The age of 89 may seem a bit late in the day to start a new commitment for the remainder of one's life. Two and a half years ago I received out of the blue a letter from an old friend telling me of Falun Gong, of which I had not previously heard. We had not been in contact for ten years, but we had worked together on another cultivation path and I knew that he would not commit himself without very good reason. We met and talked and he gave me Zhuan Falun.

Our former teacher had had a strong premonition that a very high enlightened being was about to incarnate in the planet to rectify the desperate state of human moral degeneration. My friend told me that Master Li fulfilled this role. I had an inner sense that I was being given a great opportunity after 30 years of frustrated spiritual search.

I have never had any familiarity with any form of Buddhism. Like most people here I had not had any contact with China, or with what has been a pretty remote cultural universe of Chinese Buddhism and Taoism. No doubt many of us have found that it is not easy to grasp some of the translated Chinese terminology. "Fa" has no equivalent in any western language and Taoist understanding of energies had hardly begun to begin to penetrate the West before acupuncture entered the scene. These must have been familiar problems for others, and they confront us in seeking to spread the Fa.

Once I started practicing, however, I felt encouraged. The exercises have given me more energy. I need an hour's less sleep and expect to reduce it further. I have always enjoyed good health, but the aftermath of three bouts of pneumonia over the years had left a constantly recurring cough, which has now disappeared. I had had a tiresome skin ailment for three years, for which on advice I had arranged surgery; but felt I should have trust in the unseen help that may be given to practitioners and cancelled the surgery. The condition cleared up completely in a few weeks

The West has had its own unacknowledged Great Cultural Revolution in the last 100 years when its belief system and values were almost entirely submerged in populist assumptions by the shallow metaphysics of a materialist science. Materialism, accompanied by a naive faith in technology as the solution to every problem, has swept over every continent at an accelerating pace, leaving in its wake the wreckage of traditional values, in spite of efforts by minorities to cling to them. But we have been given the answers to all the main problems: Master has said, "I've compressed everything I can give you into the book of Fa, and as long as you go read the book you'll receive everything"(Unofficial translation; from Lecture at the Australia Fa Conference in 1999). I am ashamed at not reading Zhuan Falun more often again and again as we are enjoined; especially as I experience myself that each time new depths of truth leap out.

We all know that Master Li has, by his saving presence and unceasing work, filled the moral void and, in the immense sweep of his vision, revealed a new rational understanding of the cosmos. Shock treatment may be inevitable as part of divine therapy for what we are doing to the world. But a healthier, less selfish and more cooperative global world community will emerge as the process of world rectification takes effect, showing in the human sphere that the essential qualities of all life, as of the Great Universe, are Truth, Compassion and Forbearance.

I have myself witnessed first hand the global degeneration, seeing in Asia, Africa and the Americas, as in Europe that hatched the virus, the erosion of traditional ancient values.

I entered Diplomatic Service on leaving Cambridge, spending 40 years divided equally between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at home and service abroad, specializing in Commonwealth relations, a constantly evolving process as the Empire was transformed into 50 independent countries. A child in the first World War, after the second I attended Peace Conferences and the early meetings of the United Nations, and went on to strenuous and responsible work in India, Canada, Ghana, New Zealand and Australia, Nigeria and the Bahamas. On retirement I spent 15 years in the House of Lords. Much ordinary political work amounts to shuffling the pieces about while change of any substance must be achieved in other dimensions. We have the opportunity, to participate in such creative action when we send forth righteous thoughts with a pure heart and mind, though I have been slow to understand this.

I was brought up by parents who sought to apply in their lives the teaching of Jesus on truth, love and humility. And facing hardship and overcoming attachments had been at the core of my previous cultivation path, which I tried to work on after retirement for ten years, with some years devoted to Yoga. As Master has indicated, none of the previous main righteous paths available to those leading ordinary lives any longer have the force to inspire full commitment, and I was half-hearted. But nevertheless I was helped by my background to grasp the special character of the opportunity when it came.

Writing this article has itself helped me to face up to my own daunting spectrum of failings. "Fa-rectification is being done throughout the entire cosmos, leaving out nothing -- it's being done below the surface of human society as well"(from Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.). Master's words perhaps imply that for some of us sending forth righteous thoughts may be the most effective contribution that one can make and I have to be much stricter in respecting our timetable to align with others. And there is, of course, no end to what should be done in working on attachments; mental ones are more difficult than physical. As a warped human being I am largely unaware of them. I am a moral coward, not wanting to be laughed at, even though it can obviously do no harm. How absurd! I am stuck in my life-style and used to a soft life. It is tempting in old age to opt out of activity, making increasing limitations an excuse and carrying on with former interests. All your priorities must eventually change when you undertake the practice.

Even at so late a stage I know that I have found my way at last with a new horizon, a fresh understanding and, thanks to the exercises, more energy. But that misses the point. We have been given an inconceivable privilege, of living in the epoch of Fa-rectification and being made aware of it. Master said to a student in Australia, "...You're the luckiest being in the cosmos. You're a Dafa student, and even Gods in the heavens are envious of you..."(Unofficial translation; from Lecture at the Australia Fa Conference in 1999). I certainly regard myself as one of the luckiest of my generation.

And it is a great help to work with other more competent and experienced practitioners. We have been given an inconceivable gift and we face the challenge to be worthy of it and to do more to give others the same opportunity.

(Copenhagen, 22nd September 2002)