(Minghui.org) September 4 and 5 are special dates for Falun Dafa practitioners in Europe. Twenty-five years ago, Falun Dafa’s founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, came to Geneva and gave lectures on September 4 and 5, 1998.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the two-day event. The first day of the event was a lecture by Master Li, which took place in one of the conference halls at the United Nations Office. On the morning of the second day, the practitioners gathered outdoors at a stadium in Thônex to do the Falun Dafa exercises. In the afternoon, they shared their cultivation experiences with each other and had their questions answered by Master Li.
At the end of the event, each practitioner left with a draft copy of Zhuan Falun in French so that they could begin studying Master Li’s teachings on their own.
This was a major milestone for many European practitioners on their cultivation journey, and it helped them deepen their understanding of Falun Dafa. Many of them still remember that time fondly, from the teachings of Master Li to the kindness of their fellow practitioners, to the conditions in the lecture hall.
A Path of Returning
Corine, who lives in Switzerland, began to practice Falun Dafa in 1997. She recalls that many practitioners from Geneva, other Swiss cities, and the rest of the world attended the lecture. “Master explained the complicated structure of the universe. Fortunately, the lecture was published afterwards,” she said.
The lecture was very profound, from the structure of the universe to the cultivation of mind nature, and how they are closely interconnected. Corine always wondered about the purpose of life and why one should be a good person. Master addressed all this. “In the past, I only felt one had to have a goal instead of wasting one’s life. I tried different things, but none of them helped,” Corine continued. “I found what I was looking for when I attended the lecture because [Master’s teachings] resonated with me.”
After she received the French version of Zhuan Falun, Corine decided to seriously practice Falun Dafa. “The book is absolutely wonderful for me and I finished reading it in two days. I realized how great Falun Dafa is, and at that moment I really began to cultivate and practice.”
Corine joined the group practice in Thônex the following day. Most Western practitioners had not participated in such a large scale group exercise and they had trouble lining up in formation. The practitioners from Taiwan gently helped everyone line up in rows and columns. “I was impressed by how dignified the scene was,” Corine said.
Before that, Corine only thought Falun Dafa was about practicing the exercises. After attending Master’s lectures and talking to other practitioners, she learned that Falun Dafa asks practitioners to cultivate themselves and improve their character. One strives to become a better person and comprehend more profound truths of the universe. “Holding Zhuan Falun in my hand, I knew this is a Great Way,” she said.
Questions About Life Answered
Another practitioner, Catherine also joined the event in 1998. She grew up in a Christian family so she went to church regularly. But she had many questions that the religion could not answer and some people’s behavior seemed to contradict what was said in the Bible.
One day after she attended church services in 1996, Catherine prayed: If there is a group that is truly pure and trying to save the world, I want to go there. Soon afterwards, a friend told her about Falun Dafa, but she did not start practicing until 1997.
When the French version of Falun Gong was published in 1998, Catherine immediately read it and accepted everything in the book. What Master said answered the long-term questions Catherine had, for example, why it was so difficult for many people to become good. This was a feeling that continued as she attended the conference in Geneva and also as she read Zhuan Falun.
When she read the section, “No Second Cultivation Way” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun), however, Catherine hesitated. In her heart she said, “Master, I have been following Jesus my entire life so I cannot be your disciple.”
At that moment, to her surprise, she heard a response, “If you choose to be my disciple, there’ll be no turning back, you’ll have to be very serious.”
In the end Catherine decided to practice Falun Dafa. For the past 25 years, she has followed the teachings of Falun Dafa and the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. She has found herself transformed from the inside out.
“Falun Dafa gave me true freedom. I no long argue with others and I now have patience, kindness, and forgiveness.” People around her also noticed this. In the past, she easily got upset and people avoided talking to her. “After I began practicing people say I have changed a lot and even those I do not know well say that I am kind and trustworthy and they want to be my friend,” she said.
Myriam is from the French-speaking part of Switzerland and she started to practice Falun Dafa in 1997. As soon as she heard that Master was coming to Switzerland, she immediately made arrangements to attend. She said people from all over the world were there and the atmosphere was incredible, solemn and sacred.
Myriam said she enlightened to many principles through Master’s lecture. She felt an urgency to cultivate herself and was eager to understand all of the teachings that Master was imparting upon the audience.
“As I listened, I was immersed in Master’s words. The teachings are so logical, coherent and profound, and I was deeply touched by the immensity of Falun Dafa and the wonder of Creation,” she said. She said that Master’s teachings strengthened her own belief in a universal creator.
As she listened attentively, Myriam could sense Master’s compassion. Although the lecture contains many new concepts to a Westerner like her, Master explained them clearly and she had no problem understanding.
“I had so many concepts to connect: time and space, karma, predestined relationships, cultivation, knowledge of Jesus, Shakyamuni, Laozi, and others,” she recalled. “But it was all so well explained, so self-evident, that I no long needed to follow the usual pattern of thinking-understanding taught in everyday society. I fully accepted Master’s teaching and I had no doubt about it.”
Through Master’s lecture, Myriam also further understood the importance of reading and re-reading Zhuan Falun. Reading the book helped her to gain deeper understandings. From that day on, she knew Falun Dafa is the right path and she was determined to practice.
“I had truly found my way. It was the path back to my origin. I also became aware of the immense work I had to do to let go of many attachments, including my egoism,” Myriam said. “I want to sincerely thank Master. I also want to thank practitioners who made it possible for this conference to take place in Switzerland.”
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