A Young Practitioner's Cultivation Journey
(Minghui.org) I'm a Falun Dafa practitioner from Vietnam, but I currently live in the U.K. I began practicing Falun Dafa when I was 17 years old.
My Family Circumstances and How I Obtained the Fa
My family are intellectuals. Both my parents were teachers, but because their incomes were not enough to support our family and they refused to bribe others to get better jobs, they had to quit teaching and do manual labor to make ends meet. As a child I felt that I was never good enough compared to my friends.
I always had great hopes and ambitions but did not know what I wanted to do when I became an adult. I just wanted to make a lot of money to make up for my feelings of inadequacy.
Everyone felt that I was a good girl. I did the household chores and helped with my family business, as well as getting good grades at school. When I reached my teenage years I became grumpy and introverted. I gained weight and I felt depressed. I tried to go on a diet and did exercises to lose weight. But nothing worked. I became increasingly depressed, and my weight loss efforts caused me to vomit blood and I was exhausted. I had to stop trying to lose weight.
My teenage crisis, along with pressures at school, changed me. My behavior became eccentric. I began having symptoms associated with depression, such as insomnia, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and suicidal thoughts. I turned to alcohol to reduce my stress. Needless to say my parents were very worried.
Fortunately, my mother was very understanding. She understood that all my rebellion and bad temper only hid my feelings of loneliness, sadness and self-loathing. My mother always supported any good things that I did. She believed in me and believed that she could pull me back from danger.
The optimism I felt was quickly shut off after my mother – the pillar of the family – suddenly had a fall. Her legs were paralyzed and she was diagnosed with a viral infection.
I knew that my mother had a lot of diseases and this one made her life very difficult. She could only sleep for 2 hours each night and had to use painkillers, but she still had to get up early every morning and do manual labor work.
Everyone knew that my mother was a good person. She was kind and talented, and loved her husband and children. My mother was the only motivation for me to change. She endured a lot of suffering but was always cheerful. I felt my life was at a dead end when I watched my father push my mother in a wheelchair. We couldn't find a cure.
Master Li Hongzhi said:
“Ordinary human affairs, according to the Buddha School, all have predestined relationships. Birth, old age, illness, and death exist in this way for everyday people. Because of karma created from past wrongdoings, one has illnesses or tribulations; suffering is repaying a karmic debt, and thus nobody can casually change this.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
Since I wasn't a practitioner yet, I did not know this Fa principle. But compassionate Master did not leave my family behind. My mother’s friend came to tell her about Dafa and she began practicing.
The doctor told her that if she was lucky, she would be able to stand after 2 or 3 years of treatment. However, after only 11 days of practicing the Falun Dafa exercises together with practitioners, my mother was able to stand up and do the exercises. And after 3 months she could walk normally, as if nothing ever happened. After witnessing the miracle of Dafa, I believed and knew that Dafa must be very good.
I was stressed with schoolwork. I wanted to have good grades, but I did not know how to organize everything.
Beginning to Practice
One day, my mother gave me the book Zhuan Falun. I read all of Master Li Hongzhi’s nine lectures in one go. As I studied the Fa I felt the peaceful flow of energy surrounding me. I forgot all about my fatigue and stress. I found answers to the questions I had about life. I realized that Falun Dafa is a genuine cultivation practice.
After I began practicing, my xinxing improved. I no longer felt sad or angry. I stopped blaming others. The incurable diseases that had been bothering me since childhood also disappeared. I was granted a new life by Dafa. I became confident. I was 17 when I arrived in London to study and live here.
Maturing in the Fa
I was still quite young when I began practicing. After moving to London, I tried to integrate into the new environment, but I slacked off in my cultivation for a long time. My finances were limited and I was young. I hadn't finished high school and my English was limited. Despite all these limitations Master arranged for me to obtain a visa in a short time.
I knew that I needed to treasure this arrangement and cherish the time for personal cultivation, upgrading my xinxing, and assisting Master in Fa-rectification. However, I wasted my time doing everyday people’s stuff. After that I experienced a great challenge and I fell into a state of depression.
Master had given me hints about why I came to the U.K.; that there were still many people waiting to be saved. I suddenly realized my mission.
The other practitioners encouraged me when I experienced sickness karma, and helped me to do truth clarification. I did not hold it against my roommate when she did not take care of me when I was experiencing sickness karma. I felt that it was the karmic relationship between us. Perhaps I treated her the same or even worse in a past life, so in this lifetime I had to pay my debt.
I moved jobs and houses a lot. From an everyday person’s perspective, this would be hard to bear. I always kept the righteous thought that everything a practitioner encounters is a good thing, so I did not find it difficult at all. I felt these were good opportunities to eliminate karma and clarify the truth to people.
However much hardship I have to bear, I always remember Master’s poem,
“Ordinary people do not understand the pain of cultivation,Happiness to them is vying and competing;Cultivate, my disciples, ‘til no single omission is found,And with the passing of all adversity,will come the sweetness of true joy.”(“Cultivating Amidst the Delusion,” Hong Yin)
It was very difficult to find a stable job. So, I did a lot of intense labor work, such as working on farms or packing frozen food. My co-workers always wondered why I chose these jobs, as young people would not easily accept this kind of work.
The environment was intense, as most of the people I worked with were Asian. They still held on to notions and competed with each other for benefits and profit. They were surprised by my calm behavior. Why didn't I compete and complain or argue? When encountering disputes with others, why didn't I answer back? As a Dafa practitioner, I understood that nothing is coincidental. I explained to them that, because I practice Falun Dafa, I behave according to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Wherever I went everyone could feel the beauty of Dafa, and they changed how they treated each other. When I look back, I realize that Master arranged this so that I could go to more places and meet more people. I did not try to change their thinking. I only validated the Fa and removed the wrong notions they had about Dafa.
“When an evil-minded person is thinking of something bad, this person might change his mind due to the powerful effect of your field; he might then no longer want to commit the wrongdoing. Perhaps a person wants to swear at someone. Suddenly, he may change his mind and will not want to swear. Only the energy field from cultivation in a righteous way can produce this effect. Therefore, in the past there was this saying in Buddhism, “The Buddha-light illuminates everywhere and harmonizes everything.” This is what it means.” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
Earlier this year I stayed with other young practitioners in a flat. It was a very good cultivation environment. We did the exercises, studied the Fa, exchanged experiences and clarified the truth every day. I joined the activities in Chinatown and went to the British Museum. I sent forth righteous thoughts in front of the Chinese Embassy three times a week.
The old forces kept trying to advantage of my attachment to comfort. One morning I was tired when I was about to go to the Embassy. The practitioner who was in charge of the Embassy Vigil arrangements, said, “You do 3 early morning shifts every week. Then you have to go to work. It's too difficult for you.”
I immediately answered, “It’s not too much. I can do it.” I realized that this was not just a normal question. Buddhas, Daos and Gods were watching my words, watching my state of mind. Whether I did one shift or three shifts wasn’t the issue, the issue was whether I put my heart into it or not.
I knew that if I let the evil take advantage of my attachment to comfort, I would not be able to do even one shift, and I would gradually move further away from the Fa.
I studied the Fa deeply to remove my attachment to comfort. I always remember Master's teaching,
“When disciples have ample righteous thoughtsMaster has the power to turn back the tide”(“The Master-Disciple Bond,” Hong Yin II)
At the beginning, there were not many people who knew about Falun Dafa and the ongoing persecution in China. We also encountered a lot of interference. One or more Chinese people scolded us, but that only made others more curious to hear the truth. People always thanked us for taking the time to clarify the truth to them. I knew that they had waited a long time to hear the truth, and sign the petition to stop the persecution.
I was very impressed by those practitioners who had established these sites. They went through much hardship and interference to maintain them. I was a latecomer. If I gave up because someone scolded me, it would be shameful.
Gradually, more and more people knew the truth about the persecution and understood what Falun Gong is. They talked about what they heard in the media. Many people also thanked us for having the courage to speak the truth. Whenever people asked me when we would stop doing this, I replied, “When everyone in the world knows the truth about Falun Gong and the persecution stops.”
Expanding My Abilities
The effect of my truth clarification is dependent on how much I immerse myself in the Fa and improve my xinxing. Reflecting back on the early days when I first went to these tourist sites, I feel a little embarrassed that I only dared to hand out flyers. I was afraid that my English was not good enough to talk to others or answer their questions. But when I studied the Fa, I realized that this is an attachment. Because I was focused on making a living, my English did not improve much. But to let more people know about Dafa, I had to improve my English. I took the Dafa flyers home and determined to memorize all the information the flyers contained.
It was effective. At least people could understand what I was talking about. However when they had questions, even though I understood the question, it was difficult for me to answer. I kept having to ask the other practitioners to help.
I realized the importance of improving my English. I watched Dafa programs, and studied the Fa in English. My English soon improved. I could clarify the truth and answer people's questions. I knew Master opened my mind and allowed me to make such sudden and rapid progress!
Four years of cultivating is not long. I still have many attachments. There were also times when I could not improve and fell behind. It was Master, Dafa and practitioners who helped me to enlighten.
What did I come to this world for? - “To obtain the Fa”.
What do I obtain the Fa for? – “To fulfill my vow. To help Master rectify the Fa, and save sentient beings”.
And what do I need to do? – “Genuinely cultivate, eliminate my human attachments, strengthen my righteous thoughts, and follow Master’s requirements”.
As a Dafa practitioner during the Fa-rectification period, I should cherish this precious opportunity! The Fa-rectification of the human world is fast approaching. How many lives are waiting to be saved? I hope that my fellow practitioners and I will complete the three things Dafa disciples need to do, remain diligent, and fulfill our sacred missions to help Master rectify the Fa and save sentient beings!
The above are my personal understandings. If there is anything inappropriate, please compassionately point it out.
Thank you compassionate, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2019 European Fa Conference)