Growing Up As a Falun Gong Practitioner
(Minghui.org) My mother was the first one to practice Falun Gong (also referred to as Falun Dafa or Dafa) in my family. Shortly afterward, she took me with her.
As a 12-year-old, I hardly read any of the Falun Gong books. What I enjoyed most was listening to the recorded lectures of Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong.
In the beginning, I would fall asleep when I listened to Master’s lectures, but it's really just like Master said in Zhuan Falun:
“Though they may sleep soundly, they hear everything without missing a single word.” (Lecture Two, Zhuan Falun)
To this day, 24 years later, Master’s voice still resonates inside my head when I read Zhuan Falun. This foundation has not only kept me immersed in the Fa, but was also my rock in difficult times.
As a Young Dafa Practitioner
Like many other young practitioners, I got busier at school as I advanced from grade to grade. As a result, I fell behind in Fa study and doing the exercises. Even so, the principles of Dafa still guided me when I ran into hardships.
I regret the time I wasted as a teenager. Due to a lack of Fa study, my cultivation slowed to a crawl. Not only I did not do better than my peers in dealing with the usual teenage issues, but I had even more trouble than they did. To this day, I sometimes still cannot handle certain social relationships well.
But my life took a sharp turn in July 1999, when the Chinese Communist Party began to persecute Falun Gong and Falun Gong practitioners.
As a child, I couldn't comprehend the severity of the persecution and did not understand why my mother had to travel all the way to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Dafa.
My mother’s employer detained her. At that time, most of our neighbors in the building worked with my mother. Even though I knew Dafa and my mother were innocent, I hung my head in shame as I walked in and out of the building.
A few days later, I decided to visit her. While there, I searched within myself for the cause of my feeling of shame. After I was able to look at the situation rationally, I felt braver. The neighbors' curious glances didn't bother me anymore.
The night before the Chinese New Year, I went to bed early, but my mother soon woke me up. She pressed a roll of paper into my hand and quietly asked me to leave the room for a minute.
Instantly, my mind became crystal clear: I knew I had to protect whatever my mother had put in my hand.
The police had already searched other rooms, including the bathroom. One of the officers kept his eye on me, watching my every move. After they finished searching my room, my mother tucked me in again and told me to sleep tight. She gently closed the door to my bedroom on her way out.
Lying there in the dark, I could not sleep. I stared at the ceiling and waited. I heard the police take my mother away; I heard the front door slam shut. Trying not to upset my father, I cried into my pillow.
For the first time, I finally understood just how terrible the persecution was. That day also marked the end of my carefree childhood. For the next several years, I would never go to bed early. I also began to send forth righteous thoughts.
Losing my mother also meant losing my cultivation environment. There was no Dafa literature left at home. My father, who is not a Falun Gong practitioner, was busy trying to rescue my mother while also taking care of me.
I was afraid to ask him about my mother, and I did not want him to burden him with my troubles at school. So, I had no one to talk to.
One time, looking at the bright full moon, I sent my mother a mental message. I told her that I would be with her this entire time and that I would not be a burden to her.
An aunt, who is also a practitioner, contacted me. My immediate family refused to let us meet, because they were afraid that they would be harassed by the police. But every few days, this aunt would come from quite a distance away to see me at school during my lunch break. She told me about Master’s new lectures, the need to send forth righteous thoughts, and stories about other practitioners.
I am thankful for Master and my aunt for giving me strength and righteous thoughts when I was desperately alone and helpless.
Once, I had a chance to visit my mother at the labor camp. I knew that Master must have planned this so I could tell her about the importance of sending forth righteous thoughts. It was the height of the persecution, and the labor camp my mother was in had the worst reputation for abusing Falun Gong practitioners.
Perhaps due to my strong righteous thoughts, the guard left us alone. I told her news about Dafa; we had so much to say to each other, but so little time. I can still remember vividly the two of us sitting together on low stools outside of her cell and whispering to each other.
Mother told me that all the practitioners at the labor camp were made to sit on low stools for many hours at a time. Many of those practitioners had lost hope. I turned and smiled brightly at the practitioners in the cell. I begged Master for power, hoping that my smile could offer them some warmth and encouragement.
After graduation, I worked in my hometown. Conflicts erupted between my mother and me, mainly due to my lack of solid cultivation in the past. I didn't know how I should treat my mother as a fellow practitioner and yet as a close family member.
My mother was arrested a second time in 2008. This time, I reacted to her arrest as a mature practitioner.
Other practitioners in our area were notified right away. We sent forth righteous thoughts. We asked the police station to release my mother and return all of her personal property. We clarified the truth to them. The aunt who helped me before came to help me again.
My thoughts were righteous and firm. I was no longer the little girl of seven years before, crying into her pillow.
In the following month, other practitioners and I sent forth righteous thoughts for extended periods of time. The quality of my righteous thought was poor before this incident. I could not sit for more than ten minutes and had a hard time staying focused.
I sent righteous thoughts to eliminate interference. Gradually, I was able to send righteous thoughts with a clear and steady mind. In addition, I was able to catch myself whenever my thoughts were not aligned with the Fa.
With other practitioners’ support, intense group study, and regular exercises, I noticed an improved clarity in myself and in my environment.
One day at breakfast, it suddenly struck me that these conflicts between my mother and me were because I was not behaving in line with the Fa. Perhaps my mother was suffering on my behalf. I broke down in tears. Regardless what our relationship was like in our past lives, she led me to Dafa in this life. She is my companion in cultivation. In fact, we were still in the middle of a “cold war” when she was arrested.
Cultivation is serious, and I cannot let Master down. When I came to this understanding, I felt like a heavy weight had been lifted from me.
My mother and I still have our moments. At times, I’ve almost wanted to run away from her. But then I think about that one morning many years ago, when I was enlightened that my shortcomings were the cause of the conflicts between my mother and me. I then take a few deep breaths and let the power within me rise.
No matter how stubborn the barrier between my mother and me is, I have faith that Master has the best plan for resolving it.
Meeting Practitioners with Similar Life Experiences
Two years ago, I met several practitioners whose childhoods were like mine. We created a study group, meeting twice a week.
Recently, the mother of one of them had to leave home to avoid being arrested for practicing Falun Gong. The practitioner did not know what to do. We helped her analyze the situation and search for loopholes, as well as suggested solutions.
We sent forth righteous thoughts and encouraged her with Master’s words: “With Master and the Way by my side, what is there to fear?” (Fa-Teaching Given at the Conference in Sydney)
She calmed down, and a few days later, she was back to her usual self.
There was also interference aimed at our group study.
One time, the electricity went out in the middle of our study. The entire neighborhood went dark. We found a flashlight but the batteries were dead. Realizing that it must be interference, we moved to a different location and continued our study. We later heard that the power came back on by the time we finished Fa study.