(Minghui.org) I work as a Chinese teacher in Italian high schools and universities. When I first began my career, I didn’t understand that my cultivation and work environment were intertwined. As my understanding of cultivation deepened, I gradually understood my role as a practitioner was to clarify the facts about Falun Dafa to my colleagues and students.
I firmly believe that everyone in the world is here for the Fa, and those teachers and students who choose to teach or study Chinese must have a profound connection with China.
At the beginning of each school year, the first thing I tell my new students is, “Because you’ve chosen to study Chinese, you must have a deep connection with China!” I always say this, hoping they remember their bond with China and learn the truth about Dafa.
Sharing the Truth with University Teachers
One of my friends is a professor who graduated with a degree in Chinese in the early 1980s and taught political economics in the Chinese department. Our meeting each other seemed predestined. I got to know her shortly after I arrived in Italy. Over the years, we became close friends and, later, colleagues.
A few years ago, she said she planned to participate in a seminar on China’s economic development. Experts and scholars from all over Europe planned to attend, with the purpose of assessing the Chinese economic market for companies planning to invest in China. Given her expertise in this field, she was invited to present an analysis report. I realized that her presentation would significantly impact the opinions of many regarding the Chinese market.
I previously discussed Falun Dafa and the persecution in China with her. She had firsthand experience of the situation facing Dafa practitioners because she frequently traveled there for academic exchanges. She strongly opposed the suppression of faith and freedom of belief. However, she said that China was experiencing rapid economic development, attracting significant foreign investment.
I invited her to lunch. The Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party had just been released, and I prepared some materials, including the Nine Commentaries, to share with her.
I explained that China’s oppressive political environment could pose investment risks, and the persecution of spiritual beliefs could lead to a profound disaster for any country. I advised her not to align with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and portray it in a favorable light.
She argued with me by citing economic data and said, “I’m a researcher; I base my statements on data. While what you say makes sense, it may not be convincing in a seminar like this.” Neither of us could persuade the other.
Since our discussion was inconclusive, we scheduled two more meetings to continue our conversation. I felt frustrated because I felt that I couldn’t influence her.
On the third day, I received an unexpected call from her. She sounded excited and said, “During my presentation today, I departed from my prepared script and discussed what we talked about. My viewpoints shifted entirely toward your perspective. I elaborated on the ideas you shared! As I continued speaking, my thoughts crystallized, and I emphasized how investors should pay attention to the country’s environment, including the social system and the government’s credibility, instead of just focusing on investment incentives. I also shared my understanding of the dark side of the CCP’s rule.”
She said that while she was less prepared to talk about this, she was delighted with the outcome. She added that the audience responded positively, with some participants noting that this part of her presentation was more important, meaningful, and practical.
When she returned, she downloaded Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Dafa, and began reading it. When we met again, she said, “Last night, before I went to bed, I read Zhuan Falun as usual and fell asleep. I had an exceptionally vivid dream. I found myself in China, a young Chinese girl of about 10 years, standing in front of a display filled with delicate china. Beside me were my parents: A Chinese woman and an Italian antique dealer.”
She described her dream in great detail, emphasizing its vividness. I believe she saw one of her reincarnations in a past life. Because she made the right choice, Master encouraged her. I felt very happy for her.
This incident made me realize that we should not be swayed by the other party’s reactions when we tell them about the persecution. Our responsibility is to convey the truth. Even seemingly hopeless situations can experience a sudden turnaround, thanks to the power of Dafa!
Introducing Falun Dafa at High Schools
When I taught in high schools, I attended classes alongside Italian teachers and assisted them with oral exercises.
The Italian teachers who teach Chinese used textbooks produced in China; the same ones they used during their university education. After graduating, most of these teachers received scholarships from Confucius Institutes to study in China for several years. As a result, they were exposed to various levels of CCP propaganda. Additionally, having witnessed the superficial economic prosperity during their time in China, it was challenging for them to understand the CCP’s destructive nature, and that Falun Dafa was actually being persecuted.
The school’s course schedules were established at the beginning of each semester. If I wished to introduce Falun Dafa to students in the classroom, I needed to obtain the approval of the Italian teachers. I presented the facts to the teachers and also sent forth righteous thoughts while asking Master Li (Dafa’s founder) to help me. Consequently, I’ve never had any issues when I proposed to introduce the practice to students. The teachers always allocated the entire class period to me.
Regardless of which school I taught at, I brought Dafa flyers to the principal’s office to talk with him or her first. One principal, with whom I had a conversation before his retirement, was deeply moved and said, “Thank you for sharing this information with me. I believe it’s of great importance, and I hope you will educate our students on this topic. The young people in Italy, especially those who are taking Chinese lessons, should be aware of what is happening in China.”
I first introduced Falun Dafa to the students so they could understand what the practice entails. I then discussed the persecution in China, and the class learned the five sets of exercises from instructional videos. The students were enthusiastic and wholeheartedly embraced the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
The Italian teachers also read the materials and learned the exercises with the students. Some teachers even changed their social media profile pictures to display the three words, “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”
To reach out to the students not enrolled in the Chinese class, I approached the physical education teachers and introduced Dafa to them. I explained that it’s practiced worldwide and has both physical and mental benefits. They all agreed to allow me to introduce the practice in their classes.
The results were positive. The students were attentive and earnest when they learned the exercises. One physical education teacher said, “The students usually view physical education class as a time for relaxation, laughter, and play, but I noticed they took your teaching very seriously.” He later purchased a copy of Zhuan Falun so he could learn more about Falun Dafa.
One teacher posted a video of his students doing the exercises in the gym class and a flyer introducing Dafa on the school’s website. All the teachers and students’ parents saw it. The principal also commended Falun Dafa and pointed out that when the students did the exercises they were focused and calm. She said, as the principal, she felt deeply gratified that Falun Dafa had the potential to benefit the student's physical and mental well-being.
After learning the facts about Dafa and doing the exercises, many teachers said their students appeared happier and more focused. Other teachers also asked me to show their students the exercises.
When I introduced Falun Dafa, I emphasized traditional Chinese culture, as well as the significance of Chinese characters in Chinese divine culture. I also shared videos from Shen Yun performances and programs from New Tang Dynasty Television, which the students really liked.
When Shen Yun performed in Italy, the school organized a trip. During the performances, the students experienced the depth of traditional Chinese culture, and they were impressed by the beauty of the performances. Many of them said they were proud they studied Chinese.
After the online courses ended during COVID, I found many students were depressed. Some even suffered from mental health issues. To help them remain positive, I screened the movie Fu Yao, which tells the journey of a practitioner as she grew into a young woman amidst the CCP’s persecution. I used the film to inspire students and encourage them to have confidence in their future, set meaningful life goals, and have courage when facing challenges.
I was aware that the exams for graduation were based on distorted content provided by the CCP.
“The current textbooks made by the wicked CCP are [full of] the Party’s culture. If people learn Chinese using textbooks from mainland China, won’t they be shaped into people of the wicked Party’s culture? Dafa disciples can see this very clearly,...” (“Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference”, Collected Teachings Given Around the World Volume VIII)
To avoid misleading students with the materials provided by the CCP, I volunteered to assist in composing the graduation exam. This way, students, as well as other teachers, had the opportunity to learn how the CCP undermined traditional Chinese culture for decades.
During a week-long civic education class this year, my school accepted my suggestions and included content about Falun Dafa. Some students were moved to tears when they heard the peaceful exercise music. Afterward, they expressed profound insights and said that Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is a precious value and essential cornerstones for personal growth. They remarked that today’s society no longer has these values and expressed a sincere desire to follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in their day-to-day interactions. They all said they gained significant benefits from the presentation on Dafa during the week’s program.
I gradually realized the profound importance of my role as a teacher. I understood that these students would become the backbone of this country in various fields. It is crucial for our society that they develop into virtuous and upright individuals.
Being Clear about My Mission
Teaching positions at universities are highly competitive, but when I decided to work at a university, I was hired for my current position.
A few years ago, I discovered a deep connection between myself and this university. Over three hundred years ago, I was an Italian missionary who gained favor with Emperor Kangxi in China and became the imperial court’s official painter. The Emperor even permitted me to establish a school in the Forbidden City. Many years later, I returned to Italy and founded the first institution in the Western world to teach Chinese. It is the university where I currently work.
Once I learned about my connection to this history, I felt an even more profound sense of responsibility and mission as an educator.
In Italy, very few high schools offer Chinese language classes. More students enrolled in Chinese classes at my school, while nearby Chinese classes experienced a decline in enrollment. Some students even traveled from other cities to attend our school. I understood that they came to learn the truth about Falun Dafa, and I couldn’t let them down.
One year, so many students enrolled in Chinese classes that my school didn’t have enough classrooms. We had to allocate two Chinese classes to other schools. I always kept those students in my thoughts, hoping they would have the opportunity to learn about Dafa in the future.
Because I consider it my mission to help students understand the truth about Dafa, Master has always helped me. For instance, the school would ask me to substitute in other classes. I would then introduce the practice to these students and suggest they see Shen Yun. Some of the teachers mentioned that students asked, “Why do the students in the Chinese class get to do Falun Dafa? Why can’t we? The students in the Chinese class are so fortunate!”
Reflecting on my many years of cultivation, I realize that to create a positive environment in my workplace, I must be a good person. Telling students about the persecution is different from other work environments because everyone at the school knows each other. Our actions represent the image of a Falun Dafa practitioner. People judge Dafa by my behavior.
The world is filled with conflict. The conflicts among teachers may seem mild, but they are subtle and complex. They are often about fame and personal interest. I understood that I must eliminate my attachments and hold myself to the standards of a practitioner.
I work hard, get along well with my colleagues, and I’m kind. When colleagues claim my achievements or interests as their own, I take it lightly and respond with kindness. I never fight over personal gain.
I also dress appropriately to display a graceful image. My colleagues often say, “You are so patient with students. You are so kind, calm, humble, and graceful. I want to practice Falun Dafa just like you!”
“You are the hope of the lives of the race or ethnic group that you were born into.” (“To the Czecho-Slovak Fa Conference”)
I am grateful for the opportunity to cultivate. I’m determined to walk the path of cultivation Master arranged for me, study the Fa more, strengthen my righteous thoughts, and fulfill my mission as a Dafa disciple.
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