PureInsight | August 2, 2004
Since early 2003 a group of Houston practitioners have been trying to maintain a greater presence at the consulate, especially during the work hours of the Visa and Passport Office. It is during those hours that they have the chance to influence people going to or coming from China. The practitioners come and spend whatever time they can at the consulate. Some can spend several hours while others can spend one hour, two hours or more there, some can spend as little as 30 minutes. It is not the time spent but the effort. Each minute should be treasured.
This paper is a summary of my experiences as part of that group which is categorized by experiences encountered.
Too Many Banners
Shortly after the lawsuit against Jiang Zemin began, the Houston practitioners wanted to take a more in depth approach to clarifying the truth about the persecution and about Jiang's crimes.
As a result we devised several banners of various sizes and hung them on the scaffolding that surrounded the Chinese Consulate that was being remodeled. The increased number of banners had hung there only one or two months when the police suddenly arrived one day and said that we could not hang the banners on the scaffolding because it was against a city ordinance. After some discussion they said that we could put the banners on wooden frames or PCV pipe frames as long as the frames weren't attached to the property and was in the public area.
We complied with the police directive and hung the many banners on wooden and PCV frames. However, within a short time the police came back and said that we could not use any frames and would have to hold the banners with our hands. We were disappointed. But we all came to the realization that the rule was documented in the municipal code and that as good people we should follow the rule. When we started holding the signs with our hands or attaching them to our bodies so that we could do the exercises, we started to notice that people were slowing down and really looking at the signs. With only two signs up, we discovered that we could quietly and within reason put the signs on wooden frames without police interference.
These incidents with the signs have provided me with valuable lessons in cultivation. First, we should consider others. If you have too many signs, your message is diluted and it clutters the area. Second, we should look within when tribulations occur. Putting blame on the police, each other and the old forces is actually falling into the old forces trap where they can utilize our gaps to defeat our efforts. Third, we should always focus on the process rather than the result. It is not the number of the banners, it is the message and compassion behind them that makes them effective in clarifying the truth.
Police Visits and Righteous Thoughts
Since I am a Falun Dafa practitioner, I always want to strengthen my image as a good person. However, if I worry too much about my image and am nervous when the police come to discuss issues with me, I undermine my righteous thoughts, which allows the old forces to manipulate the police's minds to misunderstand and work against me.
I must remember that worry and nervousness are attachments that I must remove in cultivation and that the old forces can utilize them to defeat my efforts to help Master save people.
If I remember that we are here to save people and that Falun Dafa practitioners act according to that thought, my interactions with the police and others for that matter will be very successful.
Weather and Righteous Thoughts
Houston's weather can be hot and humid or cold and icy. In addition, it can change at a moment's notice. I have found that if I allow my human mind to take over and pay attention to the weather being too hot, cold or rainy all of a sudden all types of human feelings and troubles arrive. Troubles that are not even related to the weather will suddenly come up to distract me from my objective of saving people. This happened several times during our vigil at the consulate.
However when those distracting thoughts arrive, if I forget the self and always remember that my objective is to clarify the truth and save people, the weather will suddenly become unimportant and unnoticeable to me.
Find Opportunities to Show Helpfulness
In many cases I am the first person most visitors meet when visiting the consulate and because of that, they naturally feel comfortable asking me questions about the area. And since I am a Dafa practitioner, I am most happy to offer my assistance.
I have also found that this helpfulness in telling them where Post Offices, ATM machines, Passport Photo Shops, Chinatown and restaurant locations are that the people seem to accept my materials more eagerly. In fact this helpfulness has started to make me a part of the community and not just some protestor there with my own agenda.
Also, since the parking around the consulate is scarce and strictly enforced, I frequently warn people not to park in parking lots that are known to tow cars. Several hundred dollars in towing charges have been saved by my warning people about the tow zones.
React with Compassion
Being at the consulate is almost like being on the front lines of a battle with the evil. The evil uses many ordinary people to fight with the practitioners at the site. Over the past few months, we have matured tremendously from overcoming conflicts that have occurred among us.
Many people yell, shout, shake fists and point fingers when they see our banners, read our messages, view our DVD's and CD's or hear our practitioners telling them how good Falun Dafa is. These people are so poisoned against Falun Dafa that they can only repeat the rhetoric that they have learned from the media in China. But I react calmly with truth clarification statements to counteract the evil messages spread by those against Falun Dafa. In the beginning not many people were swayed from their ideas but now more and more are being persuaded to change their minds. Also, I am finding other ordinary people are chiming in with arguments in support of what Falun Dafa practitioners are saying.
I am able to more quickly recall that we are not at the consulate to win arguments but to save people. With that righteous thought, what words from an ordinary person can move my heart and mind from saving that person? I realize that we cannot save everyone. But I refuse to give up on anyone and I am always anxious to meet that person again for the next opportunity to save him or her.
Evil Grows While We Are Busy Elsewhere
I have noticed how the environment at the consulate is noisy and chaotic after the Dafa disciples have been away from the consulate at a Fahui or some meeting. After coming back, the traffic is aggressive with horns honking, tires squealing, people yelling or talking loudly. But after a while the environment becomes more serene.
In fact, I have discussed that the more practitioners that show up at the consulate, the quicker it calms down and becomes more serene. Master said, "one righteous mind can subdue 100 evils". So we suppose that the more righteous minds we can place at the consulate, the more evil we can subdue.
Don't Think That You Are Not Needed Since Others Are There
Many times I have thought that I wasn't really needed at an event and felt that I should do some other Dafa project or activity. However, if I pay close attention when I attend events it seems that there is always something that I can add or do to make the event more of a success.
One particular situation arose recently that really reinforced that feeling for me. It was a Saturday at Din Ho shopping center. Some of us were clarifying the truth to the Chinese people there. One practitioner who doesn't come to Din Ho very often dropped by that day. The practitioner hadn't been there long when a Hispanic lady came by and asked where to buy martial arts equipment. The practitioner said he wasn't sure as he directed her to the table of Falun Dafa materials and started clarifying the truth.
As the conversation continued, the practitioner and the Hispanic lady discovered that they had more and more in common. They discovered that they lived in the same area, which was quite a distance from Chinatown. Also the practitioner and the lady's husband were both PhDs and studied in very similar disciplines. The conversation went very well and I believe a predestined relationship was fulfilled. I feel that if that practitioner had not been there that this predestined relationship may have gone unfulfilled.
Master always reminds us we are one body. But even though we are one body, each one of us has different skills and traits. All of us need to be careful and prevent the old forces from convincing us that we are not needed at an event. We may miss an opportunity to fulfill a predestined relationship.
If You Can't Speak The Language Send Righteous Thoughts, It Is The Universal Language
Many times there are Dafa activities where a language other than the one we speak is involved. It is natural to think that perhaps you are not needed there and could do something more productive. But with the situation at the consulate, I have come to change my mind. There have been several instances at the consulate that I have been needed to send righteous thoughts. Since I am unaware of the meaning in the conversation, I can more easily ignore the conversation and concentrate on the righteous thought to eliminate the evil or blockage. The same rationale applies to office visits to government and business offices. Perhaps a non English-speaking practitioner could more easily ignore the distractions in the conversation and send righteous thoughts more effectively.
Fa Study At The Consulate
Since several of us spend quite a bit of time at the consulate, we fill those hours with truth clarification, exercises and Fa Study. While studying the Fa at the consulate, I have found that it refreshes me. In addition, it helps me to be more creative in clarifying the truth and addressing issues that come up during those activities. I have also found that it strengthens my righteous thoughts and eliminates the human tendencies toward competitiveness and argumentativeness.
This concludes my paper on my experiences at the Houston Chinese Consulate. I am sure that the other practitioners have even richer experience that they could share with us. If you have similar or different experiences, I sincerely hope that you will share them so that we may all improve in our cultivation. In addition, if there are errors or omissions in my thinking or application of the Fa's principles please point them out so that I may improve my cultivation state.