(Minghui.org) On May 13, 2021, I will celebrate World Falun Dafa Day with the millions of other Falun Dafa practitioners around the world. The day marks the 27th anniversary of Falun Dafa’s introduction to the public.

It is also a very special day because it is the birthday of Mr. Li Hongzhi, Falun Dafa’s founder and our cherished compassionate teacher. I would like to wish Teacher Li a very happy 70th birthday! He has given us all the greatest gift, the gift of moral principles to live by—Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.

These three principles entirely changed my life. I was raised in a Quaker family in Philadelphia. I was taught to be kind to others, but when I looked around I saw so much suffering it was hard for me to accept. I was unsettled. I longed to understand the meaning and purpose of it all and how to fix it. I volunteered, became an activist, and eventually chose a career that helped those in need, but I was still unhappy. I felt hopeless, like nothing I did would make any difference. After I got married and had children, I busied myself with the work of raising my three little ones and tried to ignore the suffering of others. I told myself I was just getting on with life like everyone else, but I felt like I had shut away a fundamental part of myself.

I became depressed and was going down a dark road when my husband suggested some spiritual reading. I felt I needed something physical as well and remembered liking the peacefulness of a qigong video I once saw. So, I did an Internet search of qigong in Philadelphia and found that Falun Dafa was being taught free of charge at the Liberty Bell every weekend morning.

One cold morning in January of 2012, I went to the Falun Dafa practice site at the Liberty Bell, and these kindhearted people began teaching me the exercises. Within the first couple of months, chronic illnesses that I had resigned myself to live with disappeared and have never returned. That was certainly a welcome surprise! But the most profound impact was the way the moral principles brought me an inner peacefulness deeper than I ever imagined possible. The unsettledness I had felt my entire life was replaced by a calm, hopeful faith in the power of good.

Each day I focused on bringing my thoughts and actions closer to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. This simple, constant task is a guide for every area of my life. With my family and at work, whenever life’s challenges come up, I can pause and look within myself to ask, “How can I react to this with truthfulness? In this situation, how can I be compassionate and think first about the other people involved? How can I be tolerant at this moment and not have my emotions sway me from a calm heart?”

I hear from my family members that they are glad for the changes they’ve seen in me. My husband says that I’m less uncertain and overwhelmed by choices. My parents say that I’m much more patient and tolerant, and that they no longer worry about me. My children see that I am able to teach them right from wrong with certainty and finally have answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

My 11-year-old son used to come home from school angry at how classmates had treated him. We talked about it and I tried to help him look at it from the principles of Falun Dafa, that although he felt wronged, these situations were actually an opportunity to strengthen his forbearance and compassion. Now, instead of complaining and feeling resentful, he sometimes tells me how well he did in keeping his temper and not becoming upset. I can see that he is practicing looking within and improving himself rather than being upset about the behavior of others.

Earlier this week, my 13-year-old daughter came to me upset, saying that since we are all going to die eventually, what is the purpose of anything we do? I explained to her that our actions in this life determine our futures, and that goodness is rewarded and evil is met with karmic retribution.

The suffering of others still pains me deeply. But unlike the superficial actions I tried in the past through volunteerism and activism, which felt futile in the face of it all, I now have immense hope in the power of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance to change the world. Just as my life was harmonized and healed by taking these principles into my heart, so will the world be harmonized and healed as more and more people do the same. As I see it, this is the purpose of my life and all life—to turn toward goodness, to improve oneself, and to spread compassion.

I thank Teacher Li for giving us this simple, powerful path. His immense compassion for all of humankind is like a beacon of light in the darkness. Thank you, Teacher Li. Happy birthday!

Category: Dafa Day Perspectives