When I was young, my mother often said, "Turning round is something not to be traded even for a thousand of pieces of gold." She told me to remember to turn round when I go out, in case that I might forget something; to turn round when I walk on the street, in case that I might miss something; if I do something wrong, I should courageously admit it; if I fall, I should pick myself up; remembering to turn round regularly to have a look at the things and people around me, because that is the most precious thing to have in life.
I've never thought about whether my mother's words had any special meaning until one day when I had walked past thirty-six springs and waterfalls. When I casually turned around once, I realised with surprise that my life had already changed.
A chance meeting
It was in the fall of 2002. On a Sunday afternoon, I was waiting for a friend whom I had scheduled to meet on the Internet; however, without explanation, he didn't show up, so I spent my time browsing news articles. Right then I heard a knocking sound -- a stranger was asking to verify my QQ ID [For QQ chat room]
Under normal circumstances I would never be tempted to chat with strangers. First I don't have time for such things; second I'm pretty wary of strangers on the Internet. But his message attracted my attention - "Best wishes for both of us." What a comforting sentence! It was neither servile, nor reluctant. I clicked on his profile and added him to my Friend List. Just like that, we met one another among millions of online chatters. "Turning round is something not to be traded even for a thousand of pieces of gold." Everything is predestined.
On his "personal web site," (Later, I learnt that it was not his site, but a web site called "Yanling Dream House") I came to know that he was a Falun Gong practitioner, a Chinese native living overseas. That web site had many beautiful photos, which greatly impressed me.
"Are you a Falun Gong practitioner?" I asked (even my tone reflected the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). With some difficulties typing Chinese, he pasted me paragraphs of articles in the message window that introduce Falun Gong.
I told him, "To be honest, I don't agree with this kind of persecution." I tried to comfort him but didn't know what to say. I could only show my sympathy. He asked me to spread the truth [about Falun Gong] to more people, letting everyone know the truth, for it is very important, to which I didn't accept. In Mainland China there aren't many people who, like me, publicly sympathise with Falun Gong. No one close to me that I know of practises Falun Gong. Our conversation ended in a hurry, because it was time for me to eat.
In the following few months we didn't get in touch. To me he was just one of those strangers that you meet by chance among millions on the Internet. I didn't know who he was or where he lived. I wasn't even sure of this person's gender [even though I assumed he was male]. The memory of this person was fading.
It was spring the following year. When I once again opened my QQ I saw a message from him: he wished me a happy New Year. I sent him the same greeting. Soon after that we met on the Internet again. We didn't talk very much, but there was a feeling of reunion after a very long time.
He still talked about Falun Gong, concerning how to be a good person, a kind person and a selfless person. Sometimes I wanted to change the subject, but after awhile we came back to Falun Gong again. I respected his belief, but I didn't plan to learn the practise. I was healthy and my career was good. I was satisfied with my current life, not wanting to change anything. Moreover, [Falun Gong] was clearly prohibited in China. I didn't want any trouble.
He repeatedly explained that I don't have to learn the practise. He only wanted more people to know the truth. He told me not to be deceived by the CCP propaganda. The "self-immolation" in Tiananmen Square was a total hoax. I told him that I already knew, and that I know how to use my own judgement to look at things. I also told him that I sympathise with Falun Gong.
Half a year passed. One day he talked about his mother. His mother also practised Falun Gong. She was in her sixties, but she looked ten years younger, with wrinkle-free skin and a healthy, rosy complexion. He was like that too; he looked younger than people his age. Such words touched me.
My life has always been smooth. After graduating from high school I attended university. After graduating from the university I started work in a company. Then I got married and had my son. My health was good; I almost never had any illness, I had enough money and emotionally I felt fulfilled. All of these things were sources of satisfaction to me. They also became the best excuses for me not to practise Falun Gong. On the other hand, the casual words from my chat room friend made my excuses look so insignificant and banal.
I was no longer young. I wasn't going to be healthy forever and I knew that one day I would grow old. When that happens, everything would be gone. Many of my ideals and dreams were not realised yet. They were unreachable, like castles in the air.
I felt panicked. Nothing in this world could keep one's youth. When our hair turns white, when we have difficulties walking and becoming ill, we would then sigh for the time that flew by. Life is like a dream. Why couldn't I start now when I am still full of energy to try a method to become youthful forever? Falun Gong was able to do that. I truly believed that Falun Gong has amazing powers.
Starting to Practise Falun Gong
I told my chat room friend that I wanted to learn Falun Gong, too. "Really? I am so happy!" His reaction surprised me. Not long after this, he e-mailed me a copy of the Falun Gong book Zhuan Falun. He also sent me the book Essentials for Further Advancement and Hongyin. (I hadn't started to learn, but he already hoped for me to strive forward diligently.)
I printed out Zhuan Falun and bound it into a book. On a weekend night, silently seated on a sofa, full of hope, I started to read.
"Tis not that the journey of cultivation is painful,
Karma from generation upon generation is blocking you."
("Cause and Effect" from Hongyin, Translation Version A)
I lost confidence only half way through my reading. I felt disappointed. Falun Gong was not as magical and exciting as what I had imagined. What the founder of Falun Gong, Teacher Li said was too unbelievable for me to grasp, and hard to fathom. I decided to give up.
When I went to bed that night I started dreaming. In my dream, Teacher gave me a lecture. Teacher was wearing a white shirt and was very close to me. His expression was peaceful. All Teacher talked about was the content of Zhuan Falun. The next day I had the same dream. It was in a conference room somewhere abroad. Teacher was giving a lecture to many practitioners. I was sitting among them. After the lecture, Teacher walked over to me. I said, "Teacher, I cultivate only for a beautiful face. I don't want to reach consummation." Teacher looked surprised for a moment and said, "Really?" I said, "Yes, I only want to be youthful forever. I don't want to reach consummation. Is that ok?" Teacher gave me a serious look and said, "Start to cultivate, then deal with the rest later!"
I was an atheist and didn't believe there was any relationship between dream and reality. So I didn't pay much attention to the dream. Yet, I didn't want to give up that easily. This [Falun Gong] was still the only way to make me youthful forever.
I logged on to the Chinese Falun Dafa related website, Minghui and downloaded all the lectures Teacher had given around the world. I printed them out and bound them together. I hoped to rediscover my confidence in cultivation. During those several days I began reading from the most recent lecture, one after another. I didn't understand most of the "Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference." I didn't know what Teacher was talking about, and I only felt the lecture was higher in level and even more unfathomable compared to Zhuan Falun. When I continued my reading with the less recent lectures, I began to grasp some content. I could understand more and more when I read the less recent lectures. When I read the "Teaching the Fa at the East-U.S. Fa Conference," I knew that I was unable to cultivate.
During that time of my life I was having an affair outside of my marriage, to the point that I couldn't help myself. But Teacher said,
"You can have your own wife or husband--that's normal. It isn't a problem for you to cultivate while conforming to ordinary human society to the maximum extent. There's no problem for you to live as husband and wife. If you aren't husband and wife and have sexual relations, you'll be engaging in the most filthy behaviour. This is something that is absolutely disapproved of by gods. Not a single god will condone this." ("Lecture at the US East Coast Conference", provisional translation)
I felt that I was unable to cultivate because I couldn't let go of that desire.
I usually do things in a careful manner. Starting from the moment of my decision to learn Falun Gong, I was determined to do things in accordance to Teacher's guidance one hundred percent, or else I wouldn't learn it at all. I've never imagined that learning Falun Gong would have such strict requirements, though. Exercising one's body and changing ones character are two totally different things. But Teacher sounded very serious, not leaving room for any doubt.
If one wants to cultivate, one must give up immoral behaviours. But is it so easy to accomplish? All my happiness and dreams, all of my future, depended on that extra-marital affair, which was even my motive for taking up cultivation. I murmured silently, "Sorry, Teacher. I am unable to do it. I cannot put it down. I cannot let it go."
I calmed myself and started thinking rationally. I had always lived a life of conflicting interests: family, responsibility, conscience and desire. All of those things made me mentally and physically tired. Sometimes I felt as if I was just a body, and my spirit had flown a thousand miles away long ago. I looked like I was happy, but in actuality I was lying to myself. I lived under other people's shadow. I was unable to control my destiny. "Teacher, if I can let it go, if I can put it away, I will learn from you;" however, I knew that it was impossible.
About a week later, one day I was walking on the street, passing by a store. Suddenly I had an abnormal feeling: What happened? I stopped thinking about him any more? It seemed like in the last few days, I had almost forgotten him.
His image once filled my entire mind, soaking my every cell. Every minute, every second, he was all I could think of. I even felt that without him, my life would lose its meaning. But now, tears streamed down my face, "Teacher, I believe now. I truly believe it now. It was you who helped me. You helped me rid these shackles. Teacher, I will follow you. I will try hard; from today on, nothing on the path of cultivation will hinder me."
Everything went smoother than I'd imagined. I wrote a letter, changed my cell phone number and cut off contact with him, because I wanted to return to my true and original self.
Two years passed. We've never seen each other again, it is as if we had never known one another, as if I've never walked down that path. I am the same me, carrying a virtuous and sacred body, following Teacher's guidance, walking determinedly on the path of returning.
I thank that overseas fellow practitioner. I want to say thanks, even though I don't know who he is, or where he is.
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