PureInsight | March 28, 2005
[PureInsight.org] Since the beginning of the persecution, I have been validating Falun Gong and clarifying the truth about Falun Gong through my writing. When the persecution first started in 1999, I was still in China. During that year, I started writing articles to clarify the truth about Falun Gong to people. After that first year, I came to the United States to pursue graduate study in the Washington, D.C. area. Although my memory about the past few years has started to fade, my memory of the more significant tests on my moral character remains intact. I would like to share with you my personal experiences of becoming increasingly selfless during my continuous journey of clarifying the truth through writing.
I. Upgrading My Cultivation Level during the Writing Process
During the first two and a half years of the persecution, my writing style was not much different from my writing style before I had started my cultivation practice. Now that I look at the articles I wrote to clarify the truth about Falun Gong during those years, I find it difficult to finish reading them. The main reason is that they all scream belligerence. Anyone can tell the author is anxious to win the argument.
At the end of 2001, Falun Gong practitioners in the North America began to prepare for the launch of an independent, nonprofit Chinese language TV that would be broadcasting via satellite in North America as a media venue for Falun Gong's truth-clarification video programs. To begin with, Falun Gong practitioners with better facility in Chinese writing formed a novel writing team and a TV script writing team for the sake of clarifying the truth about Falun Gong. Falun Gong practitioners also created a special column in one of the Falun Gong practitioners' websites to host truth-clarification novels and TV scripts. Many members of the teams are quick hands. In a short amount of time, other practitioners in the team finished many short novels, medium-length novels and TV dramas, which mainly describe the cruel persecution agianst Falun Gong practitioners in China and Falun Gong practitioners' righteous thoughts and righteous actions. I looked at fellow practitioners' creations and felt that some of the characters in the stories had made very rapid or even abrupt improvements in their opinions about Falun Gong. I was worrid about the issue of the readers' acceptance.
I decided to think for a few days about what readers would be likely drawn to before I started writing. Because of my academic background in computer science, I have become very keen on logic. Consequently, when it comes to writing a novel, I decided to put a lot of thought into the logic of the storyline and clear cause-and-effect of the plots. Eventually I decided to write about things I am most familiar with, so I ended up writing my own story of cultivation practice. I feel I will be able to create a sense of reality if I write about myself. I plan to write about how I began my Falun Gong cultivation practice and how I have responded to the persecution from the very beginning. Because I have never been able to see anything with my Celestial Eye, I can honestly say that I was not inspired to improve my moral character by visions of other dimensions. I am solely motivated by Falun Gong's teaching to improve myself and then I determine the proper course of actions after I have rationally contemplated how to comply with Falun Gong's teaching. I think there is a good chance that those people who know very little about cultivation practice, especially those who refuse to accept anything outside the limited boundary of the modern science, can easily digest and accept the story of my moral transformation during the cultivation practice. I named my novel, Surpassing the Secular World, because that's my interpretation of the Falun Gong cultivation practice.
I told the story of my long courtship of my wife in the first three chapters, and asked for a peer review within the writing teams. Some of them were supportive of my idea, but one of them completely crushed my idea. He said, "What do you think you are doing? This is in the traditional genre of a romance between a talented scholar and a bonny lass." But that's not what I was going for. I thought, because everyday people are soaked in sentimentality, we should write things that appeal them sentimentally so that they will keep on reading the novel that contains important facts about Falun Gong. Besides, I thought it was too early to make a judgment about the entire novel because I had to spend three chapters to introduce characters, the backdrop and the main storylines. I ignored his comment and kept on writing as I had planned. When I progressed to chapter six, I had to stop writing because another fellow practitioner told me that he had decided that it was inappropriate to publish a love story on any Falun Gong practitioners' website.
My hubris did not allow me to swallow the defeat, so I started complaining to my wife (a leading character in my novel.) "I wrote the novel to clarify the truth about Falun Gong," I groaned. "If we don't publish this novel, then I have wasted a lot of my valuable time. If I had known the editors of the website would refuse to publish my novel, I would much rather spending my time distributing truth-clarification material on the streets." However, I have already joined the writing team, so I knew it would be too willful to just quit. I decided to read other members' works that had already been published on Falun Gong practitioners' websites in order to study their writing style and find out why their works were favored by the editors. Once I decided I had a good grasp of their styles, I searched for Falun Gong practitioners' touching stories published at Minghui.org and used them as raw materials. Thus I came up with a short and a medium-length TV drama script that ended up being accepted by the editors. Now I realize those two "products" were not very meaningful because I basically copied fellow practitioners' writing styles in order to have my works published. I just tried to outsmart the editors as if I was trying to pass an examination in order to satisfy my ego and vanity.
I stopped writing Surpassing the Secular World for six months. During that period of time, several members of the writing team encouraged me a few times to continue writing Surpassing the Secular World, but I had lost interest. So I worked on other truth-clarification projects to keep myself useful.
In March 2002, I had the honor of listening to Teacher giving the Fa lecture, which later was published and titled, "Touring North America to Teach the Fa." Afterwards, I suddenly realized that gods had meticulously arranged the ancient Chinese culture in order for today's Chinese people to be able to understand the Fa. Suddenly the ancient Chinese history began to make sense to me. I decided to use them as supplementary materials to clarify the truth about Falun Gong and its cultivation practice to the Chinese people. Starting June 2002, I began writing a series of articles titled, "A Casual Talk about the Ancient Chinese Culture," for Zhengjian.org. It was an immensely cathartic experience to me. For the first time in my life, I felt I am writing and thinking outside of the Chinese Communist Party's aggressive style of debate. It was a turning point in my journey of writing. After completing the series, belligerence and aggressiveness began to disappear from my writing. Instead, tranquility and peacefulness began to register. I learned to reason with people and to clarify the truth about Falun Gong without getting emotional or excited. It was then I began to understand the following passage of the Fa.
Teacher said, "Human culture is given to humans by Gods, but the modern Chinese language has been altered by modern humans' warped thinking, with its denunciation of theism and with its political concepts." (From "Using at Will" in Essentials for Further Advancement II.)
In August 2002, the editor from another Falun Gong practitioners' website contacted me and told me they had decided to publish Surpassing the Secular World as a series. I was very shocked. It meant I had to complete the novel and keep supplying new contents at a regular rate. By the time the editor contacted me, I had already lost all interest in finishing writing the novel. Therefore, I started writing it again with a mentality of completing a task. In the first two months after I resumed writing the novel, I did not get any feedback from the readers or the editor. Sometimes when I saw fellow practitioners working on a truth-clarification project using the type of method they were interested in, I felt jealousy growing within me. Writing is a very time-consuming work. With a lot of investment of my time on writing the novel, I did not even know how many people would actually read it and accept the truth about Falun Gong in the novel. When I was overwhelmed with other truth-clarification projects, I would even plagiarize from the articles I had written before. All I really cared about was to complete the task.
In October 2002, a Falun Gong practitioner in New York decided to record the reading of Surpassing the Secular World and play the recordings on a Falun Gong practitioners' radio station. He told me that he really liked this novel and urged me to put my heart into it. He also said there were some parts of the novel that needed more work, and those were exactly the parts I copied from my own writing to dodge work. After we finished the telephone discussion, I thought, "Wow. There are people who actually read my novel." Since then, I became more interested in completing the novel. For half a year since that telephone conversation, I have stayed up until 3:00 A.M. almost every night. When I finally hit the sack, I usually hear birds chirping outside my bedroom window. Despite my renewed enthusiasm, I have had doubts from time to time on how many people would truly learn and accept the truth of Falun Gong after they read my novel. It was Chinese New Year's Eve of 2003 (mid-February) when I finally completed Surpassing the Secular World. I felt immensely relived when I typed the words, "The End."
On a day in March 2003, I called on a fellow practitioner, who had been developing technologies to break through China's information blockade on the Internet. He told me that he had kept publishing new chapters of Surpassing the Secular World on their website for several months and it had been hit several hundred thousand times so far. There were over 10,000 hits in a week often times. This was just the statistics in one website. He said he could feel from the readers' responses that they had gradually changed their attitude towards Falun Gong after reading my novel. Later several fellow practitioners told me that their family members no longer made negative comments on Falun Gong after reading my novel. I was very pleased with myself although I contained my vanity well in front of other people.
In hindsight, I can see that the various types of emotions I exhibited during the process, such as the feeling of betrayal, frustration, distress, loneliness and the feeling of triumph, were very impure. I began to question myself: Did I contribute to the truth-clarification work in order to please others or win their respect? Or should I regard the process of writing as part of my cultivation practice? Am I capable of doing truth-clarification work without seeking results or personal gains? Am I capable of doing truth-clarification work in order to fulfill my pledge and attain the goal Teacher has expected of us in "Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Washington DC Fa Conference"?
Teacher said, "When we've passed through this part of history and we take a look back, if every Dafa disciple is able to say, "I've done what I was supposed to do," (applause) then that's the most extraordinary." (From "Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Washington DC Fa Conference")
Besides, Teacher said, "Think about it everyone, humans have karma—you all know this as you're Dafa disciples—and everything that human beings draw or paint includes elements of the artist himself." "And all the thoughts the subject of the painting has and all of the factors associated with his body are fully displayed as well, including how much karma he has. Whenever someone hangs a painting of that person in his home, the karma of that person in the painting emits from the painting. So when someone hangs something like that in his home, is he benefiting or being harmed?"(From "Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art")
Since Surpassing the Secular World is an autobiography, I should have made more efforts to upgrade myself during the process of writing so that I would release only positive energy, which would have enhanced the effect of my truth-clarification work.
Translated from part 1 of: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/3/7/31436.html