(Minghui.org) Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, gave his first lecture in Sydney, Australia, in 1996, imparting the practice of Falun Gong and its principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to the audience. August 3, 2012, marked the 16th anniversary of this grand occasion. Falun Gong practitioners in Sydney commemorated the event by studying the "Lecture in Sydney," the official publication of Mr. Li's 1996 lecture, and reminiscing fondly about Mr. Li's three lectures in Australia.

Ms. Meng was one of the practitioners who had the honor of listening to Mr. Li's first lecture in Sydney 16 years ago. "Sixteen years have gone by in a flash," she said, recalling that she "felt extraordinarily sacred when Teacher spoke" about cultivation practice.

Ms. Wu, a former reporter, had the pleasure of being at the press conference held during Mr. Li's third visit to Australia. She recounted how she started practicing Falun Gong.

She said: "When Teacher visited here for the third time, the world's media were shocked by Falun Gong practitioners' unplanned, yet orderly and peaceful appeal [the April 25 appeal in Beijing] for the release of their fellow practitioners from Tianjin [who had been beaten and arrested by police the day before]. Many Chinese and Western media were eager to interview Teacher. I was one of the reporters eager to ask him questions. I had compiled a list of questions. My very first question [on the list] was, 'Why does the Buddha school use a lotus flower as its symbol?' We reporters were asked to listen to Teacher's lecture and Falun Gong practitioners' cultivation experiences before the press conference. Teacher answered my question during the lecture. I hadn't even asked him the question! I was astonished. I was impressed and marveled at the answer. I sat listening to Teacher's lecture. I felt enveloped with powerful energy. I paid close attention to each and every word that Teacher said. I decided to start practicing Falun Gong right then!"

Ms. Wu said she initially read Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong, in pursuit of physical health. She was puzzled as to why it was written in such simple language, as opposed to ancient Buddhist scriptures that were written in complicated classical Chinese. Eventually, however, she realized that Teacher chose simple language so that more people could learn Falun Gong.

Ms. Wu also spoke of her happiest moment: "I shook hands with Teacher after the interview. I was standing right before him, but I couldn't see his face well. His face was very radiant. I was speechless. Teacher said to me, 'You must study Falun Gong books more. I am telling you the truth. You must study them more.' How fortunate was I!"

Another Falun Gong practitioner at the 16th anniversary celebration shared that she recently found five Udumbara blossoms at home. Udumbara is a Sanskrit word meaning "auspicious flower from heaven." According to Buddhist scriptures, it blossoms every 3,000 years. Volume 8 of the Buddhist scripture "Huilin Phonetics and Interpretation" says: "Udumbara is the product of ominous and supernatural phenomena; it is a celestial flower and does not exist in the mundane world. If a Tathagata or King of the Golden Wheel appears in the human world, these flowers will manifest due to their great virtue and blessings." The Udumbara flower was first discovered in Korea in 1997. Since then, it has also been seen in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, California, New York, Texas and other locations around the world.

Falun Gong practitioners concluded the 16th anniversary gathering by singing along with the video of "Ode to Teacher's Grace."