Western Dafa Disciple: Dafa Saved Me
(Minghui.org) Greetings Master!
Greetings fellow practitioners!
I’m a Western practitioner, and I began practicing Falun Dafa in late 2003. Back then it seemed that every time that I would turn on the TV to flip through the channels, I would immediately see a program about Falun Dafa, called Pure Heart, Clear Mind. At first I only barely noticed it, then each time, I would watch it more and more. Eventually I discovered that it included a meditation, something I had been interested in for years.
This kept happening to me for a period of weeks. I couldn’t ignore how often I saw the program, and it seemed like the moment I sat down to watch TV it would pop out at me, even in the very early and late hours. One would think it was on almost at all times, but when I checked the listings I saw that it wasn’t scheduled any more frequently than other programs, often but I would always end up seeing it.
Eventually I was looking for when it would be on next. In the beginning, it was usually during the exercise instruction portion of the program, but eventually I watched interviews with practitioners and their miraculous experiences in Dafa. Once, I held up my arms along with the wheel-holding exercise instruction, and I could actually feel a sensation right away. There were plenty of hints like this that guided me to learn more.
When I finally learned the truth about the persecution of Dafa by the Chinese Communist regime, my heart was deeply moved. I was only 21 at the time and felt emotionally hardened. I wasn’t easily moved by tragedy or suffering because I thought the world was just filled with things like that. But when I learned the facts of the persecution, it was different; I could feel streams of hot tears pouring from my eyes. I hadn’t shed a tear in years, but I felt deep in my heart and soul that it wasn’t an ordinary sadness.
At the same time, I felt as if an actual weight was lifted from my shoulders, and I had a clean and clear feeling in my mind. How could something like this be persecuted in this modern day?
I still hadn’t read the book (Zhuan Falun) yet, so I thought there might be some secret behind the practice. I looked into it and did a lot of research. I read some of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) lies but could tell immediately they were false after hearing the sincerity and truth from practitioners in the videos and articles. I found that there was actually nothing hidden about Falun Gong. No collection of money from practitioners or membership fees and no politics to the practice. There was simply people learning the Fa of Zhen-Shan-Ren (Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance) and becoming better while cultivating their hearts and minds in ordinary society.
I had been taught at an early age that communism was an evil against humanity but never understood deeply why. Out of sight was out of mind until it hit home. It started to become very clear to me just how truly evil of an ideology it is. One that persecutes believers in God, fundamental human rights, and leads its people to make enemies of friends, neighbors and even family.
I recall that I was blessed with many benevolent hints the first time I read Zhuan Falun and listened to the lectures. I had experiences with being able to clearly feel energy and the energy mechanisms while practicing the exercises and being allowed to see some things in other dimensions. It led me to continue learning whenever I ran into anything hard to accept or a little foreign to our Western thinking. The hints helped me to let go of my previous notions and beliefs while first reading Zhuan Falun. After about a week I knew that everything that Master has said is the Truth. Since I found the practice so pure, I decided to put my heart into it fully and to study all of Master’s writings.
Even though I was only in my 20’s at the time, after learning the practice and exercises I felt my entire body physically change. I noticed that my skin became very smooth, my posture became much straighter and more comfortable. I felt light as air when walking and as if pushed while walking forward. People even made comments that I seemed totally different and “had a good aura now.”
Prior to my Dafa cultivation, one of my favorite interests was learning about meditation techniques and different types of Eastern philosophy and religions. I knew there was a way to cultivate there. I mainly learned Buddhist and Taoist things. I had tried several exercises and practices from Yoga to Zen meditation, and I studied various philosophies. Not too long before learning the Fa, I saw some things in other dimensions and beings with my third eye. I also had the sensation of my hands being guided automatically to the heshi position (palms together in front of the chest). These things actually frightened me at the time and my state of mind was a little like that described in “Cultivation Insanity” in Zhuan Falun. Looking back, those things and many other seemingly random interests of mine were all to prepare me to be able accept the Fa. Thank you Master, for taking care of me throughout my entire life.
Though I didn’t come to Dafa because of illness, I had gone through a period of very bad depression and developed an anxiety disorder which made me feel fatigued or anxious all the time. I felt I didn’t want to leave the house or work and just wanted to stay home and spend time learning things and playing on the internet. Before obtaining the Fa, my home and family life had become very hard. I came from a poor single mother and she committed suicide when I was 17. My father came to take care of my brother and me. He was heartbroken from the loss and tortured by many of his own demons and had also slipped into heavily abusing alcohol, which made living with him extremely hard.
After I obtained Dafa, my father noticed the positive changes in me and his bad habits and behaviors also died down a lot. He eventually gave up drinking entirely. It has been many years now and he is nothing like before. For someone who was a lifelong severe problem drinker, it was truly a miracle. I knew Master was cleaning up the environment for me. My depression and anxiety attacks were also completely gone and my spirits were high and I felt amazing and full of life again. My entire environment completely changed. I got a job and was promoted to manager quickly and without the pursuit of the job, because I always focused on trying to follow a higher xinxing standard for myself. I would come in early and go home late. There were many tests up to that point, but all my bad habits seemed to fall away gradually and easily – and I had a lot of them.
I seemed to make rapid breakthroughs while reading everything Master had published. After about a year, I decided to seek out other practitioners in my area and joined the local Fa study group, where I was shown further the goodness of cultivators, who helped me to improve further and even enter Fa-rectification. They were totally different for ordinary people. They always seemed to put others first when acting or speaking and I could feel their compassion. Dafa truly transformed my life from misery and hopeless to being filled with good things, happiness and true salvation.
Falling Behind and Getting Lost
I became involved in several projects to clarify the truth and expose the evilness of the persecution, some with the local group and some at the national level, including the TV show that had introduced me to Dafa. For several years I cultivated along the path, at times well and at times not so well. Around 2012, I began to slacken a lot, and bit by bit, I eventually began to lower the standard for myself, which led to experiencing a disaster.
Drifting from the Fa, I began to slack off in my project work. I’d regret it so much, and I couldn’t pull myself out of anxiousness and guilt. Without solid Fa study I was unable to notice that these feelings themselves were attachments that were being exploited. I began to live like an ordinary person and made a lot of ordinary friends. I didn’t have close contact with many local practitioners and the ones I did moved away. There were often a lot of fun things I would be invited to do and be distracted with. Eventually I had let myself be led away by the Old Forces' arrangements without recognizing it.
Master said in “Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples” in Essentials for Further Advancement II,
“This period of time will not last long, but it can forge the mighty virtue of magnificent Enlightened Beings, Buddhas, Daos, and Gods of different levels, and even Lords of different levels. It can also destroy overnight a cultivator who has reached a really high level but who has become less strict with himself. Disciples, be diligent! Everything that’s the most magnificent and the most wonderful is developed in the process of your validating Dafa. Your vows will become testaments of your future.”
One of the biggest missteps I made was not staying in contact with the local Fa study group. Going to group Fa study is extremely important, but because of my attachments I was interfered with and often could not attend group often. I’d end up being scheduled for work. Even when I was free, I would feel unwell or exhausted, so I would avoid group Fa-study. The energy field of practitioners is extremely potent and beneficial and without that environment it's much more difficult to be effective in our work and extremely difficult to cultivate in Fa-rectification.
After a period of time I felt that I wasn’t deserving and had a lot of other negative thoughts about myself and quite a bit of fear. I always knew Dafa was the true Fa but my mind became clouded and I couldn’t remember the Fa during crucial times. Because of this I made mistakes over and over and my attachments were exploited and I became more and more like an everyday person and often worse. I became lazier and made excuses and wouldn’t study the Fa every day and eventually hardly at all.
It was made to happen so gradually that it’s surprising even to me now. Even though I drifted far off, my life was still filled with blessings from Dafa. Soon a few years passed in the blink of an eye and a lot of my original problems and attachments from before obtaining the Fa came back. My body started to have aches and pains from working. I would occasionally get really ill and treat it like an ordinary person, even though I knew it was karma. I’d have bouts of anxiety and depression and at times sleeping was difficult. I had less energy and deep down I felt completely lost without the Fa. With many of my bad habits returning, I’d indulge in ordinary life to distract myself but ultimately I would feel empty and regretful.
I wanted to come back to Dafa and thought of it all the time. Because I felt ashamed of falling so far behind and not wanting others to see that in me, I just couldn’t break through. Being negative towards oneself is not the same as being strict with oneself. I would confuse the two and it would be exploited. In my understanding, it’s not just others who we should not get angry with, but we should not get angry at all. But I was constantly angry with myself. I would try to do the exercises or read a little but didn’t keep it up and would fall again and feel like a failure again. I would still tell people about Dafa and how good it was, but didn’t live up a practitioner's standard. The old forces used those gaps and feelings to persecute me and stop me from cultivating and from eliminating the attachments that were holding me back. This kept me out of being fully in the Fa and from connecting with the local group.
One night at home I had a very heavy feeling and a rare moment to reflect. I could feel that Master had not given up on me. I only gave up on myself and didn’t believe I could cultivate well because of my laziness and past failures. I felt I wasn’t good enough but I knew this was all demonic illusion. It is simply not true! These are thought karma and unrighteous thoughts. Without Dafa, no one can make it. It’s Master who decides. I am a Dafa disciple. We have waited so many lifetimes just for this! I sincerely asked Master to save me and bring me back. Tears rolled down my cheeks. When that thought finally emerged, things began to change immediately. I was able to have more righteous thoughts and make time to study the Fa more and more.
“Cultivation itself is not painful—the key lies in your inability to let go of ordinary human attachments. Only when you are about to let go of your reputation, interests, and feelings will you feel pain.” (“True Cultivation” from Essentials For Further Advancement)
With solid Fa study, this would have never been allowed to go on for so long. Things that should be obvious to us become hidden when our study isn’t adequate. I hope that any practitioners who have become even a little less diligent will please take it as a stern warning – even if you have been diligent in the past, the old forces will try to destroy you when you have gaps and they will try to separate you and isolate you. Time will pass rapidly and it will be hard to return quickly. We must study the Fa solidly every day and study to understand it; nothing could be more important.
“The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts.” (“Drive Out Interference” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
In the Fall of 2016, my wife and I were expecting our first children, fraternal twin boys. This life change was a wake-up call for me. I knew it was time to be responsible to more people in my growing family. Deep down I knew that truly being responsible to my life meant truly cultivating. It came down heavy on me and I looked within. It was one of the most painful time periods I can recall, but it was truly from Master’s mercy and I could feel that clearly as well. I talked with my wife about Dafa. She encouraged me to put all my heart in it, and later she also decided to practice Dafa too. Looking back now, almost everyone around me encouraged me while I was in that bad state; I was just too stubborn to wake up.
It was early, at only 33 weeks, when my wife went into labor. When the first baby was delivered, there was a problem. He wasn’t moving or breathing. A minute or two later, the second boy was delivered healthy and crying. The doctors and nurses asked me to come back to a room with the first baby and explained what was happening. He wasn’t breathing and had no heartbeat for 11 minutes. They didn’t know exactly why this was happening. His water had broken a few days prior but he was being continually monitored by the hospital. I was stunned in that bright white room looking down on his tiny body.
In those moments, the doctors and nurses were preparing me to lose him, yet I felt calm and protected. I asked Master for help. From my heart I asked that this baby’s life be saved. Miraculously he revived immediately upon me having this thought; he came to life as the nurses helped him to breathe and they then rushed him away. After a few days in the NICU, he made a total and rapid recovery. The staff were all shocked and told me that often after that much time without breathing, the baby does not survive. Today he is a very happy and perfectly healthy toddler with his brother.
After we got home from the hospital, I took a leave from work. During this time I studied the Fa for many hours a day, every day. Again my skin became smooth, my energy was better and better, and my body felt much lighter after doing the exercises. My mind changed a lot very rapidly. There were many, many tests of interpersonal conflicts and mental and physical challenges. My body went through a purification that made me feel almost like I was on the the brink of death. But I was never scared because I knew Master was taking care of me.
I kept studying the Fa and listened to lectures when I wasn’t able to read. There was a lot of resistance, but I again held myself to the Fa when encountering problems and made rapid progress. I started to send righteous thoughts at the global times. This time around, nothing will ever shake my faith in Dafa and in Master and I will cultivate straight to the end. In those months I experienced numerous supernormal things and scenes in other dimensions that I won’t get into. My words would likely not do them much justice, but they all left me with the belief that Dafa’s salvation is just truly so great and Dafa disciples are truly the most fortunate beings in universe. Master doesn’t want to lose even a single disciple.
I reached out to return to the local group and they were extremely supportive and welcomed me back warmly. They didn’t put extra pressure on me or make me feel ashamed. They helped me come back fully. Today I am cultivating diligently in Fa-rectification again and discarding my last attachments while advancing wholeheartedly.
Thank you Master for your boundless mercy that I can never repay. Thank you Dafa for saving me again.
Please correct any incorrect understandings.
(Presented at the 2018 Mid-USA Fa Conference)