A Beautiful Memory in a Theater
(Clearwisdom.net) My company borrowed the City Theater so that we could rehearse a dance performance. It was the only theater in our city and had stopped hosting shows for years because not enough people went to the theater anymore. I felt the chilly atmosphere as soon as I walked in and saw that there was dust everywhere. A colleague told me, “It has been a long time since I have been here. How about you?” “Same here. The last time I was here was….” I searched my memory. Suddenly a few scenes appeared in my mind. The theater appeared to be crowded again, with an audience that was moved to tears. Emotion gripped me and tears suddenly filled my eyes.
It was the summer of 1998. As Falun Dafa spread throughout mainland China, the number of practitioners in our city exceeded a thousand (a rough estimate). Many practitioners experienced the miraculous healing of illnesses or performed wonderful deeds. To provide a better environment for practitioners, the assistants in our city decided to hold an experience sharing conference. They selected the City Theater as the site.
During the planning, a few issues arose. First it was the rent. Practitioners all wanted to help and donate funds. But if we were to take donations, the money collected would exceed the rent needed. It would then violate Teacher Mr. Li Hongzhi’s guideline that the assistant center not keep money or materials. On the other hand, if we didn’t take donations, the expense was substantial. After further discussion, the assistant center decided that the rent would be covered by the two most affluent practitioners in our city only. The issue was resolved.
According to the plan, all young assistants at all practice sites would be responsible for the conference site preparation, security, and ushering. The theater manager told an assistant called Mr. Zhang, “Is it possible to ask your audience to avoid smoking and eating melon seeds. Otherwise we will have to spend lots of time cleaning up afterwards.” Mr. Zhang patted the manager on the back and said, “Don’t you worry. We practitioners do not smoke. And after we are done, we will clean it all up for you.” The manager shook his head, “Every company says that before they use the theater. But every time there is garbage all over the place. Furthermore, you are not even with a company. If it were not for the rent, I truly wouldn't want to rent it to you.”
On the day of the conference, I went to the theater an hour early. At the theater I found that my “job” was taken. Many young practitioners had assumed the role of usher. As soon as an elderly practitioner walked in, they would “fight” to help him or her into the hall. Every elderly practitioner was very happy. One said, “I am surprised that we elderly practitioners have become such ‘hot commodities.’” The conference hall was very quiet and orderly. There was no need for security or order enforcement.
At about 20 minutes before the session, I noticed that practitioners had filled up the aisles on both sides, but the seats at the front part of the hall were empty. I went to ask them, “Why don’t you sit down?” One middle aged lady said smilingly, “We heard that many practitioners from out of town are coming. We are saving the seats for them.” A nearby practitioner said, “Sister, although we are from out of town, we are young. Why don’t you take the seat.” “Don’t you worry. See….” She took a foam pad out of her bag. I realized that she was prepared to sit in the aisle if the theater was full, and I found that many practitioners had brought foam pads. “How marvelous these practitioners are.” I felt I wanted to cry.
At this time, Mr. Zhang announced, “We cannot start the meeting like this. In order to begin on time, elderly practitioners, please go ahead and take the front seats. If there are not enough seats, we can take turns sitting.” The front seats finally were filled. I remember that on that day many people sat in the aisles and in the back.
Over a dozen practitioners shared their experiences that day, including public servants, military officers, teachers, artists, farmers, and general workers. Everyone talked about his or her experiences or lessons from a different point of view. Some had incurable illnesses cured; some changed their attitude toward fame and profit; some improved their relationships with their mother-in-law or daughter-in-law…. Everyone had a moving story. I saw many practitioners around me had tears in their eyes as they listened. Every practitioner was acutely aware of their gratitude to Teacher and steadfast belief in Dafa at the time.
After the conference, I went to clean the site according to the prior arrangement. But I found that my “job” was taken again. All the mops and brooms were taken. Many practitioners stayed to help move the tables, sweep floors, and mop the chairs. I tried to grab a broom from a lady, telling her, “Let me do it.” She smiled and said, “Don’t grab it from me, young lady. I will be done in a minute. Look, it is all clean already.” Sure enough, the floor was already quite clean.
“Is that broom from our theater?” The theater manager suddenly appeared. The lady said, “No, I brought it from home.” “Brought it from home? Why?” “I was afraid that there might not be enough brooms here, so I brought my own. Actually it was not only me. Look over there at those who are mopping chairs. They all brought their own mops.” “Is that so? You guys are just wonderful.” The manager was almost choking with emotion.
When we were leaving after we had finished cleaning up, the manager made a point to come and say to Mr. Zhang, “Today I have indeed had my eyes opened. There were more people at your conference than any other conference held here since I've been working here. But you were the most orderly and the cleanest, and you made our job the easiest. You are just remarkable.” We were all very happy to hear the manager’s comments. Mr. Zhang said smilingly, “Our Teacher taught us to be good people, to think of others first, and to be unselfish. If anyone wants to be a good person from his heart, he will do well. Indeed, I did not ask people to do these things before the meeting, since I knew that they would do well.” The managed said emotionally, “I was here today, too. After listening to your talks and seeing your behavior, I realize that all Falun Gong practitioners are good. Let me say this: From now on, whenever you want to use the theater, just let me know. I guarantee you that the rent will be the lowest.” Mr. Zhang shook his hand and said, “Thank you. We will for sure come back next year for our second experience sharing conference.”
It has been 13 years since that conference. But we did not have the second conference, because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began its brutal suppression of our belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Since the CCP began its persecution in 1999, over 10 practitioners (including one speaker at the conference) have been persecuted to death in our city. About 100 practitioners were sentenced to prison, forced to do hard labor, or put in jail (almost all the speakers at the conference were sentenced to forced labor or prison). Countless people were taken to brainwashing centers. Despite the brutal suppression, most of the practitioners in our city have persisted and not given up, since Dafa had long taken root in our hearts. We have used our lives and actions to tell people the facts about Dafa and let them know that Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is what we adhere to. The evil can never win over the righteous. We firmly believe that the darkness will end and the sunshine will reappear. At that time, we will go back to the theater and have our second experience sharing conference.