[Selected Submission] My First Time Attending a Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference in China in 1996
(Minghui.org) The first time I attended an Experience Sharing Conference was in 1996, shortly after I began to practice Falun Gong.
At the time, I was the head of a medium-sized work unit. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) required us to participate in many meetings, such as an “end of the year award conference,” “beginning of the year bureau meeting,” “quarterly review meeting,” “leadership report meeting,” and “special remediation meeting.” I also had to conduct all sorts of meetings and knew the difficulties involved in organizing them. The content of the meetings was often deceptive and full of lies. Thus, it was not easy being an organizer, since no one wanted to attend. Even at high-level meetings, there were often more people sitting on the stage than in the audience. Consequently, meeting organizers were responsible for recruiting the audience. Whenever a work unit sent people to attend meetings, it had to give incentives or force people to attend. Everyone knew that meetings were a nuisance. There were endless meetings, and I would get a headache after just hearing the word “meeting.”
When my wife informed me about our local Fa experience-sharing conference, I said, “Another meeting? I'm not going.” She replied, “This is a conference for cultivators, and it is sacred. Many people who wish to attend won't be able to, because there is a limited number of seats. There are 2,000 people attending tomorrow's conference.” I was very surprised. Since I was a new practitioner, I did not know what a Fa experience-sharing conference was. With so many attending, and the idea of a “Fa conference” sounding so novel, I wanted to check it out.
The next day, I arrived at the location at 7 a.m. I thought, “People normally arrive at 9 a.m. for an 8 a.m. meeting, and then the meeting usually starts at 10 a.m. I'm here at 7 a.m., so I don't think I'm late.” The area was so quiet, it did not look like there was a conference. At ordinary people's meetings, there were usually many people gathered at the front entrance, but there was no one around. The place looked like a factory with many large buildings, but I didn't see any meeting room.
I then saw a lot of people walking into a factory further away. I thought, “These factory workers go to work very early!” I walked up to them to ask them about the conference, but they were very quiet and kept walking. I noticed that the majority of them were elderly and did not look like factory workers, so I followed them into the factory. Once I got into the room, I was shocked: This was the place for the sharing conference, and it was a large cafeteria. There were 40 rows of wooden chairs on one side of the room, from front to back, and each row accommodated 30 people. The other side of the room was empty. People brought plastic sheets, placed them on the cement floor and sat down. The young and old sat next to each other quietly, with their legs in the lotus position. They almost filled up half of the room. Without anyone directing them, those who came in first sat on the floor and left the chairs for people who came later. One could tell their thinking was very unusual.
Very soon, the other side of the room was full, too. I looked around and noticed that 70 percent of the attendees were over 50 years old. The oldest were in their 90s, and the youngest in their teens. It must not have been an easy task to arrange for so many people to attend a one-day conference. I remembered our work unit once conducted a retirement seminar. It took a lot of effort to invite 300 people to attend. In order to make it successful, I arranged personnel from different departments and split them into various teams – with the meeting team, hospitality team, medical team, catering team, and transportation team. They picked up and dropped off the attendees from their homes. At the end, the attendees still were not satisfied. They complained that the seating arrangement was not done according to their status, the meal was not suitable for the elderly, the medication provided by the doctors was no good, and the service personnel's attitude was poor. I wondered: With so many elderly people sitting on the cement floor for an entire day, without any service personnel, what would the organizer do if there was a problem?
At this time, someone walked up to the stage and announced that the conference was about to begin. I noticed that a small platform was raised 50 centimeters from the ground at the front of the hall. A banner with the Falun emblem and a photo of Teacher were hung in the center. A scroll with “Falun Dafa is good” was hung on one side of the wall, and another scroll with “Falun Dafa is a righteous Fa” was on the other side. A table was placed at the center of the platform.
After the announcement was made, a 50-year-old practitioner came on the stage and bowed to Teacher's photo. She shared her cultivation experience: “You can see that I'm standing upright in front of you. Did you know that three months ago, I was still walking around with both hands touching the floor with a 90-degree hunchback? For the last 30 years, I have exhausted my family's savings in order to cure my back, and I'm now penniless. For more than 20 years, I had to curl up and sleep on the wooden floor wearing street clothes. I felt miserable! Three months ago, I began to practice Falun Gong, and after 28 days of practice I was able to stand up.” She turned around to let people see her whole body. She then continued: “Yesterday afternoon, I found out that there was a sharing conference in this area. I live more than 100 li [Chinese miles] away from here, and it was getting dark. What was I going to do? Teacher saved me, and I wanted to share the miracle with everyone at the conference. I ran into a policeman and told him my story. He was very touched and hired a taxi cab to bring me here. I waited here all night to be at this conference.” She did not write her speech on a piece of paper, she just spoke from her heart. She cried as she talked, and the audience was moved to tears as well.
Practitioners shared their cultivation experiences one after another. One practitioner talked about how he became a good person after being reckless. Another shared about her cancer disappearing after three months of practice. One person told of how he was carrying a big bucket of feces and fell off three cliffs; the bucket was smashed, but he was fine. The audience sat in the room all morning, and no one said a word, coughed, or walked around. Everyone was so quiet because they did not want to miss a word of the sharing. I had never experienced anything like this.
At noon, the cafeteria prepared lunch for us. Each person was served a bowl of rice with vegetables. There were five windows serving 2,000 meals, and practitioners stood in line to pick up the meals, without being directed. The meals were handed out very quickly. After practitioners finished their meals, they washed their bowls and chopsticks and returned them to the cafeteria. They went back to their seats in an orderly manner. It was amazing that with so many people eating, there was not a grain of rice or piece of vegetable on the floor. And no one complained about the food. Ordinary people would say that it is impossible to please everyone's palate, but this was a group of unusual people. The servers at the cafeteria praised that this was a group of immortals.
Twenty-five practitioners continued to share from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. I had never heard of miraculous stories like these. When the conference adjourned, practitioners left quickly and quietly. I was surprised that there wasn't a single piece of trash, as if no one had been there.
I stood in the room for a long time and did not want to leave. Their smiling and peaceful faces were on my mind. I finally understood: The meetings that I had attended in the past--no matter how extravagant the place was, how high the status of the audience was, or how well prepared it was--were not well received because they contained bad elements of the CCP. The Fa experience-sharing conference is a place where Dafa practitioners spread the Fa, validate the Fa, and safeguard the Fa. It is the most wonderful and most sacred thing in the universe. This is a pure land in the human world, and the place where the Buddha Fa manifests its mighty power!
(From the Call for Submissions to Commemorate the Twentieth Anniversary of Falun Dafa’s Introduction.)