New Zealand: A Young Practitioner Cultivates Through Trials and Tribulations
(Minghui.org) I started to practice Falun Dafa in October 2016. My affinity with Dafa can be traced back to around 1996, given that my mother began to practice at that time. At mealtime, Mother would play Master’s lecture recordings for me. This continued until 1998 when I entered high school and stayed at a boarding school. After that, I had no more chances to hear Master Li Hongzhi’s lectures.
When I was in junior high school, some of my classmates were practicing Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong. Although I did not practice, I liked to associate with one classmate, as I felt rather close to her. In July 1999, when the persecution started, I was shocked and did not understand why Falun Gong would be banned. Although my mother was not being persecuted directly, she gave up the practice, because of family pressure.
I emigrated to New Zealand at the end of 2002 to attend boarding school. I was passing by Aotea Square in the second half of 2004 when a female practitioner chased after me to tell me the truth about Falun Gong. I told her that my mother had practiced Falun Gong and I knew that Falun Gong was good. I said that I did not believe what the television programs were broadcasting. However, she still followed me to clarify the truth to me. She even gave me the VCD that explained that the self-immolation incident was a hoax.
Obtaining Finally Dafa, and Giving up Dafa
My affinity with Dafa re-started in September 2016. My dad’s friend brought her son to New Zealand and I was asked to take them around Auckland. In the process, I obtained the Fa. My father’s friend is a devoted Buddhist and her son is also a Buddhist.
However, just like Master said:
“Things go downhill quickly when people start praying to an unconsecrated statue, since few today do so for the salvation of their souls. Most pray in hopes of lessening the adversity in their lives or making out better financially.” (The Fifth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
This friend of Dad’s was like that. When I saw her worshiping the Buddha at Fo Guang Mountain, the way she prostrated herself with utter devotion was in stark contrast to her normal behavior. This lady is kind but she is also selfish. The big contrast between this kind of “devotion” towards Buddha and her actions made me think about Falun Gong. It was as if my memory was unlocked, and I searched the Internet for information about Falun Gong. The layer of matter that was keeping me away from my affinity with Dafa was immediately removed, and I began to cultivate in Falun Dafa.
I remember what high spirits I was in that day as I walked down the road, and a thought kept coming into my mind: “Ah, I can finally leave this place.” However, that joy did not last long, as I soon discovered that Dafa practitioners need to study the teachings, send righteous thoughts, and help save people.
That is when I understood the seriousness of the persecution of Dafa practitioners by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). I suddenly realized the importance of my responsibilities and that my life was going to change. Fear also started to rise in my heart. However, I thought that, although I might be scared, since my affinity to be saved had arrived, this Fa truly had the ability to let me leave this place. So I found the practice site in my city from the Dafa website and met other practitioners.
Given my new understanding of a practitioner’s responsibilities, I was eager to participate in clarifying the truth, such as distributing Dafa informational materials and collecting signatures for our petition. Before long, however, I got lazy, thought cultivating was difficult, and wondered if I should give up Dafa. I wondered if it was possible to succeed in cultivation. Life in the past seemed to be better.
I walked away from Dafa after May 2017. I no longer read the Dafa books, nor did I do the exercises. However, I still browsed the New Tang Dynasty website and the Minghui website.
Once, I clicked on a little “test” that was published on the New Tang Dynasty website. It suggested that the color that one sees represents the meaning of one’s life. I saw purple, and it told me that the purpose of my life was to cultivate. My heart was uneasy, but I told myself that it was just a test and then forwarded it to my cousins. They did not see the color purple. I thought to myself, “Ah, is this Master giving me a hint that it is time for me to return to cultivation?” However, my attachment to my way of life made me ignore that thought.
When I was working on an essay in school, I thought of taking a break by watching a movie. I bought the ticket online and set off for the cinema. I then saw fellow practitioners in yellow T-shirts at the junction far away. They were holding an event to promote Dafa. Subconsciously, I wanted to avoid them. I did not know many practitioners anyway, so I took a detour to the cinema, because I did not want to run into the Dafa event. Along the way, I started feeling guilty. A voice kept sounding in my head: “How can you watch practitioners clarifying the truth while you watch a movie? How can you watch that movie without feeling guilty?”
I was struggling to make a decision. I changed the ticket for an evening show instead and went to the Dafa event. I asked for some materials and distributed the brochures at another junction. After finished, I felt a peace of mind.
Little by little, I started to wake up early and study the Fa alone. Although I did not read much (just about half an hour to 40 minutes) and I could not finish one lecture, at least I’d started to study the Fa.
Returning to Dafa
I had a dream, in which I saw a portion of a very big Buddha statue. I remember that it was gigantic and that the sky was a golden yellow. There were white marble steps, from which a middle-aged man in a suit was walking towards me. I did not know him. In the next scene, I saw a long corridor, similar to those of the Summer Palace, with many lanterns, just like our Mid-autumn Lantern Festival. I was standing in front of a paper lantern and saw that the fairies in the drawing were starting to dance, just like the dances in a Shen Yun performance. I was very surprised and shouted for my mother to come see it.
When I woke up, I felt very excited and grand. I had never had such a dream, but I still felt that it was just a dream. From then on, however, I was more serious about studying the Fa and practicing the exercises.
On my way home, I passed by the practice site and saw many practitioners doing the exercises. I was very surprised and joined them. I learned that everyone was doing the exercises there every night as a promotion for the Shen Yun show. That was when I returned to Dafa – it was September 2017.
Some time later, I started to study the Fa online with other practitioners. After some time, a practitioner suggested that we study the English version of Zhuan Falun. I thought that was a good idea and bought the English language version of Zhuan Falun. I did not open the package for some time. When I did, I saw Master’s photo. My first impression was, “Ah, isn’t this the man in the suit that I saw in my dream?” At that moment, my heart felt so warm. However, when I tried to recall the content of the dream, the image of that man in the suit in my dream started to fade away.
I did not really know how to understand the Fa and how to look inwards. I felt that my return to Dafa was because of Master’s benevolent guidance and hints. During these last two years, my persistence was put to test many times. Often, thoughts of not wanting to cultivate anymore would appear in my mind. I would feel that it was too hard to cultivate and it would be difficult to let go of so many human attachments. I was also feeling very sad, especially when I read what Master said:
“Someone once said to me, “Mr. Li, doesn’t it suffice to just be a good person in the usual sense? It’s hard to imagine going much further than that with the practice.” (The Eighth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
Was he talking about my current state? When I read, “I was really saddened to hear that, and didn’t reply.” (The Eighth Talk, Zhuan Falun), that made me even sadder. I felt that, as a disciple, I was a disappointment to Master.
However, I had the wish to return to where I came from.
“And at a certain point in time you might be made to doubt whether the teachings are true, whether you have higher energy, whether you are cut out for spiritual practice and can really make progress at it, or whether higher beings really exist. You might be made to go through this in the future, and be given a false impression that leads you to question and doubt all of this. It’s done to see whether you can stay committed. If you can hold fast to the thought, 'I must stay firm and not waver,' then you will, with that determination, indeed do so when going through this kind of test, and naturally handle it well, for your character will have grown.” (The Sixth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
Thus, I remind myself that “I must stay firm and not waver.” So no matter how strong was the thought of not wanting to cultivate anymore, I kept telling myself that I wanted to “stay firm and not waver” and just persisted in studying the Fa. I am really grateful to the practitioners who studied the Fa with me at that time. They called to wake me up on time. Studying the Fa was instrumental in overcoming interference. Master said:
“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,” Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Clarifying the Truth on the Rescue Platform
With Master’s benevolent guidance, I joined the rescue platform in July 2018. The mission of the rescue platform is to assist the main body of Dafa practitioners in China to deliver the truth to the government departments in China that are related to law, justice, and security. The rescue platform provided me with a very good cultivation environment where I can study the Fa, send forth righteous thoughts, and clarify the truth. After joining the platform, my xinxing and understanding of the Fa improved very quickly. In the process of making truth-clarification calls, I also discovered many of my attachments and eliminated a lot of them. I am really thankful for the selfless help and cultivation exchanges with fellow practitioners on the platform.
During this one year of making phone calls, I came to understand that my mission is to clarify the truth, while the people we reach out to need to make their own choices. When we clarify the truth to people, we hope that the other party can understand the truth and be saved. However, we cannot be too affected by their responses.
“Some people think, 'My goal is just to get into college.' Of course, the goal of studying is to continually go up ever higher—from elementary school to high school, and on to college, and so on. You can’t stay in elementary school forever! That’s for sure. So it’s not wrong if we want to go to college. However, if you don’t study well and are always thinking about getting into college, getting into college, getting into college, then I would say it’s an attachment.(“Teaching the Fa and Answering Questions in Guangzhou,” Zhuan Falun Fajie, The Law of Zhuan Falun Explained}
“So you need to be worthy of your parents’ and school teachers’ efforts, and to work hard to study well. Then wouldn’t you naturally get into college? If you always think about getting into college, getting into college, and yet you don’t study well, how can you get into college? You don’t need to think about getting into college all the time. Wouldn’t it be a waste of energy if you couldn’t get into one? Don’t think about getting into college, just work hard to study well, and that’s enough. When you have done well with your studies, college or graduate school will come along, right? That’s how it works.”(“Teaching the Fa and Answering Questions in Guangzhou,” Zhuan Falun Fajie, The Law of Zhuan Falun Explained
Reading Master's Fa about entering university, I understood that entering university is just like our motive when clarifying the truth. We want sentient beings to understand the truth. When we do not get too attached to getting in to university, but just quiet our minds and do our best in our studies, we will naturally be accepted by a university.
I try my best to study the Fa, practice the exercises and send forth righteous thoughts well, and cultivate well. By doing so, the results of my truth-clarification will naturally be good. Master said, as I cultivated myself, well and improved my xinxing, “...your energy will only be as great as your character.” (The Third Talk, Zhuan Falun)
“How can you save a person if your words don’t have the power to reduce his karma or remove his attachments? If you’re to save him then you must be a cultivator yourself. And your words will have energy and be able to eliminate his biases and attachments. They can have that impact, and can suppress the bad things in his mind that would otherwise foul things up at the time. Only this way will you be able to save the person. This holds true in all kinds of settings in which you clarify the facts, doesn’t it?” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”)
So, when we get too attached to the response of the other party and clarify the truth to him on the basis of wanting to change his mind, the results will not be good.
“...when you speak to others with your own goals in mind, wanting to change or persuade them, no matter how reasonable your words are, other people will have a hard time completely accepting them. Nor can the words move people’s hearts. Why? Let me tell you: It’s actually because the words you say contain all of your thoughts. Your sentences have complicated thoughts included in them, such as your human emotions and desires, and even those many attachments of yours. That makes your words not so powerful and rather diluted. Also, people often look at things from their own viewpoints when they say things to others, and those might not conform to the Fa of the universe. So in this respect they lack the power of Truth. Moreover, when speaking to others, people add things to protect themselves so that they won’t get hurt. In other words, the intention behind your words is no longer pure, then. And as a result your words get really frivolous.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland)
Lastly, I will share Master’s Fa.
“Mind is not dwellingNot competing with the worldLooking without seeingFree of delusion and doubtListening not hearingHeart not easily disturbedEating without tastingAttachment to food severedDoing without pursuingDwell always in the DaoQuiet without thinkingCan see the wondrous and mystical” (“In the Dao,” Hong Yin)
(Presented at the 2019 New Zealand Fa Conference)