[Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day] A Korean Falun Dafa Practitioner Studies Chinese and Memorizes the Fa
(Minghui.org) Before I start, please allow me to celebrate the 19th World Falun Dafa Day, to express my deep gratitude for Master's grace, and to make clear my appreciation for the opportunity to share my cultivation experiences on the Minghui website.
Working with Minghui, Studying Chinese
I obtained the Fa through my elder brother in October 2000, before I reached my 18th birthday. At the beginning of 2004, I had an opportunity to start working with the Korean Minghui website to proofread articles.
At the beginning, it was hard for me to understand articles translated from Chinese. I had to compare articles in both Korean and Chinese, word for word, by frequently looking things up in a dictionary.
I have picked up a lot of Chinese words this way. Little by little, I learned how to translate Chinese articles. About a month later, I was able to translate some simple articles on my own. I practiced translating some brief articles with straightforward sentences.
Still, my Chinese was limited, which hampered my translation. A few years later, out of curiosity, I started reading Zhuan Falun in Chinese. At the time, I had Chinese books at home, but never thought about reading them. I also did not dream about reading or understanding Chinese.
To my surprise, I was able to understand about half of what was said in Zhuan Falun. I thought that maybe I should study Zhuan Falun carefully in Chinese. Yet I did not make up my mind as I did not know how to pronounce Chinese.
I told myself, “This book is so thick. When would I ever finish it? I can study the Fa in Korean just the same, which is good enough.” Later, when browsing through Zhuan Falun, I was surprised to find out that I was able to recognize even more Chinese words. I figured, “It would be a loss not to study Chinese now that I know so many Chinese words.”
In the end, with a strong sense of urgency, I made up my mind to study Zhuan Falun in Chinese.
At first, I was a little intimidated and did not know where to begin. In my small town, there were no Chinese classes. Even if there were, I would not have been able to afford them. I was the only Falun Dafa student in my area, and there were no Chinese practitioners.
I decided to ignore the pronunciation and learn to recognize Chinese characters by reading through the text to understand their meanings. I felt that if I could accomplish that, I would be most privileged, grateful, and blessed.
That was how I started transcribing Zhuan Falun in Chinese.
Transcribing Zhuan Falun
When I was transcribing the Chinese edition of Zhuan Falun, I compared it word for word to the Korean edition. At the beginning, I could hardly copy a complete Chinese character, and it would take me several attempts to get it right.
I bought a dictionary, 2 1/2 inches thick, to look up Chinese characters and terms. As time went by, I was able to look up words faster. Sometimes I would land on the word I was looking for by turning a few pages or opening the dictionary at the exactly the page. I knew Master was helping me.
The process of transcribing Zhuan Falun was also a process of xinxing cultivation. For example, at first, my wrist ached from writing, and my joints stiffened as I was too focused on the content and held the pen too tight.
Still, whenever I was home, I persevered in transcribing Zhuan Falun. Looking up words in the dictionary took time away from writing.
By chance I learned there were electronic dictionaries, and I bought one. It turned out to be a very popular one and, due to Master's kind arrangement, the one that suited me most. Also it could pronounce words. Out of curiosity, I listened to the pronunciations and tried to follow them.
As I was about to finish transcribing Zhuan Falun, I suddenly realized, “Isn’t it a loss to browse through the book without reading it out loud?” As such, I made up my mind to learn Chinese pronunciation, and I started after I finished transcribing the whole book for the first time.
Reading the Fa in Chinese
When I first started, I was intimidated. There was no Chinese teacher, so who could I learn from?
I thought about the Chinese practitioners I’d come to know. But I hesitated as it would take them too much time; thus, I decided to learn by myself.
When I was still in doubt, a thought occurred to me: “Of course, I already have a Chinese teacher, a master, who will teach me Chinese!” After this thought, I was more than encouraged. I knew that, no matter how much language skill a Chinese teacher had, he could not compare to Master. With Master guiding my way, I would not get it wrong.
When I was learning Chinese pronunciation, I started reading Zhuan Falun out loud. I had learned the meanings of Chinese words by transcribing. I also bought a couple of notebooks, wrote down each and every character that I did not know, and read every character out slowly. I also wrote down the pages the characters appeared on in Zhuan Falun.
Using the electronic dictionary, I learned the definitions as well as the pronunciations of the characters. I started with so many new words, and they filled each page of my notebook.
But I did not force myself to memorize specific words. Following a natural course, I tried to remember the pronunciation of those I could and let go those I could not.
I felt that I was not learning Chinese. Instead, I was learning the Fa.
Some words I had to look up a dozen times, and I would still get their pronunciation and tones incorrect. But I did not give up until I knew them by heart. One day when I was looking up a word, suddenly it ran though my body. It felt like a huge impact had literally struck my mind, although there was no pain.
I felt my mind clear. Then the word started spreading from within my body, like waves of energy. At that moment, I knew I understood the word and could recognize it if I saw it again. It turned out I was right when it came up the next time.
Some words that I wrote down in my notebook seemed to be behind a partition in my mind, which prevented me from memorizing them after repeated efforts. By the time I was able to remove the divide, I was able to memorize them.
One night, I had a dream that I spoke fluent Chinese, with correct pronunciation, at a normal speed. I later had the same dream again. I realized Master was giving me a hint that I was Chinese in one of my previous lives.
So, I thought to myself, I have not “just started” learning Chinese. On a scale of 0 to 100 on knowledge of the Chinese language, I was starting at 100. Whatever we did and spoke had been recorded in the universe. If I had been Chinese before, the Chinese I spoke then would still exist in my realms.
Because I am a Korean, my Chinese ability has thus been locked or compressed in a deep dimension. I am certain Master has control of my memory of my past lives.
In the course of learning Chinese, Master would unlock my ability and even make up for my deficiencies.
After I overcame my worries about pronouncing Chinese, I developed other concerns over time. When would I be able to read all of Zhuan Falun out loud? To calm myself down, I listened to Minghui Radio before going to sleep.
Then one day I had a dream in which I met someone who looked identical to me.
He said, “I am you.” He then started talking slowly, in Chinese. I asked him if he could talk faster, and he did. He started talking so fast, like birds chirping.
Seeing how shocked I was, he slowed down and said, “Now this is the level you are at.” I felt that he was telling me, “You are a beginner. I am teaching you based on your level. You cannot rush yourself.
“Time will teach you,” echoed in space. He then said, “Though you cannot see me, I'm always with you.”
I understood that Master was advising me to let go of my attachment to time. Things take time to evolve. Not long after that, I was able to understand, little by little, what Master said in his nine-day Fa lecture recordings. In a few months, I finished reading Zhuan Falun for the first time.
Meanwhile, I also learned traditional Chinese writing. After reading through Zhuan Falun, I was able to read it out more fluently. Although it did take time, I was filled with happiness and joy.
I used several notebooks to write down Chinese words I did not know. By now, I no longer need those notes.
Memorizing Zhuan Falun
I had attempted to memorize Zhuan Falun in Korean, but I stopped before finishing the first chapter. One day I was reciting the Fa while working in the farm fields.
When there was no one around me, I recited out loud. When there were others, I recited it in my heart. All of a sudden, my mind went blank, and I could not recall what I had committed to my mind. I tried hard to fill in my empty mind. A moment later, I sensed that a wall inside me had collapsed. On the other side of the wall, sentient beings were beating on drums in celebration.
This was what I had sensed, though not seen. But it was very vivid. Tears ran down my cheeks, and I felt the bliss in those sentient beings.
Nothing mattered in comparison to the sentient beings’ safety and happiness. It was no longer important whether I had my body, or whether the sentient beings knew about my existence, as if the only thing that was left of me was my consciousness, which shielded them from harm.
At that moment, I promised myself to memorize the Fa and to return to my origin on behalf of sentient beings.
That memory faded until I remembered to memorize the Fa in Chinese. I regretted I did not persist in memorizing the Fa earlier, in Korean.
I forgot the promise, yet Master did not. When I was able to read the Fa in Chinese, Master unlocked my memory and let me do so in Chinese. With a sense of yearning and urgency, I started memorizing the Fa again. At the beginning, however, I did not set a strict standard for myself.
“I am not a native Chinese practitioner,” I thought, “and I can't recite as fellow Chinese practitioners can in paragraphs. I can do it sentence by sentence, which isn't too bad. Also, it is easier to see progress and carry on.”
But I was disturbed by this thought and felt I was cutting myself too much slack. Later I realized that the Fa sets the same standards for everyone.
I should not be different from Chinese practitioners. So I started memorizing in paragraphs, then two and three paragraphs together, and then starting all over.
Master taught us:
“When somebody chants Buddha’s name he has to chant without any distracting thoughts, he can’t have anything on his mind, and he’ll chant until all the other parts of his brain go numb and he loses awareness of everything, one thought replaces tens of thousands of others, and each word of ‘Buddha Amitabha’ appears before his eyes.” (Zhuan Falun)
One evening, I was sitting in the lotus position at home, with my eyes closed, my mind clear, and all my attention on reciting the Fa. When my mind was focusing on each word while reciting, I could feel each sentence in the Fa shoot into my body, which spread energy all over and radiated outward.
I was only aware that I had this thought of reciting the Fa, and it was as if my body disappeared. The paragraph in the Fa I was reciting showed up in front of me, in a golden color, and sometimes a stone slate showed up.
Each Chinese character was carved on it, with 3D effects. The more focused I was reciting and with my mind deeply calm, each stroke of every Chinese character on the slate gradually turned gold, and they were laid out next to each other tightly. They were all from Zhuan Falun.
Then, when I wanted to see the back of the slate, it turned by itself. And on the back, it was Zhuan Falun in Korean. I turned the slate back and forth a few times.
When I wanted to see more details, it all disappeared. I tried for a while, but it did not show up. What I saw so vividly on the slate that evening made me more determined to memorize the Fa.
One early morning, I dozed off while reciting the Fa. Suddenly I heard a deafening sound of thunder, like an earthquake in the sky. I was awakened out of fright. Yet I could not move my body or open my eyes.
Then beautiful music came from the sky, which lasted for several seconds. After the music stopped, I heard a solemn voice very clearly. It said four characters, and I was even able to repeat them. When I opened my eyes to repeat them again, I could no longer say the four characters, whose meaning I could clearly recall.
It was a stern warning that I should not fall asleep when reciting the Fa. I trembled with fear and could not open my eyes until the solemn voice disappeared. I sat for a long time with my mind blank.
I was thinking that the four characters were similar to Chinese, yet they were not. They were not in any human language. What they implied was similar to Chinese but far more vast than can be conveyed in human language. I felt ashamed for not living up to the standards Master set for me.
I realized that no matter how tired I become, whenever I pick up Zhuan Falun, I have to remain focused, with no excuses. To study the Fa, I have to do it “without any distracting thoughts.” (Zhuan Falun)
Memorizing the Fa in a Group
There was a hurdle that stood in my way for several years, which was to study the Fa using an online platform with other practitioners. In particular, I had been too timid even to hold the microphone.
Last year I installed some software to study the Fa on the online platform. I was still reciting the Fa, although at a very slow pace, and it was hard to spend the time needed to do it.
I remained anxious about reading the Fa in a group. When I studied the Fa, I envied the environment in which practitioners in Changchun City recited the Fa in a group.
At the time I could not find fellow practitioners who wanted to recite the Fa with me. While I did not have a solution, I still harbored the hope. After a fellow practitioner helped install the online platform software, I was surprised to find there were several rooms for reciting the Fa.
The first time I attended a study session, I was panicking. I had to breathe deeply and tell myself to overcome the hurdle. When it was my turn, my mouth felt dry and I started to shake and had chills.
When it was my turn to read, and despite my shaky voice, I continued to read. My head ached, and I could not recall how I did; the second time was better, though.
By the third time, I was back to normal, just like when I was studying the Fa by myself. Sometimes during the group Fa study session, I still felt intimidated but was able to overcome the nervousness.
One night in my dream, a fellow practitioner told me, “Let's study the Fa in a group.” I was caught by surprise. Had I not been studying the Fa online, and by myself offline? Why did the practitioner say that to me?
I came to the realization that, for quite some time, I was following the routine of Fa study, but ignoring quality. When others were reading or reciting the Fa, I would be looking ahead to my turn.
“Their” paragraphs had nothing to do with me. With this mindset, I was still studying the Fa by myself instead of with the group. In addition, I was obsessed with memorizing the whole book quickly. While others were reading their sections, I was jumping ahead to later sections. Sometimes I even became absentminded and thought about other issues. My posture during Fa study was not right, either.
I finally came to see that it was neither “their” turn nor my turn when studying the Fa in a group—we are all part of the whole, and we are studying the Fa together.
Another time, a fellow practitioner was being severely interfered with by the demon of sleep. She tried much harder than the rest of us to battle that demon.
We recited the entire book three times, while she had done it five or six times but still could not overcome her sleepiness. I was not happy when I thought about her reciting the Fa slowly, because she held up my going over the book more quickly.
Because she was so sleepy, she read very, very slowly. And I could hardly refrain from telling her to wake up and speed up. Then I developed the symptom of sleepiness myself, which bothered me a lot.
I figured that it was my lack of compassion for this practitioner that was bringing about this similar state of mind. Not only did I not help her to overcome the trial, I even complained about her in my mind.
Now that I was in the same situation, I knew how hard it must have been for her to be stuck in that state of sleepiness. I started feeling how marvelous she was despite all the interference, and I developed compassion for her.
I stopped rushing her and waited quietly when it was her turn and recited in my heart at her pace. I came to see that this was not just her trial; it was ours, too, the entire group’s.
What’s more, it turned out I had not slowed myself down at all by taking this approach.
I now treasure, more than ever, this environment for memorizing the Fa. It has been seven months since I started attending the daily session, and it has become part of my life.
Sometimes I am distracted by complacency or other attachments. But whenever I miss a day, I regret it the following day. So I will continue to rectify myself and take good care of this environment Master has arranged for me.
I would like to take this opportunity to share the following teaching from Master:
“Those of us who have the ability, who are in their prime, excepting people who are older or who have poor memory, should try to memorize the book. Perhaps what I’m suggesting is high—my requirement might be really high. But in many regions a lot of students have memorized it very well.” (“Comments Regarding the Fa-Rectification Made at the Falun Dafa Assistants Meeting in Beijing” from Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa)
Through the Minghui website, I have read articles by elderly practitioners who have memorized the Fa, which is truly commendable. I was over 30 years old when I started learning Chinese.
At first I had to look each character up in a dictionary. It took me an hour or two to go over even one or two pages in Zhuan Falun. It appeared hard, but I did not take it as hardship back then. Instead, it was the happiest thing in this world.
I dreamed of the day when I could read Zhuan Falun fluently, and that filled me with joy and happiness. Now I am able to do this, only because Master gave me righteous thoughts to carry on to reach this goal.
Master knows my level of understanding and gradually raised the bar. Looking back, I came to the sudden realization that I am now genuinely reciting the Fa. Master has endured so much to get me to this stage.
So, to validate Dafa, I am writing this journey down.
When I’ve made mistakes, Master has rectified me to get me back into Dafa rather than giving up on me. I want to thank Master for his mercy. Heshi!
Fellow practitioners, please correct me when you see anything that is inappropriate or falls short.
(Submission to “Celebrate World Falun Dafa Day” 2018 on the Minghui website)