PureInsight | May 13, 2009
Experience sharing at the 2008 Nordic Fa Conference
Dear Fellow Practitioners,
We are a couple. Together, we have cultivated Falun Dafa since 1998. During these years, we have been through a lot together and have experienced many changes in our minds and in the body of Dafa practitioners. We have observed the progress of the Fa-rectification and experienced the magnificence of Dafa and our fellow practitioners. We have been tested many times and did not always succeed so well, but we have now come to this point and are very grateful for Dafa and the Master’s boundless mercy and compassion.
The first time we saw the Zhen-Shan-Ren Art Exhibit, we understood that this was a good way to reach people and clarify the truth. Art can communicate directly with people's hearts. Also, difficult and profound subjects can be examined without people being frightened or blocked by too many words. We thought of showing the art exhibition in Arvika, but some time passed until we understood that we were indebted to carry out the art exhibition, without delay, if we were not to miss the chance. At the same time, we wanted to do a proper job, without rushing and forcing our work. We wanted to have real contact with people and create good relations, and build a good basis to work from. We really wanted each step and each moment to take the time needed. In this way, we created harmony in our actions, and it was easier to overcome the difficulties and demanding situations we encountered. As with all projects related to Dafa and clarifying the truth about of the persecution, there is always a resistance, and the old forces are trying in every way to interfere. Critical to the results is our righteousness, our righteous hearts as Dafa practitioners.
We started our work for the art exhibition many months before the actual implementation. We started to make contact with those responsible for different showrooms both in Arvika and in Karlstad. We made appointments to have the opportunity to meet them and have personal contact. At the meetings, there was often time and opportunities to talk about Falun Gong and the persecution in a proper way. Most of the meetings were fruitful and productive, but we also had a couple of meetings where we were not calm in our hearts, but had too many intentions and concerns. I then felt that they thought our behaviour was rushed and exaggerated. Afterwards, I thought that much of this was due to my lack of understanding and confidence in Dafa and Master’s arrangement, and therefore, I wasn’t always able to keep my heart calm, clear and righteous.
After we had sought a suitable location without any success, it was as if some help came. I went past an old basement that had been closed for many years after the big flood in Arvika. I looked in through the windows and saw opportunities. After we discussed, we concluded that it was worth a try. The space had a long history as an “art basement” in Arvika. We made contact with the owner; in this case, it appeared that it was the Arvika Town Council. At first, they were not interested in renting out the premises, as it would involve quite extensive renovations and improvements. After that, we visited the responsible person in the town council and submitted materials, and we offered to freshen up the room. The person in charge promised to come back with an answer after a meeting with the manager of the premises. Arvika Town Council approved renting these premises to us and also offered to provide the paint and other materials to renovate it.
Here, I want to emphasise the importance of booking a meeting and going in person. To this day, our hosts have given us opportunities to meet many different people in various positions in society to clarify the truth. We brought with us information materials from previous exhibitions around the world, which we handed out. The day came when we got the key to the premises. There was a lot of work to do, but during the whole process of preparing the premises, I felt very grateful. Now, my skills in renovation and carpentry would help us in clarifying the truth about the persecution. While working, I listened to the lectures and the “Pudu” and “Jishi” music, read Zhuan Falun and was as righteous as I could be. My understanding was that our ability to implement the exhibition depended on our righteousness. Even though it was over a year ago, I remember what joy it was to have this opportunity. The premises were quickly transformed after much paint, polishing, better lighting, cleaning the windows, and much more. One evening, I read about an exhibit on the Clear Harmony website and saw photos of it in a great room with crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Then, doubt came. Would I dishonour the exhibition by hanging it in an old basement? The room was recently renovated, but it was still a cellar and had low ceilings. I talked to a practitioner in Gothenburg who was responsible for the exhibits in Sweden. She said that it was not the premises people want to see but the paintings. This reassured me. But it is easy to fall into doubt; I decided to be even more on my guard.
From the beginning, I had a thought of also reaching out to the schools – to reach young people and invite them to the exhibition. The idea was, through the medium of the art exhibition, to inform them about Dafa and the persecution of Falun Gong and give them opportunities to reflect on life, existential issues and human rights. Therefore, I made contact with the various primary and secondary schools in Arvika to ask for the opportunity to visit their faculty office where the teachers and principals met on a regular basis. I had the opportunity to go to all the schools and meet many teachers in Arvika. I was able to present the art exhibition and provide information. Often, I did not have much time for the presentation. Despite that, I could always reach someone who was a little more interested and involved. These teachers booked time in their classes to display the art exhibition during a certain period of time. There were many applications from the secondary school classes. A teacher from a secondary school in Arvika, who had taken part in an introductory course about Falun Gong a few years ago, came over with many classes. She understood and experienced the power of the paintings and wanted so badly to help. But a non-practitioner in such a situation is vulnerable, and it is very important to support and protect these good people with righteous thoughts. I also sent forth righteous thoughts for her during that time period. She went through quite a lot of difficulties for a long period of time afterwards. There is much to think about for a Dafa practitioner and a lot of responsibilities. When I am not righteous, all of this can create a feeling of discomfort, as if I can never get time off and rest. But I will usually not think this way when I am more righteous and in Fa, for then, the heart is strong and clear and everything is floating in a calm and harmonious stream, where I know what is required for the moment.
I remember how important all the support and all the material I got from the practitioners who had experience with the exhibit was. We had deliberately taken the time to contact the various associations and schools so that things would turn out well. We put up posters and placed advertisements in the local paper. Our contact with the media gave unexpectedly good results, and three newspapers did interviews. Varmlands Folkblad came to our home and did a very good “at the home of” report. The local newspapers, Arvika News and NWT, wrote positive articles. We made contact with the town councillor who agreed to give an inaugural speech when the exhibit came, a local UN Association, representatives from the International Association of Traditional Culture and the Arts, various media and many more. The big day was approaching very soon, but no paintings were up yet. Finally, they arrived in the afternoon on the day before the opening of the exhibition. My joy and relief was enormous. When a practitioner from Gothenburg and I were hanging up the paintings, it seemed as if the place had been chosen a long time ago. The result was fantastic, decorated with small lotus flowers in the deep granite windows, a white background and ceiling lights that were focused where needed. Now, I could see that the entire premises was created for the occasion, a very lively and lovely atmosphere was created. Only a few paintings did not have a place. I fell asleep late that night with a great deal of expectation and excitement.
During the preparations for the art exhibit, there was a thought that often cropped up. It was a thought of gratitude to be able to share this work with Werner, together saving sentient beings. We have done a lot together in the past. Many times, Werner helped me in the implementation of my scenic dance projects, but this time it was more I who was supportive and in the background, while Werner stood in the front. It was a wonderful experience to offer help and be by his side and watch how Werner gradually took his place. It is a gift to experience how a fellow practitioner grows and gradually reaches toward perfection, to be a part of the process and be able to assist when the need arises.
The opening of the art exhibit was successful. The community councillor, who would attend other commitments on the same day, chose to stay around for a long time. He made an inspiring speech and accepted a painting that we donated to the Arvika Town Council. I chose the painting, Fulfilling Vows, which is a work of art that reminds everyone of a higher meaning of life. The councillor suggested that we could hang it in Arvika Library. About forty people participated in the opening event.
For the opening of the art exhibit, we wanted to have more than one speaker. I had for a time served on the board of executives of the Arvika UN Association, and therefore, I invited the vice president to deliver a speech. We wanted to involve representatives from society and organizations working for human rights. The vice president came and gave a personal and enthusiastic speech, which together with the other speakers created a beautiful atmosphere.
The exhibition lasted for three weeks and we had the premises open daily. Due to the fact that both Werner and I are working and that we have three children, we needed help to manage it. But everything resolved itself for the best and we got help from other practitioners. We made a schedule to take turns taking care of the exhibition. A practitioner from Arvika, who studies literature and art history at university, and another practitioner who was passing by came to help. Together, we were able to manage all opening times, and more than 600 people saw the exhibition. Several hundred of them were schoolchildren.
I had carefully prepared myself and read about each painting, but I noticed that my understanding increased by just being in the premises each day. It was great to open up in the morning, because there were few visitors early, which made it appropriate to read Zhuan Falun aloud. There were many school classes, artists and other people. All the time, my cultivation and trust in the Fa reflected in my presentation of the art exhibition to visitors. Wherever I was righteous, there was no disruption and the artworks could reach the spectators in depth. Once an older couple, who were artists and had strong Christian faith, came with a somewhat reserved attitude, while a Pentecostalist, with arms folded in front of the chest, also appeared at the venue. But as we went through the exhibition hall, their faces showed tangible transformation. They became very grateful and pointed out that it was important that all visitors could have a guided tour so that no confusion would arise. Every visitor received a small beautiful lotus flower decorated with a bookmark with the characters Zen-Shan-Ren and a pearl, dangling on a string. I later saw some of them hanging in the cars that were driven in Arvika.
I had for several years been thinking about making contact with one of the local politicians in order to clarify the truth. Suddenly, she appeared as a teacher leading a high school class to see the exhibition. After the tour, she turned towards the class and said, "Now you know what is getting involved. It is fantastic," and everyone applauded. Another experience I had with a couple was when I did not manage to keep my heart completely calm. The man was dressed in an old military uniform with a Russian fur cap; he began to criticize the paintings. This came as a shock to me, because I had such nice experiences from all previous visits. He said that he himself was an artist and that he was a communist. I felt a strange smell around him. I overcame my first reactions and began to guide them around as usual, but all the time he cut me off. He was aggressive and bold, and questioned everything I said. I was irritated, but I understood that if I dropped into my own irritation, no good would come out of it. So, I continued to explain the paintings to the couple for about forty minutes, enduring the same aggressive attitude from him. Every time he cut me off, I resumed the tour. Before they left, I had taken control over my heart. I gave them a lotus flower; he thanked me again and again, especially for my patience.
It was a real experience to take care of the showroom. If we had more practitioners, we could be in two sections, simultaneously. To stand alone in the showroom, as we did, requires righteousness and courage. Werner stood there a lot and I remember very well the first time that I was there. I had barely opened the premises when one of the leaders of another art gallery in Arvika came in. She quickly went around in a few minutes and then came up to me to talk. She was quite hostile toward the art exhibition and also said Falun Gong is a sect. However, she stayed, so we had the opportunity to talk. I understood that it was difficult for her to be in the showroom, and that she felt strained, but at the same time needed to talk and understand. We had a long and fruitful talk and I tried to meet her claims with a pinch of humour and a great deal of tolerance. As I tried to be open to her, she too opened up to me and told me that she considered any form of spirituality and religion as suspicious and as a sect. When I asked her why it was so, she replied that she did not know. So from being stressed and negative, she became more thoughtful and calmer. I think she left with new ideas about herself and perhaps issues that had arisen.
I also had the privilege of showing the art exhibition for several middle high school classes, and experienced many touching moments, including a teenage boy passing out when I stood and talked about the painting Pure Lotus and showing how the Falun rotates. I rotated the hands a few times to demonstrate and in the mist of it, the boy fell full-length onto the floor. The boy was fine. He went out to get some air. The teachers thought that he had eaten too little for breakfast, but I knew that it was the power of the Fa that radiated out of the paintings. Another youth was forced to sit down because he felt dizzy, and many seemed affected on several levels. Many young people also asked questions to understand more and were attentive. They are young but perhaps understand just as much. But I am absolutely convinced that Master arranged everything and that the seeds have been sown for future generations and the future.
The Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance Art Exhibit was an enormous good way to reach people and a fine opportunity to reveal our own shortcomings. Through the paintings, the beauty and the righteousness of Falun Gong became a reality for the viewers, the persecution was not limited to just words and information in the information society, but it materialised in front of the viewer. If anyone has thoughts about what to do and has not arranged a Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance Art Exhibit, it is a great opportunity. Before I conclude, I would like to thank all fellow practitioners, together with whom we have made such things possible, and thanks to revered Master for your compassionate guidance.