(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, Dafa practitioners around the world!
I started practicing Falun Dafa in 1997. Over the past 22 years, protected and strengthened by our benevolent Master Li, I have conquered numerous tribulations. My gratitude to Master is boundless. I would like to share some of my cultivation experiences to show the extraordinary power of Dafa.
I went to Beijing to speak out for the right to practice Falun Dafa in 1999 and was arrested. The police took me to a forced labor camp, where I would be searched. I had several handwritten pages of Zhuan Falun on me and started to think about how could I protect them.
Suddenly Master's teaching came to mind:
I told myself that it would be best if I could keep them close to me, so I slipped the pages in the pocket of my coat. When I was searched, I calmly handed them my coat. The staff barely touched it, not even bothering to look inside the pockets. My handwritten pages of the Fa were saved.
Then we had to sit through an orientation session and listen to a guard lay down the ground rules: “You have to follow the rules here. You are not allowed to do your exercises or read your books. You must follow all the labor camp rules. Are you up for it?”
Nobody said a thing. Then they ordered each of us to respond individually.
When it was my turn, I said firmly, “No way. As a practitioner, I will keep doing the exercises and reading the book no matter where I am.”
The guard seemed outraged and said, “Let me tell you, since you are here, you have to obey us and cannot do as you wish.” She pushed me aside and continued on to the next practitioner.
For some reason, the next practitioner fainted. Everyone rushed to help her, which created a commotion. The guard gave up talking to the remaining practitioners.
Conditions in the labor camp were very harsh. It is extremely cold in the winter in Northeast China. Most of the windows had no glass in them. The radiators were cold. Routine washing and showering had to be done with cold water with slushy ice in it.
Around 80 inmates slept in a single large cell with two long rows of bunk beds and an open lane between them. Nine large plastic buckets were placed in the open lane for us to use as toilets, as the room was locked from the outside at night. The next morning all the buckets would be overflowing with human waste, toilet paper, and used feminine hygienic products. It made me want to vomit. To make things worse, the head inmate told me to clean the buckets.
That was not the worst part. Each practitioner was monitored routinely by two assigned inmates. We were not allowed to speak, close our eyes, or sit with bent, relaxed legs. The guards came into the room once an hour to do roll call and everyone had to respond “Yes” promptly or be beaten on the spot. The atmosphere in the room was suffocating.
I said to myself, “This is no place for humans to live. We are Dafa practitioners. Why should we be subjected to such humiliation and filthy conditions?”
I whispered to the practitioner next to me, “This is not where we should be. Let's get out.” She replied, “You are right. Let's break out of here.” A monitoring inmate heard her and slapped her face.
I had just thought about getting out of the labor camp but was not clear how.
In the middle of the night, a loud commotion woke me up. Several inmates were beating a fellow practitioner. Another inmate told me that the practitioner had attempted to do the Dafa exercises.
I said, “She did nothing wrong. They should not beat her for that.”
The inmate said to me, “It’s none of your business. You don't want to bring trouble upon yourself.”
“She is a fellow practitioner. Why isn’t my business?” I put on my clothes and was about to get involved but the inmate held me back. Several other practitioners also rushed over, trying to protect the practitioner from being beaten.
Because I was being held back and could not get to the front, I thought, “I cannot go to the front now. I will go to the back and do the exercises myself.”
I ran in the opposite direction and started doing the exercises. Just then, the commotion in the room came to a sudden halt. Everyone returned to their beds. I went back and sat down on my bed as well. I realized that a male guard had just come in with an electric baton in his hand. A gang followed him in, including the labor camp director, the captain, and the political instructor.
The director also held an electric baton and said, “Let me tell you, I don't care what you did before ending up here. Now you are in my neck of the woods. Even if you are a dragon, you have to coil, even if you are a tiger, you have to crouch.”
I thought, “We are Dafa practitioners. How can they compare us to dragons and tigers? Why do we have to do what they say?” So I spoke out loud, “Nobody ever told us we were being sent here. Had we known what it would be like, no way would we have come.” Before I could even finish, a gang of inmates swarmed all over me and showered me with their fists.
As I did not have any fear, their fists did not seem to hurt or cause any pain at all. They dragged me into an office. I saw two other practitioners that were already there, hanging by their wrists. Whenever someone came into the room, I would start talking to them about Dafa and the injustice being done to practitioners.
Later, the camp director came into the office. I handed him the letter I had written to him. After reading it, his arrogance dissipated. He looked at me with a mysterious look on his face as if he was inferior to me and had done something underhanded. He did not say anything and left.
Another guard came in and handcuffed me to the radiator. After she saw me sit down to relax, she moved me to the door and cuffed me to the door frame. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep where I stood.
The next day the guards locked three of us in solitary confinement, which was actually a chicken coop with no glass in the window and no radiator. The beds were made of a few planks of wood. They were so narrow that you would fall off if you tried to turn over.
The inmate assigned to watch us kept complaining about having to suffer along with us and the only benefit was that she did not have to do her routine labor.
I knew I could do the exercises there without much interference, so I sat down to do the meditation. About half an hour into it, I heard the noise of electric baton discharging from the room next door and someone shouting, “Falun Dafa is good! Falun Dafa is ......” that was abruptly interrupted.
I was worried and fearful and did not know what exactly was happening. But I was clear that a fellow practitioner was being tortured. I could not stand by and not do anything. However, when I raised my hand to knock on the wall to show my support for the fellow practitioner, my hand stopped in midair and an overwhelming sense of fear ran through my entire body.
I asked the inmate, “What’s happening next door?” She told me, “Don't make a sound. Just listen.” But we did not hear anything else.
I felt at a loss. I knew in my heart that if I was controlled by the fear, I would never be able to summon my righteous thoughts to defeat it in the future. I asked myself, “What should I do?”
I heard two voices in my head. One asked, “Do you want to be human or divine?” The other replied, “I want to be divine. It entails so much hardship to be human. I will do everything to avoid being human again.” The first one asked, “As a god, what should you do?” The other responded, “Break through all obstacles.” One agreed, “Exactly! Break out of here!”
Once that thought came to me, I was again overwhelmed with fear—almost as if someone was scooping my heart out. The pain was unbearable and I felt as if I was suffocating and about to vomit. It was a literally heart-wrenching feeling.
Then all of my thoughts suddenly vanished and my mind was completely empty. It felt as though nothing in this world, even an atomic bomb explosion, would matter to me. I would not pay a thread of attention whether someone does great harm to me or infringes on my personal interests, as they were so irrelevant and insignificant.
I started to recite Master's poem,
“Steeling the mind, lift up the leaden legsEnduring pain, strive on, let go attachments”(“Climbing Mount Tai,” Hong Yin, translation version C)
I knew I was not steeling my mind and lifting my leaden legs. On the contrary, I was dragging my heavy legs and not clear about how to eliminate my attachments. I held but one simple thought: “I must not linger around or fall behind. No matter how hard it is, I must push forward. My cultivation must not fail whatsoever.”
With such a firm thought, the fear disappeared and my heart calmed down. I knew what to do. I told the inmate, “I am going to continue doing the exercises.” She said in fear, “Please don’t. If you do, both of us will be doomed. My fate is in your hands.”
I quietly told her, “I won’t implicate you. I will take full responsibility for my own behavior. Please go ahead and report to the guards that I am about to do the exercises.”
She agreed and shouted to the outside, “I report she is doing the exercises.” After shouting several times, someone came and said, “What? She is doing the exercises? Okay. Let her wait and see what happens now.”
Soon I could hear people approaching. I did not harbor any fear at the moment and sat down in the meditation position. I calmly watched the captain holding an electric baton, followed by a group of inmates, coming at me. The captain circled me once and asked, “You are the one who wants to do the exercises?”
“Yes,” I replied.
She pointed the baton at the window frame and said, “If you do, I will hang you on that frame.” I looked at the window quietly and did not say anything further. I thought, “I don't fear it.” So I kept looking back at her.
Getting no response from me, she sat down on the bed and asked, “Some people say they practice Falun Dafa to cure their illnesses; some do it to improve morality in the society; others do it for the benefit of the country. So why do you practice?”
“For none of the reasons you just mentioned,” I told her.
“Why then?” She asked.
“I practice Falun Dafa to achieve Buddhahood.”
She was surprised, “Buddhahood?”
She became excited, “You’ve got the right reason. The others aren’t proper. Yours is the right one. So what is the ‘consummation’ you practitioners talk about?”
I told her, “When one’s morality is uplifted and has reached the level that whatever they do is intended for others’ benefit, one has achieved consummation.”
She looked at me for a while and seemed to be pondering what I’d just said. Then she asked, “You practitioners want to go to heaven after consummation. But how can Heaven accommodate so many of you?”
I thought to myself that she might not be able to comprehend high-level understandings of the universe, so I should not talk at too high a level.
I said, “Although many people are practicing, not all can achieve consummation. So it would not be a problem.”
“Will you succeed?”
“I’m sure I will.”
She seemed shocked and yet admiring. She talked to me for another 20 minutes and left.
I had a dream that night: I walked into a room where several people who appeared to be doctors were wearing white coats. They were holding knives and different torture devices and about to operate on me. I said, “I am a Dafa practitioner.” They discussed it among themselves and let me go. After waking up, I knew I’d passed the test.
Two days later, another guard came and attempted to persuade me to give up my faith. I used the opportunity to tell her that Falun Dafa is innocent and being wronged.
On the seventh day, a guard took me out of the cell. I thought she was about to lock me up in an even worse solitary confinement. But it turned out that they were transferring me and the two other practitioners to another labor camp.
As I found out later, fellow practitioners detained in the labor camp had been demanding that the authorities release the three of us from solitary confinement. Some of them went on hunger strikes while others continued to do the exercises, causing a lot of headaches for the authorities. Some practitioners were beaten and electrically shocked. A practitioner had her face slapped two dozen times when she went to the captain to demand our release. She did not have any hatred or fear. I was moved by their deeds when I heard the stories.
Later, I asked myself why I didn’t completely break free. I realized that my thoughts weren’t completely right at the time—I thought that I would not go home as long as the situation was not completely rectified and the overall persecution had not ended. I was still planning to break out of the labor camp and go to other detention facilities to tell people about Dafa.
In the second labor camp, the staff was pretty nice. It was also much more friendly and comfortable. The rooms were clean and had heat. I thought to myself, “This place is pretty good. I can be comfortable here.” Only later did I realize that thought was wrong.
The next day, a captain came to chat with us. She said, “I don’t know much about Falun Dafa or who your Master is, so I don’t have any authority to judge you. I respect you. But since you are here, I hope you will respect us and our rules.”
I thought she sounded very polite and civilized, so we should be civil to her in return. I told her, “Since you don’t know us practitioners well, we will give you time to get to know us. Please find the book Zhuan Falun and read it. It will help you understand Dafa and practitioners.”
She replied, “Okay. But before I finish reading it, please don’t do your exercises.”
I agreed and told her we would not do the exercises for nine days so she could read one chapter of the book every day. She agreed as well.
Thus we cooperated with them in the first few days, looking forward to what would happen after she finished reading. However, the captain spent most of her time organizing classes for practitioners to attend. Other than attending classes, we did not have to do the same manual labor as other inmates.
Although she was courteous, we soon realized what she taught in the class was against Dafa’s teaching and followed the same theme of the CCP’s brainwashing propaganda, though well veiled and disguised.
One day, a practitioner stood up in class and said, “Captain, please stop. I am not against you personally but what you are saying is harmful to both you and us. We don’t want to listen to it.”
I also came to the understanding that we should not let the captain continue. If we did, all the practitioners in the class (over 30 of us) would be in danger of being deceived and go astray in our cultivation.
I said to her after the class, “I won’t come to the class starting tomorrow.”
“Why? Is there something wrong with my teaching?”
I said, “I don’t like what you talk about. It is not good for you either. No matter what happens, I just won’t attend the class anymore.”
In a threatening tone of voice she said, “Do you know the consequences?”
“Whatever the consequences, I don’t want my cultivation to be cut short. I will break out of here at any cost, even my life.”
She said, “I am not the person in charge. I will report your situation to the director. You can chat with him yourself if you want.”
After getting back to my cell, I felt my right eye socket was expanding. When I touched it, it was flat as normal. Soon I saw a beam of colorful light shining out of my right eye. The light was crystal clear and beautiful. I watched it quietly for half an hour until it finally disappeared, knowing others could not see it. I knew I did something right and Master was encouraging me.
After that, the captain announced the class was terminated and practitioners would do the manual labor instead.
(To be continued)