Western Practitioner – Being a Particle of Dafa
(Minghui.org) I began practicing Falun Dafa one year ago and it has changed the course of my life. I am so grateful to Master Li Hongzhi (the founder) for his compassion.
I was fortunate to attend the Fa conference in New York City in May 2019. I learned so much and uncovered many attachments. I also connected with other practitioners and am so grateful for the improvement in my cultivation that came from these new connections. But some of my most significant enlightenment came in a way I never expected.
Our local group was chosen to participate in the large-scale emblem formation on Governors Island. I wasn’t sure what to expect but felt honored, as we all did, to be a part of it.
When we arrived, we were placed in groups and awaited further instruction. Folks made good use of the time, doing the exercises while they waited. Then came the time for our group to be directed to our position. I took my place in a front row, where a yellow raincoat and circle were awaiting me. We each took our seat on our circle and waited while others got in place.
It was a warm spring day, with the sun shining brightly. The wait was quite long, but no one seemed to mind. We all sat patiently, awaiting further instruction.
I realized as the time passed, that I should have worn sunscreen, as my arms were turning pink and were feeling a bit tender. But I didn’t mind.
We were finally instructed to put on our raincoats so we would look uniform from above when the photos were taken. Once we put them on, it didn’t take long before I began to sweat inside my raincoat. I rolled up my sleeves and saw a layer of sweat covering my arms. I was grateful for the light breeze that helped to cool them off.
As time passed, and the sun continued to beat down, I became more and more uncomfortable. Not only was my whole body dripping in sweat, but the raincoat touching my sunburnt arms was difficult to endure. From the hours of sitting, my legs and hips began to ache, and I had to occasionally stretch out in order to endure the long time sitting in place. Those of us in the front row were fortunate that we were able to stretch, as those behind us didn’t really have the room to do that.
As we continued to sit in our raincoats under the noonday sun, I began to feel like a turkey in an oven roasting bag. My mind was having a difficult time tolerating the heat, as I usually become nauseous and dizzy when in the heat for long. I found myself taking the raincoat off and putting it back on so that the breeze could help cool me off. Having to wear the hood on my head was especially difficult, and made me overheat even more. I was struggling and found myself wondering why they were making us sit there for so long in a hot piece of plastic.
As we continued to sit, and as the day grew ever-hotter, they announced that if any of us needed to leave the formation, we could do so, as there were others waiting on the sidelines to take our place. They were giving us an out in case things were too difficult and we couldn’t endure the heat. I thought to myself, “You can’t do this... just go ahead and let someone else take your place. You know you can’t take this kind of heat.” Then I looked at someone in the section in front of me. Sweat covered the inside of her raincoat, and there was what looked like steam inside her raincoat (“Unless I’m hallucinating,” I thought). But she wasn’t getting up to leave.
I looked behind me to see what others from my local group were doing. Some of them are in their 70s and 80s. Would they get up to leave and let someone else take their place? After looking back several times and seeing that no one was getting up, I thought that I, too, should stick with it. And so I found the strength to endure. I then thought, “Any one of the people on the sidelines would love to be participating in this! How could I think of giving up?! Especially when the elderly folks around me weren’t giving up! I was doing this for Master and for those around me, so how could I not endure, when Master has done so much for me?! My earlier thoughts were not righteous.”
Looking back on the experience, Master’s words come to mind:
“Indeed, do you realize something? You are Dafa disciples, and countless beings above, beings simply limitless in number, envy you. If today I were to offer any high-level god, no matter his greatness, the chance to come and be a Dafa disciple, he would leap at the opportunity in a split second—the instant my words reached him he would come. He would be simply elated, for everyone who is aware knows that this way he could not only save himself, but also the countless sentient beings of his world. That is simply the most extraordinary thing in the future cosmos.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 New York Fa Conference”)
And so I persevered. It was still not easy, but I was determined.
Finally, the time came for the photos. We sat in position to send forth righteous thoughts with our raincoats on, as a drone buzzed overhead taking photos and videos. It went on for some time, at least that’s how it felt. The announcer said he knew we had been sitting for a long time, but reminded us all to sit up straight for the photos. I thought, “This is the time you’ve been waiting for, so you have to do your best for Master. Sit up straight and do what you’re supposed to do. It’s time.”
And just like that, it was over. We were done. We had arrived at 9 a.m. and it was now early afternoon. I stood up and stretched, drenched in sweat and a bit sore. But I was so glad I had hung in there. I knew it was a precious opportunity.
We dispersed and sat on the lawn to eat the lunch we'd brought. We saw some people with red raincoats, some with white raincoats, blue raincoats, and black raincoats. We wondered why the different raincoats and why there was a group in all white sitting in meditation. We weren’t sure if they were there for the emblem or part of some other group that had come to the island.
We headed back to the boat, and the line to board was at least an hour wait. But we were all patient and awaited our turn. Surprisingly, I didn’t really feel tired like I thought I would.
After returning home, I saw the photos of the Falun emblem and the characters we had formed, “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.” There I was, a little dot, one little speck, in one of the front rows of the “Truthfulness” formation. I was so small and seemingly insignificant, but still making up a part of the whole. Seeing the emblem from above, I enlightened to something.
I am a particle of Dafa.
I have read Master’s words stating this, and I have heard other practitioners say this. But I didn’t fully understand until that moment.
As I looked at the photo in amazement, I thought back on my experience. I had known what we were forming but hadn’t fully grasped the enormity of it. My first thought was, “Wow, so much planning must have gone into this!” It was truly incredible!
At the time, I somehow didn’t understand why others had different colored raincoats, even though we knew in advance what we were forming. I lost sight of the big picture and focused on my own little area, on what was immediately impacting me. I couldn’t see the amount of work and flurry of activity occurring to make it all come together. I was a tiny particle in that big picture and could only see my small little space in that moment. When I finally saw the big picture, I understood.
It took everyone cooperating together to create the emblem. In one of the photos, several people in yellow raincoats appeared to be running to get back in their place. This photo lacked the impact and beauty of the photos where we were each in our place. I thought, “This is just like being a particle of Dafa. When we are each in our place, each doing what we are supposed to do, we accomplish what is intended. And it’s indescribably beautiful and impactful, and so meaningful.”
I recalled the difficulty I had in doing what I was supposed to do. It was hot and painful and really uncomfortable. When it got tough, my mind fought to keep me from accomplishing my task. My notions told me that I couldn’t make it, that I should give up, that I couldn’t take the heat. My attachment to comfort was strong. But I managed to find the strength and endurance needed to do what I had set out to do, to play the part I had agreed to play. My desire to do my best for Master and others, along with the encouragement I found from seeing others around me do what they were supposed to do – these are the things that helped give me that strength. How could I have thought of letting Master down, of letting others down, just because I was a little uncomfortable? I was ashamed to have had these thoughts and for complaining in my mind.
As Dafa disciples, we have an agreement with Master. It’s not easy, and interference and our notions and attachments come to take us off-course. But we must remember what Master has done for us and why we are here. We must persevere.
We are each a particle of Dafa. Let us not forget, in this last stage, to do well what we are supposed to do.
Thank you, Master, for all that you have done for us!
Category: Improving Oneself