(Minghui.org) Due to the pandemic lockdown, I had little chance to do anything for nearly six months. With time to reflect, I thought about what I should cherish in my life. One fall day the wish that was hidden in my heart for ten years emerged—I wanted to practice Falun Dafa.

I am a university senior. I first heard about Falun Dafa over ten years ago when I was 11 years old.

My father is a chemistry researcher and my mother is an expert in traditional Japanese cuisine. My grandmother taught me the tea ceremony, and I’ve practiced calligraphy since I was a child.

I did well on my exams and was accepted by a very good high school—a religious school where I learned a lot of Buddhist traditions and customs. I scored well in the college entrance exams and entered a university in Tokyo. I chose Indian Philosophy and Buddhist Studies as my major.

I think all of my experiences, including my family background, childhood, and university studies, prepared me to begin practicing Falun Dafa.

Zhuan Falun Opens Up My World

When I was 10, my father gave me a copy of Zhuan Falun. I was curious about anything mysterious and I was interested in qigong. The book had been given to him by an editor acquaintance and had been on his bookshelf for years.

It was a thick book and the characters were neatly lined up. I’d never read a book like that before. I read the first page, but I couldn’t understand it.

But as I continued to read, I felt that Zhuan Falun was a portal to a larger world and that Master was talking about something very grand and sacred. As I read more, I felt a huge amount of energy, life, and wisdom pouring out of the book. I continued reading with all my heart.

In elementary school I was a rebellious child who broke the rules. I often spoke ill of others in conversations with friends, and I had a poor attitude.

As I continued reading Zhuan Falun and reflected on my behavior, I became disgusted with my vulgar language and the way I treated my friends.

Guided by Falun Dafa’s teachings, I stopped being competitive. I became peaceful and people treated me kindly. People gradually regarded me as a good person.

But I was not able to truly practice because of something that happened when I was 11.

I found a Falun Dafa group practice site about an hour away by train. I wanted to go there and learn the exercises, but my father refused to let me go alone. He suggested I learn more about Buddhism before I made any decisions. I was very sad and cried. I decided to bury the idea of going to a practice site. After a while, I obtained an exercise teaching videotape. I learned the exercises from the videos but I didn’t know if my movements were correct. I just practiced occasionally and didn’t persist.

These external obstacles may have been related to my situation. My understanding of the Fa was very limited. In my mind, what I read in the book and what I learned in school and elsewhere were two different things, and I could not sort out the relationship between them. Since I used ordinary human theories when dealing with things in my daily life, I felt the contents of Dafa were just concepts.

This might have been due to my lack of knowledge of ordinary society. I didn’t have a clear understanding of the difference between Falun Dafa and religions, including Buddhism. I didn’t know what it meant to be a cultivator because faith is often regarded as strange in modern Japanese society.

Also, I cared more about surface appearance and I wanted people to think I was a nice person. But this is not the standard for a practitioner. Falun Dafa requires one to improve one’s character fundamentally and the surface behavior will follow suit.

Finally Stepping into Cultivation

So, one year into the pandemic, I decided to act on my idea that I’d set aside 10 years ago. I contacted the local group practice site and began doing the exercises with other practitioners in early December 2021.

I returned home at the end of the year and shared my thoughts with my family. I told them that practicing Falun Dafa is the most important thing in my life. I also told them the situation of Falun Dafa in China and the rest of the world.

My parents said that they supported my decision because I was a college student and I came to this conclusion after careful consideration. They asked me what Falun Dafa is, and I explained using the words in Zhuan Falun. I also taught them the exercises.

After I returned to Tokyo, I told my friends about Falun Dafa and brought them to group practice sites. I met many practitioners and heard their stories. This helped me relate cultivation practice to situations in my daily life.

One thing I learned from fellow practitioners is the importance of memorizing the Fa. The local coordinator introduced me to another practitioner my age and we began memorizing together.

Even though I’d read Zhuan Falun many times, when I recited it, I felt that every word opened my wisdom. I enlightened to new principles and it was as though I was reading Zhuan Falun for the first time. I felt immersed in the Fa while I recited. I was very happy.

Reciting the book also helped me to break through a stubborn obstacle—I finally understood the difference between improving my character fundamentally and changing my surface behavior. To improve through cultivation, I must cultivate inward and change my heart.

As I look back on this past year, I realize that I only cultivated superficially at the beginning because I focused on outward appearances. I eliminated my bad thoughts, but I didn’t dig deep to uproot them.

This one-year review is an opportunity for me to face the difficulties in cultivation, including a busy life and cultural obstacles. I will improve myself steadily and diligently fulfill my responsibilities as a Falun Dafa practitioner.