Practitioners from St. Louis, Missouri Validate Dafa With Talent and Kindness at Flower Arranging and Calligraphy Booth on "China Day" (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On May 18 and 19, in the exhibition hall at the front entrance of the St Louis Arboretum, display boards with Chinese characters "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" and a vertical board with a green background and golden words "Falun Gong" formed by yellow flowers lit up the entranceway. The flower arranging and calligraphy demonstration booths were undertaken by Falun Gong practitioners for the St. Louis "China Day" activities that are held every year. The activities were sponsored by both Taiwanese and Chinese associations in the local Chinese community. The city Mayor and the director of the arboretum attend the opening ceremony each year. During the two days, nearly 100,000 people including many Chinese people came to visit.
We started the preparation two months ago in order to fully utilize this opportunity to clarify the truth about Dafa to Chinese and Western people. We also invited two practitioners from New York, who are a flower-arranging artist and a calligraphist as well. During the two-month preparation, we had the chance to really get to know the people in the Chinese community. During the two months, we have obtained many experiences and lessons in cultivation as well as in strengthening our righteous thoughts.
When I first applied for booths for flower arranging and calligraphy demonstration, the president of the activity immediately agreed (he knew that I was Falun Gong practitioner) and told me that the booths were free of charge. Learning that there were still available booths, another practitioner applied to have Falun Gong booth but received a very vague reply. I made an effort to attend their preparatory meeting. When discussing whether to approve the Falun Gong booth, committee members from both America and Taiwan all supported approval of the booth, and although some members from Mainland China were also supportive, most members from Mainland China were opposed. Although I tried my best to clarify the truth to them and kept sending forth righteous thoughts, because the members from Mainland China dominated the committee, the booth application in name of Falun Gong was temporarily blocked.
Seeing people raise their hands voting disapproval, apart from feeling sad for them, I could clearly see that people from Mainland China have a very deep misunderstanding about Dafa. To clear the misunderstanding, we have to get in touch with them more and let them understand us from our behavior. So I did not say anything more about it. During the later discussions, I also casually chatted with the members. In the end, I offered to videotape the activities. Most people would not trust me to do this, but a real estate manager wanted someone to videotape for her. I asked her about the time and location and so on. Little by little, I felt that I was getting closer to them.
In the next preparatory meeting, another practitioner attended the meeting with me. The committee members introduced each other and the atmosphere was very harmonious. The one who was in charge of the indoor exhibition had a very deep misunderstanding about Dafa. I knew that his attitude and words might have influenced many other committee members. In addition to sending righteous thoughts, when I studied the Fa, I corrected my unforgiving attitude. Perhaps because of sending righteous thoughts and adjusting my mindset, he actually lent us a huge display board.
Then we set our minds on preparing the flower arranging and calligraphy. I also attended the rehearsal and kept in touch with the committee president, and reported to him about our progress. In the last report of the preparation, the president included me and another practitioner in the committee.
After the practitioners from New York arrived, we exchanged our experiences and insights during our preparation. Our righteous thoughts became stronger and stronger. On the evening before the celebration activities, I went to the arboretum. At that time, many people already knew me very well and asked me to videotape for them. To my surprise, I also learned that the hosts of two indoor exhibition booths would not be able to make it the next day and their booths would be vacant. I told them that we could use them for our flower arranging and calligraphy demonstration. After returning from the meeting, we decided that we should put the boards with Chinese Characters of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" at the entrance of the exhibition hall the next day.
"The stage was being set for the Fa." We truly experienced the mighty power of Dafa. The activities opened at 10 a.m. the next morning. Around 7 a.m., the practitioners were the first to arrive. When the president came, he approved of our display plan. He also added one more table for our flower-arranging booth. Altogether 3 tables were put right in the center in front of the wall! Soon, the boards reading "Zhen Shan Ren" stood in the middle of the exhibition hall entrance. After the beautiful flowers were arranged on the tables, a vertical display board with green background and golden words of "Falun Gong" formed by yellow flowers was set up. When we scanned the exhibition hall, it was filled with Falun Gong and "Zhen Shan Ren!"
Practitioners from New York brought many pieces of framed calligraphy works including calligraphy of some of Teacher's articles.
Two practitioners at each of our booths distributed Dafa materials. Every visitor to the calligraphy booth obtained an elegant calligraphy of "Zhen Shan Ren" in both Chinese and English. Chinese visitors had the chance to obtain more materials and the practitioners used their own experiences to clarify the truth. Many people who said bad words towards Dafa changed their views. A few Chinese couples happily smiled when they saw "Falun Dafa Hao." After chatting with us, a former president of a famous university in China took the material and said: "Keep it up! Good people will be rewarded with good."
The president of the activities often came over to help with the calligraphy booth. When an American asked him to explain the meaning of "Zhen Shan Ren," he seriously explained: "One should speak truthfully, be kind to others, and be tolerant when in conflicts with others." The chief members of some other associations also came over to chat with us. They all highly praised our booths.
The next day, on my way to the China Garden, almost all people that knew me smiled to me. A person who was originally against us also cheerfully greeted me. I knew that the positive environment was expanding after several respectable people in the Chinese community started understanding us in a seemingly ordinary way.
After the activities, we received a special appreciation letter from the president. He told us that our two booths made a very good profit, which was not only able to pay for the fresh flowers, but also cover expenses of other booths. In the end he mentioned Falun Gong. He wished us to continue our efforts and said that he believes that someday people will come to understand.
Let me also talk about some lessons that we learned.
On the first morning of the activities, when the person who misunderstood us came over to interfere, someone came to find him for inquiries and thus he left. When practitioners talked about this in the exhibition hall, I thoughtlessly said, "Let him go..." My attitude was not tolerant, nor peaceful, as if I were an everyday person. Right after saying this, I noticed that man's wife standing behind us, listening in. Cultivation really places a high requirement on us. Every thought must be righteous. Otherwise, we might undermine the efforts we have made. If a practitioner does not watch his words or behavior, once they leave a bad impression on people, it is very hard to make it up. If we do everything well, the sentient beings may therefore be saved. Otherwise, people would be further pushed away.
On the second afternoon, a lady from the next booth angrily requested that we put away the board reading "Falun Gong." She also called a person in charge to request that we put the board away, complaining that no organization was allowed to display their names. Apart from not being able to send forth righteous thoughts at every hour on that Saturday, I realized that there was another reason for her interference. Our three booths were in front at an eye-catching position but her booth was behind a big mini-landscape and no one could see her booth very well. After the president arranged the booths, we did not consider her. But if I had considered her feelings, and moved our tables a little bit to allow her to set up her booth on the same side in front of the big mini-landscape, she would not have raised complaints. It is really true that wherever we have an omission is where we will have problems. Dafa requires us to always consider others first. From now on, we will do even better to assimilate ourselves with the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance."