December 25, 2013 | By a new Falun Gong practitioner in Mainland China
Many Chinese people are quite spiritual despite the indoctrination in atheism they receive growing up in this communist state. Though deeply harmed during Mao’s “Great Cultural Revolution,” China’s rich culture and spiritual roots have not been extinguished. They may not have had much chance to recover under Party reign in the intervening decades, but the arrival of Falun Gong on the scene seems to have changed things.
The following story is from a new Falun Gong practitioner in China. A conversation he had with his American English teacher prompted him to think about what faith really means.
In his search for the answer, he was inspired by stories of Falun Gong practitioners, which in turn, connected him spiritually to his cultural roots. He eventually took up the practice of Falun Gong despite the propaganda and persecution it faces in China.
What follows is the story that he submitted to us.
My American English teacher asked me, “I believe in Jesus Christ. What is your faith?” I paused.
A scene flashed in my mind: I told my friends in China when I was little that I believed in Buddhas and prayed for Buddhas to protect me. They laughed at me, “Are you an old lady? You are so superstitious!” I was embarrassed and asked, “So what do you believe in?” One of them said, “I believe in myself, of course! Who else can you place your faith in?”
This experience led me to believe ever since that I would be laughed at if I expressed faith in Buddha or something similar.
So when the English teacher raised the question about faith, I immediately remembered this childhood experience and replied, “I believe in myself!” She smiled and said, “Self-confidence is a very good quality, but that is not faith.”
“So what is faith?” I started thinking. I had been busy with my life, study, work, shopping, surfing the Internet, and so on. I thought my life was rich and full. I thought that this was the way life was supposed to be, and never really pondered the issue of faith.
I did some research and learned that faith offers answers to fundamental questions such as “where do we come from,” “what’s the meaning of life,” and “where are we going?” I realized that birth, aging, illness and death are normal parts of life. So then what’s the point of hustling and bustling, chasing temporary gains? Life is actually very short. Real life was getting away from me as I focused on personal gain, reputation, money, and emotional attachments. How can I make my life more meaningful?
I came across an article one day. A woman was tortured, raped and force-fed because she refused to renounce her belief in Falun Gong. Even worse, military doctors harvested her heart, kidneys, and other organs while she was fully conscious – not under anesthesia!
I couldn’t fathom such barbarism! No words could describe the outrage in my heart. The police and doctors who were supposedly “serving the people” had turned into demonic figures that murder innocent citizens.
It was a chilling realization, to say the least.
In stark contrast, this Falun Gong practitioner on the verge of death defiantly shouted, “Falun Dafa is good!” She looked her tormenters straight in the eye and said, “Yes, you can murder me. But can you kill all hundred million plus of us?”
At that moment, I caught a glimpse of the gates of Heaven and Hell opening. The sacred, noble soul of the Falun Gong practitioner flew towards Heaven, as Hell’s tentacles lashed around the murderers’ ankles.
It was then that I started to understand what faith meant – the ability to remain faithful to the truth and uphold one’s unshakable belief. I also felt confused, “How could there be such a great chasm between two people?”
I felt a deep urge to find out more about Falun Gong, which somehow had the power to cause people to remain unfazed at the prospect of losing their very lives.
After doing some research, I realized that Falun Gong is also known as “Falun Dafa”, and that it is a cultivation way made public and taught by Mr. Li Hongzhi starting in 1992. It is a discipline in which “assimilation to the highest qualities of the universe—Zhen, Shan, Ren (Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance)—is the foundation of practice.” It requires the cultivator to constantly improve their character and do the five exercises; and as I came to understand, it is a supernormal science and a prehistoric culture. Falun Gong can help one to become physically fit and well and improve their character, and plays an enormously positive role in society.
I also realized that fundamental truths do exist in the universe, and Zhen-Shan-Ren is the sole criterion for judging whether a person is good or bad. One should not conduct himself without principles, and the goal of being a person is to assimilate to Zhen-Shan-Ren, and thus become a good person that truly meets the standards set forth by these truths. I came to realize that faith means steadfast belief in the Fa, in Zhen-Shan-Ren, and this meant unconditionally following and upholding these principles.
As the tragic persecution continues, I want to express my heart-felt gratitude to the Falun Gong practitioners for using their indomitable will, even their very lives, to show the world’s people what true faith is. I also want to thank those who are quietly supporting the Falun Gong practitioners—you are making a wise choice that will surely mean a bright future for you.