Tonight the Stars are Shining

Deming Li

PureInsight | September 1, 2003

[] The Massive Power Outage in New York - People relying on each other, as reported on, contains a touching dialogue. A six-year-old girl asked her father, "Why can we see so many stars in the New York sky tonight?" Her father said, "That is nothing unusual. The stars are always there. But the city lights of New York are too bright and that's why we usually do not see them."

When I saw this dialogue, it refreshed part of my memory that had been covered with dust for a very long time. Scenes of enjoying cool summer nights during my childhood flashed before me like a movie. Although twenty or thirty years have passed, the memory is still deeply engraved on my mind.

Twenty or thirty years ago, very few families in Mainland China had a TV, a refrigerator or a telephone. During summer evenings, our neighbors would already have brought their bamboo beds and chairs outside of their houses. When people finished their housework and took a break, the sky was starry. It was the most wonderful time of the day. Under the firmament, people relaxed. They spoke of and discussed ancient and modern stories, such as the goddess in the moon running toward the moon, the sweet-scented osmanthus tree, the jade rabbit pounding medicine in the moon, the eighty-one tribulations monk Tang encountered when he went to the Western Paradise to get Buddha's scriptures, peach trees and their fruits in the Empress Wangmu's peach orchard which blossomed and bore fruit every three thousand years, Zhu Bajie, the former Marshal Tianpeng, who was demoted to earth, the seventy-two changes of Monkey King Sun Wukong, the compassionate Bodhisattva Guanyin, the power of Sakyamuni Buddha, the annual meeting of Cowboy and Vega, and so on. I was young and I laid on the bamboo bed, looking at the deep and remote, starry sky and dreaming that I would become an immortal, roaming among sparkling stars and also attending the peach ceremony for the Empress Wangmu.

Now bungalows have been replaced by multi-storied buildings. Nearly every city dweller has a TV, air-conditionings and fans in his home. Enjoying the cool during an outdoor summer night is only a memory. Busy lifestyles make us unable to take time to observe nature and let her inspire us. The more we enjoy and appreciate the comforts science and technology are able to provide, the more we rely on them.

A good example of our dependence and reliance on technology and scientific achievements is the recent massive power outage that hit New York as well as other metropolitan areas. What would happen if such a power outage were to continue for an extended period? Another example is our dependence on computers and the recent computer virus that spread worldwide.

Man's insignificance and incompetence is completely exposed at the moment when such a disaster happens. It seems that science and technology tear forever at the root of human nature. What we gain seems to be less than what we have lost.

We cannot go back to our past lives, but all of what happens today is in no way accidental. In our modern era, how to return to our true selves and get back to nature is the fundamental key to solving our problems. The Falun Gong sitting meditation which has quietly become popular recently in the USA and around the world, people's attention to their own bodies and hearts, as well as Falun Gong practitioners all over the world who pursue returning to their true selves, are sending a message to people that they will have an opportunity to see the brilliance of starlight once again.

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