(Minghui.org) Since the onset of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999, many people have told me, “You must consider your parents' feelings and situation, and you must be filial to them.” What they meant to say is that to be filial to my parents, I must submit to the CCP's suppression and renounce my faith in Falun Gong.

No doubt these people's intentions were good, but every time I told them that I wanted to stick to my faith and stood my ground, their reactions were mixed—some were happy for me, while some were irritated and upset because they did not understand why I'd rather be persecuted and see my parents suffer than give up my faith. I could tell that their confusion resulted from the misconception of the term “filial piety.”

The Story of Taishi

Wen Tianxiang, the grand chancellor of the Southern Song Dynasty (1236-1283), wrote the famous “Song of Righteousness,” in which he told the story of Taishi in the State of Qi in China's Spring and Autumn Period (771-403 BCE). 

Taishi, meaning Grand Historian, was a high official whose title was granted by the Emperor to a noble family in imperial China. After the prime minister of Qi State, Cui Zhu, killed the emperor, Taishi Gong refused to falsify the facts as pressured by Cui Zhu, and insisted on recording the truth. As a result, Cui Zhu killed Taishi Gong and two of his three younger brothers, because they too refused to twist the facts and collaborate with Cui Zhu. After that, Cui Zhu tried to compel Gong's youngest brother to obey his orders, but he was once again met with resistance. Overpowered by the youngest brother's bravery, Cui Zhu finally halted his killing spree.

The acts of the three brothers are highly regarded as noble and heroic in Chinese history. They upheld their morality to the highest standards, and refused to bend to oppression even if it meant losing their lives. Yet, nobody blames them for not being filial to their parents!

Nonetheless, people who are influenced by the CCP's atheistic ideology may find the brothers' sacrifice unfathomable. They cannot comprehend the fact that those who sacrifice their lives for righteousness actually accumulate considerable virtue. In addition, their parents will also receive great blessings, which, however, do not necessarily manifest in this lifetime. 

A Story from the Bible

When I was illegally incarcerated in a prison for upholding my faith in Falun Gong, an inmate had a Bible. I flipped through it once and saw these words in the Gospel of Matthew: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 

I knew that Master Li (the founder of Falun Gong) must have used those lines to encourage me. We sacrifice in order to uphold morality and justice. Although our parents suffer because we uphold our faith, they will be rewarded with blessings in the future. 

Beyond the Literary Meaning

Ordinary people live for sentiment and emotions. Their interpretation of filial piety is based on the sentiments of this secular world, and it equates to children's affection for their parents. These affections are linked by karmic relationships that only last for one lifetime. What ordinary people do not know is that the blessings we get for our devotion to Fa-rectification can place our parents in a very good realm after they leave this secular world. The everlasting happiness they receive will be far more grand than any short-term worldly joy.

An article on pureinsight.org, “Talking about Filial Piety,” discusses the term's connotations in more depth. The author says, “After our parents understand the truth, and make a right choice, Gods and Buddhas will take care of them, and will arrange a bright future for them. If our parents can sincerely recite 'Falun Dafa is good; Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good,' they will receive blessings that nothing in this world can buy. This is the best Filial Piety that the ancients wanted, but could not get!” 

Of course, we must be kind to our parents and children. We can talk to them about filial piety and our faith. However, the modern Chinese understanding of divinity is shallow, and we should be considerate of their capacity, and only tell them things that they can understand. For example, we can tell them stories from ancient legends and classics to inspire their righteous thoughts and awake their kindness, so as not to turn them away from righteousness.

Chinese version available

Category: Perspective