Insights Gained While Screening “Free China” in Belgrade
(Minghui.org) I joined the project to screen the movie "Free China: The Courage to Believe" a year ago as country coordinator and experienced many wonderful things since. This is about our first private screening for friends of Falun Dafa practitioners and VIPs held in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, and my insights during the process.
It all started with screenings to my family members. Although I’ve been practicing Falun Dafa since 2005, I felt some of them never adopted a truly righteous attitude toward what I was doing, so my wish was to rectify this. The time was ripe.
My daughter read Zhuan Falun when she was a teenager. She took the book on her own initiative and read it from cover to cover, but in the end she said she didn't like it. Why? “It is a book that requires people to give up their emotions” – that's what she said.
Years passed, and she became a student at a film academy. When I asked her to see the movie and share her opinion, she said OK. Indeed, "Free China" helped remove some of her notions and understand the persecution and her father's cause. Later she helped me do the subtitling, search for a venue, and even invited her professors and colleagues to the private screening. What’s more, she decided to make a short film of my activities in general. I hope more people can be reached through this.
Next were my father and mother – although they admitted that I changed so much after I'd started to practice Falun Dafa, they never understood why I chose to spend so much time and money to "help Chinese people." One day, after a relative's funeral, I used the opportunity to level with them: “You are already old and could depart this world very soon. How could you go without understanding my cause? May I show you a movie?”
Mother’s true being understood – she was touched by the movie. But my father, having been poisoned by the communist culture all his life, was quite irritated and in disbelief at all that was shown in the film. I didn’t try to persuade him. Only compassion has the power to change people’s hearts – I've learned that from Falun Dafa – so I just tried to be sincere to him and share my experience.
In my youth, I was rebellious and opposed any authority, including school teachers and my father. I made trouble for my parents and caused them to suffer. I said: “I cannot go back and change things, but now that I’ve found peace of mind with Falun Dafa, I am sorry for what I did. Could you forgive me?”
Actually, my father needed my absolution, too. The movie gave us an opportunity to start being truthful and open with each other, and I think that openness finally broke the barrier produced by his notions. He understood that although “small people” such as me cannot defeat the Chinese Communist Party, fighting for a good cause is worthwhile. I felt relieved.
Reaching Out to Friends
The first private screening was held in a cultural center, a place popular with students and art lovers. We got the venue free of charge with the help of another practitioner's daughter, who seemed to lack the true understanding about Falun Dafa, just like my own daughter. The center even gave us permission to show the photo exhibition in the lobby on the night of the screening.
I had my 50th birthday during the early preparations for the screening. Because it was a milestone, family and friends expected some kind of a gathering, so I made arrangements for a quiet dinner party for a close circle of friends. But it didn't turn out as planned — the dinner ended up being a party for 60 people. Of course, any chance to save people is welcome, but I still wondered why I had to attend such an ordinary event.
Actually, it was training for the "Free China" events. Not only that, but all of the party guests also ended up on the screening guest list.
An elderly practitioner shared that she had no one to invite. Next day, a young man sat next to her on a bus, opened a book, and began to study. She noticed the book was in Chinese and started a conversation. It turned out that he was studying Chinese language at a university. The practitioner told him about "Free China" and invited him to the screening. He then asked if he could invite students and professors from his school.
Another practitioner had many friends to invite, including a Taichi instructor. But the instructor declined the invitation, fearing problems with the Chinese consulate and losing her position. She was quite negative and even asked why we should care so much about Chinese people.
Being relatively new to Falun Dafa, the practitioner took those words to heart. That night, she saw Master in her dream, coming out of a cloud and asking: "Are you coming to study with us?" That was a real encouragement for her.
Actually, all went according to Master's arrangements until the day before the screening. Then I had a dream: I was driving a van full of practitioners; we were heading to another city, where Shen Yun was about to perform. I was worried that we'd be late and was speeding. While talking to practitioners, I didn't spot something on the road in time. To avoid it, I then turned abruptly and ran off the road. Nobody was hurt, but we were stuck in a ditch.
Instead of having a calm mind needed to resolve the situation, I started to panic: "It's too late. We won’t be able to find alternative transportation. We won’t make it on time and Shen Yun cannot possibly start without us. The show will be canceled." I felt so guilty, even in my sleep. When I woke up, there was bitterness and regret in my heart. I had let Shen Yun down.
On the day of the screening, I also had that "being late" feeling. I couldn't explain why, as everything at the venue was ready and my arrival one hour early seemed timely enough. After all, I just had to plug in the cable to my laptop and click “Play.” But that's only if you don't have interference. And we did.
It turned out that the projector at the venue was low-quality, so we decided to replace it with a spare one. After we replaced the projector, my laptop started to freeze up. We transferred the video file to a spare laptop (my neighbor's), but before we could finish, the neighbor had to answer a phone call. Another couple of precious minutes were lost. He said afterward: "I can't believe it, it was my business partner from Mexico – why did he have to call just now?"
The new laptop was not OK – the picture was trimmed and changing settings was of no help. In the meantime, guests were filling the venue. It was time to start, but we were not ready yet. I tried my laptop one more time and now it seemed to work. After checking the connection, I made opening remarks, apologizing for the delay. The lights went off and the screening started.
Only then did I realize that each of the 100 seats were occupied, and some guests were still standing. After providing extra chairs, I settled down and asked Master for help: "Please make the computer work." I was unable to send forth righteous thoughts and couldn’t find fellow practitioners to ask them to do it. Just like in my dream, my xinxing was on the level of an ordinary person — as if I were trying to save my own face instead of saving people.
Master did help, and the screening continued without interruption. After the film, comments were positive and the guests were quite happy to have attended such an event, even on a rainy day.
One of them commented: "Here, with you people, I feel at home." Others wanted to learn the practice.
There was little discussion after the screening, as owing to interference, my closing remarks were too short and my invitation to Q&A was a mere formality. The photo exhibition provided some more information, as did the practitioners who mingled with guests during the reception afterward, but still some expected more.
This made me realize how important it is to clarify the facts in person. We shouldn’t think that the film can do the whole job by itself. After all, the guests probably belong to our own domains, so who else could save them but us?
Cooperation Is Key
As a body of practitioners, we cooperated very well and that may be the key point. Actually, all of the following screenings of "Free China" in my country proved to be perfect opportunities for cooperation and improving xinxing.
As long as we regarded each screening as cultivation, instead of a job to be done, and tried to look within, people would get a chance to be saved. On the other hand, a flash of human thought, such as "I did well" or "it’s hard to do," would ruin everything. From my understanding of the Fa, those who we save have their own criteria for salvation and if things are not up to par, we will not get the chance to save them.
We should not rely on everyday people or expect anything from them. But it seems this time Master was taking care of those close to us as well. My wife, who is not a practitioner, helped a great deal in inviting guests. The same goes for the husband of one of the practitioners and my own brother, in addition to those already mentioned. We all feel gratitude to Master for giving us this chance.
This reminds me of a passage from Master's lecture, "Touring North America to Teach the Fa":
"During today’s persecution, if an ordinary, everyday person can say to another person, 'Don’t persecute Falun Gong, Falun Gong is good,' and as a result that person doesn’t persecute Dafa disciples, and in the future he even has the opportunity to remain and obtain the Fa, if he came down from a high level to obtain the Fa, then his cultivation will be rapid. Then think about it, his Consummation will be the Consummation of an enormous group of beings, and the Consummation of a Lord, or a King. Yet his Consummation was made possible by an everyday person. That everyday person, an ordinary everyday person, will even become a great God. Then even more so, what about Dafa disciples doing something so magnificent …"
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners.
Category: Clarifying the Truth