(Minghui.org) I am a Falun Dafa practitioner from Taiwan who serves in the Taiwanese military.
When my mother and I stepped on our cultivation path in July 1999, I was five years old. At first, I only knew that I had to do the exercises, become a better person, and measure everything I did with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. During weekends, we talked about the Fa with people.
Sometime later, we learned about the persecution of Falun Dafa in China and began to clarify the truth. Throughout my childhood, teenage years, and now, Dafa has been a part of my life.
My mother once told me that a fortune teller predicted when she would get married, have children, and other future events. The things he said did come to pass. The fortune teller mentioned that her last son (me) would have great fortune. Thinking back, I think he was referring to my mother and I cultivating in Dafa.
Like many young adherents, a big turning point occurred in my life. I went from being passive about improving myself to being active and engaging in activities related to Dafa. Living in modern society and facing so many ordinary things, makes it hard for me to balance everything. Sometimes I am steadfast in my cultivation, and I relax, and at other times I make mistakes. But, every time, I improve my xinxing and elevate on my cultivation path.
I have always been inspired by traditional Chinese culture, and I thought that I behaved more like the ancient Chinese people who were very traditional and kept to themselves. Throughout high school and college, I never liked the fun and exhilarating entertainment that my classmates seemed to enjoy. I noticed that as I got older, I had more patience than others my age.
I realized that Dafa practitioners are destined to obtain the Fa. Throughout history, we have been laying a foundation for the time when we would obtain the Fa, and the spread of Dafa in the world.
During my sophomore year in high school, I joined our school orchestra and learned to play the French horn. I didn’t realize that this would lead me to become a member of the Tian Guo Marching Band. I would travel every weekend domestically and abroad to validate the Fa with the band. I felt very fortunate to be able to validate the Fa through playing music.
In Taiwan, every man must serve in the military when he becomes an adult. I was the last group of men that had to serve a one-year term because the government shortened the mandatory service to four months. I was afraid that I wouldn’t fit into the military. I felt I would be isolated from the rest of the world. Many thoughts raced through my mind. As I waited for the enlistment notice, I thought of the mainland Chinese practitioners who remained steadfast in their cultivation even when being persecuted. I gradually let go of my emotions and trusted that Master Li (the founder) had a plan for me. I printed “On Dafa” on a piece of paper the size of my palm, so I could study it while I was in the military.
I adapted really well to the harsh and strict environment during the first month of boot camp, mainly because, through cultivation, I had learned to endure hardship and make the best of a bad situation. Eventually, our superiors decided to loosen the restrictions and we were allowed to use our phones. I suddenly didn’t feel isolated anymore, and I could study the Fa with ease.
Because I could play the French horn, I was assigned to the military marching band unit after we completed boot camp. The only requirement was to practice our instruments and we were given weekends off. Therefore, I could still participate in Tian Guo Marching Band activities and talk to people about Falun Dafa on weekends. My musical ability improved significantly because I had practiced playing my instrument in the military.
The military is a society on a smaller scale where you encounter people with a variety of personalities. People in the marching band unit generally have a higher level of education, which is likely because one needs to have determination and patience to play an instrument well.
I validated the Fa by setting a good example. For example, when I got in some kind of conflict with someone I worked to resolve the problem instead of getting emotionally worked-up. People tended to notice my behavior. People’s reactions were more positive when I informed them that I practiced Falun Dafa. I realized that cultivation is the process of a human being becoming a divine being. Since it is a human cultivating, one must be a better ordinary being in order to be a good cultivator. We are required to eliminate the bad things of ordinary society in ourselves and assume the virtues of ordinary people.
Whenever somebody asked me the difference between a cultivator and an ordinary person, I said that everything is the same on the surface. We dress the same, eat the same, behave the same, except that cultivators cultivate our minds and measure ourselves with the standard of the Fa and don't go to extremes.
After four months in the military marching band, each trainee had to go through tough training sessions and rigorous musical examinations, which included holding the instrument while standing for 80 minutes. The trainee would become an official soldier of the marching band after passing the tests. Only then would the person get the same number of holidays and breaks as a regular soldier.
That was the toughest period of my life. During that time, I reminded myself of Master’s teaching in order to keep myself going. Master said: “Those with more virtue have greater faith, are able to take hardship, to endure physically, and discipline the will...” (The Fourth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I thought to myself, a practitioner should be able to endure anything an ordinary person can endure.
After our rigorous training, I was informed that an exception had been made and I would be promoted to an officer. This meant that I would bear more responsibilities and be a leader of others. This was encouragement from Master.
After my mandatory service ended, I decided I wanted to join the military as a career. I would get all the benefits, pay, and holidays of a regular government official. This created a good environment for me to cultivate.
It has been three years since I joined the military, and my career growth and promotions have run smoothly. As a cultivator and a leader, I have a duty to lead by example, and rectify any abnormal conditions in my surroundings. That doesn’t mean that there will be fewer conflicts, but I need to be diligent in my cultivation.
Looking back after each stage of my cultivation, I always enlighten to a deeper meaning of Master’s Fa. One is truly cultivating when one knowingly transcends one’s condition and doesn't remain at the same level for too long. I encourage myself to be more diligent in doing the three things and try to live up to Master’s expectations.