(Minghui.org) The annual Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners' experience sharing conference is scheduled to take place in Taipei on November 18, 2012. It is going to be a memorable conference because it will soon be the 15th anniversary of Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, giving His first lecture in Taiwan in November 1997. That lecture laid the foundation for the spread of Falun Gong in Taiwan.

On April 29, 2012, 7,400 Falun Gong practitioners gathered at Freedom Plaza in Taipei to form this picture of Mr. Li Hongzhi.

Mr. Li Hongzhi, whom practitioners of Falun Gong reference as Teacher, is from Changchun City in Jilin Province, China. Mr. Li held the very first Falun Gong class for the general public in Changchun on May 13, 1992. People from more than 100 countries now practice Falun Gong, with more than 100 million people benefiting from the practice. Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong, has been translated into over 30 different languages.

When Mr. Li Hongzhi arrived in Taiwan in November 1997, he gave several lectures on the Fa at Taipei Municipal San-Xing Elementary School and Wufen Agricultural and Industrial Vocational High School in Taichung City, attracting more than 2,000 audience members. According to some who attended the lectures, Mr. Li was very amiable, kind and polite to everyone. Ms. Chen Huiching, an employee at Taiwan Water Corporation, had only just started practicing and went to both lectures. She said, “There was a very peaceful energy field. I didn't feel tired after listening to the lectures for many hours. I remember Teacher was very tall and compassionate.”

Teacher giving lectures at Taipei Municipal San-Xing Elementary School in November 1997

Teacher giving lectures at Wufen Agricultural and Industrial Vocational High School in Taichung in November 1997

Mr. Chiu Tian-Si established the first Falun Gong exercise practice site in Taichung in April 1997, and is also one of the first people to start practicing in Taiwan. He said, “More than half of the audience were friends and relatives of Falun Gong practitioners. They had not started practicing when they attended the lecture, but almost all of them started practicing afterward.” Mr. Chiu believes it is because Teacher imparts the Great Buddha Law of lofty virtue, and gains respect with his words and actions.

Teacher toured Taiwan, from Taipei, Yilan, eastern Taiwan and southern Taiwan after the lectures, and paid for all of his transportation, dining expenses and accommodations. He stayed in Taiwan for only one week and was accompanied by a few practitioners. He kept a very low profile when he came to Taiwan. Those who accompanied him said that Teacher was ever so thoughtful of others and was the best role model for them. Teacher stayed overnight at Sun Moon Lake and wrote a poem before he left.

“A pool of water crystal clear,
Reflecting the splendor of smoke-like
clouds here and there,
Here in this chaotic world,
It has kept its rare beauty.” (“A visit to Sun-Moon Lake” from Hong Yin)

Sun-Moon Lake has since become a popular place where practitioners often visit.

Mr. Chiu said that there were very few practitioners in Taiwan before that visit and they did not keep in touch with each other. It was not until Teacher's visit that Falun Gong really began to spread in Taiwan.

Given a second lease on life after attending two Fa lectures in China

Ms. He Laichin, a resident of Yilan, is one of the first practitioners who volunteered to teach the Falun Gong exercises in Taiwan. Upon recommendations from a relative in China, she traveled to Jinan City in Shandong Province to attend Teacher's second lecture in Jinan. Many of the long-term illnesses that had troubled her for more than 20 years miraculously disappeared within a few days, and she was given a new lease on life.

Mr. Li Hongzhi and the students attending the second lecture in Jinan City (Ms. He is the third person from the right in the second row, wearing a brown top.)

Ms. He's relative called her in December and told her that Mr. Li would start the last set of Fa lectures on December 21 in Guangzhou City. She told Ms. He that as Guangzhou is closer to Taiwan than Jinan, she should seize this opportunity. Ms. He was fortunate to be able to attend and listened to Teacher's lecture again.

In April 1995, Ms. He established the very first Falun Gong exercise practice site in Taiwan. It was held on Yangming Mountain. Many people came to the site because of Falun Gong's remarkable healing powers. Ms. He said, “People learned that the practice is very precious and wonderful after Teacher's lectures in Taiwan. I decided that I should let more people know about it, so I took the initiative to introduce Falun Gong to the Taiwanese people.”

No longer needing to take herbal medicine after 40 years

Mr. Lin Fusheng, a resident of Yilan, had been retired as a menswear tailor for six years when he started practicing Falun Gong in May 1997. Shortly after this, he noticed that the arthritis in his fingers, body soreness, and aches and stiffness in his neck had disappeared. His complexion also improved. He quit smoking, as he used to smoke many cigarettes a day. Although he'd been bald for years, his hair started growing back, and he no longer had to take the herbal medicine that he had depended on for more than 40 years to treat his many illnesses.

Mr. Lin attended the lecture when Mr. Li Hongzhi visited Taiwan six months later. He was most impressed that Teacher lectured for about six hours without taking a break. Another practitioner asked Teacher several times if He would like to have a break, but Teacher signaled that it was not needed. Mr. Lin recalled, “It was a very hot day. Many people went there without any drinking water. People were feeling thirsty, and were looking for bottles of water to drink.” Mr. Lin had been wondering why Teacher did not want to take any breaks. He finally realized that Teacher, out of his great compassion, wanted to make the best use of the time to teach as much of the Fa as possible and wanted to give everyone the opportunity to listen to the Buddha Law.

Teacher was compassionate, majestic and kind

Mr. Lin Fusheng felt Teacher's compassion and recalled, “I remember Teacher saying that every time He gives a lecture, He will send out a lot of energy. I could feel it. I felt the energy.” Mr. Lin sat in the front row, but later moved to the third row because he didn’t want to take the best seat. He had a good view of the stage from the third row and so let others take his seat in the front row.

Mr. Lin Chong-Chi, who manages a plastics factory in Suao Town, recalled, “I was lucky to attend the lecture after only practicing Falun Gong for six months. My most remarkable memory of Teacher is that He has very bright eyes. I was sitting way back, but I felt Teacher could see through everyone with his bright eyes. Yet his eyes were very kind and peaceful at the same time.”

China's suppression of Falun Gong caused the practice to spread quickly in Taiwan

On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners peacefully appealed to the State Appeals Office in Beijing in an attempt to get several arrested practitioners released. That appeal made Falun Gong known around the world. Jiang Zemin and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to suppress Falun Gong on July 20 of that year. The practice became famous overnight after widespread media reports in Taiwan.

Taiwanese media's widespread reports on the peaceful April 25 appeal and the persecution

Mr. Hong Jihong, a Taiwanese practitioner, says that Falun Gong is beneficial to one's health and morality, and that so many people want to practice. Mr. Hong said that a businessman from Mucha, Taipei went to China on a business trip in 2000 and noticed that China Central Television (CCTV) ran a hate propaganda campaign against Falun Gong every day. He was curious as to why a nation would spend so much effort to suppress the practice, and decided to find out about Falun Gong when he returned to Taiwan.

The businessman learned that Mr. Hong ran a nine-day Falun Gong class at his home. He attended the class and was very surprised that his insomnia of 17 years had disappeared by the seventh day of the class. He had previously sought treatment from both Western and Chinese medicine, but to no avail. He slept very well over the next few days. He also learned that Mr. Li Hongzhi's teaching is all about becoming a better person, and realized that it is completely different from the CCP's portrayal of the practice.

Remembering Teacher's grace and cultivating diligently

There are over 1,000 free exercise practice sites in Taiwan. Nearly every town has one. Even the small islands like Penghu, Jinmen and Matsu have more than a dozen sites. Taiwan has become the second largest population of Falun Gong practitioners after China.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Taiwan have benefited from the practice of Falun Gong in the past 15 years since Teacher's visit. They bask in the glory of the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Taiwanese practitioners resolve to do the three things well and remain diligent in their cultivation to repay Teacher's infinite grace.