PureInsight | August 2, 2004
[PureInsight.org] My name is JL. I'm a doctoral student at the University of California, San Diego. My wife and I obtained the Fa at the end of March 2004. It is a great honor to share with you some of our cultivation experiences.
Since childhood, we were taught to be atheists. But, this modern materialistic world couldn't fill our spiritual void. We asked ourselves, "What's the meaning of life? What does the future hold?" We pondered such questions and sought answers. After we came to the US a few years ago, we visited Chinese Christian churches. Through Bible study, we gradually accepted theism and the idea of creation. Yet, we still couldn't accept Christianity, because it created additional questions and did not alleviate the doubts we held. We also were faced with a number of other obstacles.
In February of this year, a young couple moved into our apartment. Both of them are Dafa disciples. They introduced us to the precious Dafa. We did not have many objections, when they recommended the book Zhuan Falun to us. We had been avid readers of the Epoch Times website, and therefore already had heard some facts about the persecution of Falun Gong in Mainland China. We also knew the truth about the staged self-immolation at Tiananmen Square. Although we certainly were not fully aware of what Falun Dafa was, we understood that Falun Gong was a powerful qigong practice, instrumental in improving people's health. Therefore, we decided to give it a try.
After a quick read through, the book Zhuan Falun didn't make that deep of an impression on us. But we did feel that the book's message was very upright. So we kept on reading it, and found that the book expounded on many extraordinary things. The book answered all the questions that were not answered by Christianity. Just like that, in no time, all those questions were gone. We realized that we had finally come to the end of our search. At last, we understood the real meaning of our lives. It is difficult to express our excitement.
To my dismay, about one week after we obtained Dafa, my wife told me out of the blue that she couldn't read the book. She looked extremely perturbed and restless. Today we know that it was thought karma, but at that time we really didn't know how to deal with it. Our apartment mates, when they saw this, asked us to send righteous thoughts with them. We learned what sending righteous thoughts represents and how to do proceed. So, we sent them for the first time. Shortly afterwards, my wife said that she felt as if she had just recovered from a serious illness. She felt physically weak, but mentally much better. We started to go to group Fa-study every Wednesday night, feeling the urgent need for a group cultivation environment. Through Fa-study we found a tool to eliminate thought karma, namely:
One righteous mind can subdue one hundred evils.
(From "Practicing Evil Cultivation" in Lecture Five of Zhuan Falun) Master said:
Indestructible righteous faith in the cosmos's Truth forms benevolent Dafa disciples' rock-solid, Diamond-Like Bodies, it frightens all evil, and the light of Truth it emanates makes the unrighteous elements in all beings' thoughts disintegrate. However strong the righteous thoughts are, that's how great the power is.1
Nothing could possibly be more beneficial than the truth of the Cosmos—Truthfulness–Compassion–Forbearance. Holding to our solid faith in Dafa, all kinds of thought karma and other evil things were rapidly eliminated.
Shortly after we obtained the Fa, we encountered strange cultivation states when eliminating sickness karma. We worried, as we didn't have the experience to deal with this. We found soon, with the help and encouragement from veteran practitioners, that we successfully survived these tribulations. We also were surprised that the ailments that had troubled me for many years, including migraines, stomachaches and carsickness, disappeared, one after another. My quality of sleep improved a great deal. I came to feel more energetic. I found myself living life more fully and I found that I had less problems. We've benefited so much both physically and mentally and that gave us more confidence in Dafa. We thank Master and Dafa from the bottom of our hearts for all of these wonderful things.
When we began to study Dafa, we only thought about regaining our physical health and fitness. We thought we would just practice at home, and we never thought of going out to participate in Fa-rectification activities. However, our benevolent Master had already arranged our path for us, just as he had arranged for us to obtain Dafa in such a natural way.
We were very eager to read all of Master's speeches and articles, which served to deepen our understanding of Zhuan Falun. It did not take long before we were reading the lectures from 2000 on. We came to understand that the current stage is cultivation in Fa-rectification, not just self-cultivation. As Dafa disciples in the Fa-rectification period, we should do more than just cultivate ourselves well. We should also try to spread the Fa, clarify the truth and save sentient beings. After each group Fa-study, we would always hear local practitioners talk about Hongfa and Truth-clarification activities; so we decided to get involved. This was our first step as Fa-rectification Dafa disciples.
When we participated in our first parade at the end of April, we still felt some fear. All the same, we managed to finish our task in that peaceful and virtuous environment. This experience made us more confident and allowed us to be more at ease. Although after we went to street fairs, we found that we still held some fear, even though we knew we were there to save sentient beings. We were afraid to be seen by our friends, so we kept slightly aloof. Also, because we hadn't yet a deep understanding of the Fa, we were unable to respond to people's questions thoroughly. After studying the Fa for some time, we found that Master had given the answers in his books. Master said:
I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism.2 … what you do then, with a pure heart, will be the best and most sacred.3
We searched within and discussed how we could participate in Fa-rectification activities. We realized that if we were to do Dafa projects well, we must eliminate our bad thoughts of self and ego. We would need to participate with a pure and compassionate heart. And to achieve that, we have to keep studying the Fa, deepen our understanding of Fa and cultivate ourselves well.
We cherish the time we have at the group Fa study and during Fa-rectification activities. But as a PhD student, I don't have much control over my time. My advisor generally is in control over my time, and that includes weekends and evenings. However, our benevolent Master has made His arrangements. Every Wednesday, when there is group Fa-study, my advisor will either leave his office early or go out of town. And during the weekends when I need to participate in activities, he seldom asks me to work on campus. As a result, we've pretty much been able to participate in all of the weekly group Fa-studies and Fa-rectification activities. We are so grateful for Master's compassion. As long as we have righteous thoughts, Master will help us.
In addition to the weekly group Fa-study, as a couple we also study the Fa every day on our own. My wife has a lighter schedule and more time for Fa-study. My schedule is a bit tighter. But I always spend some time on Fa-study before I go to bed. Master said:
The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts. 4
You will encounter many tribulations during the course of practicing cultivation. As long as you study the Fa earnestly, you can overcome any difficulty. As long as you study the Fa earnestly, answers found within the Fa can solve any hard-to-untie knots in your heart, or any hang-ups. This Fa encompasses how to be a human being as well as how to be a heavenly being. I'm also telling you how to be a Buddha, Dao, God, and even a god in still higher realms. How could the Fa fail to eliminate your hang-ups? How could the Fa not open your mind? How could the Fa not resolve your problems? It can do all of this. 5
Through more intensive Fa study, we have gained a deeper understanding of the Fa-principles and found many deep-seated attachments. We began to intentionally repel and eliminate them. Gradually we saw our own changes. We realized that we let go of many of our attachments. We are more considerate of other people and able to look at things from the other's standpoint.
In May we had more activities, and we gained more experience. Whatever the activity, be it a parade for spreading Fa or a street fair where we could clarify the truth, at all times we tried to eliminate our own narrow thoughts and participated with pure and compassionate hearts. We were serious in showing people the goodness and greatness of Dafa. Although ordinary people are still lost in delusion, they did, nevertheless, come here for the Fa. So we kept such thoughts in mind when we took part in ever more Fa-spreading and truth clarifying activities. When we handed out fliers about the truth to passerbys with a sincere smile, almost all of them accepted them. Some of them stoped to ask about Dafa and about the persecution in China. When we met people from Mainland China, we held the hope that they will accept our materials. We hope to eliminate the poison in their minds, because of the lies and propaganda, and dissolve the hostility they hold toward Dafa. It is now the final stage of the Fa-rectification, and sentient beings are awakening. Sometimes, people asked for extra fliers and other items as gifts for their spouses or parents or friends. Sometimes, they told us that this is exactly what they have been looking for and that they'll definitely come to our next Falun Gong workshop. Sometimes, they loudly tell us, "We support you!"
Participating in group activities is an excellent cultivation experience. Many bad thoughts and deep-seated attachments are revealed during group activities. Once, at a street fair, I met with some Christians who were eagerly trying to convert others, and who maligned Falun Dafa. I wanted to stop them. After I said a few words, I suddenly realized I was acting based on my strong attachment of being competitive. I immediately corrected myself, and calmed down. There was another episode when we were in a parade in Los Angeles. We had a waist drum troup in that parade. A fellow practitioner told my wife that her arm swing was off. She wasn't happy about it. Afterwards we looked within and discovered our problem. The thought, "Participation is what matters most" is the wrong attitude, even for ordinary people. So we, as Dafa disciples, have to be strict with ourselves in everything we do, even for little things, and hold ourselves to high standards. We have to do our best, and only that way can we leave as reference a straight path for the people of the future.
Since June our apartment hosted the weekly group phone-a-thon of the San Diego phone team. Each group calling effort is a good chance for us to improve ourselves. At the beginning, my wife and I were nervous and didn't dare touch the phone. My wife said she trembled from head to toe during the first session. She could not find the reason for such behavior, especially when she sent righteous thoughts for our fellow practitioners. We began to see the gap between veteran practitioners and ourselves. They kept a calm demeanor and were at ease. Now we study the Fa together [during these weekly sessions], prepare us ahead of time and find that things need improvemnet. We now prepare a script that we read over the phone. At the very least, we are giving the people of China a chance to learn the truth about the staged self-immolation and the lawsuit against Jiang. There's still a lot left for us to do.
In early July, we held in our apartment a 9-day class for watching Master's lectures on video, and about ten practitioners attended. Most of them had attained the Fa one or two years ago, while others attained it more recently. Our friends, Mr. Ma, Ms. Liu and their 5-month-old daughter participated. Ms. Liu had obtained the Fa about a month ago. My wife introduced Falun Dafa to her. Within only a few days of doing the exercises and reading the books she experienced the wonders of Dafa. The problem of insufficient breast milk was resolved. She felt much more energetic and her daughter's eczema, from which she had suffered for several months, disappeared. Mr. Ma was inspired by those miraculous changes in his wife and daughter, and thus began to read Zhuan Falun and attended our 9-day class. We later learned from them that their roommate began to read Zhuan Falun after seeing their changes.
Over the past three months we have come to realize that it's extremely important for new students like us to melt into and become one with the Fa. Master said:
The cultivation practice form that I have left for Dafa disciples ensures that disciples can truly improve themselves. For example, I ask you to do the exercises as a group in parks in order to form an environment. That environment is the best way to change the surface of a person. The lofty conduct that Dafa disciples establish 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. Therefore, new students or self-taught disciples have to go to the practice sites to do the exercises.6
The cultivation environment of our Dafa disciples is the only Pure Land in this world. It can help eliminate all attachments and desires of ordinary people, and purify our thoughts. Actively participating in Fa-rectification activities and saving sentient beings are our responsibilities. My wife and I haven't cultivated well enough, and still find that we are often side-tracked by all kinds of ordinary human attachments. Many things that should have been done, as a result, didn't get done; and many things that should have been done well, didn't get done well enough. We will do better with the three things Master told us to do, and walk better the paths of Fa-rectification that lie ahead of us.
Thank you Master! Thank you fellow practitioners!
1 "Also in a Few Words," Essentials for Further Advancement II
2 "Non-Omission in Buddha Nature," Essentials for Further Advancement
3 "Further Understanding," Essentials for Further Advancement
4 "Drive Out Interference," Essentials for Further Advancement II
5 Falun Buddha Fa: Lecture at the First Conference in North America
6 "Environment," Essentials for Further Advancement