PureInsight | July 4, 2005
[Chicago Fa Conference 2005] My name is Bill. I was born and raised in the suburbs of NYC. My educational background and training is in science. I have a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology. For the past 16 years I have lived and worked in St. Louis, Missouri. The company I work for is a global organization. Part of my job entails working with international visitors including guests from China. I was first introduced to Falun Dafa and the persecution of practitioners in China by a friend in Spring 2004. This is the story of how I came to know Falun Dafa.
During Spring 2004, a friend at work approached me regarding Falun Dafa. She shared with me some literature regarding the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China. I learned that in addition to herself, there was at least one other person at work who was a practitioner and that it was very important that I speak with her regarding Falun Dafa.
One day while walking down the main stairway in the building where I worked a Chinese woman was coming up the stairway. This woman gave me a big smile. It made my day and somehow, somewhere in the past I seemed to remember this smile.But I could not place it. Several weeks later while walking out of the building I heard someone call out my name. I turned around and it was the woman with the big smile. She was very friendly and attentive and she explained to me that she was the friend of my friend who had first told me about Falun Dafa and the persecution in China.
This "woman with the big smile" told me that Falun Dafa could be summed up in three words… Truthfulness – Compassion – Forbearance. It was as simple as that. She also told me about the five simple exercises and invited me to a practice session over the weekend. I thought it all sounded very nice but, I was already involved in an exercise program. I politely told her that "maybe" I would attend some time in the future.
It struck me that my new friend's life in China under Communist rule before coming to the US had been very different from mine. Growing up in the US, my parents, relatives, and/or neighbors had never been arrested for speaking their mind, their beliefs, or because they belonged to any particular organization. We always had enough food to eat. The police were our friends. I looked at a globe….exactly on the opposite side of the earth from the position of the US was China. Democracy vs. Communism. Freedom of religion vs. no religion. Freedom of speech vs. no rights. Election of government officials by the people vs. government by brute force.
The team I work with includes a division which is responsible for writing a weekly column in the company newsletter which reaches 17,000 employees worldwide. One of my immediate friends writes the column. I suggested that my new Chinese friend had a story that would interest the readers of the company newsletter. My teammate agreed and an interview was set up. I suggested/volunteered that I would like to get a photo of the Falun Dafa exercise group for inclusion with the article to be written. The very next week I introduced my new Falun Dafa friend to my journalist friend and an interview for the news article ensued. That Saturday morning I loaded up my camera and headed to the park to photograph my friend(s) and the local Falun Dafa group as they practiced.
I believe that it would be impossible for me to accurately describe what I observed as I took photos of the group going through the five simple exercises that morning. It was like nothing which I had ever experienced before in my life. Simply put, there was such an air of tranquility like that which I had never myself experienced before as I watched and photographed the group going through the exercises. It was so peaceful. When I went home that morning and developed the photographs I again felt that same tranquility that I had felt at the practice site. These kind and gentle people were something very special the likes of which I had never before encountered. I decided that perhaps I would give the five Falun Dafa exercises a try and perhaps read the book which my new friend had offered.
The next week at the office I told my friends that I would like to join them in the exercises and also that I would like to try to set up an exercise class at the office site. We worked together through proper office channels and succeeded in gaining permission to practice at the office each week. We also gained permission to put up signs around the office inviting others to join in Falun Dafa exercise classes to be held once a week.
When the news article on my new Falun Dafa friend was published in August I was very happy to learn more about my new friend and also more about the benefits of practicing Falun Dafa. It was a very positive article and soon many people were calling my friend to ask about participating in the on-site practice sessions. The article even stated that the company "supported" the practice sessions. Little did we know that the "old forces" and the CCP were working to overturn and/or disrupt all the good that the article had brought to Falun Dafa at our company. Little did we suspect that the CCP was able to influence company decisions in St. Louis, MO.
During the week when the article appeared on the company's intra-net website, the writer of the article began to receive eMail from other employees objecting to Falun Dafa. They had many negative things to say about Falun Dafa that they had gleaned from the www. This was disturbing as our company had always stated that diversity and the acceptance of others with differing points of view were a large part of what made the company strong. But more disturbing, and even more troubling was the report that the head of the company's branch in China was strongly objecting to the fact that the company was "supporting" a Falun Dafa practice session on company property. The company's head in China put great pressure on my team to "pull" the article from the website. I am very pleased to say that my colleague who wrote the article stood firm in support of Falun Dafa. The article stayed posted on the company intra-net site for the full seven days as is normal.
But, there was a second article which was published the very next week. The second article was not good. In fact the second article was bad in that it made it a specific point that our company does not "support" Falun Dafa. We heard from company sources that this was in response to pressure from the company's China head who did not want to lose business if the CCP discovered that our company "supported" a Falun Dafa exercise class in St. Louis, MO. To add further insult, my friend was asked by the company human affairs director if she would remove the statement "supported" from all posters which we had put up to advertise the class. We could still hold the class, we just could not say that it was "supported" by the company.
We resolved that we had a "loophole" somewhere and began to search for it. We decided to talk with some of the key managers/directors of our company to clarify the truth regarding Falun Dafa. Immediately after the second article was published we talked with a friend in Legal to no avail. We talked with a friend in Product Acceptance who was very supportive during our conversations. At my Falun Dafa friend's suggestion we each SFRT during these discussions. Each time the person with whom we were speaking seemed to "wander" I would focus SFRT and she would come back into the conversation and agree with us. We left this recent meeting with the understanding that the subject of Falun Dafa and human rights abuses would be discussed at a higher level within the company.
In August I read the book Falun Gong and then started on Zhuan Falun. I began to attend the practice sessions every weekend on Saturdays and Sundays and once each week at the office. I learned about SFRT.
As I read through Zhuan Falun I realized that there was one attachment which I needed to get rid of immediately if I was to become a practitioner. It was alcohol. I knew that I had a problem with alcohol and I knew that I wanted to stop my daily drinking of beer and/or wine. But until this time it had been impossible for me to stop for even a single day. Zhuan Falun was very clear on this point. Drinking alcohol is an attachment. I stopped "cold turkey" sometime in August 2004 and have not had a single drink of alcohol since. Thank you Master Li for making this easy for me to do. What had been difficult if not impossible for me to accomplish, by reading Zhuan Falun, I had been able to accomplish. Thank you Master Li for guiding me through this difficult attachment.
Another difficult attachment which I had to lose immediately was one directly related to my position at my company. I had started at the company in 1989 as a research scientist. In 1994 I was laid off due to corporate restructuring. My current position and the position that I have held for the past 10 years is "contract." I had always felt a deep bitterness because I did not have a full-time position with benefits like a full-time employee. From reading Zhuan Falun, I realized that I needed to better understand karmic relationships and lose this attachment. I believe that I have done this with Master Li's help. Thank you Master Li.
Fall 2004 was spent reading Zhuan Falun and attending local community events including parades, the 2004 US Presidential Debate at Washington University, continued group practice sessions on Saturday and Sunday in the local park, two practice sessions during the week with colleagues at work, and practice at home on all other days. Group readings were attended on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons.
In October 2004 I returned to NY (my hometown) for 9-days of Truth clarification with my colleagues from work. I stayed at my home on Long Island with my 91 year old father and my colleagues stayed in NYC with fellow Falun Dafa practitioners. We met in NYC each day to clarify the truth.
During this trip to NY I had my first opportunity to meet practitioners who were not from the St. Louis area and also to directly validate the truth to sentient beings. We worked throughout the city, wherever we were needed, but spent the majority of our time in the Wall Street area just opposite Federal Hall. Master Li (and George Washington!) watched over us in our activities.
I believe that every practitioner knows that Wall Street is the heart of corporate America and a very dark and COLD place to spread the Fa. We were literally freezing the entire time we were there. When it was not freezing it was raining "cats-and-dogs". We worked Wall Street almost from sunup to sundown. We talked to people from around the world who were visitors to the city and we also talked to people who worked at the NY Stock Exchange.
One of the most difficult things for me to do during this time was to approach Chinese people. I shared this with a fellow practitioner and she told me something which helped me immensely. She told me that my presence as a westerner in spreading the Fa with Chinese was very important. The significance of my presence as a westerner in spreading the Fa to Chinese was very important in that it demonstrated that it was not only Chinese citizens who were practitioners of Falun Dafa but that the 100 million practitioners were from over 60 different countries from around the globe including the US. This greatly empowered me in my ability to approach Chinese diplomats in NYC and to spread the Fa.
During this trip to NY, I also had the opportunity to validate the truth to my 91-year-old father. My dad has always been a stubborn man and set in his ways but I was able to share with him some truth clarification materials which he read. My dad and I have always had a very difficult relationship and rarely talked to each other. My days in NYC validating the truth required that I get up early and take the train into NY, returning late at night. Believe it or not my 91-year-old dad cooked me breakfast almost every morning and waited up for me and cooked me dinner late each night. I believe that he fully understood about the persecution and was doing his part to validate the Fa by helping in my efforts to validate the Fa. After many years of not understanding each other and not talking with each other I believe that the Fa has helped my dad and I resolve many things that would have been impossible to resolve in the past prior to my coming to the Fa. Thank you Master Li.
In November, I returned to NYC with my fellow St. Louis Falun Dafa practitioners for the NYC Fa Conference. The winter months of 2004 – 2005 were spent reading Zhuan Falun, practicing, and in validating the truth at local St. Louis events including the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in March 2005.
As a new practitioner, I still have many attachments. Sentimentality is an especially difficult attachment for me to understand and to lose. Knowing that removing sentimentality involves replacing it with "Compassion" helps. I continue to struggle with this every day.
My life and my understanding of the "Cosmos" have changed since I first came to Falun Dafa in Spring 2004. I am a different person from who I was just one year ago.
Thank you Master Li and fellow practitioners for this opportunity to share with you my experience in coming to Falun Dafa.