Cultivation Experiences at the Chinese Consulate in Houston, Texas
(Clearwisdom.net) Since early 2003 a group of Houston practitioners has been trying to maintain a greater presence at the Chinese Consulate, especially during the working hours of the Visa and Passport Office. It is during those hours that we have a chance to influence people traveling to or from China. Practitioners come when they can and spend however much time they can at the Consulate. Some can spend several hours, while others can spend just one hour, two hours or more, and some are able to spend only as little as 30 minutes. It is not the length of time spent, but the effort that counts. Each minute should be treasured.
This paper is a summary of my experiences of being part of the group that appeals regularly at the Consulate.
Too Many Banners
Shortly after the lawsuit against Jiang Zemin was initiated, Houston practitioners wanted to take a more in-depth approach to clarifying the truth about the persecution and about Jiang's crimes.
We made several banners of various sizes and started hanging them on the scaffolding that surrounded the Chinese Consulate, which was being remodeled at the time. The number of our banners increased, and they had hung there for only one or two months, when the police suddenly arrived one day and said that we could not hang the banners on the scaffolding because it was against a city ordinance. After some discussion, they said that we could put the banners on wooden frames or PCV pipe frames as long as the frames weren't attached to the property and as long as they were in the public area.
We complied with the police directive and hung our many banners on wooden and PCV frames. However, within a short time the police came back and said that we could not use any frames and would have to hold the banners with our hands. We were disappointed but finally we all came to the realization that the rule was documented in the municipal code and that as good people we should follow the rule. When we started holding the signs with our hands or attaching them to our bodies so that we could practice the exercises, we noticed that people were slowing down and really looking at the signs. With only two banners up, we discovered that we could quietly and within reason put the signs on wooden frames without police intervention.
These incidents with the banners have provided me with valuable lessons in cultivation: First, we should consider others in whatever we do. If you have too many banners and signs, your message is diluted and clutters the environment where people live and where business is conducted. Second, we should check ourselves when tribulations occur. Putting blame on the police or on each other and the old forces is actually falling into the old forces' trap, where they can then utilize our gaps to defeat our efforts. Third, we should always focus on the process rather than the result. It is not the number of the banners, it is the message and compassion behind them that makes them successful.
Police Visits and Righteous Thoughts
Because I am a Falun Dafa practitioner, I always want to strengthen my image as a good person. However, if I worry too much about my image and am nervous when the police come to discuss issues with me, I undermine my righteous thoughts, which allows the old forces to manipulate the police's minds to misunderstand and work against me.
I must remember that worry and nervousness are attachments that I must remove in cultivation and that the old forces can utilize them to defeat my efforts to help Teacher save people.
If I remember that we are here to save people and that Falun Dafa practitioners do everything with that thought in mind, my interactions with the police and with others will be very successful.
Weather and Righteous Thoughts
Houston's weather can be hot and humid or cold and icy. In addition, it can change at a moment's notice. During our vigil at the Consulate, several times I have found that if I allow my human mind to take over and pay attention to the weather as being too hot, too cold or rainy, all of a sudden all types of human feelings and troubles arrive. Troubles that are not even related to the weather will suddenly come up to distract me from my objective of saving people.
However, when those distracting thoughts arrive, if I forget my self and always remember that my objective is to clarify the truth and save people, with that thought filling my mind, the weather will suddenly become unimportant and unnoticeable to me.
Find Opportunities to Show Helpfulness
In many cases I am the first person most visitors meet when visiting the Consulate and because of that they naturally feel comfortable asking me questions about the area. Since I am a Dafa practitioner, I am most happy to be of help whenever possible.
I have also found that when I assist people by telling them where post offices, ATM machines, passport photo shops, Chinatown and restaurants are, then they seem more eager to listen to me and accept my truth-clarification materials. In fact, this helpfulness has started to make me a part of the community and not just some protestor with my own agenda.
Also, since the parking around the Consulate is scarce and strictly enforced, I frequently warn people not to park in parking areas that are known to tow cars. Several hundred dollars in towing charges have been saved by my warning people about the tow zones.
React with Compassion
Being at the Consulate is almost like being on the front lines of a battle with the evil. The evil uses many people to fight with the practitioners at the site. Over the past few months we have matured tremendously because of this exposure to Xinxing (1) conflicts.
Many people yell, shout, shake fists and point fingers when they see our banners, read our messages, view our DVDs and CDs or hear our practitioners telling them about the goodness of Falun Dafa. These people are so poisoned against Falun Dafa that they can only repeat the rhetoric that they have learned from the media in China. But I react calmly and clarify the truth to counteract the evil messages spread by those who are against Falun Dafa. In the beginning not many people were swayed from their ideas, but now more and more are being persuaded to change their minds. Also, I am finding that other people often chime in with arguments in support of Falun Dafa.
I am able to more quickly recall that we are not at the Consulate to win arguments but to save people. With that righteous thought, what words from an ordinary person can move my heart and mind from saving that person? I realize that we cannot save everyone but I refuse to give up on anyone and I always hope to meet that person again for the next opportunity to save him or her.
Evil Grows While We Are Busy Elsewhere
I have noticed how the environment at the Consulate is noisy and chaotic after the Dafa disciples have been away from the Consulate at a Fahui or other meeting. After coming back, the traffic is aggressive with horns honking, tires squealing, people yelling or talking loudly, but after a while it quiets back down and the environment once again becomes more serene.
In fact, I have discussed that the more practitioners that show up at the Consulate, the quicker the environment calms down. Master says, "one righteous mind can subdue 100 evils," so we believe that the more righteous minds we can place at the Consulate, the more evil we can subdue.
Don't Think That You Are Not Needed Since Others Are There
Many times I have thought that I wasn't really needed at an event and felt that I should do some other Dafa project or activity. However, if I pay close attention when I attend events it seems that there is always something that I can add or do to make the event more of a success.
One particular situation arose recently that really reinforced that feeling for me. It was a Saturday at Din Ho shopping center. Some of us were clarifying the truth to the Chinese people there. One practitioner who doesn't come to Din Ho very often dropped by that day. The practitioner hadn't been there long when a Hispanic lady came by and asked where to buy martial arts equipment. The practitioner said he wasn't sure, as he directed her to the table of Falun Dafa materials and started clarifying the truth to her.
As the conversation continued, the practitioner and the Hispanic lady discovered that they had more and more in common. They discovered that they lived in the same area, which was quite a distance from Chinatown. Also, the practitioner and the lady's husband were both PhDs and studied in very similar disciplines. The conversation went very well and I believe a predestined relationship was fulfilled. I feel that if that practitioner had not been there that day, then this predestined relationship may have gone unfulfilled.
Master always reminds us that we are one body. But even though we are one body, each one of us has different skills and traits. All of us need to be careful and not let the old forces convince us that we are not needed at a certain event. We may miss an opportunity to fulfill a predestined relationship.
If You Can't Speak the Language, Send Righteous Thoughts -- It Is the Universal Language
Many times there are Dafa activities where a language other than the one we speak is involved. It is natural to think that perhaps you are not needed there and could do something more productive. But with the situation at the Consulate, I have come to change my mind. There have been several instances at the Consulate where I have been needed to send righteous thoughts. Since I am unaware of the meaning of Chinese conversations going on around me, I can more easily ignore the conversation and concentrate on the righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil or blockage. The same rationale applies to visits to government and business offices. Perhaps a non English-speaking practitioner could more easily ignore any distractions in the conversation and send righteous thoughts more effectively.
Fa Study at The Consulate
Since several of us spend quite a bit of time at the Consulate, we fill those hours with truth clarification, practicing the exercises and Fa (2) Study. While studying the Fa at the Consulate, I have found that it refreshes me. In addition, it helps me to be more creative in clarifying the truth and addressing issues that come up during those activities. I have also found that it strengthens my righteous thoughts and eliminates the human tendencies toward competitiveness and argumentativeness.
This concludes my paper on my experiences at the Houston Chinese Consulate. I am sure that the other practitioners have even richer experiences that they could share with us. If you have similar or different experiences, I sincerely hope that you will share them so that we may all improve in our cultivation. In addition, if there are errors or omissions in my thinking or application of the Fa's principles, please point them out so that I may improve my cultivation state.
(1) Xinxing: mind-heart nature; moral character.
(2) Fa: Law and principles; the teachings of Falun Dafa.