The terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 shocked and horrified people around the world, and made terrorism a hot topic for discussion. In Berlin, many people expressed their condolences and placed flower wreaths in front of the American consulate. Some people brought banners to remind the United States of their duty for peace, and others simply stood there and observed. In front of the first row of flower wreaths lay two newspapers on which were written three German words in bold letters: Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. This was the title page of the German-language Falun Gong newspaper. Those two newspapers had not been placed there by Falun Gong practitioners but by everyday people who had previously received them.
How to make this world a more beautiful place is an age-old theme. Ages ago, in the East as well as in the West, the main emphasis for cultivation had been to cultivate one's heart and to exult in virtue. The ancients emphasized abandoning one's egoism or selfishness. They respected the gods and disciplined themselves according to high moral standards. It does not matter whether one considers Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism or Christianity. When one summarizes their teachings, they amount to three words: Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.
In the current period, people often try to use politics, economics, trade, diplomacy and other means to create a better world. Diverse organizations were created, as well as various laws and policies that have become more complex and far-reaching.
Many social and political campaigns have appeared on the scene, one after another. The money and effort invested in such activities also keeps increasing. But why do we always complain that the world is no longer the way it once was, and that human hearts are becoming colder? Why is there more criminal activity? Because nothing from the outside can change a human heart. Although laws exist, they cannot change people's hearts. That is why people commit bad deeds when no one is around. Even all of these campaigns cannot change a human heart. When the campaign has outlived its usefulness, people return to their previous behavior. Only a change of heart can bring on true change, one which originates from deep inside, from the source. Only when a human being wants to return to his/her origin, out of free will, can he/she actually change from deep down inside. If many of these changes take place, it will benefit all of society. Then change for the better will last. The key to solving society's problems is cultivating one's heart.
Everyone realizes that the world would be a better place if everyone would give up their selfishness and think of others first. Most people may believe that this is achievable but not realistic. We have had too many negative experiences. We have experienced too many disappointments so that we no longer dare to believe that there are people who want to change their hearts for the better and to become good again.
Nine-and-a-half years ago, Falun Gong, a Buddha-Law cultivation school, spread all over China within seven years, simply by word of mouth. According to statistics published in China in 1998, 70 million Chinese citizens were practicing Falun Gong. Cultivation in Falun Gong directly targets the human heart. It can enable people to learn how Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance nurtures the heart. The teachings emphasize that one must take personal interests lightly and gradually abandon them. For instance, countless reports (from China, as well as from other countries, including Germany) show how corrupt officials became honest people after learning Falun Gong; how former thieves and criminals voluntarily surrendered to the police authorities; how drug addicts let go of their addictions; how those who were always looking for a fight became peaceful; how cynics once more assumed responsibility for social and familial matters; and how many families once more became harmonious.
It is easy to be truthful, compassionate, and tolerant in an environment that has no pressure; however, Falun Gong practitioners have demonstrated the power of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance during the persecution by Jiang Zemin.
The whole world has witnessed the persecution of Falun Gong for the past 2-1/2 years. China's leaders control and utilize the media to defame Falun Gong. They use diplomatic channels to exert pressure on Falun Gong members abroad. They use police and security forces to monitor practitioners, to arrest them, to incarcerate them without due process of law, and torture them. They transform mental institutions into facilities that destroy the victims' nervous systems, and they issue orders on many levels to harass and frighten practitioners. Additionally, these authorities schedule brainwashing sessions, threaten the practitioners with the loss of their jobs and forfeiture of their right to study at schools and universities. Even family members who are non-practitioners are implicated. Children, women and the elderly are even killed. Reports by Amnesty International and by the Internationale Gesellschaft fuer Menschenrechte (International Association for Human Rights) whose headquarters are in Frankfurt, Germany show that these actions are really perpetrated on a daily basis in China. In addition, The Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Hong Kong sends us daily reports of death cases of Falun Gong practitioners as a result of torture.
In spite of such a gruesome and long-lasting persecution, not one of the reports has indicated any form of retaliation from Falun Gong victims. In the face of state terrorism in today's world, the practitioners return genuine compassion. They have appealed to the government and to the Chinese people with a pure heart. My Chinese friends relayed this message of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance to me: the Falun Gong victims in jails, detention centers, labor camps and prisons have succeeded in moving the hearts of their incarcerators and of imprisoned common criminals. For instance, a female practitioner had spread Dafa to the common criminals and explained to them the principles by which people should conduct themselves. Their daily contact with this woman not only made them realize that the propaganda spread by the media are all lies, but they were also deeply touched by this woman's compassion. One prisoner exclaimed, "Others say that when a good person enters prison he will end up a bad person. But I have learned in prison how a good person ought to conduct himself!" This person said further, "If I had known about Falun Gong sooner I would not have ended up here." Another practitioner has endured torture without hatred and resentment. The police officer who tortured her said with tears in his eyes, "Don't be a fool." She answered him with tears in her eyes," I am doing this to show you that Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance are good." The policeman was no longer able to beat her. I am convinced that more and more examples like this will follow because I believe in the power of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.
More and more people are pondering: why is it that Falun Gong is so powerful? In my opinion, the reason is that Falun Gong directly moves the human heart. Then a person's transformation happens from the inside out. A strong, upright thought, based on Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance cannot be altered by any outside influence. When one considers the past and the present, in China as well as abroad, one comes to the realization that never before in history has an undertaking like this taken place that had such a vast impact worldwide. Never before has a campaign persecuted so many thousands of innocent people who upheld the truth in such a non-violent way, and who stood up against evil and State-sanctioned domestic terror with their own lives. Falun Gong has long since spread beyond Chinese borders and is now practiced in more than 40 different countries. About 100 million people around the world are conducting themselves according to Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.
The stability of society does not depend on material wealth, but rather on human beings who genuinely want to become good people. Those are the really wealthy ones. Mr. Li Hongzhi said, "You can regard me as a millionaire, a billionaire or a trillionaire. It's okay, because what I have is worth more than all the money and treasure in the human world." I understand his words because I have seen for myself what he has accomplished with his teachings, and how those whose human hearts have turned toward goodness are shining brightly like gold. That is the real beauty Mr. Li Hongzhi has brought to this world.