I was a teacher by day but shamelessly indulged in drink and lust at night with no end in sight. It seemed as if I would never climb out of the murky cesspool of my life. Who would have thought that one of my former alcoholic friends would manage to help me straighten up—by giving me a heavenly book.
Falling into Decadence
I was born in Bai Vi, a mountainous area in the rural countryside of Vietnam, where the locals are poor and not well educated. Therefore, when I entered university it was a celebrated event for my whole family. But because of my degenerate behavior, my relatives’ joy and pride quickly turned into sadness and humiliation.
In my early years of university, living amid the bright lights of Hanoi, the capital city, I was like a bird that had been freed from its cage. For me, it was an escape from my strict father, who constantly monitored me and forbade me from participating in many activities while I was growing up. So at school I thoroughly enjoyed my freedom and did whatever I wanted.
In the eyes of my family members, I was a privileged student in the mathematics department of the most prestigious university in Hanoi. However, education failed to prevent me from engaging in serious bad behavior. I often missed school to go out and have fun, engaging in drinking, smoking, watching martial arts movies, and reading stories unrelated to my studies. When I was bored, I gathered my friends together for gambling or football betting.
My academic performance greatly deteriorated because I partied so much. I failed many exams and was unable to pass several subjects even after four years of college. I did finally graduate, although later than my classmates.
When I returned to my hometown to look for work, I had the good luck of being recruited to teach at a high school without having to take the civil servants exam. But unfortunately that did not compel me to change my ways.
Behaving Like the ‘Scum of Society’
It didn’t matter that I was a teacher, someone who should have been a good role model for my students; I became even worse than before.
I drank so much that nobody could keep up with me. I often invited my friends to go drinking all night, both for fun and to deliberately get drunk. Once I got drunk, I would continue to drink without restraint for days.
All the worst qualities in my character were revealed when I was drunk. Even though I typically didn’t remember anything afterwards, I knew that I totally lost self-control. I spoke words that hurt others, burned through all the money I had, and sometimes slept on the streets.
After each episode, I would be moody, miserable, and unable to eat without vomiting. But each time I recovered from a drunken binge I would be drawn back to the same behavior, such as gambling and using prostitutes.
I was unmoved even after the sudden death of my father, who lived in despair throughout the last years of his life because of my behavior. Instead of feeling remorse, I saw my father’s death as an opening to even more freedom than before. I became even more decadent with my drinking, gambling, and picking up prostitutes.
Despite countless tears shed by my mother, sister, and wife, and despite my job as an educator teaching young people in school, I behaved like the scum of society. It seemed I was destined to live a life of depravity and darkness.
A Priceless Gift Wakes Me Up
Who would have thought that a priceless gift was soon to appear that would eventually wake me up, inspire me, and empower me to change. This gift was offered to me by none other than another young man like me who used to be among my circle of alcoholic friends.
It was during the summer break of 2008. I had a chance to visit old friends in Hanoi when I traveled there as part of a teacher training program. That was when my friend gave me a book called “Zhuan Falun.” It was the main book of the traditional Chinese discipline Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong, that teaches people how to improve themselves in both mind and body.
“This is a very precious book,” my friend said. “It will help you reach high and clean places. When you read it, you must not write anything in it or make marks in it.”
At the time I didn’t care about this book, let alone treasure it. It wasn’t until a long time later that I opened it to read it, almost by accident. Being muddle-headed at the time, I read without paying attention to what I was reading. Then I closed the book and left it in the closet.
But I didn’t forget about it. A month later, when I picked it up again, I was more sober and read it critically. I was captivated by the truths it contained and read it over and over again.
I was inspired by the principles set out in the book, and I was touched by the the concepts of good and evil it explained. The book is written in simple words, but I found that the words carried profound meanings.
For the first time in my life I realized that my true nature was virtuous and good, completely different from the wicked behavior I had acquired. My debauchery was ruining what my life was meant to be, and taking me farther and farther away from my real self.
With this recognition, I was determined to give up the bad habits I was indulging in and return to my true self. I made up my mind to improve my character and become a better person, an exemplary teacher, and a truthful and compassionate human being.
From Conflicts and Grief to Harmonious Family Life
The fundamental principles taught by Falun Dafa are Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Once I resolved to practice these principles in my daily life, they provided me with inner strength far beyond my expectations.
Soon after, I abandoned my double life and gave up alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, and other addictions and decadent behaviors one after another. I used my time to study Zhuan Falun and to practice the meditation exercises of Falun Dafa instead.
My whole family was astonished to witness the dramatic changes in me. I stopped hurting others with bad behavior and words. I also began to look within myself and find my own mistakes instead of blaming others when I encountered conflicts.
Witnessing this miracle, my mother and sister also read “Zhuan Falun” and decided to practice Falun Dafa. I shared my understanding from Falun Dafa’s teachings with my wife and encouraged her to read “Zhuan Falun” as well. After reading the book several times, she said: “Without Dafa and Teacher [Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Dafa], I would be a stubborn and defiant person.”
Gradually, the grief, conflicts, and resentment that my past conduct created in my family dissolved. My family life has become harmonious and pleasant; the stormy days are no more.
Sharing this Treasure
My students also benefited after seeing the beauty of Falun Dafa and the goodness of the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. They also learned to become better people, always ready and willing to help and encourage each other in their studies. After working as a tutor, one student told me, “Teacher, I’m tired but I’m very happy!”
Today, I feel such great happiness in my life that I can only cry tears of joy. I have no words to explain what it’s like to have found a way to abandon the depravity that was my life, to have discovered true principles to guide me as I strive to become a person of purity in my soul and spirit. Compared to my dreadful life in the past, it is truly a miracle how far I’ve come.
That miracle was only possible because I had the good fortune to read “Zhuan Falun,” the heavenly book of Falun Dafa, and enlighten to the truth it contains. It transformed me from deep in my heart, helping me change, directing me to what’s right, and supporting me to find the true meaning of life.
Falun Dafa is a treasure available to everyone who has the good luck to encounter it. If you have the chance to read my story, I would be happy to share more with you about what I experienced. I hope that you will also find happiness in your life.
Phung Le Hoang (Phone: 0977.054.251)
Falun Dafa is a cultivation practice of mind and body that teaches truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance as a way to improve health and moral character and attain spiritual wisdom.
For more information about the practice or to download “Zhuan Falun,” visit: www.falundafa.org All books, exercise music, resources, and instructions are available completely free of charge.