PureInsight | August 4, 2003
[PureInsight.org] My name is Mikko Mattila. I am 24 years old, and I come from Finland. I started cultivation practice of Falun Dafa about two years ago.
Before knowing about Dafa, I thought the meaning of life was to go back to one's origin and to go back to the truth, but I did not know how to do this. I studied different practices and teachings and almost anything I could get my hands on, in order to find the right teachings and method. However, it seemed to me that all of them had something missing or something extra. Mixing them together felt like making a mess out of things. It was really hard to start practicing and cultivating anything, because I did not have the fundamental guidance for that. I felt disappointed. At the same time, I had drifted along with the current of unhealthy habits. I ran after my desires, and I was also using drugs. Even though I hurt myself continuously by damaging my mind and body, I still could not give up my bad behaviour. The concept of good and bad was very unclear for me at that time. My situation felt worse and I started to grow apart from society, and soon I did not even read about things that were related to practicing cultivation.
One day, I got a book called Falun Gong from my friend, who had started to practice this method. I had heard about the book Zhuan Falun before and that there were high level principles in it. My friend displayed determination and righteousness in his actions, and I thought that this must be something special. I started to read the book. And, what I understood from it, made me want to read more. A little later, I got Zhuan Falun. Always when I read Zhuan Falun, I have a feeling of relief and lightness and I want to learn more. I did not read anything else other than Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun. The understanding about myself and the world changed a lot, and I noticed more clearly my own shortcomings and weaknesses. The sense of right and wrong, good and bad became much clearer as I read Zhuan Falun again and again. I knew in my heart that this was the only way in the world today to go back to one's origin and to reach Consummation.
My friend asked me later to come to a fair where some practitioners were coming from Sweden to demonstrate the Falun Dafa exercises. It was, at this time, a chance for me to correct my exercises, so that I could practice by myself more confidently. That weekend was a turning point in my life, ad I decided to start to practice cultivation in Dafa and study the Fa every day. Smoking, alcohol and drugs were left behind in one day, and I felt like I was reborn, like I woke up from the mist where I had been lost for ages. My parents who had been very worried about me also saw the changes in me. Before, I hardly ever spend time with my parents and was out most nights. Now I am spending most of my time at home and my relationships with my parents has improved a lot. I said to my mother: "You will never again see me using any drugs because I am a Falun Gong practitioner, and from now on I am trying to be a good person."
At the same time when I started my cultivation practice, evil had started the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. I could not believe they could persecute people who only strove to be good people following Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. My life had changed into a better one because of Dafa. I felt light and my mind was purified from many bad thoughts, and now people were being tortured and killed for this in China! As I read about practitioners being persecuted in China, the urgency of doing something to help grew in my heart.
My cultivation led automatically to the point where I needed to start doing Fa- rectification. How could I just practice on my own here when at the same time most of the Dafa-disciples were under evil persecution in China? I started to practice the exercises in different places with small information boards so that people could know more about Dafa and the situation in China. At the same time, I needed to give up many different notions and attachments. First time for me to step forward was when I went to collect signatures and give out flyers. Because there were no other practitioners around, I needed to break through the blockade in my mind and really step forward to validate the Fa in the human world. The first time I gave a flyer to passer by in the street, I felt like a big stone had been lifted up off me and my mind was suddenly clear and more determined. In the cold winter days, I went to give out flyers to people and even though my fingers were frozen I did it again.
My cultivation state had risen and I understood the meaning of stepping forward to do Fa-rectification. Even when I just delivered flyers, wrote letters or had Falun Dafa button on my shirt, I felt my cultivation went forward more rapidly, and I could see my attachments more and more clearly. Teacher says in Essentials for Further Advancement II, in the article titled, Path, "For a Dafa disciple, safeguarding and upholding the Fa is only natural." In the beginning I really needed to cultivate myself and study the Fa so that I could attain the desired state of doing things naturally, because many human emotions and notions were blocking me. Daily Fa-study strengthened my righteous thoughts and it helped me to go through the obstacles easily.
When 36 western Dafa-disciples went to Tiananmen Square to validate the Fa, it gave me encouragement to go to China. The day before going to Tiananmen the police suddenly broke into our hostel room. My heart was not firm enough and the feelings of fear came in to my mind. The evil took advantage of this big loophole and arrested us, thus we could not make it to the square. I experienced how the police were deceived by the lies, and how we needed to make more effort saving these innocent Chinese people. Falun Dafa is most precious, and the Chinese people cannot lose this chance because of our mistakes. I thought that all I can do is to cultivate better and work at clarifying the truth better.
When the evil head was visiting Russia and the Baltic countries last summer, many practitioners from all around the world came to send forth righteous thoughts and clarify the truth to people. Many went to Russia and the Baltic countries through Finland. I faxed many invitations to practitioners so that they could get a visa more easily. Some couldn't get a visa to Russia so they stayed in Finland to send forth righteous thoughts 24 hours a day. Since there were not many practitioners in Finland, we tried our best to make the arrangements work well. I picked up people from the airport, and helped them to find the right trains and busses, and places to stay. Most of the people could not speak English, and they had never been to Finland before. I was very busy going to the airport everyday many times, sending faxes and guiding people. The things I did were very simple for me. Maybe my simple role was still necessary for these practitioners, as being an important particle in the whole body. During this time, I also understood more deeply that sending forth righteous thoughts is very important.
Last year, when the president of Finland was going to China for a state visit, we wrote letters and sent some material to her asking her to bring up the issue of the persecution of Falun Gong with Chinese authorities. A Chinese practitioner in Finland also wrote a personal letter to her because our president was going to visit the Forest Academy where this Chinese practitioner had worked before.
We had some expectations for her bringing up the Falun Gong issue, because she has always been very supportive for human rights. Just because of our expectations our president said in her visit, that the human rights situation in China had improved. We were very surprised. I looked inside and saw I was waiting for help from an everyday person in order to have the persecution ended. We cannot put hope on everyday person, because then our thoughts are not righteous. My thinking was wrong and I had to abandon that. After coming to a new understanding, things began to change. Many Finnish people criticized the statement of our President, especially Finnish parliament members who had just sent an appeal to Jiang Zemin asking him to stop the suppression of Falun Gong practitioners. Soon afterwards our President made a new statement and said, that her statement before was not correct and she apologised for her improper words.
While doing Fa-rectification work I sometimes did it like an everyday person. I made the same mistake many times and so many times I fell down into regret and got up again. Cultivating myself was overshadowed by the Fa-rectification work, and I was struggling with the same human attachments that I had already given up, and there were lots of dirty thought coming into my mind. Sometimes I even followed these thoughts and I felt that I was not even worthy of being called a cultivator. Fa-rectification work felt heavy and the results were not good. The notion of cultivating "gradually" had been an excuse for me in my practice and I had not place higher standards in raising my xinxing (moral/heart character).
While studying the Fa, I felt the compassion of our Teacher and the requirements of the Fa, thus I couldn't keep repeating the same mistakes again. I understood that I absolutely cannot yield in cultivating my xinxing, and the first and most important thing is to cultivate oneself well. Always when I study the Fa, bad thoughts are eliminated and righteous thoughts are strengthening, and even a small thing I do carries stronger and purer energy. After realizing this, I quickly came to a state where clarifying the truth and sending forth righteous thoughts was much more powerful.
In Finland, there are not many practitioners and half of us understand only Finnish. I have felt it was my responsibility to translate Teacher's articles and lectures, so that we all can have a better understanding of the Fa. After one year of my cultivation I moved from my hometown to the capital of Finland, because there were no practitioners doing Fa-rectification there. Because it is very important for a country's government to know the truth of Dafa I started to contact ministers and members from the parliament and meet with them personally.
It was another step forward for me in the Fa-rectification for I didn't have any experience in meeting government officials. In the beginning I had some thoughts about these peoples' rank, and it made me a little bit nervous. The results were always good when I just had the thought of wanting the best for them, and saving these people without any pursuits in my mind. I learned that every personal meeting is better than a hundred letters or e-mails because in the personal meeting people come into straight contact with Dafa and they can feel and see that Dafa is good. With a righteous heart, I think everybody is able to clarify the truth to government officials.
I have attended three Fa-conferences and each of them has really helped me become more diligent in my cultivation. Teacher said, "The lofty conduct that Dafa disciples have established in this environment–including every word and every deed–can make people recognize their own weaknesses and identify their shortcomings; it can move their hearts, refine their conduct, and enable them to make progress more rapidly" (From Essentials for Further Advancement) My understanding is that it is extremely important that we don't forget to cultivate ourselves while doing Fa-rectification work. However busy we might be, we should not slack in studying the Fa and sending forth righteous thoughts. We should also compassionately encourage practitioners who have fallen behind others. In that way Fa-rectification will be done more effectively. I hope that we can be more compassionate towards our fellow practitioners, encourage each other to progress with diligence, and cooperate better in order to fulfil our historic mission as Dafa-disciples.
I want to end by reading Our Teacher's poem "In Harmony With the Fa"
"The Buddha light illuminates everywhere,
Propriety and justice rectify and harmonize everything.
Strive forward together,
A bright future lies ahead."