Experience Sharing Report by Monika Weiss
Tampa, Florida, 12/29/01
Dear Fellow Practitioners, Dear Guests!
My name is Monika Weiss and I come from Germany. I am 60 years old and began my cultivation in June of 1999.
I belong to the group of the 36 Western practitioners who united on November 20th for a peaceful appeal at Tiananmen Square, the same group that was afterward detained by the Chinese police for 23 hours. I would like to share with you my experiences in conjunction with this peaceful appeal. But first a few words to answer the question about why I wanted to go to China in the first place.
In light of the escalating persecution, the inhumane treatment of Chinese practitioners and seeing photographs of those practitioners who had been abused and tortured, and sentenced to death, my wish to contribute somehow to the effort to end this gruesome persecution became stronger and stronger.
China is the very country where Falun Dafa became first known and was quickly and highly appreciated. For the past 2-1/2 years, China has been the only country in the world where the spread of Falun Dafa is massively prohibited through defamation and by committing the worst injustices against Dafa disciples. This brings great damage to the whole of humankind. Hindering people from obtaining correct information about Falun Dafa by forcing them to give credibility to government propaganda and misinformation blocks their way of cultivation. My desire is to have as many people as possible learn about Dafa and profit from that knowledge and also to shield them from the lies and untruths. By means of a public campaign we will be most effective to work against the lies and let the truth stand on its own, so that the Chinese [government] cannot hide the fact that Falun Dafa is treasured and practiced worldwide from the scrutiny of her own citizens, and that western Dafa disciples as well as their Chinese fellow practitioners are intervening for their beliefs.
Participating in this campaign is also a continuation of my visit to Beijing last year. After I had read in our newspaper recurring reports of misinformation about Falun Gong, another practitioner from Frankfurt and I went to the source of the evil. While there, we sought out German newspaper correspondents in Beijing to transmit to them a better understanding of Falun Gong and the persecution in China. We impressed on them the urgency that they must realize how negative an effect their reports will have if they casually and without reflection repeat the lies and misinformation dished out by the Chinese government about Falun Gong. We also impressed upon them the wonderful impact Falun Gong has had on us.
As it was last year, it was a travel brochure that was the deciding force [for this trip]. At first we were two, then twelve and soon thirty-six from many countries who bonded together, sharing the vision and the strong will to rectify the Fa on Tiananmen Square, the place of the biggest evil. I soon had an image in my mind of us as a group on Tiananmen Square, full of dignity, full of serenity and strength, and retained the feeling of complete natural-ness that it has to be done this way, an image that carried me through to the last. I wanted to categorically put a stop to the evil, wanted to show the Chinese people the presence of Falun Gong which has no borders, wanted to show the Chinese people our strength and to give a voice to those who in their own country don't have a voice any longer.
Some of my ideas were incorporated into the planning, but I became no longer actively involved. Thus began a process of already letting go. Formerly, it was I who had always organized, planned and thought ahead. I could let go of that attachment; instead I experienced a trust in Dafa and in our Master.
The closer the departure date approached, the more I wanted to concentrate on reading Master's scriptures, but because of "time constraints" it did not work out that way. Then one day I awoke at 5:00 A.M. and understood: this time was meant for me to read! I was able to read intensely and without distractions. That pattern repeated itself, day after day. My daily sleep time became shorter, and I got rid of another attachment -- to need at least seven hours of sleep a day.
Another practitioner and I had already arrived in China a week prior to our planned appeal. We rode on the Yangtze River for several days, besides doing other activities. The weather was gray and rainy. It was exactly the same stretch of river Master mentions in his article about Bigu. Our preparation time was good, marked by inner peace, and an increasingly harmonious travel group (could it have been our rays of energy as Dafa disciples?); I read a lot and performed the exercises. I was looking forward to the approaching date; I felt no fear, but rather some puzzlement about the absence of fear.
Then came the meeting in Beijing with our group of twelve Germans and Swiss. We did not entertain the question "what do we do if..." We did not want to leave the evil a loophole. Instead, we pre-purchased subway tickets to be able to disappear immediately after we had accomplished our purpose. I think that action gave us strength, although we were not so well prepared for that which followed after. At the same time I also thought if something should happen to me I want to be as steadfast as the Chinese practitioners. And should I lose my life for my convictions, my son has all the necessary legal powers of attorney.
The 20th of November on Tiananmen Square was brilliantly beautiful, completely different than the previous days on the riverboat. No doubts, only inner peace. It was all so self-understood. Only one question remained unanswered: would I really not hit back if someone would hit me?
We sat in pairs not too far from the flag where I watched people in the square, seeing them without recognition. One can easily single out the plainclothes policemen, but they didn't interest me. What I came to do here I will do, and won't be hemmed in by the evil. We kept sending out upright thoughts -- everything that does not belong here shall be done away with! And always the same thought: perhaps they won't see us, they, the watchers, the ones who went wrong, those who represent the government's dominion.
The group has formed. I stand exactly where I imagined I would stand. My eyes are open; perceptions are clear, no distracting thoughts or feelings. Begin. Someone next to me unfurls the banner bearing the lettering "Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance," the highest principles of Falun Gong; many Chinese tourists observe, then "Fa zheng quian kun," and immediately I see the police vehicles drive directly toward us.
My feeling tells me I am protected. With surprise I become aware that someone is grabbing me by the arms, I resist. Then I take the path of a virtuous Dafa disciple. We are not somehow mere demonstrators. We represent the virtue and power of Dafa, and my heart is calm. That is my posture during the whole arresting incident, and I achieve several things with this attitude. I don't want to cooperate, but want to display good manners and will demand the same of them. My personal information, my passport? Please. My cell phone? No way. Down into the cellar? Only if the other two Germans from the next room are joining us again. It seems to work. But behind bars? No, no way. Indeed I am the only one who remains out. I did set limits. Would Chinese practitioners be able to do that in my situation? I sense that here, in this place, they would not have even the slimmest chance. Nobody witnesses, nobody sees, nobody hears what happens down here, where acts of torture take place; tortures that were related to us by victims who told us at the risk of their lives. To change that, to bring an end to it, that's why I am part of this campaign. But I have to be vigilant to keep my strength in balance so that my action does not become some sort of sporting event.
I notice my empty mind more and more. I ask myself whether this is a good or a bad sign - am I passive or did I let go of something; did I surrender to my fate or am I maintained by a great feeling of trust? I felt very secure. I had learned to let go; learned that a higher order exists. At the same that I recognize this order I also admit that I no longer try and regulate everything according to my way of looking at things. At first that was very difficult. Now it is all right.
The interrogation. I am pressured for it twice; and twice I simply say "no." Then my German tour guide appears and asks for me to speak with him. But immediately follows an interrogation by two state security agents. Instead of answering their questions I declare unmistakably that I am here for those thousands if not millions of Falun Gong practitioners who for the more than the past two years have been subjected to the worst abuse and have been threatened with death. A cutting voice barks, "no politics." I regretted later that I followed that order and therefore missed my chance to further expose the lies. At the beginning I look upon the female interrogator with tolerance and attempt to raise the kernel of good that might still be inside her. I want to prevent her from doing so much evil. I cannot reach her, or perhaps there is nothing there anymore? I refuse any responses as well as my signature to a document written in Chinese; it is brief; it is chilly; it is over.
I did not accept the evil. Together with some others we later form a group and do the fifth exercise. A practitioner presents me with a "Falun," which I pinned [on me] and since have kept. We read "Zhuan Falun" under the watchful eyes of our captors, something that is forbidden in China. We did all this unhindered and as a matter of course. They did not dare to disturb us. Unfortunately I recognized that too late and did not exploit this opportunity.
What kind of an impression of us will all those young police officers take away with them? I wish that they may have seen from our conduct the power and peace of our path and how little of that they had seen correlates with the lies of Chinese propaganda. If we were able to move their hearts, then they in turn will move the hearts of other people in China. If so, we have breached a wall and our effort in China had been the right choice.