My Journey to Africa
(Clearwisdom.net) Whether we are practicing Falun Gong or taking care of our day to day living, what is of most importance is the way in which we do it. Above all, during the Fa-rectification, we all play a different role in this play. One month passed quickly while I was in Africa. Looking back on all I did and every step I took, I realize that it all effected a genuine change in my heart.
It had never occurred to me before, nor did I have any prior desire to visit the African continent. However, after the South Africa shooting incident, practitioners from that region asked for help. The truth about Falun Dafa and the shooting in South Africa of a Falun Dafa practitioner needed to be disseminated, but there were very few practitioners in this area. I understood in my heart exactly what needed to be done, but I purposely tried to let this need not affect me. All I thought about was that I had booked a flight to Washington DC. I wanted to attend the Washington Experience Sharing conference. There has not been a single year during the past few years that I have not traveled on July 20th to DC. I wanted to attend the Experience Sharing conference and the large-scale activities. Whenever I thought of being able to listen to Teacher giving a lecture, I would feel a surge of excitement. Yet, this time, I constantly felt some unknown regret, some unease.
On the day before I was to leave for DC, the intense feeling that my place was in South Africa and not in Washington could no longer be suppressed. I suddenly understood that if I did not travel to South Africa, I would not be able to say anything, I would be without words, should one day people ask me where I was when Falun Dafa needed me. I would feel ashamed to face Teacher, even if I met him in America.
I heard from other practitioners that they were giving the 9-day Fa (1) lecture series in South Africa, so I decided to buy and bring along a VCD player. Local practitioners picked us up at the Johannesburg Airport. They graciously had arranged our lodging. I was prepared to just follow along with the local practitioners and be part of whatever activities they had arranged. However, the next day, the local practitioners all departed. I found out that they lived about 6 hours driving distance from Johannesburg and just had come here for a few days to help us settle in.
At first I was not sure what exactly we had to do and was a little at a loss. The only certainty I held was that I needed to have strong righteous thoughts at all times. The practitioners who had arrived earlier had already done a lot of work clarifying the truth to the media. Except for holding the 9-day lecture series, we had to think of what would be most important for us to do. We did not have time to waste. We thought best to call a press conference, and so we headed to the police department to apply for a permit. We took this opportunity, while applying for permission to hold a peaceful appeal outside the Chinese Consulate, to tell the police the truth of Falun Gong.
The practitioners who were here earlier had already clarified the truth to the police after the shooting incident. We found that the police had some understanding about Falun Gong and most of all, they held a good impression. We went for lunch with the officers in charge of the district where the consulate was located. We naturally took this opportunity to further clarify the truth to them. They held a sympathetic view of Falun Gong, which is being persecuted by the Jiang regime for no valid reason. They also held the view that the shooting was a planned murder attempt and definitely not a random shooting.
We had only arrived in South Africa a few days ago, yet we found that everyday things just moved along perfectly, and in an organized fashion. Sometimes I felt that I was a character in a play; as soon as one act finished, the script of the next act was immediately ready for me. One evening we learned that Chen Zhili, the former Chinese Minister of Education, was visiting Tanzania. We immediately discussed the importance of filing a lawsuit against Chen, given her role as a key member in Jiang's government, and especially in her manipulation of the educational system to persecute Dafa practitioners.
Economically, the Tanzanian government relies on Beijing for needed revenues. It was extremely easy for Jiang's regime to enforce its will there. To stop the persecution and save the deceived sentient beings, we traveled to Tanzania without a second thought.
Given that Tanzania is very friendly with Beijing, it was not easy to file a lawsuit against Chen Zhili there. During those few days, we sent forth righteous thoughts every half hour to suppress the evil. We were clearly aware of the importance to the Chinese people for the evil to be eliminated. The entire process went very smoothly. We all understood clearly that the lawsuit was not only a lethal attack on the evil, but it was also strongly tied to the future of Africa. Chen thought she was the guest of honor in Africa, and yet she became the accused and had to face the Falun Gong practitioners' charges against her.
After returning from Tanzania to South Africa, we were invited to a meeting with law school students. We asked them to help us arrange a seminar during which people could learn about the ongoing persecution in China. It was inevitable that the chair of the student association asked us if we were against the Chinese government. We responded, "We are not against the Chinese government, we are only against the persecution." He nodded his head in satisfaction and said that everyone should have freedom of belief and he agreed to help us.
Our first seminar was scheduled for July 31, 2004. The topic of the seminar was "Has the Suppression in China Extended to Africa?" We only had one week to prepare for the seminar and there were only five of us practitioners left in South Africa. We handed out flyers and posted the announcements on the school bulletin boards. I visited every professor in the law school. Most of them knew that Falun Gong was suppressed in China but had very little knowledge about the extent of the persecution. They were shocked after leaning how brutal the persecution was. The global lawsuit against Jiang Zemin drew their attention to a greater extent. One of the professors even offered to e-mail our truth clarifying materials to all the human rights lawyers. Some of them asked me why we believed the Party (specifically, Jiang's group) was the culprit in the shooting incident. I patiently explained to them the facts of the persecution, direct and indirect, against the practitioners outside of China. At the same time I made them understand that the practitioners were not working to clarify the truth for any personal gain and fame and they were not afraid of the dictatorship. The professors all agreed that the shooting incident was a cold-blooded murder attempt after they listened to the facts.
We also received a permit to demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises on campus for an hour at noon. As we arrived at a place near the library, in less than an hour, more than 40 people had already signed up to learn about Falun Gong. On campus, students were seen reading the Falun Gong materials. Many people gladly accepted our flyers and carefully read them. I frequently heard groups of two or three people discussing Falun Gong. They raised many questions. They called me "Ms. Falun Gong." I felt the whole campus was full of energy.
The president of the student union informed me that this was the first time they had allowed an outsider to hold a seminar on campus. The next day after the seminar, some of the attendees asked several tough questions like, "Has the South African government shown support?" and "Why does the Chinese government hate Falun Gong?" Some also asked where they could learn the practice.
The vice-president of the student union was moved by the seminar and volunteered to organize another one on the east campus. It was decided that the topic for the next seminar would be "Human Body and Spiritual Activity--the Effects of Practicing Falun Gong in the Prevention of HIV," since a medical professor from the US who also practices Falun Gong could attend and discuss his experiences from the medical perspective.
Unexpectedly, two days before the seminar, we were told that the university did not approve it, and the 500 fliers we posted up for the seminar were removed. We were then told that the seminar could only be approved after all the members of the student union signed for it. That sounded impossible. The vice-president didn't know what to do.
We quickly realized that this was an opportunity for us to clarify the truth to all the departments, which we did. When we finally got all the signatures, we were then told we had to pay an exorbitant fee for the seminar venue. The vice-president of the student union was embarrassed by all the interference and was unable to face us. We did not let this deter us and continued to clarify the truth. Finally, the seminar was approved and we were allowed to use the place for free.
The whole process we went through was a test for us. We needed to clarify the truth with powerful righteous thought when problems surfaced, eliminate interference, and expose the lies, as that was what the evils are afraid of most.
The second seminar, on human health, targeted professors and students from the medical school, psychologists, the HIV Research Center, and some non-governmental organizations. The seminar was a big success. As a result, a second Falun Gong practice site in South Africa was set up.
For Dafa practitioner in the Fa-rectification period, there are no accidental occurrences. Everything we encounter is for us to clarify the truth. Being back home for a week now, and reviewing my month in South Africa, made me realize it was a good cultivation experience. Fellow practitioners who went to South Africa came from various countries and with different understandings. In a new environment, the only thing we could rely on was to overcome our own difficulties. With our righteous thoughts and firm belief in Dafa, many doors opened up for us. Teacher will always guide us to walk the best path.
I would like to thank Teacher for giving me such an opportunity in my cultivation. I saw my shortcomings through communications with fellow practitioners. Whenever I encountered a difficulty I could not overcome, Teacher would let fellow practitioners remind me of my problem as a way to enlighten me. I realized it was me, myself who needed to improve. I felt liberated in my mind, and experienced the happiness of finding other peoples' merits. It is truly a wonderful experience.
The Africans are kind people. When we told them about the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong in China, many of them shed tears of sympathy. One month is a short time, and many people in Africa are still waiting to learn about Dafa. Many times, people over there told me, "You are a godsend." They were right. Each time I would tell them in my mind: our Great Teacher is always thinking about you.
August 27, 2004
(1) Fa: Law and principles; the teachings of Falun Dafa.