Persevere on the Path
Dear Master! Dear practitioners!
I would like to share my thoughts on the path of cultivation associated with a particular activi-ty – Hongfa – which I coordinate in the various cities in Poland.
I obtained the Fa eight years ago. Five years ago, we started regular Hongfa activities each month. We understood that to clarify the truth and meet people face to face is a basic and important task for Dafa practitioners.
Once, I remember looking at the map of Poland and feeling sad that there were still so many cities and people who were far away from us, waiting for salvation. I often pondered the question of how to balance the improvement of personal understanding which is based on the Fa, each practitioner taking their own path, and the need for teamwork, and mutual under-standing during group activities.
For a long time, I could not understand why we couldn’t form a larger group for Hongfa. “Why are practitioners not supporting me?” “Why are some practitioners so busy with house-hold affairs?” “Why can’t they take one-day leave?” I had many thoughts. We have all re-ceived the same Fa. It took me a long time to transition from the phase of criticizing, to gain-ing more understanding of others and eliminating judgements.
Before each Hongfa, I have to find an appropriate location, look for accommodation and make plans, when it’s not known how many practitioners will participate in the end. I do not have a car, so I need to find a bus or a train, and also provide others with encouragement and information, to make it easier for them to join. I must handle the official matters as well, such as sending the advance letter to the leader of the city with proper notification of the Hongfa. I also arrange our materials about Falun Gong and the persecution, and the petition forms. Af-terwards, I still need to find and write down the names of all key officials from the city and the region, and print personally addressed letters to them, with materials explaining the truth.
Staying in a city for one to two days is a good opportunity to use a variety of ways to save sentient beings. Before the Hongfa, if the previous authorities have changed, it is necessary to hand over often dozens of sets of materials that clarify the facts. If the location is more re-mote, it is better to arrive a day earlier to distribute the envelopes in the morning, usually be-fore the other practitioners arrive from central Poland. These morning hours before starting Hongfa, for me, are always quite hectic – simultaneously exchanging phone calls and text messages, it is difficult to remain calm while visiting these offices, and walking the floors al-ways takes more time than planned. And then, I stand in front of the door of the next secre-tariat and try to regain my balance, and strengthen righteous thoughts, before entering.
Before any Hongfa, I also prepare in advance, dozens of envelopes with leaflets and infor-mation about Falun Dafa that would be suitable for anyone. They help establish a conversa-tion, whether it's at the destination itself, or on the way. In my understanding, an enveloped package, unlike giving out only a flyer, gives an impression of a certain privacy, arouses a cer-tain curiosity and allows people to take a moment to think, before they might reject it. I have them with me at all times for the same reason, every day, for those unexpected exchanges with people. When I was recently returning by train from a HongFa, I was taking a rollup banner off of the shelf and accidentally hit the head of the person sitting next to me. I apolo-gized and gave him an envelope.
There are still a lot of things to think about and problems to solve. In case I cannot find a practitioner with a car, it’s good to remember where things are and to bring everything you need for the most effective action, especially when we arrive from several different cities. Experience of previous events means there are many things to check: remember to take the charger for the music player, some tape to hold the rollup banners, and copies of organ-harvesting reports; check if the posters and petitions are enough; check whether the accom-modation has towels, a kitchen, and tea; check the weather forecast. And remember to ask another practitioner to post a pack of leaflets to the place, in good time.
I still cannot, while preparing things for HongFa, complete a single task before jumping to another, when packing materials as well as personal items for the trip. I have a habit of jump-ing from task to task, but then it all works out in the end. But I observe myself with a certain impatience, because usually I simply don’t have enough time. I hope that those who observe me from above have in their Shan (compassion) also enough humor, although it doesn’t mean that I do not feel ashamed.
Hongfa in Zakopane, the busiest mountain resort holiday in Poland, took place during the few days between Christmas and New Year's Eve, and ended right before the New Year. I re-member it was difficult for us to find accommodation, because no one breaks the stay during the Christmas and New Year holidays. We finished the activity in the evening, packed up and ate our day’s last meal. I watched the crowd of passers-by strolling along the illuminated street all in excited anticipation of greeting the New Year; the hustle and bustle of restaurants and shops. Yet, the other practitioners and I were about to leave this place without a thought — nothing holding us back. With the contrast of the New Year's Eve atmosphere, I felt more clearly than ever before, the sense of indifference; an emotional distance to the “reality” that surrounds me. Then, I realized fully the path that practitioners have to follow, through faith in Dafa.
This year, for the first time, we had the idea to take part in the Woodstock Festival in Kostrzyn, located at completely the other end of Poland, where for a few days in the summer, some 500-thousand people gather. The decision was helped by the fact that a few years earlier in Krakow, the main organizer of this project – who is widely known in Poland – had received a Falun Dafa leaflet from me at an exhibition, and had spent a long time reading it in its en-tirety. It seemed perhaps to most of us, that this festival was quite a demonic event, and some practitioners believed that it was not appropriate to talk about Dafa there. But I repeated Mas-ter’s words which came to my mind from the lecture video to the Australian practitioners, about how we should also save people from the fire, not just those who are easiest to save from the water.
Transport alone was a serious challenge. I decided to accompany a Chinese practitioner who wanted to take our big yellow tent, despite the distance. I was impressed with the number of young people who had gathered there; they were almost all from one generation. They were people looking for a better world, some other earth, opened up and not finding themselves in the reality surrounding them. I think they were waiting for us. As I now understand after staying in that place, all the difficulties and the repulsive signs we had encountered had been meant to stop us from ever going there. Nowhere else has it ever happened that from the first moment we arrived, all hands stretched out for our leaflets. I’m leaving out numerical data in this sharing, but let me mention that during this stay at the Woodstock Festival, we distribut-ed at least 8,000 leaflets. There was no time to go for food, and in the evenings it was diffi-cult to finish the activity. We will go there again for sure, and will try to do it even better.
Part of my job is also to coordinate participation in the health fairs in Katowice, held twice a year. It is the biggest event of its kind in Poland. People who flock here are either looking for or interested in spirituality. They are often people with wisdom, with whom you can talk at a higher level, without fear. They remind me of myself before cultivation. And this group of people, in my understanding, should learn about Dafa. I tried, during our group discussion, as always, to not argue with another practitioner’s views and knowledge, but only to emphasize those points which we share in common, while referring to Falun Dafa as much as possible.
We also sell the most copies of Zhuan Falun at this event and we are widely recognizable. On the last day of the fair, I sometimes try to stay until the end, when other exhibitors are no longer busy and I can encourage them to sign the petition.
Once, there was a possibility to present Dafa in a hall which could accommodate a thousand. Different lectures were being presented there during the fair, by various authorities of alterna-tive medicine. It was, for me, an extraordinary opportunity. Another practitioner and I went on stage to do the presentation, while other practitioners sent forth righteous thoughts to cleanse the audience. I felt calm and confident, which was rare for me, in such situations. However, there were some sound system issues and at times our microphone did not want to work (someone later said that Dafa must be something very good if the disturbance only hap-pened to us). Also, I was not aware that the clock on my computer was wrong, so our as-signed time had already finished without my knowing it. Right after finishing the slide presentation, the computer completely refused to work. We still managed to quickly show the exercises under some spotlights. I descended from the stage peaceful, and although I knew that it could have turned out better, in the end, lots of people had seen us. After returning to one practitioner’s home, quite unexpectedly, I was very sharply criticized and told that it had been a failure. I could not sleep for half the night, while the others slept soundly. I talked with myself—“how they could treat me like this?”; “how ungrateful they are”; “what should I do?”; “I could give up organizing this event”; “we'll see if anyone will take care of it”, etc. I started the next day, handing out leaflets at the entrance, with the thought that the previous day had not worked out as well as it should have. But the people who had seen the presenta-tion all said that it had been extraordinary. I was touched and thanked merciful Master for His continuous support and care.
After participating in this health fair many times, we were told that we could no longer gather at the entrance to collect petition signatures, but must only do it at our booth. Not so many people came to the upper floor where we were, compared to the ground floor, so there was a problem. I was not able to personally contact the organizer, so I decided to send her a text message. I decided that I had to clarify the truth explicitly, as she was aware of many things. But my phone did not want to send the message. The next day, at the official opening of the fair, I approached her. After a brief explanation, I read my text message to her: "Madam Pres-ident, we are making desperate efforts, unheard of, to save even a few people. When the great disaster comes, we will not have time to ask them if they can distinguish good from evil ... " To this she replied, "You can collect signatures if you want to.”
I try as much as possible to join the activities during HongFa. Sometimes, I lose my voice af-ter a few hours of encouraging people to take leaflets and my ability to engage in conversa-tions drops; I speak in increasingly simplified sentences. Often, passers-by focus on the peti-tion inscription: “We encourage you to sign a petition against the genocide against Falun Gong”. It is in Polish, English and German. As well as the DAFOH petition, we also use a petition to the UN against mass organ harvesting in China. People stop in front of me, waiting for further clarification. While I speak, I look deep into their eyes. When I mention the words, “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance”, almost everyone nods in agreement. When some-one asks what organization I represent, I answer that I am a Falun Gong practitioner and act directly on behalf of those persecuted in China to help them. When, having just signed the petition, there appears a smile on a person’s face as they lift their head, or they utter some un-usual comment, only practitioners can recognize the depth of its meaning. One practitioner with an open third eye mentioned that after signing the petition, people fly up with another body. I hold a wish sometimes at the end, while thanking them for their signature, which we will meet in a better world.
Having a fixed location means that we can keep track of passersby; it gives hope that some of them will take a leaflet, some will slow down or stop, and we also pay attention to those who stop a certain distance away, who we almost run up to. As we have put in the effort to go to a distant place, it is good not to miss even one person. Lately, we’re coming across nuns more often than before. They have prejudices about meditation, because they have been told that it is dangerous, as a person loses his consciousness. Not waiting to hear their concerns, I explain that in Falun Dafa it is said that maintaining awareness is necessary. Before, I felt a bit embar-rassed to tell the clergy that I am a practitioner; I didn’t want to scare them away. Now I say it openly and those signing the petition accept it.
I try to recognize facial characteristics and listen, especially at tourist cities, to know whether passersby are Poles or from another country, so I can give them a flyer in their language, be-cause they do not always respond to English materials. We have dozens of types of flyers, and people from distant places feel appreciated and grateful, when they identify a Falun Dafa flyer in their own language.
During our activity, as the strength of our righteous field grew, inside me, the sense of separa-tion from the surrounding world melted away and I had increasing acceptance for all passers-by, whether they were indifferent or would stop to listen. Sometimes at the busiest pedestrian streets, our posters, rollups, and table seemed like a moving boat, next to which, in slow mo-tion, people were passing to the rhythm of our Pudu music. Sometimes, I find it hard to resist the feeling of gratitude from welling up and I’m moved that Master has helped us, yet another time, to gather exactly the right number of practitioners to organize this activity; to join to-gether in this certain place with our task, while giving the best that each of us can give.
I do not feel physical fatigue during long hours of activities, although there was a time when I experienced some kind of growing discouragement after three or four hours, like some nausea of an unknown cause. It could have been a reaction to the pain of holding two clip boards with petitions and leaflets in one hand—but this feeling has already passed. The difficult moment for me is when I return home, when it is all over—quietly overcoming the last section of my stairs with the heavy materials often takes me the closest to my breaking point.
Merciful Master arranged for me a path of life with an ordinary job, in which I can somehow manage, even while still being a little absent on Mondays after activities. I remember, a year before I obtained the Fa, one of my two employers sacked me. Despite suddenly being left with half my usual earnings, I did not feel a threat or feel uncertain about the future at all. I walked around the city with a feeling of relief that I will no longer work there. I had not a shadow of fear and walked with an unshakeable certainty that although everything was un-known, it was still the right way. My other employer was surprised that I didn’t request to return to working full-time. I now understand that I needed a change; more inner calm; a de-parture from that current routine and more space. Merciful Master was already watching over me at that time and preparing me for the role of a Dafa disciple. Bigger possibilities came a few months later, in a subject that I knew very well and was fascinated over for years—art history. Since my youth, collecting antiques has been second nature to me. The items I collect-ed were often closely matching the needs of different institutions in Poland. But for me, it was not a source of income; it gave me a great sense of satisfaction. At that time, one museum asked me for my cooperation in creating a collection for them—it was like a gift from heaven; every piece that I have offered them, they have bought without questions. This type of coop-eration is unprecedented in Polish museums and such an offer would be the dream of every vocation antiquarian. How great it is to have an institution appreciate one's sense and compe-tence, without any reservations.
Was this job an attachment? At the beginning, yes, and Master took this into account. I asked myself that question more and more, and I watched that attachment—was it sucking me in? Yes; it was a difficult test to balance. But as I understood from the Fa, I should also try to do my best in my work.
The money was intended not only for my own needs. I have also spent it without hesitation on everything associated with preparing for and going to Hongfas. Without the money, it could not be carried out. It would also not be possible to do if I was working full-time. I am melancholic by nature and prone to perfection; although this may have changed somewhat, different activities perhaps take me more time to complete than others. My seemingly free days in which distraction can be especially strong, are a kind of test for my cultivation. It gives a possibility to better observe myself and my thoughts, and ask myself questions on the meaning of almost every activity I perform.
Now I no longer have that job and I don’t go to antique shops, because just browsing doesn’t make me happy and I don’t need any of those things anymore. As for what antiques I have left, I look at them indifferently without attachment and I know that if I need some funds, Master will make it possible to sell any of it.
Over the years, however, I did buy one piece of antique—a Chinese textile. It fitted probably not by any coincidence, in that one only place in my apartment, where I used it to cover my bookshelves that held my favorite books—some classic literature that I had collected since my youth. This Chinese object to which I felt some closeness, became a natural barrier separating me from my sentiments towards those books and what emanated from them, even before I started to ponder doing something with them. A few months later, almost all of those books had new owners—young people completing their own libraries.
There is a Polish saying, “Just do it”. And this, in my understanding, translates in a practition-er’s everyday life as being just one more step, one further small step forward. In the West, proceeding on our path of cultivation is not combined with a Dafa disciple suffering, or any loss of life. If the Buddha Fa, as Master says, is endless and there are no limits to cultivation, is it not so that you can try this one, and another, and then another small step?
Finally, let me quote a line from the Master’s Hong Yin Volume II:
In the chaotic world, like pure lotus flowers—
plum blossoms, a hundred million
Cold winds only accentuate their beauty
The interminable snowfall and rain
are the tears of gods,
Who look longingly for the plum blossoms’ return
Never, ever get preoccupied with worldly things
Steel your righteous thoughts
For all [that you have gone through] since ancient times,
Was for none other than this time around.
Thank you Master.
Thank you Practitioners.
Chinese version: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/155672