(Minghui.org) I came to America from China several years ago. I discovered that some Chinese practitioners, especially those from mainland China, learn English by studying the English translations of Zhuan Falun. Some Chinese practitioners attended the Western practitioners’ English Fa studies for this purpose. Some spent more time studying the English versions of Zhuan Falun than the Chinese version. They said that they didn’t get much from reading the Chinese Zhuan Falun because they had read it too many times. They said they could get more profound meanings from studying the English version of Master's teachings.
When I had just arrived in the U.S., a practitioner asked me to study the Fa at a Western practitioner’s home one day. Seven or eight practitioners were there. They were all from mainland China, except for the host, who was a Westerner. Although my English was not bad, I didn’t really focus on studying the Fa but on reading the words in English in Zhuan Falun, because this was the first time I had read Zhuan Falun in English. The Western practitioner was busy correcting everyone’s pronunciation the whole time. The experience sharing afterwards was more like an English-speaking class with a foreign teacher at university. The Chinese practitioners all spoke limited English and had difficulty expressing themselves, let alone sharing their cultivation experiences. We did not go there again. Instead we attended our Chinese Fa study group.
One Chinese coordinator said that, because we were doing English media work, we should study the English version of Zhuan Falun and Master’s other lectures in English. The coordinator repeatedly asked team members to join the English Fa-study group that she had organized. She combined studying the Fa in English with learning English.
On this issue, I would like to share some of Master’s Fa lectures and also some insights at my level.
When answering a Swedish practitioner’s question in Teachings at the Conference in Europe, Master said,
“If you learn Chinese through Zhuan Falun, won’t you have learned Chinese and at the same time studied the Fa? It’s true, Chinese can represent my original words, without deviation. That’s for sure, since it is in Chinese that I teach the Fa. Why did I choose to be born in China and teach the Fa in China? Because this affair was arranged ages ago. The language of the people in that region has greater inner meaning. Its entire development in history was arranged for the future dissemination of Dafa. Many arrangements were made for this. It was thus arranged a long, long time ago, before the Caucasians of this cycle entered civilization. So that nation has a rather ancient history. Its language is the richest in the world, has the greatest inner meaning, and is relatively more capable of expressing a concept of the universe so immense.” (Teachings at the Conference in Europe)
Master also said in “Fa Teaching Given at a Meeting in New York”:
“I can tell you that I’ve been to many places abroad and I’ve found this problem everywhere, so when I see my disciples I often tell them this: Make sure you have your kids learn Chinese; you can’t lose the characteristics of your yellow race.” (“Fa Teaching Given at a Meeting in New York,” Teachings at Conferences in the United States)
“Today the translated books provide people with a process of understanding during the transitional period. Just like our book Falun Gong, it is something only for people’s understanding process, whereas in true cultivation one follows Zhuan Falun. The books translated into foreign languages are also for during your process of understanding. If you want to truly practice cultivation, you need to read the original text. Only from the original text can you know what’s what. The translations—no matter how well they’re done—are shallow and don’t have the inner meanings.” (“Fa Teaching Given at a Meeting in New York,” Teachings at Conferences in the United States)
From the above two paragraphs of Master’s teachings, I realized that in order to let the people of this world have the opportunity to obtain the Fa during this special historic period, Master has opened a most convenient door for sentient beings and allowed the teachings of Falun Dafa to be translated into different languages.
Master also said,
“Those who don’t understand Chinese can cultivate just the same. But there is one point: English can only translate the surface meaning of what I say. It can’t translate the surface meaning accurately, but that won’t affect the high-level inner meanings. When the people of the future study the Law, the surface—the things at this level of humans—will be major. So if the people of the future don’t understand Chinese, it will be very hard for them.” (Teachings at the Conference in Houston)
My understanding was that Master has already told us that the purpose of the English Zhuan Falun was so that people who speak English could obtain the Fa and cultivate.
“I know that many students want to read Chinese and understand my original words and their original meanings, which is of course the best—that’s even better.” (Teachings at the Conference in Europe)
Chinese practitioners’ native language is Chinese and we are busy saving sentient beings and have limited time, so why don’t we read the “original words” and understand the “original meanings”?
The process of studying the Fa is a process of assimilating to the Fa. It is extremely serious and sacred. Learning English is learning a skill for everyday life. Some practitioners might argue that Master said,
“If you learn Chinese through Zhuan Falun, won’t you have learned Chinese and at the same time studied the Fa?” (Teachings at the Conference in Europe)
And so these practitioners might argue, "Why can’t I learn English through reading the English version of Zhuan Falun? Won’t I have learned English and at the same time studied the Fa?"
My understanding is that Western practitioners learn Chinese to read Master’s original Fa and they read the Fa in Chinese for cultivation. This is a different concept from us learning English, learning a skill for everyday life. There is a fundamental difference in purpose.
If I have time, I will read some Fa teachings in English after I have finished studying the Fa in Chinese. I want to learn how to express things in English when I share with Western practitioners or spread the Fa to Westerners. After all, we live in an English-speaking society. But studying Zhuan Falun in Chinese with a calm mind every day is essential. This fundamentally guarantees that we can enlighten in the boundless Fa and improve ourselves step by step. This cannot be replaced by studying the English translations of Zhuan Falun.
Even everyday people know that “it is hard to be born in the divine land of China.” We should treasure our predestined opportunity to have been born in China. When we study the Fa, we should purify our minds and study Master’s original words and understand Master’s original meanings with an absolutely serious attitude and most respectful mindset, and assimilate ourselves to the Fa. If we want to read English lectures, we’d better read them in our spare time after we have studied the Fa in Chinese. We shouldn’t replace studying the Fa with reading English translations.
The above is my personal understanding. Please kindly point out anything that is not in line with the Fa.
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Category: Improving Oneself