PureInsight | April 24, 2001
I am going to talk about my experiences during my long search and some realizations in the course of my cultivation practice.
In the past, I went into the mountains several times and tried to practice cultivation alone in order to perfect myself. To find an enlightened master I went everywhere in China, from the northern mountains to the southern seas, visiting old temples. I also left home and became a monk, even a chief monk, in a temple. Besides all that, I also experimented with many kinds of Qigong. Then, finally, I came upon this extremely rarely encountered genuine Fa, Falun Gong. My long, painful search has made me really, deeply appreciate that this Greatest Way is not easily found. I shall therefore continue my cultivation in it until I reach consummation.
In my childhood, I frequently experienced the strange and unusual phenomenon of my soul leaving my physical body. Looking up at the sky, I often asked my young mind ¡°How big is the sky? Is it boundless?¡± Further, I would think about the horrifying emptiness of nothingness setting in upon a person at death after a lifetime of only a few decades.
Later in my rough and tumble life, I would remember some wonderful moments from my childhood. Those were the only times I was happy. When I was 10 years old, my mother and then my other relatives passed away, one after the other. From that point on, I felt as if I had fallen into the stormy sea.
In primary school, after hearing a story about Lu Ban (a very famous craftsman and inventor in ancient China; a demigod in folk belief), I became aware of the idea of cultivation practice. It was only a vague idea; people did not talk about cultivation at all in those times. It was just something coming from someplace deep inside myself. Sometimes at midnight I would enter into a state of pure tranquility. I would then experience the expansion of the spatial dimension and see my deceased relatives coming back to visit me.
Later, as I was growing up, cultivation practice became a more and more popular topic of conversation. I knew a little bit more about it by then but had no good teacher to follow. Over the years, I have endured many tribulations in life that I won¡¯t elaborate here. But I will briefly describe some of my experiences related to cultivation. The first time I went to the mountain of Daxin Anlin in northeastern China, I cultivated there by myself without a teacher. Somehow I reached the relatively high ¡°Milky White Body¡± level of cultivation and obtained some power, or Gong. Only after I became a Dafa practitioner did I realize that many Falun Dafa practitioners have been able to reach that level in just a few days. While I was there, an enlightened person came to observe me but did not dare to be my master. Perhaps he knew that I was destined to become a disciple of the Dafa.
When I came down out of the mountain, all of China was flooded with various Qigong practices. I began drifting like a hot air balloon from one type of Qigong to another but none of them were satisfactory to me. Then I thought that perhaps I needed to concentrate on one of them so as to get something genuine from it. Thus it came to be that I devoted myself to a certain school of Qigong in Beijing. But I soon found out that they were after fame and material gain. It seemed like I had fallen into a devil¡¯s cave. When bad things came at me, I would be frozen and not able to move at all. Luckily, when that happened, I would think righteous thoughts and then I would be able to get away. But for a while, I felt as if I were falling into and then escaping from one devil¡¯s cave only to fall immediately into another one and my life was constantly in danger. Those experiences are part of the reason why I now cherish Falun Dafa more than my own life.
After searching in vain for a good teacher around Beijing, I traveled to the South and met a Taoist in Lao-Shan. He had started his cultivation by swallowing Dans (alchemy pills) from his master. He belonged to one of the schools where the teacher passes his teachings on to only one student. He had reached a certain level of attainment but he would not share his knowledge with outsiders. The only things he would teach me were some superficial techniques for the improving one¡¯s health. Then I went south to Jiangxi province. I climbed mountain after mountain, traversing about one hundred miles on foot. I almost fell off cliffs on several occasions. One day at noontime, I arrived at my destination. I was hoping to meet with a very old monk, between two and three hundred years old. Although the old monk usually did not meet with strangers, he agreed to see me. Because he did not cultivate his body, this monk looked frighteningly old. His skin was sagging beyond description, his hand had a big lesion that was held together by adhesive tape, and the pupils in his eyes were already dilated; but he was still alive. In the heat of summer, this aged monk was dressed in a scruffy old winter coat. If he wanted to get up and walk, he had to hold on to something. At our meeting, he whispered to me in an ancient dialect about how to attain wisdom. Then he asked, ¡°Do you have any questions?¡± to which I answered ¡°No.¡± After a short while, the monk signaled for me to leave and gave me an ancient book dealing with how to escape death. By that time I was already in the upper mid-level of In-Triple-World Fa cultivation so I did not read his book.
Then I went through a time of painful depression. I had spent so many fruitless years searching for an enlightened master to help me solve the puzzles that were blocking my advancement in cultivation. On the other hand, I was not fitting into society either. Since I did not think about things in the same way that most people in the world did, there seemed to be no place for me in human society. It was so painful to be caught hanging in the middle; I was wondering when my suffering would end.
Continuing my search, I met someone from the Two-Finger Zen School in Shandong province. This man had mastered a type of martial arts and was able to support himself on his two fingers with his head down and his legs up. He could also break a brick by blowing water out of his mouth. But he could only teach me external martial arts without any internal cultivation so his teaching was not very attractive to me. In the mountains of Jiangxi, I learned some other external martial arts techniques. They were effective in their way but could not guide me towards higher-level cultivation. So I gave them up after a while.
By then I was in total agony, having weathered so many figurative winds and frosts. There was no choice for me but to escape to a mountain for solitary cultivation yet again. This time I went to the Changbai Mountain. By that time Falun Dafa had already started to spread in Chinese society but I did not know that. Later, after I had become a Falun Dafa cultivator, Master Li told me that a divine person had gone to the mountain to see me but could not take me in as a disciple. It was a lonely and miserable time for me up there in that mountain.
Then I gave up all my earthly possessions and became a monk in Anhui province. Originally, this temple had a natural Dragon Channel. But in order for the temple to make money, the previous Head Monk had approved the building of a hotel there to attract tourists. The Dragon Channel was destroyed by the construction and evil spirits rushed in and took over the whole temple. Because I had pure intentions about being a monk, not wanting money or anything else, the evil spirits inside the temple could not do me any harm.
One day at the temple, I suddenly heard a voice saying 'Falun Gong'. It touched something deep inside of me but that was the end of it. I did not see anyone practicing it nor did I hear anything about the books. Another half a year went by and I moved to another temple. There, a lady who had taken the 9-day Falun Dafa lectures in Hefei gave me a copy of Falun Gong. We had never met before. She said she had suddenly had an inexplicable urge to visit this particular temple and so had ridden the train for many days to get there. In this coincidental way I finally came in contact with Dafa. The moment I opened the book I knew I had been given a priceless treasure. After finishing it, my first thought was, 'Maitreya (the future Buddha) has come to this world! I've got to find him.' It was just like the Chinese saying: 'You can wearing out a pair of iron shoes searching but it can¡¯t be found; when the right time comes, to find it you're bound.' It may have seemed so easy to finally find what I had been searching for so unsuccessfully for so long, but, when I look back, I realize it wasn¡¯t really so easy at all.
I have just briefly described the path I took to search for Dafa. I have not mentioned the many tribulations I have experienced throughout my life. Ever since I was a kid, I have had to deal with one catastrophe after another. To many people, any one of these disasters might have been reason enough to kill themselves. But these adversities have helped to shape me into the person that I am today, and to lay a solid foundation for me to obtain the Dafa. They have helped me become a steadfast and determined cultivator. Many people do not realize how lucky we are to have little interference from evil spirits in our Dafa cultivation. These evil spirits cause many problems in a lot of other cultivation ways. Master Li has taken care of them all, and is always protecting us throughout our cultivation. The only thing he asked us is to let go our attachments. This is something unimaginable in the past.
After becoming a Dafa practitioner, I came back into normal everyday life to practice cultivation. I came to the US because of a predestined relationship. When he met me in the US, Master Li told me, 'Let go every preconceived notion that you have. Otherwise, they will become obstacles to your cultivation.' I have taken his words to heart, and am cultivating in the Dafa single-mindedly. The Teacher said in his books, 'To tell you the truth, the whole cultivation process for a practitioner will be one of constantly giving up the human attachments.' If one is not a part of the Dafa, he will not understand the true meaning of these words. I want to let go all of my preconceived human notions so that I can become an integral part of the Dafa. Only when I have changed my everyday human thinking and uncovered my true original self, can I be truly in control of myself.
I am a part of Dafa, even though I am only a small dust particle in the boundless universe. I know that the process of my cultivation is at the same time a process of the Dafa creating me. On a personal level, it is how I choose to cultivate myself diligently. To Dafa, it is how it chooses and what method it uses to create me. The Dafa gives me my life, my wisdom, and everything I have. I cannot look at the Dafa from a normal human point of view, the only thing I can do is to integrate with the Dafa and melt into it.
Recently, many schools of Qigong have appeared; most of them are after money and fame and will not be able to stand the test of time. In the case of Falun Gong, even after more than a long year and a half of brutal persecution and attempted eradication in China, the vast majority of Falun Dafa practitioners still insist on continuing their cultivation. The practitioners in China are using their flesh and blood to peacefully appeal for the Dafa. Even while being brutally beaten, they not only do not fight back but, instead, still patiently explain the truth about Falun Gong, and tell the people of the world, 'Falun Gong is Good.' If it were not a righteous cultivation method, nobody could bear such cruel suppression. More and more people are beginning to understand and embrace Falun Gong outside of China. It is because anyone who still has a conscience can relate to the Falun Dafa principles of 'Truthfulness - Benevolence - Forbearance'.