(Minghui.org) China was a land of divine culture and used to have a state of etiquette and ceremonies. Self-cultivation is part of that divine culture. The realm of one's cultivation is reflected in one's behavior and appearance.

However, the Chinese Communist Party has destroyed the traditional culture over the last several decades. Chinese people now behave rudely in public, including spitting, littering, shouting, and using profanity.

Falun Dafa practitioners, as cultivators, should disintegrate the Party culture and spread the values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance through our manners and mannerisms.

Master has told us,

“Yet there have been many people in the past who, after starting to cultivate, became slovenly, unkempt, and dirty. If a Dafa disciple is like that, then I would say you are tarnishing Dafa’s image. As you know, when I lecture to you on the Fa on whatever occasion, I think I’m dressed rather neatly, relatively speaking. The fact is, I do that to show you an example.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference”)

I would like to remind practitioners, especially those who clarify the facts at tourist sites, to pay attention to our image. A positive image makes us approachable, improves the effectiveness of our outreach, and helps us validate the Fa.

Leaving a good first impression is important, and there is only one opportunity to do so. It can be formed in as little as 3 seconds–roughly 60 percent through visual inputs and 40 percent through oral messages. An observant person can tell if someone is well-educated and trustworthy from one's appearance. A positive first impression, together with a sincere attitude and compassionate spirit, open the door to pleasant and relaxed communication.

Etiquette in today's society includes showing respect for others, the environment, and the rules through one's appearance, speech, and behavior. I would like to mention the following basic points:

I. Greeting with a Smile

A sincere smile is a good greeting in any country. It's the most beautiful facial expression and makes people feel closer to each other.

II. Voice

Master said,

“And another thing is, the sounds that they produce are utilized by divine beings to cleanse people’s bodies of bad things, and they can penetrate down to deeper layers, and have a great, positive effect.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)

Our voice is important for truth clarification. A clear and calm voice at the right speed and expressing our thoughts sincerely makes people feel peaceful and comfortable. We shouldn't raise our voice, except when we have to talk to a group of people.

III. Oral Hygiene

We should avoid eating garlic, onion, ginger, chives or other pungent food before going out to do truth-clarification activities. Brushing one's teeth and chewing gum can help freshen one's breath, but chewing gum can be unsightly. A chewed piece of gum should be wrapped in tissue before being thrown into a trash can.

There is a story from the Tang Dynasty about oral hygiene. Song Zhiwen, a famous poet, served as a literature attendant for Empress Wu Zetian. He looked dignified and was talented at writing poetry, but Empress Wu stayed a distance from him. He was very puzzled. He wrote a poem once and submitted it to Empress Wu. After reading it, Empress Wu told others, “Song is so excellent in every way, except that he has bad breath.” When Song heard about Empress Wu's comment, he felt very embarrassed. He tried many methods to get rid of his bad breath.

IV. No Fidgeting

We need to refrain from fidgeting during conversations, including head-scratching, nose-picking, and similar behavior. Never sit with the legs open or crossed, or chew while talking.

V. Conversational Manner

Leave a good distance while talking to people. Make gentle eye contact and listen carefully. Keep actively engaged in the conversation. Try not to yawn, look away, or spit.

VI. Personal Appearance

Ladies may wear natural-looking makeup. The hair should be neat, in a modest style, and decent. Long hair should be tied or pinned into place. Clothes should be clean, tidy, decent, and free of wrinkles. It's better not to exceed three colors with clothing. Wear limited accessories and keep fingernails short and clean.

Men's hair should be short and neat, but not too trendy. Shaving every day is necessary. A suit, shirt or tie should all be worn correctly. Clothes should be clean and free of wrinkles.

Maintaining a good appearance also includes minding one's body odor, dandruff, and ear wax.

VII. Attire

It's suggested to wear business formal or business casual attire when clarifying the facts at tourist sites. Business casual is more comfortable and appears more relaxed when talking to people.

We should avoid wearing torn clothes, short skirts, low-cut shirts, leggings, jeans, or athletic wear. Dresses which look overly elegant and suits that look too formal may make us look stiff.

Shoes and belts should be clean and fit well, and complement the colors of one's clothes. Normally, the shoes and belt should be the same color, and socks should be a dark color.

VIII. Plastic Bags

During our truth-clarification and public activities, we shouldn't keep plastic bags with miscellaneous belongings in our hands, especially when entering a theater for a Shen Yun performance.

Falun Dafa practitioners cultivate our hearts and have a compassionate energy field. It manifests in our benevolent and kind appearance. Our image improves as we make improvements in our cultivation. It's said that one's face changes as his heart changes. Compassion originates from the heart and shows in the face. The beauty of pure compassion is the most touching and accommodating.

Master wrote in his poem,

“he is full of great aspirations while minding minor details.” (“Sage” from Essentials for Further Advancement)

I hope we can make a collective improvement in our etiquette, present a better image of Falun Dafa practitioners, and save more sentient beings.