I Was Pulled from the Filthy Mud
(Minghui.org) Watching television from the couch with a beer in hand, Chang Kairuei was enjoying his downtime in the evening like he did almost every day. His daughter, a second-grader, came running from her bedroom, “Daddy, don’t waste your life anymore. Please join us in cultivation.” Kairuei was taken aback and barked at his daughter to get rid of her. But her childish voice boomed and reverberated deeply in his heart.
Chang Kairuei, the principal of the Taiwanese Niao Song High School of the Arts, reflected on that moment from 20 years ago. “It was quite a shock to me. I am the father and should not have needed to take advice from my own young daughter, yet she told me not to waste my life.” For three years, he resisted practicing cultivation with his mother, wife, and children, but he could not ignore the positive changes in them. Over time, his resistance withered away.
“My wife was the first in the family to come into contact with Falun Dafa. I thought nothing of it, assuming that it was just another one of her religious obsessions. But soon I found my wife’s usual domineering personality was replaced by a feminine gentleness. Her chronic back pain, bloody urine, and other medical conditions all improved if they didn’t disappear altogether. It did not take long for my two daughters, my youngest son and my mother, who suffered from heart disease, to join my wife to do the exercises and study the teachings of Falun Dafa. They haven’t used their healthcare cards since.”
Growing up in a rural village, Kairuei had a healthy respect for heaven and the netherworld. “I thought any righteous religion is beneficial to its believers and I was happy to support my family in their pursuit. But one day my eldest daughter told me she saw a spinning, round, light green Falun. That worried me! I have been taught from an early age not to explore the domain of either gods or ghosts. They exist for sure, but we were not to reach out to them and the best way to stave them off is to be virtuous ourselves and refrain from committing acts of evil. I was alarmed now that my daughter was in contact with these inexplicable phenomena. I had to protect my daughter and my family!”
Around the same time, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched the all-out campaign to persecute Falun Dafa and its practitioners. The CCP spread lies and unleashed torture and other unthinkable forms of cruelty against practitioners in China. The persecution ferociously swept through the whole nation and affected almost every citizen there. Outside of China, Dafa practitioners and supporters also kicked off many campaigns to raise awareness of the dire situation in the Mainland. His wife was part of that force.
“Despite the many long and tiring overseas trips, she continued to join other practitioners overseas to raise awareness and seek support from the international community. However, as her trips increased in frequency, I started to complain and kicked up a big fuss. I threatened to throw away all her Dafa books and even presented her with a typed divorce agreement.”
The Mental Struggle
It wasn’t so much that Kairuei was rejecting Falun Dafa, but rather, he was trying hard to hold onto the happy life he was having. “I had a pretty good lifestyle. Smoked and drank a bit, spent time watching television, playing basketball, and taking my family camping over the holidays; I was pretty content. If I was to join the rest of the family and became a cultivator, I would lose all those simple pleasures in life.” He was conflicted about what was best to do: continue with his lifestyle or pursue the calmness and inner peace he observed in the cultivators in his family.
“Once I had to tag along to look after the three children while my wife attended a Falun Dafa experience-sharing conference. I went outside to smoke and was looking to join fellow smokers outside the conference hall. My assumption was that there would surely be some smokers around when you had nearly a thousand people in attendance. But I could not find a single one!” Kairuei was also astounded by the kinds of people in attendance. “They did not look at all like simple and uneducated people. They were people from all walks of life, of all ages, monks and foreigners included. Many among them were doctors, professors, and lawyers.”
Kairuei had a newfound respect for Falun Dafa practitioners for their unflinching courage and peaceful resistance to the CCP regime. “I was curious how they were able to refrain from behaving spitefully out of selfishness and instead remain perennially calm and determined. I looked at my own two daughters. They would still dedicate time to study the Fa and do the exercises after finishing their homework every day. I really needed to re-evaluate my perceptions.”
Life as we know it in this physical world is an illusion and very few people realize it or can indeed break out of it. But fortunately Kairuei was given hints in revelations his daughter saw while in deep meditation. “My daughter once shared with me what she had seen. She said she saw lots of tiny insects squirming in a black pool of filthy mud. But upon looking closer, she found they were actually humans. Master stretched out his large hand and fished them out of the mud. People that were saved were very happy. She said I was also in Master’s hand but I did not appear to want to be saved, as I was trying to slip through Master’s fingers. She also saw a lot of people climbing up a mountain. Some people made it to the top quickly and easily because they climbed furiously and ignored all distractions on the way up. And there were those who shuffled around making very little progress and continually looked back. She said I was in the latter group of people who were very hesitant to climb up.”
“Another time, my daughter told my wife excitedly after staring intently at our wedding photo for a while, ‘I saw there was a 卍 symbol inside Daddy’s head but it was thickly covered. His was not as clearly visible as ours.’” His daughter’s vivid description touched a deep part of Kairuei’s soul. “What my daughter saw was a very true reflection of how I felt at the time. It was a message directed squarely at me, specifically the worldly things I did not want to let go of.”
As the mental struggle went on, his daughter’s pleaded, “Daddy, don’t waste your life anymore. Please join us in cultivation.” Struck at his core, Kairuei finally told himself he should give it a try.
“On one night, the day after I finished the nine-day Falun Dafa instruction class, I suddenly woke up and felt something strongly spinning inside my abdomen. My wife told me excitedly that was Master installing Falun in my body.” He actually experienced for himself what he dared not believe before.
Having stripped off his misconceptions, Kairuei gained new understandings from reading the Dafa books. He found his previous thinking and understanding of the world was rather muddled and limited. The book Zhuan Falun is written in plain language with little hyperbole, but it opened up a new and wonderful world for Kairuei. “I long had questions such as why we were born into this world and what the meaning of life was. The book delves systematically into the origin of life, the universe, the different time spaces, and all matter in existence from the microcosm to the macrocosm. It is simply amazing!”
He regretted the three years he had lost, but more than anything he felt a sense of gratitude. “I am very grateful that Master did not give up on me. He has taken great pains in making meticulous plans to break down my resistance bit by bit.” True happiness is not about enjoying our lives; assimilating ourselves to Dafa gives true meaning and purpose to our lives. That statement resonated deeply with Kairuei after he became a Dafa cultivator.
Kairuei’s Predestined Relationships with His Students
It wasn’t long before people around Kairuei noticed dramatic changes in him. He gave up his decade-long habits of drinking and smoking, his facial expressions became soft, and there was a gentleness to his voice and a calmness about him. “At the time, I was the head of student activities at our school. In order to enforce discipline, I used to pretend to be stern and talked to students in a harsh and strident tone. I was even tougher with students who were caught fighting or smoking. Not long after I started cultivating, I caught a student smoking in the restroom. When this would happen I’d hit the student on the head. When I turned around, I banged my head right into the door frame, causing a sharp pain. At that very moment, I realized I was a cultivator now and should not have treated any student with my old ways, which happened to run counter to every one of the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.”
He understood from Dafa’s teachings that who we meet in life isn’t by chance, “In my long journey over many lifetimes, any student I come across may well have a predestined relationship with me. Perhaps in another lifetime he or she may have been my teacher and my behavior caused them even more trouble. Therefore, when I genuinely tried to understand and treat my students with compassion, I found that my attitude towards them completely changed.”
By cherishing every interaction he had with his students, Kairuei could feel that the students were no longer just paying lip service to his words and keeping their distance from him; but rather, they were taking a genuine liking to him and wanted to be around him. “In the past, I spent a lot of time and effort on the students, desperately looking for results. I remember one year after a graduation ceremony I saw a student who had just graduated circling around the school on his motorbike, with a cigarette hanging off his mouth, obviously acting in defiance of my authority. And he was one of those students I had spent a lot of time on! Now I don’t look at the students’ misbehavior at a superficial level. I genuinely value from my heart any opportunity I have with them and think of ways I can extend my help to them in terms of what matters most in their lives.”
After a nearly 30-year career as a teacher, section chief, and director, Kairuei was appointed as principal of Niao Song High School of the Arts in 2013. At the time, there were lots of planned changes for the school, from its buildings and facilities to its organizational policies, curriculum, etc. Since then, he has led the charge with the help of dedicated teachers, volunteers, and parents. They have overcome enormous challenges and succeeded in turning a school in an isolated location into an appealing school of the arts.
“Niao Song has been transformed from a remote, neglected school with just over 40 students to 420 students today. While the arts curriculum is quite popular these days, we place far greater importance on teaching traditional forms of the arts and the moral education of the students. Our students get to build a solid artistic foundation in their chosen art, as well as a solid moral foundation for their character. I believe that will help with their future development and success, regardless of trends or changes in the external environment at large.”
Students come from all over the world to avail themselves of the excellent arts and moral education at the school. Since Kairuei is forever grateful that Master did not give up on him, he now takes the view that he needs to work hard in a similar fashion to guide and shape every student that comes through the door. “I am very grateful to Master for pulling me out of my ordinary existence and giving my life new meaning. To be worthy of your immense grace, the only thing I can do is cultivate diligently to fulfill my life’s mission.”