Looking Back: Attending Teacher's Lectures in Zhengzhou City, Henan Province
I was 86 years old and had been in poor health for a long time. Sometimes I spent more time in the hospital than at my job. I practiced various type of qigong but none was effective. In early June 1994 a veteran practitioner encouraged me to attend a Falun Gong lecture. I attended, hoping to have my illness healed and wanting to try something different.
My first impression of Falun Gong was the very low price charged for the lecture. I paid only 50 Yuan for all ten lectures. I heard that the admission had just been increased to 50 Yuan from 40 Yuan because the China Qigong Society had complained that Falun Gong seminars were too inexpensive. For the sake of comparison, a qigong seminar attended by my neighbor cost 300 Yuan for a week long class, one lecture per evening.
My second impression was the uncommon demeanor of Teacher and his youthful appearance. He looked to me about 20 years old. I wondered to myself, how could such a young qigong master have the ability to heal! I came solely for the healing, and because of that insincere attitude, I kept on thinking about my illness while attending the lecture. In the end I could hardly remember anything after I walked out of the lecture hall. I even thought of staying behind after the lecture so that I could ask Teacher to treat my illness.
Unexpectedly, right after the lecture a woman holding a child in her arms went to the podium and asked Teacher to treat her child. Teacher said, "I do not treat illness. You should listen to my lectures here." I nearly lost my enthusiasm after I heard that Teacher wouldn't treat any patients. Later on I read "Zhuan Falun" and it stated,
"Some people were in great discomfort and would not move in their seats, waiting for me to step down from the podium to treat them."
This statement applied squarely to me. After a few lectures and experiences, I completely changed my attitude of inattention and preoccupation. I began to focus my attention during the lectures.
I would like to share a few experiences that I remember profoundly in my heart with my fellow practitioners.
Once during the lecture Teacher asked all of us to extend both of our hands to receive Falun. Our hands were to be held straight ahead with palms facing up. My friend and I stood next to each other and did not feel anything. All of a sudden a little girl got between us and joyfully claimed, "Look, look! I have the Falun!" She asked me to look at her palm. I saw a round object spinning in her palm. I really envied her.
One afternoon just before the lecture ended, suddenly the weather changed abruptly with a howling wind, heavy storm, thunder and lightning, and hail slamming down. The whole sky seemed to be collapsing with thunder and lightning striking the building. The electricity went out and the whole lecture hall was dark. We could see clearly the lightning flashes. We saw the solemn expression on Teacher's face, and he told us not to move. Teacher started doing the Big Hand Signs. Gradually the thunder and lightning subsided, and all the lights turned on after the electricity service was restored. We saw Teacher was twisting something with his right fingers. After he twisted a few more times Teacher put it into the teacup on the table. Later when I studied "Zhuan Falun", it stated,
"Though you may find one that has practiced cultivation for nearly one thousand years, a tiny finger will be more than enough to crush it."
Only then did I realize that what Teacher twisted and crushed that day was an animal demon.
To attend the lecture we needed to have a lecture registration card. After the lecture we would be given certificates with photos. I lost one of my photos when I went to turn them in. Even though I felt bad about it, I rushed to the lecture hall to find a seat so as not to miss anything from the lecture. Then I heard Teacher ask on the podium, "Who lost a photo'" My spirits lifted. Someone had picked up my photo. I stood up and said, "It was me." Teacher took a look at me against the photo and said, "It was yours." I was trying to go to the front to get the photo but Teacher said, "There is no need for you to come forward, I'll ask someone to deliver it to you." The whole lecture hall was packed and I wouldn't be able to get to the front anyway. I thought to myself, "What a wonderful Teacher we have."
Teacher never wasted practitioner's time. He would start the lecture on time without eating dinner. When the lecture hall could not accommodate all the practitioners (about 2,000) we moved to the stadium. Because I kept thinking about my ailment I did not listen to the lecture with attention. Later on I felt that what Teacher talked about was something I had never heard before, such as we must strive to be a good person, to be better than a good person, never hit back when being cursed or hit by others, be considerate of others, put others' interests ahead of orselves, seek from within whenever conflicts arise with others, etc. I found that very refreshing.
The more I listened the more I became interested in the lectures. Because my home was nearby, I usually arrived early to get a seat without eating dinner. I would sit in the first row, very close to the podium. I discovered that Teacher never used lecture notes. He just fished out a little piece of paper from his shirt pocket and placed it on the lectern. During the lecture Teacher would take a glance at the paper and said, "Now let's talk about another issue..." and follow with the constant flow of his lecture.
It was in the middle of June, Zhengzhou's daily temperature was about 37 degrees C (about 100 degrees F). Even though there was an electric fan on the lectern, Teacher pushed it aside and gestured someone to take it away. After it was taken away, there was no one using a fan in the lecture hall.
Teacher was very punctual delivering his lectures and never delayed. Once I reserved a seat for my friend but she did not show up when the lecture was about to start. I was afraid that she could not find a seat and wanted to meet her at the entrance. I asked the young man who accompanied Teacher, "Is Teacher here yet'" He said, "Teacher just came back from Shaolin Temple. He has not had dinner yet." I thought there was still a chance for me to meet my friend at the entrance. When I reached the front hallway, I saw Teacher coming in. I found out later that Teacher started lecturing without having dinner.
After completing all ten lectures, we all asked to have a picture taken with Teacher. Teacher agreed and people from different regions would gather together to have a photo taken with Teacher. There were about 100 people from Zhengzhou. After our picture was taken, Teacher spoke to us, "All of you (from Zhengzhou area) please stay and wait here." After Teacher finished photo sessions with other regions he waived us to a room inside the stadium. Teacher told us, "Please sit down." Teacher sat down first on the floor and we all followed and sat around Teacher. Many tried to squeeze and get closer. I sat a little further away so I could not hear clearly what Teacher said specifically. All I remembered was Teacher asked us to practice with diligence, to establish a practice site and to find several people to be local coordinators. Teacher pointed to a few people sitting near him and said, "You, you, and you too." One person said, "Please count me as one, too. I used to work with unions and I am retired now. I am available." Teacher said, "Very well." My friend stood behind Teacher and asked Teacher, "Master Li, when will you come again'" Teacher said, "It's not possible for me to come again." A few practitioners asked some questions and Teacher provided explanations and answers. I did not hear clearly what Teacher said. I regret so much nowadays my poor enlightenment quality.
Mr. Shi of the Zhengzhou Qigong Society told us that in the beginning he did not plan to attend the lectures. One of his colleagues asked him why he didn't plan to go. He replied, "I have heard so many of them and they all sounded the same." His colleague told him, "This time it is quite different. You had better go." Mr. Shi went and ended up attending all the lectures to the end. He was very persistent in practicing the exercises. He used to have a large dark birthmark on his cheek under the left eye. When I saw him again, not long after, the dark birthmark had disappeared. His face appeared clear and delicate. He looked much younger than before.