(Minghui.org) Lei Xiaozhen is a budding artist in Taiwan with a successful career. Thinking back over the past dozen years, she credits Falun Dafa with guiding her through the difficult times. She says the secret to a happy life is living by Falun Dafa's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Lei gained a name for herself in Taiwan for crafting realistic replicas of food using wool felt. Taiwanese media have publicized her work and given her rave reviews. She also won the Cultural and Creative Award for her work at the 2019 Taiwan Creative Expo. However, her path to success was not always smooth.

Lei Xiaozhen and her family

Returning to Cultivation During a Troubled Marriage

Twenty years ago at the age of 18, Lei served as a navy officer in the Ministry of National Defense. Her family members had just started to practice Falun Gong at the time. She recalled her younger brother telling her, “Master Li Hongzhi is here to offer salvation.” She was astonished by her brother’s words and thought he must have a certain understanding of Falun Gong. However, other than studying the Fa with her family when she returned home for the holidays, Lei did not read the main book of the practice, Zhuan Falun, herself.

“I coveted a comfortable life,” she recalled. From a young age, Lei had always dreamed of having a fairytale-like relationship. At one point, she was caught up in an emotional whirlpool and stopped practicing cultivation. Yet in the dead of night, she often felt like she was living in a numb state. She occasionally asked herself, “Can I return to cultivation?”

Lei later married. Her dream of a fairytale marriage was shattered by the reality of frequent fights. Her husband said that she only wanted others to treat her well and follow her requirements, and that she never thought of how others wanted to live their lives, and was very selfish.

Not wanting her marriage to fall apart, Lei gradually realized that the perfect marriage she had sought was simply an attachment, because emotions can lead to hatred and resentment.

She knew she had to return to cultivation after seeing the troubles in her marriage. She gained motivation to start practicing Falun Dafa again through regularly reading sharing articles on the Minghui website and listening to Minghui radio. She listened to Minghui radio with her son, who was in primary school, and unknowingly, as her character improved, the environment around her changed as well. The most obvious change was her husband’s attitude.

Relationship Becomes Harmonious

Besides making an effort to improve her character, Lei became diligent in doing the exercises and studying the Fa regularly. The migraines she had always experienced during menstruation completely disappeared. Her husband started to remind her and her son to do the exercises and study the Fa, because he had witnessed the benefits it brought to Lei. He often asked her, “Have you done the exercises today?”

The couple stopped bickering over small things. When they had differences in opinion, Lei would communicate calmly and rationally. She even scrambled to do housework. She said jokingly to her husband, “It’s all right, let me do the dishes! I will just regard hardship as cultivation.” Her husband would answer, “I want to bear hardship as well. Otherwise you will end up enduring everything.” Both husband and wife treated each other with respect. This was a happiness she had never dreamed of before.

She said, “A cultivator should be guided by Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I began to pay attention to my words and actions. I learned to speak slowly without getting agitated. I am doing better in handling relationships with my family. I see things from their perspective and this helps prevent unnecessary conflicts.”

Getting Into the World of Wool Felt

Practicing Dafa not only changed her family environment, Lei was also able to deal with the ups and downs in her career by looking inward to eliminate her attachments to fame and gain.

In 2016, she decided to give up the lifetime monthly pension payment she would be entitled to after serving in the military for 20 years, and bravely stepped into the world of wool felt. She had to convince her senior officer, coworkers, and family members that she was doing the right thing, because they had difficulty understanding her decision. She told her supervisor, “I want to use wool felt to tell stories and do exhibitions because the world needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” Her conviction touched her colonel, who had tried to persuade her to stay on in the military. He later told her, “I saw the passion in your eyes.”

After getting into creating art using wool felt, instead of adopting traditional methods to create more solid items, Lei came up with a way to use the material to make bread that feels soft and fluffy and looks mouth watering. This earned her the name “Wu Pao Chun” [bread baking master in Taiwan] in the wool felt world.

Lei’s handmade wool felt creations

The Deputy Minister of Culture presents Lei with the Cultural and Creative Award at the 2019 Taiwan Creative Expo.

Recalling Her Starting Point During the Pandemic

After success came quickly and due to the pressure of a heavy workload, Lei started to forget why she became an artist. She was awakened by the global pandemic in 2020.

“The handmade crafts industry in Taiwan is very tough. The works of many peers may not be recognized after being in the industry for a dozen years, or even two decades,” Lei said.

Last March and April, businesses closed because of the pandemic, and Lei experienced unprecedented difficulties and setbacks. “During those two months, I truly felt as if I had fallen to the bottom of a valley. In fact, I had no idea where to go to move forward. My business was affected, and I had no income at all.”

The difficult situation gave her an opportunity to reassess herself. “I reconsidered what I was seeking. I had initially quit the navy to do exhibitions. Yet fame came to me too quickly, and certain things changed. Many bad thoughts came up, I became arrogant...” She had forgotten that “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” had inspired her to start her business. Now that her career had fallen on hard times, her initial motivation came back clearly.

She began to spend a lot of time studying the Fa. After listening to Milarepa Buddha’s cultivation story on Minghui Radio, she was deeply moved, and set her heart on practicing cultivation diligently. She asked herself what made Milarepa continue on his path of cultivation.

“I am a mother, a business owner, and artist. I must try my best to face all challenges with a courageous, serene mind,” she said.

Having achieved some success in starting her wool felt business and after feeling the impact of the CCP virus on her life, she understood many things. “It was as if all my attachments became weaker. My heart became peaceful.”

Through reading Zhuan Falun earnestly, Lei discovered that she had become attached to fame and gain. Because of this she had not treated her customers with sincerity and she had stopped paying enough attention to the quality of her products.

“Cultivation is applying the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in daily life,” she said. Therefore, she started to once again focus on creating good products. “I started to spend a lot of time on the creation of my works, packaging, the explanations of the products, and improving my website.”

As a wool felt craft teacher for five years, Lei had taught more than 100 students. She told her students, “Open your eyes and ears when working with the wool felt craft. Your heart must be open too, otherwise what you do will not be right.” During her training classes, she repeatedly returned her student’s creations to them and taught them how to do it again. This was a great test for her students and Lei, but she discovered both parties make progress this way.

She also often shared ideas and experiences with her students from different angles so that they could feel the beauty of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. For example, “You must be gentle to unravel the wool. It won’t work if you use force.” She compares this to life, “It is the same principle, in relationships with others.”

The pandemic affected her sales, but after she practiced steady cultivation, a miracle occurred. One day she got a phone call. The director of Taipei’s Warm Springs Association invited her to work on a project. This contract leveled out her sales performance that had fallen to the bottom for two months.

The pandemic took away countless lives. Lei hopes she can let more people know about the benefits of Falun Dafa and the truth about the persecution so they can benefit physically and mentally. Every time she goes shopping, she mentions the practice, and people ask her about the main book, Zhuan Falun. Through her outreach, a business owner resolved a long-term conflict with his father after started to practice Falun Dafa. Lei’s assistant learned more about Falun Dafa on the Internet after hearing about it from her boss on a daily basis and became a practitioner too.

Besides making use of every opportunity to tell people about Falun Dafa, Lei did not forget her initial wish. She recalled attending The Art of Zhen-Shan-Ren International Exhibition held by practitioners. Through explaining the paintings, people learned about the stories behind the art and the messages the artists hoped to convey.

“True art should inspire people’s hearts,” Lei said. She hopes to hold an art exhibition with human rights as the main theme. Recently she has been thinking a lot about what kind of works she can do as a wool felt craftsperson. She recently did a piece called “I want to say something...” that shows a person holding the tail of a red, evil dragon, which represents the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The work serves to remind people of the evil nature of the Chinese communist regime, and that everyone should reject it.

Lei’s recent work “I want to say something...”

She posted this artwork on her social media platform and explained the idea behind her creation. She called on people to bravely say no to the CCP. Some of her followers texted her privately to say they agreed with her and were touched by her work.

Lei has found true happiness through practicing Falun Dafa. In the future, she will treasure her identity as an artist and a Falun Dafa disciple and continue working hard at putting Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance into practice in her daily life.

Chinese version available

Category: Journeys of Cultivation