PureInsight | March 3, 2003
[PureInsight.org] Since I am not Chinese, sometimes I have had thoughts about the differences between Chinese and non-Chinese practitioners. These differences have to do with language, with cultural background, and with our relationship to Fa-rectification.
I remember when I first became a practitioner in 1999. At the practice site, I wanted to be friends with the other practitioners. After practice, everyone would stand around and have very lively and animated conversations. Only it was in Chinese! I remember one time, I stood by a group of women, wanting to interact with them. One even had her back to me. I'm not sure they were aware I was there because they never opened the group to include me.
Another thing I wondered about was whether I would be able to understand the Fa as well as someone Chinese because Master chose to explain the Fa in Chinese. Master says, "... it is very difficult to use human language to express the high-level, profound principles of the Fa." ("Using as Will"). He says "…modern, standardized terminology cannot express the guidance of Dafa at different high levels and the manifestation of the Fa at each level; neither is it able to bring about practitioners' transformation of benti and gong, or other such fundamental changes." (Zhuan Falun) What I wondered was, if modern Chinese can't bring about practitioners' transformation of benti and gong, then what about English? Aren't those of us who cannot experience the richness and depth of the Chinese text at a serious disadvantage?
Also, what about all those conversations in Chinese? I wondered how I could be active in Fa-rectification if I don't understand what is said in my presence.
Another issue is the limit of not being in China. If hardship tempers us, then what are we doing in the comfortable west? Shouldn't we be in China?
I feel that Master deals with these issues in three ways. The first way is by helping us see our attachments, so that we can remove them. The second way is that, as our level increases, we understand things differently. The third way is that Master himself explains things to us.
Regarding those women who, before, did not include me in their conversation, I found that when I got rid of my attachment to shyness and being ignored, things changed a lot. We both started initiating conversations with each other. Over time, their sharing got more and more warm and more and more intimate. We now have a history of sharing a great deal together. We have helped each other to improve our understanding, we've watched each other raise our levels, and they have pointed out my mistakes when I have deviated from the Fa. They have really become my best friends.
I think we have all matured. Someone Chinese started an English Fa study group. Because of my initial experience, I pay attention to new people, and get to know them. Now we all do that. At the practice site, we not only teach the exercises, but we help the new people each week, until they no longer need our assistance. We stay after and talk to each other, so that everyone feels included. If someone doesn't come for a few weeks, we call them to find out how they are.
Now, whenever we have meetings, if they are in Chinese, we make sure someone translates into English. If they are in English, we make sure someone translates into Chinese.
Regarding the language issue, words are just symbols. I think that a deep understanding can be achieved in any language. After all, is Zhen-Shan-Ren the words, or is it the nature of the universe? Do we see words with our third eye, or do we see other dimensions? Is it words that enable us to reach a higher level, or is it improving our xinxing?
Master says in "Touring North America to Teach the Fa," "Actually, when Zhuan Falun is translated into different languages it doesn't affect your understanding of the Fa at the surface level. During the course of cultivation, in particular, the inner meaning of the Fa doesn't manifest in the surface words. As you continually read the book you'll find that you continually have new understandings of the Fa-principles, and you'll see ever more Fa-principles. This is in fact the Fa bringing out your wisdom. So, your improvement isn't affected."
As for not being involved in all the conversations in Chinese, I have observed this cultural difference: Chinese people really like to talk. Sometimes the same person will talk for one or two hours. One time we had a meeting where I was the only person who didn't speak Chinese. Someone kindly translated for me. The meeting lasted several hours, and not one decision was made. Yet everyone said it was a really good meeting. After that I thought, "Maybe it's o.k. not to be involved in every conversation." There is always Dafa work to do. If I am at a meeting where people want to speak Chinese, I can read the book or Master's lectures. If I'm supposed to understand something, then someone will tell me. Sometimes, I just ask them what they are talking about, and someone will translate for me. Often, we forget about this difference. Practitioners just naturally turn to me and tell me something very personal - in Chinese. I have to remind them that I don't understand.
About being an overseas practitioner, Master pointed out in 2000 in the Great Lakes Fa Conference in North America: "Some of our students outside of China wonder: "Being overseas, we don't suffer as much as the students in China do. Does this mean that we won't be as good as the students in China when we reach Consummation?" That isn't so. This is because the students inside and outside of China are one body. . . .(then skipping a few sentences) Everything that's been done--whether it's your going to Tiananmen, your clarifying the truth to people in other environments, or your spreading the Fa and exposing the truth about the evil to people outside China--it's all magnificent, because you are one body ("Teaching the Fa at the Great Lakes Fa Conference in North America," December 9, 2000, in Ann Arbor).
We all have to figure out which of our skills can contribute the most. I asked myself, as a Westerner, what is best for me to do? A lot of people are shy, but I have been an amateur entertainer for 25 years. So I feel very comfortable talking to an audience. I've been an MC at a Fa event. I give speeches. Sometimes practitioners feel it is better if someone with a Western face tells an American politician that he should do what is right, so a Chinese practitioner wrote a very beautiful speech, and I delivered it at a San Diego City Council meeting.
I have good skills with English, so Chinese practitioners often ask me to send out communications, or media releases. I either write or polish articles for Clearwisdom, for our television news, English FGM, and for various projects, wherever I am needed. I write, and keep updating, the brochure that we hand out at our practice site. Before I became a practitioner I used to sue people a lot. I don't sue people now, but I use my knowledge of the law to help in situations where Dafa is wrongfully treated. For example, Dafa was denied a booth at a Chinese Fair in San Diego last year. This year, together, using our knowledge of the law, and our righteous thoughts, we helped the people who sponsored the Fair understand that their action was not right. This year they gave us a booth.
Regarding Charles Li, when the United States government does not support it's own citizens who have been falsely accused of a crime in a foreign country, the stance it takes affects the whole country. We Westerners can use our skills to remind our US government officials of the heritage we have of valuing and protecting peoples' rights. These officials can be encouraged to position themselves properly.
Finally, regarding cultural differences, I think those only occur in this dimension. If Master wants to show you your attachments, my experience is that he really doesn't care if you have a Western face. When I was a new practitioner, for example, I hired a roofer who was not a contractor to replace a roof. I got a call from a neighbor who complained to me that this roofer went two houses down and took off the wrong roof. For a week I tried to get him to take care of his mistake by replacing the roof he tore off, but since he was not a contractor, there was nothing I could do. Finally, knowing this was my fault, I decided to hire a roofing contractor to put back the roof, and pay for it myself. The day I made the decision, the first roofer put the roof back. That is, when I let go of my attachment to money, I didn't have to spend it.
Another time, I had serious pain in my joints. I could barely lift my arm, and had difficulty walking, or climbing stairs. The pain kept getting worse and worse. I finally made a conscious decision about it. Whatever happened, including my death, I would not go to a doctor or take medicine. I would trust Dafa. The day I made that decision, the pain went away. The point I am making is that we have a commonality of experiences that transcend cultural differences.
Sometimes, I've had the feeling that I've known a fellow practitioner for many lifetimes. Sometimes, others have a feeling of having known me in previous lives. Recently, I was at one of those many meetings that practitioners have. We were all sitting in a full lotus, sending forth righteous thoughts together. When we finished, I noticed that the energy in the room was very, very pure. I had this profound sense of peace come over me, a deep sense of belonging, a quiet comfort, and a feeling of coming home. I knew these people in a way I have never known anyone in this dimension.
Looking around me here today, I can say the same for this place, too. The energy is so pure here. Why is that? We have all come together to accomplish something so profound, and so magnificent. We are one body. We are all Dafa dizi.