Taiwan Practitioner Tells of Experience in Argentina
Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
Today I am very happy to have the opportunity to share experiences from my trip to Argentina to spread Dafa.
The Falun Dafa Association in Argentina asked Taiwanese practitioners' help with two things: First, the South-Central American Fa Conference was going to be held on March 7, 2004 in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. Another event was an international Spanish language book exhibit to be held from April 13 to May 8, the largest of its kind, and it was estimated that more than one million people would attend the exhibit. These were both great opportunities to clarify the truth and spread the Fa. There are not many practitioners in Argentina, and they really hope Taiwanese practitioners can stay to help with Dafa activities during the book exhibit. Since the Fa conference and the book exhibit were over a month apart, it was very difficult for us to stay through both events.
More than 20 Taiwanese practitioners said they would like to help with the events. When they applied for a visa they told the Argentine Consulate they were going to attend a Falun Dafa conference, in the hope that they would be able to clarify the truth to the Argentine diplomatic sector during the visa application process. The process was indeed difficult as the Argentine departments concerned "kicked the ball around" and none wanted to take the responsibility. Falun Dafa practitioners from Taiwan and Argentina clarified the truth to these officials and sent forth righteous thoughts on a constant basis. Finally, the head of our visiting group told us, "The president of Argentina has approved our visas in person." During the process, officials in related Argentine departments all learned the truth and that Falun Dafa is great. Still, the visa was two days late, so we could not attend the Fa conference in time. As a result, we planned to go to the book exhibit in mid-April, and we realized that the truth clarification at the book exhibit would be more important than attending the Fa conference. Just then we heard that a Fa conference would be held on April 11 in New York. We had originally planned to change planes in New York, and it worked out perfectly! All 21 of us went to New York and had the opportunity to listen to Master teaching the Fa twice. We took off for Argentina in the evening of April 12. We realized it was not a coincidence that our visa was delayed and we missed the South-Central American Fa Conference because we did not apply for a tourist visa and that we had to adjust our itinerary accordingly. We silently thanked Master for his benevolent arrangements.
We arrived in Buenos Aires at noon on April 13. It rained at night and the summer weather suddenly changed into breezy, fall-like weather.
There are not many Falun Gong practitioners in Central and South America. Master said, "Of course, wherever there are no Dafa disciples there will be problems saving lives in the future; since you're Dafa disciples you will think of this." ("Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students") Central and South America is a huge area, where there is so much we can do to spread the Fa. Practitioners who are able to help may like to think about this issue. Amongst local practitioners there, only one came from Taiwan, and all the rest of them are Western practitioners. Besides, only a few of them can speak English. We heard that a Taiwanese doctor in a large city in northern Argentina learned Dafa when he visited Taiwan. When he returned to Argentina, he saw the local people depressed from the economic recession, so he taught people the Dafa exercises. Some practitioners continued to practice; one of them is Anna, who came to help us at the book exhibit. The doctor himself, though, later stopped practicing. Some of the Argentinean practitioners who arrived to the book exhibit came from other provinces and they lived with us. We studied the Fa, did the exercises, spread the Fa and clarified the truth together. It was a great opportunity to share our experiences. Most Argentinean people are Catholics. They were mostly interested in doing Falun Gong exercises at the beginning. After practicing, some of them realized the importance of studying the Fa and gradually they started to cultivate both mind and body and are improving as one body.
We had 21 practitioners at the book exhibit and divided into two groups. One group attended the book exhibit, while the other group went to the Chinese consulate to send forth righteous thoughts and clarify the truth in the morning, and in the afternoon they took to the streets and Chinatown to spread the Fa. The Argentineans are very friendly; the majority of them accepted a flyer and thanked us. In Chinatown, only less than half of the overseas Chinese from Mainland China accepted a flyer, and slightly more Taiwanese people accepted one. Of course, the acceptance rate changed with the intensity of our righteous thoughts. Noteworthy is that we held a nine-day class at Taiwan Huiguan, and three or four Taiwanese were present all nine days.
The book exhibit was opened for special people for three days from April 13. The general opening ceremony was held on April 16, when it was opened to the public. The opening ceremony was grand as senators, mayors and foreign ambassadors all came to attend the event. Publishers from over 400 publishing companies and bookstores from all over the world came to attend. There were also special halls representing each of the Central and South American countries, introducing their cultural aspects.
The book exhibit was open from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. Practitioners who were on duty in the afternoon could stay at a hotel to study the Fa and do the exercises in the morning. After lunch, they would send forth righteous thoughts together before setting off to the book exhibit. The bus ride took over an hour. Practitioners at the book exhibit took turns to distribute flyers and demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises. Because the Taiwanese practitioners didn't speak Spanish, the Western practitioners took over the explanation work. After the exhibit ended, computer data showed that 1.3 million people attended the event, 300,000 more than last year. The place was crowded every day. We also learned that the Argentine president had attended the event in person and when he walked past our stall, he accepted our truth clarification flyer as well. The Dafa desk had two large banners, 2 meters long and 1.5 meters in width, one with Lunyu printed in Chinese and the other in Spanish. We also hung up a large banner with the Falun Emblem, which was very eye-catching and attracted much attention. We put a number of chairs in front of the banners printed with Lunyu. Many people sat down to read Lunyu word by word. We also promoted the Spanish version of Zhuan Falun at the exhibit.
Book distributors from Mexico, Columbia and Uruguay expressed interest in selling Zhuan Falun in their countries. The Falun Dafa Association in Argentina held three introductory sessions on the second floor of the exhibit building, where the Taiwanese practitioners demonstrated Dafa exercises. Many people attended the sessions and asked numerous questions. The sessions were very successful. According to Falun Dafa Association's estimate, over 130,000 flyers were distributed during the book exhibit, and the Association received countless phone calls. Many people went to the local practice sites. Because Buenos Aires is large; the local practitioners planned to establish new practice sites.
We helped the Argentine practitioners to print 50,000 Spanish-language Dafa flyers; in addition we brought with us 20 boxes of Chinese Dafa materials, from Taiwan to New York, then to Argentina. As most of the practitioners are elderly, it was quite an effort to carry these boxes on the trip. Later we learned that Taiwanese practitioners who could not go to Argentina had already paid for the Chinese materials in advance. While at the Fa conference in New York, upon hearing that we were going to Argentina, several practitioners took off their jackets, yellow clothes and neckerchief with the words "Falun Dafa" on them on the spot and asked us to give them to Argentine practitioners. We were much moved by their selfless acts.
The trip overseas to spread the Fa was a cultivation process. The time to wait for transportation and for the planes was rather long, but we used the time to study the Fa and do the exercises, send forth righteous thoughts, distribute flyers and clarify the truth. We didn't forget the three things Master asked us to do during our trip -- study the Fa, clarify the facts and send forth righteous thoughts. Each practitioner handed out at least 1,500 flyers during the book exhibit, and some over 2,000. I distributed more flyers than I had in the past four years added together. We did well as a group in group activities, but would we be able to do just as well if we traveled by ourselves individually? I think I still need much improvement. Of course, I often go to tourist attraction sites or streets to distribute flyers and to spread the Fa by myself, but in daily life I often forgot to leave the benevolence of Dafa with each person who happened to walk past me.
In April 2004 I went to the Fa conference in New York and then to spread the Fa in Argentina. Later, I went to Hong Kong to attend another Fa conference. All these really helped my cultivation. Other than hearing fellow practitioners' experiences, I saw that no matter what activities they participated in, be it a parade, or sending forth righteous thoughts in front of the Chinese consulate, or spreading the Fa in the streets, their hearts were totally on validating the Fa. As a practitioner, this state of mind demonstrates the natural result of his/her cultivation.
"So I think that for Dafa disciples, clarifying the facts has become a unique way of cultivation for you cultivators today. This has never, ever happened before. And it can be called Dafa disciples' magnificent feat of validating the Fa and saving sentient beings during the Fa-rectification. You know, in the past when people cultivated they only sought their own Consummation. But the things Dafa disciples have in front of them are major. You know, I've said many times that none of the people in today's world have a simple background. If none of them have a simple background, then the people that you save, the lives that you save, the sentient beings that you save are not ordinary beings, and it's not something an ordinary cultivator could do. Only Dafa disciples of today's Fa-rectification period are able to do that as they validate the Fa, only they are worthy of doing that, and only they are allowed to do that. So what I'm saying is, the historic responsibility you shoulder is significant, and you are laying the foundation for the future." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
We must shoulder our historic responsibility and fulfill our grand vows!
Thank you Master! Thank you fellow practitioners!
A speech during the 2004 north Taiwan Fa conference