Greetings, Master! Greetings, Fellow Practitioners!
In the last few years, I used all kinds of excuses to avoid writing experience sharing articles when there was a local Falun Gong experience sharing conference. My excuses have included being in a poor cultivation state, not knowing how to write, being too busy, and so on. I chose to listen and never thought that sharing experiences was part of my cultivation.
The 2007 Bay Area experience sharing conference was right around the corner. I thought, "Should I share my cultivation experiences?" Immediately all kind of excuses emerged. One practitioner called me to make an appointment for an experience sharing paper. I thought that I should give up my attachment towards be evasive. I have missed many precious opportunities to share my experiences. Didn't I say that I wanted to catch up with the Fa-rectification process and leave no regrets? However, every time I picked up a pen, I couldn't figure out where to start. I almost wanted to give up. Why didn't I have anything to share? Surely I must have something. I made up my mind to write this experience sharing paper.
Being Steadfast in Cultivation and Passing Tests from Family Members
I started to practise Falun Gong in 1998 in China. I was a bit zealous at the beginning. When I landed in the US, I told my husband everything about Falun Dafa and asked him to read Zhuan Falun. My husband is a computer engineer and a Christian. I checked with him a few days later to see if he had finished reading Zhuan Falun. He didn't answer me. I checked with him a few days later at which point he ridiculed me for believing what was written in the book whilst making other disrespectful remarks.
After July 20th, 1999, as the illegal persecution against Falun Gong in China intensified, my cultivation environment at home worsened. My husband was gloomy all day long. He didn't allow me to have any Falun Dafa books or materials at home, nor could I do the Falun Dafa exercises or teach my child to do the exercises. I was not allowed to mention anything to do with the practice in front of friends, nor could I contact other practitioners. He even blocked the Minghui/Clearwisdom website from our computer. Back then, I had just arrived in the US. I didn't have a job, and I knew no one except for a few practitioners. I could only practise when my husband was not home. I became nervous if the door was opened when Master's lecture video was on. I was desperate when I saw other practitioners doing things to help stop the persecution, raise awareness and to start the practice. I couldn't do anything at home except write letters to China, but my husband soon found out and in retaliation cut up my only credit card. I was penniless, left feeling both sad and wronged.
In 2000, the Western Dafa Experience Sharing Conference was scheduled in Los Angeles. I truly wanted to go, but under the circumstances I didn't know how. If my husband knew, it would become more than a nasty verbal war. I decided to proceed without letting my husband know. On the day of departure, as soon as my husband stepped out the door after lunch, I sent my child of a few months to a relative's place and asked a practitioner to pick me up 15 minutes later to take the bus to Los Angeles.
Just then, my husband returned with a gloomy expression and sat in front of his computer without uttering a word. There was dead silence and I was very uncomfortable. I told myself, "The tribulation has come again." I couldn't get away without telling him. I nervously told my husband that I wanted to go. "No!" he yelled with uncontrollable anger. "If you step out this door, never come back." "What should I do?" I asked myself. He sensed some hesitation and said, "Let's start over. I will not go to church, and you stop practicing Falun Gong."
He was serious about not going to church, which he proved in the next few years. But how could I give up practising Falun Dafa, which is as important as my life? I decided that I must go. My fellow practitioner was waiting for me. I picked up my backpack and left. My husband grabbed me as I was crossing the street and knelt down in front of me. He was in tears. I was completely shocked. I didn't know how to handle the situation. "Get up! It's a public place. It's so embarrassing that you're doing this." He begged, "Only if you agree that you won't go."
I managed to control myself and recalled Master's words in "Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Canada," 1999:
"At critical moments can a person give up the attachment to life, give up the fear of losing so-called 'happiness' and take that step and give up the attachment? Isn't that a trial set up for you?"
Master also said in the same lecture:
"As long as you are a cultivator, you will encounter this for sure. For a human being, this trial is precisely a life and death test. Of course, not everyone will run into a situation where someone will try to kill you or do something to that effect. It won't necessarily be that way."
I asked myself, "Do I want to pass this test?" I made up my mind. I went back to the house and then left through the back door. I joined the practitioner to attend the Conference.
I finally arrived in Los Angeles and joined other practitioners in their efforts to let more people know about the practice and the persecution. The parade we had in L.A. was so solemn that words couldn't describe it. In the rally in front of the Chinese Consulate, I held a banner with the words "Falun Dafa Is Good." I was so excited to have the opportunity to be with a few thousand Falun Dafa practitioners.
Right then, I suddenly saw my husband walking towards me. I couldn't believe my eyes. My husband drove all the way from San Francisco to Los Angeles! It must have taken him a minimum of six to seven hours of driving. How would he know that I would be in front of the Consulate? Why did he come? Would he force me to go back? I must not go back, because tomorrow was the Conference. Would he make a scene? All sorts of thoughts flashed through my mind.
Practitioners stood next to me, walked up, politely greeted my husband, and asked him to join the next day's Fa conference. I calmed down as I watched another practitioner talking to my husband. I later asked my husband, "Do you want to stay overnight? I won't go back until tomorrow night." My husband didn't say a word. He remained silent. Before he left, he left behind a bottle of water and some cookies.
Compassionate Master came to the L.A. conference the next day.
"Seeking Master for how many years,
One day seeing him in person,
Obtaining Fa, cultivating to return,
Reaching Consummation, returning with Master."
("Predestiny Leads Back to Sacred Fruit," Hong Yin, Translation Version B)
Master's earnest and tireless teaching made me even more determined in cultivation.
Treasure the Group Cultivation Environment
After the L.A. Fa conference, I decided to create my own cultivation environment. In the article, "Environment" in Essentials for Further Advancement, Master said,
"The lofty conduct that Dafa disciples have established in this environment--including every word and every deed--can make people recognize their own weaknesses and identify their shortcomings; it can move their hearts, refine their conduct, and enable them to make progress more rapidly. Therefore, new students or self-taught disciples have to go to the practice sites to do the exercises."
Master also said in the article, "The environment is created by you, yourselves, and it, too, is essential for your improvement." Master taught us to do the exercises as a group and to study the Falun Gong teachings, the Fa, as a group. I decided to start with the group exercises.
The next morning I got up at 5:30 a.m. In order not to wake up my husband and child, I never turned on the light or used an alarm clock. I ran from my home to the exercise site. It was very cold in the early morning in winter, and I was sweating. Probably because of my determination, my husband was moved. After a month or so, he gave me a bicycle so that I did not have to run to the park. After joining the group exercise environment, I had an environment to share experiences with practitioners. The morning exercise became the best time of my whole day. It is just like having a meal or sleeping, I can't live without it. Later I joined the group Fa study. Now I am a formal volunteer for The Epoch Times newspaper. Every day I go to work and come home on time. Sometimes, if I leave home late, my husband will joke with me, "You're already late!"
My enlightenment on this event is: this environment is created by ourselves; it also needs us to harmonize it. Group Fa study and group exercise are the best ways to eliminate distance between practitioners. If there are any issues or opinion about another person, honest exchange between cultivators will eliminate any misunderstanding. The evil wants to break up the group cultivation and group Fa study environment. The evil is scared if Dafa practitioners form "one body." The evil forces want to create distance between practitioners and separate us. In China, evil forces publicly destroyed practitioners' cultivation environment. Overseas, practitioners are busy with different projects and miss opportunities to do group exercises and group Fa study. This inadvertently created coordination and communication problems. This, however, is what the evil beings wanted. Master taught us to form a group Fa study and group exercise environment. This needs to be harmonized by each and every practitioner. We need to treasure our cultivation environment.
Grand Fa-Rectification Path
In 2004, practitioners from all over the world went to New York to clarify the facts. I went in September. In my short time of a little over 10 days in New York, I truly experienced the battle between Righteousness and Evil in other dimensions. I also witnessed the sacrifices and hardships that practitioners underwent in order to save people. There was also a change of attitude of the sentient beings. Back then, the Bay Area had a fixed location in the financial district of Manhattan. Some practitioners worked on torture exhibits while others went to the Chinese Consulate to send forth righteous thoughts. Coordinators arranged practitioners' accommodations, exhibit props, and so on. The accommodations were not very comfortable, and we slept very little. It was very hard for everyone.
On a Saturday, I went with seven or eight practitioners to the consulate to send forth righteous thoughts. It was warm elsewhere, but in New York, the conditions already mimicked winter. Before coming to New York, we heard that the consulate had an evil wind all year round. Not until we actually arrived there did we finally experience the rampant evil. One practitioner already in her 70s only had a jacket on. Practitioners asked her if she should return to the dorm, but she insisted on going to the consulate.
As soon as we exited the subway, it started drizzling. When we arrived at the consulate, the wind grew fierce and it rained hard. We couldn't stand in the strong wind, so we decided to send forth righteous thoughts in a nearby restaurant. Some tourists also found shelter in the same restaurant. The warmhearted manager let us in. In order to avoid standing in their way, we picked a corner that faced the consulate and sent forth righteous thoughts. While we were sending forth righteous thoughts, one tourist shouted, "Water, water, flood!"
We didn't realize until then that we were standing on a carpet in two inches of water. The restaurant threshold was much higher than the sidewalk, so the water didn't flow in through the door. The restaurant employees hurriedly started the pump to dry the floor. The manager said that he had taken care of the restaurant for many years, but he had never seen anything like this. We knew that it was the evil's last-ditch struggle.
We thanked the staff and went out into the storm to return to the consulate. We recited Master's poem: "Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions" from Hong Yin II.
"A Great Enlightened One fears no hardship
Having forged an adamantine will
Free of attachment to living or dying
He walks the path of Fa-rectification
confident and poised"
In front of the consulate, we sent forth righteous thoughts and eliminated the evil that was trying it's best to cause damage. We were completely wet. With the fierce wind, it was icy cold all the way to the bone. I was a little nervous and tried to find shelter. When I opened my eyes, all the practitioners were sitting calmly, sending forth righteous thoughts. My tears fell immediately. I couldn't tell if it was tears or raindrops that were running down my face. My heart was filled with enormous respect for other practitioners. Every practitioner looked just like a gigantic God.
Meteorologists forecast that the bad weather would not go away for several days, but when we finished sending forth righteous thoughts, the sky cleared up. We knew that we had eliminated the evil in other dimensions in a fierce battle.
The next time we went to the consulate, we dressed in our winter clothes. In the afternoon, around 2 or 3 p.m., it was baking hot under the sun. We decided to return to the dorm to rest, recuperate, and take a shower before joining the large group Fa study at night. So after we sent forth righteous thoughts at 3 p.m., we left for the subway. But three out of four practitioners' subway tickets didn't work. When we asked the subway staff, they told us that there was no balance on the tickets. How could that be? We had just bought them the day before. The subway staff suggested that we go back to the issuing station to check it out. However, if we did, we would not have time to have dinner or a shower.
We calmed down and discussed among ourselves. "Would it be coincidental to have three subway tickets with the same problem? Could it be that we were trying to leave early and seek comfort?" We decided to stay at the subway station and distribute Falun Dafa related materials. We adjusted our attitude and, with a smile, passed out newspapers about the practice to the passing passengers. By the time we handed out the last copy, it was almost time for the big group Fa study. We tried the same subway tickets to get through, and they all worked! We realized Master was taking care of us all along.
One day our Fa study site was very close to Chinatown. There were so many fine Chinese restaurants and I felt that I was starving. I thought that this time I would really give myself a treat. One practitioner walking behind me called out to me. It was a practitioner from the Bay Area. I immediately asked her which restaurant was good. She bought a few buns from a roadside food stand and gave one to me. I was so disappointed. We ate this junk food while we were in Chinatown? She was walking fast so I had to follow. As soon as we stepped into the big Fa study room, the Fa study began right away. She told me, "See, we ate while we walked so that we wouldn't miss the Fa study." I really felt ashamed of myself. The cultivation gap was clearly visible.
There are many other moving stories that I have from staying in New York. My heart was cleansed by the grand Fa-rectification. My realm was also elevated. In my nearly 10 years of cultivation, I have been immersed in Master's immeasurable compassion, feeling the greatness of Master and Dafa. I could exhaust all words but still be unable to say enough thanks to Master. Let's be diligent, save more sentient beings, and live up to Master's expectations.
This is my personal sharing. Please correct me if there are any inappropriate points.
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