(Shared at 2001 Orlando Conference)

In the beginning of Master Li's speech from the conference in Michigan he states: "You always felt that you were learning Dafa, rather than you were a part of Dafa. After this one year I find that you have completely changed. You no longer think as you used to. No matter what you do for Dafa, and no matter what it is your doing, you are placing yourselves in Dafa, and not thinking about 'I want to do this and that for Dafa' or I want to improve myself in this way or that way' like you did before. No matter what you do, you aren't thinking about what you're doing for Dafa, or 'How can I do things well for this Fa'. Instead you are placing yourselves within Dafa, like a particle of Dafa: 'No matter what it is, I should just do those things.' Even though you aren't conscious of it, or aren't expressing it clearly in words, that is in fact how your actions already are."

It was a year ago last October that I began my life as a practitioner of Falun Dafa. I understood very little about QiGong. I did think that it was for body, mind, and spirit; and to heal and make one fit. I had learned a little about bringing energy into the body and about meditation.

My life had taken a turn for the worse. My marriage was breaking up, the new business I was trying to put together fell apart, and I was severely depressed. My faith in God was gone.

One day while reading Natural Health magazine, I read an article about Falun Dafa as a new way of helping people to gain energy and health. I was able to get in touch with a practitioner through the internet. He came to my house with a copy of Zhuan Falun and a videotape of the exercises. I began reading the book that night, and I watched the video and began learning the exercises.

Although I had difficulty understanding some of Master Li's lectures in the book, I was determined to keep reading and practicing every day. I went to the practice site every Saturday morning. The other practitioners were always encouraging me and helping me to understand the parts of the lectures that I was confused about.

Being brought up as a middle class American, there was so much that I was not aware of. Studying the Fa has given me broader vision. It has opened my heart and my mind to the truth of the universe: Zhen Shan Ren.

The Fa was always with me, even the times when I wasn't practicing the exercises or reading the book. My whole life changed.

In Zhuan Falun Lecture Three Master Li states "......true cultivation practice must follow the requirements of the xinxing standard that we have established, and you have to truly upgrade your xinxing then it is true cultivation practice. If you only practice the exercises without improving xinxing, and without the powerful energy that strengthens everything, it cannot be called cultivation practice, nor can we treat you as Falun Dafa disciples."

Practicing everyday and reading everyday has given me strength. The path of cultivation is what gives meaning to my life. I am in the process of cleaning out the bad things on my mind, the karmic field surrounding my body, and the elements that make me unhealthy. I am learning how to endure and how to give up attachments.

I thank Master Li for bringing this Fa to America and to the world. It is the greatest gift to mankind: to bring people to higher levels, and to save us all. I will do everything I can to help people learn Falun Dafa and move ahead in cultivation. . .

How lucky I am to be living here in America, where we can study the Fa and practice the exercises, without fear of persecution and torture. Every day that I read about what the Chinese Government is doing to their own people, a great sadness comes over me; and an overwhelming sense of helplessness surrounds me.

As an American from birth, I grew up knowing that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were a normal part of our rights as citizens. Freedom of speech and freedom to choose how you live your life are all part of the choices we have in this country.

The people in China are suffering inhumane treatment, and outside of China we are crying out for them to be saved. How helpless we all feel! We must help support them by validating the Fa.

In Master Li's speech at the Western U.S. Cultivation Experience, he said, "Our students are truly remarkable. A while ago, you all did a lot of things that you were supposed to do for Fa-rectification. In this recent period of time, many of you have been doing a lot of work to let the public know the truth. As a Dafa disciple, a particle of the Great Fa if the cosmos, you should do that. When people damage the Fa...of course, no one can damage the Fa--how could the Fa of the cosmos be damaged by humans? No one is allowed to damage it....But when someone comes to attack the Fa, what should you as a disciple, a particle of Dafa do? Shouldn't you let the truth be known and make people aware of the facts? This is from your own perspective. You are a particle of Dafa, so you should play this role."

As a practitioner of Falun Dafa, it is important for me to tell people about the Fa. It is very difficult for some people to comprehend the essence of Falun Dafa, especially westerners. Understanding the truth of the Fa and the path to salvation will happen to those who are able to open their minds and their hearts.

In the book Essentials For Further Advancement, page 33, Master Li says under Verification: "In the future there will then be many experts and scholars whose wisdom will be broadened through the Buddha Fa. They will become the new mankind's pioneers in different fields of learning. Yet it is not for you to become a pioneer that the Buddha Fa has given you wisdom. You have attained it because you are a cultivator. That is, you are first a cultivator and then an expert. Then, as a cultivator you should make use of all feasible conditions to spread Dafa and verify that Dafa is correct and a genuine science, rather than preaching or idealism--this is every cultivator's obligation. Without this enormous Buddha Fa there would be nothing, including everything in the universe, from the most macroscopic to the most microscopic, as well as all of human society's knowledge."

Spreading the Fa has been a challenge for me. I am proud to practice openly in the park with the other practitioners. When people ask who we are, I try to encourage them to learn by giving them the literature, teaching the exercises, and answering questions. I pass out papers and pamphlets when I can, and join the other practitioners in demonstrations and discussions in the area. Recently, I sent packets to our Congressmen and to the Mayor. I even invited the Mayor to join us at a practice session in the park.

I know that I will try to spend the rest of my life telling people about the gift of Falun Dafa.

I still have many attachments. I find myself saying to myself, "that is an attachment, let it go, care less about it." It really helps me when I get upset, angry, afraid, or have any emotions that I have not been able to relinquish. In "Towards Consummation" Master Li says: "Studying the Fa with any attachments is not genuine cultivation. Yet during the course of cultivation practice a person may gradually become aware of his own fundamental attachments, get rid of them, and thus meet the criteria for being a cultivator." So what is a fundamental attachment? Human beings acquire many notions while in the world and are, as a consequence, driven by these notions to pursue what they yearn for. But when a person enters this world, it is karmic arrangements that determine his course of life as well as what will be gained and lost in it. How could a person's notions determine each stage of his life? Therefore, those so-called "beautiful dreams and wishes" become pursuits that can never be fulfilled, despite painful attachments." Later on he says: "It's not wrong for humans in this world to yearn with these attachments for beautiful dreams and wishes. A cultivator, however, definitely should not be that way. You may start on the path of Dafa with those thoughts, but over the course of practicing cultivation you must regard yourself as a cultivator. Later on by diligently making progress through reading the books and studying the Fa, you should clearly recognize what your notions were when you initially came to Dafa."

This is how it has been with me. My whole being has changed. Nothing will ever be the same again since I have become a cultivator. I have lost interest in material things. Now I say to myself, "Do I need that?" If it is not something essential, I disregard it. I rarely watch t.v. or read the newspaper. I have become calmer with my children. I am more accepting of my situations. I know that I am eliminating karma and that is good. Any pains that I feel during practice, I know that is good. I have learned to let go of people that I care about because I know I can't change their life patterns. When I get discouraged, I read Master Li's writings and I become clear again.

I don't know if I will ever reach full enlightenment, but I know that I am on the right path; and as long as I am able I will be a cultivator of Falun Dafa, and a student of Master Li. I feel honored that I have been chosen for this path in life, and I hope that the people of the world will open themselves up and choose to become students of Falun Dafa. Thank you.