Taking Responsibility for My Cultivation While Imprisoned
(Minghui.org) I have practiced Falun Dafa for 24 years, and in 2005, I was illegally arrested and taken to a detention center. They later imprisoned me for over nine months.
During that time, I wondered whether I could still do the three things asked of practitioners and walk well on my cultivation path.
When I managed to calm down in the detention center I thought about what I could do.
I could still send forth righteous thoughts and focus on clearing out all of the old force factors and negative thoughts, but without any Dafa books I could only recite the Fa that I had memorized in the past.
I did what I could to create a righteous environment within the detention center so that when I told people about Falun Dafa they could easily accept it. However, not being able to read Zhuan Falun was the hardest thing for me to bear. I regretted very much that I didn’t listen to Master Li Hongzhi's (Falun Dafa's founder) suggestion to memorize the Fa. With the Fa in my mind, I could take it with me wherever I went.
Fortunately, I still remembered some of the teachings, so every day I recited this little bit of Fa repeatedly to strengthen my righteous thoughts.
As time went on, Master allowed me to recall more of the Fa. I then began to look back at myself, and realized that I should not be kept here. Master does not acknowledge this persecution, and as his disciple, I do not either. But the fact remained that I was faced with an illegal sentence.
I thought about how to break through this interference and recalled the following poem from Master:
“Imprisoned as you are,don’t be sorrowful or sadCarry on with righteous thoughts and actions,and the Fa is with youCalmly reflect on the attachments you haveRemove your human thoughtsand evil will naturally die out”(“Don't Be Sad,” Hong Yin Vol. II, Translation Version A)
I realized that I hadn't looked at my shortcomings for a long time. I had stagnated as human notions and attachments became a loophole for the old forces to exploit, allowing them to persecute me.
I began looking for my shortcomings, and with Master’s hints, I adopted a method: every day, I recalled a part of Zhuan Falun, then paused to check myself to see what attachment, and/or concept I needed to remove.
I also comprehensively looked at what I did, said or thought from the day of my arrest. If anything didn't align with Master’s Fa, I needed to remove it.
In this way, I kept remembering more of the Fa and recalled my past thoughts and actions. I used Dafa's principles to measure my shortcomings and constantly removed them.
Master reminded me of a passage,
“That’s why at that time many of you were thinking: "Is this Fa I’m studying correct and righteous? What kind of person is Li Hongzhi? Is there truth to what’s said by this evil force that lies to hurt the reputation of others?" Every student thought about these questions—you were thinking about them more or less. This was also to give you an opportunity for reflection. So it wasn’t wrong.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Great Lakes Fa Conference in North America,” Guiding the Voyage)
This raised infinite respect for Master from deep within. My faith in Dafa and Master strengthened and my determination to follow him grew.
As I walked through my memories, I felt surprised to know myself for the first time. I gained a clear understanding of myself and learned to take responsibility for my cultivation path.
I knew to eliminate attachments with righteous thoughts, but later learned that these attachments were not me at all.
I separated them from my main consciousness and rejected them. Compassionate Master then removed them for me.
I deeply realized what Master said,
“Cultivation depends on one’s own efforts, while the transformation of gong is done by one’s master.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
I viewed imprisonment as something bad, but Master turned it into something good, as it tempered me and allowed me to enlighten to the Fa from the Fa’s perspective.
I felt ashamed of my past behavior, as I only knew to spread Dafa and clarify the truth, but not to assimilate to the Fa.
Cultivating gong has a pathmind is the wayOn the boundless sea of Dafahardship is your ferry(“Falun Dafa,” Hong Yin, Translation Version A)
I gained a much deeper understanding of the Fa, and feel completely confident in my cultivation of Falun Dafa.
Convincing Inmates to Quit the CCP
When I was transferred to the prison I was first assigned to the newcomers team. There were no other Dafa practitioners in this team, and the guards didn't allow me to speak or have a pen and paper. How could I let the others know about Dafa without speaking?
I took the time to recite the Fa from memory and sent forth righteous thoughts to remove the negative factors blocking me from talking to the inmates.
The head inmate arranged the schedule for the other inmates to monitor me and was the one who reported to the guards. As the Chinese saying goes, “Capture the leader first before capturing the thieves.”
I decided to help the head inmate first, and paid attention to cultivating kindness.
When an inmate returned from being hospitalized with acute pancreatitis, I gave him my only pear. I also helped the other inmates whenever I could.
Each of my kind deeds registered with them, and they considered me to be a truly good person. As a result, they liked to be with me, and most evenings, the head inmate chatted with me to pass the time.
I spoke to him from the heart. I first told him some traditional Chinese stories to inspire his kind thoughts, then I spoke about how the self immolation incident on Tiananmen Square was used to incite hatred against Falun Dafa practitioners. I also explained why I practiced Falun Dafa and the benefits I received.
The head inmate understood that Falun Dafa was good and that I was wrongfully imprisoned. He had joined the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) Young Pioneers and Youth League, and he hated the CCP.
When we were in private I advised him to quit the Party organizations. He agreed and chose a good future for himself.
After gaining his trust, I was allowed to speak. I took every opportunity, especially the short time I spent with someone alone, to tell them about Dafa.
When I helped someone in the team quit the CCP he would soon be transferred to another team and a new inmate would arrive. As a result, I managed to help many to quit the CCP.
I sometimes found it difficult to persuade inmates to quit the Party due to the prison environment that required them to show a strong sense of self-protection.
Although many of them hated the CCP, they were afraid of talking to me for fear of retribution. When I was alone with any of the inmates I seized the opportunity to talk to them about the wickedness of the CCP, which resonated in their hearts. After I told them about quitting the Party, they willingly did so.
I knew everyone had concerns about their own health, so I capitalized on this point to talk about my own personal experience – practicing Falun Dafa helped me renew my health. Most inmates were interested, but they dared not learn the exercises. I told them that there was a very simple and easy way to gain health – sincerely recite the auspicious phrases, “Falun Dafa is good; Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”
Many inmates were willing to try it.
Showing compassion often creates precious opportunities to save people. If one acts indecisively and is afraid of this or that, the chance to help save people may quickly pass; some may only have one such chance to be saved!
So firmly believing that Master is right beside us, and talking to people rationally, decisively, and wisely would help people make the right decision and quit the CCP.
Understanding the Illegality of the Persecution
I had little knowledge of the CCP's laws before, so I found it hard to defend myself when the prison guards said that I had committed a crime and demanded that I confess.
Master mercifully gave me a hint to study the present laws. The prison instructor said that he would find a lawyer to talk to me. I agreed but the lawyer didn't come. As odd is it may sound, it happened that an inmate in my team had a copy of the Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law and lent it to me.
I read it thoroughly and found that I hadn't committed any crime. I picked up a pen and paper and confidently wrote an article: “What on earth is the 610 Office?” detailed some of the laws to demonstrate how the 610 Office was an illegal organization, and its persecution of Falun Dafa was a crime.
I gave the article to a prison guard, and it was soon circulated among prison staff. I was also praised for how well it was written.
The prison environment changed from then on. Some of the guards even publicly told the inmates that Falun Dafa would be vindicated in the future.
I continued to study the law, then wrote another article to appeal my sentence, outlining the legal provisions to show that I did not violate any law. When finished, I handed it to a guard and asked him to pass it to his supervisor.
The prison guards held a meeting and took turns reading my article. Then a few days before the expiration of my sentence, a guard told me that I could go straight home without being sent to a brainwashing class.
According to CCP regulations, Dafa practitioners who are not transformed at the end of their prison term should be taken directly to the provincial brainwashing class for further persecution.
When the guard said that I could go home, I told him that I wanted to go to the brainwashing session. He looked puzzled, and asked, “Why do you want to go there?”
I said, “Those who help to 'transform' practitioners there are doing wrong and hurting themselves. So I would like to tell them why they are wrong, so they will no longer bring harm to themselves.”
“But they don't want you there,” the guard replied.
I think the reason why I was able to go straight home was because I no longer focused on my own misfortune. I was thinking of others and not myself.
I deeply appreciate Master’s infinite compassion for helping me through those difficult times.