(Minghui.org) I am a lawyer. Before my retirement, I represented several Falun Dafa practitioners who were prosecuted for upholding their faith. I did not know much about Falun Dafa at the time and just argued that my clients did not commit as severe a crime as alleged by the authorities. Nonetheless, that experience planted the seeds for me to become a practitioner after my retirement. I resumed practicing law and started defending the innocence of our local practitioners.
Looking back, I have studied the teachings of Falun Dafa for ten years. On the occasion of the 19th Falun Dafa Experience-Sharing Conference of Practitioners in China (China Fahui), I am sharing my story and hope to do better in cultivation practice.
Becoming a Practitioner
I had poor health since a young age. After retirement, I spent a lot of time every day doing all kinds of qigong practices. None of them really helped improve my health. A relative of mine told me about the miraculous health benefits of Falun Dafa, so I decided to give it a try.
But as soon as I picked up the book Zhuan Falun, the main teachings of Falun Dafa, for the first time, I got so sleepy that I could not open my eyes. I didn’t even finish reading the first page before I had to put the book down. The same thing happened the second time I tried and I still could not continue. Back then, I did not know it was interference from the demon of sleepiness. So one year passed and I barely read the book. My exercise movements were not accurate either.
Later, a practitioner told me to spend more time studying the principles of Falun Dafa to overcome my sleepiness. I followed the advice and read the book every day to break through the interference. I also stopped doing the others kinds of qigong systems in the park. Then another practitioner gave me a UBS drive with experience-sharing stories from fellow practitioners. I listened to them and was very impressed by how these practitioners could cultivate diligently. In addition, I was moved by the miracles and supernormal phenomena of Dafa. As a result, I decided to be a genuine practitioner and do the three things well as Master Li (the founder of Falun Dafa) required of us. I started to tell people around me about the practice and urged them to sever ties with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As a lawyer, I also used my legal expertise to clarify the truth and oppose the persecution.
Handling Cases Against Practitioners
When representing Falun Dafa practitioners prosecuted for upholding their faith, I had no fear because I knew practitioners had done nothing wrong. Whether visiting detention centers, talking with police officers, or reviewing cases in procuratorates or courts, I always dressed for the occasion and maintained a positive image. By keeping Master’s words in mind, I treated everyone with kindness and avoided doing things that could trigger their negative feelings. No matter what attitude they had, I would smile and talk politely. I would thank them for their hard work and guide them, instead of picking on their negative attitude in the past or their participation in the persecution of practitioners. In addition to showing my compassion and forgiveness, I also advised them to follow their conscience in handling cases and reminded them of the legal consequences of persecuting law-abiding practitioners. I did this both in court and outside of court.
“Compassion is an enormous energy, the energy of righteous gods. The more compassion that is present, the greater this energy becomes, and it can disintegrate anything that is bad.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2009 Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference,” Collected Teachings Given Around the World Volume IX)
I did not dwell on specific laws in my defense of practitioners. Instead, I focused on kindling kindness in them.
“You are different from other lawyers we have worked with,” some prosecutors and judges said to me.
“Laws tend to punish people for violating laws,” I replied. “To me, it is more important for a person to know what is morally right and what is wrong.”
While in detention, some practitioners occasionally lost righteous thoughts, lacked determination to uphold their faith, were attached to the well-being of their families, or even signed statements under pressure to renounce their belief. When that happened, I would remind them in a low voice, “Do you remember what your teacher has taught you? You did nothing wrong, so there is nothing to worry about,” or, “You could write a statement [to nullify your earlier remarks] and hand it to the officials.” When practitioners received such hints or gentle reminders, they would see hope. Upon being taken back to their cells, some practitioners immediately asked for a pen and paper to write such statements to nullify their previous statements giving up their belief. Both the guards and police have noticed that practitioners would change once they met with their lawyers.
Once, I went to a detention center to meet my practitioner client. Prior to our meeting, several practitioners had insisted that I pass to my client a piece of paper with several poems from Hong Yin written by Master. When I talked with my client, a guard overheard our conversation and came over to demand, “What did you pass on to him?”
“I did not give him anything – you can check the security video recording.” I explained. “I just told him someone asked me to bring him something. But I have not given it to him yet.”
The guard did not believe me. He grabbed my bag and called out aloud, “We will suspend your license!”
He reported this to the police and they soon arrived. They handcuffed me and detained me for over ten hours.
“Who gave this to you?” “What’s his name?” “What’s your attitude on Falun Dafa?” they asked.
I told them I did not know the name of the person who gave me that piece of paper. Plus, I said, I had not violated any laws. During that time, the police did not give me any food or water. They even demanded I submit to blood and urine testing, to which I resolutely refused. They did not release me until late at night. There was already no bus service. I ended up staying at a relative’s place and went to bed after midnight. The Justice Bureau called me the following day, ordering my law firm to write a self-criticism statement. Under great pressure, the director of my law firm asked me to work elsewhere.
Upon hearing this, some out-of-town practitioners traveled a long distance to see me. In addition to taking full responsibility for asking me to pass the note to my client, they called the director of my law firm to express their trust in me and ask my law firm to allow me to keep working there and representing my client. Because they also explained what Falun Dafa is, the situation improved quickly and I felt empowered too. When I visited my client again, he was in tears since he saw how I was threatened as a lawyer.
On a different occasion, I went with another practitioner’s mother to a brainwashing center to demand his release. It was freezing winter and we stood outside for an entire day. The brainwashing center didn’t allow us to go in, but I kept calling them and insisting on their releasing the practitioner. “This is illegal detention,” I explained. “If my plaintiff is not released today, we will file a criminal complaint.” In the end, the practitioner was released that evening.
When defending detained practitioners, I also met with their family members. Due to fear of the persecution, these family members were often against their loved one’s practicing Falun Dafa. Other practitioners tried to clarify the truth to them, but were often met with blame and even threats. Because I talked to the family members as a lawyer, they were more receptive.
One day, I accompanied a practitioner’s wife to visit him in a detention center. She said she would not want her husband to practice Falun Dafa again.
“There is nothing wrong with practicing Falun Dafa,” I said. “Look! How lucky you are to find such a good husband?!”
“I guess he is,” she replied and paused, “except for this [practicing Dafa].”
“Come on! I think this is the best part of him – Falun Dafa is great and many people are not smart enough to practice it. It is really hard to find a good person like him,” I added.
“Ah, yes!” she was suddenly relieved and stood up straight with her head held high.
While traveling to difference places to represent Falun Dafa practitioners, I also clarified the facts to fellow passengers and asked if they would like to quit the CCP organizations. Over the past five years that I have represented practitioners, about 1,000 people have agreed to renounce their membership in the CCP organizations.
To avoid trouble, I have always been careful when handling Dafa cases. I tend not to get close with other practitioners. Most of them do not know that I am also a practitioner and they simply think I am an everyday person who happens to know the facts of Falun Dafa. Only very few practitioners are aware of my identity as a practitioner, and for my security, they do not talk about it. But one time after a practitioner was detained, he told other inmates in the same cell that I was a practitioner. The police were quickly informed about this. Fortunately, practitioners have clarified the facts well in that area. “We know the story of such and such a lawyer,” a police officer once said to a practitioner, “but we would not do anything to him.” This incident brought pressure onto me, but it did not block me from being a diligent practitioner.
As I took on more and more Falun Dafa cases, I became a target and my local justice bureau, lawyers’ association and government agencies at various levels tried to stop me from representing practitioners. They even temporally suspended my license. During those days, I was frustrated and worried. Due to lack of righteous thoughts, I could not get out of the situation. Although practitioners from different places contacted me for help, I denied the requests one after another, although I knew they badly needed legal support.
After a while, the old forces took advantage of that and I had symptom of diabetes. One day I fell into a coma and my family rushed me to a hospital, where doctors issued a notice of critical condition. While in a coma, I saw a huge crowd coming at me and I knew they were ghosts who would take my life.
I struggled and screamed, “Don’t come close. This is none of your business here, and my Master will take care of me.”
“Who is your Master?” someone asked.
“Mr. Li Hongzi,” I replied.
This conversation was relayed to me by my family members after I came to. I remembered that once I said Master’s name, the crowd disappeared and my situation improved. Whenever I think of this, I am always in tears, with gratitude toward Master. Master saved me and this was a serious lesson for me.
My family is not against my practicing Falun Dafa and even agreed to quit the CCP after I discussed it with them. But seeing me almost dying, they did not understand why a practitioner would encounter something like this.
“It is not that simple,” I explained. “It is like school. Some of the students go to college; but if someone does poorly, he probably won’t end up in college. It is the same thing here. Yes, Falun Dafa can bring someone good health while improving their moral values. But if someone does not meet the standard, he or she may still have issues.”
This lesson taught me that I had to do well in cultivation practice. Meanwhile, I looked within for loopholes. I found I still harbored human notions. Because of the pressure from the justice bureau and lawyers association, I was intimidated. I feared losing face, financial losses, and implications to my family. All of these were selfish thoughts that rendered me no different from a non-practitioner. No wonder I had all the symptoms of sickness.
Looking back, I realized that I had not really cultivated according to Dafa teachings. Although I have been trying to be a good person according to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, I have a long way to go on the cultivation journey.
A Genuine Practitioner
So I reminded myself that, to truly cultivate, I must completely let go of human notions and unconditionally assimilate to Dafa while having strong faith in Master. Therefore, I recited the phrases “Falun Dafa is good” and, “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good” many times a day. I also memorized and recited Master’s “On Dafa” so that I would be immersed in Dafa’s principles. When I felt pain in my feet and legs at night, I would sit up to do the meditation exercise. When unable to stand up, I tried my best to do the standing exercises and begged Master for help. Gradually, the situation improved.
Although I decided to let go of human notions, it was easier said than done. For example, some practitioners made negative remarks about me, saying I had illness tribulations because I had charged practitioners for my legal services. Another time when I said hello to a practitioner’s wife, the practitioner said to me coldly, “This is the attachment of lust.” I felt wronged.
My charges were very low compared to industry standards. I also checked with other practitioners. Some of them said it was all right to charge a fee to conform to everyday society. As for lust, over these years I have been careful on this issue even with my wife. I could not understand why those practitioners complained about me. Furthermore, I overheard some of them saying negative things behind the backs of others. Even an upright non-practitioner would not do something like that, so how could a practitioner? Because of my resentment, I appeared cold when talking with others. I pondered whether I should keep practicing Falun Dafa. I struggled for a long time, but fortunately, I realized I’d never give up Dafa.
Right at that time, five practitioners in my region were arrested. They were all coordinators. With all of them arrested, nobody would coordinate efforts to rescue them. Their family members came to me for help. They had tried a few lawyers previously. Because these family members were not practitioners, they were picky and had trouble working with those lawyers.
Master is very compassionate, and one practitioner, Yan, came to my region to help me rescue the five practitioners. Yan put in tremendous amounts of effort. He communicated well with the detained practitioners’ family members and they appreciated working with him. He also worked hard to clarify the facts to the procuratorates and courts.
I was moved by Yan’s selfless, noble character – this is what a Dafa disciple should be! In contrast, the grievances I’d suffered were like nothing. Yan shared his understandings: a practitioner could make mistakes too and some may be big mistakes. Nonetheless, we should cultivate ourselves instead of being disturbed. The conflicts we encounter are opportunities for us to look within and improve.
“...they lack suffering and discord; moreover, they can’t temper themselves and are unable to raise their levels.” (Chapter I, Falun Gong)
“But often tensions like these won’t count or achieve what they are meant to, or help you to improve, if they don’t actually bother you.” (The Fourth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
So I asked myself why I had encountered those incidents. I realized they were opportunities for me to improve xinxing and increase the capacity of my heart. I began to focus on cultivating my compassion. It took about two years for me to get out of this. After my mentality changed, other practitioners were also happy to see me. Some who complained about me for charging money also stopped their complaints. I knew I had improved.
To work together with Yan as one body, I decided to treat myself as a practitioner instead of a lawyer. That is, I placed myself as Yan’s helper to get done whatever was needed. But it took some time for me to get there, and from time to time, I still pushed all the responsibility to Yan.
“In these situations your conduct should always show Dafa disciples’ tolerance, kindness, and niceness. The next person’s things are your things,1 and your things are his things.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2002 Conference in Washington, D.C.”, Collected Teachings Given Around the World Volume II)
I need to do better in these areas. Also, I found the influence of CCP Party culture in me including the tendency to protect and defend myself, being insincere, and being afraid of losing face.
With help from Master, the rescue work went well. The husband of one detained practitioner was very moved. “Now I can understand why the rescue work is so important,” he said. He also called a judge, clarified the facts of Falun Dafa, and reminded him not to be a scapegoat of the CCP.
The rescue efforts helped officials in my local area to distance themselves from the suppression. About one month ago, dozens of practitioners in my city were arrested, but no arrests occurred in my local area. Some police officers did knock on practitioners’ doors and said, “No need to open the door. But just be careful.” They then left.
I hope we practitioners can step forward to let go of selfishness, expose the persecution, and help people be saved.
Above are my limited understandings. Please point out anything inappropriate.
Thank you, Master!Thank you, fellow practitioners!
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