Since 1999, China has experienced the most concerted campaign of propaganda and disinformation that the world has ever seen—one using every communication channel and the communist regime’s entire mass media arsenal. The key target of this campaign has been people who follow the ancient spiritual practice of Falun Gong. In the most literal sense, their voices have been silenced amid a cacophony of venom and lies. Here, they have the opportunity to present their stories of perseverance, faith, and personal evolution, straight from the heart.
This story is about Capt. Nguyen Tuan Dung, a Vietnamese pilot with 14,000 flight hours. Many people have asked him why he left a high-paying job in the Middle East for a position with a Taiwanese airline. The answer is that he wanted to learn Chinese so that he could read the Chinese version of Zhuan Falun the main book of Falun Gong—a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
Capt. Nguyen, 44, has been a pilot for 22 years, with expertise in flying the Airbus A32o. He has trained in Australia and France and is fluent in Vietnamese, English, Russian, and French.
Taking Up the Practice of Falun Gong
As a pilot, Capt. Nguyen has had many opportunities to visit many different countries and experience different cultures. Seeing so many people afflicted with sadness and suffering, he found himself often wondering about the purpose of life—why there is so much pain in the world, and why people are here on Earth.
He felt stressed, and sometimes had trouble sleeping at night. He sought answers in religions, philosophy, and psychology, but none of these disciplines provided what he was looking for. He also practiced martial arts, but that didn’t help either. He was still confused by the basic questions.
Three years ago, his parents, both sports coaches, called him from Vietnam, excited to tell him about their experiences of cultivating Falun Gong. They suggested that he give it a try. He was practicing a different qigong at the time, so he didn’t take his parents’ suggestion seriously.
Later, when he visited his parents on a vacation, his mother taught him the Falun Gong exercises. On the plane back to work, he opened the book Zhuan Falun.
After one hour of reading, he felt that he’d found the answers to all the questions that had bothered him for such a long time. What a profound teaching, he thought. Once home, he spent 10 days reading all the Falun Gong books, and watched Master Li Hongzhi’s exercise instruction video. Then he called his parents and said, “I’ve found the profound spiritual teaching that I’ve been looking for!” He then officially started cultivating Falun Gong.
Soon after taking up the practice, Capt. Nguyen experienced a major improvement in his health. He used to be exhausted after long-distance flights, especially the red-eye (overnight) flights. After these flights, every bone in his body seemed to ache. The qigong exercises he tried before didn’t help, and the intense pain would last for days.
Now that he practices Falun Gong, he always does the exercises after the red-eye flights and before going to sleep each day. When he wakes up, he feels good, with no pain.
Pilots are required to have an eye examination every year after age 40. Nguyen was surprised to discover that after he started practicing Falun Gong, his vision got better than it was when he flew military aircraft in his twenties.
Capt. Nguyen at a Falun Gong activity in 2016 in Taiwan.
Following the Principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance
Most importantly, Capt. Nguyen has changed in terms of how he interacts with others.
“I try to follow Falun Gong’s teachings—Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, and try to always consider others,” he explained.
He used to be hard on others. He is an excellent pilot and often won first place in professional races. Because of his skills, he developed an attitude of superiority and looked down on those who were not as good as he was. When co-workers’ performances didn’t meet his expectations, he would get angry and criticize them. His mother often said that his words were sharper than a knife.
Since cultivating Falun Gong, he now focuses on his own improvement. When others don’t do well, he often reminds himself to be tolerant and patient, and try to see things from others’ perspectives.
“When I have the urge to criticize others, I often ask myself—would this person be able to handle this? Everybody has different understandings of things. Should I measure others with my own criteria?” he asked. “When my heart changes, I find that the environment changes accordingly. Now, I get along with my friends and family.”
Nguyen is a happy person now. He is glad to share his experiences with co-workers, and those around him feel that he is a different and easy-going person. His co-workers enjoy working with him.
When asked what brought about the change, he often tells people it is Falun Gong’s teachings, and suggests that they give it a try.
Move to Taiwan to Read Zhuan Falun in Chinese
When he first started practicing, Capt. Nguyen worked for a Middle Eastern airline. He studied Zhuan Falun in English and Vietnamese. Yet he believed that reading the book in Chinese would help him come to a better understanding of the teachings, and he developed a wish to move to a Chinese-speaking environment.
An opportunity came soon after. Although the salary at the Taiwanese airline is only half of what he made in the Middle East, he feels that it’s worth it because he can take part in many different Falun Gong activities in Taiwan, and he can now read the Falun Gong books in Chinese.
It took him 10 months to learn all the Chinese words in Zhuan Falun. He is happy that he can now read the book in Chinese with local fellow practitioners.
Capt. Nguyen reading the Chinese version of Zhuan Falun.
Besides reading the books and doing the exercises, the captain wants to tell the public, especially Chinese tourists, what Falun Gong really is. With his fellow practitioners, he often talks to Chinese tourists at the airport, telling them of his own experiences practicing Falun Gong and about the brutal persecution in China.
Captain Nguyễn hopes to further improve his spoken Chinese so that he can do better in explaining the facts of Falun Gong to Chinese people and in this way help bring about an end to the persecution.
This article was originally published on Minghui.org, a website organized by Falun Gong practitioners to spread information about the Chinese spiritual practice and the persecution it suffers because of the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution.