An Australian Practitioner's Journey to Tanzania
(Clearwisdom.net) After the shooting incident in South Africa, I visited South Africa for a month to clarify the facts. After returning to Australia, I realized that Manhattan was in need of many practitioners to clarify the facts to New Yorkers and tourists. Thus, I decided to travel to New York.
As I packed my luggage and confirmed my airline ticket, I heard about the lawsuit against the former Chinese minister of education in Tanzania. No practitioners live in Tanzania, and practitioners from other regions were needed to take care of this situation and provide support. I was very keen on visiting the United States, as life in Africa could be unbearable. Also, I was aware of the difficulties facing those who filed the lawsuit. Therefore, I was in a dilemma. I faced the choice of going to the United States or Africa. After much thought, I decided to go to Africa, as this would be a greater challenge. I changed my plane ticket and off I went to clarify the truth and promote the Fa in East Africa. Once I met all the kind people in Africa I understood that they were waiting for the Fa to lighten their hard lives, and I fathomed the many lives yearning for a new future. I understood deep in my heart that going to Africa was the right decision for me.
Breaking Through Obstacles
Upon arriving in Tanzania, I found that some Canadian and American practitioners had already arrived there to clarify the facts to the government, and they had started a practice site. Because of long-term financial benefits paid by China to Tanzania's government, the government and the media were afraid, and were unwilling to listen to any voice different from that of the Chinese government. This hindered the progress of clarifying the facts. As it was very difficult to meet with government officials, we shifted the focus to clarifying the facts to the media.
At the beginning, the state-owned media did not dare to report our activities. Therefore, we contacted a privately owned media company. The only thought we had on our minds was to clarify the truth, because we realized that truth-clarification is like the sole key to unlock people's hearts and open the door to kindness and conscience. One news reporter understood us and responded positively to Dafa principles immediately after we clarified the facts to him. He helped us to organize our first press conference. Many news reporters attended and I felt very pleased. However, only a few reported us.
I felt that I needed to take the opportunity to get to know them, and that it was my responsibility to save them through Dafa. Therefore, I contacted every news reporter I could get hold of and arranged meetings. I wanted to clarify the truth to them from the bottom of my heart.
It was clear that Master had spread the glory of Dafa upon this land. Miracles happened continuously at the practice site. An Indian lady who had suffered from aches and pains for twenty years recovered her health completely after only two weeks of practicing Falun Gong. She said, "Now, when I walk, I feel like I am walking on air! Dafa has given me a new lease on life!" There was also a businessman who suffered from severe insomnia that was cured without medical treatment after he started to practice Falun Gong. I encouraged them to write about their experiences, and invited some reporters to meet with them. Facing such miracles, the reporters were deeply moved. One reporter immediately learned the fifth exercise, the sitting meditation. Later, he told me, "After the exercise, I slept extremely well. I have never slept so well in my life." I knew the evil's barricade had been broken.
Without wasting any time, we held another press conference. We told of the local people who benefited from the practice of Falun Gong. After the conference, the government television station reported on Falun Gong for the first time. We had opened the gate to the news media! More and more newspapers began to report about Falun Gong.
The World's People Are Awakening
The Chinese Consulate became worried. They wrote articles in the local papers that slandered and vilified Falun Dafa. After reading the slander and vilification, the local people became curious about Falun Dafa. They wanted to learn more and understand what it was all about. Many people arrived at the practice site and asked questions about Falun Dafa. They wanted to clear the doubts in their mind. This was such an effortless benefit!
Gradually I made friends with news reporters. On one occasion, I was invited by a reporter to attend the German Ambassador's national day reception. I was introduced to the dignitaries from a number of countries, and took the opportunity to clarify the facts to them. They told me that the Chinese Embassy had sent them articles slandering Falun Dafa. One of the Embassy secretaries told me the hatred expressed in those articles was beyond the comprehension and belief of the readers! She could not believe that a minister of education in China would use such vicious language. The gathering provided those I met with a deeper understanding of Falun Dafa, and they were glad to meet with us again later.
The next day, the reporter called the Chinese Embassy and told them how the European officials reacted to the articles sent to them by the Chinese Consulate. She told them that the problem was with the Chinese government and not with Falun Gong. The officials at the Chinese Embassy became alarmed and tried to arrange a meeting between the reporter and someone who specifically deals with Falun Gong issues. The reporter asked the official: "Why do you need a special official to deal with Falun Gong? Could you kindly explain that to me?" The simple question hit home. It made the Chinese official speechless. He could not answer.
After this, weekly reports about Falun Gong appeared in the local newspapers. They published the original text of the letters sent to them by Falun Gong practitioners from all over the world. They no longer publicized any material provided by the Chinese Embassy.
Tanzania is an impoverished nation, like many other African countries. People struggle each day to meet the most basic needs of their families. In the beginning, many people who came to the practice site thought they might be able to make some money by learning Falun Gong. Reporters had previously said to me, "When they have a difficult time making ends meet, how can they think about practicing Falun Gong?" But, the Buddha Law is boundless. After they experienced the energy of Falun Dafa they all said, "I love Falun Dafa. You have brought me the gift of life." Falun Dafa is more precious than diamonds and gold. These people who had suffered poverty and hardship for generations have now seen hope, and they have found the starting point to return home. People of vastly different backgrounds and beliefs came together to practice the Falun Gong exercises and study the Fa together. Seeing this, I could feel Master's immense compassion for sentient beings.
Master arranged for people to come forward to help us. A local person suggested that I start a new practice site in a Buddhist temple he knew about. The first time we went there to demonstrate the exercises, the abbot of the temple introduced us to his students. When we spoke about the facts of the persecution, a businessman was so moved that he invited me to visit him at his office. He wanted to introduce me to all his associates and circle of friends. I later met the owners of two cable television stations. They offered to run free advertisements for us on TV. I suggested that they run Master's exercise video so that more people could benefit from the program. After that, one of the stations broadcast Master teaching the exercises for an hour daily. Another station broadcast the same program at different hours two times a day. Some people called us "Falun Dafa" and they imitated the arms over the head posture of the second exercise when they saw us.
The practice site had become a landmark on scenic Ocean Drive, alongside the beautiful Indian Ocean. Even the taxi drivers asked whether we can do a Falun Gong program in their local language on the radio stations, so that they can learn about Falun Dafa while driving. When we handed out flyers on the streets, people came up to us and said they had received our flyers, and looked at the website. They said they couldn't believe the brutality of the persecution! Thanks to the media's continuing positive reports about the practice, Falun Dafa has become widely known.
The atmosphere had totally changed after the two press conferences. They were followed by two debates. One was on human rights at the University of Dar es Salaam, with Australia's David Liang and an American practitioner speaking about their experiences as victims of the persecution. The next day a science lecture about the benefits of practicing Falun Gong, and the prevention of HIV and other illnesses was given. Both forums were well attended by locals and VIPs. Because of the constant publicity, even the Indian Embassy called and requested a meeting with us to hear more about Falun Gong. They asked for a copy of the resolution that was passed by the Human Rights Association so they could send it to their government. The diplomatic circle was observing the whole media build-up with great interest. One local had a friend who was a government intelligence officer. He had told him that they were watching us and greatly admired our spirit.
The human rights forum enabled all attendees to learn the facts of the persecution of Falun Gong. Students at Dar es Salaam University passed a resolution to condemn human rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners during the forum, and published it in the newspaper. The resolution was sent out to all African human rights organizations, as well as worldwide. The Ambassador of China was so petrified that he personally visited the Chancellor of the University. He spent three hours trying to persuade the students to denounce the resolution. The students replied, "What you say is different from what is said by the Falun Gong practitioners. Shall we arrange for a discussion between you and the Falun Gong practitioners?" The Ambassador dared not respond to the suggestion, and tried to find an excuse by saying that the Falun Gong issue was not worth a mention in China, and that it was futile to have such a discussion! The students retorted, "You have spent three hours as a representative of your nation trying to convince us there is no persecution and to withdraw the resolution. Aren't your comments contradictory?" The Chinese Ambassador could not answer that question and left dejectedly. I was really pleased to hear about the courageous action of the students in upholding truth and justice. At the same time, I also hoped that the Chinese ambassador would think deeply upon the situation and reposition himself.
Reflections of the Government
Since everything was going so well and the environment was getting more and more righteous, I felt it was time to clarify the facts again to the government officials. Hence I telephoned to make an appointment with the Prime Minister. The press secretary to the Prime Minister expressed the desire to meet with me immediately. He said he noticed Falun Gong had attracted much publicity. I showed him the experiences that were written by the local people, and how they had benefited, and how it could save the country billions of dollars, exactly as had happened in China. I informed him about the American practitioner's speech. He had provided scientific evidence for a possible solution to the AIDS epidemic in Tanzania. It was all because of the power of Dafa. He listened very attentively when I told him about Falun Gong and the persecution. He told me the Prime Minister was well informed on the Falun Gong situation and he was very grateful that we had traveled so far to come to help the Tanzanians. I asked if he could help arrange for the teaching of the Falun Gong exercises on official TV stations, so that more African people could benefit from the practice. He said he would try to talk to the people concerned.
Transformation of a Thief
I would like to share a little story here, as it shows the power of "Truth - Compassion - Forbearance."
On the second day after arriving in Tanzania, some fellow practitioners and I took a cab. I sat in the middle of the back seat, holding my handbag containing half the money I had brought with me for introducing the Fa. The car had to stop frequently due to the congested traffic. Suddenly, a youth of about twenty years reached in through the open car window and grabbed my handbag. The driver was badly shaken by that and dared not move. I did not know where my strength came from, but I opened the car door and gave chase. At that moment, I had only one thought in my mind. The money was for the purpose of introducing Falun Gong and could absolutely not be lost. As I chased, I sensed that everyone in the street was also running alongside me, and I could no longer differentiate the thief from the people. Shortly afterward, someone stopped and told me that the police had caught the thief. I followed the people to the police station and found that many reporters had already arrived there. Normally, it was not easy to talk to them all in one place. Now, they had all assembled without having invited them. What a marvelous opportunity. The police station became our news conference place. We told the reporters that we have traveled thousands of miles at our own expense to share the goodness of Dafa with the people in Tanzania. We handed them many truth clarification materials. Master is magnificent. He had arranged everything for us! As we let go of our attachments, and immerse ourselves wholeheartedly in Falun Dafa work, is there anything we cannot achieve? Many people apologized to me, expressing their regret that such a thing had happened in their country.
The next day, I had to go to the central police station. The police had the thief meet me face-to-face. The thief was still arguing and was not willing to admit to his crime. He claimed that he had found the handbag on the road. The police asked if I wanted to file a complaint against the culprit. After informing the police that I would not do such a thing, I came face to face with him and spoke calmly to him: "I am not planning to file a complaint against you. I practice 'Zhen, Shan, Ren (Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance).' I know deep in my heart that one must not tell lies. Stealing my handbag was wrong and denying it is even worse. But I also believe that everyone can make a mistake. It does not matter now, but if a mistake is made, one must rectify it." He said he was sorry that he stole my handbag, and his attitude began to change. Police officers from around the entire office came to listen. They showed deep interest in what was happening. The thief's clothes were ragged and his face showed weariness. He appeared as if he had not eaten a proper meal for a long time. I took some money from my handbag and gave to him to buy some food to eat. I told him, "All the money I have here is to help the people of Tanzania. You nearly robbed me of half of that! Can you understand what you have done? I hope you remember Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance, and from today onward, you will try to be a good person." His eyes became moist. For the first time in his life he was treated with kindness and respect. A policewoman was touched by the scene and told the culprit that she could give him a job at a farm near her home. The offer was accepted. When I was leaving the police station, the person chased after me and said that he would remember "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance" forever and he would tell everyone at the village where he would be living about Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.
This story made the newspapers, and the reporter wrote: "This small episode was of great significance to me. What is Falun Gong? That Chinese lady by the name of Emmy used the strength of her character to arouse my thoughts about the problem. She utilized the first principle of Falun Gong, 'Truthfulness' to educate the thief, and at the same time used the second principle of 'Compassion' to forgive him. And the policewoman personally combined the principles of 'Truthfulness' and 'Compassion' to lead the thief from his life of crime."
Reflections of my Experience
During the last two months in Africa, time passed by in the blink of an eye. Things were unfolding smoothly and naturally, with Master's compassion constantly there helping us, looking after us, and guiding us. For us, the most important thing is how we should walk our path righteously and be responsible to the Fa, be responsible to society, to sentient beings, and to ourselves. I feel that in the true sense, we haven't done much at all, and we are not able to do much either. We made progress only because our thoughts on our cultivation path were governed by the Fa that the Fa created everything for us. Master has arranged it all. I have come to understand that when we clarify the truth with strong righteous minds and pure hearts, the power and the wisdom of Dafa will manifest through our truth-clarification.
In the process of clarifying the facts, we will sometimes meet with difficulties. If we use the hearts of an everyday people to evaluate them, many of the problems will remain without solutions. However, as Master has taught us, no one can block the progress of Fa-rectification. As long as we let go of our fears, discard our attachments, and strive to fulfill our great vows, the immense compassion of the Buddha Fa will manifest, and sentient beings will be saved.