(Minghui.org) I have been studying traditional Chinese painting since I was very young. At the end of 1999, I was dismissed by my workplace because I insisted on practicing Falun Dafa. I was later detained in a forced labor camp because I went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Dafa.
After I was released from the labor camp, I attended an advanced training program on traditional Chinese painting held by an authoritative organisation, where I had a more systematic study of Chinese painting. I received guidance from many famous Chinese painters and improved significantly.
After graduating, I opened my own studio and started to teach children to draw and paint. It went from about ten students in the first session to two or three hundred students per session at its peak.
During my more than 20 years of teaching, I have continued to learn, explore, and improve my teaching skills and I gradually developed a systematic and unique teaching method. I achieved a lot and was envied by my peers and praised by experts. All of these were due to my practice of Falun Dafa.
Master Li (Dafa’s founder) published “Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art” in 2003. I read it repeatedly and learned that art was passed down from gods to humans, and I knew how to tell what true art was. I was very shocked when Master talked about Van Gogh and Picasso. I learned that these two people were arranged to destroy traditional art. Their abstract paintings were unpleasant to look at. Still, today the art world holds these two in high esteem. Most painters dare not say anything negative about their paintings for fear of being attacked.
Master’s teaching has been a guiding light that opened up my wisdom in my teaching career.
Guarding the Way of Teaching with the Temptation of Profit
Under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rule, the morality of the whole society has been rapidly declining. This is clearly evident in the education system, where paying class teachers to give favor to their children, paying for degrees, and opening after-school classes to earn extra money has become the norm.
Most extra-curricular classes and art training classes have a strong commercial purpose. The original pure and noble schooling became a thing of the past. These classes and training centers use all kinds of ways to make more money. For example, offering anniversary discounts, two students, and the third is enrolled for free, referral fees, and so on.
Even training and education seminars teach teachers and school management how to make money, using tricks instead of teaching how to improve the quality of teaching. I once attended two seminars in Wuhan and Hangzhou City. I went with the hope of learning some new teaching and management methods. But the organisers only taught people how to make money. Most people thought this was normal, and had forgotten the proper way of promotion, word-of-mouth, by being good at their job.
While teaching and running the school, I followed the standard of Dafa. I didn’t charge high fees nor used commercial means to tempt parents. I operated the school simply and worked on the quality of teaching. As a result, I have many students. Many of them studied for three to five years, and some even longer.
The relationship between students and teachers became more harmonious. Students also improved a lot as a result of persisting in learning for a longer time.
Because I was not tempted by making huge profits, I could focus on teaching and guarantee its quality. I had an excellent reputation among the parents. Many parents referred students to my studio. So much so that often a parent said that several relatives and friends had introduced my studio to them.
The quality of my teaching was evident to all, and I have an excellent reputation in our small town. Some large companies invited me to teach the children of the senior management and offered high tuition fees, but I declined them because I wanted my art courses to benefit more children than just a small group of high-income families. I always charged relatively low fees because many low-income families were under pressure to invest in their children’s education.
I often helped students in financial difficulties. One low-income family had three children learning painting from me, and I only charged them half the tuition. Every year in early winter, their parents would give me a few bags of nori (dried edible seaweed). They insisted on buying the best nori for me even when their financial burden became heavier after their eldest son went to college. I couldn’t decline their gift, so I gave their son money as his allowance. I told them the truth about Dafa and told them to recite, “Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” The whole family quit the CCP and its youth organisations. They supported Dafa and knew practitioners were good. Dafa blessed them. Most of them were safe during the pandemic, and those who showed mild symptoms recovered quickly.
A dozen students from my studio had their works selected for a national-level children’s art exhibition. The exhibition was to be held in Beijing, and I suggested the students and their parents attend the opening ceremony. The parents arranged the trip through a travel agency. However, the exhibition organisers decided to turn it into a profit-making venture, so children were not allowed to attend the opening ceremony.
There was no longer a need for the parents to go to Beijing but would lose their deposits for the trip. My wife and I decided to live up to the standard of practitioners and think of others, so we covered the loss of more than 10,000 yuan. The parents were very appreciative.
One of my students learned painting from me as a child and then helped me teach students after graduating from college for many years. She later opened her own studio to teach. Once, she talked to me about the chaos in the training industry and the deterioration of morality. She said she always stuck to her principles because of my positive influence and did not go with the flow.
The reason I was able to uphold the righteous path in teaching was because I practice Falun Dafa. Many elites from all walks of life practiced Falun Dafa. They all measured themselves against Dafa’s principles. I am one of the millions of Dafa disciples.
“…Dafa, the solution for a troubled world, Puts a stop to its downward slide.” (“Illuminating all,” Hong Yin II)
As Dafa disciples, we cultivate our character and require ourselves to live by high standards. We have unknowingly had a great impact on society.
Adhering to Traditional Ways of Teaching and Not Following the Trend
A joke was circulating in the art circles: “From a distance, he looks like a madman. From a nearer look, he looks like a tramp; but on close inspection, he turns out to be an art school student.”
Some people may think the joke was exaggerated. But they wouldn’t think so after they saw the ugly paintings in various art exhibits in today’s art museums.
Under the rule of the CCP, the art industry has fallen into pandemonium. Many people became leaders through relationships and bribes. Most art exhibitions glorify and whitewash the CCP. There was a large number of mutated and distorted works.
The chaos also greatly affected children’s art education. The CCP constantly organised competitions with political content to brainwash young people. Many so-called experts misled children’s art education under the name of innovation and creativity. They always said, “Children’s paintings painted without restraint and boldness are the works of real masters, and real painters are learning from children.” Their comments misled children’s art education. As a result, many children’s artworks were scribbles, ugly and weird, and even full of pornography and violence.
Before studying Master’s Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art, I was also confused. I couldn’t tell what was true beauty and what was the right direction for teaching.
After studying Master’s teachings, I realised that children preserve their innate innocence because society has not yet polluted them. But children’s paintings are immature and childish. Immature paintings in the learning process cannot be considered good works. It’s not beautiful if the children paint without restraint.
Master’s words gave me a clear direction in teaching children to paint. Using the wisdom given by the Fa, I was able to analyse how to paint in a clear and understandable way so that the students could learn with a strong interest. I often feel a constant stream of suitable teaching methods flowing from my mind.
In my teaching, I focus on instructing students in basic skills. In learning the basic skills of Chinese painting, copying is the most crucial method. My students could learn famous artists’ painting techniques, modeling methods, and compositional ideas.
I asked my students to copy orthodox and elegant works from those ancient painters of high character and decency. I knew that these painters’ works were suitable for children. For example, for landscape painting, I chose some of the paintings of the Ming and Qing dynasties as models; for brush painting, I used works from the Song dynasty, the peak period of Chinese painting. For painting birds and flowers, I used ancient pieces concerned with form and spirit as models.
After studying Master’s lectures on art, I also understood the importance of accuracy. So I also honed in on students’ accuracy in painting.
Many professionals have praised my teaching, including those in art colleges, art societies, painting academies, and other professional institutions that uphold traditional art. Once, I held an exhibition of my student’s work in the studio. A president of an art association said, “I have seen many exhibitions of children’s art, but I have never seen one of such a high level.”
An expert in children’s art education said my studio taught children to express life in the form of traditional painting and played a good role in improving their cultural taste.
Educating Students Rationally with Kindness
I treat students with kindness and communicate with them openly. I try to think from their perspective and guide them according to their characteristics and personalities. Some students call me “mom” when asking questions, only to blush with embarrassment afterward.
There was a student who studied in my studio for many years. He had a great talent for painting but was quite naughty. I noticed that his father hadn’t come to pick him up for several weeks. It turned out that his father was hospitalised after having a stroke. From then on, I only charged him half of the tuition fee. Moreover, I asked him to be considerate of his mother and do what he could for the family. He thus became much more understanding.
When he was in junior high, his mother asked me if he should study art or another major. Given the student’s academic performance was good, and the training for art was too expensive for his family, I suggested the student take art as his specialty and choose architecture as his major so that he could fully utilise what he learned.
I also taught him some things from traditional culture. I told the family the truth about Dafa and some stories of how Falun Dafa benefited people mentally and physically. His mother was very grateful for my help, guidance, and training.
I taught my students how to behave and be good people, and encouraged them. I compassionately pointed out their shortcomings so they knew what was right and wrong.
One day, a boy drew a lot of beautiful houses. He then drew a group of fighter planes dropping bombs all over the place. When I asked why he drew bombs, he said China should start a war to fight so-and-so countries and wipe out their cities. I knew this was due to the CCP’s brainwashing, which taught children about hating and fighting from an early age. I said, “Look at this beautiful city. How can we dare to bomb it? If we bomb other people’s cities, they will surely bomb ours in turn, so aren’t we also in danger?
The relationship between countries is the same as the relationship between people, and we have to be friendly with each other.” The student removed the fighter planes and bombs from his painting. When his grandmother came to pick him up, he happily held up his revised drawing and showed it to her, saying that I taught him about love and peace.
There was another boy who was articulate and smart. He did not pay attention in class and looked at his phone. I spoke to him many times but to no avail. I thought, “It’s tough to teach such a child. I will give up on him since I can’t change him.”
One day, while listening to fellow practitioners’ sharing on Minghui Radio, the patience and kindness of many practitioners in educating their students touched me. I saw the gap between myself and fellow practitioners. I resolved to improve my character and be more patient.
I told the student, “I find that you are very smart and would like to have a good chat with you.”
As I said this, the little boy rudely responded, “If you have something to say, say it!” The traditional culture of respecting teachers no longer exists, and many students do not respect their teachers.
I kindly told him, “You can’t talk to your teacher like that. How can your teacher teach you well if you don’t even have basic respect for him? If you don’t learn to respect others, it will be hard for you to get respect from others in the future.” He knew he was wrong and didn’t say anything. I continued sincerely, “I know you are very smart and I want to teach you well. If you can pay more attention in class, you will be very good at drawing in the future. Do you have confidence?” He nodded. I said, “Put your cell phone away during class, so you won’t waste time studying.”
He agreed and felt my concern for him. From then on, he stopped chatting and started to draw very seriously without looking at his phone in class. His drawing improved very quickly.
“I often say that if all a person wants is the well-being of others and if this is without the slightest personal motivation or personal understanding, what he says will move the listener to tears.” (“Clearheadedness,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
I firmly believe that all my students can change for the better if I treat them with the compassion I cultivate in Dafa.
The Fa Opened My Wisdom
The field of children’s art education also became a place where people pursue personal interests. To make more money, many people have come up with all kinds of money-making projects.
As I touched upon earlier, various competitions, are money-making schemes and have themes that glorify the Party. Some people organise competitions and require children to pay to participate. The students were awarded according to how much they paid to the organisers.
As a Dafa practitioner, I measure everything against the Fa. I never prioritise profit when running the school, nor with participating in competitions. I chose to participate only in those orthodox competitions, not those mixed with political brainwashing and commercial interests. We guide our students not to paint those distorted and mutated things.
Our path is very narrow, but the fantastic thing is that our works that adhere to orthodoxy often win awards in high-profile competitions at the provincial and national levels. We have also won group first place in the regional and national competitions.
Some competitions have gradually adjusted their judging criteria because of our work. They have moved from classing deformed and so-called innovative works as good ones to now taking traditional works as good ones. I saw this change by analysing the portfolios of previous competitions.
Once, the works from our studio were in a competition sponsored by a national art authority. We achieved a leading position in the country, and won nearly 20 gold medal works, accounting for one-tenth of the gold medals in the competition.
The children’s works touched the hearts of the judges, and the secretary-general and the secretary of the competition organising committee flew from Beijing and traveled to our small town to interview our people in our studio about teaching art to children.
The committee secretary said to me, “The judges were professors from many art colleges and experts in the field of children’s art education. When we reviewed the works, the professors and experts first looked at the entries from big cities and found the quality to be average. One of the judges saw the work of your students and thought it was perfect and was excited to recommend it to the other judges, with the result that all the judges agreed that your studio was very well taught and your students’ work was distinctive and of very high quality.”
“…Returning to tradition puts you on the path to Heaven…” (“Creating Anew,” Hong Yin V)
All these achievements were made possible because I practiced Dafa and follow the traditional, orthodox path of teaching children in accordance with Master’s teachings. My achievements showed that Dafa disciples embody excellence in their work because they practice Dafa and hold themselves to high standards.
Because I follow the requirements of Dafa and use high standards in teaching, many parents understood the truth about Dafa, quit the CCP and its affiliated organisations, and support Dafa and Dafa’s disciples.
Master’s teachings helped me to operate my studio in its early years. I later studied Master’s teachings on music and dance, watched videos of Shen Yun performances, and saw the performers’ noble, graceful, and beautiful stage designs and costumes. The automated backdrop seemed to come from the heavens, which is incomparably superior and magical.
Master, you are so great, not only for guiding our cultivation and saving sentient beings, but you have also brought a new art to humankind!
Thank you, great and compassionate Master!
(Selected Submission Celebrating the 24th World Falun Dafa Day on the Minghui website)
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