Time flies. I will have practised Falun Gong for 15 years this October 2012.
I have been through enormous physical and moral transformations in the past 15 years while gradually melting into the Fa. I am no longer a selfish person overcome with desires of fame, self-interest, lust, and love. All the improvements were made possible by my cultivation of Falun Gong.
I suffered from gluttony. I had been overweight since high school. I weighed 14 stone at the time. I was a constant target of teasing in school, but I didn't care. I was quite comfortable with my self and didn't feel the need to change.
In retrospect, I had such a strong attachment to food. I was especially obsessed with meat and desserts. I don't know how I could have overlooked my problem with gluttony for more than ten years.
Where there is a cause, there is an effect. Gluttony presented me many obstacles in my cultivation practice.
I started practising Falun Gong in October 1997. Because I was overweight, I was overcome with agony and soaked in sweat when I practised the sitting meditation, even in the single lotus position. I was afraid to even think about practising the sitting meditation, recalling the excruciating pain. It did not occur to me that I should eliminate my attachment to gluttony or that I should lose weight.
I moved to Austria in 2002. I went to a small town to celebrate Falun Dafa Day in my first year in Austria. When we sent forth righteous thoughts together, the leg on top kept sliding off. I was also in a lot of pain. I kept my right hand in front of my chest and used my left hand to hold the top leg in place.
A western practitioner kindly reminded me, "That is not the correct posture for sending righteous thoughts." Yet I still did not think to lose weight. I weighed about 15 stone.
Then something happened that made me want to make some changes.
One day I was distributing newspapers on my bicycle when I came across a group of Chinese government officials. A stodgy Chinese official asked me, "How do you make a living here?" "I work on part-time jobs," I told him. He commented, "You don't look like it." I knew he meant I was too fat to look like someone who has to work part-time jobs to make ends meet. I wasn't guarding my xinxing well. I retorted, "You are not exactly thin yourself!" Later I saw a photo of him on a local Chinese publication and learned he was the former Chinese ambassador to Austria.
I made up my mind to lose weight because of this episode. I resolved to overcome gluttony!
I failed a test related to the attachment of lust in 2004 because I failed to guard my xinxing. I felt like dying.
I was depressed for a long time. I often asked myself if I could continue to practise Falun Gong. Am I still qualified to practise Falun Gong? My emotions fuelled my eating. I was particularly attached to meat, and I had to have meat at every meal. I cannot remember how much weight I had put on, but I once reached 17 stone. It was impossible for me to practise the sitting meditation in the double (full) lotus position. Even the single lotus position was very difficult and painful for me.
Teacher is ever compassionate towards each and every Falun Gong student. He always gives me opportunities to improve. One day I saw the Chinese translation of a Korean prophecy on-line. I was blown away when I read the prophecy about Falun Gong. I decided that I must not give up on myself. I longed to find a way to come out of the darkness.
I had many dreams of attending exams. I failed at first and then I passed. Then I was stuck. I kept thinking of a way to overcome my problem. I read many articles on the Minghui website about memorizing the Fa. These articles were very inspirational to me. I felt that memorizing the Fa might be a way for me to come out of my pit and to become diligent in my cultivation again. It was high time to memorize the Fa. One night I dreamed of becoming a proctor at the exam, instead of taking an exam.
I now realize that it was all because of Teacher's arrangements and hints that I thought of a solution. Teacher gave me a new opportunity.
I used to read from chapter to chapter when I studied Zhuan Falun, Falun Gong's main text. But I found myself frequently losing concentration and had to stop and start again. I started memorizing Zhuan Falun in November 2005. I memorized one to three sentences at a time depending on the length of the sentences.
I had memorized Zhuan Falun about 13 times by the beginning of 2009. I started memorizing Zhuan Falun one paragraph at a time in April 2009. If I recited a Chinese character wrong or missed one Chinese character, I memorized the entire paragraph again. It was a way for me to temper my determination and faith.
It was a very, very difficult process. I wanted to give up so many times. In fact, I lost count of how many times I gave up. Each time I gave up, I found myself unwilling to reconcile with the feeling of giving up. I was driven by a strong desire to be diligent. Soon after I gave up I would start again. It took me about 16 months to memorize Zhuan Falun one paragraph at a time.
As I continued to memorize the Fa, I gradually realized that it was time for me to relinquish my attachment to gluttony. It was time for me to lose weight. My weight created problems for me in practising the sitting meditation and distracted people from the important facts about Falun Gong.
As I memorized the Fa and practised Falun Gong exercises diligently, I began to lose weight. I learned to control my appetite. I had many relapses. I lost and gained weight repeatedly. After all, it was difficult to relinquish an attachment that had haunted me for decades.
I spent about 90 minutes per day walking to tourist sites and then distributing materials containing important facts about Falun Gong to tourists. I memorized the Fa while I walked. The walking exercise was a good start to losing weight.
During the 16 months while I was memorizing Zhuan Falun one paragraph at a time, I also memorized Zhuan Falun in the full lotus position when I could. I felt it helped me focus. Of course, I would stop sitting in the full lotus position when it became too painful for me to concentrate. I waited until the pain went away to sit in the full lotus position again.
I still study the Fa by memorizing the Fa these days.
Since I started practising Falun Gong, my weight issue and my karma made it impossible for me to practise the sitting meditation in the full lotus position for a long time.
When I saw other practitioners sitting in the full lotus position in tranquillity, I often wondered when I would be able to do that. I decided to bind my legs to prevent my leg on top from sliding off. At first, I spent 30 excruciatingly long minutes in agony.
It is a miraculous experience to practise the Falun Gong sitting meditation. I feel warm even in the cold winter in Austria. I felt heat in my hands and my forehead even when it was 20 °F. Of course I perspired a lot when I was in pain. It was bone-piercing pain. I persevered for one year in tormenting pain. As I continued to lose weight, I no longer needed to bind my legs. I can now practise the sitting meditation in the full lotus position for two hours at most.
As I progressed in memorizing the Fa and the sitting meditation, I showed progress in my battle with gluttony as well. I can now control my attachment to food. I am a vegetarian except when I eat out with friends. I used to be obsessed with meat, but I am now perfectly okay with a meatless diet. I also have a smaller appetite. I have stopped eating more calories than I need.
My weight has dropped from 17 stone to 10.5 pounds. I lost 6.5 stone!
It became much easier to practise the sitting meditation in the full lotus position after I lost weight, and the pain has become bearable. I have only slight discomfort in the final ten minutes of the one hour meditation. Even the numb feeling has gone away.
We practise the Falun Gong exercises in public parks every weekend. When I finish practising the one-hour sitting meditation, I keep sitting in the full lotus position until I have spent another 15 minutes sending forth righteous thoughts.
I haven't experienced the tranquil feeling of sitting inside of an eggshell, but I believe that I will attain the realm as long as I continue progressing in my Fa study and enhance my xinxing level.
I used to focus on sending materials containing important facts about Falun Gong to people in China online. I helped them reach the decision to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its two affiliated student leagues via online chats.
Flora, a local fellow Falun Gong practitioner, ordered two batches of Chinese newspapers containing important facts about Falun Gong from a German practitioner in April 2012. There were 1,600 copies in the first batch. Western and Chinese practitioners worked together to distribute them to tourists from China who were visiting Vienna. We also helped these tourists quit the CCP and its two affiliated student leagues.
The second batch of 1,500 copies arrived in July 2012. Although some tourists refused the newspapers, other tourists gladly accepted the newspaper and even asked for them.
I have continually rectified my mind, my speech, and my actions during the past 15 years of cultivation. I aspire to live in accordance with the Fa in my each and every thought from now on.
No matter how long it might take for me to complete my cultivation, I shall continue to cultivate diligently and search inward unconditionally to upgrade my xinxing so as to repay Teacher's compassion and grace for saving me!
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