PureInsight | December 27, 2004
[PureInsight.org] My Mother finally returned home last weekend after having stayed in New York for nearly three months to help clarify the truth about Falun Gong in Manhattan. She now looks even younger than her age. Three months ago, my Mom often nagged her children like many elderly folks do, but now she has become calm yet affectionate. She always wears a kind smile on her face.
Her life in New York was very demanding. The daily schedule was as tight and orderly as one might encounter while conducting a military march. Everyday my mother and other practitioners who were staying at the same place got up at 4:55 AM. to send righteous thoughts. After that, they would do the sitting meditation for an hour, have breakfast and leave for Manhattan immediately. They started the truth-clarification work every day by distributing truth-clarification material at the entrances of subway stations because a lot of people in New York go to work via subway. By 9 or 10 AM, they would finish distributing the big pile of flyers that New York practitioners dropped off every morning. Then they would hold torture exhibits all day long until after the evening rush hour. When they finally returned to their place of lodging in New York, they took turns cooking dinner, showering and eating. Then they would have group Fa study, followed by sending righteous thoughts at 10:55 PM. They usually went to sleep after that.
As they left their hotel every morning, my mother and other practitioners would carry their lunches, bottles of water and warm overcoats in their backpacks. From where they lived, they had to walk 30 minutes to get to the nearest subway station. Every day they walked up and down several flights of stairs. My Mom said, "I counted how many stair steps we had to walk every day once. We walked several hundreds stair steps every day." Some younger Falun Gong practitioners collapsed in exhaustion after following the same schedule as my mother in New York for just three days. The practitioners whom my Mom was with are all elderly practitioners in their 60's and 70's, and yet they were able to persist living like that in New York for two to three months.
The first thing my Mom said to me when she returned home was, "Look how well some other practitioners have cultivated! You and I must truly work on our cultivation from now on. We must not stop at merely studying the Fa. We must truly follow the teachings of Falun Gong in our daily lives and truly cultivate our hearts." Then she told me a lot of admirable stories of fellow practitioners in New York. Before we knew it, it was already midnight.
Here are some of the stories that my mother told me with everyone. I wrote these stories down in the same way as my Mom told them.
1. A Westerner Told Me I Look Like His Mother
Once when I had just entered a subway train, a young westerner waved at me, signaling me to go sit next to him. After I sat down, I opened Zhuan Falun and started reading it. He pointed at Zhuan Falun, looking like he was asking what I was reading. I replied, "China. Falun Gong." Then he said a lot of things to me in English. I don't speak English, so I could not understand or guess what he was saying. I hurried to another practitioner named Wang and asked him to translate for me. After communicating with Wang for a while, the young westerner looked a little emotional. I asked Wang, "What is he saying?" Wang explained, "He said you look like his mother. He feels you are very kind and affectionate. He is very happy to see you and has decided to practice Falun Gong." Next the young man took out his mother's photo from his wallet. I took a look at the photograph, but I don't think I resemble his mother in any way. His mother is Caucasian, and I am Chinese. Perhaps we were in the same family in a previous life.
2. A Helping Hand in the Darkness
We went to a large cultivation experience-sharing gathering every Friday evening. One time the subway station was very dark and unusually crowded. It was packed with so many people that I could not even tell which way we were going. Just as I was getting anxious, a young man came over. He held my hand and led me forward. I was very moved and thanked him repeatedly I think Teacher must have arranged to have him help me out of a tight spot.
3. Distributing Truth-Clarification Material While Sleeping
One evening I felt extremely sleepy. I went to sleep at 9 PM right after dinner. At 10:55 PM, someone woke me up to send righteous thoughts. After we finished sending righteous thoughts, I called out loud, "Let's go! It's time to distribute truth-clarification material!" Everyone burst into laughter. "It's almost midnight. Are you talking in your sleep?" That's the only evening I went to sleep early. What a joke I made of myself.
4. Torture Exhibit
The torture exhibit is the main truth-clarification activity in Manhattan. Almost every day, we held torture exhibits demonstrating three types of torture against Falun Gong practitioners in China. After putting on the makeup, three practitioners rotated among the three torture demonstrations, which were: being hung in the air, being confined in a small cage, and being shocked with electric batons while sitting on a small bench. Although the torture exhibits were toned-down versions of the actual tortures, it was still very painful for us elderly folks in our 60s and 70s to remain still in unnatural positions for several hours straight. I often couldn't help tears from streaming down my face while acting as a victim in the torture exhibits because while I was doing that I thought of my fellow Falun Gong practitioners in China. To think that they still steadfastly believe in Teacher and the Fa despite the horrific and painful tortures they experience in real life made me want to cry. I was only demonstrating the toned-down version of a small number of tortures for a few hours a day, and yet the pain was already unbearable to me. When I see some fellow practitioners not being diligent in their cultivation practice or devoting all their energy to their lives as ordinary people, I feel they are letting Teacher down.
Many westerners came to watch the torture exhibits, and even photographed or videotaped the exhibits. Many of them were moved to tears by the torture exhibits. They were very sympathetic towards Falun Gong. Many asked, "I cannot believe these types of torture are still happening in China today. What can we do to help you?" Some offered to donate money. Of course we wouldn't take their money; we asked them to sign the petition that calls for an end to the persecution and explained to them that all the signatures would be presented to the U.S. State Department.
We normally concluded our daily torture exhibit after we finished sending righteous thoughts at 5 PM everyday. After we packed up all the props for the torture exhibits, we would take the subway back to our temporary residence in New York. By the time we returned home, it's almost 7 to 8 p.m. Then we cooked dinner and studied the Fa. No matter how tired or sleepy we might be, we would insist on studying at least one lecture of Zhuan Falun. Teacher said, "No matter how busy you are, you have to study the Fa." (From "Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference") We must do what Teacher requires of us. That was the daily lifestyle of the several of us elderly practitioners for the past two to three months. Some younger practitioners who came to New York for a few days told us, "We can't keep up with you elderly ladies." Think about it. If it had not been Falun Gong, we elderly folks would not have the strength to clarify the truth in New York. If it had not been Falun Gong, we'd be lucky if we were not bedridden in our old age.
5. A Determined Heart
One morning, an elderly practitioner suddenly had diarrhea and had to go to the bathroom repeatedly. In a short while, she went to the bathroom four times already. I had to ask her, "Are you all right? Why don't you stay home today?" She replied immediately, "No! I must go to Manhattan! I shall not fall behind!" Surprisingly, her diarrhea disappeared as soon as we arrived at our designated areas for truth clarification. It was truly miraculous. Later on when I mentioned this incident with another practitioner, she told me that the elderly practitioner had gone to the Chinese Consulate to send forth righteous thoughts every day when she was in Chicago. One day her legs suddenly became extremely swollen but she insisted on going to the Chinese Consulate. The swelling disappeared the following day. The elderly practitioner said at the time, "I would even crawl to the Chinese Consulate if it came down to that!" I was moved by her strong righteous thoughts.
A 72-year-old practitioner also came to New York to help with the truth clarification work. She was always smiling. She walked so fast that it was as if a gust of wind blew by. She did everything faster than other people did. Who can believe that before she started to practice Falun Gong she used to very sick and had to have several major surgeries? Those who have not started to practice Falun Gong cannot imagine the miraculous power of Falun Gong. Once they practice Falun Gong, they will understand what it is right away.
6. Mom, You Can Read the New York City Map?
When my Mom was unpacking her luggage, she took out a New York City subway map and mumbled to herself, "My goodness, I wore out three maps. I cannot travel in New York City without a map." I was astonished by what I heard. "Mom, you can read the New York City subway map?"
"Yes. I have learned how to read it," she replied. "Fellow practitioners told me that I must learn to find my way back to our temporary residence in case I was separated from the rest of the group."
I was shocked because even I cannot read the subway map of New York City. I feel dizzy when I see those busy subway lines on the map. Besides, my Mom had only gone to school in China for a total of three years when she was a child. How did she learn to read the complex New York City map, especially one that is in English, a language she doesn't speak?
My Mom pointed her finger at the map and showed me what she learned. "You see? There are two directions in the subway --- uptown and downtown. There are often three levels in a subway station, so it is easy to get lost in the subway. 'UP' means 'uptown' and F means 'fast train.' To return home from the torture exhibit, I had to take the R or V train, and then transfer to the W train. I only needed to remember the first letter of the subway station near our residence. I would prepare to get off the train two stops before my stop. When we were riding on the subway train, I would volunteer to watch for our stop so that other practitioners could take a nap and wake them up when we were about to get off the train. I can go to Manhattan and return home by myself. All the fellow practitioners there were very happy for me."
I was very happy for her as well. I said to my Mom, "You are truly incredible. You are smarter and more independent than I am." Mom replied, "It is nothing. There is nothing you cannot learn if you put your mind to it."
Mom added, "When I was not sure if I was taking the right subway train, I would go and seek a policeman's help. You know I do not speak English, but I can use sign language to communicate with the policemen. I would first say 'Hello' to the policemen. Then I point at myself, and point at the subway stop I was trying to reach. The policemen always understood what I meant and pointed me to the right subway train that I should take. Many policemen in New York City have become our friends because they see us around all the time. They have even learned a few words in Chinese and would often greet with us in Chinese. They would say, 'Ni Hao (Hello)! Xie Xie (Thank you)!' They are truly people's police. They are completely the opposite of the depraved police in China."
Finally my Mom said, "This trip has been most rewarding. I won't be able to tell you everything I have learned because I cannot remember it all. But the point I am trying to make is that we must learn to be as diligent as those excellent fellow practitioners in New York City. They truly cherish every day of their cultivation practice. They devote every minute and every second of every day toward their cultivation practice. Compared to them, we have truly fallen behind. We really have to try to catch up with them."
P.S. A Short Description of How My Mother Obtained the Fa
My mother believed in Buddhism since she was little because my mother's side of the family had been Buddhists for many generations. When my Mom was little, she also went to Taoist temples often with grownups in the family. She enjoyed listening to Taoists' cultivation stories and often stayed up listening to grown-ups telling those stories.
When I first started to practice Falun Gong, my Mom read Falun Gong books and knew it was good, but she could not give up her previous Buddha school. It was not until June 1999 that she decided to part ways with her previous Buddha school and become a devout Falun Gong practitioner. She started to study Falun Gong books and tried to sit with her legs in the double lotus position in order to practice Falun Gong's sitting meditation. However, Jiang Zemin started to persecute Falun Gong one month later. Because my Mom had studied the Fa for only a month, she easily became the victim of the Chinese Communist government's propaganda and gave up her cultivation practice in Falun Gong.
Three years ago she came to live with me and my family. At first, she tried to talk us into giving up our beliefs in Falun Gong. But when she learned the truth about Falun Gong, she picked up her cultivation practice again and became even more determined in the cultivation practice than I was. She reads the Fa very slowly. But she is able to maintain a high degree of concentration and a peaceful state of mind when she studies the Fa. Soon she could do the sitting meditation in the double lotus position for one full hour, and she practices the sitting meditation every single day.
That's not to say she does not have any attachment left. For example, my two younger brothers were both laid off from their jobs recently. She often nagged them to find new jobs. Before my Mom left for Manhattan, she said, "I cannot keep worrying about your brothers. I have to worry about clarifying the truth and offering Teacher's salvation to people in Manhattan." A week before my Mom returned from New York, both of my brothers had found good jobs. My youngest brother was even given a management position in a large corporation. When she heard the good news, she realized that Teacher would arrange everything perfectly once she let go of her attachment.
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2004/12/18/30384.html