I Collected Over Ten Thousand Signatures in Canberra, Australia
May 22, 2001, Sydney
I am a Dafa practitioner from Australia. At the end of March of this year, I went to Canberra alone, where I spent five weeks validating Dafa, explaining the truth, and helping people to find a way of salvation.
I had been wondering that since I'm in my fifties, how could I help in this special period of Fa rectification? I then realized that collecting signatures for our petitions, explaining the truth to people and exposing the evil acts of the suppression would be a good way to start. "It would also help to promote Dafa as well." I thought. With this in mind, I collected over ten thousand signatures of support within these five weeks at Canberra, which has only a small population. I can only attribute this to the power of Dafa and the mercifulness of our Teacher.
My first stop was the main shopping complex and the municipal center. I noticed that a great number of people had not heard of the Fa, many were not interested, and others were mislead by the lies of Jiang's propaganda, and hence had a misunderstanding of Dafa. Therefore, I patiently introduced Dafa to them, carefully explained and analyzed the facts, and gradually led them back to a correct and positive attitude towards Dafa. As a result, more and more people signed the petitions to give their support.
Regardless of wind or rain, I was there at the city center everyday without fail. Ten hours would be a normal day, but I usually did not get home until eleven at night. This exercise had taken me away from the concepts of everyday people and the harness of my personal karma from persisting with my appeal for support of human rights for Falun Gong in China. A lot of people looked at me with curiosity at first. Some jeered at me, some abused me and some drunkard even attacked me physically. Nevertheless, repetitively and tirelessly, I still explained to them the truth, and exposed the evil behind the suppression. Most of them signed the petitions finally. When they saw me again later, they would greet me, "I am sure there is a spiritual force supporting you, so you can stay here from morning until night collecting signatures." The attitudes of people changed from rejecting to accepting, and then to supporting. The number of signatures also grew from 100 to 200 per day; the most was 500. I can feel the immensity of Fofa unveiling amongst people in Australia.
I felt that this mission itself was an opportunity for the people to contact Dafa face to face, and to have a positive understanding of Dafa. While it offers a way of salvation, it is also a way of promoting Dafa. Many people said to me, "We put our signatures down because we trust you." I noticed that Dafa brought us another level of realization from this exercise. People could feel the sincerity and determination from our practitioners, as well as the power of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, and hence got a good impression of Dafa.
They are respecting not just me personally, I feel, but the principles of the universe - Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. Now, many of them who had signed our petitions were greeting me with "good day" just like old friends - asking with concern, giving me moral support, and wishing me success. Some of them had even asked their friends and relatives to come and support us. Within a short five weeks, the response from the public made me realize that the Fa-rectification is now among people. The suppression of Falun Gong by Jiang's team will only call for more kind-hearted people with a righteous mind to come forward with their support. The power of righteousness is invincible.
The following are a few interesting anecdotes recorded during my stay at Canberra:
A 17-year old student from Dickson College, by the name Paul, was sitting on a chair by the roadside in front of a supermarket with a sad face. His right hand was heavily bandaged. I asked him if he would sign our petition. He said he couldn't write because he injured his hand when playing sports (he was the goalie). I then asked if he knew what Falun Gong was and went on explaining to him the about Dafa and the truth, and then asked again if he would give Falun Gong, the practitioners in China, and the all human rights his support. He said he would. And, with his shaky right hand, he slowly wrote his name down on the petition. Two days later, I met him again. "After I signed the petition," he said cheerfully to me, "my hands recovered. I can play without band aids now and I don't get the usual injuries anymore." He could now play sports and train for much longer hours. He said Falun Gong had given him much help. He wrote his experience down on paper for me and left me with his name and contact information, saying that he would gladly verify his experience with anyone who wished to know.
I had ran into a certain security officer from the supermarket a few times, and explained to him what Dafa is and give him all the info needed. A few weeks passed, but he still did not want to sign. When I approached him again, he said he could not sign while on duty and he did not finish work until 12:30 a.m. in the morning. So, I waited for him that evening in front of the supermarket. He put his signature down eventually. Jokingly he said to me, "You've waited three weeks to get my signature. Are you treating me like a President? You can go home now." All buses stopped running at that hour and I had to find my way back. Although it was cold and dark that evening, I was warm in my heart. I was happy for this gentleman for making the choice - he has added another piece of positive power, and weakened the evil at the same time.
During these few weeks, I met a number of church ministers as well. When I explained to them the whole situation, almost everyone gladly put their names down. This must be the power of Dafa calling people.
What touches me most was at the annual Folk Festival during the third week of my stay. I was virtually the only Chinese in amongst hundreds of westerners during the four-day festival celebration. I grasped the opportunity whenever there was a long queue of people for food or for an event. While distributing flyers, I explained to them about the petitions at the same time. As I watched them putting their signatures down one after another, I was deeply moved. What a sight! A long queue of good people, waiting to secure the best place for their future, how powerful indeed! This is a magnificent display of human compassion that opens the way back to one's primordial state. It is a sign of hope for the future of humankind, and a manifestation of our Teacher's mercifulness.
Among those who signed the petitions, there were artists, scientists, government officials, and people from other professions as well. After they had signed the petitions, they also brought other people to sign as well. Watching this group of sincere people, I could not help shedding a few tears while thinking, "The mercifulness of our Teacher and the Great Fofa has recreated the best in our human world, and the Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance has reappeared in the Universe." I remembered that Teacher said once that we must also let the western people know about this Fa. (not original words) I feel that we haven't done our share properly yet, because we have too many attachments. After putting his signature down, a physicist said to me, "If there are as many one hundred million people from over forty countries practicing, as said on your petition, and they all stepped forward, I am sure the problem will be solved." He also requested to take a copy back for his friend at the parliament.
I met a lot of government officials, and they all put their names down to support. One of them was the Mayor of Leichhardt from New South Wales. He told me that he personally saw the Chinese police beating Falun Gong practitioners when he was in Beijing last December. I met him again when I went back to Sydney in May. He asked how I did with the signatures. When I told him I collected over ten thousand signatures in five weeks, he was amazed and said it was unbelievable. He has showed his strong support all along.
Usually, participants at the festival were required to submit their application at least six months ahead of time. I learned this the night before the start of the festival while traveling on a bus. When I told the organizers my situation, they bent the rule and let me submit an application right there and then. After sealing off their approval, they even gave me a lift back home. (There was no bus running that late of night.) During the four days, at times the temperature dropped to below freezing. My hands were freezing cold while handing out the petitions to people for their signatures. Some came over to me and said, "I saw you doing this from morning until night. There must be a force behind you. We will sign your petition because we have seen your perseverance."
Harboring within my heart, I have the Teacher and I have the Fa. It is this unconquerable power encouraging me and supporting me all along. It is the 'Truth, Compassion and Forbearance' of the universe that people believe in, I feel. Hence, although they may have heard the propaganda from the Chinese government, those who came and sign after learning the truth often brought friends and relatives along as well.
There was one time when I was too busy to eat and they came over and spoke to me with kindness, "It is getting late and it looks like you have not had your lunch. Please have a piece of my warm pastry."
During the five weeks of my signature gathering, similar encounters were quite frequent. Once, I was going home late at night and a woman stopped her car next to me on the street, and offered me a ride home. She told me that she had signed my petition and remembered me. She also informed me with good intention that someone told her that the Chinese Consulate was trying to abduct me because of my signature gathering. I told her with a smile, "I'm not scared." She also raised many questions and I addressed each and every one of them. She was very supportive and sympathetic of us.
Another time I was very thirsty after standing in the sun for quite a while. Suddenly, two young women showed up with a box filled with fruit. They told me, "We bought way too much and cannot possibly finish it ourselves. Please help yourself to some fruit." They then signed their names on the petition.
It was very cold late one evening, and I was nearly frozen solid standing in the howling wind. Out of nowhere a young man appeared, "I signed my name earlier. You looked quite cold so I bought a cup of hot coffee for you. Please drink some."
Once I did not have a chance to eat and it was getting really late. Unexpectedly, two young men working in a nearby fast food place brought me a plate of warm fish and chips. I told them, "Please sign your names and then I will eat." They said, "No, you eat first, then we will sign." Tears ran down my face while I ate their food, how kind and generous those people were, how mighty and magnificent this Buddha Fa is, and how compassionate our Teacher is, encouraging and caring for each of his disciples.
Each day I carried Dafa materials on my back and in my hand. They were quite heavy. Often, people helped me get onto the bus and looked after them for me. One day, I left a large bag of Dafa materials far away from me. Later I nearly forgot about the bag since my mind was concentrating on signature gathering. A man holding his two-year-old daughter was about to sign his name when his little girl asked, "Daddy, whose bag is that?" Her dad said, "It belongs to this generous lady." I felt a warm current flow through my heart.
I felt a bit down and discouraged one cold evening since there were very few people around. One couple appeared and said to me, "We have signed your petition. You must be firm doing such a good deed...." Often, people would remind me to be careful and not to stay out too late. Many people encouraged me to stand resolutely. I clearly felt that Teacher was beside me, looking after me. As a disciple all I can do is to strive for excellence in my cultivation.
Once in a while a drunkard would insult me, others would slander me, or chase me away. I never even had the thought of enduring humiliation, I just had one thought, that they were also beings in this universe. When I encountered them later, I would still promote Dafa to them over and over again. Most of them eventually signed the petition.
While collecting signatures, Teacher's Fa constantly emerged in my mind. Teacher said, "Today we have made public to you this great practice. I have already delivered it to your doorstep." I often hold the petition form with both of my hands while handing it to people, then I would also give out additional material introducing Dafa and clarifying the truth. Watching these generous people looking at the petition form and Dafa information, I had just one thought, "I am helping Teacher to save you. Please awaken! Please sign the petition! This way you will be saved." People would sign the petition without much hesitation. Just like the Teacher said, "Dafa disciple's righteous thoughts are powerful."
There were quite a few times when my throat went through karma elimination. When I asked them to sign, everyone could see was the movement of my mouth, but they could not hear my voice. But the response was just as good. After one young woman saw me losing my voice, she started helping me out with her broad voice after signing her own name. Often, people would tell me, "I sign because I believe in you." In actuality, we do not need to express ourselves with too may words, we only need to be firm and resolute with righteous conviction, harmonize with Dafa, and eliminating evil with righteous thoughts. Only in this way do we have the effect of a Dafa particle. Teacher said, "If you can really advance like this, tasks that you do with an utmost pure heart are the best, the most sacred." I ceaselessly break through the bond of karma and human ideology. All over the place, regardless whether it was crowded or not, I tried to take advantage of every opportunity to tell the truth to everyone, including ordinary citizens, government officials, business people, students, priests, National Assembly Officials, High Court Judges, artists, etc.
During the last week of the signature collecting activity, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) aired a special program introducing Falun Gong. After the program there were a lot of people signing my petition. People mentioned to me that they thought the program shown on ABC television was excellent. It allowed people to understand the real story of Falun Gong. They realized that by persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, Jiang Zemin and his political cohorts had made a grave and historical mistake.
In the process of gathering signatures I discovered many attachments, including selfishness and human sentiment still hiding inside me. I truly felt that only by joining our cultivation with the Fa-rectification could we rid ourselves of our own demon nature, and strengthen our Buddha nature.
I often gathered signatures in shopping malls, coffee shops, restaurants, McDonalds, and Kentucky Fried Chicken during business hours. From managers to clerks they all actively participated by signing their names. They even provided additional conveniences by storing my bags stuffed with Dafa materials. The manager at one of the McDonalds even offered me a special gift; a cup that he said would allow me to get free coffee at any McDonalds.
Many government workers (including some military personnel), when they were asked to sign would often tell me, "I would like to sign, but my job does not allow me to do so." I would tell them, "Safeguarding Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance is safeguarding the moral standards of mankind. Please allow your own conscience to suppress evil and promote decency and charity." I then handed them the petition form with both hands with utmost sincerity. Most of them would sign and many government workers even gave me excellent suggestions.
A businessman once told me that a certain Chinese government official slandered Dafa practitioners in front of him. His reply to them was, "They are very peaceful and tranquil." A few days later I met him again while collecting signatures at a coffee shop. He was with a group of his friends. When he saw some of them were hesitant to sign, he immediately stood up and demanded loudly, "Why don't you guys sign?" With his encouragement his friends all signed. I was deeply touched by the power of righteousness emanating from his eyes.
Early on, I found most Chinese did not want to sign. I felt that it was a waste of my time to promote Dafa to them. Yet this time, I realized that this was my own perception. It was me who did not do a good job promoting Dafa to them. Now I no longer evade them, but actively and patiently promote Dafa and clarify the truth to them. Most of them also signed.
A few times people asked me, "How many signatures are you trying to collect?" I replied, "The more the better. I would like to gather 10,000 signatures before May 13, which is our Teacher's birthday. I want to present this as a present for his birthday." They all nodded their head in agreement. In reality, I knew that there is nothing that we could give, including our own lives, to repay our debt of gratitude to our Teacher. We can only study the Fa diligently, strive for excellence in our cultivation, present our pure heart, keep up with Fa rectification, and help our Teacher in this world with our righteous thoughts.
I felt that as a Dafa practitioner we were very fortunate to live during time when Fa is spreading in the human world. Each of us is a particle of cultivation during the Fa rectification. We are just like a small note within a large symphony. If each note is properly placed and works in harmony with others, then the entire symphony can be played gracefully. When all 100 million Dafa practitioners step forward, like 100 million musical notes made up of Dafa particles properly placed in the right position, we will create the most magnificent musical piece in the universe.
Just before leaving Canberra, wherever I went, people would wave to me and say hello like we were old friends. We would have friendly chats. Seeing me, some people would even yell out, "Greetings, Falun Gong!" Yes, indeed, the sound of "Falun Dafa is righteous" had already permeated from Heaven to Earth.