Dear Master Li,
Dear fellow practitioners,
This is my first sharing regarding my Falun Dafa experience.
My profession is a journalist, I have always had a passion and the talent to write, but Dafa is so different and sacred and enormous that till now I didn’t feel confident enough to write anything about my cultivation. But now while doing it I feel brave and encouraged. I feel free and safe at the same time.
I have been raised in a communist country, in an absolute atheistic family. Gods for me were just something in people’s mind, something like a psychological disease.
The first book connected with Gods, that I have read was written by a German author. It tells the story of Buddha Shakyamuni from a very Western perspective. It was so powerful for me, that I was thinking, “Well, there must be some truth about Gods.” But I didn’t think really very deep about that further, as other things were happening in my life. I endured a lot of hardship, I was so angry with my life. I was thinking all the time about committing a suicide. It made me feel so free. Until I was at that point, when this seemed inevitable. It was in August 1999. And then a voice inside myself like talked to me: “You can not take something which you didn’t give.” I was somehow absolutely sure, that this will not be the end of the pain, which I wanted so much to stop. And that I had to look for my salvation somewhere else.
So I just decided to start looking for the good things in life, instead of focusing on the negative ones. Nevertheless the hardships continued, but I was like trying to take them easy. It was so much better, but still very hard. At that time I met a friend, and her hobby was making anagrams from the people’s names. She decided to do it for me as well. It took her about a month and then she was ready, and very proud with the result. Translated in English, it means: “Lotuses are being strengthened with chains.” Ups! I shook with an unpleasant feeling. Chains? Why chains? I didn’t think about the lotuses, I was just thinking about this lack of freedom that still continued in my life.
Life was going on. Different things were happening to me. Most of them made me stronger and stronger. But I was still so afraid of my chains. I just wanted them to disappear, but they didn’t.
And then, while being active in the green movement in Bulgaria, I met a Dafa practitioner and I went to an official demonstration of the exercises in a cultural institution in Sofia in 2009. As a child I have been practising yoga for a very long time, but just as sports, because the book that I had was from the communist times in Bulgaria, when spiritual practices weren’t really encouraged. So I knew how to sit in the double lotus position and I could do some really difficult exercises. But I didn’t know anything about cultivation of the mind.
However, when I did the Falun Dafa exercises at this demonstration, the experience was unforgettable. Something very powerful was coming into my body. When I came home, I read about the persecution on the Internet. I was really so shocked, especially about the organ harvesting. But I continued with the exercises only a year after this first demonstration. And I was still very far from understanding the book and the Dafa principles. They were like a fantasy. I agreed with some of the things but the most of them were absolutely not understandable. And unbelievable!
And then something happened, which was like a turning point for me. The Bulgarian practitioners got a visit from European veteran practitioners. After the first day of being together I was so angry and disappointed and I was waiting for the next day like ready to fight. And then the next day came and I had nothing to fight for and no one to fight against. I felt so stupid! I felt inadequate and free at the same time. I was like starting to understand the power of Dafa. The real, magical, compassionate power, which makes things happen without fighting, just with compassion and forbearance.
When I first read about the principles in Zhuan Falun, Forbearance was really very hard for me to understand (sometimes it still is). And Compassion was hard. And I have to admit, that I really needed a long time to understand Lecture Nine, where the Master talks about the Heart of Great Forbearance. And it is still difficult for me to act according to it in my everyday life. However, I was like struck by the compassionate and forbearing hearts, whose actions I was able to witness with the veteran practitioners. And it changed a lot for me. Now I had a goal: to reach this level of compassion and forbearance, which I had experienced! I had a long way to go!
And then, five months later an even more striking thing happened. I must admit something: sometimes the persecution sounds so abstract to me, because I have never seen it, I hardly know someone who has experienced it, and it’s so cruel and so brutal, that my mind really can not accept it as a reality.
So when I decided to join a peaceful demonstration in December 2014 in Belgrade with some high-ranking Chinese officials, it was like an act of duty I have towards Dafa. And it never came to my mind that it could be dangerous. I laughed at my relatives’ warnings to be careful. I was a bit excited, when in the car all the nine fellow practitioners discussed what were we going to say at the border, if they ask us for the purpose of our visit.
What happened next was like in all the articles I have read about the persecution: we were abducted by Serbian police officers from the hostel, where we had to stay, we were not allowed to call anybody, we haven’t been told what our wrongdoing was. I don’t think the police officers knew it also. They have been told that we were dangerous criminals and against China. So we grabbed our chance for truth clarification. We told them all about the evil deeds of the evil party, persecuting innocent people for their beliefs. The good thing about it was that we could talk in Bulgarian, and the Serbian could understand us, if we spoke slowly. So we kept talking about this in the camp, and we had very strong righteous thoughts. Two Chinese fellow practitioners were sent to the camp as well on the second day. We were allowed to read together, so we read together, and I was able to forget all the fears, all the unknown, I just had the feeling: We have to clarify the truth, and actually we could use all this time to practice together, to study Fa together, to make the exercises together.
On Tuesday evening (our second day in the refugee camp) new police officers came for the night shift and started being rude with us. We were reading, but they made us open the door of the room, they were very noisy, smoking all the time, and it was very disturbing. One of them came to interrupt us once. And then again. He was rude, but my first idea wasn’t about it. I was thinking: “His coming here is not accidental. He is coming to hear Dafa.” So I went to the guards, and I talked with them, I explained to them why we were there and what is happening in China with people like us. I also told them about the Dafa principles, and I saw the light in their eyes. Then we could close the door and continue reading without being disturbed.
What happened in Serbia made my belief in Dafa stronger. I have seen how it is really like that: when you act as a human being, the persecution is more severe than when you think of yourself as a Dafa practitioner. I got to know my fellow practitioners better. And I could see how, when righteous, practitioner’s minds can turn things around. I think we made the best of this persecution for these three days of detention, all along with our fellow practitioners in Bulgaria, who were also acting on the truth clarification. As they acted together with the European practitioners, it was really an example of acting like one body. And this was one of the things I remembered from the meeting with the European veteran practitioners in Sofia: that we shall be like one, take our part, do our best and be in harmony with the others as much as possible; and when there are conflicts, soften them with a compassionate heart.
Master talks a lot about our paths. And the longer I cultivate, the more I see my cultivation as a journey. A journey to my true self, where the lotuses are already strong and no chains are needed any longer.
Thanks for this journey to our merciful Master and thanks for the shared experience among all of us, Dafa practitioners.
The above is only my limited understanding. Please point out anything inappropriate.
Thank you, Master Li.
Thank you, fellow practitioners.
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