Validating the Fa With Music
Shared at 2004 New York Falun Dafa Conference
Greetings Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
My name is Anders and I come from Sweden. Being a Dafa disciple who began practicing Falun Dafa almost 9 years ago, I went through the calm period of self-cultivation and promoting Dafa before the persecution, and defending Dafa by clarifying the truth to the people, media, and the government around the world after the persecution. Now we practitioners are using all our different skills in ordinary society, given to us by the Fa, to validate the Fa and to stop the persecution. I would like to share some of my cultivation experience about using music as one way to do Fa rectification.
Music has always been an important part of my life. I have been writing songs and playing and singing since I was young, but after I obtained Dafa it became less important. I often wondered, however, why Master had given me these creative skills. When the persecution started I used my computer skills and writing skills in different ways. But during this time there was always a question in the back of my mind: How could I use music in the Fa rectification? When I understood the meaning and the significance to use music as one of the ways to do Fa rectification, as well as to establish righteous music for future people, I started to compose music about the persecution. I wanted to make it as upright as possible so I had to cultivate my way of singing and my way of writing and arranging music. I took one step at the time, and overcame many challenges, that wouldn't have been possible without having the Fa to guide me.
In the beginning of 2003, I formed a music group with some Swedish practitioners who have some music skills. We called ourselves Yellow Express. Our goal was to reach ordinary people and the music community with our music. We recorded two songs on a CD and performed in many places. The response was quite positive. We appeared in a local radio station, and a member of our group appeared in a big radio station in South Africa, so in this way we reached many, many people. This project gave us the chance to clarify the truth to people we otherwise never would have met, and the message came via our music, which could reach people in a different way. The message was quite clear: "Stop the persecution of Falun Gong"!
The music project was of course also cultivation for me. During Fa rectification I usually avoided tasks where I had to stand in the front. I was the kind of person who was content with working quietly, and I never liked to be in the center of attention. Before cultivation it was very difficult for me to sing for other people, and I never performed my own songs in public. During my cultivation I gradually overcame many of the attachments that hindered me in this regard, especially after I started this music project. In Yellow Express, I was the singer and the songwriter and could not hide behind anyone else. It was of course arranged to help me let go more, and there was no way for me to escape from my attachments. Before every performance I went through a lot of interference. Old concepts and bad thoughts wanted to stop me. Afterwards I usually criticized myself and put myself down. It has been a process of letting go of myself and my ego more and more, and I learned to think I did this for others. Sometimes it was hard, but after all I knew the reason why I did this -- it was to save people. So I had to "Walk on!"
Now we can see how many organizations are working together with us to sue Jiang. In this way we can have more people indirectly support Dafa. It's the same with music by practitioners. If a person hears and likes music performed by Dafa disciples, he will have a chance to obtain Fa in the future. This is all thanks to Masters great compassion. With this in mind the European Choir was formed at the Fa conference in Berlin in November 2003. We would sing the song "Coming For You", which is not only a great song, but also has a positive message to the Chinese people. I thought this was a very good idea and the arrangement of the song was marvelous, but I had some human notions that it would be difficult to sing with so many inexperienced singers. On the other hand I knew that for Dafa disciples nothing is impossible. I felt that we would be able touch people's hearts with our choir.
We met first time for rehearsal in a small town called Rüdesheim in southern Germany right after New Year 2004. We, about a hundred practitioners from all over Europe, stayed in a youth hostel up on a mountain with a wonderful view over the valley. We did the exercises, studied Fa together, sent righteous thoughts -- and we sang. During these days of practice the choir gradually matured. We all had to let go of ourselves, and to cooperate well to sound good and harmonize together. Some practitioners used their professional skills in helping us improve our voices in different ways, and the choir was led by a practitioner who is a professional choir leader. I personally found it very developing from a musical perspective, and also from a cultivator's point of view. Sometimes when we sang I was overwhelmed and even moved to tears by the beauty of the music and the meaning of the lyrics. I really felt the power of Dafa, so at some moments in the middle of the song I was so moved that I could not even sing.
I liked this idea with the choir also of another reason. To sing in the choir would mean that I comfortably could be one in the crowd, and feel pretty safe on stage. I had heard that there would be a couple of solo singers, who would sing in German, French and maybe Italian. One evening in Rüdesheim all those who were "candidates" for the solo parts would sing for the choir coordinators. I was of course on my way out of the hall to do something else, since I could not sing in any of those proposed languages. But one of the coordinators, surprisingly to me, asked me to stay. I thought to myself, "OK, it's time again to face another challenge."
I was aware that our first performance would probably be in the Chinese New Year Gala in New York in front of 2500 people, and that the gala would be broadcast to Chinese people all over the world. It was decided that I would sing one of the solos -- in Swedish! Many thoughts came up; some fear, some hesitation, and bad notions, but they were not strong enough. I knew that this was a great honor and this was doing something for others, and I knew that I had Teacher with me. During these days of rehearsal my voice changed. Many practitioners told me that they had never heard my voice like that. They felt it had opened up and was much purer and stronger than before.
The choir traveled to New York in the middle of January to perform in the Chinese New Year Gala. The time for rehearsal and preparation was limited so we had a tight schedule during our stay. I found it important to always be upright, to mind every detail, always be in time, and to be effective and concentrated every moment. To succeed in all these matters, and keep this Xinxing [moral character, mind nature] standard with such a big group of people, we needed to send righteous thoughts and study the Fa a lot, and so we did.
Before our performance we sent forth righteous thoughts behind the stage. I was focused and a little bit tense. We had 84 practitioners in the choir. We had traveled from thirteen different European countries all the way to New York. We were supposed to go quickly to our positions on the stage without making any noise, while the curtain still was down. We could hear how the gala hosts were introducing us and the curtain went up slowly. This was the moment we had been preparing for the last weeks, days and hours -- our first performance with the European Choir Coming For You. We saw that the whole concert hall was full of people, full of sentient beings waiting to hear our song. We looked at our conductor. He was smiling. At a given command we started to sing.
Normally when being on stage I am most often lost in thoughts, and I can't enter into the music as much as I want. But this time was not like anything else I have ever experienced on stage. With so many righteous voices singing with a Dafa disciple's pure heart and compassion, the energy was so powerful. When we sang the line "Falun Dafa Hao", the audience clapped their hands. I felt that moment we were singing for the whole universe! I became a little bit too emotional so my voice was trembling.
Time for my solo. The audience would not understand the lyrics in Swedish, but I wanted to give them my compassion. I tried my best to let go of myself. I felt pretty calm, but after my solo, I must say, I felt a kind of relief. After the solos in Swedish, German and Italian we sang the last two verses in Chinese. When the audience realized that, they gave us a spontaneous applause. I felt warm inside. It must have been remarkable for a Chinese audience to hear a western choir singing in Chinese, and the content of the song obviously moved their hearts.
Music has the effect of reaching the inner parts of a being. Music, if performed well, can give the listener a moment of peacefulness, harmony and beauty. I will continue to use music to validate the Fa. I will continue to write songs, and sing them for those who want to listen. I will continue to sing in the Choir. Our heartfelt voices will reach all the way to China and the precious Chinese people. When we are in the Fa, Dafa's voice will come out, and if we can let go of ourselves and melt into Dafa, Dafa's power and message will come through and effect people in the art, music and culture, because Dafa encompasses everything.
Thank You Master. Thank you all for listening.