(Minghui.org) I am 18 and I have been practicing Falun Gong with my mother since I was a child. My family was persecuted in China for our faith and we later fled to the UK as refugees.
I graduated from high school in the UK earlier this year and I am now a freshman in college. I would like to share how I introduced Falun Gong to others while in high school.
A School Project
I came to this high school in 2019. Shortly after this, I ran into my English literature teacher at an event. I told her about the persecution my family suffered while in China. She was moved and invited me to share my family’s story with the entire class.
The teacher dedicated one class session for my presentation. I prepared PowerPoint slides and printed out a summary of my talk. During the class, I talked about how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999 due to its fear of the practice’s popularity after it was introduced to the public in 1992. I also discussed how the CCP has been defaming Falun Gong with countless lies. Because the literature class happened to be covering the topic of totalitarian regimes at the time, many classmates were especially interested in my presentation. Some said that my talk made them realize what appeared to be just fiction in class readings could well be reality.
Although I forgot to include the petition website in the presentation, the overall effect was good. One classmate told me she planned to write an article on the human rights violation in China as her Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). As a one-year independent research project, EPQ can cover broad topics in the formats of essay, research, or even film. Thinking about this further, I decided to produce a documentary on the persecution of Falun Gong in China as my EPQ.
But it was easier said than done because I had no experience in journalism or filmmaking. Still, I decided to give it a try starting with learning iMovie software on my own. My documentary would focus on children of Falun Gong practitioners. After their parents were arrested and detained for their belief, these children were left on their own, unattended.
The discrimination against and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners’ children was overwhelming. In school, they were ignored and bullied by their peers and even teachers. Back at home, relatives and friends could not understand them and walked away. With no source of income, they could hardly lead a normal life. Even when they escaped China many years later, that childhood trauma could remain a nightmare that hovered in their minds all the time.
I planned to cover personal stories in the documentary – myself and three other young practitioners. Two of them were very easy to find and they were willing to help me. But I just could not find the last one. Time went by, day after day, and I was very worried.
After a Falun Gong activity, I told another practitioner the difficulty I experienced. She smiled when she heard what I said – another young practitioner who was walking with us at the time was the person I had been looking for. This young practitioner was also very cooperative and he sent me an article covering his childhood sorrows the following day. I was very grateful to Master Li (the founder of Falun Gong) for all these arrangements.
After completing the documentary, I sent it to my EPQ teacher. She was very touched and watched it three times. In the end, she gave me a high score.
After this, I shared my documentary with my dean, who was responsible for one-quarter of the students in the school from elementary pupils to high schoolers. I explained to her that the film was about my own experience and it would help her understand what was going on in China. She said she looked forward to seeing the movie. But she told me she couldn’t see any pictures when she tried to watch the documentary from the USB drive I gave her. She nonetheless listened to the audio for a while. I sensed it was interference from the evil, so I sent forth righteous thoughts and gave the dean another copy of my film. This time it worked.
Both the dean and her coworkers watched the documentary, and they were very touched. She came to me offering to show it to the students she was responsible for. On my student report, she praised my work. She said that, as a refugee, I made a great documentary and was a voice for those who had been suppressed in China.
I also showed the documentary to my friends. Some of them were moved to tears while others appeared indifferent. A classmate whom I hardly spoke with asked to see my film. It was noisy at the time, but she watched it attentively.
As a practitioner of Falun Gong, I also found the process of making the documentary was also a process of aligning with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. That is, there were many opportunities that reminded me to eliminate bad thoughts and attachments.
For example, someone said that EPQ is important for college applications and that I should make an EPQ in the field of economics since I was interested in majoring in economics in college. The documentary I planned to make about human rights might make people think I would be pursuing a major in law or political science. I became hesitant, thinking that other college applicants pursuing a major in economics might do better than me because of my EPQ.
Then I had a dream. All the colleges I applied for turned me down, while a girl I did not like, Jane, was accepted by all of them. In the dream, I was very jealous, as if the strong feeling was biting my heart like a snake. Like me, Jane was also interested in economics as a major and she had an EPQ in that area. But somehow I never liked her.
After I woke up from the dream, I remembered the following passage of Master’s teachings,
“And even among people who are sincere about spiritual practice, you sometimes see people being disrespectful of one another. It’s easy for jealousy to creep in if you are still competitive.
“There’s an episode in the novel The Appointing of the Gods that illustrates this. In one scene, the figure known as Honorable Divine of the Origin is choosing someone from among his disciples for the honor of appointing new deities, and selects one, named Jiang Ziya. The decision proves vexing to another disciple, however, named Shen Gongbao. Shen can’t believe it, since he views Jiang as old and inept, while he himself is so powerful that he can sever his own head and put it back on. Jealousy consumes him so badly that he constantly makes trouble for Jiang.” (The Seventh Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I also realized I had a strong competitive mentality, something that does not belong to a practitioner. Master said,
“Contrast that with the following view: coming to this world is like staying over at a hotel, which we quickly leave after a short stint. Yet some people are so caught up in this place that they have no interest in leaving. They have forgotten their true homes.” (The Ninth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
When I was a child, I had a deep understanding of the above passage when I read it. But now, I had nearly forgotten it and was often thinking of finding a good major in college, followed by a successful career. All human notions are in fact not me, because as a practitioner I should focus on my cultivation practice so I can return to my origin.
This past summer, some friends suggested we go out together and I recommended Chinatown. There, we saw a Falun Gong practitioners’ booth. I liked the music and had a feeling of returning home. Although my grandma did not speak English, she warmheartedly gave my friends flyers about Falun Gong. One friend seemed to roll her eyes and I was unhappy, thinking she was rude to my grandma.
Realizing this was a human notion, however, I began to send forth righteous thoughts. Things became simple afterward. I told my friends my personal story of being persecuted in China and they all signed the petition calling for an end to the suppression. I felt my selfishness was reduced and my entire body became light.
“Selfishness is a fundamental attribute of the cosmos of the past. Because of that attribute, formation-stasis-degeneration-destruction and birth-aging-sickness-death are inevitable. In the future the Fa will be all-harmonizing, perfect, and selfless. The change in that fundamental attribute of the cosmos leads to fundamental changes in the cosmos's progression and beings' characteristics. The fundamental attribute of the cosmos has determined the fundamental state that the cosmos is in. The impurity of beings, and even the dropping down of beings that have gone bad, have been caused by formation-stasis-degeneration-destruction.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. V)
I realized my selfishness had been very strong. Even when exposing the persecution in China, I did it largely for my own consummation instead of saving sentient beings. Another example is that I spent lots of time every day reading economic and financial news, when I should have used the time to study the Falun Gong teachings and align with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Attachment to Material Interests
To prepare for college this past September, I had drafted a plan on what I should do during college to prepare for my career. During this time, I also found myself more and more attached to material interests, and it was hard to let it go.
“Even though the things you do in this world look a lot like the day-to-day things that ordinary people do, the fact is that a Dafa disciples’ basis and the purpose of what he does is completely different.” (“Teachings at the 2004 International Conference in New York”)
This reminded me that, as a practitioner, of course I should do well in school and work. But that does not mean I should be worried so much about them like an everyday person. That is, there is a difference between doing the work well and doing so to pursue fame and material interests.
As I was thinking about this, my grandparents gave me some money that afternoon as a reward for my doing well on my college application. Since I had no place to spend the money and my parents were renovating their home, I gave it all to them.
That evening my mother praised me for being a good practitioner with no attachment to material interests. When I thought about this further, I knew it was not that simple. It is true that I gave the money to my parents instead of keeping it myself, but very often the motivation behind my hard work in school was not to be a good person or to serve society. Rather, it was often related to my ego, jealousy, and attachment to a comfortable life. On the surface, it was an attachment to material interests. But beneath it were all kinds of human notions and filthy thoughts. In the past, I was not clear on this, but now I have a better understanding of it.
I once had a dream that I was taking a college admission exam. Somehow, it was as if I was muddleheaded. When my mind cleared up, I noticed that other test takers had already moved on to the math portion, but I was still doing economics. I told a teacher the situation, but he could not help much. At that moment, I noticed my cell phone was on – it would be considered cheating if someone caught me with my phone on. I was worried and tried to turn it off secretly. But it didn't work and the teacher saw it. He said this was not allowed, but said I could retake the test due to the special circumstances.
Then I woke up. I came to understand this was a hint from Master. That is, instead of regretting my bad thoughts or human notions in the past, I should just focus on how to do well and better from here on out. From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful to Master for his compassion in guiding my cultivation.
I would like to conclude my sharing with a poem by Master:
“Climbing Mount Tai”
I climb the steep steps, stretching miles ahead,Winding upward and steep, this road,even to set off is hard;Glancing back, 'tis just like cultivating Righteous Fa,Pausing half way makes salvation hard.
So steel the will, and lift thy leaden leg,Endure the pain, diligent, and cast off attachments;Dafa disciples, the tens of millions---A place still higher awaits you at Consummation.(Hong Yin)
Above are my personal understandings. Please point out anything that is not in accordance with the Fa.
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