PureInsight | November 8, 2004
[PureInsight.org] Visiting China as a tourist I knew would bring many experiences and tests. My husband is not a practitioner; however he was the one who actually made the commitment and reservations to go to China. I did have a little apprehension, but I knew if my righteous thoughts were strong enough I would have no problem. I knew I would be tested but I just didn't know in what ways. I did my best to let go of any expectations, to just let things happen, and try to always remember to handle situations based on the Fa. My husband was adamant that I not bring any truth clarifying material. The only materials I brought were pre-made lotus flowers and little bookmarks to hand out. I did bring Zhuan Falun and Master's poems to keep up with Fa study. I knew one of the biggest challenges for me on this trip was how best to clarify the truth without speaking the language and not having materials to hand out.
Our trip started out in Shanghai. What a modern, progressive city. The architecture is incredible. Everything was new and sparkling. We happened to be there on a holiday which made it extremely crowded. When I asked our guide if he knew about Falun Dafa, he stated "oh you mean FLG", as that is what they call it. He said that he thought the practitioners were good but that Master Li had wanted to take over the Chinese government and that he made a lot of money off his books, which gave me a perfect opportunity to tell him the truth. He seemed pretty surprised and he did admit that the Chinese Government did lie to them a lot. I could tell he really listened to me and was shocked about the persecution. He said he did realize how the Chinese government censors information and that they don't always get the correct information. He said the older people have a harder time questioning their government, where the younger generation realizes that they lie.
When I asked him about how important the spiritual life of the Chinese was he said they still practice Buddhism but that it is not a priority. He said most Chinese people are focused on progress and just believe in themselves. We made the comment of how many cranes there were in the city as there were new buildings going up everywhere. He laughed and said that the crane has become the country's symbol (and not the crane that's a bird!) Everywhere you looked there were cranes, building new buildings. One thing we observed and were glad of is that the youth did not dress provocatively like they do in the United States. They're still relatively modest.
All in all we really enjoyed Shanghai. They have a fabulous museum there. I saw a porcelain Buddha sitting in the jieyin position with a Falun on his chest which was dated 1,465.
Flying to Beijing was a little unnerving, but when I went through security I sent forth the purest righteous thoughts I could without letting any fear enter in. I had no problems whatsoever. Never even had my bags checked. The first thing we noticed when we got off the plane was how smoggy it was even though it was at night. We first thought it was fog, but realized it was smog. In Shanghai there were only 6 of us traveling together, but when we arrived in Beijing we were 16 total. We were on a mini bus driving to our hotel and I was shocked at all the tearing down of buildings going on. They were demolishing whole blocks with dust flying in the air. They were tearing down people's homes that they'd lived in for years to make way for high rises before the Olympics of 2008, displacing so many people who now have to live outside of Beijing as they can't afford to live in the city anymore. The government is doing everything they can to make Beijing a modern up-to-date city before the Olympics. Little communities were destroyed and the construction is going on day and night. They have spotlights at night and they just keep working. The bus entered a little alleyway and I couldn't imagine what kind of place we were staying at with all this demolishing going on when we all of a sudden came upon a gateway to a beautiful Chinese garden and hotel that was built by a high government official a very long time ago. It was tucked away and it had been restored and was very traditional. We enjoyed it very much.
Our local guide in Beijing had a very scientific mind, although he was a devout Buddhist. He was very knowledgeable about Chinese culture and had studied Buddhism extensively. When I asked him what he thought of Falun Dafa he said it was very bad and a cult. I asked him in what way he felt it was so awful and he mentioned he knew of two people who committed suicide because they focused on the law wheel in their abdomen when they meditated. I knew he was going to be a challenge to clarify the truth to. I told him that when we meditate we do not focus on the law wheel but we just focus on having a clean and clear mind with no other thoughts. I had many in-depth conversations with him and finally he realized that what I was trying to get through to him was that it was not the practice that made them commit suicide, but that their mind was not stable to begin with. He finally realized that it was not the practice that made them commit suicide (he also admitted that the second person he wasn't really sure if he actually committed suicide). At the end of our time in Beijing he asked if I would send him an English copy of Zhuan Falun and any other information so he could really study it. I felt so relieved that I had maybe changed his mind.
The Great Wall was built to protect China from northern invaders, and it ultimately failed spectacularly. It is so massive. We hiked on the old part that has not been touched, and then on the restored part. It's hard to imagine how these people accomplished this feat. Many people were killed while building it.
It was quite an experience visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. There were Chinese guards everywhere on Tiananmen Square (it was also a holiday like their 4th of July). My husband held onto my hand so tight that I'm not sure what he thought might happen. Just envisioning all the practitioners that had been beaten and arrested was very unnerving. Also it was very frustrating for me that I couldn't do anything but send forth righteous thoughts. I would also yell Falun Dafa Hao (to myself of course) to shake up the evil, especially when passing a policeman. In fact every night I would get up in the middle of the night when it was quiet and send forth righteous thoughts for long periods. Let me tell you I did battle every night and it was very intense. It took a lot of strength because it was a challenge not to feel muddle headed while in Beijing and some other areas in China. There was a lot of darkness and dreariness. The big layer of smog didn't help, and it was like it was encased with this dreariness. You couldn't even see the sun in the daytime.
We visited a Kung Fu School for kids aged 4 to 18. The kids actually lived at the school and their whole focus was learning martial arts. In their studies they don't teach anything about religion, just politics – interesting.
We then took an overnight train to Xian – home of the Terra Cotta Soldiers. The train was a wonderful experience and had very nice sleeping accommodations. Our local guide there was female. Seeing the Terra Cotta Soldiers was quite an experience. The individuality of each soldier was incredible – all made over 2,400 years ago and cast in clay. I got a chance to talk to our guide about Falun Dafa and she had the understanding that Master Li has made lots of money on the books and she thought the Falun also gave a lot of people cultivation insanity and set themselves on fire. After I got through telling her the truth, and telling her about the persecution, and how even babies and old people were horribly tortured and killed, she started crying. She cried a lot and was very upset by it. She said she would tell all the people she knew and that she had no idea that was happening in the labor camps. When we parted I said to her "remember Falun Dafa Hao". She said I'll remember.
We then went to Wuhan and boarded our boat to go down the Yangtze River. The massive dam is almost inconceivable. It's two-thirds done. The United States and Canada initially supported the dam but they pulled out in 1993 because of some concerns. We learned most Chinese think it's a good thing to prevent flooding, and, also, the dam will generate 15% of China's electricity, while others think it's a big environmental atrocity. To actually see what Master talks about in Zhuan Falun about the caves along the Yangtze River on both sides of the Three Gorges was a wonderful experience. They had markers of where the water will actually come up to when it's finished. They've already built new towns up higher from where the old ones are that will be submerged. There are 1.3 million people who will be displaced by this. We were surprised that there was still as much air pollution along the Yangtze River as in the big cities. You just can't escape it – it's all over China, even in the mountains. It's one big haze.
Chengdu to Lhasa, Tibet
We then went to Chongqing and on to Chendu to catch our flight to Tibet. Once we arrived in Tibet it was like heaviness had lifted. It was bright, sunny, and of course very high (12,000 feet). We were all so happy to see the sun. Many of us, however, got high altitude sickness even after taking medication for it. I was pressured to take it but I knew I would be fine, and I was.
I have to say I think one of the big reasons I was allowed to go on this trip was because of Tibet. The Tibetans are beautiful spiritual people. Even though their Dalai Lama is gone, they still do their best to adhere to their principles of doing things. Everywhere you go in Tibet there are Chinese guards. Even at the Potala Palace, where the Dalai Lama used to live, there were Chinese guards everywhere. I felt no reverence at all in the palace. It was more like a museum where tourists go. Also, for some reason, I was prompted to continuously send forth righteous thoughts the whole time I was in there. I had the feeling that since there were probably no practitioners in Tibet, their future was questionable. I did battle quite often and tried to clear away the evil elements. Even now every time I send forth righteous thoughts I always include Tibet. Our guide, who was Tibetan, spoke good English so I was able to tell him about Falun Dafa. He had never heard of it and when I told him about the persecution he said "That is so terrible! How could they do such a thing?" I had some good conversations with him and when I told him I saw a sadness in his people, that they really didn't seem to have much say so in their life, and that I felt the Potala Palace was dead feeling, he confirmed my feelings. He also said that Tibet is progressing very rapidly because of the Chinese, but that all the jobs are going to the Chinese and not the Tibetans. Unless they spoke perfect English or Chinese, the Tibetans could not get jobs. I did observe a lot of building going on, bridges, roads, high rises, etc. It seems the Chinese are just leaving enough of the Tibetan culture to keep the tourists coming.
We visited a school for handicapped children while inTibet and I got the chance to hand out little bookmarks to them. They didn't seem like very happy children but did thank me for the bookmarks.
After flying back to Chengdu, we ended our stay in Mainland China by visiting the Giant Panda Sanctuary where you can view the pandas in a simulated habitat. They are such giant gentle creatures who are constantly eating bamboo! Not many left now.
Our last stop was Hong Kong. It was good not to have to think about security issues in Hong Kong. I was hoping to be able to meet with Hong Kong practitioners but it just didn't happen. On our last night before we were to leave, a couple from our group said they saw Falun Gong practitioners doing their exercises by the waterfront, but it was too late by then to meet them.
Throughout the trip we did visit quite a few people's homes, and even visited a 91 year old lady who had had her feet bound many years ago. You could see the disfigured feet through her socks. Through an interpreter we learned she went through a great deal of pain while her feet were bound. I always presented a lotus flower to the people we visited. We also had meals with the local people. None of them could speak English, but I would always leave them a bookmark or flower.
The frustration I had to overcome on this trip was not being able to clarify the truth to more people. I did see the benefit of face to face truth clarification though and realized it takes some patience to make sure people have a correct understanding of Dafa. I don't think just going and handing out material would be that effective. People need to see your eyes and your pure heart.
I loved the Chinese and their spirit. They are very giving and caring. I just feel so bad that they've been so brainwashed with lies. The guides who I clarified the truth to were not bad people, but good honest and caring people who had been brainwashed. Our main guide said his mother was a practitioner but he didn't think she practiced anymore, or he thought if she was practicing that she was doing it secretly at home. I emailed him to see if I could start corresponding with her so I can tell her what a Dafa Disciple should be doing. I am waiting to hear.
When I was in Tiananmen Square I was waiting in line for the restroom. There was a lot of pushing and shoving going on and I tried to stay on the sidelines. After a while an attendant came up to me and led me to a western toilet which I thought was very thoughtful. Sometimes it isn't easy for us westerners, especially with the pushing and trying to be first. The Chinese people were always very respectful and courteous.
Even though we were very busy and it wasn't easy to always fit Dafa work in, I always managed to get my one lecture a day read. Sometimes it was a day late but once I quit worrying about it, I always found the time. I also got my exercises and meditation in usually in the middle of the night. It kept me balanced, healthy, and in good spirits. The biggest challenge was sending forth righteous thoughts at the appointed times. It was frustrating because we were so on the go, that it was sometimes impossible to focus, but I just sent them when things were quieter. So many of our group got really sick on this trip, including my husband, but I just had a slight cold that went right away. People couldn't believe how much energy I had.
It was such a privilege to be in China and Tibet. Now when I read Zhuan Falun I can understand Master's perspective a little better. I only hope I did a good job for Dafa and accomplished what a Dafa Disciple should have.
Fellow practitioners please point out to me anything that may be inappropriate.