Part III. Dafa Spreads Far and Wide
1. Dafa Spreads by Word of Mouth
The dissemination of Falun Dafa did not occur through any kind of commercial advertisements. Instead, it was spread far and wide solely by word by mouth. Oftentimes, people benefited tremendously from the practice and they eagerly recommended it to their family members, friends and colleagues.
Dafa Spreads within Families
The English Minghui website published the article “Real Benefits that Falun Gong Has Brought to People” by a Changchun Falun Gong practitioner on January 25, 2011. The practitioner wrote: “I have many relatives, and quite a few of them practice Falun Gong. These practitioners span four generations, ranging from childhood to 90 years old. Having witnessed the benefits it has brought to our family, our non-practitioner relatives are very supportive of the practice. Below are some stories about these practitioners and their relatives.” (http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2011/1/25/122857.html#.T9kSFdWXQ-M)
Dafa Spreads among Neighborhoods and Workplaces
Master has given a few examples of Dafa's positive impact in China in Zhuan Falun:
“One practitioner works in a textile factory in X city of Shandong Province. After studying Falun Dafa, he taught other coworkers to practice. As a result, the factory has taken on a new look. He used to take home pieces of towels from the textile factory, and so did the rest of the employees. After practicing Dafa, instead of taking things home he brought back to the factory what he took home before. When others saw his actions, nobody would take things home anymore. Some employees also returned to the factory what they previously took home. This situation occurred throughout the entire factory.
One volunteer director at a city’s Dafa instruction center went to a factory to see how Falun Dafa practitioners were doing with their practice. The factory manager came out to meet him in person: “Since studying Falun Dafa, these workers have been coming to work early and going home late. They work very diligently and will do any assignment the boss gives. They also no longer compete for personal gain. By doing so, they’ve made the whole factory take on a new look, and the factory’s economic returns have also improved. Your practice is so powerful. When is your teacher coming? I’d also like to attend his lectures.”
There were even more such examples, with many government agencies and institutions of higher education filled with Dafa practitioners striving to live by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Even guards and detainees in prisons, labor camps and detention centers were practicing Falun Gong. Some criminals changed into totally different people afterwards, which would not have been possible with any conceivable discipline or educational reform methods. Dafa was changing people from deep inside.
After officially concluding His formal Fa-teaching in China, Master instructed the assistance centers around the country to begin holding nine-day seminars to show His Fa-teaching videotapes and teach newcomers the exercise movements. These seminars were run by volunteer practitioners, with each session often attracting somewhere between 20 and 100 attendees. The volunteer practitioners’ employers were usually very supportive upon witnessing the positive changes in their employees, so they offered to have them use their offices, conference rooms or auditoriums for seminars. Even though the seminars were free, practitioners ran them with a very solemn attitude. They saw more and more people attend the seminars and were pleased to see many newcomers join in the group exercises near their homes.
2. Exercise Sites Mushroom Everywhere
When Master returned to Changchun from Beijing in the winter of 1992, He brought back two Falun Dafa banners and gave them to the Shengli Park Exercise Site (the very first exercise site Master set up in Changchun) and the Jilin University Exercise Site. In addition, Master also set up many more practice sites in Changchun. Master handpicked each location, and before each site was up and running, He cleared-out any interfering factors from the surrounding areas and installed a shield. When the Changchun Zoo Exercise Site was first set up, there were only a handful people practicing there. Master told practitioners not to worry, since very soon the place would not be able to accommodate all the newcomers. We indeed saw that after Master’s sixth and seventh sessions of Fa-teaching classes, so many people began to join the exercise sites. When the sites became too crowded in 1995, we opened a few more exercise sites outside each of the zoo’s entrance gates.
A veteran practitioner who did the exercises at the Shengli Park recalled: “Every morning, I usually was the first to arrive for practice at Triumph Park. I would leave my home between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., carrying a broom or shovel. I was not hesitant at all. I would start the exercises as soon as I arrived and finish by dawn. I and others in our group would then sweep the place. Many disciples were like that. One old lady lived in Tiebei District; she got up every day at midnight and walked to the park (no bus ran that early). Another old lady lived in Jinqianbao community, a very far suburb north of Changchun. She started her walk every day to our site at 3 a.m. We were poor then and did not have down-filled jackets. We just wore thick cotton shirts and pants. We were so dedicated! Master led the exercises on the steps of Monkey Hill, we disciples did them in the south wood.” (http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2010/5/14/116969.html)
For a few years, more than 600 people regularly practiced the exercises together at various exercise sites, even when the temperature dipped to -22 oF. The freezing weather strengthened practitioners’ bodies and steeled their willpower.
Since Falun Dafa’s introduction in Changchun in 1992, in just five years the exercise sites had mushroomed in many parks, communities, workplaces and rural areas. One practitioner mapped out the exercise sites in 1994, and when he was done with the map, Master said, “Do you see that every red circle covering each exercise site has my Fashen (Law Body)? In the middle of the map, there is also a big Fashen.” At that time, there were a little over 30 exercise sites in Changchun; not too many people were at each exercise site.
By 1997, the fifth anniversary of Dafa’s introduction, exercise sites were everywhere in Changchun. When the persecution began in 1999, the Public Security Department estimated that there were more than 80,000 practitioners in Changchun. Actually there were many more that were practicing. It was just impossible to tally the number.
3. Large-scale Exercise Demonstration and Fa Promotion Activities
Changchun Culture Plaza, formerly known as Geology Hall Plaza, is located in the heart of Changchun and is the largest plaza in the city. This plaza witnessed the history of Falun Dafa’s spread in Changchun. Master’s home was about 500 meters to the west of the plaza. As the largest exercise site in Changchun, there were 600-700 people practicing there every morning.
On May 15, 1998, the sixth anniversary of Master’s introducing the Fa, the then-head of the General Administration of Sport of China came to Changchun to inspect Changchun residents’ workout routines. That day, among the tens of thousands of people doing morning workouts at Changchun Culture Plaza, 6,000-7,000 of them were Falun Gong practitioners who were divided into five sections. After seeing the grandeur of this scene of practitioners demonstrating the slow and gentle movements, the head was very excited and told his subordinates “This is Falun Gong!”
The Jilin TV Station, Changchun TV Station, Changchun Daily, Changchun Business and many other media outlets reported the May 15th group exercise event. CCTV (China Central Television Station) also ran a detailed report of this event on May 28, 1998.
When the Ninth National Winter Games started in Changchun on January 10, 1999, around 10,000 practitioners held an exercise demonstration to promote Dafa at Changchun Culture Plaza the very next day. That day, the Jilin Education TV Station sent a reporter to interview participating practitioners. Interviewees included senior professors, officials, doctoral students and service people. They all talked about their experiences of practicing Falun Gong and improving their xinxing. The practitioners’ peaceful and kind demeanor deeply impressed the reporter. The TV station later aired the interview, as well as Master’s exercise teaching video.
In order to enable the Ninth National Winter Games athletes (coming from various provinces) to learn about Falun Dafa, practitioners held a large-scale exercise demonstration at Nanling Stadium. Back then, one could already feel the pending oppressive atmosphere. As a matter of fact, that was the last large-scale exercise demonstration before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution.
4. Dafa Spreads to Places Outside of Changchun
There was a practitioner who lived deep in Daxingan Forest. In September 1994, he suddenly received a fax saying that his mother was gravely ill and the doctors said there was no hope. After he returned home, however, his mother got better and better. One night his mother woke him up saying, “I have wheels spinning everywhere on my blanket. The colors are so pretty, yet I can’t grab any of them. What do you think is going on here?” He knew right away that it was a Falun adjusting his mother’s body. His family and fellow villagers all wanted to learn Falun Gong after seeing his mother’s miraculous recovery. Every family in his village sent a representative to his house to learn Falun Gong, and then they went back to teach other people. In the end, more than 30 villagers learned the exercises. The practitioner then went to his brother’s village and taught more than 40 people to do the exercises. All these newcomers experienced positive changes, and some of them even had their illnesses completely cured through the practice.
French Falun Gong practitioner Thomas Dobson went to Changchun to learn Chinese before the persecution in 1999. He was only 22 years old. He said: “I planned to learn Chinese as I could not read many Falun Gong books or other relevant information, which was all available in Chinese. Thus I became determined to learn Chinese.” (http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2012/1/12/130656.html)
Thomas continued, “When I came to Changchun, what fascinated me most was that almost every family had at least one person practicing Falun Gong. No matter where you stayed, a mere 10 minutes’ walk would bring you to an exercise site. The one near my place had around 200 people doing the exercises together every morning at around 5 o’clock. Then, there were Fa-study groups everywhere. It was amazing! It felt like the whole city was following Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to look within and identify their shortcomings. All these observations greatly inspired my own cultivation and improvement. It was incredible that so many people were trying to improve themselves.”
5. Falun Dafa Painting Exhibition
The First Falun Dafa Painting Exhibition
The first painting exhibition was to commemorate the third anniversary of Master teaching the Fa to the public. It was held from May 10-14, 1995 in the gallery of the Changchun Science Building.
“Over 655 pieces of calligraphy, Chinese-style painting, oil painting, printmaking, wood carving, watercolor painting, cloth paste painting, embroidery, paper cutting, pennants, photographs and other handicraft products were exhibited. Within five days, more than 6000 visitors from all parts of China came to see the exhibition, including some Americans. Administrators from the Provincial and municipal qigong research departments came to the exhibition. After they looked at every piece of artwork very carefully, they highly praised Falun Gong and the exhibition. They also wrote inscriptions for Falun Gong and the exhibition, in which they praised Master for teaching people morality and that Falun Gong is beneficial to the public, and they also encouraged the public to practice Falun Gong. All the pictures of their attending the exhibition and inscriptions were published in the journal, “Falun Dafa in Changchun”.
The painting, “Going Back Home” was created by a practitioner whose celestial eye was open. In this painting, he depicted a magnificent and solemn paradise for us.
The Second Falun Dafa Painting Exhibition
From May 10 - 18, 1997, Falun Dafa practitioners in Changchun held the second Falun Dafa Painting Exhibition at the Nanling Sports Stadium in Changchun, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Master Li Hongzhi introducing Falun Dafa to the public.
Over a thousand artworks were received for this exhibition, including calligraphy, photos, wood carving, paper cutting, painting, embroidery, tapestries and other handicrafts.
During the exhibition, there were two on-site Arts seminars held by practitioners. More than 30 famous calligraphers, amateurs in painting and calligraphy as well as students from the Fine Arts Department of Northeast Normal University showed their talent. Most of them were Dafa practitioners. At the end of the seminar, their works were integrated into a masterpiece that was 35 meters long.
When Master came back to Changchun, he praised the art exhibition and said, “This is your mighty virtue!” (http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2011/5/27/125562.html)
6. Publication of Falun Gong-themed Newspaper and Magazines
Newspaper Falun Dafa in Changchun
Changchun practitioners launched a newspaper to provide a platform for people to learn about Falun Gong. The first issue briefly introduced Master and Falun Gong, and offered many real life examples to demonstrate the miraculous effect of Falun Gong.
The second issue, renamed Falun Gong in Changchun, came out in July 1994. The first page talked about Master’s Fa-teaching classes held at Jilin University’s Mingfang Auditorium, which attracted over 3,000 people. One qigong newspaper interviewed Master and asked what kind of people would be the best candidates to practice Falun Gong. Master answered, “In my classes there are senior people in their 90s and children as young as six years old. I have intellectuals as well as peasants and blue collar workers. Some students have practiced qigong before, while others never have. To sum it up, this practice suits people from all walks of life. As long as you are a rational person, you can practice Falun Gong exercises and learn the principles.”
The sixth issue was published in July 1995 and was renamed Falun Dafa in Changchun.
The seventh issue of the newspaper published artwork from the Changchun First Falun Dafa Calligraphy and Photo Exhibition, commemorating the third anniversary of Master’s introducing the Fa.
On January 10, 1996, Master wrote “Falun Dafa in Changchun” for the newspaper to print at the very top of future issues, with a Falun image displayed to the right. The first page of the ensuing issue also published the photo showing Master’s handwriting inscription “Falun Dafa in Changchun.”
Report of Lan Tai Nei Wai
The Lan Tai Nei Wai magazine reported the wide spread of Falun Gong in Changchun three times from March 1998 until the persecution started on July 20, 1999. Their report included an introduction to Falun Gong and pictures of practitioners doing the exercises outside.
The following photos are from the article "The Best Way to Keep Fit and Cure Illness is to Practice Falun Gong" published in 1998 in the column "Wishing you good health" from the magazine. The photos are scenes of Falun Gong practitioners from China's Changchun City celebrating the sixth year of Master spreading the Fa and teaching the exercises, with the then Chief of the Bureau of the General Administration of Sports visiting the crowd doing the morning exercises. (http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2010/6/7/117693.html)
7. General Administration of Sports of China Investigation Team Visited Changchun
From October 18 to 20, 1998, a three-person team from the General Administration of Sport of China came to Changchun to investigate Falun Gong. At the end of the investigation, the team head Qiu Yucai concluded, “Through our investigation we found that more than 10,000 people are practicing Falun Gong in Changchun. They include college professors and high-ranking officials. From blue-collar workers to intellectuals, everyone seems to have benefited tremendously from the practice. We think Falun Gong is really effective in improving health, stabilizing society and helping increase civility. We should fully acknowledge Falun Gong’s effect.”
(To be continued)
From the Call for Submissions to Commemorate the Twentieth Anniversary of Falun Dafa’s Introduction