Twenty Years of Cultivation: Hard Times, Happy Times (Part 1 of 4)
(Minghui.org) As Falun Dafa practitioners, we are truly fortunate to have signed an agreement with Master Li. In it, we promised to come down to this world and assist Master during the Fa-rectification, awaken the conscience of sentient beings, and fulfill our vows. Such a precious opportunity to cultivate in Dafa, a righteous way, only comes once in the history of the universe.
Summary of 20 Years of Cultivation
Twenty years is a long time in any person’s life, but especially so for a person who has been targeted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s persecution campaign. The meaning of this journey has gone far beyond time—it has become a lasting memory full of suffering but also filled with pride and joy. It is Master and the profound Fa that empowers millions of Dafa cultivators to uphold the truth in the face of adversity. I feel immensely fortunate to be a participant.
Master has been looking after and protecting me every step of the way. I’ve shared the same ordeals and gone through thick and thin with fellow practitioners, and we have helped and supported each other through these difficult times. They have made the last two decades the most meaningful and happy times of my life. Our shared faith in Dafa is the foundation of cultivation. Without it, nothing else is important.
I never had any doubt about the Fa Master taught us since I began to cultivate in Dafa in 1998. I have been happy and feel very fortunate. It is such a rare opportunity to cultivate in Dafa in this lifetime, and I will cherish it and cultivate until the end.
By studying Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa, I understood that studying the Fa is of the utmost importance in our school of cultivation. For the 10 months after I started to practice in September 1998 to July 1999, when Jiang Zemin launched the persecution, I spent a great deal of time studying the teachings, thus laying a solid foundation for my cultivation over the 20 years amidst the persecution. Master taught us in the Fa that no tribulation could stop us on our cultivation path if we always looked inward and examined ourselves.
Benefiting from Dafa
Finding the Meaning of Life
By studying the Fa, I have come to understand many things about life that had baffled me. Since I was five years old, I often wondered where humans came from and how did the first humans learn to speak. I often heard my older brother and sister saying that humans developed from apes, but now I know that Gods created humans. Our Chinese language and characters were imparted by Gods, and that’s why the land of China is called the divine land and our culture is a divine culture.
I was born in 1968 into a family of poor farmers in the southern part of Hebei Province. I didn’t have any toys or anybody to play with. My parents were part of the village production team and worked in the fields all day. I remember playing in a big empty courtyard by myself.
I had some supernatural abilities when I was little. I sometimes climbed up to a three-feet-high window sill and jumped down. As if defying gravity, I could stay in the air for quite a bit and sometimes even up to seven or eight seconds. It was extraordinary, even to my young mind.
My older sister once took me to the fields to keep her company when she watered the crops after dark. However, I was no help since I kept seeing things in the dark, “Look Sis, there is a rabbit over there.” I pointed out everything that I saw, but she couldn’t see anything, which scared her even more.
My sister still talks about it to this day, “The idea was for you to keep me company so I wouldn’t be scared, but you scared me even more with all these invisible creatures you saw.” I had always thought that everybody could see these things and only realized after I started practicing Falun Dafa that these are supernatural abilities.
“Those who develop supernormal abilities are usually at both ends: Children do not have attachments, and neither do elderly people—especially elderly women. They can easily develop and preserve this capability.” (“Lecture Eight, Zhuan Falun)
I share the above so that people who don’t practice Falun Dafa know that everything Master says is true. Master teaches us practitioners to be good people, which benefits our families, friends, and society. Every practitioner has a story to tell, and if you listen with your heart, you will know that they speak the truth.
A Wok Full of Hot Oil Poured Over My Leg
During the Dragon Boat Festival in 1999, a wok full of hot oil poured over my leg. As a tradition, the locals make fried dough and fried sticky rice cake to celebrate this holiday. A few days before, my wife and I set up a wood-burning fire pit in our courtyard and took out a big wok to do the frying for the entire extended family. We had everything set up before my sister-in-law and my niece came over to help. We chatted, laughed, and were having a great time hanging out.
We lit the fire and filled the wok with oil. As the oil temperature reached 400 degrees, we dropped in the dough in batches to fry. Within minutes, the courtyard was filled with the amazing smell of the fried snacks, and the light smoke from the oil and the burning wood covered the area. When we were about halfway through the 20 pounds of dough, all of a sudden the wok tipped over, and the entire wok full of hot oil poured over my right leg. My niece who was standing nearby saw it and screamed.
As I took a small step back, I could feel the oil wrapping around my entire right leg and my foot. My sister-in-law and my wife were stunned. It took them a while to realize what had just happened and my sister-in-law shouted, “Hurry! Let’s take him to a doctor.” My niece also urged them to get me to a doctor right away.
I was very calm and told them, “I’m okay. Master is looking after me because I practice Falun Dafa. I will be fine.” I inched my way to a basin half-filled with water, took off my shoe, and rinsed my right leg. I then went inside, changed into shorts, and sat down on the couch.
Even though the skin on my leg was slightly pink, I didn’t feel any pain and had no blisters. I touched my leg after a little while, and it didn’t hurt, so I went to work in the fields in the afternoon.
My sister-in-law and my niece came to check on me the next day could not believe their eyes when they saw me walk around as if nothing had happened. My skin pretty much healed within a week and I only had a red scar the size of a 50-cent coin on the outside of my right foot. I knew that Master protected me and helped me pay off a huge karmic debt. If I weren’t a practitioner of Dafa, things would have turned out very differently.
Elevating My Xinxing
From the moment I obtained the Fa, I knew that this is the true teaching that I had been looking for my entire life. I learned through studying the Fa just how precious it is to have the predestined relationship to become a Dafa practitioner in this lifetime. I made up my mind that nothing could stop me from practicing Falun Dafa.
-By Resolving Conflicts
I was 30 years old when I obtained the Fa and my wife soon started practicing as well. We followed the universal principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and improved our xinxing. It soon started to make a difference in our family relations and dissolved conflicts with neighbors. We respect the elderly and love the young, and our family life became more and more harmonious.
I remember thinking, after cultivating for only a few months, that if everybody practiced Falun Dafa, there would not be a need for police. Whenever there was a conflict, everyone would look within to see what they did wrong. Would there still be conflict? No. That would be true harmony.
In the countryside, borders are often disputed. As farmers, our livelihood depends on our fields. The bigger they are, the more we can harvest and the more profit we can make. Instilled with competitiveness by the communist regime, people often see each other as enemies, and whenever there’s a conflict, especially when it comes to our crops and fields, it is likely to escalate into a fight.
My cousin’s fields neighbor mine. There is a utility pole in his field that’s too close to the edge, and his seeder couldn’t get through, so he tried a few times to extend the border into my field. I, of course, didn’t want to lose even an inch, so I often got into arguments, and sometimes even fights, with him.
After I started to practice, I let go of my attachment to benefits and learned to look at things from others’ perspectives. I didn’t care so much about the border anymore. Inch by inch, the border cut into my field until eventually his seeder was able to get through. Our relationship has improved after that.
Only Dafa can fundamentally change a person in such a complex environment today. Only by studying the Fa can a cultivator truly want change himself and become a better person.
-By Dissolving a Conflict with My Brother-in-law
We had a conflict with my brother-in-law and his family, given the uneven division of responsibility in caring for my in-laws. I learned after I started cultivating that people have different predestined relationships with each other. As cultivators, we should harmonize all these relationships.
I told my wife, “We should try to solve our conflicts with your brother and his wife.” She agreed. We brought some gifts and visited my brother-in-law. The couple didn’t welcome us and made sarcastic comments at first, but we just smiled and kept on apologizing. Eventually my brother-in-law was moved. We now have a great relationship with them.
Transitioning from Cultivating Self to Cultivating during the Fa-rectification Period
I obtained the Fa in September 1998 and spent the next 10 months cultivating myself solidly. I used every minute of my free time to study the Fa and understood the Fa principles rationally from the very beginning, which helped lay a solid foundation in my cultivation.
I prioritized Dafa cultivation as the most important thing in my life. Besides talking to people and figuring things out for work occasionally, I spent every waking second of my life thinking about Dafa and improving in Dafa. My cultivation state was excellent, and those 10 months prepared me for the storm that was about to come.
In July 1999, Jiang Zemin, then leader of the CCP, launched the persecution of Falun Dafa. To a young farmer who had never seen the world beyond his village, and knew no one who dared to oppose the government’s policies, I was confused and didn’t know what to do. However, my faith in Master and the Fa had grown deep roots and my very first thought was, “If there’s going to be only one practitioner left in the end, it would be me.”
Of course, now I know that millions of Dafa practitioners didn’t give in to the government’s suppression. We chose to stay on the path of Dafa cultivation and, with righteous thoughts and righteous actions, have exposed the CCP’s lies and awakened the conscience of sentient beings during the past 20 years.
At first my wife and I didn’t know what to do. A veteran practitioner asked us, “We have to petition the government and let them know that Dafa is good and we are good people. Would you like to sign the petition?” We signed the petition.
The same practitioner told us a few days later, “A lot of local practitioners will meet tomorrow at 9 a.m. at a private school in the city to do the exercises. Would you like to come?” I told him we would.
We joined the group to do the exercises the next day. We formed several neat rows along a major street and did the exercises in public. As the music played, passersby stopped and watched. We showed them the great Dafa and the compassion and calmness of practitioners.
We quickly learned other ways to clarify the truth about Dafa. We distributed Dafa fliers, mailed hand-written letters to local officials, and put up banners. Each practitioner did what he could in his own environment to clarify the truth and validate the Fa.
First Visit to a Truth-clarification Material Production Site
Our hearts belong to Dafa. Seeing that I had the wish to validate the Fa, Master arranged for the county coordinator to contact me in the fall of 2000. When I met up with him, he asked me, “Would you like to join our material production site?” I told him I would.
Nobody had cellphones in the late ’90s. Practitioners helped us relay messages and we set up a date and time to meet. The coordinator and the practitioner in charge of the production site arrived at the designated spot and waited for me. I got there on time, followed them through the village elementary school campus, and climbed over a wall into an abandoned residential property.
The house was run down and the courtyard overgrown. We entered the house, then the practitioner said, “To be on the safe side, we have hidden the computer and printers here.” That was my first time at a production site. This was 20 years ago and I don’t remember much about what happened after.
It was around that time that hundreds of practitioners went to Beijing each day to petition the central government.
My Deepest Regret
Village officials started to pay us visits regularly to try to persuade my wife and me to renounce Dafa. The continuous harassment put a lot of pressure on my father and my older brother who lived with us, and they, too, pressured us to give up the practice.
I had been a good kid growing up and always listened to my parents. My father was 74 at the time, and my mother’s death 10 years before took a toll on his physical and emotional wellbeing. My older brother is more than 10 years older than I.
I couldn’t bear the thought that I had caused them such anxiety, fear, and worry. I dared not look them in the eye, and it ate me up inside when my father begged me to give up Dafa. I gave in and signed the renouncement statement. After the village official left, I buried my face in my arms and cried my heart out. I cried for two hours. It is my deepest regret to this day.
Seeing me so heartbroken, my brother said, “One of my co-workers is also a Falun Dafa practitioner. He is as stubborn as you are. Though I don’t understand why you guys are so unyielding, I believe that this practice must have some truth to it.”
(To be continued)