Talking To People about Falun Dafa in the San Francisco Bay Area
(Minghui.org) I was only in my early 30’s in 1999 but already suffered from many health problems—neurosis, insomnia, dizziness, migraines, Meniere's syndrome, spinal disk herniation, and digestive diseases. I was very thin and I was always tired. Having to deal with chronic pain and discomfort, I became hot-tempered and depressed. I didn’t understand why human beings suffered so much. What is the meaning of life? I felt life was full of confusion and pain.
A friend called me right after Christmas in 1998 when she returned from a trip to Beijing. She told me about Falun Dafa and said it could help me. I had practiced Tai Chi before but stopped after a few years since I didn’t see any improvement. I felt qigong was a waste of time.
I told my friend that I wasn’t interested but she called again after New Year’s. Not wanting to tell her “no” again, I agreed to read the book Zhuan Falun. I always try to keep my word so after I finished the chores that night, I opened the book and started reading.
I was completely absorbed and kept reading until 3 o’clock in the morning. I read slowly as I didn’t want to miss anything. The principles in the book were wonderful. I finished the book in three days since I had to work during the day.
In the book, Master Li Hongzhi states the true meaning of life in the most simple language. He reveals the secrets of cultivation and answers all my questions about life. I thought, “Master is so right. Isn’t this what I have been looking for my entire life?” Ever since that day, I have never had any doubt about Master nor the Fa.
In less than three months after I began practicing, all my illnesses were gone and my body felt so light like I was walking on clouds. I experienced what Master says in Zhuan Falun,
“...you will feel that your body is light, as though treading on air. In the past, you would be tired if you walked a few steps, but now it is very easy no matter how far you walk. You feel as if being pushed while riding a bike, and you are not tired when going upstairs—no matter how many floors there are.” (“Heavenly Circuit,” Zhuan Falun 2014 Translation)
It was so wonderful to be free of illness! My body felt light and I was full of energy. My outlook on life completely changed. My xinxing also improved as I got rid of many attachments and bad notions. I strove to live up to the universal principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Clarifying the Truth in Chinatown
Master spoke during the Fa conference in San Francisco in 2005 and in his lecture he mentioned Chinatown,
“But I have noticed that the Chinatown area is a blank spot in your efforts to clarify the truth and validate the Fa. And yet that is the most, most important place in your region out West. For the most part, you haven't paid much attention to it. I walked around the area and didn't find a single copy of The Epoch Times. With things like this you should all be clear on what Dafa disciples are supposed to be doing!” (Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005)
I only participated in group Fa study and did the exercises, but I was not part of any truth-clarification efforts. I was anxious to get started but didn’t know what to do. When Master pointed out that Chinatown was a blank spot, I felt that it was my responsibility as a practitioner from the bay area to cover it. I decided to go to Chinatown.
A lot of the locals in Chinatown believed the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) lies and thus had a strong prejudice against Falun Dafa practitioners. Even though they didn’t know what Dafa really was it didn’t stop them from being hostile when we tried to talk to them. There were several incidents. I was scared at first but knew I had to stick to it. I rode the public transportation to go to Chinatown almost every weekend and passed out Dafa fliers on the streets. I did my best to clarify the truth to the locals and business owners.
Many times, people walked right up to us and cursed us, usually in Cantonese. I didn’t know their dialect so I usually didn’t understand what they were saying. I just smiled at them or tried to tell them about Dafa in Mandarin. After they saw that I didn’t understand them, most just left in a huff.
Over time, our practitioners came up with creative ways to clarify the truth, using display boards, truth-clarification umbrellas, and various fliers and booklets. With everybody’s effort and contribution, the environment in Chinatown changed dramatically. People’s attitudes changed as they learned the truth about Dafa and they became more friendly. People began to take our fliers, or stop and chat. Some who read our fliers thanked us for being there. I was truly happy to see sentient beings having a change of heart.
Clarifying the Truth at Fisherman's Wharf
In his lecture at the 2013 Western U.S. Fa Conference, Master said,
“But all the same, Dafa is spreading widely, and I am still calling upon you now to save sentient beings. As for what the future holds, we’ll just have to wait and see. At present Dafa disciples are to go save people, and thus I have been watching how each area is doing in truth-clarification. Some truth-clarification sites have really done an excellent job. There is an increasing number of tourist groups from mainland China nowadays. This is an arrangement for people to hear the truth in a different setting. Our truth-clarification sites are, in fact, the front line—the front line for clarifying the truth. But some areas have dropped this, as they’re busy with other projects. Those too have an effect, of course, and should be done; I affirm all Dafa disciple projects, as all of them can have an effect in clarifying the truth and saving people. But, now there are so many tourist groups, and many of the tourists from mainland China, in particular, have not managed to hear the truth.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2013 Western U.S. Fa Conference”)
Master also said,
“Many things in the Fa-rectification period aren’t that simple, and nothing is one-dimensional. Things arranged by gods involve multiple factors. When someone heads abroad [from China], well, since he isn’t able to hear the truth while in China, isn’t he being directed to go overseas so that he can learn the truth? You can’t abandon these people. We must still do a good job of clarifying the truth at the tourist sites in each region.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2013 Western U.S. Fa Conference”)
Soon after that conference, our Fa-study group was assigned to clarify the truth at a popular tourist attraction. We were to join two other practitioners who had been covering this location for many years.
Both were really famous attractions in San Francisco, but Fisherman’s Wharf is different than Chinatown. I soon discovered that more tour buses came to Fisherman's Wharf each day and most of these tourists were from China. We were there to talk to them about Dafa and the wrongful persecution and hopefully help them quit the Chinese Communist Party and its youth organizations. We had to convey our message quickly as time was tight for the tourists.
At first I didn’t know where to start and just couldn’t bring myself to start talking to people. Especially when the tourists were rude or unreasonable, I didn’t know what to say. I listened while the two experienced practitioners talked to tourists and learned how to start a conversation.
The two practitioners are very thoughtful and know all the local attractions. This provided them the perfect entry point to truth-clarification. They struck up casual conversations with Chinese tourists and then eased into talking about Falun Dafa and the persecution. Though it looked very easy and natural for these two practitioners, I just couldn’t break through the mental barrier and felt anxious. I asked myself, “How can you save people when you can’t even open your mouth and talk to them?”
Shen Yun brought a big breakthrough for me when it came to San Francisco. I saw how tirelessly the performers worked and how many times they rehearsed to achieve perfection. Despite their busy schedule, the performers cultivated solidly by studying the Fa and doing the exercises every day. Before they went on stage for each performance, they put their hands together and said in unison, “Help Master rectify the Fa and save sentient beings.”
Touched and inspired by the Shen Yun team, I decided, “When I returned to Fisherman’s Wharf after the performances, I will start talking to tourists and clarify the truth. I don’t have any reason not to.” When I was determined, my righteous thoughts grew stronger and stronger. In fact, as long as we have a little bit of righteous thoughts, Master will strengthen them and push us forward.
The first day I returned to Fisherman's Wharf, I reminded myself that I would talk to people that day. As soon as I got there, another practitioner said, “Let’s talk to people about Dafa today.” I knew Master was encouraging me through this practitioner’s words and strengthening my righteous thoughts.
I took some cards with information on how to circumvent China's internet firewall and just as I turned around, a group of Chinese tourists came towards me. I greeted them with a smile and briefly told them about the attractions in the area. They were happy to get some insights from a local. After we chatted a little bit, I handed them a card and told them to use a VPN to get more truthful news when they return to China. I told them about Dafa, why the persecution was wrong, and how important it is to quit the Party and its youth organizations. They agreed and quit the Party on the spot.
With Master’s perfect arrangement, I started talking to people. I successfully clarified the truth and helped them quit the Party. It was such a boost to my confidence.
I kept going to Fisherman’s Wharf to clarify the truth to tourists. The more I did it, the more my fear dwindled. We still sometimes encounter people who are hostile and say mean things. At first, I resented them for being so irrational. I let it get to me and became less motivated to clarify the truth. But Master said,
“You should remember that your righteous thoughts can change ordinary people and that you are not to be directed by them. If ordinary people say something or interfere with you, don't take it to heart, and just do what you need to do.” (Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005)
As I kept clarifying the truth, I was able to stay calm and not let any negative things affect me.
We sometimes ran into unexpected problems as well. A business owner from the pier was very upset with us one time. He shouted at a practitioner and even called the police. The practitioner didn’t speak English and came to me for help. As I walked up to the business owner, he strode across the walkway and got right in my face. He towered over me and yelled, “You can’t put your stuff on my chair. That is my property.”
I apologized and told him that we didn’t know we were not supposed to put things on that chair. I explained that the other practitioner didn’t speak English so she didn’t understand what he was saying. “But we know now and we won’t leave our things on your chair again.”
As his tone softened, I told him that we were there to raise awareness about the violation of human rights and persecution against a peaceful practice called Falun Dafa that is taking place in China. I also told the police about the persecution.
Two weeks later, the business owner came over to talk to us. This time he greeted us warmly and his attitude had completely changed. Having learned the truth of Dafa, this man never made things difficult for us again.
Since it's a popular tourist attraction, other individuals and organizations give out fliers. They too sometimes interfered with us at first but as time passed, they started recognizing Dafa practitioners as peaceful and kind people and they've gradually become more friendly. Our truth-clarification environment improved.
What's most rewarding is the great feeling of saving a person. I once talked to a female tourist who didn't want to listen. I didn’t let it affect me and told her about all the attractions on Fisherman’s Wharf. As she slowly warmed up, I told her why I was there. I told her what Falun Dafa is and that it is practiced in more than 100 countries and regions in the world. I suggested while she was outside China, she should watch the truthful news about what is really happening in China because the news in China is heavily censored by the CCP.
She told me she believes in Buddhism. I said, “Oh that is great. Believers of Buddhism are kind people.” She was happy and we talked for quite a while. In the end, I helped her quit the Party and she also convinced her husband to quit the Party as well.
Once I ran into a family of three from Beijing. I struck up a conversation. While we chatted I learned that they were originally from my hometown. We talked about China's history and the many movements that the CCP launched since it came into power. We had a great conversation and found that we shared the same values and held the same position on many things.
Their young daughter at first tried to get her parents to leave but quickly began listening to our conversation. She listened quietly as I told them about how Dafa is practiced all over the world and why Chinese people should quit the Party. They were very happy to hear it and agreed to quit the Party and its youth organizations. Before they left, they shook my hand and said, “Thank you so much. Hope to see you again.”
Once, a young couple stopped to listen about Dafa and we chatted. When I heard that they were from Changchun, I told them that it was where Master first introduced Dafa to the public in 1992 and since then Dafa has spread around the world. I urged them to learn more about the free world outside of China and more about Dafa. The nice young couple gladly agreed to quit the Party and each gave me a big hug before they left.
There are many more incidents like these. They always leave me touched and feeling recharged. Our hard work is worthwhile as long as sentient beings can be awakened to the truth.
As I look back on my experience clarifying the truth at Fisherman's Wharf, I truly feel that Master is watching over us every step of the way in our cultivation path and giving us the wisdom in our truth-clarification. Sometimes when I talk to people about Dafa, my words just flow like a stream, so natural and fluent, without my ever forming these ideas or planning the speech in my head beforehand—I’m usually not that quick-witted. This shows me even more that Master looks after and strengthens us for everything that we do.
Clarifying the Truth on the RTC Platform
After the coronavirus lockdown in March, we temporarily stopped going to Fisherman's Wharf. I was restless but didn’t know what to do. The coordinator of our Fa-study group invited a practitioner to talk about how she clarified the truth on the RTC platform. This platform provides practitioners outside of China the resources to phone people inside China to clarify the truth. After she shared her experiences, she invited us to join the project. I decided to try.
Each project has a different learning curve and I had a hard time getting started on RTC. When calling people on the phone, if you don’t grab their attention within seconds, they may hang up. Luckily, the practitioner who trained us is very experienced and provided us with many tools and materials to help us so we could become confident in contacting people.
When I phoned a region in northeast China a young man picked up. I told him about Dafa, and how it is practiced in more than 100 countries and regions worldwide. I talked about the persecution and organ harvesting. Surprisingly, he didn’t hang up and just listened quietly. I asked if he joined the CCP or any of its youth organizations, and he said no. I told him that was even better and suggested that he sincerely remember to say, “Falun Dafa is good. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”
Before I hung up, I urged him to share what I told him with his family and friends so they could quit the Party and by doing so, he would receive countless blessings. After hearing this, he seemed to finally understand what I was saying. He asked me to help him quit the Party as he did join the Young Pioneers and the Communist Youth League. I suggested a nickname for him and helped him quit these organizations. He was very grateful and thanked me sincerely.
When they receive such truth-clarification phone calls from overseas, people in China have concerns and reservations due to the Communist regime’s censoring and monitoring. A man in Guangdong Province picked up my call. He sounded nice but I could tell that he was a little nervous. After I talked about Dafa for a few minutes, he quickly cut me off, “I got it. I understand now. Thank you,” and hung up before I got to ask him to quit the Party. I called his number again but he didn’t pick up.
I was surprised when he called me five minutes later. He asked how I got his phone number. I explained and told him I meant well and wasn’t trying to get him in trouble—I only wanted him to be safe during this chaotic time. I told him how severe the coronavirus outbreak actually was in China and how the flood affected 27 provinces. He was surprised and told me he had no idea how large-scale the flood was.
I told him due to the strict internet censorship in China, most people don’t know the truth. The Communist regime only cares about its own interests and doesn’t care about people. I suggested that he withdraw from any Party organizations he joined so he wouldn't be held accountable for its crimes. He asked me to help him quit the Party and gave me his WeChat account so I could forward him more information.
I am relatively new on the platform and there are many things I still need to learn. The process of clarifying the truth is also a process of cultivating ourselves. Although I have gotten rid of many notions, I am still working on my attachments such as fear, competitiveness, and resentment. In the limited time that is left, I will try to do better and save more sentient beings. I will not let Master down.