(Minghui.org) I am a 19-year-old Western practitioner from Christchurch, New Zealand. In just one and a half years of practicing Falun Dafa, I have changed so much. My whole realm of thinking has undergone such a fundamental transformation. My mind is becoming clearer and purer. I have let go of so many bad mentalities, habits, notions and attachments. I no longer do any drugs or drink alcohol.

Growing Up in a Warped and Degenerate Era

Being born in this moment of time – the final stages of the Dharma ending age – I grew up in an environment of corruption, warped thinking, and degenerate behavior. As a result, I formed countless notions and attachments, deviating so far from Zhen-Shan-Ren [Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance] that I was almost unrecognizable from my original, innate, and pure self.

From watching a lot of TV – particularly provocative celebrity music videos, and programs intended for adults – from a young age, I was interfered with by many bad characteristics, such as concern for reputation, lust, having a short temper, selfishness, untruthfulness, and concern for personal gain.

As I grew up, these things consumed me more, making me become more and more like them, and thus causing me to lose my true self.

By the time I was 12, I had my own cell phone and had an explosive temper with my parents. By the time I was 13, I was on facebook and was conceited and vain. At 14, I had my own laptop and was addicted to the internet. By the time I was 15, I was drinking alcohol and doing drugs, and I was also on an antidepressant. Needless to say, I was heading for destruction.

During my high school years, I sunk into a depression that haunted me whenever I was alone. For a while, I no longer wished to live. Yet there was always a little glimmer of hope that shone in my heart, telling me that everything was going to be okay and that I had a purpose here – that there was something important awaiting me in the future.

Searching for Truth

As I got older, I continued having this feeling in the pit of my stomach – a feeling that things just weren't right. I used to cry to my mum and tell her that this place (earth) didn’t feel like my home. This was when I began to search for the truth.

I began doing much research into conspiracy theories, philosophy, spirituality, and metaphysics, and my mind began to open. I was able to let go of many human notions born of modern science. I believe that this period of time was getting me ready to attain the Fa. Though these things opened up my mind, they only raised more questions than they did answers.

It started to become my Number One priority to find the truth of life and the universe. At the same time, it started becoming more important to me to be a good person. Yet in actuality, I had no idea how to be a good person. I only knew how to do some superficial good deeds. Yet I had no idea how to discern right from wrong and good from bad.

I aspired to be good, yet I still harbored all of those wicked attachments, not even knowing that they were wrong. I felt lost and muddle-headed, I had no idea who I was. Being so ruled by my emotions, I often felt I had no idea what was real. I was also a hypochondriac, always in a state of worry about my health. I used to fear the future, worrying what would become of me and my problematic body, and what would become of the earth. Fear and confusion completely occupied my thoughts.

Dafa Saved Me

Then I was introduced to the book Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa in October 2016.

When I was handed the book, I had absolutely no idea what it was. I began to read Lunyu out loud. When I saw the word “Dafa”, I felt a feeling throughout my body that I cannot describe – almost a bit like “deja vu” when you have the sense of having done something before. I felt intrigued by this word. As I began to read “Dafa is the wisdom of the Creator…” I felt that this was a very significant moment in time, like I had been waiting for this moment for a really, really long time. Though I couldn’t really comprehend what I was reading, I knew that this was what I had been searching for.

It was then that my cultivation journey began.

It took quite a long time for me to get into the swing of cultivation. For quite some time, I didn’t really understand what it was all about and what was required of me. I started out by trying to be a good person. By trying to follow Falun Dafa's principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance – which for me at the time meant to tell the truth, be kind, and be patient. I also tried to look within and consider others first.

I felt grateful and overjoyed that I finally had a True higher teaching to guide me. Little by little I improved my xinxing (heart/mind nature) and came to understand greater truths within the book.

Yet it wasn’t until I started going to group Fa study and reading articles on Minghui.org, that I began to truly understand what cultivation in Falun Dafa was all about.

I truly feel like I owe my cultivation progress to consistent group Fa study and experience sharing with/from fellow practitioners – especially reading experience sharing articles on Minghui. Since I began to attend group Fa study, I haven’t missed a single Fa study unless I really wasn’t able to make it. I feel that group Fa study is so fundamentally important to making progress and that that is why Master emphasizes its importance so much. I feel like when practitioners come together, be it studying the Fa together, working on group projects, sharing experiences, or sending righteous thoughts, we as Dafa disciples, are helping our Master, Li Hongzhi, turn the Falun – we are truly particles of Dafa working as one body.

I never feel any anxiety over my health anymore; I feel completely calm and optimistic about it. The difference in me is truly profound. From a teenage girl who was so immersed in selfishness and warped modern thinking, to a Falun Dafa cultivator, who wishes to return to righteousness and purity, and to fulfill her vow that she made to the Creator.

Rectified and Elevated

The things that make me happy have all changed. I used to rely on external things for a burst of momentary happiness. Now I find my joy in self-development--in handling myself in accordance with Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, even in difficult situations--and letting go of deeply-rooted notions and attachments.

My heart fills with happiness when I introduce someone to the practice of Falun Dafa, and they have a very positive attitude towards it. Even the simple act of someone taking a brochure about Falun Dafa and the persecution out of my hand can be enough to make my eyes fill with tears. I feel enjoyment when fellow practitioners come together and share experiences, or work well together on truth-clarification projects. And of course, much of my joy comes from studying my Master's Fa.

Even my speech and manner has changed. I used to use foul language and swear very often, even blaspheming multiple times a day. Tones of frustration, impatience or sarcasm could often be found in my voice. Now I try to be very careful with my words and tone of voice, trying to remain compassionate and calm. I can honestly say that I no longer swear or blaspheme!

I used to be drawn towards things such as art, music and clothing that were drenched with warped modern notions. Now the things that I feel drawn to are much more beautiful, upright and traditional.

I used to pursue self-interest in every aspect of my life. But now, I strive to return to my true original self that is assimilated to Zhen-Shan-Ren [Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance] – that which can only truly be achieved through a heart of selflessness and purity.

I try to be careful of what I consume, as I know that everything that we see and hear enters our dimensional field – and the more of it we consume, the more we become like it.

Before I started practicing Falun Dafa, my mother and I used to argue a lot. I even used to feel resentment towards my mum, often complaining about her to others. I used to always think that she was in the wrong and needed to change her ways. Yet I never gave any thought to my own words and behavior.

All of this changed once I started practicing Falun Dafa and truly following the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Falun Dafa taught me to always look within myself to see where I could improve and to always consider others first in everything I do and say.

I realized that I had been stubborn and selfish, and never truly considered my mum's feelings or perspective. I also lacked respect. Once I came to this realization, I tried my best to improve myself and change my ways. I tried my best to apply Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance in my speech, manner, behavior and mind. I let go of the resentment in my heart, and then compassion was able to truly emerge.

My mum and I now thoroughly enjoy each other's company, and get on better than we ever have! She often tells me that she is “so proud to have such a kind and considerate daughter.” I tell her it is all because I practice Falun Dafa. She is very grateful and happy about my practicing Falun Dafa, as she has experienced first hand its power. I'm sure that the rest of our family is grateful too, as now our time together is much more harmonious and enjoyable for all.

All of these changes within myself give me solid faith in Master and Falun Dafa. I feel so grateful that I have been able to learn the practice of Falun Dafa.

Spreading the Truth Widely

Though I often feel very sad for those who are still completely lost in and consumed by ordinary human society, especially the youth of today, I look at them and I see my former self. I see them accruing karma with almost every thought, word, and action, and it pains my heart so much. But this helps me to develop great compassion and the aspiration to offer salvation to everyone by telling them about Falun Dafa and clarifying the truth. I know that this is the best thing that I can do to help them and the way to ensure that they have a bright future.

I have come to realize that everything that we encounter and experience is a reflection of ourselves – our own notions and attachments. This reflection is a magical tool. I have discovered that whenever something that someone else says or does, or a trait they have, irritates me or really stands out to me, it is because I too harbor that same notion or attachment. Now that I have become aware of this, whenever I notice someone else's shortcoming, I always try to check myself first to see if I too have that same shortcoming. I have found this to be a very effective way of looking within and identifying my notions and attachments. I have also found that once you look within and realize that you too have that same shortcoming (as a fellow practitioner), it is much easier for compassion to emerge and to then be able to kindly tell the fellow cultivator where they could improve.

Through cultivating in Falun Dafa, much of my inner wisdom has been unlocked, and I have been able to enlighten to many truths. However, I have discovered that many of my understandings are only surface deep – I have only enlightened to them superficially. I do not truly understand via heart and soul. I have realized that in order to truly understand something via heart and soul, it is not enough to just understand it mentally. One must also follow up with action and sincerity of the heart, the Fa truths that one has enlightened to, to truly, fundamentally understand them. Otherwise, the understandings can be lost like mist, or become unstable. I am going to try much harder at putting my wisdom into action, to truly understand it via heart and soul.

One of my biggest challenges is to balance self-cultivation, everyday life and the salvation of sentient beings. Due to my inability to balance these things well, recently my Fa study has been getting neglected. I have truly felt the effects of not studying the Fa enough. It truly is the most fundamental and important thing, without it, we cannot do well what we are meant to do. When I study the Fa regularly and thoroughly, I feel like I have a strong force in my heart that gives me power, wisdom, and compassion, and when I don’t, I feel numb and full of uncertainty.

Writing this experience report has brought to the surface many shortcomings in which I need to improve. I must be much more diligent and not waste a moment of this precious opportunity.

I wish to share my experience to show the beauty and power of Falun Dafa, and to express my gratitude. I owe my life, happiness, and purpose to Falun Dafa. Without Falun Dafa, I would be completely and utterly lost.

I also wish to give thanks to everyone who has submitted sharing articles to Minghui. I appreciate all of the practitioners who have helped me to improve on my own cultivation journey, through sharing their cultivation experiences and understandings.

Yet I can look back now and see that Master was watching over me all along, waiting until I was to attain the Fa.

Let's all do even better – cultivate ourselves better, cooperate together, and save more sentient beings.

Thank you, Master Li Hongzhi.