India: Falun Dafa Blossoms at a Village School Near Bangalore (Photos)
From May 1-4, 2006, a Falun Dafa workshop was held at Byreshwara School, a small town school in a rustic setting, a couple of hours drive from Bangalore city.
Students learn the exercises
Doing the exercises on the school playground
The workshop was initiated by the headmaster of the school, a diligent Falun Dafa practitioner today, whose long-standing ailments were cured after he learned the exercises and started reading the book two years ago. He has introduced the exercises to students in his school and they do the exercises before they start their classes in the morning or after school.
The headmaster talks about Falun Dafa to all the people who visit the school, and he has a quiet, disarming way of telling them to take up the practice. He has convinced all his colleagues and teachers from nearby schools. In fact, one of the teachers from a nearby district school was so convinced by the headmaster's talk that he got together some more teachers from other schools and organized the workshop. Practitioners from various cities had come to help in the workshop. All practitioners stayed in the school--sharing the food with the teachers and students in a community kitchen run by the school, and sleeping in the classrooms.
The students and the teachers were taught the exercises and their movements were corrected. We also took the teachers through The Great Consummation Way of Falun Dafa as we taught them the exercises, and one of the teacher's translated it into the local language for the benefit of both teachers and students. We also showed them Master's exercise VCD and they were visibly moved. In the workshop we also read the book Falun Gong together to give the group a feel for Fa study and told them the importance of studying the book Zhuan Falun. Many teachers shared their understandings and as is customary, tried to draw parallels with their knowledge of Indian spiritual thinking. We tried to make them understand the importance of sticking to one cultivation practice. Most of them agreed that whatever they previously practiced was more about rituals and less about continuously looking within.
The headmaster sat with us every evening after the workshop when we read Essentials for Further Advancement. He tells everyone that you can't have any excuse for not studying the Fa. He says that there are so many hours in a day and if one cuts down on sleep one can make time for Fa study! He gave us many instances of students who had transformed completely after being introduced to Dafa. He told us about a boy who was the son of a mason who had helped build the school. The boy, a problem child with poor scores, was turned away by all the nearby village schools. The mason approached the headmaster and requested that he enroll him into his school. The headmaster insisted that he do the Dafa exercises. Within a few weeks the boy calmed down and started doing well in his studies. He did well in his final school exams and is studying in a city college.
The headmaster is convinced that Dafa is a key component in his school and he wants the front area at his school to be a practice site. He says people from the village who pass by the school will benefit from watching the children do the exercises. And perhaps someday they will want to learn the exercises too.
He has vision and dreams for the students of his school. He says that once the students go to the city schools he does not want them to feel handicapped by not having knowledge of computers, so he has introduced computer studies in his school. If any visitor wishes to donate anything to the school, he says in his humble, disarming way, "Just give my children some computers!"
When the workshop was nearly over some of the teachers asked us to visit some other schools in their districts. Practitioners from Bangalore have already visited a few schools. In fact, one of the girls schools for Moslem students was very keen on introducing the exercises to their students. The female practitioners from our workshop group visited the school. The teachers in that school were very happy with the principles of Dafa and said since it had nothing to do with any religion, the school would be happy to accept it.
The headmaster is keen on translating Zhuan Falun into the local language so that more people can have access to the book and understand it. He asked for volunteers from the group of teachers who attended the workshop, to start on the translation job. They plan to meet once a week and review the translation. A practitioner from Bangalore will also sit with them for the review. They had their first meeting last week. So in another couple of months we hope to see a translation of Zhuan Falun in another Indian language.