Sending forth righteous thoughts in the rain in Manhattan
participating in the anti-torture exhibition to expose the persecution
I traveled from Taiwan to Manhattan to participate in Fa-Rectification activities for a month. Since I was already familiar with the situation in Manhattan, I was quick to catch on. Upon our arrival in Manhattan, we were assigned to participate in an anti-torture exhibition because many people were needed. In the first few days I was to play one of the people being tortured. The first time, a fellow practitioner helping with makeup advised me about some details I should take note of. I listened carefully and paid attention to my every act and earnestly did what I was supposed to do. After I was finished with my part of the exhibition, a fellow practitioner ran to me and told me that the performance was so moving; it brought lots of people to tears - including the practitioner herself. The questions passers-by frequently asked included, "Are the people real?" and "Did that really happen?" Many people took photos of the anti-torture exhibition. I told the practitioner that I only did what any Dafa disciple should have done.
The cold and dry weather, combined with the makeup, made almost the skin on almost all the performers' faces crack. Some practitioners, including me, did not want to perform any more. Some shortened their performance time, or some went away to do other things. After we had an experience sharing meeting and searched within ourselves, we understood that only by letting go of human thoughts and fears could we correctly walk the path of a Dafa disciple during Fa-rectification. We knew that however cold we were and no matter how much pain we were feeling, the suffering was still no match compared with the suffering of disciples in Mainland China being persecuted and even being tortured to death. This cold also tested whether everybody was firm in the Fa. As one body, practitioners had a common understanding after the sharing. In the following days, there was no more peeling skin or pain, and our facial skin became better and smoother. The weather was not as cold anymore, either. It is really true that however much we let go of, that is what Master will help remove. However much we give, that is how much we will receive.
Manhattan is the commercial center of the world. Every day, people are busy with money and personal gain. The lifestyle is very fast-paced. People shuttle back and forth on the subway and on the streets. The old forces put all the evil in Manhattan, and let the people wallow in self-concern. They become indifferent to their surroundings and become arrogant. However, through the efforts of Dafa disciples' truth-clarification, they have gradually learned the truth and become more compassionate. Our anti-torture exhibitions are placed in spots where there are lots of people, or in tourist places. Some people stop and take a look when they pass by the exhibition. They learn about the current brutal situation in China. Some of them weep and try to help us. There are also some visitors from various places who take pictures and say that they will bring the scenes of the exhibition back home to their families and show how such brutal things still go on in the 21st century in China. Others have offered to give us money. We always reply that we do not take money, and that we came from Taiwan to Manhattan where other Falun Dafa practitioners from around the world have also come. Our goal is to tell everyone that there are people in China who practice Falun Gong, and simply because they are being good people following "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance," they are persecuted by the CCP and Jiang's regime. Many have died as a result of the persecution. As of now there are a lot of people who are still detained in labor camps. We hope that the people of Manhattan will understand the truth and will pass on the truth of the persecution to more people.
Dafa disciples are one body. Only with the power of one body can we do the things in Fa-rectification well. This can be reflected in many ways. It requires the whole body to raise their levels, as well as the letting go of one's own notions. We need to search within for everything. The "next person's things are also my things," as Master has said, and we need to look after one another. In places where another practitioner may not have done very well, we need to try our best to fill in. Dafa disciples are validating Dafa, not validating themselves. If everyone can do well, the evil will self-destruct and will not be able to cause any more trouble.
Upholding righteous thoughts is very important. One time the transportation for the exhibition materials arrived late. Everyone then wanted to prepare so quickly, that we all forgot to send forth righteous thoughts. Soon a police officer came and asked us to show the permit or else leave immediately. At that time I realized that this was caused by evil interference from other dimensions. Dafa disciples are doing the work of offering salvation to living beings. What Dafa disciples say counts; how can the evil interfere and take control? I immediately told everyone to send forth righteous thoughts. At the same time a fellow practitioner clarified the truth to the officer. Later, the police officer wanted to talk with the coordinator. I told the officer to come back later. The officer never came back after leaving. Through later experience sharing and searching within ourselves, we realized that a cultivator is not a common person. We are here to offer beings salvation. That is a part of cultivation, not a job. A Dafa disciple's mission is to clarify the truth and save sentient beings. As long as people understand and realize the truth, they will have a chance to be saved.
This trip to Manhattan allowed me to find and realize attachments that would otherwise have stayed hidden and left unrealized. I quickly understood that these were human thoughts and fundamental attachments. Though sharing experiences with fellow practitioners and searching within, I quickly found my shortcomings and corrected them.
Fifteen practitioners from cities including Taipei, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung left for Manhattan on October 20, 2004. One of the practitioners was a monk. Even though we did not know each other well since we came from different places, everyone's mindset was very pure and righteous. Everyone only had the wish of helping in Fa-rectification and offering salvation to people in Manhattan. We quickly got to know each other, formed one body and cooperated well with each other. Generally, from the mornings' handing out of newspapers and fliers to the anti-torture exhibition, all were done very well. It didn't matter whether the day was cloudless or rainy. We were always there. We carried out our goal in coming here, the sacred mission of "clarifying the truth, offering salvation to living beings." Every activity we participated in was done according to the standards of a cultivator: always putting others before oneself, always considering other people, and searching within oneself when a problem arises. The sharing of experiences together quickly formed a formidable strength within the one body.
Using the anti-torture exhibitions to clarify the truth is very effective. Since real people are performing, the exhibition is very realistic. Once people walk into the area of the anti-torture exhibition, they are able to understand the situation of Falun Gong being persecuted in China. The anti-torture exhibition sites need quite a large number of people for reenacting the torture scenes, either as the people being persecuted or to portray the Chinese police. People are also needed to pass out fliers, explain the truth, send forth righteous thoughts and perform the exercises. But, some practitioners have attachments and do not want to reenact being persecuted, causing a shortage of people. The anti-torture exhibitions are necessary because, by acting out the atrocities, the best results can be achieved. After everyone in our group had an experience sharing, a disciple who was previously unsure about the activity decided that the anti-torture exhibition was indeed important. She agreed to act as one of the Chinese police officers.
We should do what a Dafa disciple should do in Manhattan, without human notions or attachments. National boundaries and race do not matter. As long as one is a Dafa disciple, we should do the same thing to clarify the truth and offer people salvation. Dafa disciples who have come from all over the world are handing out fliers and clarifying the truth in the subways and on the streets. They do so regardless of their fatigue. The efforts of Dafa disciples are letting more and more New Yorkers understand the truth of the persecution of Falun Dafa in China. People are also becoming more and more compassionate.
In the past six weeks of clarifying the truth, there have been many moving stories:
1. Practitioners Work Towards the Same Goal, Regardless of How Long they Have Practiced
One Taiwanese practitioner had begun practicing Falun Dafa only two months ago, yet she has been in New York for over 2 months. She manages the make-up for the anti-torture exhibition. Sometimes, her ordinary human side came out, but with fellow practitioners' suggestions, she was able to immediately look inside herself and resolve the problem. Regardless of whether it is passing out truth-clarification materials or helping with the anti-torture exhibition, she acts responsibly and works diligently. Though she complained to me when she ran into conflicts, I told her to study the Fa more, no matter what, and to discover her own attachment. She accepted my advice willingly.
2. Fellow Practitioners Support Each Other
There were also two older practitioners. Since one had difficulty moving around, the other helped her get to and from the subway for six weeks without any complaint. They did many things together, from participating in the anti-torture exhibition to distributing fliers together.
3. Righteous Thoughts Eliminate the Evil
A Chinese man came to our anti-torture exhibition at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 53rd Street for many days to scowl and jeer at our exhibition. Nevertheless, the practitioners still kindly clarified the truth to him, even though he would not change his views. One time when he came, the practitioners began sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil behind him. Within ten seconds he left without saying a word.
That same afternoon, a fellow practitioner and I met him again while distributing flyers. He still had the same attitude, telling us to stop coming over to the U.S. to humiliate the Chinese government (he thought we were from the Mainland). I told him with a kind attitude that we were from Taiwan and that not only we, but also many other practitioners from all over the world have gathered in Manhattan; that we all paid for the trip out of our own pockets; that we all have families and careers and are using our own vacation time to come here and let people know the situation of the terrible persecution of Falun Gong in China. We also told him if he understands, it would be great, but if he didn't, then he shouldn't be angry about it and respond with such an attitude as it would do him no good anyway. Then we asked him to calmly and seriously consider what we said, as well as the facts of the persecution in China.
He left without turning back after hearing this. Since then, he has never returned to the anti-torture exhibition. I think he may have finally understood the truth.
4. Clarifying the Truth in the Subway
It takes us about an hour every day to travel by subway to get to Manhattan to clarify the truth, making it our best opportunity to clarify the truth to others on the train. Once we go out the door we begin our truth clarification. Our message and truth-clarifying materials are usually well received on the subway. Some people take extra fliers for their friends and families. Sometimes we even fold paper lotus flowers on the subway.
One time, a woman with a middle-aged mentally disabled son was riding the subway. The son smiled when he saw me making the lotus flowers so I gave him one. The mother was quite happy and asked me how much it costs. I replied that it was free and told her the story of the lotus flowers, how a group of children in China lost their parents only because their parents practiced Falun Gong and became very good people. For this, many practitioners have been detained in labor camps or even lost their lives and more still suffer in China. We asked her to spread the truth to more people in order to end this evil persecution, and wished her luck.
After hearing this she was in tears. She told us that she would tell everyone to stop this evil persecution, and said that we should all join our efforts together.
One time, we met an ethnic Chinese person from Vietnam. After we told him the status of Falun Gong's persecution in China he was very moved and told us he understood, for his uncle was also killed in Communist China. He told us that he would tell more people about the truth and expose the devious tricks of the Communist government.
5. Language is not a Problem
Because my English is limited, I cannot use it to clarify the truth very
well. But I know Spanish, and whenever fellow practitioners find someone who
can't speak English but can speak Spanish (many people in Manhattan speak
Spanish), they would bring this person to me. I would speak in a simple manner
and tell them the truth of the persecution in China. Most of them would
understand and take our materials. A fellow practitioner in my group cannot
speak English at all. Nevertheless, even the [short] sentence, "Falun Dafa
is great," from her has a good effect and can bring out people's
December 21, 2004