Take Every Step Well on Our Own Cultivation Paths
My name is Peter Recknagel. I am thirty years old and come from Germany. Presently I am living in Frankfurt by River Main where I am majoring in Chinese Studies (sinology).
During my first visit to China in 1998 it was completely natural to meet with, practice the exercises and exchange experiences with other practitioners. In April 1999 I once again visited China with a tour group and again found the circumstances regarding the practitioners normal, nothing out of the ordinary. Even after I emerged from the tour bus at a Shaolin temple I located a large group of practitioners who were in the process of doing the exercises. I was pleasantly surprised and elated.
After news of the Chinese government's persecution and their propaganda had also reached German media networks, all one heard was the term "sect," a term that especially in Germany has extremely negative connotations. I recall a scene in my mind during the evening exercises. I stood in a park and suddenly had an idea, thinking "you have to go to China and do something, anything. Here in Germany you will get no results." This thought was so strong that I heard my heart beat faster during the exercises. Later on, though, we had so much Fa-rectification work to do in Germany that the thought to go to China became weaker. Only in November 2000 did another practitioner and I make the trip to Beijing, to speak with journalists. We thought the best results could only be the face-to-face dialogue. Besides, telephone conversations between abroad and China were being monitored. We thought that if the reporters would get to know us personally, then they would certainly gain a better understanding of Falun Gong. In 2000, it was already no longer possible for them to meet personally with Chinese practitioners. From later reports coming out of China it became evident that it was worthwhile to travel to the heart of the evil.
During a 2001 event in Poland regarding "China's Human Rights and Democracy," a representative of the Polish Embassy who often travels to China told me, " If you want to accomplish anything, you must travel to China." I still did not give much credence to his suggestion. Only in the middle of 2001 did the thought ripen to go to Tiananmen Square to show the Chinese public that Falun Gong is good and is also practiced by Caucasians. In the three months prior to this trip, I often read Chinese practitioners' experience sharing articles and their recounting how they daily prepare their plans to go to Tiananmen Square, how they lay aside all human notions and desires to fulfill their historic mission. Somehow that all did not come about with me. Due to the many activities in Germany and the rest of Europe, I didn't have any quiet, serene times before my departure. There was much hectic activity around me, and another factor came to the fore--my fear. I was not afraid of beatings or pain, perhaps because I did not have time for such dread; I was fearful, however, to be recognized at the border and sent back home. At the time of the actual departure I reminded myself of the passage [in Zhuan Falun] where the Arhat fell down, not because of joy this time, but because of fear, and so I relaxed. On the day of my departure I sat in front of Master's picture in my room for the first time and said to him, "Master, I know that I am not supposed to pursue anything and not supposed to ask for anything, but this time, please let me absolve this task as a genuine Dafa disciple and stand by me."
I needed to have a few quiet moments prior to this event. On November 19, 2001, I therefore drove to a temple in the mountains outside of Beijing, to find solitude. But even that did not work out. I arrived late, and all the visitors had already left. I viewed the Buddha statues and told them, "I have come to protect the Law of the Universe. I cannot idly stand by and merely observe this persecution." I could not find a serene spot at this temple, so I wandered around. In one room I saw monks performing a ceremony. I wanted to send out righteous thoughts and sat outside this room. As I was sitting, I heard steps nearby, back and forth. After ten minutes I got up and saw a man standing in front of me. He was from the security patrol and informed me that the temple had already closed and I must leave. Suddenly an old monk appeared, pointed toward the security guard and said, "You do your job and we do ours. This man belongs to us, he is no longer of your concern." And then he immediately added, "Don't think right away that everyone who meditates here is a Falun Gong practitioner." I was shocked. Has the propaganda even reached Buddhist monks in remote temples? I wanted to explain the truth to him, but I could not do it presently, because this was the day before "the event" and I did not want to reveal too much of myself. So I told myself that I don't care what he thinks of me, but I have to be able to help him abandon his wrongful impression of Master Li and of Falun Gong, because it is so very important for his future. That's why I explained to him Dafa's principles and the circumstances of the persecution, without telling too much about myself. It was cordial. I hope that he had understood.
Everything went very quickly the following day -- meet, sit down, righteous thoughts, police, interrogation, and others. I am convinced that all behaved as genuine Dafa practitioners that day on Tiananmen Square, all differently but also all alike. I further noticed that the part of oneself that has cultivated well shows itself during situations that matter. Even though I still have somewhat of a fighting demeanor, I was able to smile in this situation where the Chinese police officers pushed me into a wall and threatened me with death. I was quite calm, perhaps because at that moment I felt assured.
I also noticed that our cultivation proceeds naturally and constantly. All steps we took were done solidly and contained a certain naturalness. With my hectic, preoccupied mindset I sometimes don't notice the profound plan. Only during moments when one can actually let go of an attachment does one recognize the perfect planning that went into guiding one's path, without one being consciously aware of it. I also found out that there are many methods and ways to affirm the Fa, that everyone does have their own path, and that to take others as a role model is invalid. At the beginning of cultivation, I assumed that one has to do only those things one has enlightened to. Later on, however, I realized that one does precisely those things that Master has arranged for us and when the right time approaches, it will happen. That also takes care of the question why we do this at one time and that at another time. Everyone travels on his or her own road. We are all students of the same Master and yet travel our own journey. I think also about the grand manner how the Fa is protected in so many ways, which in itself is a reflection of the might and dignity of the Fa. On the other hand, someone said to me once, "Only the best Master has the best students." That's why we as Dafa students, have the best preconditions.
Since we are gathered because of the largest world economic summit, I want to say a few words about my work environment. Prior to my travel to China I had received two invitations from managers of my firm who had told me to visit them in Beijing. After my return to Germany I wrote letters to each of them. I thought I could utilize this circumstance to clarify the truth to them. I included in the letter a photograph from the Tiananmen Square event as has been reported in a Chinese newspaper and explained the circumstances to them. One of the managers responded cordially, saying that beforehand one cannot estimate something like that happening and sympathized with what had happened to us on Tianenmen Square. The other response was different. He pointed out the damage that can result from such a letter being intercepted by the [Chinese] customs authorities. He also admonished me during my future trips to China not to meet with representatives of the firm, and mentioned other negative things as well. I saw this as additional opportunity to explain the circumstances to my superiors in Frankfurt. The Frankfurt manager told me later that he does understand [my motives] quite well, but I must keep the interests of the company in mind. It was difficult for me to explain all the details to him and to tell him what is really in my heart, because he was not yet familiar with Falun Gong, but yet had already garnered a good impression [of it] because of my conduct. It also dawned on me that all work environments offer one chances, over and over again, to explain the truth about Falun Gong. Everyone is given many chances to do that. Since the supervisors of the firm are staying in New York at the moment, it is my fervent wish to meet with them and tell them the truth. They have actually come to hear the truth, because they can retain seeds for the Fa in their hearts, and many human notions that do them no good will be left behind.
When I wrote this experience sharing report I pondered constantly what I could convey to the listeners that might be important for their cultivation while not wasting other people's time. I had the distinct feeling that nothing out of the ordinary actually happened to me and that I had nothing extraordinary to relate. When I had finished this report, however, I noticed a point, which is this: things don't have to be extraordinary. We advance on the path, steadily and naturally. Things became clearer; especially after the Fa-teachings in Florida it was pointed out that the most important duty for us right now is to learn and study the Fa, send out righteous thoughts and offer people salvation by explaining the truth to them.
I wish to all the cultivators a steady path and much success during truth clarification so that we may keep our promise and return with Master.