Lessons Learned: My Trip to Iceland

A Dafa Disciple from North Ame

PureInsight | September 30, 2002

I stayed for only two weeks in the small country of Iceland, but benefited a great deal from this trip. I will describe briefly what happened, along with some understandings I gained.

1. We had to spread the Fa quickly; it would have been too late if we had done things in a step-by-step fashion

Many things happened during my two-week stay in Iceland. Situations there changed rapidly for us practitioners. We realized that our usual habit of doing things slowly and in a step-by-step manner would not be good enough. Things happened quickly, almost on a daily basis. For example, Dafa practitioners were detained at the airport in the morning and the local Iceland media reported what had happened at noon. The same afternoon, the Icelandic people prepared for a protest, and in the evening, negotiations took place at the Canadian and American embassies. At night, the Icelandic people came to the aid of and assisted Dafa practitioners who were detained at a local school, and later that night, the police released the detained practitioners.

Every day, events provided us with special experiences that happened in fast-paced succession, in a city that never went to sleep. Every situation required us to react quickly and accurately, with appropriate responses. The step-by-step way of doing things, which I was used to in the United States, proved inappropriate there. I wasn't sure whether this was due to differences in time and location; but it seemed that what we achieved quickly in a two-week span in Iceland would have taken us three years in the United States.

Upon returning to the States, I realized more clearly how the evil could have destroyed a nation in just a very short period of time. Our doing things in a leisurely manner would cost many lives that could have been saved. When the evil sets out to cause damage, it does not wait for us. Our work of clarifying the truth to the public, and thus saving sentient beings, has to be ahead of the evil force.

2. We should satisfactorily clarify the truth

The biggest lesson I learned from my trip to Iceland was that our truth-clarifying work had not been done thoroughly and satisfactorily enough. Certain people in the Icelandic government had made a mistake by refusing Falun Gong practitioners entry into their country. Before the Icelandic Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Justice Minister got together to reconsider their position on Falun Gong, we clarified the truth systematically, face-to-face, to certain Icelandic government officials. I saw with my own eyes the change in these people's attitude - from the initial misunderstanding and misinformation to allowing us the freedoms of speech, assembly and having public appeals. It did not occur to me that we should go up the ladder and clarify the truth to even higher-level officials. In retrospect, I could have done this until their wrong decisions were completely reversed.

We had to clarify the truth sufficiently to achieve a good result. Every time we didn't do so, a big hole would be left behind. Things would pile on top of one another and therefore certain things would become unsalvageable. I had followed everyday people's thinking patterns - thinking that we had sufficiently clarified the truth already and the situation also seemed to improve. Additionally, at the same time we were informed that the top government officials would reconsider their position on Falun Gong –everything seemed to go our way. We therefore slacked off. The evil took advantage of that mindset. This big lesson made me realize how absolutely critical it is to clarify the truth and spread the Fa thoroughly and comprehensively, and do so in a timely manner.

3. Recognize timely opportunities and do not miss important chances

In fact, we actual missed the opportunity to clarify the truth to the top leaders of the Icelandic government. They were reconsidering their position on Falun Gong because they realized that their initial decisions might have been wrong and that those decisions were unacceptable to their own people. We made a mistake in that we only clarified the truth to the lower-ranking government officials and did not go all the way to the top. This had created a loophole for the evil – it made the Icelandic government retain their initial decisions. We had lost an opportunity!

If this had been the last moment of Fa-rectification, the kind-hearted Icelandic people would have suffered, as the evil had planned, because we did not clarify the truth in time. What a tremendous regret this might have been for us!

Why couldn't we recognize this opportunity? One important reason was that we had not realized the full extent of the evil's persecution. I could have always kept in mind that the persecution is manipulated by the old forces of the universe, rather than by Jiang's political gang, which is merely a manifestation on the surface. Also if I recognized the fact that Iceland is a democratic country and the evil was trying its best to cause damage, then I could have better recognized an important opportunity, with a clear mind, and achieve the purpose of spreading the Fa. Another reason was that we are often afraid of making a mistake. As a result, our focus in clarifying the truth has been to retain a good image for ourselves, forgetting our real purpose, which is to reduce the damage caused by the evil. Presenting a good image is not for the sake of keeping a good image for ourselves, but to better clarify the truth. If we cannot recognize this, then it doesn't matter how well we present ourselves. We may become hesitant to step forward and therefore forfeit important opportunities.

Another crucial lesson I learned from my trip to Iceland is that EVERY DAY is an important opportunity for us to clarify the truth. If we don't utilize this fact on a continual basis, large numbers of sentient beings will be lost.

4. Clarify the truth in a systematic way

Telling people about the truth of the persecution is not enough. We need to clarify the truth thoroughly and systematically, instead of just presenting parts of the facts. Another practitioner who had been with me during the trip always kept a clear and clean mind patiently explained to people why Falun Dafa had won the hearts of many people, and why, during a short period of just seven years, one hundred million people took up the practice. He would then talk about the reason for the persecution and why there are still new people joining the practice despite the persecution, how people have benefited from the practice and the virtue practitioners have gained as a result of practicing Truthfulness-Benevolence- Forbearance. I always noticed the obvious change in attitude of the listeners when this practitioner had finished speaking. He did one other thing - always checked by asking for feedback, to see whether or not he had presented a clear picture to people, so he could do better next time. I have learned a lot from him, especially from his sincere heart for Dafa.

5. We have to be responsible to the Fa

As we clarify the truth to government officials, we are at the same time presenting Dafa to them through our presence. To them, we are representatives of Dafa, not individuals. Further, since we are often speaking to people as individuals, if we are not careful, we may cause problems for the entire group. For example, if we claimed to the Icelandic government that we did not have an "organization" and I could only guarantee my own conduct but not the conduct of others, then we did not explain the nature of our practice to them thoroughly. Because they did not know us well, they might have had the impression that Falun Gong is something quite "disorganized.' If every practitioner went ahead and made such a claim, it would have caused further misunderstandings.

As soon as such potential problem had been recognized, we first tried to get a good understanding of the current situation, and then we speedily organized a special negotiation group that would be responsible for the activities in Iceland and chose a spokesperson for this group, thereby eliminating the Icelandic government's concerns. Considering the priority of being responsible to the Fa, we answered the queries of the non-practitioners and provided correct answers to them from the standpoint of the Fa. This could not have been achieved by a superficial understanding of the Fa.

6. In the face of persecution, counter the evil, point by point, do not become mellow, and act according to the Fa

When the head of the evil in this dimension went to Iceland, that country was no longer merely a country, but the focus of the entire universe. It was then no longer "democratic Iceland," but one of the sites where the old forces concentrated their strength, to cause damage and interference.

When we clarified the truth to the Icelandic government officials, our truth-clarification work would have been compromised IF we had forgotten about the old forces behind these people and thought that we were just talking to government officials and thus focused our attention on our temporary relationships with them. For example, let's say I was the spokesperson for the group and I was negotiating with the government officials. Because the responsibility on me was huge and I was the focus of attention of some very important people, my attachment to vanity might surface, and I might give in to some things that I should not have given in to. This is similar to the way we recognize and seize opportunities, which requires solid cultivation from the Fa; not to mention that we have to be patient and compassionate and have the courage to stand firmly from the Fa.

7. To improve as a whole is essential for the advancement of Fa-rectification

Prior to going to Iceland, practitioners from around world had been sending righteous thoughts, but because some practitioners were refused entry at the airport and were detained by the Icelandic police, practitioners spent a lot of time on email, discussing this circumstance. A practitioner in Iceland told me that she thought this was a form of interference in itself, making practitioners unable to focus their attention on sending forth righteous thoughts to help practitioners at other places around the world.

While clarifying the truth in Iceland, my past habit again got in the way. Prior to reaching a consensus among us, I went ahead and did my own things. I had not respected the importance of group sharing and improving as a whole. This had compromised our strength that we would otherwise have had, if we worked and improved together.

Through Fa study we realized that we had not achieved what was required of us at the time in Iceland. As an example, we had lowered our guards, because Iceland was the last stop of the trip and also because we had thought Iceland being a democratic country would allow citizens of western countries to enter freely without a passport in the past. This mentality was common among practitioners. The evil seized upon it and caused difficulties there. When the problem initially occurred, because I didn't do things with the attitude of being responsible to the Fa and to the whole group, I didn't discuss these issues from the standpoint of the Fa in a timely manner with practitioners outside Iceland. Further, when practitioners were stuck in various situations, practitioners did not reach a mutual understanding of the situation; that is why every practitioner was made to pass his or her own tests alone, suffering unnecessarily. This is a serious lesson on my path of cultivation. It makes me aware more than ever before how important it is to improve as a whole; how important this is for truth-clarifying work. Our disorganized state often will reflect in everyday society, creating different situations and results, and bringing unnecessary difficulties and tribulations.

8. Comprehensively clarify the truth, without leaving any gaps, and in the future leave good results behind

The people elected a democratic government. A government's errors are tightly linked to its people. The Icelandic people, after seeing that their government had made a mistake, took a series of steps to correct it. Their sincerity manifested when the Icelandic citizens showed their eagerness for the Fa. Indeed, we had a responsibility toward them. When the German government had made its mistake during Jiang's visit there because of his pressure, we should have corrected those mistakes and clarified the truth to the German government at that time. The same applies to the Icelandic government. In every step we take, we should not leave any gap for the old forces to take advantage. If we do that, then things will be easier in the future and we can offer salvation to many more sentient beings.

The trip to Iceland relinquished many of my human attachments. It changed my step-by- step way of doing things, changed my slow recognition of how fast time actually passes, changed the hesitation and sluggishness in my truth-clarifying work and also my overt concerns "how things should operate in ordinary society."

I have come to realize that only by having the purest heart of a practitioner, by using the most direct and quickest way to break through the warped thinking of those who are deceived, are we then truly being responsible to the Fa and to sentient beings.

Everything in this human world is about cultivation. It does not matter whether or not we possess so-called skills of everyday people. To help the common people, we should do things with a pure heart, utilize all opportunities and clarify the truth systematically. Our real wisdom comes from thoroughly learning the Fa, which grants us fundamental insights. Every day is an opportunity for us. Wasting time means the waste of many innocent lives.

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