PureInsight | September 29, 2009
Experience sharing from the 2009 Washington D.C. Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] After Mainland China, Taiwan has the largest number of Falun Dafa practitioners. According to my understanding, that is why it is selected most frequently to hold the “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance International Art Exhibition.” It has provided a very good opportunity for the Taiwanese public to come to know Falun Dafa and to understand the truth. Most Dafa practitioners involved in the painting exhibition think that it is magnificent. Nearly 90% of the people who have visited the exhibition have changed their attitudes towards Falun Dafa in a good and positive way, and many have even begun to practice Falun Dafa after seeing the art exhibit.
However, we have also come to realize that the art exhibit hasn’t really gained the recognition and respect that it deserves from art circles and people of higher social status in our country. We have learned that this is due to our insufficient self-cultivation and lacking deeper understanding of the challenges that we should have broken through.
The following are experiences that we would like to share with our fellow cultivators.
1. Finding Appropriate Exhibition Venues
Practitioners have held a lot of exhibitions in Taiwan, but there has been a major problem: practitioners usually do not pay much attention to the appropriateness of the exhibition halls. Practitioners have been told again and again that the art exhibitions should be held in the best exhibition halls because: (1) the best exhibition halls better reflect the holiness of Dafa, and (2) the best halls will attract mainstream society and draw the attention of the art community. But, getting the best exhibition halls requires more effort. There is usually a lot of paperwork involved, and the applications need to be reviewed and approved. Additionally, the lists of reviewers are usually confidential, so we cannot clarify the truth to them. And sometimes they don't even give specific reasons for their rejection.
Regarding this situation, some practitioners have thought that since time is of the essence we shouldn’t wait for better places as we might lose more of the limited time we have to save sentient beings. Moreover, there are no suitable places for the exhibition in remote areas. So, even in unsuitable venues, practitioners did their best to make the display look professional. Practitioners made the hangers for the works of art, as well as the curtains, lights and other decorations for the exhibition hall. They tried their best to make the displays and the exhibition hall look attractive and professional. So, because sometimes their efforts were very successful, many practitioners claimed that the quality of the exhibition hall was not an issue, and that as long as practitioners' xinxing levels were being elevated, we could hold the exhibition and save people in any location.
It is not wrong that practitioners want to save more people rather than wait. On the other hand, it is disrespectful to Dafa if we avoid the problems we need to resolve and are satisfied with holding many exhibitions in second-rate places. Master said in “Environment” from Essentials for Further Advancement:
“Think about it: Even people's claim that they have evolved from apes is able to be highly regarded. Yet with this great Dafa of the universe, you are embarrassed to give it a correct position--this is human beings' true shame.”
There is a lot of ugly and distorted modern art in art galleries and exhibition halls. Ugly art full of demon nature is polluting people in the name of being “creative and liberal.” But the Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance International Art Exhibitions, which demonstrate true purity and beauty, have been kept out of the best venues. No matter what the reasons are, the situation is not acceptable and it is Dafa practitioners' responsibilty to solve this problem.
Practitioners who are professional artists should focus on this problem. They have the background and experience to guide other practitioners in promoting our exhibition in the arts community. Supporting people to come to recogonize the value of our divine art is saving people. We need to really believe this ourselves at a deep level in order to break through this situation. Dafa practitioners' art works are rooted in the nature of universe, and are able to touch all beings because Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance is the base of all beings. Once the art community recognizes us positively, their own art level will be improved, and the issue of the exhibition hall will be resolved.
2. Improving Ourselves
Taiwan has a large number of Falun Gong practitioners. Naturally, they all understand the Fa at many different levels. Some practitioners who attended the nine-day lecture and had even purchased the book but failed to continue studying Fa came across our show. (We thought this was probably arranged by Master.) After they viewed the paintings, they immediately understood the situation of Fa-rectification cultivation. They were moved to tears and decided to overcome their difficulties and join a group study and practice.
At first, many practitioners lacked confidence and kept silent at the exhibition hall even though they had attended training classes to be guides. But when the guides were not able to handle more and more visitors, they plucked up their courage to guide and speak up at the exhibitions. Gradually they gained experience and found that it was not so difficult as they thought. They told the visitors of the goodness of Dafa, the cruelty of the persecution on Falun Gong, the great compassion and tolerance of practitioners in China, and of Master’s compassion. Sometimes they were so touched that both the visitors and the guide were in tears.
Different practitioners are touched by different pieces of art. When some see “Buddha Stature” it is like meeting Master in person; some understand the stage of three flowers on top of the head when seeing “In Harmony”; some realize the atmosphere in Taiwan is too easy and comfortable when they see the painting “A Tragedy in China”; some know they have not done enough in clarifying the truth when they see the painting “Fulfilling Vows”; some understand the most pressing task at present – saving sentient beings – when they look at the painting “Tears of Sadness and Joy.”
We anticipated that the art exhibition would save ordinary people but not thought that it could also improve ourselves. Some more timid practitioners, after seeing the exhibition, were able to walk out and clarify the truth face-to-face to strangers. Other practitioners who had almost vanished now take part in our local activities. We really feel the great compassion of Master Li, who arranges the cultivation path for each and every practitioner.
3. Saving Sentient Beings
At first, a few practitioners thought it would be impossible for ordinary people to accept an art exhibition with the theme being: “Evil Persecution; the Wrath of God and Dissatisfaction of the People.” But we think the title is effective precisely because of these important facts. First, a lot of people do not know about the evil persecution, and second, it does not only expose the evil, but also highlights the great compassion and tolerance of the practitioners in China with their awe-inspiring righteousness before the regime. At present, many ordinary Chinese dare not stand up to tell the truth, in order to protect their interests. But practitioners’ actions testify to the saying: “Overcome evil with greater good.” Many visitors were touched by the sprit with which practitioners confronted such vital questions in the face of life and death.
A businessman, who had invested in China for a long time, saw the art exhibition and then said sadly: “I was an accomplice because I acquiesced to the CCP as it did as it pleased.” He thought the practitioners indeed were saving Chinese people, and that their actions were greater than ancient Gods and Buddha in the past. He thought that it was beyond the range of human understanding or belief! He could not wait to bring his family to visit the exhibition.
Another businessman, who had companies in both Taiwan and the Mainland, looked extremely grave after seeing all the paintings. He said: “I could not have even imagined that such an evil persecution could be happening in China today! This is all too reminiscent of the Nazi oppression of the Jews.”
Likewise, in the exhibits, Dafa practitioners used various forms to clarify the truth, to defend the truth and justice, which makes audiences realize we are not just asking for their sympathy towards Falun Gong practitioners. This is not only about the suffering of Falun Gong practitioners. We are doing more than conditions and environments permit us to do. And that’s just for them to not misunderstand Falun Gong, and not to tolerate or even cooperate with the CCP to commit crimes. They understand Dafa practitioners are not only helping those who are being persecuted in Mainland China, but also saving the deceived Chinese people from the CCP’s lies. We are awaking their kind nature.
We use exhibits to save sentient beings at different ages and from different classes. Once, an eight or nine year-old girl brought a younger girl to our exhibits and she explained to her the paintings, one by one. They went to see the first painting, “Buddha Stature.” The older girl said, “This is Master.” She showed the little one from the left to the right, saying, “Look, wherever you go, Master is watching over you and protecting you.” She then went to the second painting, “Unity of Heaven and the Human Being,” and said, “This is the painter, who is practicing Falun Gong on the beach.” Next, they walked to the third painting, “Pure Lotus.” She pointed to the Falun, saying, “This is a Falun.” In front of the fourth painting, she said, “This is a lady who is stitching Falun.”
For each painting, she could say only one or two sentences, but she was able to catch the right point. In front of the painting, “The Cross Section,” she said, “This painting tells us to be good people and do good things which will be rewarded with good fortune.” Obviously, a practitioner’s previous explanation helped her and now she could help others. We have seen many examples like this.
Some people brought their girl friends after they watched. Some students brought their classmates; husbands brought wives; individuals brought their families and friends. They came and said, “I‘ve seen all the paintings and now let me be a guide.” To a large extent, we feel the power of Fa and Master’s compassion. These kinds of people are awakening the others with predestined relationships and fulfilling their prehistoric promises.
At the exhibitions, Dafa practitioners also form a compassionate field, which helps each viewer to become a better person. A young lady, Miss Li, who worked in a cultural center where our show was on display, was known to be hard to get along with. Before the exhibition was even finished for the day, she would hurry the public out so she could go home at the right time. One day at closing time, there were still many people left viewing the exhibits. To save these sentient beings, we didn’t want to close, but because of her impatience, we had to rush them through the exhibition.
Later, practitioners used every possible opportunity to clarify the truth to Miss Li. Day by day, we saw Miss Li change. Over our time there, we saw her gradually become very patient. She asked us to speak slowly and said she can wait. She changed from complaining about everything around her to putting others first in her mind. She started reading Zhuan Falun, and she also started to send forth righteous thoughts together with practitioners. After many times of listening to practitioners’ introducing the pictures, she was able to help us when there were too many people for our guides to talk to. She said, “I’ve been working in this gallery for over 20 years, but I’ve never seen this kind of art show. There have been so many guides and so many people. I now understand why you are doing this. From this example, we once again understood when Master said: “Clarifying the truth is like a master key.”
More and more artists started to attend the painting exhibition and spoke highly of it. For example, senior painter and art appraiser from the Taiwan Nan Mei Association, Mr. Chen, commented that some of the paintings in the “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance International Art Exhibition” were among the best he had seen in the 70 years of his painting career. He said that some of the expressions described in detail were extremely difficult to paint. He also said that the ideals expressed in the paintings were extremely high level and that the theme of kindness pervaded the whole show. Additionally, he said that all the themes were very clear.
Mr. Chen thinks that all painters should attend the exhibition as it can provide profound inspiration for them. Another famous painter, Mr. Li, who’s also a council member of the National Exhibition Executive Committee, praised the exhibition with the following words: “Each of the pieces is a first-class painting, art with a high degree of technical proficiency and artistic crystallization. In Kaohsiung city and county, and even in Taiwan, such standards can be hard to meet.”
The Section Chief of Visual Arts of the Department of Cultural Affairs also spoke highly of the exhibition as providing “the best visual arts.” He also said: “In our chaotic society, this exhibition has provided inspiration for out lives – which are the values of truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance – and gives us the opportunity to reflect on the values that affect our own lives. The exhibition should be promoted widely.”
In fact, almost all those who attended believe that the exhibition has conveyed messages of justice and that good will be rewarded and evil will be punished. Many believed that the exhibition had the power to purify the soul, as well as enhance society’s ethics and sense of justice. They also believed that the exhibition could help to lead society in the right direction.
Prof. Zhen, a professor of Fine Arts from the Taiwan National University of Arts, said: “These paintings are very fine, and represent a very broad space of thinking. An artist can only paint [like this] after he has seen the scene... so if this set of paintings were on display in China, then the people of China would be saved. The works have exposed the Chinese Communist Party’s inside secret, the truth has been told.”
Realist sculptor Mr. Yan also made a special trip to look at the exhibition and said: “The life of each painting, and in particular, the facial expressions of the subjects are very realistic and they express the deepest and most profound meanings; only master level artists can achieve this.”
Many artists who attended the exhibition expressed at the outset that they were painters who didn’t need any guidance in viewing the paintings. The practitioners, nevertheless, accompanied them and explained the intention, motivation and meaning of the paintings. When the time was appropriate, they ended up explaining the whole exhibition. In the end, the attending artists would say: “Now I understand the meaning of your exhibition; thank you so much for your explanation!” Some other artists probably heard about the exhibition before they came, so they asked for the guided tour when they arrived: “I want to listen about the motivation and the meanings behind the paintings.” This meant, to us, that they wanted to learn the truth. After the practitioners’ explanations, they all sincerely voiced their appreciation to the guides: “Thank you so much!”
There was an elderly couple who told us after the guided tour: “Our son was holding his own personal painting exhibition. He attended your exhibition yesterday and told us that it was excellent and that we should come. It’s great! Thank you!”
The exhibition also brings hope to people. Several foreigners said, “It feels very warm and bright,” and after seeing the sculpture “Buddha” they often say: “How come I feel that I have yuan (pre-destiny) with the Master Buddha, but I cannot describe it?,” and “I feel the energy here is very strong but very peaceful.” A lady couldn’t help crying when she saw the painting “Pledge.” And “Call of Innocence,” a picture of small girls eagerly looking forward, has truly represented Hope for a lot of people.
One woman, when passing by the billboards for the exhibition, suddenly felt her whole body numbed with nameless shock. Although very busy, she thought that she must also take a look at the exhibition in order to find out more about this event. She listened to a brief introduction of the show and as she left, she said: “I will come back! I will come back!”
A couple came to attend the exhibition at the invitation of a colleague. At first they appeared detached and suspicious, keeping a distance from the practitioner who served as a guide. The practitioner patiently guided them through the paintings, telling them the facts of Falun Gong and its persecution. The practitioner’s sincere explanation warmed their hearts. At the end of their visit, the husband said, “Not until today did I understand Falun Gong. Your explanation of each painting is very good. The exhibition is very good. Thank you!”
Another person who saw the exhibit said: “I have often traveled abroad and seen your Falun Gong activities and demonstrations in many Australian and U.S. cities. I have taken your leaflets but didn’t read them carefully. Not until I came here and saw your exhibtion and listened to your explanation did I really understand what Falun Gong is. I hope for an end to the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong. Please go on with your efforts. I support you.”
A Palace Museum Culture Volunteer who specializes in evaluating and classifying paintings came to attend the exhibition. On one of the paintings, “Silent Night,” were the words, “Heaven Will Annihilate the CCP,” and “Quitting the CCP Ensures Safety.” The practitioner who helped with the explanation said, “I know it may be hard for you to understanding the painting.” Yet the museum volunteer said, “Not at all! It is very easy! In ancient times, the reign of the emperor was always determined by gods. If an emperor mistreated his people, then gods would inflict his country with calamity and take away his granted power. The CCP has committed so many brutal and terrible crimes against its people. It is certain that Heaven will annihilate the CCP. The painting is very easy for me to understand.” This is an example of an ordinary person being able to thoroughly understand the inevitability of the CCP’s annihilation. As a result, some people understand that it is reasonable and right to quit the CCP to ensure their safety.
Master used many different methods to bring sentient beings to us. Since our time was limited, it was a serious test to see how we could tell people the facts of Falun Gong and enable them to have a greater understanding of the truth in a short period of time. We found that when we were in a state of purity, Master would unfold our wisdom. The exhibition provided a wonderful opportunity for us to clarify the truth, as the beauty of the paintings provided the foundation from which to clarify the truth to people. It was like the exhibition of paintings served as a mechanism for telling the facts about Falun Gong. Practitioners were engaged in all parts of the exhibition, from conception and creation of a painting by the painter, to the coordination of the exhibitions, and the preparation work of each exhibition, to the explanation of volunteer guides who face the audience in person. Practitioners were thus involved as a whole body, each one functioning as a Fa particle. During the exhibition, there were endless stories we told each other about our experiences. All of the stories really touched us. Practitioners involved also were given the opportunity to see the deficiency in their personal cultivation. Whatever part of the exhibition a practitioner took part in, he was not merely devoting his time, but actually he was gaining something from his participation.
We would like to once again thank Master for all He has done for sentient beings and for us as practitioners. Master has enabled us, through our experience hosting the art exhibition, to elevate far beyond personal cultivation. It is impossible to express our appreciation in human language.