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A Wake-up Call for Each of Us—Lessons Learned from the Death of a Fellow Practitioner (Part 1 of 2)

Aug. 2, 2021 |   By a Falun Dafa practitioner in China

(Minghui.org) A local Falun Dafa practitioner, Ms. Chen (pseudonym), passed away due to a tragic accident earlier this year. The local police, in an attempt to arrest her, tracked her down at her daughter’s home, and surrounded the apartment. To escape, Ms. Chen tied bed sheets together and tried to climb down from the fourth floor. However, the “rope” snapped and Ms. Chen fell. 

As someone who was close to Ms. Chen, I was deeply saddened by the news. Thinking deeply about the possible causes behind it, I saw a few loopholes in her cultivation which in my opinion are widespread among local practitioners. By sharing them here, I hope to help at least some practitioners recognize their shortcomings and take them seriously. 

I hope this sharing serves as a reminder and a warning to fellow practitioners so we don’t fall into the old forces’ trap, and therefore avoid any more losses to our one body. 

Master said, 

“We target the problem, not the person.” (“Comments Regarding the Fa-Rectification Made at the Falun Dafa Assistants Meeting in Beijing,” Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa

A Diligent and Steadfast Practitioner

Ms. Chen was very diligent. Despite her quiet demeanor, she was fearless in clarifying the truth about Dafa, and did it in an open and dignified manner. She always carried a big bag of truth-clarification literature, either the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, or the Ultimate Goal of Communism, and other Dafa booklets, DVD’s and fliers and distributed the materials to strangers on the street. She didn’t go into the small alleyways to avoid being spotted by police, but deliberately stayed on busy streets and gave out fliers to everyone that she crossed paths with. 

She also visited many small factories in town, as long as there was no guard on duty at the entrance. She didn’t treat the employees differently based on their positions but gave Dafa fliers to everyone, workers, managers, owners , etc. She didn’t worry about being reported to police and visited many of these places twice, and gave fliers to those who she had missed the first time around. 

This practitioner tirelessly distributed Dafa materials in nearby cities, our town and also the surrounding rural areas. I often teamed up with her to distribute fliers during those years. Her strong righteous thoughts often made me feel as if I was in a free country where people could practice Dafa freely, instead of being in China.

Diligent and steadfast, Ms. Chen went out and distributed Dafa fliers every day for seven or eight years. One third to almost half of the materials our local material production site produced were to supply her, and that is if the material production site where practitioners worked non-stop to print fliers and booklets. Only when I was with her, I was able to give out fliers to strangers without fear. Ms. Chen liked working with me, but if I was not available, she’d go out by herself.

During those seven or eight years, she was arrested almost once a year. I remember the local practitioners and I were so worried the first time she was arrested, but to our surprise, she was released right away. She was calm and collected as if nothing happened. With strong righteous thoughts, this practitioner remained calm and dignified as if she was in her home, and not in police custody.

There were times when Ms. Chen was arrested with other practitioners, but she was quickly released while others were still being detained. This happened more than once. She later told me, “Every time I get arrested, I don’t feel scared at all. What do I have to fear? Master is right by my side.” To her, it was that simple.

Once, Ms. Chen was arrested and taken to the provincial brainwashing center. This facility was notorious for arbitrarily detaining, brainwashing, and torturing Falun Dafa practitioners for the sole purpose of making them renounce their faith. Hardly anybody could withstand the torture and almost all were forced to sign a statement renouncing the practice. Those who stayed unyielding suffered cruel punishments and severe damage to the physical body. 

It was at this brainwashing center, I succumbed to pain and renounced Dafa against my will. However, when Ms. Chen was taken there, she held no fear whatsoever; quite the opposite, she thought it was a great thing, and said, “There were so many people that I could clarify the truth to.” As a result, the center authorities didn’t admit her, citing her high blood pressure readings. Ms. Chen was released that same day.

Each time she was released, Ms. Chen got right back into her routine and resumed distributing fliers the next day, heading out the door with her trusted big bag full of Dafa materials. “I never think that they arrest me to persecute me—what they really want is to stop me from saving sentient beings.” 

The head of the local 610 Office was furious that this practitioner was let go again and again. He told her, “Just because your brother is in the traffic division doesn’t mean he would be able to protect you every time.” She didn’t respond but in her mind, she was thinking, “What does my brother have anything to do with this? It is Master who is protecting me.” 

Another time a 610 Office official threatened, “We will withhold your retirement pension.” Ms. Chen thought, “My retirement pension is not given by you, but by my Master. How could you withhold it even if you wanted to?” As usual she was arrested then released, arrested again and released again. Nothing deterred her from distributing Dafa fliers and saving sentient beings. However angry the local 610 Office officials were, they couldn’t do anything about it. We all thought it was incredible. 

Since the onset of the persecution, many of the local practitioners, including myself, have suffered quite a lot. Almost daily, the Minghui website publishes articles about our local practitioners being harassed, arrested, sentenced, or tortured, sometimes even to death. I asked Ms. Chen if she could share her experience walking out of multiple detentions unscathed with strong righteous thoughts. She wanted to write such sharing but didn’t know how to get started. As a practitioner that was close to her, I regret not taking on the responsibility in helping her drafting the sharing.

Ms. Chen took care of many practitioners when they went through serious sickness karma. I will not recount these cases one by one here.

Lessons Learned from a Tragic Loss

How could such a diligent practitioner pass away during Fa-rectification? On the surface it was because the rope made of bed sheets broke, but I think the real cause were the loopholes in Ms. Chen’s cultivation. 

I will try to recount the lessons I’ve learned from this tragic loss. I believe it is also Ms. Chen’s wish that they are shared so they can be of help to other practitioners. 

Not Realizing the Importance of Sending Righteous Thoughts

Every time we teamed up to distribute fliers, I noticed that Ms. Chen started giving out fliers as soon as we stepped out the door. I usually started by sending righteous thoughts for at least 30 minutes until I felt that the field was clear, and that my righteous thoughts had grown stronger before I handed out fliers. 

Quite a few times while Ms. Chen and I were out distributing fliers, I felt an evil force approaching us. I didn’t say anything to Ms. Chen, but I stopped what I was doing, and sent forth strong righteous thoughts continuously until the evil beings were eliminated. Of course, we still saw signs of imminent threat, such as an arrest, but they turned out to be just an illusion since the evil force behind it was eliminated. We were never arrested when working together. Ms. Chen’s arrest happened when she was distributing fliers alone.

The four global Righteous Thoughts times were stipulated by Minghui.org, so Ms. Chen obliged. To help her understand the importance of them, I found Master’s lectures regarding righteous thoughts and asked her on more than one occasion to study them, but she didn’t take it seriously. Ms. Chen never learned the right way to send righteous thoughts, and had not discovered how powerful righteous thoughts could be. Following her arrest in 2019, she was released on bail pending trial, which should have served as a wake-up call, but she didn’t recognize this as a loophole, and failed to strengthen her righteous thoughts. 

Only a handful of our local practitioners take righteous thoughts seriously and this is a big problem. Many have experienced sickness karma, some have passed away, while many are in poor state of cultivation. All have something to do with not taking righteous thoughts seriously.

Unable to Accept Criticism

Ms. Chen knew how to cultivate in terms of finding her own shortcomings. From even the smallest incidents in her daily life, she was able to find her human notions and attachments. When she studied the Fa, she was able to quickly calm her mind and focus. She was able to enlighten to the principles when studying the Fa, and understood what Master was telling her. 

This practitioner was a very gentle and peaceful person. In her quiet voice, she always shared with me the things that happened to her on a particular day, and the Fa principles she had enlightened to. I liked listening to her and often thought, “This practitioner really knows how to cultivate.” When we shared cultivation experiences, she talked most of the time, and I listened and examined myself.

When I saw her shortcomings, I also sincerely pointed them out, but she was always able to turn it around and find my flaws. All of a sudden, she was helping me to improve and I benefited from the conversation. However, she never seemed to pay attention to the things I pointed out about her. She liked finding her shortcomings on her own, but didn’t like it when others pointed them out to her.

I found our sharing session very beneficial to my cultivation and often told her, “You have helped me a lot.” Gradually, Ms. Chen developed an attachment and felt that she had cultivated to a higher level than me. She no longer had the humble attitude that a cultivator should have, and subconsciously placed herself above the rest. This in fact is a sign of “Demonic Interference From One’s Own Mind,” and she had probably already started dropping down in levels as a result. I didn’t realize that my words contributed to this attachment. As time went by, she was even less willing to listen when I offered my opinion. 

Not being able to take criticism is also a widespread problem here among our local practitioners. A few practitioners who used to be very diligent also have this problem and can’t take criticism with a calm heart. As soon as someone points out their shortcomings, they evade responsibility and point fingers at others. They even blame others for bringing negative substances into their fields. Among those in our area who don’t take criticism well, some have passed away due to sickness karma and some are currently experiencing serious sickness karma. 

In fact, a cultivator should always be humble and continuously examine him or herself for faults. If one fails to see his or her own shortcomings—a notion or an attachment that we are not aware of ourselves—wouldn’t it be great if someone else pointed it out? As cultivators, it is important that we are able to take criticism from others, and accept it with a calm heart. 

Obsession with Current Affairs

It took me a long time and a lot of effort to quit the internet. For this reason, I often envied elderly practitioners, as they seemed to be able to stay unaffected by the internet. But I’ve since realized that they could also quickly become addicted once they learn the basics of computers or smartphones, and know how to access the internet, if they don’t exercise self-control.

This was the case with Ms. Chen. During the recent lockdown, she was trapped in her community, and couldn’t go out to distribute fliers. The impact of the lockdown was relatively small for practitioners who were able to access the internet and the Minghui website, as they were able to continue with truth-clarification work. After the restrictions were lifted, Ms. Chen told me about her situation. I gave her a smartphone and taught her step by step how to connect to the internet using VPN to bypass the Chinese regime’s firewall and visit the Minghui website. 

When I saw her after a few weeks, she told me for some reason she couldn’t find the Minghui website but was using the smartphone to read the news every day. I showed her how to get to the Minghui website again but the next time I saw her, she was still just reading or watching the news. Seeing that she wasn’t using the phone as it was intended, I took it back.

Ms. Chen then installed VPN on her husband’s phone, and the two of them spent a lot of time watching the news. Because they were able to access information forbidden in China, her husband soon learned the truth about the wrongful persecution against Dafa, and how evil the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is. She, however, became obsessed and followed current affairs closely. Having good intention, her husband bought a smartphone with a bigger screen for her, and she was happy to spend all her time watching news on this phone. 

It was right around the 2020 presidential election in the United States. I only visited Minghui so however much Minghui reported about the election was how much I learned about the news. I never visited other websites, even though I could bypass the firewall. However, when I met up with her, she always brought up current events, and shared the details excitedly. 

At first, I tried to tell her, in an indirect way, not to get attached to ordinary people’s affairs. When that was still all she talked about every day, I grew impatient. Without being considerate of her feelings, I blurted out one day, “You’re a cultivator. Why do you always care about what Trump says? Why don’t you tell me what Master said?” I told her, “You didn’t use to be like this. Stop reading the news. It’s dangerous.” My harsh words made her very upset, and she gradually distanced herself from me. 

After she passed away, a co-worker of hers was very sad. This co-worker said that Ms. Chen was usually really quiet and kept to herself. Besides working, she liked watching YouTube videos by practitioners outside of China on her phone when she had some free time.

In fact, there are many local practitioners who are obsessed with current affairs. Some have installed satellite dishes and watched New Tang Dynasty TV programs every day. For families where almost all members are practitioners, watching NTD together, and have discussions about the programs became a family pastime. They even got their entire Fa study group to follow ordinary people’s news with great interest.

Some practitioners can bypass the CCP’s firewall but seldom share content from Minghui on cultivating oneself and saving sentient beings, instead they watch news and follow current events. When running into other practitioners, they talk about the latest news. As their hearts were moved, they dropped in levels. Such practitioners are in a very dangerous place. 

We are practitioners of the Fa-rectification period. All that is taking place in the world revolves around us. We don’t need to pay attention to what’s going on with ordinary people, we just need to focus on cultivating, saving more people, and doing the three things well. This is what we should focus our energy on.

Following the Example of Other Practitioners Instead of the Fa Principles

Practitioner Chen didn’t used to have the problem of following the example of other practitioners. She usually studied the Fa by herself and enlightened to the principles on her own. But when she was released on bail following her latest arrest, she looked elsewhere besides the Fa. 

Soon after Ms. Chen’s release, another local practitioner was arrested in the provincial capital, detained and tortured. His profile was entered into a database and he was given a thorough physical examination of all organs. The evil’s intention was clear—they were preparing to harvest his organs.

When Ms. Chen found out about this, she was a little shaken up—she had made connections between her own case and the other practitioner’s case. This practitioner cultivated solidly and was very peaceful, compassionate, and tolerant. He had overcome many obstacles in his cultivation, but forged forward with tremendous righteous thoughts. We always felt that our own cultivation state lagged far behind this practitioner. 

However, a practitioner that cultivated as well as the one we talked about, was sentenced to seven years in prison, many of us just couldn’t accept that. This also affected Ms. Chen. Instead of having strong righteous thoughts like she used to, she was scared and became anxious.

Master said,

“Under circumstances like this, there are really some students who think, “If even he couldn’t make it, will I be able to?” They waver.” (Teachings at the 2004 International Conference in New York)

Ms. Chen had the same mentality. As cultivators, following the example of others instead of the Fa principles, could result in major misconceptions and weaken our willpower.

Another local practitioner was previously released on bail pending trial. Ms. Chen asked her about her experience. She shared that when she was released on bail, she thought everything was going to be fine, but was surprised to still be sentenced to one year in prison. But, because she was pregnant at the time, she was able to serve her sentence at home. 

Upon learning this, Ms. Chen felt that she was bound to be sentenced sooner or later. She was following the example of the released practitioner instead of the Fa. In fact, each practitioner’s cultivation state, karma, and predestined relationship are all different, as long as we firmly deny the old forces’ arrangements with strong righteous thoughts, Master will have a solution to get us out of the predicament.

Although the released practitioner was sentenced, being able to serve at home was Master’s arrangement and protection. This practitioner and her husband had tried for years to get pregnant, but couldn’t, and it just so happened that she became pregnant when she was sentenced. How could this be a coincidence? It was all Master’s plan. But, Ms. Chen failed to recognize it. Instead of developing strong righteous thoughts, she became more fearful after learning about the released practitioner’s experience.

(To be continued)