Seeing Beyond Rules and Regulations

A European Practitioner

PureInsight | September 23, 2002

When my parents taught me good manners as a child, for a while, when I asked the question, "Why?" they would just tell me that it was polite, that that was what people did, and I should do it, or I was being naughty. I didn't like this explanation, but any further questioning was thought of as being rebellious, and thus remained unanswered. Of course as a child the prospect of reward and punishment easily persuaded me of the value of having good manners, but deep down I was not at all convinced. Later on, when my parent's realized that I was genuinely a little curious about this, they would answer my questions. "Why is it rude to eat with your mouth open? Why is it rude to swear? Why should I be polite?" The explanation I got was that other people found some things offensive and that having good manners helped them feel more at ease, and was considerate of them. Sometimes they would explain the more specific reasons. I began to see that some manners stemmed from a genuine consideration of others and a kind of noble and dignified way of conducting oneself. Other manners, however just seemed to be preserved because others expected it, even though to my mind they had little inherent value.

One thing I find difficult to overcome is being met with various rules and regulations that I think get in the way of clarifying the truth about Falun Dafa to people. I find that rules are like the superficial manners which we are obliged to conform to, but we have forgotten that these rules are really an outer reflection of more inherent qualities of a human being, such as dignity, compassion, patience, honesty, loyalty, and the like. And some of these rules are really of no benefit to anyone, but are preserved only out of habit and social convention. When people's conscience is awakened they are only too willing to use their common sense to apply these rules for the good of others. On the other hand, when we do not view things from the perspective of deeper values, these rules become a convenient excuse to step around issues. The rules and regulations, protocols, and standard responses of the various organizations of society are like a computer program, or an enormous equation, and without the influence of their innate values, the people within it are merely pieces of that program, stuck in an ongoing calculation. But computers do not have human hearts, and equations do not know right from wrong as humans do. They do not care about the suffering of others and they are not capable of the loyalty and compassion of a human being. If we do not remember the deeper values of humankind and do not allow this to guide our interpretation and respect of rules, then the result is that we become like automatons, blindly follow regulation upon regulation, forgetting the deeper purpose of our actions.

As practitioners, I think that when we find that rules and regulations block our way to gaining support for Dafa, it is probably simply that these are being used or interpreted negatively because we have not fundamentally engaged the person on a deeper level. We have not spoken to their innate conscience and good nature, so they naturally use regulations and rules as a way to stay away from the issue. When I first heard of the persecution of Falun Gong in China in 1999 I wrote to about 10 local MPs. Some of them expressed their concern and said they would pass on my letter to the appropriate government department. Others said that they could not help because there was a regulation about not responding on behalf of other MPs' constituents. Yet it was not my MP, but another MP who brought a Parliamentary Question to the table on my behalf. I think that their different responses are not at all a reflection of their loyalty to regulations, but are a reflection of the degree to which they acted from their conscience.

Gaining support from governments and politicians is about touching their innate conscience and kindness, so that they can do their best to help resolve this crisis. It is not about trying to gain support through regulations, and it is certainly not about finding any sort of political solution. I think that from time to time we have felt that we have been supported by Governments and politicians, but it seems superficial and incomplete. I think that this may be because actually the reason for their support is because the rules and regulations oblige them to support us, but underneath, they are not driven by deeper understandings of the rights and wrongs of the situation from their own conviction. In other words, it is the system of regulations which has produced the support, not the humanity behind it. What is the value of such support to Dafa practitioners? Aren't we only interested in people's hearts? This kind of support is not only superficial but is also easily undermined and weakened as it has no foundation in the solidity of a deeper moral obligation.

Once people can see the truth of the persecution and can understand the nature of Falun Gong more deeply, it will inevitably be their conscience and compassion which guides them to support Falun Gong and condemn the persecution. If people could really know the suffering of the practitioners in China, the evilness of the persecution in China, understand the nature of Falun Dafa, and experience the kindness of a Dafa practitioner, no regulations would stand in the way of their heart-felt support.

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