A Vietnamese Practitioner's Cultivation Experience While Living in China
1. Experiencing tribulations when first beginning to study the Fa
I started to practice Falun Gong in June 1999 and initially had poor enlightenment quality. An old classmate gave me a copy of Zhuan Falun. It took me a month to finish reading it. I had vanity, a strong competitive mentality, and was busy pursuing a happy life, thinking that I could achieve things through my intelligence. I only had a perceptual understanding of Dafa, feeling that Dafa was good. Every time my classmate ran into me, he asked, "How is it going? Have you finished reading the book? Have you started to practice cultivation?" I thought he was in a little bit of a hurry to see me start practicing.
Another classmate and I then went to the practice site with him several times. Within one month the other classmate could do the meditation in the full-lotus position. I didn't want to show weakness and thought to myself that I also wanted to do the full-lotus. But when I sat cross-legged, I couldn't last for ten minutes because of the pain. To force myself to persist, I used a leather belt to bind my legs. This prevented me from uncrossing my legs, although it hurt so much that I cried. I was eventually able to sit in the full-lotus position for half an hour.
Master knew the extent of my willpower. Although my understanding of the Fa was low, He helped purify my body. I got a high fever the next day. Even though I was burning up, I still continued with my business and didn't feel tired. I didn't notice that my stomach ailment had disappeared until a while later. I developed this stomach ailment when I was in middle school; my stomach would hurt for several days if I drank coffee. My parents were from Vietnam, and to drink coffee was a family tradition. However, I could only enjoy the enticing coffee aroma rather than drink it. My family always had stomach medicine on hand, but now, I no longer needed it.
Once when I sat in meditation I suddenly felt that my hands and feet had disappeared. Later on, before the persecution started, benevolent Master pushed me to a higher level in order to strengthen my righteous belief in Dafa.
I started cultivation no more than two months before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution on July 20, 1999. I felt sad, wondering why such a wonderful practice and Master had to suffer so much slander. I was depressed for over six months and could burst into tears at any moment.
My old classmate told me in the spring of 2000, "We cannot keep silent any longer. We should tell the CCP officials the facts. Dafa teaches people to be good; it is not wrong at all! I have seen that Master is bearing huge karma for sentient beings." He cried as he spoke. I was moved. Although I was willing to redress the injustice done to Dafa, I never thought of appealing to the regime because I didn't consider myself Chinese. When I was young, my mom, who believed in Catholicism, told me that the CCP was an evil spirit. I always complained to my parents over why they let me be born in China. My family had such a hard life there. I only thought, "Master teaches people to be good. We just need to stand up and explain the facts. I don't fear arrest!"
My classmate and I invited a few practitioners to go with us. Unexpectedly, dozens of practitioners went with us the following day. CCP officials arrested my old classmate and took him to a forced labor camp because they said he was an "organizer" and also detained the other practitioners for one month, including me. Following our release, police officers kept harassing us. Moreover, each time a sensitive day approached, the police arrested elderly practitioners who were in their 70s or 80s, and detained them for several days or sent them to brainwashing centers or forced labor camps.
Under the control of the CCP, the police act like outlaws and do whatever they want. I became completely disappointed with the communist regime and wanted to leave China, and go abroad to find my relatives. I tried my best to apply for a visa several times, utilizing ordinary people's methods, but all my attempts eventually failed.
On January 23, 2001, the CCP produced the fake "Tiananmen Square self-immolation" and stepped up the persecution of Falun Gong more severely. My lack of sufficient Fa study resulted in my being unable to endure the persecution. I wrote a guarantee statement and turned in my Dafa books to the authorities. My attachments and insufficient understanding of the Fa caused a detour on my cultivation path, but I later declared my intention to resume practicing on the Minghui website. Dafa has been rooted deep in my heart.
2. Benevolent Master awakens me
Since I couldn't go abroad, I thought of returning to my hometown in Vietnam, especially after I saw my old classmate released from the forced labor camp and saw how badly his soft hands were abused, which now looked as rough as a farmer's. I became more eager to get out of China, thinking, "As long as I leave China, everywhere else will be fine."
With help from my friend, I found a job in my hometown in 2003 and planned to work there. Those several years when I fell away from Dafa were the hardest. I felt I was living in the mire. Thinking and acting like a non-practitioner didn't bring me happiness. I was even aware that I was creating karma and moving away from my true self. Once I had a dream. In the dream, I was stuck in a foul-smelling mouse hole. The people around were covered by something like dust. But there was a bright place above me. I took a look and saw that the brightness came from the practitioners who had appealed together with me and suffered detention. They were beneath a warm and downy, white light, however, I was immersed in the human world. Looking back at those practitioners who stood up to appeal for Dafa, I recalled how wonderful and virtuous they were, and how happy I was when I first encountered the Fa.
One time, I read a Buddhist book and suddenly became aware that the book's content was for cultivating the assistant spirit, while Falun Dafa was for cultivating the main spirit, and that only the Fa could truly provide people with salvation. I felt quite surprised. Why did this enter my mind? I again contacted my old classmate. He told me that once he heard that I had left, he thought he wouldn't see me anymore and felt sad. He asked me carefully, "I have one of Master's articles. Do you want to read it?" I said yes. The lecture he handed to me was "Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference." I finished reading it in one sitting, and then remembered the Minghui website. I visited the website once when the persecution had just started. I rushed to an Internet cafe and got onto Minghui. After that, I started to read many practitioners' articles on Minghui every day and also printed all of Master's lectures to study.
As I studied the Fa more, I began to recover myself and had a clearer understanding of Dafa. I got to know what cultivation is, and realized that what I did before was merely hanging around the entrance of Dafa's door. I hadn't begun to truly practice cultivation and then the persecution happened. When I appealed to higher officials with practitioners at that time, I had only read Zhuan Falun twice, and two or three of Master's lectures. When I was detained, practitioners knew this, and they admired that I could stand up to validate Dafa. But actually, what I did was merely be loyal to friends, knowing that Dafa was good, and just followed what the veteran practitioners did. I didn't know the importance of Fa study and doing things according to the Fa. I was bound to trip and fall on my cultivation path.
I promised Master in my mind, "This time I want to restart, study the Fa well, and be a good practitioner who truly practices cultivation."
I got help from a Vietnamese practitioner once I re-entered cultivation practice. He came from a very remote place to visit me, bringing me the exercise tapes. I had regretted very much the guarantee statement that I had written but did not realize that indulging in regret was also an attachment. Fa study made me understand Master's infinite benevolence. I often burst into tears while studying the Fa. Looking back at the path that I have walked the past several years, I know that Master has never given up on me. Some incidents are surprising when I look back at them. I know that Master rearranged my life when I began cultivation. I greatly appreciate Master's salvation. No words can express my appreciation.
3. Giving up ego and validating Dafa
After studying the Fa and wanting to do well the three things and offer salvation to sentient beings, I decided to leave Vietnam and return to Mainland China. No matter how hard life would be, I needed to go there. My thinking had changed. Before, I complained to my parents about living in China, but now I realize how fortunate I am, having been born in Mainland China. My old classmate often said, "You are the most fortunate Vietnamese!" I am. How lucky I am! Although I have experienced tribulations in the past due to my foreigner status, all of the tribulations have been worthwhile.
Once I had the will to return to China, I got an unexpected job opportunity. I knew that it was Master's arrangement.
When I first went back for work, I encountered a life-and-death test. Everyone at the work unit was required to take a political examination. The test contained a question about our attitude toward Falun Gong. I was initially confused as to how to answer it. Then, a thought occurred to me: "The evil is not qualified to test me. I won't write a word. I will only submit my answer sheet to Master. At worst, I forfeit this test."
I think the test of life and death doesn't necessarily mean that practitioners have to face a dangerous situation. That test sheet was directed toward Dafa, to test practitioners. In this instance I gave up my desire for prestige, recognition, and personal gain. In my mind, a test of life and death sets aside all thoughts of life and death. Death might be quite simple--just close your eyes. Practitioners know our origin according to Master's teachings, so we don't fear death. Compared to death, life actually seems more difficult. Everyone needs an income to live. This job could be important for me.
The person in charge of the test noticed the expression on my face and said, "Forget it, you don't need to take it. It will save us time. Let's just say you passed it!" I smiled, because I understood Master's words, "If your thoughts are righteous, evil will collapse" ("What's to Fear?" in Hong Yin II)
4. Clarifying the Facts
I explained the facts about Falun Gong to my relatives and friends initially. Although I was the only person in my family practicing Falun Gong, all my relatives understood me, which was quite comforting.
My brother told me once, "This friend of mine's husband even joined the CCP! He is so stupid! I told him that all of my family have quit the CCP, but you joined it instead!" I asked my brother at once, "When will you see him again?" "Next week. He has invited us to join them at dinner. You need go to persuade him." I went and told him of the danger of joining the CCP and how the environment has been changing. He, his wife, and his daughter then quit. One year later I heard that the man passed away after suffering a three-month battle with colon cancer. I was puzzled for quite a while after hearing about it. I gasped with surprise at the news, thinking, "Luckily, he already quit the CCP! Life is so fleeting; he was only 46 years old!" This reminded me of Master's words, about moving quickly to rescue sentient beings. Perhaps some people are approaching the end of their lives and haven't heard of the truth yet. But everyone needs to express his or her comprehension of the difference between the good and evil in order to have a bright future.
On another occasion I spoke with the head of a travel agency about Falun Gong. He said jokingly, "I have been brainwashed for so many years by the CCP. Now your words are pointing me the other way." When I encountered him again a while later on, he suddenly grabbed onto me, asking, "Have you helped me quit the CCP? I received a Falun Gong flyer at a sightseeing spot in Vietnam and read it. Can you help me declare my quitting the CCP? It's so important!" I felt glad from the bottom of my heart that this sentient being could be rescued. At the same time I appreciated the help and coordination of Vietnamese practitioners.
Thank you, Master, for your benevolence, and giving me this opportunity to share my experience with practitioners. I feel ashamed that it is only my first experience sharing article. Compared to fellow practitioners who have been striving forward, I have a long way to go. However, I nonetheless wrote my experiences to share with everyone. Please kindly point out whatever is inappropriate.