Breaking Notions and Walking Righteously on the Path of Falun Dafa Cultivation
Greetings! Respected Master, Greetings! Fellow practitioners,
My name is Xuemei (pen-name). I began Falun Dafa practice in August 1995 and have practiced cultivation for ten years. With Master's care along my path, and with the guidance of the profound Dafa, my thinking about everything has constantly improved. With my righteous belief in Dafa I have made it this far. Even though this journey has been very hard, I have become increasingly steadfast, and more and more mature. I indeed feel the never-ending power of Dafa, and the mighty grace of the Buddha Fa.
As Fa-rectification period practitioners, and being faced with the evils' most destructive test, safeguarding Dafa is our great responsibility, and saving sentient beings while validating the Fa is the sacred task that Dafa has entrusted us with. Negating the evil persecution of Dafa, and walking our cultivation paths righteously is indeed very important. Master said,
"Dafa disciples are not only saving sentient beings, they're also blazing a true path for the existence of human beings." ("Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art")
We all have many tribulations to pass in cultivation, but one's obstinate notions always function as interference during tribulations. Only by following the teachings of Dafa can we break this interference, can we have righteous actions and a righteous mind and can we then move along a correct path. With my paper titled, "Breaking Notions and Walking Righteously on the Path of Falun Dafa Cultivation," I will report to respected Master something I've learned in my cultivation.
On July 20, 1999, the old forces began its persecution of Dafa and Dafa practitioners. I wasn't cowed by the enormously evil atmosphere at that time. To validate Dafa I wrote truth clarification materials in the form of a resignation statement, gave it to the leaders of my work place, and then headed to Beijing to appeal. I held up a banner reading, "Falun Dafa is good" right at the front of Tiananmen Square and shouted, "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is Good! Falun Dafa is Good! Restore the Reputation of my Teacher! Restore the Reputation of Dafa!" I fulfilled my grand vow from a prehistoric time, and then the police arrested me.
I went on a hunger strike for four days. I only had one thought at that time, "I came here to validate the Fa, not to suffer persecution, so nobody deserves to persecute me." I ended up being unconditionally released.
One thought flashed through my mind after my release: "What I am doing is the most righteous thing, so I should not lose my job." After I went back home, the leaders from my work place had a talk with me. I told them the truth, and said that Dafa practitioners should think of others when doing anything. My submitting the resignation statement was not to get you into trouble. I had sworn before I left for Beijing that, even if I died, I would not tell my name and address so as not to get anybody into trouble. The leader remained silent and then said, "Your resignation wasn't accepted. Come back to work tomorrow!"
To meet the needs for Fa rectification work, I set up a small truth materials production site in 2001. I was always careful to eliminate attachments during cultivation, and to improve myself while breaking human notions. Meanwhile the Dafa work was getting more mature.
In 2003 I had just rented a room in a building for the preparation of truth clarification materials. One night, a community officer came to the room and said she was taking registration for birth control. She asked for my name and place of employment. Since I was a homeless and wanted person in the area because of the persecution, I told him a fake name. Then the community officer asked me to bring all the household registration cards to his office the next day. After the officer left, four practitioners shared our thoughts. Because of the fear and notions that held us back, we decided to move the next day.
That night I could not fall asleep. I compared each thought with Dafa and realized that none of my thoughts conformed to the Fa. I asked myself why I made the decision to move. "It was fear." I understand that we should not go around it when running into a problem. Wherever a problem appears, that is where we should go to clarify the truth.
Thus I decided to behave correctly, with righteous thoughts, and clarify the truth to the community officer face to face. I went to her home and first said, "I practice Falun Gong. I gave you a fake name when you came to my home for registration. I thought about it a lot last night. I practice cultivation under the guidance of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I gave you a fake name that you will not be able to find on your list, so it might cause you trouble in your work. I didn't feel at ease with this. But if I gave you my true name, your reporting it to your leader would perhaps get me persecuted. That could bring disaster to you! We practitioners haven't committed any crimes! We are truly good people. We are suppressed only because we benefited too much in this practice and are being ostracized merely for telling the truth; that is why the persecution has escalated to this point."
Then I told her further about the benefits my cultivation has brought to my family and to the society, about how Dafa had disseminated throughout the world, about Jiang Zemin and his gang of hooligans having been sued in other countries, as well as the heavenly principle of "good is rewarded with good and evil provokes retribution." I finished by saying, "I talked with you in complete confidence about all these truths. I did so because you look pleasant and you are a nice person. Nice people deserve good rewards and a beautiful future. You should know the truth and should be able to tell good from bad."
I continued, "If you feel pressured, then give me a few days. I will move out as soon as I find a new room." The officer unexpectedly said, "I quite admire you Falun Gong practitioners. You have guts, and a steadfast belief. You just continue to live there. If anyone comes to check, not necessarily to check on you, and even if they check your home, it will do if you simply don't open the door for them." I replied with a thank you, "Your kind heart will bring you good fortune."
After returning home, I told fellow practitioners about my experience. The fellow practitioners found their omissions and enhanced the righteous belief in Dafa and their confidence in validating the Fa.
Afterwards, the practitioner who taught me how to use a computer arrived. I told him about the incident. He said, "Since your place is a materials production site, for the sake of safety, you should accept responsibility for the Fa and for other practitioners, and move out as early as possible!" I replied that I had been there for less than a month and I had prepaid the rent for half a year. The owner said no refund within the half year. "How can we causally lose the money?" I asked him. On top of that, we have to base everything from the standpoint of the Fa, be responsible for the Fa, and understand the Fa from the Fa. We must not gauge everything with our notions and so called experiences. In the end we each held tight to our own opinions and departed in conflict with each other.
That practitioner went back and told the other practitioners who usually contacted me not to get in touch with me for fear that I might be followed and would get other practitioners in trouble. The materials production site then encountered difficulties as a result. I looked inside myself and found that I had indeed talked about this incident with thoughts of happiness and of boasting about myself. When the conflict appeared, my compassion was not enough, so the conflict became bigger and led me to this difficult position. I realized that I needed to fortify my righteous belief, get rid of attachments, and correct myself. In the meantime, I needed to break the interference and use this incident to validate the Fa. Soon, other practitioners came to contact me again, and the materials production site was back to running normally.
Due to the arrest of many local practitioners who were involved in the work of the materials site, it was damaged, and this made the responsibility that I took bigger and bigger. Along with that, I was getting busier and busier. I loosened my self-control, reduced my Fa-study time and schedule for sending forth righteous thoughts. I developed many attachments around that time. I often complained about why other practitioners had not stepped forward to set up additional materials production sites, which could alleviate some of my burden, etc. Though on the surface I was doing Dafa work, in fact I didn't cultivate myself at all. I didn't do well with the three things that Master required, and my thoughts and actions were not based on a solid foundation. Finally, the evil took advantage of my loopholes and persecuted me. I caused a large amount of damage to Dafa. This lesson is deeply impressed on me.
The cultivation process is the process of constantly eliminating attachments. When we fall, we should stand up right away and once again do well on those things that we should do. Only then do we deserve the honorable title of Dafa practitioners during the Fa-rectification period.
One night, a group of evildoing people broke into my home, searched it and took away many personal belongings including cash, bank deposit certificates, TV, DVD and a computer. I warned them sternly that they were committing a crime. I told them that I am not a criminal, and that they were breaking the law in the name of law enforcement. I said that all I did was clarify the truth about Falun Gong and let people know about the CCP lies and slander about Falun Gong. I was simply returning the right to know the truth to people and doing a righteous thing, not committing a crime. I told them that Dafa practitioners had sued Jiang Zemin and his followers in many international courts and that he will receive his retribution soon. I advised the people searching my home to leave themselves a path of return, and not to follow Jiang to hell. I gave them many examples where evildoing people received retribution for persecuting Falun Gong. I told them that after the more than five years of suppression Falun Gong had not disappeared; rather, Falun Gong has spread to more than sixty countries and has received hundreds of awards. We practitioners are following the principles of "Truth-Compassion-Forbearance;" The persecution follows opposing principles - isn't it clear who is righteous and who is evil?
I also told the police that our meeting like this was a sign of our predestined relationships and that I sincerely hoped they would remember that "Truth-Compassion-Forbearance is good, Falun Dafa is good." I told them that treating Dafa and Dafa practitioners well would bring them and their families' good fortune. I also told them that I had told my family clearly that I will never commit suicide. If I should die in police custody, it means I must have been tortured to death. I asked my family to make a request to the police to acknowledge responsibility if that happens. Finally I was carried away by the police while shouting "Falun Dafa is good!" My righteous deeds greatly shocked the evildoers.
I was very calm at the police station; all I thought about was letting go of life and death and saving every sentient being. I was handcuffed to a sofa, yet I clarified the truth to everyone with reason and compassion. Dafa gave me endless wisdom during this time. I knew Master was helping me. Confronted with my righteous thoughts and righteous deeds, the police did not dare to abuse me, neither verbally nor physically.
The next day they sent me to the detention center. During the interrogation, the police told me that all the torture and the persecution I talked about was untrue. They said that they would not touch me, and if I did well, they would make a report to the higher authorities and release me. I told them I would never tell them anything about my fellow practitioners, and I am not afraid of any death threats, neither am I afraid of being imprisoned. I told them I did not commit any crime, and I would never go along with any persecution that was forced on me. Later, in front of people from the Procuratorate and the Court, I clarified the truth and validated the Fa to them in order to save them. I refused to sign any documents and did not cooperate with any of the evildoers' demands, orders, or what they instigated. As a result many people learned the truth. One court police official even said publicly, "Why are we arresting good people who are following Truth- Compassion-Forbearance?" The judge also said he was sympathetic to Dafa practitioners.
In the detention center I clarified the truth to the inmates the first night I arrived. The cell leader told me to stop or she would report me; the other inmates agreed with her. I felt sad for them. I told them I sincerely wished the best for them, but if they wanted to persecute me, I would go on a hunger strike and never give in. They all said please do not go on a hunger strike! We would all suffer if you do; and please, do not do the exercises here, otherwise the guards will punish all of us. I told them I would not make them suffer and would do the exercises with the guard's permission. I thought a lot that night, and decided I did not have to go on a hunger strike to protest the persecution.
I made up my mind to do well with my righteous thoughts and righteous deeds, let go of the attachment to selfishness and save as many people as possible.
The next morning the guard told the inmates in my cell, "You should all thank Xuemei; when she is here you will not have any work quota; you can work as much as you like." The guard also told me I did not need to recite the prison rules unless I wanted to. I told the guard that I am a cultivator, not a prisoner. I said that I wanted to do the exercises. I told the guard that I am not a criminal. I would not give up Dafa, even if I have to give up my life! The guard stared at me for a while and then said, "You can do the exercises by the door (where the monitor could not detect me) during lunch hour." When the guard left, the cell leader said she would teach me some rules, like you have to say, "thank the government" when leaving the cell, call "report" before entering the office, etc. I told her I would not follow such rules since I am not a criminal. I did everything for the benefit of others, yet the government compelled me to leave my home.
During the interrogation in the morning I did everything with my righteous thoughts. Nothing happened. In the afternoon when the guard ordered me to wear the inmate uniform my human notions emerged. I was afraid that if I didn't follow the order I might loose the good environment I had just created. Although I knew I must do everything with righteous thoughts as Master said,
"But as cultivation is lived out, when the suffering bears down on you and conflicts come up that hit upon the deepest part of you--and especially when it rattles the rigid notions you have--the test is really hard to pass. It can even be to the point that you know full well it's a test but still can't let go of your attachments." ("The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be")
I wore the uniform for several days. Later, I ran into a fellow practitioner during an interrogation. She was not wearing the uniform and was on a hunger strike to protest the persecution. She told me I must let go of the notion of life and death. I felt ashamed and saw my shortcomings. I took off my uniform immediately and announced that I would never wear it again, because I am not a criminal. I told the guard my thoughts. She said she admires Dafa practitioners' courage.
In the cell I was nice to everyone. My righteous deeds touched the inmates and provided me with more opportunities to clarify the truth. The cell leader said, "I would never have known the truth had I not met you; thank you!" I told her I wished her and her family a good future and was happy for them knowing the truth. As a result, everyone in the cell learned the truth about Dafa and they all agreed that I am a nice good person.
Soon I was transferred to a different cell. The new cell had 18 people. The cell leader, a manager at her workplace, had committed financial crimes. I continued to do well according to the principles of Falun Gong. I cultivated myself, was kind to others and continued as usual to practice the Falun Gong exercises, read Falun Gong books and explain the truth to others. Soon a specific environment was created. The cell leader spoke in front of everyone that if everyone could be like Falun Gong practitioners the world would be filled with love. She openly shouted, "Falun Dafa is good!" She also told me that she had a dream of being on a Dafa ship with me. One day, the prosecution against her was initiated and she felt bad when she came back from the trial. I told her, "When you were outside, you could only think about making money and did not listen to the truth. Today we meet here. I believe it is a predestined relationship. If you can help to introduce Falun Dafa to others, tell the truth to those deceived people, truly confess your crimes and won't commit wrong doings anymore, you are making up for your faults by doing good deeds and you are doing things of boundless beneficence. I think that some thing good will happen to you then." As a result, she said every day "Truthfulness-Benevolence-Tolerance is good; Falun Dafa is good" and made wishes to rescue lives. A miracle then happened; she was released before the court session started.
There was also a woman in her 60's who was imprisoned for swindling. She had been deceived by the evil propaganda and had been very much against Falun Gong. She told me that she thought Falun Gong was scary before because of the slanderous evil propaganda and she did not even want to speak to Falun Gong practitioners. After being together with me for more than two months she realized that Falun Gong practitioners are all the best people. She said, "After I am released, if any person speaks negatively about Falun Gong, I will argue with him. I also want to introduce Dafa to the people and let more people know the truth."
This way, group after group of those inmates in the same cell changed through my truth telling; 99% of them learned that Dafa is good and some even wrote declarations to resign from the CCP and its related organizations.
I did not do slave labor in the cell. I told them that I am not a prisoner. I cultivate Truthfulness-Benevolence-Tolerance. Some people saw that I helped others. Their minds became unsettled and they took advantage of me. I told them, "Nobody should play with Dafa practitioner's mercy. Dafa practitioners are compassionate and dignified. A person going through suffering is paying for the crimes he previously committed. If he still has bad thoughts and does not want to change for the good, he will commit new crimes and he will suffer even more in the future." I often told them what it means to be a human being and tried to awaken their consciousnesses and kind thoughts. As a result, the cell rarely had fights among the prisoners. The guard saw that I was helping her in her work and treated me well. She told other inmates, "The Falun Gong practitioner said that she did not do anything wrong. Except for her, everybody else must work, must wear the prison uniform, and must recite the prison regulations. This Falun Gong practitioner has good self-control and has good qualities. Even I have to treat her with respect."
I was illegally sentenced to seven years of imprisonment but I did not yield to the evil persecution. Every day I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil factors that were persecuting me and to demand unconditional release. I was very healthy in the detention center. The first time they tried to send me to a prison, I sent forth righteous thoughts, "The prison is an evil place that persecutes Dafa practitioners. I do not agree with the persecution and they must take me back the same way they got me to the prison." I also asked for Master's help to strengthen me. During the physical examination I sent forth righteous thoughts. Consequently, my physical examination results were abnormal. The tests revealed that I had hypertension (with the diastolic pressure of 150 mmHg) and heart problems. The prison postponed my acceptance.
I then returned to the detention center. Many of the inmates showed me their thumbs-up gestures and said, "We guessed you would be back because Master Li is helping you!" After returning to the detention center, the guard asked me, "Are you muddleheaded?" I told her, "No." She then said, "Why was your blood pressure so high?" I told her that many phenomena could not be explained with current science and she could perhaps consider this as a sign of the will of the heaven.
During a family visit my family told me, "Many practitioners said that since Master Li helped you, you should go with the trend and pretend that you are ill. You would probably be released that way." They said that if you had not helped another practitioner (she was handicapped from the persecution), she might probably already be released. My family also said, "Many people think that way; can they be wrong?" I said that no matter whose understanding it was, the understanding must be based on Dafa; one must consider the effect of validating Dafa, and [any actions] must have the result of rescuing people. I said that there are no role models to follow in cultivation and there is no formula to follow; one cannot act things out based on one's own conventional thoughts. I also said that based on my understanding of Dafa, trying to get out of prison by pretending to be ill was a non-practitioner's point of view. Doing so would interfere with the righteous belief of the living beings towards Dafa and could bring negative results. Also, if I did not take care of the other practitioner, people might say that not even her fellow practitioner took care of her! Others would have had to take care of her! If that were the case how could I talk about being compassionate to others? It would also bring a negative effect to Dafa and would interfere with rescuing lives. So, I concluded, I cannot do things based on conventional thinking.
When they tried to send me to prison the second time, the guard did not know what was going to happen, so she asked the head of the detention center to go with her to get me. I thought that this was a contest between the just and the evil. I am a godlike human being and they are merely people. Anyone that fights with a god will be defeated. I unceasingly sent forth righteous thought to disintegrate the evil factors that were persecuting me and asked for Master's help to strengthen me. I held up the righteous thought that this time I would not go to prison and would not even return to the detention center! I wanted to go home!
The medical examination showed that my systolic blood pressure was 240 mmHg and I had a serious heart problem. The prison formally refused to accept me. Some of the inmates who were with me at the time showed me their thumbs-up signs and some greeted me with the heshi gesture (two palms pressed together in front of chest). I told them with Truthfulness-Compassion- Tolerance in mind, under any circumstances, no difficulties can stop us.
When I returned to the detention center the inmates told me that Dafa is really powerful. I continued to send forth righteous thoughts and demanded unconditional release. As a result, the detention center said they were afraid of taking the responsibility should I die there. They took me to a hospital for an examination and let me go home on bail for medical treatment. This way, a seven-year prison sentence ended within several months. It was just like Master said,
"When Disciples Have Sufficient Righteous Thoughts, Master Has the Almighty Power to Turn the Cosmos Around." (from Hong Yin II)
My experience again validated that justice will defeat evil. It also validated the grand manifestation of gods in the human society.
In my cultivation process I testified to the boundless Dafa, experienced the enormous and powerful kindness of Buddha and corrected many of my conventional thoughts, such as: "if the evildoers catch me, I will be beaten or even cruelly tortured, particularly because I am a practitioner who makes truth materials;" and "many people have been forced to denounce other practitioners because they could not bear the torture anymore." Too many of these kinds of lessons had unknowingly developed into a subtle fear in my thinking. My thinking wavered during tribulations. I used others as an example, such as, "That practitioner was so diligent and even he failed to withstand the pressure; could I go through it?" There were other similar strange thoughts that failed to put Dafa in the primary position. As a matter of fact, what is hardship? Master said,
"... students' own karma, inadequate understanding of the Fa, inability to let go of attachments amidst tribulations, inability to deal with things using righteous thoughts amidst painful trials, and so on, are the main reasons behind evil's escalation of the persecution, and are the true fundamental excuses that the evil has used to damage the Fa." ("Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s)" from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Finally, lets us keep firmly in mind our Master's guidance and righteously walk the last stage of our journey well!
"You play the leading role in this period of history, and the existence of everything at present, whether it be evil or the upright gods, has to do with you. It is walking straight your path that is most important. In the final time, the evil's factors will dwindle, circumstances will ease up, and the world's state of affairs will change, but never will the path that you are to walk straight change." ("Walk Straight Your Path")
(From the Second Mainland Dafa Practitioners' Cultivation Experience Sharing by Writing Conference)
October 26, 2005