Western Practitioner: My Experiences Before and After I Began Practicing Falun Dafa
(Minghui.org) I am 24 years old, and I began cultivating Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) in 2013. I would like to share some of the things that happened to me before and after I obtained the Fa.
Protected by Master, Even Before Starting the Practice
When I look back on the time before I became a practitioner, I feel that Master had been protecting me and guiding me so that I would be able to attain the Fa later in my life.
When I was young, I practiced martial arts, and I also liked to practice sitting meditation. One day, one of my friends taught me some qigong exercises. Later, I told my mother about this. When my mother heard that I was interested in qigong, she gave me a qigong magazine.
Master Li wrote in Zhuan Falun:
“Additionally, many qigong books nowadays are false and carry a variety of messages. As one of our students was flipping through the pages of a qigong book, a big snake jumped out of it.”
As soon as I saw that qigong magazine, I felt sick to my stomach. I took it from my mother to be polite, but I didn’t open it. Even the front of the magazine looked messy to me. I left it on a table in my house for a few days and then threw it away. I believe that Master was looking after me back then, even though I was not yet a Falun Gong practitioner.
Master said in Zhuan Falun,
“We teach that cultivation practice requires dedication to only one cultivation way. No matter how you cultivate, you should not mess up your cultivation by adding other things.”
Before I learned about Falun Gong, I was interested in religion. Some people in my family are Jewish, so I decided one day that I would learn about Judaism. However, my mother is not Jewish, and religious Jews sometimes say that one can only be Jewish if one’s mother is Jewish.
One day I was talking with my great aunt Roberta, who was Jewish. I told her about some of the Jewish activities that I was participating in. She told me, “You can’t be Jewish because your mother isn’t Jewish!”
I realized many years later that Master had been protecting me by using aunt Roberta’s mouth to dissuade me from practicing the Jewish religion. That way, I would not be interfered with later when it was time for me to attain the Fa.
Emergence of Buddha Nature
I also did some reading about the religion of Buddhism. I came to realize that Buddha Shakyamuni was someone who had achieved the state of unlocking gong. I understand these things much better now because I have been studying Falun Dafa for several years. Back then, I remember thinking, “I also want to attain the unlocking of gong... but how could someone possibly do that while living in ordinary society and among ordinary people?” I felt very sad. I could tell that it would be almost impossible for someone like me to attain righteous fruition by practicing Buddhism.
Nevertheless, I did not give up hope. I wanted to raise my level and reach high realms. That being said, I did not know who to ask for help, or even how to ask.
One day I was walking around at an activities fair at my college. There were many clubs and student groups that had set up tables to promote themselves to other students. While I was walking and looking around, I had a very pure thought: “I wish that I can find a true, high-level meditation practice here at this activities fair. There is nothing else here that I want except to find a high-level practice.”
Master said in Zhuan Falun,
“It is because a cultivator is most precious, for he or she wants to cultivate. Therefore, developing this thought is most precious. In Buddhism, people talk about Buddha-nature. When a person’s Buddha-nature emerges, the enlightened beings are able to help him.”
With this thought of wanting to find a true, high-level cultivation practice, I searched through the whole fair, walking up and down every row of tables. Soon I found a yellow piece of paper on an empty table. It said, “Come learn this ancient cultivation practice, Falun Gong,” and it had a picture of a lady sitting in the full lotus position, doing the Falun Dafa sitting meditation.
I was so happy to find what I had been looking for! I took the paper with me and called the phone number on the paper as soon as I got home. A practitioner answered the phone, and I told him that I was looking forward to learning the practice.
Becoming More Diligent
I learned the Falun Gong exercises from some local practitioners, and I liked to practice them every day. However, I did not realize that it is important to study the Fa and that doing the exercises alone is not good enough. For that reason, I was not able to finish reading Zhuan Falun for a long time. Finally, after more than a year had passed, a veteran practitioner said to me, “You haven’t finished reading Zhuan Falun yet? You’d better hurry up!” And so, I finally finished reading Zhuan Falun, and I discovered the wonderful world of cultivation. I am very thankful to Master for giving us this Great Fa, which can truly enable us to cultivate and achieve Consummation.
After I graduated from college in December of 2015, I went to an experience sharing conference in New York in early 2016. Before the conference, I walked with some other practitioners to the Tianti Bookstore in Manhattan, where many Dafa books were available for purchase. When we walked into the store, some practitioners were working to take Dafa books out of boxes and place them onto shelves. The Tianti Bookstore is very beautiful. When I walked into the store, I was dazzled by all of those gold Dafa books displayed on the shelves. They look very bright and shiny.
I started to help the other practitioners to put books on the shelves, and soon I met Tianti’s coordinator, who asked me if I knew any practitioners who could come to help out at the bookshop. I decided on the spot that I would quit my job in Chicago and move to the east coast so that I could work at Tianti Books.
Tianti Books is a Dafa bookstore. All of the books for sale are Master’s books or experience sharing and truth-clarification books written by practitioners. Located in the same space is Tianti Cafe, where practitioners work to serve food and drinks to people so that they can have an opportunity to experience the beautiful environment created by Master’s Fa.
“I’d say that our Falun Dafa is a pure land here—I dare to say this, as our students have really high xinxing requirements and we ask that our students emphasize xinxing cultivation.” (“Explaining the Fa for Falun Dafa Assistants in Changchun” from Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa)
When I was working at Tianti, I heard many, many non-practitioners comment on how wonderful it is to dine at the Tianti Cafe. They said things like “it’s so peaceful here” and “the energy in the store is very good.” I remember one young man who commented that the store was “spotless.” He meant that the store is not polluted by messy substances the way the ordinary human world is.
It is my understanding that working as a full-time employee at Tianti Books is almost like being a professional cultivator. On the one hand, when I was working there, I had an apartment in ordinary society, and I would talk with many ordinary people every day. On the other hand, my profession involved clarifying the truth to non-practitioners, as well as helping fellow practitioners to get the materials they needed in order to study the Fa and clarify the truth to others. That is not an ordinary job.
We also hold Falun Gong instruction classes at Tianti, where we invite anyone who is interested to meet with us every day for 9 days so that they can learn the exercises and watch Master’s video lecture series. For this reason, practitioners working at Tianti need to watch their xinxing carefully and to do the three things well, or else there will be a negative impact on the work that they do.
In an environment like Tianti, where people are being saved and learning the truth every day, the old forces are eager to exploit any gaps in practitioners’ xinxing. When I was working there, I witnessed many types of interference cause trouble for Tianti–interference that no normal business would experience. But I also witnessed many miracles and many beautiful manifestations of the Buddha Fa.
Cultivating as a Student
After one year, I left my job at Tianti to attend graduate school in Chicago. I was motivated to make a good impression on my classmates so that I would be able to tell them about Dafa and clarify the truth to them when the time was right. Therefore, I adopted a professional, friendly attitude whenever I collaborated with my peers. When we worked together, I would usually prioritize helping others to make progress on their work and sharing my knowledge of the subject matter instead of prioritizing my own work.
Because I did not prioritize my own work, I did not always get good grades on my homework assignments and tests, and this had a certain negative effect. While I succeeded in making a good impression on my classmates and clarified the truth to many of them, because my grades were not the best, some of the professors in my department became worried about my performance. One of them even brought it up in a meeting and asked the other professors if Falun Gong was causing me to do poorly with my schoolwork. I hadn’t realized the seriousness of not doing well in school!
Master said in “Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Canada,”
“You can’t look for hardship and set up your own way of cultivating and eliminating karma. That doesn’t work. By doing that, you are disrupting the cultivation system that I set up for you. So, all you need to do is to read the book, to read the Fa, and cultivate yourself. Search your inner self whenever you encounter problems. Doing a better job at work and being a better student at school is enough.”
I had been holding on to the notion that it was okay not to get good grades, thinking that this meant I was “not attached to good grades.” Moreover, my old habit of procrastination led me to spend less time on my schoolwork than some of the other students. Later I realized that my behavior had not been in line with the Fa. As Dafa disciples, we need to validate the Fa by doing a good job with our work.
The truth is that practicing Falun Gong has brought me many blessings and a very positive impact on my schoolwork. Back when I was an undergraduate, practicing Falun Gong helped transform me from someone with mediocre grades into an A student. My father noticed and told my other relatives that I had “become more responsible” since starting to practice Falun Gong. Many others also took notice and told me that I was doing very well. Of course, this all came naturally and was tied to the raising of my xinxing and my desire to validate the Fa.
Going forward, I intend to do better in my work at graduate school and to work harder in my own cultivation. I am very happy to have this opportunity. Together with my fellow practitioners, I can help Master to save more sentient beings and to validate the Fa.
Please let me know if anything in my experience sharing is not in accordance with the Fa. Thank you Master, and thank you, fellow practitioners.
(Presented at the 2018 Mid-US Fa Conference)