(Minghui.org) Joel Etienne, a lawyer in Toronto, Canada, recently read the article “How Humankind Came To Be” by Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice that has inspired 100 million people around the world. He was very thankful to Master Li and said the article was the best New Year’s gift to humankind (Note: The article was published on January 20, 2023, two days before the Chinese New Year).
Canadian lawyer Joel Etienne and his family
Having practiced law for 23 years, Etienne specializes in criminal litigation and regulatory law. As a frequent guest on CBC Radio and Television, he is involved in educating the public on litigation and administrative and regulatory law. In addition to community activities, Etienne is also a screenwriter, producer, and director. He was an executive producer of the 2019 film Claws of the Red Dragon.
Etienne said he was filled with joy and excitement as he read “How Humankind Came To Be.” “I think it was a blessing for us to receive this article,” he explained. “I thought it was resonant, I thought it was extremely important.”
He pointed out that many people in Western society have enjoyed material wealth and abundant resources, but they are in need of spiritual guidance. Especially on social media, Etienne noted that people often talk about ways to improve their minds and bodies because of all stress that has left them confused and anxious, even to the point of becoming mentally disordered.
This is a common problem across races and nations. Even school students are suffering from mental illnesses due to stress, but support from teachers, experts, and psychologists has been limited. When someone is in this situation, their first reaction might be to see a doctor and take a prescription medication. But that kind of pain is deep inside and will likely persist.
Reading the Article as a Family
Etienne said that, in the article, Master Li pointed out the major issues mankind faces and offered a solution. Etienne has two teenagers and was curious to know how they would react to the article, so he shared it with them.
Both children gave very positive feedback. One of them said the article was like a key. Etienne concurred, noting that it serves as a key to open the door to a new realm. And he said that is critical, because the “key” works for anyone from anywhere. In contrast, most religions only appeal to a specific group.
The article is not long, but Etienne’s family spent hours discussing it. “It shows you the strength, and the care of every word and the importance of every word that came with it,” Etienne explained. “It’s unlocking a very complicated puzzle.” He was gratified that, as an ordinary person, he was able to obtain such a key.
“One of my children remarked that was a message of true love, of universal love, love for human beings. And I thought that's an important takeaway,” Etienne continued. He was glad that his children also knew that mankind was created by the divine. In particular, Master Li was addressing people of all races in the article, instead of a particular area or nation. He hopes everyone can understand how special it is to be a human being and to cherish themselves.
Etienne found it important that Master Li pointed out that all races are connected with divine beings and heavenly abodes. His children were also stunned to learn that mankind has a sacred mission behind their tremendous suffering.
The children also asked other questions related to this topic. They all learned a lot from the article and discussed how to become better people in their daily lives. They also talked about how to interact with others and have a positive influence.
The article explained why people have trials and tribulations and how they can improve themselves to eventually become divine beings themselves. Etienne said this was very different from Western thought which says one needs medical attention to fix physical or mental problems. Someone who relies on medical care to get well is different from someone who learns to be self-disciplined and is able to regulate their emotions.
Etienne said followers of Western religions often go to church once a week to pray to God, but it is hard for them to practice their beliefs in daily life once they return home. In contrast, Falun Dafa practitioners do exercises and work to improve their character every day. For Etienne, constantly improving oneself in this way every day to achieve a harmony of mind and body is unprecedented. He believes many people do not know mankind has so much hidden potential.
Witnessing the Wonderfulness of Falun Dafa
It was 23 years ago that Etienne interacted with Falun Dafa practitioners for the first time. At that time, the persecution of Falun Dafa had just started in China. Etienne said that Jews like him had also been suppressed for almost 2,000 years. It was not until nearly 50 years ago that they were able to live normal, safe lives. Therefore, he understood what Falun Dafa practitioners were going through and decided to help them out of empathy.
Relatively young at the time, Etienne has been working with Falun Dafa practitioners ever since. Looking back on those years, he said he has witnessed the principles and integrity of Falun Dafa practitioners in action and learned a great deal from them. In the past, he was frustrated by change and uncertainty. But now, whenever there are ups and downs, he remembers the Falun Dafa teachings, which give him the strength to overcome setbacks.
Through interacting with practitioners, Etienne also learned to think like them. As an adult male, he had many desires and attachments. As soon as those thoughts came up, however, he remembered the Falun Dafa teachings of letting go of attachments. As a result, his mind would be peaceful and positive. He said there were no such teachings in the culture he grew up in.
At first, he thought Falun Dafa practitioners were approaching him for help. But over the years, he has received much more than he has given. Falun Dafa is wonderful because the practice guides him every day with consistent improvement and a peaceful mind.
As a human rights lawyer, Etienne interacts with people from different backgrounds and communities on a daily basis. But only Falun Dafa has been such a deep, long-lasting, and positive influence on his life.
Back on Track
Although some religions have implied that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a demon, they rarely point it out directly or thoroughly. Therefore, the general public lacks a clear understanding of the evil nature of the CCP. The ideology of atheism promoted by the CCP has essentially cut people’s ties with the traditional culture and systems of faith. The regime has no respect for human life, which had left people feeling empty inside.
This article by Master Li reminds people to improve their spiritual level by doing good deeds. It also warns people not to lower their moral standards. In fact, if a person ignores spiritual development, he or she will be misled by fallacies. Compared to communist China, many people in Canada believe in the existence of God and the Constitution also shows respect for the divine. Their culture, society, and legal system are also based on such a foundation.
Etienne said he knew that cultivation ways have existed in China for thousands of years. As a Westerner, he felt fortunate to learn such a tradition as Falun Dafa. This is important because this culture of self-improvement had nearly been lost.
Etienne said he was impressed by Master Li’s wisdom. For him, the article is like an invitation to board an elevator headed directly to the top floor, instead of having to climb the stairs. Falun Dafa is invaluable because it shows people how to cultivate in their daily lives and offers a practical way to reach higher levels by consistently improving.
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