Predestined Relationships with Falun Gong: Anna and I

Xiao Mei

PureInsight | February 14, 2005

[] I still pass by my old apartment building on my way to work every day. It is a red brick building with four stories. Although it is an old building that is more than 70 years old, it is a popular choice of residence for new immigrants because of its excellent location. It is close to downtown and is located in a relatively safe neighborhood. It is only 15 minutes of walk to the nearest college. The nearest elementary school is just across the street. The landlady is rather strict and hard to deal with, but the plus side is that she keeps the apartment building in pristine order. This is why the apartment building is a very popular choice of new immigrants in the area. When we first moved into the building, we were the only Chinese family in the apartment building. Soon three other Chinese families moved into the building one after another. When the fall semester started, there was virtually no vacancy in the building. The only unit available was a small studio (a.k.a. efficiency) apartment. It was on the first floor, right next to the laundry room.

Despite its size and location, a Chinese family moved into the only unit left in the building. It was a young Chinese mother named Anna and her four-year-old daughter. She was a vivacious and articulate woman. She was always busy coming in and out of her apartment. Soon she made friends with the Chinese residents on the first floor. I often saw them grocery shopping together. Their kids also played together.

Before I met Anna, I was liable to judge people based on my first impression, not realizing it could be biased based on partial observation of people. When I first saw Anna, I thought to myself, "She is too busy living her life to think of such a profound question as the meaning of life. I bet she'd rather chitchat with her Chinese neighbors if she has any free time." Snobbish as I was, I thought, "All of my friends are reserved thinkers." Therefore, I did not get off my high horse or make her acquaintance. However, the course of nature sometimes goes against one's wishes.

One afternoon, after my five-year-old boy came home from school, we went to the laundry room and did the laundry together. When we passed by Anna's apartment adjacent to the laundry room, my son asked me, "Mommy, there is a little girl living in this apartment. May I go in and play with her?" I thought my son would get bored quickly doing the laundry with me and he did need a kid his age to play with after school, so I knocked on Anna's apartment door after I loaded the laundry into the washers. Anna opened the door and invited us in eagerly. While we introduced ourselves to each other, our kids had already started to play with each other although they didn't even know each other's names. Right after I took a seat in a loveseat next to the dinning table, Anna started to chat away. "Look what kind of trouble I have brought upon myself. I have already earned my college degree in the United States and had a job there. Why did I come to Canada to study for my master's degree? Why must I torture myself? Not only do I have to go to graduate school and do homework, but also I have to look after my daughter on my own. Why do I bother to get a master's degree? Besides, there is no telling whether I can find a job or not after I get my master's degree in computer science."

Because I had already formed a biased and snobbish opinion of Anna, everything she said to break the ice appeared to me as a prepared speech to show off. I did not bother to respond. I just sat there, quietly listening to her putting on the solo show. Perhaps it was because she had rarely met someone with such a different personality from her, she suddenly stopped and curiously asked, "How come you seem so composed? It is as if nothing worries you at all." I replied, "There is no use worrying. It's not as if you could solve anything with worry or anxiety."

Perhaps opposite attract or perhaps my personality was refreshing to her. I guess she was usually successful in breaking the ice and encouraging her guests to chitchat. Anna did detect something unusual behind my reserved manner.

She asked me, "Are you born with this type of worry-free personality? Or do you have some spiritual belief that affects your personality?"

"I have not been very interested in fame or wealth since I was little, but I still finished college, got my master's degree, and immigrated to Canada. Since I started my Falun Gong cultivation practice, I have learned that a cultivator should follow the course of nature, so nothing really bothers me."

"What did you say? Falun Gong? You practice Falun Gong?" She almost jumped. In fact, she had retreated next to her bed in her small apartment.

"What's wrong with practicing Falun Gong? What are you afraid of?" I was somewhat offended by her response and became to like her even less. I could understand how people in China had fallen prey to the Chinese Communist government's hate propaganda, but I was amazed that Anna would have such a strong reaction to Falun Gong when she lives in Canada.

"Haven't you heard anything? Falun Gong is an evil cult." Anna became nervous as if I had a contagious disease.

"It depends on whose words you believe. Do I appear to be evil to you," I asked her peacefully.

"CCTV4 said so. When my mother-in-law visited me in the United States, we installed a satellite dish at home so I used to watch CCTV4 every day. It says that Falun Gong practitioners cultivate insanity…" She calmed down a little bit and started to feel embarrassed for her behavior.

"Do you find CCTV4's reports believable? I suggest you try to learn about Falun Gong on your own." I could no longer stand this woman and decided to bid farewell. Before I left the door, I said, "I have Falun Gong books in my apartment. You may come up anytime to borrow the books."

When I was about to go downstairs to move the laundry from the washers to the dryers, Anna knocked on my door. "May I borrow a few Falun Gong books? You do not match CCTV4's portrait of a Falun Gong practitioner. I am curious as to what Falun Gong's books are all about."

"Sure. You may borrow them. All of Falun Gong's books are open to everyone."

So I loaned Anna a copy of Zhuan Falun. I was very prejudiced about Anna at the time, so I made a lot of negative assumptions of her reaction to the book. I imagined that she would return the book right away. I imagined that she would laugh at or ridicule the content of Zhuan Falun or that she would have difficulty understanding its content.

On the following morning, after I took my son to school, Anna came up to my apartment to return the book. I made a condescending remark in my heart, "I knew it! I knew a person like you would not read this divine book of cultivation practice."

"I have finished reading this book. Could you please teach me Falun Gong's exercises?"

Now it was my turn to be dumbfounded.

"So soon? You understood the book?" I didn't realize I was rude and snobbish.

"Why do you think I would have difficulty understanding Zhuan Falun? I understand every word in this book. I used to practice many schools of qigong (a form of traditional Chinese exercise which cultivates qi or "vital energy") when I was in China. I experienced many strange phenomena but no qigong master was able to explain them. Zhuan Falun answers all of my questions."

"I didn't realize you were so interested in qigong."

"I have always wanted to have a spiritual belief. I mean it. But I am determined to believe in only the real spiritual belief." I could tell the solemnity in her voice and attitude. I don't think she says these words when she learned each school of qigong. Now it's my turn to feel embarrassed for my prejudice and manners. I was too shallow and prejudiced to tell Anna was in fact a wise woman underneath her bubbly and chatty personality.

I loaned her a copy of Falun Gong's exercise instruction videotape. "You can learn the exercises from this videotape. It is our Teacher who demonstrates the exercises in this videotape. I would teach you the exercises myself, except it's better to learn from our Teacher. You are looking for the real spiritual belief. This is the real thing."

That evening I heard her footsteps as she approached my apartment. I had learned the sound of her footsteps. She came to my apartment right after she finished her classes.

Her eyes were big with excitement. She shared her experience with me anxiously, "Guess what? When I followed Teacher's instruction videotape, I felt a warm current flowing all over my body. I am not joking. Falun Gong is miraculous!"

I noticed she used the word "Teacher" and she sounded very sincere. It appears that she might have a strong predestined relationship with Falun Gong.

"What's the big deal? When I practiced Falun Gong for the first time, I felt a Falun rotating in my lower abdomen." At the time, I had not detected my attachment to vanity, competitiveness, and negative sentiment to Anna's bubbly personality.

But Anna was oblivious to my snobbishness. She said, "Really? I have practiced many types of qigong for half a year when I was in China, but I didn't feel anything at all. In those days, those qigong masters taught us directly and asked us to feel qi. Falun Gong is better than all types of qigong. Before I even learned the exercises, I had felt the energy. Would you mind lending me Zhuan Falun again? I would like to read it again." I handed her the book and said, "You may borrow the book for as long as you wish. I have another copy of Zhuan Falun."

It was Friday when she borrowed the instruction videotape and book from me. She did not come to see me during the weekend. On the following Monday morning after we took our kids to school, Anna came up to my apartment again. She did not have classes that day. She told me that her husband had come up during the weekend to take her and their daughter out for the weekend. Because it was a long drive, she brought Zhuan Falun with her and read it all over again during the driving. She told me she decided to start her Falun Gong cultivation practice. Then she asked, "How do I register and become a member of Falun Gong?" I was puzzled by her question. "Register? There are no such things as registering or membership. There are two parts in Falun Gong's cultivation practice: practicing Falun Gong's exercises and studying Falun Gong's books. All you need to do is to conduct yourself according to Falun Gong's cultivation principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. Don't worry. You may lead your life as usual."

"That's it? No membership? No membership fee?" She asked again because Falun Gong is different from all types of qigong in China that requires membership and fees.

"I spent only 7 Yuan (approximately $0.85USD) for a copy of Zhuan Falun. An elder Falun Gong practitioner at the volunteer group practice site near my home in China gave me a copy of the exercise music on an audiocassette. That's all. I have never submitted any fees to any Falun Gong practitioner, and you won't have to, either. If I should accept your money or gift, Teacher would not acknowledge me as his disciple. It is clearly written in Lecture Three of Zhuan Falun."

Thus Anna became my fellow Falun Gong practitioner. We went out to practice Falun Gong exercises and attended Falun Gong practitioners' cultivation experience sharing conferences together. Later on, Anna's husband became a permanent resident of the US. So she moved back to the United States with her daughter to be with him. Then she quickly found a job with a good pay. Two years later, she gave birth to a boy.

Anna and her daughter ended up living in that apartment building for only a short period of time. She has a good explanation to her brief life in Canada. "Perhaps I went to Canada to learn Falun Gong."

After Anna left Canada for America, she might have met people with predestined relationships with Falun Gong and had many miraculous experiences. Perhaps you will run into Anna one day and listen to her own stories. There is no telling whom our predestined relations might lead us to.

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