(Minghui.org) I started practicing Falun Dafa (aka Falun Gong) in 1995. Looking back at my 20-plus years of cultivation, I have both joys of obtaining the Fa and regret of taking the wrong path. I am grateful for Master Li’s compassionate blessing and protection. I would like to share several stories that happened when I was illegally sentenced.

The Workshop

I was sentenced in the summer of 2002 for clarifying the truth about Falun Dafa, and incarcerated in the provincial women’s prison. Cruel criminal inmates were used to persecute me and other practitioners, trying to force us to give up our faith. I suffered from their shameless and cruel torture methods. A few months later, I was transferred to one of the evilest sections – the prison workshop.

The workshop was located in the basement of the main prison building, with one entrance at each end. It was dark and humid with no ventilation. The air was dirty and the temperature was very high in the summer.

Over 300 detainees were forced to work there for more than 19 hours a day, from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. the next morning. Only occasionally could they stop working at midnight. They only had one day off a year, which was Chinese New Year's day, and had to work every other time. The prison earned more than 10 million yuan a year from these forced slave workers.

In August 2004, in order to rush to produce clothing for export to the United States, all detainees were not allowed to return to their cells for eight days and nights and were not allowed to sleep. We were rushing to finish the required quantity for each day and night under unbearable conditions. Many fainted or accidentally had their fingers pierced by sewing machine needles. This happened daily. Even so, we had to continue working after taking only a little rest. We were machines making money for the prison.

Facing such a harsh and cruel environment, coupled with the guilt of denouncing my faith against my will, I was about to collapse mentally and physically. It was Master’s Fa teachings that were passed around the prison, like a bright light illuminating the way.

Master said:

“No matter what it is you've experienced, as soon as you realize the problem just correct it immediately; if you fall, just get up and continue to do what a Dafa disciple should do.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003)

First, I wrote a solemn declaration to make null and void all words I wrote under pressure to give up my belief and stated that I would firmly continue to practice Falun Dafa. I handed this to the prison guards.

I then wrote a report to the prison prosecutor detailing the super-intensive free labor that we were forced to do and how Dafa practitioners were being persecuted. I dropped it into the box located in the prison corridor after I returned from work.

I received no response.

Writing to the Prison Warden

How to create an environment for cultivation in a prison? Master gave me wisdom, and I knew what to do.

In late May 2004, I wrote a four-page letter to the prison warden, telling her the truth about the persecution of Dafa and how they were violating the law. In the letter I had three requirements: reduced working hours, providing an environment for Dafa practitioners to study the Fa and practice the exercises, providing a rest day on Sundays.

I showed the letter to another practitioner, who said, “It’s so good. It says what we want to say.” She quickly and wisely spread the letter to the 14 other practitioners in the prison, and they all signed it. The prison warden visited the workshop that morning, so I gave her the letter.

Three days later, I was ordered to the warden’s office. As soon as I stepped in the door, the warden pounded the table with her fist, and furiously shouted, “How dare you join together to write this letter!?”

I smiled and calmly said, “Why are you so angry? Is it wrong to write to you to communicate my thoughts?”

“It's not wrong to write a letter,” she replied angrily, “But to have this many people sign it...”

“They said that this letter represents their feelings, so they signed it,” I replied.

She calmed down and signaled me to sit down. She talked to me for about 10 minutes, saying that this letter will get her into trouble and that she couldn’t decide the working hours.

Ten more days went by in relative peace, then one morning, the head guard of our working group came to the workshop and searched everyone. They found all of the poems from Hong Yin that I had transcribed in a notebook for the inmate next to me.

I had transcribed one or two poems from Hong Yin for each inmate in my group, a total of 15 people. They all liked to read it. Later, I learned that an inmate in my cell had reported me.

I was put in solitary confinement for 47 days for “promoting Falun Gong.” The instructor said to me: “You think the working hours are long. Now you can rest for good!” I believe they were taking revenge for my writing the letter to the warden.

The head guard gave me many sheets of lined paper and told me to write a self-criticizing report while I was in solitary confinement, but I wrote a 25-page long letter to clarify the truth to those who were to read it.

In addition to reciting the Fa, doing the exercises, and sending righteous thoughts, I clarified the truth about Falun Dafa: How I started practicing, the benefits from the practice, what Falun Dafa is, why the CCP and Jiang Zemin’s (former CCP leader) rogue group persecuted Dafa, and the grand spread of Dafa around the world. I used my personal experience to prove the beauty and preciousness of Dafa. When I finished I handed my letter to the head guard.

In late December 2004, the workshop was moved from the basement to a bright, spacious building on the west side of the prison yard; and the daily working hours were gradually reduced from 3 a.m. to 10 pm. – The first requirement in my letter had been fulfilled.

The head guard had a heart attack and was hospitalized three days after she put me in solitary confinement. She was newly married and had just returned from her honeymoon.

It was a pity that there was no chance for me to tell her the principle of good actions being rewarded and evil deeds meeting with retribution.

The inmate who reported me, and thus caused me to be put in solitary confinement later had a herniated disc and couldn’t take care of herself. I didn’t resent her. Instead, I helped to get her food, and washed her dishes and clothes. I used my actions to show her the kindness of Dafa, and to dispel the lies that had been ingrained in her mind about Dafa.

I won admiration from all the inmates in my cell.

Master's Lectures Spread Around the Prison

While imprisoned, I realized the deep meaning of why practitioners need to study the Fa. I really regretted that I hadn't learned more of the Fa – but how to make up for it?

Fellow practitioners wrote down the Fa they had memorized and we shared them among ourselves. Even if we only remembered a few sentences they were precious enough to write down, so we could firmly keep them in our minds.

Although every Dafa practitioner was assigned an inmate to monitor us, almost every one of those inmates understood the truth about Dafa and did what they could to protect us.

Sometimes they helped deliver Master's lectures for us. A practitioner incarcerated in a different section of the prison wrote down the nine lectures of Zhuan Falun in nine notebooks and had them passed around. In addition, Master’s new Fa lectures were continually brought in from outside the prison.

I clearly remember a tall, pretty, young woman approaching me in the bathroom after finishing work on the evening of July 3, 2005, and slipped me a folded piece of paper. She glanced at me without speaking, turned and left. I quickly went back to my cell and unfolded the paper under the dim light.

It was a copy of Master’s lecture from the Chicago Fa Conference. The lecture date was June 26, 2005. It took as little as seven days to come in my possession. Tears of joy streamed down my face when I thought about it.

I hand-copied three copies of Master's lecture from the Chicago Fa Conference. I passed one copy to the outer prison area, and one copy for other practitioners. The third copy I gave to an inmate in my group who had just obtained the Fa. However, a guard found the paper when they searched her. The guard yelled at me, “Did you write it? Who gave it to you?”

I looked at the guard and said very calmly, “Read it carefully. Falun Gong is not what Jiang Zemin and the CCP publishes. It is the Buddha Fa!” I then recited Master’s Fa to her:

Master said,

“No matter how much money you give someone or how many good things you give someone, it isn’t as good as giving him the Fa. The Fa can enable a region, a nation, a country, or even humankind to restore its morality and be happy, peaceful, and harmonious.” (“Teaching the Fa at a New York Meeting,” Lectures in the United States)

The guard didn’t say a word and walked out of my cell with Master's lecture in her hand.

It seemed that a storm was about to happen, but it was dissolved instantly with the power of the Fa and Master’s compassionate energy field. The evil that persecuted me was disintegrated, and Master once again solved the problem for me.

Master said:

“So as a cultivator, what is truly remarkable is when you can be steadfast and have righteous thoughts so firm that nothing can sway you. Be solid and firm like diamond, or granite, and then nothing can affect you--evil will be afraid at the mere sight of you. If upon encountering trying circumstances your thinking can be truly righteous, then, when faced with the evil's persecution and when faced with interference, just one sentence of yours fortified with steadfast righteous thoughts can instantly make the evil disintegrate (applause), and it will make those who are being used by the evil turn and flee, it will make the evil's persecution of you dissolve, and it will make the evil's interfering with you disappear without a trace.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. International Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VII)

Practicing the Exercises

After writing to the prison warden, I started to do the exercises. Creating a practice environment in the prison was not an easy task. The inmate assigned to keep an eye on me desperately tried to stop me from doing the exercises. I couldn’t do it for even a minute in the beginning. Occasionally, I could practice a few movements, which made me feel very happy.

Before I was put in solitary confinement, I wrote a letter to the prison instructor in charge of Falun Gong practitioners in there, asking for the right to practice our exercises.

When the instructor was on the night shift a few days later, she called me to the reading room for a talk. She asked me many questions about Falun Gong and also asked me to demonstrate the five sets of exercises to her. She had a herniated disc, so I suggested that she read Zhuan Falun and practice the exercises at home. She didn’t say she would, but from her attitude she seemed to accept my suggestion.

A few practitioners and I exchanged ideas on doing the exercises together, and then we took action. Inmates on duty all reported us to the warden.

I wrote another letter and gave it to the instructor. A few days later, the instructor talked to me, saying, “I have read all the letters you wrote, including your family's letters. Regarding the practice, I can’t promise that you can do it. I don’t have the right. It’s their [the inmates] duty to stop you. But aren’t you all practicing now? Did I stop you? Even though I am wearing this uniform I treat you as a sister!”

I told the other practitioners what the instructor said, and the next time we did the exercises together the inmates on duty didn't try to stop us. We now had an environment for practicing the exercises, but it wasn't long before the prison department heard about what we were doing.

Whenever they sent someone to investigate, the inmates on duty would yell, “Falun Gong lie down quickly!” They began to protect us.

One of the head guards told me in her duty room that I should not let her boss find us practicing the exercises to avoid getting her into trouble.

I also discovered a dirty secret in the prison. The clocks in the workshop were 10 minutes slower than those in the prison building, so the inmates would work 20 minutes more a day, equating to more than 10 extra days a year.

Taking Sunday's Off

Prison Law stipulates that inmates have the right to rest on public holidays and Sundays. I found that the men's prison next to ours, had the inmates rest on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. But we had no rest, and it would be a luxury if we were not required to do extra work on Sundays.

I discussed with another practitioner and decided to take Sundays off, starting from July 20, 2005. Four practitioners joined me that day.

When the instructor asked me why we didn’t go to work, I told her, “Rest on Sundays is our right. We will have to take Sundays off from now on. We [practitioners] have not committed any crime, but the criminal inmates can have their sentences commuted, why can’t we when we act according to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance?” 

“I can’t answer your question,” she replied.

“But you can report it to those that can,” I stated.

From then on, every Sunday, the four of us practitioners stopped working, and that number later increased to eight.

In the beginning, as long as we didn't go to work on Sunday, the head would turn off the cold water to prevent us from using it. We went to talk to her, saying that she was persecuting us, but another head said that we had gotten our own way.

We later decided to make our own greeting cards for every New Year and public holiday. We drew plum blossoms, lotus flowers, or simple patterns with colored pens, and wrote a few blessings and greetings on them. We sent them to the prison offices, and they happily accepted them every time.

With Dafa’s guidance and Master’s protection, Dafa disciples can create a cultivation environment of their own, even in the dark den of a prison, as long as we have the desire.

Chinese version available

Category: Journeys of Cultivation