PureInsight | October 27, 2003
[PureInsight.org] There are two parts to my report that I would like to share. This first part is on behalf of all of the practitioners in San Antonio, Texas.
Part I: A Story in a Bookstore.
In 1998, after we listened to Master give the Fa-lecture in Geneva, Switzerland, we returned to San Antonio to follow Master's requirements. Specifically, we tried every means to promote Dafa books to local bookstores. Prior to Christmas that year, two Dafa practitioners went to a local bookstore named, "Free Thought Bookstore." The purpose of the visit was to introduce Falun Dafa to the owner, and negotiate with her about putting Dafa books in the store. Practitioners would sell the books to the owner at a low price, and the owner would sell the books at the market price. The owner readily agreed. She also pointed out that there were many qigong and spiritual cultivation workshops in her bookstore, and hoped that the practitioners would hold a workshop to introduce Falun Dafa there. At that time, the practitioners did not have much experience in Fa-promotion. Unexpectedly after our first workshop, practitioners began holding Fa-promotion workshops regularly in the bookstore and have done so every since.
In the beginning during our discussions with the owner, she suggested that we could hold regular workshops in the bookstore. We were a bit hesitant to do so, because many other kinds of exercise workshops and activities were often held there. Thus, we did not take her up on the offer even though she asked several times and seemed somewhat unhappy with us. Later we realized that her true self was certainly not willing to give up the opportunity to assist Dafa. Moreover, in such a big city, it was indeed difficult to find a second place where we could have the use of a free room, for a long period of time, to do Fa-promotion. So we finally decided every Saturday would be our regular time to practice the exercises and study the Fa in the bookstore.
We put a notice in our local flyers about our bookstore events. The bookstore also spread this good news to all residents in San Antonio through emails to the readers and advertisements in the newspaper. From then on, people came one after another. Some came with their friends and relatives, and some came with their whole family. Several years passed and the number of local residents who came to learn the exercises and Dafa exceeded a thousand. The bookstore has sold hundreds of Dafa books. More importantly, the bookstore became a window of opportunity for promoting Dafa, doing Fa-rectification, clarifying the truth, and contacting the media. This small bookstore has experienced many ordinary but touching stories in the past few years, and the practitioners have also been tempered in this small window to become more mature.
In a pure righteous energy field bestowed by Dafa, new and veteran, Western and Chinese practitioners were blended and cultivated. Some Western practitioners made binders for us to hold Master's new articles, while others provided sound equipment and helped create exercise music and instruction audio and video tapes. Every small thing reflected Dafa practitioners' compassionate hearts. Practitioners helped each other, and also were considerate of the bookstore owner and customers. If some practitioners traveled to other small cities or had other things to do, the remaining practitioners, both Chinese and Western practitioners, would continue going to the bookstore to do Fa-promotion. With the practitioners' concerted effort, we have become the only group that could use the room free of charge over the last five years in this bookstore.
During the activities of Rescuing our Family Members in China, practitioners went to visit the office of a local Congressman. The assistant of the Congressman showed great interest in Dafa. She asked about the persecution of Falun Gong in China, and also asked many questions about Dafa itself. She expressed an interest in learning the practice. Several weeks later, she began to show up at the bookstore to learn the exercises and study the Fa. Soon she became one of the regular practitioners who came to the bookstore. Our activities at the bookstore are usually practicing the exercises and then group Fa-study. Since new practitioners do not have their own books, we would first borrow the book Zhuan Falun from the bookstore for them to use. At that time, another practitioner who had been practicing for a long time also often came to the bookstore, but she still had not bought her own book. Every time we borrowed books, we would borrow one for her. Since she had practiced for such a long time, we wondered why she still did not know to cherish Dafa? She even did not want to buy a Dafa book. One day, after our group Fa-study, the assistant to the Congressman bought a new book and said she would give the book to that practitioner as a gift. We were ashamed and moved.
A musician suffered serious psychological problems because of living in a dysfunctional family in his childhood, and he was a victim of mental abuse. He was very depressed when he first came to the bookstore, and often shed tears bitterly while having a conversation with practitioners. Since he regularly came to the bookstore to practice the exercises and study the Fa, he changed greatly. He became much optimistic and open-minded, and his state of mind was obviously changed for the better. He had changed so much he even often makes some jokes with other practitioners.
He was very grateful for Dafa from the bottom of his heart. Once, practitioners noticed that he silently donated money to the bookstore to express his thanks to the bookstore for offering a free room for Falun Dafa introduction workshops.
The Fa-promotion workshops not only benefited local people, but also played an important role with the media. In 1999, on the Human Rights Week prior to Christmas, practitioners were inspired by practitioners in other places to hold a seminar in San Antonio. The practitioners hoped that the media would pay attention to the persecution in China this way. The venue was settled at the bookstore. The result was that the media did not come. But on one early morning a week later, which was also the second day of Jiang's scoundrel regime illegal secret trial of four Dafa practitioners in China, a local ABC news editor made a phone call to practitioners and wanted to learn what Falun Gong was really all about, and planned to make a program about Falun Dafa. So, we made an appointment with the editor and media to meet at 2:00 p.m. in the bookstore. The interview lasted for more than an hour. That night the story of the evil persecution and suppression was the top television news story on prime time, and caused a great sensation among local residents.
There was another story in the making, while we were having the interview with the TV station. A woman reporter from San Antonio Express got the news from some source that the TV station would be interviewing us, so she quietly came to the bookstore without our even noticing. She watched for an hour, and then talked to us. The practitioners clarified the truth about Jiang regime's slander against Master and Dafa. The following day, a righteous report was published in the newspaper. Master emphasized the importance of the process, but oftentimes we use our human way of thinking to judge the degree of success for some specific activities according to the results in actual practice. Actually, so long as we persist in clarifying the truth, the best result can be achieved when we are not attached to the result.
Once, a practitioner published an article on a column in San Antonio Express, and that Saturday, two cable TV program producers suddenly came to the bookstore to invite practitioners to their studios to do a program on Falun Dafa. The half hour program turned out to be very successful. After the program was broadcast, one of the producers mailed us a video tape of the program. To express our gratitude, we wrote back to her and sent her some money for the video. But shortly afterwards, we unexpectedly received a letter from her with the money returned. She said in the letter that she had made so many programs and mailed so many video tapes, and this was the first time she received money and a thank you note. She said that the money could be a little token of her heart to support Falun Gong practitioners who are suffering persecution in China.
The small bookstore gradually became the place that often attracted the attention of the media. However, in the latter half of 2001, for quite a long period of time the media carried very few reports on Falun Gong. So, practitioners considered taking initiatives to contact the media. Regardless of how everyday people reacted, Dafa practitioners have the responsibility to keep contacts with the media, especially when there seems to be no incidents happening. Continuously clarifying the truth is the most important. So long as we treat clarifying the truth with righteous thoughts, the media can then truly recognize the great compassion and tolerance Dafa practitioners demonstrate in the face of the persecution, which validates the greatness of Dafa. Now, when sudden incidents occur, the media can act upon them without us needing to contact them. One time, we rearranged materials and delivered them to several departments of the Express. Several days passed but there was no reply. So we tried to contact the office of the Chief Editor, and drove there to deliver the materials in person, and then followed up through a phone call. The secretary of the Chief Editor' office was very hospitable, and transferred the materials to another department that soon sent a reporter to conduct an in-depth interview with us.
Part II: A Story with the Office of the Secretary of State
After the evil persecution began in 1999, clarifying the truth to governments became an indispensable part of overseas Dafa practitioners' Fa-rectification cultivation. Looking back over four years of truth clarification to government officials, I had some regrets and have learned some profound lessons. But, with Master's care I began to walk toward maturity. Here I would like to share with everybody some stories of clarifying the truth to our Texas state government.
At the end of 1999, we started with a few departments to try to make contact with the state government, but the effect seemed not quite satisfactory. Every time we delivered materials to them, there would be no follow up. Once we were advised to contact the Secretary of State. So we made an appointment through the phone with the assistant to the Secretary of State, and we had a 20-minute conversation with the assistant. The assistant's conscientious and reserved manner made a deep impression on us.
From then on, I have kept a good relationship with the assistant, and every time we held a large activity, he would contact the office of the Governor and arrange for a proclamation to Dafa to be issue, but he talked little about the measures to stop the persecution. I didn't mind much, because for sentient beings, knowing that "Falun Dafa is good." is crucial. Plus, as for what specific measures to take, I should not be attaching too much importance to it. So whenever important occasions arose, I would try various means to send warm greetings to his office, and take every opportunity to try to let him recognize Dafa from the bottom of his heart, and truly see clearly the evil nature of the persecution, and not only issue a proclamation as a routine.
In the autumn of 2002, to prepare for evil Jiang's visit to Texas, I made another appointment with the assistant. Because the situation at that time was very special, interference from different aspects were very large. We found that some offices that usually reacted well to our requests in the past turned and become indifferent, and were difficult to communicate with.
So I noticed that at the beginning of our conversation this time the assistant's expression was quite serious. I told him that we would hold large-scale peaceful activities when Jiang came to visit, and we hoped the state government would support us. I also talked about how some Canadian government officials had refused to meet the head of "610 Office" after learning that he was participating in the persecution of Falun Gong. I wanted to use this time to awaken his righteous thoughts. Unexpectedly, he said nothing about the issue of a proclamation. He also said that he could not understand why the Canadian officials had not met the Chinese official. He also emphasized that when Jiang came to Texas, the Texas government would arrange to meet him and see him off as scheduled.
After hearing his words, I felt cells in my entire body rapidly expand, and I became as big and tall as if I could touch the sky. I completely let go of the attachment to the proclamation. I looked into his eyes, and told him in a peaceful but extremely firm tone, "What you do I have no comment, and I will understand. I only want to tell you the reason that the Canadian officials did not go to meet that person is that they did not want to shake the hands that are stained by the blood of the Chinese people. But do you know? The hands you are going to shake are bloodier than that pair of hands. I tell you this because I'm truly concerned for your good welfare. I hope you pass these words to the governor." He nodded his head seriously. At that moment, I truly understood that compassion and stateliness coexist!
Nearly a year later, leading up to World Falun Dafa Day in May, I once again came to the assistant's office. Unexpectedly, he greeted me with a full smiling face. As soon as I sat down, he talked about a Jiang's previous visit. He said that it made him feel very angry last year when Jiang came to visit Texas. He noted that Jiang was frightened by Falun Dafa banners surrounding the places where he stayed in Houston. Jiang sent people to exert pressure on the Texas government to request the state government to get rid of the Falun Dafa banners, but this angered the state government. The assistant replied to this request sternly, "No. This is a free country!" The assistant also mentioned that a Consul from the Chinese Consulate in Houston slandered Falun Gong practitioners and pressured the assistant by saying, "You should not meet Falun Gong practitioners in the future, as they are all bad people, and they want to overthrow the country." The assistant replied, "No. I don't think so. I'll still meet them." After listening to his recount, I suddenly noticed that the assistant's face brightened up, and I was happy from the bottom of my heart for his change!
Soon, we welcomed a golden October in Texas. This is a rare Fa conference, and also a good opportunity to continue clarifying the truth to the state government. The night before, I went to the state government to meet the assistant, I opened the website of the state government, and only found that he had been promoted from the assistant of the Secretary of State to the Secretary of State. The following day, several practitioners and I bought flowers to take with us when we went to visit him. Pushing open the door of the new office, the room was bright and fresh. Like an old friend, he walked up to us from his seat and shook hands, and we had a conversation. When he saw that we would be holding a public trial of Jiang during our activities, he could not help laughing and said, "I'm a lawyer, and I know of this kind of mock court. It is very interesting. Though I have other arrangements and can't participate in your activities, I'll definitely congratulate you on your success!"