiting politicians to clarify the truth and counter the Chinese propaganda; visiting the state education department to talk about the influence of Confucius Institutes; writing letters to foreign ministers; helping with refugee applications; responding to slanderous media articles; helping with the English Epoch Times newspaper when it first started in New York; writing articles for papers, flyers and pamphlets; hosting movies such as Free China and Hard to Believe; being part of the team to host Shen Yun; writing letters to labor camps in China; making phone calls to officials who have tortured practitioners; and travelling to New York and Hong Kong for parades and other activities. My travels abroad are no longer for holidays but for Falun Dafa activities, which are so much more meaningful to me.
Through all these activities, my cultivation state has improved. My emotions are much calmer and my head is much clearer. I am healthy, I don’t get easily stressed, and I am peaceful. I feel my life has meaning and purpose. And so many more benefits, all of which come directly from practicing Falun Dafa.
I am so grateful to Master Li for teaching this wonderful practice and sharing it with the world, and I highly recommend it to everyone!