An Eventful Thirteen Years: Clarifying the Truth to Government Officials
(Minghui.org) Greetings, revered Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I am a senior practitioner living in upstate New York. It’s been 17 years since I attained the Fa in 2000, so from the beginning, my personal cultivation has been combined with Fa-rectification cultivation. At that time, the persecution was quite severe.
Although I didn’t have a clear idea of the Fa or Fa-rectification cultivation back then, I joined veteran practitioners in many of their activities, such as going to Geneva during the Human Rights Commission, participating in the Anti-Torture Exhibits in New York every week, and sending forth righteous thoughts in front of the Chinese consulate.
I started clarifying the truth to American government officials in 2004 and continued to this day. In 2008, I joined the New York Divine Land Marching Band and went to many large parades.
This year, there were two Shen Yun Performances in our region. As coordinator for the project, I endured a lot of pressure and xinxing tests. I would like to share some of these experiences.
Attaining the Fa
In 2000, I drove my husband (who had just attained the Fa) to the Experience Sharing Conference in New York. I was fortunate enough to hear many practitioners’ sharing articles.
Before that, I had just broken my left foot in an accident. The doctor said that it would take at least half a year for me to recover, and regain full use of that foot. But after the Fahui, my foot miraculously recovered and even got stronger than it was before.
Some practitioners told me that Master was taking care of me. Deeply moved, I resolved to embark on the path of cultivation and assist Master in Fa-rectification from that point on.
Cultivating Myself within the Divine Land Marching Band
Ever since I attained the Fa, I was busy participating in all sorts of truth-clarification projects. What was less apparent to me at the time was that my personal cultivation is embedded within these projects.
When I focused too much on doing things and ignored my own cultivation, what I’ve been doing became less sacred. When I failed to look within and improve upon the Fa during a trial, things grew difficult.
In February 2006, Master said in “Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles”:
“That day during the Chinatown parade, countless gods in every dimension of the heavens--gods filling the sky--were beating military drums. And many, many heavenly soldiers and generals were charging forward. And the energy emitted as Dafa disciples played the wind instruments was very powerful. You've seen in the movies how the blast waves produced by the explosion of an atomic bomb are huge, right? Well, [the energy emitted] was even more powerful than that. (Applause) That's because the components of the energy emitted by the Dafa disciples were bigger than atoms, and the particles at every level of it were all very powerful. In other words, at the time, whenever the sound came forth a large area was covered in bright light. ”
Hearing this, my heart was delighted and I knew I wanted to join the marching band.
During my primary school years in Taiwan, I had been the conductor in the school band for six years. Naturally, I felt that I had some music knowledge. In 2008, I was fortunate enough to join the ranks of the Divine Land Marching Band and be able to assist Master in Fa-rectification with my skills.
I was also aware that it had been many years since I ever touched a musical instrument. A lot of practice is needed to meet the band's requirements, so I made sure to attend every group rehearsal. Except for during snow storms, I made the 5-hour trip every week. I play every song with my heart, knowing that with each note I play that I am going to save sentient beings.
For a period of time, attending rehearsal and participating in all sorts of parades became an integral part of my life. Sometimes, I felt tired, but more often it was a feeling of fulfillment and joy. An incident in 2012, however, gave me a big test to see if I could unconditionally look within.
After the rehearsal for the July 4th parade in Washington DC, the conductor gave out the list of members chosen for the parade. I wasn’t on the list. It struck me like a bolt out of the blue. I couldn’t accept the decision, and no one told me why.
I had different angry thoughts. Was it because I was too old? Or not good enough? But there are many people who play worse, I thought. Though I didn't say a word, my human notions were running wild inside my head. It was an issue that would come back every so often and nag at the edges of my mind.
For several years, I wasn't able to pass this test. Later, along with more Fa-study, I realized that my reaction stemmed from the education I received when growing up. I was born in an affluent family.
My parents were strict with me, telling me to be persevering and to exercise endurance. I followed their instructions and went from primary school to college without too much suffering. In conflicts, I always held my tongue and held back tears – an ordinary person's endurance.
But I knew that the forbearance of a cultivator should be different from the endurance of an everyday person. If I don’t make breakthroughs in cultivation, I could never pass this test.
Master said in Zhuan Falun,
“But normally when a problem arises, if it does not irritate a person psychologically, it does not count or is useless and cannot make him or her improve.”
Master also said in “What is Forbearance (Ren)?”:
“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing. To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator. ”(Essentials for Further Advancement)
During the time of this test, I constantly studied the Fa. One day, I finally made the breakthrough. Master has asked us to be considerate of others in doing everything. If someone else were in this situation, he or she might have felt more miserable than I had. I’d rather be the one who is taking on this burden. With that thought, I suddenly felt relieved and soon passed the test.
Reflecting back on the whole process, I realized that what took so long was that I could not look at things from the Fa's perspective in the first place. As a result, I could only try and solve the situation with human notions, which aren't nearly as effective.
Clarifying the Truth to Government Officials in the Past Thirteen Years
Albany is the capital of New York state. There are 150 assemblymen and 62 state senators working here. Since the launch of English Epoch Times in 2004, I have subscribed to it and began delivering the newspaper to the elected officials. Through the process of clarifying the truth to them, we became friends. Some of them have publicly commended Dafa, and there are many touching stories. All the while, I have also had to keep making progress in my cultivation.
Before running newspaper delivery in 2004, I had never been to the state government. I was at loss the first time going there. A practitioner working in the building took me around to visit the offices several times, but I still couldn’t find my way.
Every time I had to pass the security check with a small cart and bundles of newspapers. Once, a guard asked what I was doing and if I had a permit. I told him I was a volunteer. All I knew was to deliver the newspaper to each office. I had no idea about the permit he was asking for.
I asked if he had ever read the Epoch Times. He said he’d never heard about it. So I gave him a newspaper and started to talk about the Epoch Times.
After some conversation, he said with a smile, “Thank you. Go ahead.”
The first building has nine stories. I went from the top floor downward, leaving a newspaper at each and every office. At the beginning, I was met with cold stares and inquiries. I felt a bit sad.
I was going out of my way to deliver the newspaper for free and let you know the truth. Yet you didn’t get it, and asked what I was doing there, I thought.
Then, I reminded myself: I am a Dafa Disciple. I am here to let people know the truth. Master is watching and taking care of everything. I should not be afraid.
Later on when I went to their offices, I would introduce myself first, then the Epoch Times. I know that for people to trust me and like the newspaper, I should do more than mere delivery, but to tell them what’s in the newspaper as well as the truth about Dafa.
Every time when I get the new published newspaper, I would read the front page and think of ways to clarify the truth with the stories on it. I asked the people in the office if they knew about what had happened in China. They all said no. So I took this opportunity to clarify the truth.
Many of them are assistants to the assemblymen or interns studying politics at college. Upon learning the truth, they were startled and showed sympathy.
Gradually, I realized that it was not enough to clarify the truth with front page stories, so I worked with another practitioner to make an album of stories which clarified the truth in a more systematic way. It had a better result. Quite a few officials were moved after reading this album and asked in tears what they could do for us.
Day after day, I’ve talked to the officials, their assistants, staff members, interns, security guards, and even their constituents, visitors, and other people working in the state government. I would clarify the truth to whoever I ran into. Every two years, there are newly elected officials. I looked for opportunities to talk to them as well.
Apart from delivering newspapers, I also attend some of their events, such as fundraisers. After they us offered some help, I would send them thank you cards. For the holidays and New Year, I would also send them greetings.
Over time, I was able to turn the cold, indifferent stares into friendships. Sometimes when I visited an office, they would be having a birthday party or a retirement party. The people would invite me in and offer me their food, as if I was one of them.
I once told an assistant about a Dafa article that’s published on the front page. She was quite moved. She read the article thoroughly and then cut the story out. She took me to the assemblyman’s office and taped the newspaper clip to his chair. I was very surprised.
She said the assemblyman was quite busy and had mountains of files to go through every day. Sticking it on his chair was the only way to make sure that he wouldn’t miss it.
Later on, when an incident broke out, I went with another practitioner to see that assemblyman without an appointment. He said he had only 5 minutes before an important meeting, but our conversation ended up lasting for over an hour. He is also the assemblyman who initiated the Falun Dafa Day Proclamation last year and this year.
I remember another story about the assistant to a state senator. Upon hearing about the persecution, she was quite sympathetic. She went with a group of 20 people on a cruise to Europe and had a great time. But when her group talked about going to China, she said no and told her friends what I'd said about Dafa. In the end, her friends decided not to go to China. This year, her boss, the state senator, brought up a resolution commemorating Falun Dafa Day.
From 2006 until today, every year we would receive around 20 to 70 proclamations from New York State officials. Sometimes my complacency popped up. But I would soon realize that “cultivation depends on one’s own efforts while the transformation of gong is done by the master.”
All I’ve been doing is to do whatever I ought to so in a sure-footed and steadfast manner, while Master has done all of the real work.
Coordinating the Promotion of Shen Yun
There were two Shen Yun Performances in our region this year. At first I was quite happy, because it meant that more sentient beings would be saved. At the same time I also felt great pressure, since we don’t have many practitioners or much experience in marketing Shen Yun.
My abilities and skills were not adequate, and I wasn't sure if I could fulfill the task of coordinating local practitioners. I also was not certain that the overall cultivation state of ours could reach the required level. Can we sell all the tickets? With these disturbing thoughts, my heart went up and down with the ticket sales.
But I was certain of one thing: as long as we put our hearts in it and have faith in the Fa and in Master, we will succeed.
I have walked the path of cultivation over these past 17 years under Master’s benevolent caring, with Master and the Fa in my heart. Nothing will stop me in cultivating myself and assisting Master in Fa-rectification. I will only become more and more determined.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2017 New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)