I learned some great lessons before, during and after the New York Falun Dafa Conference, and I wish to share them here with fellow practitioners. Validating Falun Dafa in Flushing
This was my first trip to the east coast of the U.S., and we began explaining the facts to the public in Flushing on the second day after arriving. Flushing and Manhattan Chinatown boast a high Chinese immigrant population, and they are important in terms of helping the overseas Chinese learn the truth. Because of the attacks against volunteers at the Service Centre for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that took place in front of the Flushing library on May 17, Falun Gong practitioners who live abroad should work hard to expose the sinister nature of the CCP. Master has explained the significance of these activities, and as disciples, we should harmonise everything Master wants, and there is no doubt about that.
The day before the conference, more than 100 practitioners arrived at the service centre, which was barricaded by the police, and right across from us was a group of people who were organised by the CCP, who kept swearing and yelling vulgarities in a rhythmic manner. We not only used divine powers to eliminate the evil by sending forth righteous thoughts but also exposed the CCP's lies in other ways. Some practitioners held up placards, some distributed a special edition of The Epoch Times, and some visited local businesses and explained to them what had transpired. NTDTV reporters interviewed passers-by, which is also one way to explain the facts, because people tend to think more rationally when talking to the media. Many practitioners of various ethnic backgrounds participated in the activities. We are a whole body and we do different tasks. We remained calm the whole time, our pure hearts brought a sense of balance and harmony to the situation, and our kindness helped people become more receptive to the facts. During this process, CCP loyalists swore at us, and the CCP even went so far as to organise several busloads of middle and elementary school students to come swear at us and repeat the CCP propaganda. I felt very sorry for those kids who were brainwashed and were not allowed to think for themselves, but I remained untouched by the attacks, and I kept a smile on my face and righteous thoughts in my heart. I also realised how difficult it is for practitioners who do this all year long, because they have to maintain powerful righteous thoughts despite external interference and occasional bad thoughts from within. I think they were only able to do it due to constant Fa study. When I reflected, I felt guilty that I did not set aside more time for Fa study, as sometimes I would slack off and spend more time on my job in the ordinary society, and during these times my righteous thoughts are not strong enough to improve the environment, and the evil would take advantage of my gaps.
Fa Conference and My Thoughts
I attended the Fa conference on the third day. Many practitioners' speeches moved me to tears, and I felt their diligence despite numerous hardships. I regretted not making more progress myself and not making the most of the opportunities to validate the great Falun Dafa. In the afternoon, we saw a video clip of the cultivation of young practitioners who are students of the Fei Tian Academy of the Arts. Many practitioners, including myself, cried during the short film, because it truly helped us strengthen our righteous thoughts and urge us to strive forward in saving sentient beings. I immediately wanted to take a copy of the video home and show it to my family, which stemmed from a selfish motive that my family would agree with my wish to quit my current job, move to New York and free myself from the routine life of an ordinary person, so I could assist Master in rectifying the Fa with a purer self.
The film recorded the process of young practitioners eliminating their attachments and overcoming hardships. They often cried when they realised their attachments and selfishness, which made me feel ashamed. The practitioners first had to separate from their family and friends for a while and live in a faraway place, and some non-Chinese practitioners had to live with language barriers. Many of the practitioners gave up awards and a "wonderful" life in ordinary society, as they were recognised students and some had received the President's Citations. Some had been admitted into top-tier universities, and they firmly gave up everything to join the Fei Tian Academy of the Arts and live in a dorm to help Master rectify the Fa. This group of young people was able to sever their attachments to reputation, self-interest and a familiar environment, which is why they performed miracles that validated the magnificent power of Falun Dafa during the global tour of the Divine Performing Arts companies. Most had never received prior professional dance training and they had also passed the prime age for learning to dance, yet they exhibited the highest level of skills within a short period of time--all because they are Falun Dafa disciples, and of course, that the greatest director [our Master] stood behind them, as explained by one of the dance instructors.
I also envied these young practitioners because they could give up everything in their former lives and live in the dorm. They received personal instruction and protection from Master in order to most effectively save sentient beings. Of course, everyone walks a different path of cultivation and everyone needs to play their role well. Saving sentient beings is our historic mission, although I still feel that it's pure bliss to be able to give up all ordinary attachments and melt into the wonders of Dafa. Of course, I believe that being a dancer does not mean you can keep any of your attachments, and there are always trials arranged for you to improve yourself.
What happened next was that Master came and gave a talk. It was the first time I had seen Master in person in the more than four years since I began practising Falun Dafa. With compassionate words, Master encouraged us to seize the precious opportunity and try our hardest to save sentient beings. The way he addressed our questions was like a father answering his children's questions. It was without any pretentiousness. His concern for his disciples and his encouraging words were full of compassion. He is our great Master. He has an ordinary person's appearance but extraordinary words that emanate profound meaning. I was assigned a seat in the small conference room, but Master came to our room to see us. We were so excited, but still had enough sense in us to stay courteous. Master stood on a stool so we could all see him, and he talked to us. He was about ten feet away from me. Although I knew I should stay in my seat, my mind was somehow blank, and my feet dragged my body forward. Master again encouraged us to save sentient beings, a theme that he repeated multiple times. He also asked us to bring his greetings to practitioners who could not make it to the conference. A teenage practitioner in front of me kept bowing and heshi until Master left. I will never forget the scenes of that day, which will motivate me to do even better with the three things.
A Gathering with Friends in New York City
I was able to get in touch with my friend Ben, and he invited me to attend a gathering among friends. I would usually turn down this kind of invitation due to my busy schedule, but I wanted to introduce Falun Dafa to him, and I also wanted to see him. He is a Jewish American, and we met at work a long time ago. We haven't seen each other in a long time, and he was very outgoing and sincere. I brought him a copy of the book Zhuan Falun, which I think is the best gift for a friend, and I should have given it to him a long time ago. He said he knows about Falun Gong because I've told him about it before. I didn't have very strong righteous thoughts on that day and I didn't expect to introduce Dafa to his friends. They all knew about the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners after seeing exhibition boards on the street, which means practitioners did a good job doing street anti-torture exhibits in Manhattan. It was a gathering of doctors and lawyers. Ben is a lawyer and his wife is a doctor. They are all highly educated and nice people. After chatting with Ben for a while, I told him about the Falun Dafa conference. I told him that people from many countries attended the conference, including many Westerners. Ben asked, "Really? I've only seen Chinese Falun Gong practitioners before." I said, "Falun Dafa is good and righteous, so it attracts many people." I think it would be effective in terms of validating Falun Dafa if more Western practitioners stepped forward and talked to people. Ben promised to read Zhuan Falun, and that was the last thing he said to me before I left in a taxi.
Manhattan Chinatown Parade and Watching the Divine Performing Arts Performance
We held a parade the next day in Manhattan's Chinatown. The number of participants was limited to 2,000. Otherwise we would have had many more people and a much stronger field of righteous thoughts. At one section of the road, the CCP organised a group of people who blasted obscenities through a loudspeaker on the sidewalks. This only showcased their ignorance and wickedness--a sharp contrast with our peaceful parade. I heard later that the police tried to stop them. I was touched by so many practitioners coming out to validate Falun Dafa, including many Westerners. Dafa is so precious, and the whole world knows about it. However, I also discovered a hidden problem within myself, "Am I a gung-ho person becoming complacent when I see fellow practitioners cheering for us?" I tried to eliminate this mentality, and after the parade ended, I asked myself, "If you were the only person in the world who practised Dafa, would you be afraid? Would you still practice?" My answer was not very optimistic at the time, that is until I wrote this article. I am embarrassed that my level is so limited. I should study the Fa more and strengthen my righteous thoughts.
There were two shows by the Divine Performing Arts in the afternoon after the parade. Luckily, everyone in our group received a ticket, although not every practitioner got one. I knew there was a reason behind my getting a ticket. It was because I needed to see my shortcomings. The programs were similar to this year's Chinese New Year Spectacular, but the dancers were slightly different. I was greatly surprised by the maturity and improvement in skills in almost every program, considering this was only three months after the show in Taiwan. When I looked at myself, I wondered how much I had improved. The gap between us has grown ever wider. How much time do I have left to catch up? The colours and brilliance in many pieces shone with even greater purity on an entirely different level. Many of the pieces moved me to tears like they did before. The last one, "Victory Drums," showed a Tang emperor standing at the top of the stairs, motionless. A flag with the word "Tang" on it appeared in the centre of the backdrop, and a group of dancers played the drums in the foreground. It was the third time I saw the Divine Performing Arts performance this year, and I felt the Falun turning in my abdomen the whole time. During the final piece, I realised that the emperor was in fact a manifestation of Master. He held an arrow [a token of authority] and was again telling us to strive forward diligently and do well with our duties. The drums were encouraging us, and the Falun turned ever faster in my abdomen. As of now, I am again feeling the Falun turning, although I normally do not feel it. Twice before when I watched the Divine Performing Arts performance I kept wondering why the emperor never moved, and later I realised that a dancer's drumstick kept pointing at me, and she was telling me, "Remember, you must keep up." The drum sounds went straight to my heart and left indelible marks. I know that it meant I should keep in mind the lessons I learned over the past week. I cried again out of self-blame. Thank you, Master for reminding me through the performance that I should intensify my efforts to clarify the truth and save sentient beings. Many programs prompted us to enlighten to the profound principles behind them.
Loss and Gain of the Cancellation of the Trip to the Mountain
We were originally scheduled to visit the Longquan Temple on the mountain on the last day of our stay in the US. I did not have high expectations and I wanted to follow Master's arrangements. Of course, it would have been nice to visit the place. We agreed to leave at 6:00 a.m., then go straight to the airport to leave for Taiwan afterwards. But we got a phone call at midnight the night before and were told the trip was cancelled. I thought, "OK, so I'll go to Flushing one more time in the morning. If I were asked to choose between a trip to the mountain or explaining the facts in Flushing, I would definitely choose the latter." We arrived in Flushing at 8:00 a.m. and I was asked to distribute The Epoch Times in front of the Hong Kong Supermarket. Quite a few people took the newspaper from me, although there were still a few naysayers. I kept a smile on my face and righteous thoughts in my heart. Many people still don't know the facts and are brainwashed by vicious lies. Once, after some rude people had left, a man approached me and said, "I support you guys. They [the rude ones] don't know about the CCP's schemes and they still haven't seen through the CCP's evil nature." I felt so happy for him, and I asked him to tell more people about what he had just told me. He went on to say that he would be willing to testify against the CCP, because he had been bullied by Chinese consular officials for the past several years. The consular officials would not renew his passport unless he bribed them handsomely. He did not want to turn over his hard-earned money and instead called the officials "villains with passports." This is really sad for the Chinese people.
This trip was totally fulfilling, and I learned incredible lessons. I also want to thank my wife for her support. Emotionally and rationally, I hope my family can join me and experience what I have experienced. Falun Dafa is more than just wonderful. I can't see beautiful things in other dimensions, but I have a strong feeling that the Fa has gradually entered the surface and the human world. We have the sacred mission to tell people about the wonders and facts of Falun Dafa.
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