2005 New York Fa Conference: My Experiences in Clarifying the Truth at an Anti-Torture Exhibition in Manhattan
Shared at the 2005 New York International Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings, revered Teacher! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I have been clarifying the truth at an anti-torture exhibition in Manhattan for seven months, since September 2004. During this period, I felt that we must do well with the three things Teacher requires of us, and that the process of truth clarification is also the process of cultivating myself. It is a test of whether we can give up our own notions, whether we can be responsible for the sentient beings in Manhattan and for Dafa, whether we can act with righteous thoughts during this grand historic moment, coordinate well as a whole body in order to save more people and in order to fulfill our vows made long ago. I want to share some of my personal understandings with fellow practitioners.
Fearless in the Cold, Saving Sentient Beings
During these past few months, practitioners at the anti-torture exhibitions experienced a bone-chilling winter. I remember when the first cold winds arrived in New York City; we were in front of the art museum on 42nd Street. The menacing wind and bone-freezing temperature were intimidating; the makeup on the practitioners' faces froze and clumped, and the napkin we used to remove the makeup was a hard ice ball. Not a single practitioner backed off, however, and we all persisted in demonstrating the tortures. We clearly felt that the evil elements behind people were disintegrating in the field of Dafa practitioners' righteous thoughts. A security officer from the art museum had walked past us for two weeks with a poker face, and he never accepted our flyers. One day, he walked up to me and said, "It's cold today, but you can come into the museum and warm up a little. We have a restroom inside; you don't have to go to McDonalds to use their restroom because it's far away. I'll give you the key to our restroom." I looked him in the eyes and sincerely thanked him. I felt his heart was being melted within the field of Dafa practitioners' righteous thoughts and actions. He always smiled at us afterwards.
One day when we were near Central Park, the wind was so strong that we could hardly stand. The temperature was nearly - 20?C (- 4?F) our hands hurt a few seconds after we removed our gloves, and our faces almost froze. I asked myself as we were putting things together, "It's so cold and windy, and the boards can't even stand up, should we even do it?" A local person suddenly walked past me and said, "Falun Dafa is good!"
My mind suddenly became clear as I thought, "What can be more important than saving people's lives? I should just give up my fear of cold weather and discomfort and keep at it." For the rest of that day, we took turns standing on the metal stand to keep it from being blown over. Several passersby took off their gloves and signed their names to our petition in support of Dafa after they learned the truth.
Eliminate Interference and Look Inward
One month after I started at the anti-torture exhibition, I caught a fever and my throat was dry. My body ached and my chest hurt so much that I could hardly breathe. My heart beat rapidly when I walked upstairs. Fellow practitioners encouraged me and said, "You should persist all the more if the evil tries to stop you." I kept going to the anti-torture exhibition and I could speak when clarifying the truth even though I could not talk at other times. A few days later, one evening I coughed and vomited blood in the restroom, and I was somewhat disheartened and afraid. Although I had read many practitioners' articles about tackling sickness karma, it felt real only when it happened to me. I knew that this was interference, but the evil would not have been able to interfere if I didn't have omissions. I calmed down and looked inward and I found that I was validating myself. At the anti-torture exhibition, most practitioners didn't speak English. They did the exercises, handed out flyers and demonstrated the tortures. They did the "quiet" work. I clarified the truth to passersby, answered their questions and asked for their signatures. After a while, other practitioners said, "You speak English the best at this exhibit site, you are so important, we can't do without you." I developed a show-off mentality and sense of complacency. After I identified the problems, we sent forth righteous thoughts together, and my symptoms quickly disappeared.
In Manhattan, where all kinds of rotten demons and evil spirits gather, various interferences are also present. However, when we see them with the wisdom endowed upon us by Dafa, and rectify ourselves during the process, we can maximally help more people learn the truth and reduce the losses.
Seeing that ordinary people can no longer interfere with us, the evil elements took advantage of the remaining human notions in practitioners to achieve their goals. For a while, practitioners from Taiwan had conflicts due to different living habits and notions, which manifested in this dimension as clogged drains that backed up filthy water, shops and businesses at the anti-torture exhibition sites that would not let us stand in front of them, and some business owners who used to support us even called the police. The practitioners quickly realize the problems and rectified themselves. We did better and better and cooperated well with one another. Sometimes we collected between 800 to 900 signatures a day. Passersby formed several layers around the exhibition boards, and four or five practitioners were not enough to clarify the truth to them. Everything is related to the state of our cultivation.
An elderly practitioner who delivered the tools we used for the exhibits worked very hard. It is not easy to drive in Manhattan, not to mention the fact that he doesn't speak English. One day, it was raining heavily and he suggested that we shouldn't do the exhibit that day because the flyers would get wet. I insisted on going ahead with the exhibition, and it took him more than two hours to get the tools to us in the rain. We didn't say anything but we weren't happy. The next day, he was rude when delivering the tools. I barely contained my frustration but could not let it go. I went to another practitioner and said, "Look, I'm not doing this for myself. Everyone at this site is soaked but we are still persisting, why can't he work with us?" This practitioner said to me in a straightforward manner, "Why don't you think of him? He is old and has to deliver to three sites, and he has been doing it seven days a week for several months, why can't you be more tolerant toward him? He's fighting at the frontline and it's a physically and mentally exhausting battle, interference is great from all fronts. Why are you judging others with your own standards? If we don't cooperate well, the evil will take advantage of it and we'll suffer a great loss."
I was moved by the practitioner's words. I'm saving ordinary people with kindness but at the same time I pick faults with fellow practitioners. How can I be compassionate when I keep looking for other's faults? I also had this impure thought behind my persistence, "Look, our site is the only one doing the exhibition in the rain when other sites quit."
After finding out my problem, I phoned this practitioner and sincerely apologized to him. I also exchanged opinions with him. Tears welled up in my eyes when he told me he had spent almost all of his savings during the several months in Manhattan and is now living on a few dollars a day.
There is a practitioner at our site who came from Taiwan. She took her child with her to the exhibition site for three months, rain or shine. Sometimes when she was busy clarifying the truth, the child took out cold food prepared by her mother and started eating. Every practitioner overcame numerous difficulties in order to come to Manhattan. If we can be understanding and tolerant toward each other, truly look inward when conflicts arise and cultivate ourselves, I think the field in Manhattan will be more harmonious and indestructible like diamond, and it will be hard for the evil elements to take advantage of our gaps.
During one period, the weather was highly abnormal. It was either raining or snowing, and sometimes it rained a few times a week. Later, I discovered that many practitioners including myself were often checking the weather forecast. It's not wrong to check the weather, because we have to consider the change in temperature when staying outside all day, but we unconsciously developed an attachment to the forecast. The evil sees everything clearly, so it rained and snowed to thwart out plans. Sometimes it would rain heavily in the morning, so we canceled the anti-torture exhibition; then it would stop raining, but it was already too late to notify the practitioners. After recognizing this problem, we exchanged our thoughts. Two days later, it was snowing heavily when we were sending forth righteous thoughts in the morning, so we added the thought, "eliminate all evil elements that interfere with our truth-clarification activities in Manhattan." Fifteen minutes later, it changed to a light snow and eventually stopped. However, several hours later, it snowed again and this time it was heavier than before. Fellow practitioners called me and asked whether we would still do the anti-torture exhibition. I had powerful righteous thoughts (later I learned it was because predestined people would come to learn the truth), and I told them to please send forth righteous thoughts. After putting down the phone, I sat down and erected my hand in front of my chest to send forth righteous thoughts; I felt strong energy. It stopped snowing about half an hour later, and it was getting brighter outside. When I arrived at the anti-torture exhibition site, it was sunny and bright. Around 2 p.m., a Caucasian man with unusual demeanor came. He first looked at our banner; I went up to him to clarify the truth to him. He said he knew about Falun Gong and had read many reports about it. I told him about Wang Lixuan and her eight-month-old baby, the number of practitioners who were tortured to death in recent months, and foreign investments being used by the Chinese Communist Party to persecute the practitioners. He signed the petition and took some flyers. Later, I learned by chance that he is very likely an international business mogul.
We had similar experiences before. It was raining but we persisted. After the rain stopped, an important U.S. government official came; he asked many questions, took some flyers and said he would report to the President.
Anti-Torture Exhibition Awakens People
When clarifying the truth, I would incorporate reports from Clearwisdom, such as the number of torture deaths from the last month, so that people would feel the relevance of the situation and they would know that the persecution is still taking place, right now. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Currently, we are adding information about the evil Party's persecution of Falun Gong in order to eliminate the evil elements in other dimensions during the process of our truth clarification. Dafa gives me wisdom; I have been able to handle questions properly during the past seven months when met with different people and different questions.
A person who works at the United Nations and his friend came to our exhibit. After they learned the truth, his friend asked me, "I have a golf business in Beijing, what do you think I should do?" I said, "It's your business and it's up to you. But I believe you'll make a good decision after learning these facts." He immediately said, "I'll withdraw it right away." I didn't expect him to be so decisive, and I asked, "You said you would withdraw it?" "Yes, I'll move my business to Italy. I'm an Italian." They both signed their names on our petition before they left.
A woman journalist who works at a major newspaper agency learned about Falun Gong at our anti-torture exhibit, and she wrote a positive report about Falun Gong. However, the news agency removed her column from its Chinese website and threatened her. When the journalist went to Hong Kong, her reservation at a hotel, made six months before, was canceled. A hotel employee secretly told her, "Leave here quickly, it's too dangerous for you to stay here." She said to me, "I'm not afraid of them, I'll still do what I'm supposed to do and write what I should write." What a fearless person!
A man who owns a gas station asked me many questions and I answered all of them. In the end he said, "I heard my Chinese friends say that Falun Gong is bad, but now that I listened to you, I believe that you are telling the truth. I'll give your materials to my customers and give the Chinese flyers to my Chinese friends."
An old man looked at the pictures of the persecution and said, "I feel sorry for people who walk straight past without casting a glance at these pictures. How can they be so indifferent!"
One man took a long time to sign our petition. After he finished, he looked up and said, "I signed the names of all ten members of my family."
A woman who works in Manhattan told me that she was interviewed by a TV reporter who asked people about their opinion about the Falun Gong anti-torture exhibitions, and she spoke up for us. I said, "Thank you so much." She said, "I can't stand that this kind of things is still taking place in society. You are doing a great job; I support you, keep doing it."
Some media also followed and reported us. A well-known filmmaking company in New York made our anti-torture exhibit the backdrop in a documentary about New York City.
More and more Chinese people came to learn the truth, ask questions and they often signed their names in support of Falun Gong. There were also people who came to cause trouble, but oftentimes the other people who were reading the truth-clarification flyers or the poster boards stood up for us.
More and more people asked us, after watching the exhibition or listening to us, "What can we do to help?" More and more people contributed ideas and suggested things we could do to have a better outcome.
So many touching stories have taken place, and people are choosing their own future at this seemingly ordinary, but historically unprecedented moment. When I look at people, I feel the great responsibilities we shoulder.
After several months, I deeply felt the great power of the whole body. Every practitioner is important at the anti-torture exhibition, as each person plays a critical role. Every righteous thought is important. I deeply feel the importance of the three things we do, and among them Fa study is the most important. Only by keeping a clear mind can we better use the wisdom and abilities endowed upon us by Dafa and save more people.
Thank you, Teacher, for giving me this opportunity, and thank you, fellow practitioners, for giving me encouragement and help.
Thank you, revered Teacher; thank you, fellow practitioners.