In order to encourage myself in my cultivation-practice, I often read articles from the Minghui website. I also went to the October 2014 European Fahui in Madrid, and the New York Fahui in May 2015. For this 2015 European Fahui, I wanted to share with you my humble experience of cultivation practice, knowing that all our cultivation paths are different and unique and that everything we do and all we encounter is part of our cultivation. I asked for help from our Venerable Master.
I am 73 years old this year. When I was a child, I was often sick and I was even condemned by modern medicine. My parents were teachers and my father was very strict. In order to escape from being hit for the smallest mistake, I subconsciously decided to work well and be a model child. However, I was shy, very emotional and I stuttered. I believed in God when I lived in Africa but during my studies at university in France, my belief became weaker. My wife is an atheist and so are our two daughters.
After graduating as a veterinarian and a nutritionist, I went back to my country, Togo, to work in the civil service. Togo has been governed by a tenacious military dictatorship since 1967. I was arrested in September 1985, tortured and banned from the Civil Service because I had abandoned my post while being kept in a police station. I was condemned to 5 years of prison by a parody of a trial. Through pressure from the International Community the Togo government freed me in January 1987. I had to go back to France in December 1989 and I worked there as a veterinary surgeon until I retired in June 2013.
How I discovered Falun Gong
During this difficult ordeal, I had the firm conviction that God and divinities existed so I decided to go and find them. I searched and experimented with many western things and many oriental things to help rebuild myself, restore my health and reinforce my spiritual development. I also learned many different therapies using energy.
One day, I vaguely heard on the radio the story of the staged self-immolation on Tiananmen Square. Immediately I told myself without knowing why, “Ah! I want to know about that! This is what I want to do!” I then forgot about it with my daily life. I completely forgot about the name of our practice.
Finally in August 2009, an acquaintance who lives in Germany came to visit me in Colmar. He told me about Falun Dafa and showed me the exercises, which I had a hard time remembering. I ordered the book Zhuan Falun, read it superficially and then put it away. When I wanted to read it again, I couldn’t find it. I searched a long time for a place where I could learn the exercises.
After many months, I finally discovered a practice site in Colmar. I went there and learned the exercises. Falun Gong was unfortunately taught there like ordinary Qigong, in a group that was focussed on healing sickness and maintaining health called the Health Group of Colmar”. This was the complete opposite from Master’s teaching! As I was very busy at that time, I would only do the exercises thinking that I was helping my fellow practitioners severely persecuted in Mainland China. I didn’t know about the three things that Master asked Dafa practitioners to do.
Spiritual transition: following one cultivation way
In 2011, I purchased Zhuan Falun for the second time. I read it a few times and got a deeper understanding from it than the first. While discovering the beauty of Falun Dafa, I was still hesitating between what I was studying before and Falun Dafa. I had invested a lot in my courses and I was attached to those methods. The choice was difficult. It had to be one or the other because “Practicing Only One Cultivation Way” was required as is written several times in Zhuan Falun.
In August 2011, my friend from Germany came back to Colmar to see me. He again clarified the truth and explained to me that the old forces were stopping me from learning Dafa. For three days, we practised and cultivated together. When he was on the point to go back to Germany, I told him: “My choice is made! In September, I will cultivate and practise only Falun Dafa, but I need a few months to get my stuff in order and stop what I am doing with my classes.”
I awakened to Master’s words from Zhuan Falun: “We will straighten out all these matters and, by preserving the good part and removing the bad part, ensure that you are able to practice cultivation later. However, you must be here to genuinely study this Dafa.”
“Upon purifying your bodies and moving you up, I will install a complete cultivation practice system in your body. Right away you will practice cultivation at high levels.”
“A lot of people want to practice cultivation toward high levels. This is now provided right before you, and you may still be unaware of it. You have been everywhere looking for a teacher and spent a fortune, yet you have found nothing. Today, it is offered to you at your doorstep, and maybe you have not realized it! This is an issue of whether you can become enlightened to it and whether you can be saved.”
I then refused the arrangement of the old forces and chose to be guided by the Fa of The Great Way without form. I stopped drinking alcohol even though I didn’t drink a lot. Three weeks later, the pain I’d had in my shoulder for four years disappeared completely.
On March 31st 2012, I went to Frankfurt to see Shen Yun for the first time, with my friend. Even though he knew the area where the theatre was, we got lost and arrived late for the show. We only saw the second half. The next day, while we were doing our morning exercises, my body was readjusted and restructured by Master. My body had been purified and a few days later after I came back to Colmar I felt the Falun turning in my belly. I prayed to Master to protect my Falun until I had completely stopped what I was doing before Falun Dafa.
To reach a state of tranquillity
To enter a state of tranquillity is a problem for me that I have still not overcome. When I start entering this state, I suddenly get out of it, as if I was afraid to be in touch with my deeper self. I was searching for a way to resolve this problem.
Master said in Zhuan Falun: “In other words, the fundamental reason for one’s being unable to achieve tranquillity is not an issue of techniques, but that your mind and heart are not clean.”
I had a very high opinion of myself because of everything I did before. After looking deeply within, I discovered that I had repressed and hidden a lot of attachments born from emotions and different desires that I hadn’t let go of.
Cultivating myself in Dafa and becoming more diligent
In the beginning, it was difficult to look inside myself and I was not sure if I was seeing the real attachment that I needed to eliminate. Then, slowly, I could see some of them during the tribulations and the interferences I encountered. Attachments are like an onion that you peel layer after layer.
On July 10th 2013, I drove to meet and deliver some medication to a colleague who had come especially from Turkey. It was a hot day and I was tired. I fell asleep while driving and my car drove into a safety barrier. The car was completely written off but the medicine was not damaged at all. I was also ok, without injuries and feeling calm. I wasn’t scared in the slightest. The policemen were very nice to me and were worried for me. They insisted I to go to the hospital but I refused and told them I was ok. I deeply thanked Master for having protected me.
I twice failed the test of lust in my dreams and I was deeply saddened and distressed. I was determined to pass this test on the next occasion.
Master said in Zhuan Falun: “This form of interference can come from either demons or from the master, who transforms one object into another to test you. Both forms exist because everyone must pass this test. We begin cultivation practice as everyday people. The first step is this test, and everyone will run into it.”
To pass this test, I had to cultivate my Xinxing and consider myself a true practitioner before going to sleep. At about that time, on my last trip to Togo, I decided to put an end to my extra-marital relationships. I constantly try to eliminate all thoughts of lust from my mind.
At certain times and on different occasions, I suffered from illness symptoms such as a spontaneous inflammation of my left foot, gastritis with vomiting for 3 days, or bronchitis with a cough lasting 2 months, toothache, etc.… I knew it was a karmic elimination and a test of my determination toward Dafa. I didn’t take any medicine. I looked inside to eliminate all attachments of selfishness, fear of sickness, resentment, fame, jealousy, etc.
From 10 to 12th December 2013, around twenty practitioners coming from different countries protested in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg to support the resolution against organ harvesting in China. It was very cold outside, we did the five exercises and we clarified the truth to members of the European parliament and people passing by. On the afternoon of the 12th December, 6 practitioners and I went inside the European Parliament, in the room where the commission for urgent matters had met and were debating about the China situation. We did FZN during the debate and at the end, finally, the good won against the bad. The European Resolution was voted with rounds of applause.
Saving sentient beings is the historic responsibility of Dafa disciples
In November 2013, I participated in a meeting in Brittany, France that made me understand the importance of going out to clarify the truth and participate in the different Dafa projects to save sentient beings.
I was not going out yet to clarify the truth while I was still working as a veterinarian. However, I was talking about Falun Dafa to some of my patients of mine or at least those that I thought could understand, because in Alsace a lot of people are not receptive to this kind of message. They are poisoned with materialism and Judeo-Christian doctrine. I was afraid that they would talk badly about me and that I would lose them as clients.
When I retired, I started to go and tentatively hand out flyers on Falun Dafa, Shen Yun, or organ harvesting and have people sign the petition. I realised that I was not fully in the Fa. I looked inside to correct my faults and be able to conform to the Fa standard. I went out more and more and I let go of a few more attachments, such as worrying what people would say about me, my timidity, or the discrimination about appearance, gender and age of people I met. I must save them all, without discrimination. Master says in “What is a Dafa disciple”: “As long as he is someone you run into, you should save him, regardless of his position or social status, or whether he be the president or a beggar.”
I am more determined and have more confidence in myself. I am continuously developing my compassion but I still haven’t reached what Master teaches us in “What is a Dafa disciple”: “True compassion doesn’t have any selfishness mixed in, and one will, when dealing with anyone, or sentient beings in general, look at things with righteous thoughts and loving kindness.”
The Free China film, the nine commentaries, the June 1989 Massacre of Tiananmen Square, the persecution of Falun Gong and organ harvesting opened my eyes to the humanitarian disasters that have occurred in China. So I got involved with all my heart in the Free China project. Today, the Courage to Believe is not a dream any more! I am convinced that the day when the CCP no longer sees a sunrise is coming, and faster than we think.
The cooperation between another practitioner and myself was excellent. We showed the movie four times in Colmar and nearby. We also clarified the truth. Each time, people liked the movie and were touched by it. In one of those shows, we encountered a big interference, and it was the result of our own mindsets and that of another Colmar practitioner. I looked inside and I could see my attachments to doing things perfectly, sentimentality, achievement and comfort. Free China has been shown in Benin and Togo a few times when I went there in 2014 and 2015. Before my second stay there, a big interference appeared and touched my family. I did FZN few times to eliminate it. I abandoned my attachment to fear and a great part of my attachment to family and politics.
Africa’s regional characteristics are very harsh: poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, religious fanaticism, disastrous sanitation conditions, inaccessibility to certain areas, dictatorship in most African countries and the growing power of the CCP influence.
The introduction of Dafa into Africa has been very slow in comparison to other continents. There are only a small number of people practising Falun Dafa, in only a few different countries. Dafa was unknown in West Africa until January 2013, when we introduced it to Togo and created the Togo Association of Dafa with the intention of introducing Dafa all over West Africa. There are almost 350 people who have learnt about it thanks to this Association and of course Master.
These are my cultivation experiences. I lost a lot of time before beginning Falun Gong and starting to truly cultivate and practise. I am determined to go on and do better each day, to do the three things that a Dafa disciple should do to save people and help Master to rectify Fa.
There are no obstacles we can’t pass on the path that Master arranged for us. I am determined to go on with the Fa as a guide and to cherish it with all my heart, cherishing my cultivation environment and all Dafa practitioners.
All of these are my understanding at my level. Please tell me with benevolence if anything is not appropriate.
Thank you venerable Master.
Thank you my fellow practitioners.
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