A Westerner's Journey to Falun Gong

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I came across Falun Dafa or Falun Gong three years ago when I was still a student in High School. My life changed in a far-reaching way and it is something that I am eternally grateful for.'

My life before Falun Dafa consisted of a lot of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and an all-encompassing feeling of restlessness and discontentment. I knew in my heart that there was a vast universe beyond our human reality of materialism and comfort-seeking habits. I became very interested in a lot of new age type beliefs, but in the end felt frustrated with them. I began to call such things "instant gratification spirituality." Bits and pieces of what often seemed profound in the beginning quickly lost their power when any real burdens of life were put upon their philosophy. I began to feel very depressed and trapped in the human condition. Though I inherently believed the universe was fundamentally benevolent, I felt separated from this characteristic. I felt powerless against the things in me that hurt my spirit, such as jealousy, anger and actions such as smoking. As much I tried to change them I found in the end I would relapse into old behaviours. What I wanted most in the world was to be in harmony with all that was beautiful and sacred in the universe.

It was a friend of mine at school that introduced me to Falun Gong. He had found a flier on a transit train about Falun Gong and the book Zhuan Falun. After he read the book he came to me with it and told me it was really good, and that I should check it out. My first few experiences reading the book were laughable in hindsight. I was really sceptical of everything. I had become jaded and cynical after years of searching and finding only "instant gratification spirituality." I had a quarrelsome heart while reading the book, instead of seeking understanding. Little did I know at the time, that Falun Dafa was not something that can be understood from an everyday viewpoint as it was an everyday viewpoint that brought me so much difficulty and limitation. For example, those who seek wealth and comfort are often plagued by worry about their ability to maintain their security. Those seeking fame are anxious of what others think of them. However, I felt something very special about the content of Zhuan Falun so I continued to read. Then one day I realised what the Teacher meant by the first sentence in Lunyu:

"The Buddha Fa is most profound; among all the theories in the world, it is the most intricate and extraordinary science. In order to explore this domain, humankind must fundamentally change its conventional thinking. Otherwise, the truth of the universe will forever remain a mystery to humankind, and everyday people will forever crawl within the boundary delimited by their own ignorance."

I felt so silly and decided to put down my preconceived ideas and just read with an open mind. I felt a waft of warmth come through my body after reading just the first sentence with this mindset. It was then I understood the immensity of what the founder of the practice, Teacher Li, was saying, profound beyond words. It was then that I decided to commit my mind to practising Truth, Benevolence and Forbearance in everyday life. I began to be able to overcome my vices. It was like my fundamental nature was changing. Instead of having a selfish and troubled heart I began to feel such peace and tranquillity. Instead of thoughts of competition, I found them being replaced with compassion. Replacing anger was acceptance. Rather than restless discontentment there was harmony in my heart. I found Falun Dafa to give me such a holistic understanding of the universe that it was hard to be angry or forlorn.

Perhaps some people don't understand why the practitioners of Falun Dafa who are tortured in the labour camps and jails of China don't just renounce their belief so they can gain their freedom back. It is because people are not truly free in their minds and hearts while they contain things like jealousy and greed. It was Falun Dafa that has given us the understanding, strength and ability to fully let those things go. Practitioners of Falun Dafa desire to remain true to their hearts by standing their ground and declaring "Falun Dafa is Good!" A practitioner of Falun Dafa is more liberated in a jail cell with Zhen-Shan-Ren [Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance] in his heart than unrestricted in the free world without Falun Dafa.

I am eternally grateful for what the practice of Falun Gong has given me.

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