How Did I Become a Falun Dafa Practitioner?
(Minghui.org) I am from Switzerland and began my journey of cultivation a little over four years ago. Until then, I was a Christian and had never heard of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong). It was at my daughter’s birth that I knew for certain that my marriage was lost. I decided to search within myself to see my share of the problem. While doing so, my questions about life in general surged again. Who am I, and what am I doing here?
As I turned 40, I went through something like a second puberty. First, I was drawn to Daoism. I bought the best translation of the Tao Te Ching I could find. But for some reason, as soon as I opened the book, I could not concentrate at all. The same happened with books explaining the words of the Buddha. I then wanted to join some type of martial arts group, but nothing worked out.
We then moved to another town. At the time, I suffered from panic attacks in crowded places and when driving through tunnels. One day, I was driving on a highway and approaching a long tunnel. I was worried and felt tiredness coming over me. As I pondered asking my husband to take over and looked for an exit, I saw my daughter falling asleep. Just seconds after that, my husband closed his eyes as well. This was rather unusual, as it was a bright day. But it meant that I could not stop, so I kept driving. The sleepiness grew stronger. Eventually, my hands let go of the wheel, and I lost consciousness. I woke up from a loud bang and put my hands back on the wheel. The car was still in the middle of the road, and nothing had happened.
One day I listened to a TV show on the internet. The host and the guest were discussing the forces of light and dark in various countries. The guest said that there was a lot of light in China despite the Communist Party and its corrupting ways. The host asked where the light was coming from. The guest replied that it came from the ancient families that were upholding it.
When I heard this, I had a thought: “I want to work for that light.” I then found several web pages about Falun Dafa. I learned that there was a Dafa practitioner who lived just across the street from me. She agreed to teach me the exercises. But before doing so, I wanted to read Teacher Li Hongzhi’s book, Zhuan Falun. I knew it made no sense to learn the exercises if I wasn’t going to cultivate after all.
Childhood and Upbringing
I was adopted as a baby and grew up in a middle-class household. My parents meant well, but they were very demanding and had a set idea of how I should be and what I should become. I could not build up self-confidence or find myself. I mostly felt fearful of other people, including my parents. I felt as if I was in the wrong place and that the world out there was hostile.
As I feared emotional outbursts and the harsh, judgmental words of displeased people, I spent years trying to please everyone and live up to their demands. I tried to guess in advance what people around me wanted. Although I worked hard, I failed. As I was only a servant of the superficial, I turned into a depressed adolescent. My existence was utterly meaningless.
I looked for help in religion. I studied the most common ones and then chose Christianity. I felt Jesus was trustworthy and good to men and women. The night I said the prayer of invitation to Jesus, I experienced a small miracle. My addiction to smoking was eradicated, and my inner void was filled.
Although I had some form of guidance and orientation from then on, I could not really progress even though I tried hard to do so. I remained skeptical of the teachings of the priests, and in church congregations, I always felt a bit like a stranger, as if I did not really belong there.
Taking Up Cultivation
After reading the book Zhuan Falun, I wanted to accept Teacher Li’s offer of cultivation. The volunteer leading the local exercise site came over to my place to demonstrate the exercises. Afterward, I trained with the help of the instructional video.
In the beginning, I thought that self-cultivation was selfish, as it was something for me and not for others. So, while doing the exercises I threw imaginary lit-up candles into the dark. This was the only time I saw Teacher's fashen (law body). He handed me back the candle that I had just thrown into the dark and disappeared. From that I understood that Teacher Li is really there and true, that my acceptance of self-cultivation was legitimate.
In the years that have passed, my inner landscape, thinking, and comprehension of things began to change. The changed thinking would time and again provoke a change in how I would manage practical things in everyday life. The panic attacks subsided, and I am calmer now.
With Teacher Li’s help, I was able to be courageous and step out to validate Dafa and take part in group activities. Eventually, I began organizing my own little truth-clarification projects, including a desk in a mall, information booths in larger towns, and participating in a trade fair for handicraft materials. Paper lotus flowers attract and inspire a lot of people. While guests at the fair learned how to fold the flowers, they would learn about Dafa and the persecution in China.
The beauty of the lotus flower and the three principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance is what most people can agree upon regardless of their cultural and religious backgrounds.
I noticed that when what I say to people is simple, plausible and balanced, they can accept it. Sometimes young people feel that signing a petition will not change the situation for practitioners in China and just shrug their shoulders. But when reminded of their good hearts that seek to do what is right, they begin to smile and sign.
Europeans who grew up in communist countries do not need long explanations, as they know how the Chinese regime operates. Once, a man from an Eastern European country interrupted me and said, “Communism is persecution. It is the same.”
My Current Journey
Contrary to my childhood experiences, Teachers Li’s guidance is unobtrusive, and who I am is not up for discussion. I began to see that what happens to me in cultivation is not a form of punishment or because I am a particularly bad disciple. They are not meant to act against me but aim at having me succeed in my return.
“You know what? Just on the one issue of cultivation alone it's so complex at the cosmos's lower levels. But it becomes simple at higher levels, where there's no longer any concept of cultivation but only the concept of karma elimination. At levels higher up, all troubles are to pave the way for ascending to Heaven. And at even higher levels, concepts like eliminating karma, enduring hardships, and cultivation no longer exist, and it's just a choice! This is the principle at high levels of the cosmos: you think someone is good enough, so you choose him--that's the principle. "Cultivation? We didn't arrange cultivation for him. What's cultivation? We just want to cleanse it, cleanse it step by step, all the way up. Cleanse it--it's as simple as that!" Yet when manifest at different levels, it becomes paving the way, having troubles, enduring hardships, eliminating karma, cultivating, and so on, cultivating one way, practicing another way...” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival)
Teacher also said:
“I can tell you, all those things that you do are actually done for yourselves--not a single thing is done for me. At the same time, I can tell you that since the day you started cultivation, and all the way up to today, none of what I've told you or what I've asked you to do was for others. Your cultivation can benefit humankind and society, in cultivation Dafa disciples can become more mature toward one another, and while being persecuted Dafa disciples can reduce the pressure and the losses from the evil persecution. But all of these are by-products. The real purpose of all those things you do is for you to succeed. In the future, you can take a look back at this. Right now none of you need to say how magnificent I am, or this and that about me, your master. In the future, take a look back and you'll see that everything I did was to establish things for you. (Applause)
Do well what you should do. This predestined opportunity is hard to come by. Cherish all of this, there won't be a next time. Developing any attachment will ruin you halfway along! Don't entertain or get attached to any human thoughts, and just do what a Dafa disciple should do. Everything that's wonderful, that's the most magnificent, and that's the most glorious awaits you! (Applause)” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival)
With these words of Teacher Li, I wish you all the best and a safe return home.