PureInsight | March 1, 2004
Chapter 8: November 20, 2001
[PureInsight.org] When the alarm went off that morning I was already awake. Lying there in the early morning dark trying to figure out what my confusing dream was all about. The harder I tried the quicker it slipped from my memory, until it was gone. After I showered and while Joel was getting all cleaned up, I just kept stuffing my banner into my pant leg and pulling it out again and again. If things went as planned, we would hold up the large banner while we sat in meditation for about ten minutes and then we would leave. The banner that I made was just a backup, in case the original banner didn't make it to the Square. If things got chaotic and there was a risk that the Chinese people might miss us, then I would use this banner myself. However, if things were to get chaotic, then the police would most likely surround us, so speed was of the essence. After practicing a couple more times I figured that was as fast as I was going to get. My bags were packed and Joel was taking my luggage to the airport. I had nothing to worry about. I just had to get myself there.
It was about 8 AM and there we were, getting ready to part ways again. I bade him farewell rather quickly. Again, eyes locked, big smile, and a firm handshake. This time Joel said, "see you at the airport." We had booked our return tickets for four hours after the event at the Square. I was planning to walk to the nearest cab or run if I had to, and head straight for the airport. Despite the reputation the Tiananmen Square police have, we had to remain focused and remember that many others in the past had left the Square unharmed.
About fifteen minutes later, I was strolling down the sidewalk beside Tiananmen Square. Little did I know that my stroll was taking me right past the front gates of the Tiananmen Square Police Station. The Square was full of police. Regardless, I was sure that all would be cleared by the time we would gather on the Square. Across the Square a procession of black-suited Communist officials were filing into the Peoples' Hall. Time to go to work, I guess. Joking with myself, I pondered the idea, "maybe they go for afternoon strolls in the Square - around 2 PM."
I wandered into a park across the street and walked aimlessly for a while. I meandered into the side entrance of the imperial Forbidden City. I found myself part way into the city and right in front of the museum inside. Although I wanted to take the tour and enter the museum, I didn't want to let my mind get distracted. I had to stay calm and the tension inside me was doing everything in its power to mount an assault on my mind and try to make me go crazy with fear. I turned around to make the long walk out.
It was still relatively early in the morning and people were just pouring in. It felt as though I was paddling up stream. All of their glossy-eyed, happy faces were basking in the remnants of their ancient culture. If they only knew.
Here I was, a 23-year-old young man, having walked through the Forbidden City and just the night before I had been told that I was speaking "forbidden words." Surely what I was planning on doing was also deemed forbidden by the Chairman of China. He twisted right and wrong with his corrupted notions of power and control. He pressured the police, military, government, schools, universities, hospitals, labor camps, work units and all other facets of the Chinese society to capture practitioners and to, in his words, "exterminate Falun Gong." Practitioners die from the most horrifying tortures and their fellow citizens are told they are being treated "humanely." The international community has been told that this is China's "Golden Era of Human Rights." When the good people of China are told that other countries also ban Falun Dafa, they feel assured that they are doing the right thing in turning their family members and friends over to the "authorities." When China was awarded the Olympics, the Chairman used this as an affirmation for the people, claiming that the crackdown of Falun Gong is right and should be intensified. Regardless of how many policies the Chairman passes or how many lies he can make up, in the eyes of history, humanity and the heavens, it is he, his cohorts and his persecution that is truly forbidden.
As I made my way to the main gates of the Forbidden City, through the raging river of tourists, all noises turned into a dull murmuring. My mind began thinking about their Chinese culture. It was made of great leaders, warriors, scholars and other outstanding people. All of the monuments that stood around them were from people who made this culture with their virtue and wisdom. These Chinese people were wandering around, in the great Forbidden City, attempting to capture a piece of their magnificent culture. If they only knew what was really happening, their smiles would vanish. The truth would shock their hearts and infuriate their minds. All the grandeur that these tourists wished to lay their eyes upon was in fact gone. The gold around the Emperor's crown was now merely paint. The original gold having been stolen by thieves.
What is the situation today? When we compare today's Chairman with past emperors like Tang Tai Zung, recognized by the Chinese people as the greatest emperor, today's Chairman is like a disease eating away at the fabric of Chinese society. But even the Tang Dynasty, widely recognized as the most prosperous time of China's five thousand-year history, came to an end. We are born, live, grow old, some get sick and we die. All dynasties in China have experienced this principal of formation, settlement, degeneration and destruction, as did other civilizations throughout history. This realization almost made me wash my hands of the entire situation. This was rather unsettling and clearly larger than I was, what could I do? I almost decided to head for the airport but I came to tell the truth to these Chinese people. That's exactly what I was going to do. Even if this is larger than I am, it shouldn't stop me from doing what I should do. It shouldn't stop me from doing what is right. As humans we can't always choose what we must face in life but how we face it is surely up to us. My choice was clear. Continue as planned.
Once I walked through the huge steel doors of the gate, Tiananmen Square came into view. While crossing over one of the bridges, just out front of the Forbidden City, I caught sight of a policeman. What shocked me most was that he was holding an electric baton. The end of the electric baton, which sends the electric current through its victim, was exposed. Although most weapons have holsters or a cover, he just held the baton firmly at his side. My gaze traveled up his body and finally met his eyes. He dropped his chin about an inch, half closed his eyes and glared at me with the most sinister expression. Most of the police carry this mean look but this policeman seemed to be going out of his way to look especially scary. Which, I might add, was working.
As I passed him, images of being brutalized began flashing through my mind. I was tied up, naked on the floor, while they stomped on me, beating and shocking me with numerous batons, all over my body. The pain was too much. I let out a horrifying scream, which was then muffled, as another electric baton was driven into my mouth. As the image of my shaking body, eyes rolling into the back of my head, imprinted itself onto my mind, terror took over. Was this terrifying and excruciating fate of so many others to become part of my not-so-distant future? I stopped walking for a second, shook my head left and right and tapped my head with the heel of my hand. "Snap out of it", I told myself with a firm tone. Getting paranoid wasn't going to help anyone. I cleared my head and walked into the park on the other side of the Forbidden City.
It was cool that morning so I was trying to find a bench in the sunlight where I could take a seat and read for a while. Every time I glanced up from my reading I was overcome by the want to get up and start talking to the people around me. The empty feeling I had inside for these people, who were blinded by the lies in their own country, just couldn't go away. This unsettling reality was staring me right in the face. The word "patience" kept coming to mind - patience. I kept reading and remained calm.
Soon enough I began to get hungry and found a place in the park to have something to eat after which I read a little more. I glanced down at my watch and my stomach turned into a marble knot. Each time I checked the time my stomach would become tighter with anxiety and fear. Although I couldn't sit in a meditation posture as I was in public I began to cleanse myself the same way I would before Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts. Consciously and firmly intending to eliminate all bad thoughts, karma, bad notions and external interference. The more often I was able to remain calm and firm in mind, the looser and looser my tension would become. While dissolving all my bad thoughts and intentions in my heart and mind the beauty of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance was no longer just words on a page or understandings in my mind. Neither were they pure feelings in my heart. They weren't just something I was experiencing or aspiring to live up to. Instead it became part of me, or should I say, I became part of it. This indescribable inseparability with life, with all of existence, rose up from inside me. It overcame all of my senses and any level of perceptibility my mind could conceive. Over the course of the day I checked my watch many times and each time it was the same feeling. The only difference being the tightness in my stomach became weaker and weaker while the brightness in my heart became brighter and brighter. It seemed that many bad notions I have had for years, many of which I never recognized, began to surface, trying to pollute my mind, with anger, heroism, fame, jealousy, lust, fear - you name the poison it was there. Anything my demons could get their hands on they used it. But each and every time they were completely dissolved in the benevolent power of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Although I was seated on a park bench the majority of the time, internally there was a fierce battle between the good that I cherished and the evil I had fostered. My mind had to be clear, benevolent and righteous in order to take each step well in what I was about to do. The purge continued incessantly right up almost until I had to leave the park.
It was about a quarter to two so I had about ten more minutes. Rather than waiting for bad notions to surface or tension to mount I used every second of those last ten minutes to continue to actively clean my mind, heart and entire being from all possible bad elements. With the limits of the written word, or human language, I will do my best to give you an idea of what my final minutes in the park were like. It felt as though all my cells and the particles that composed my cells were tingling with warmth and vitality. With each clear intention to clean all elements of my being, I broke into another microscopic layer of my being. It felt like a benevolent explosion. I could feel all of my particles changing. The more microscopic these explosions got, the vaster my being became. My mind and heart became as one, together, as vast as the universe itself. Although I was just a young man walking through a park in China, on the inside I felt like a giant, with each step shaking the world in all directions. I even consciously chose to walk with softer steps. Some of my surface emotions, which could never grasp this experience, just lay dormant while a deeper and grander part of myself was deeply touched by the magnificence and power of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
In the beginning of the persecution the Chairman of China told the Communist Party that Falun Dafa would be easy to wipe out because they practice Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. He actually thought it made people weak. Yet it is exactly the reason that I was able to get over my past addictions, come to China and exactly why I am sharing my story. It is exactly the reason that for two and a half years the persecution hasn't succeeded. It is exactly the reason anything good exists. That is why I came here - to oppose this evil with every fiber of my being - to show the Chinese people that they are being lied to and to appeal to the goodness in peoples' hearts. This was not to be an act of activism, nor was it to be a form of protest; it was a simple matter of principle and the validation of the truth with compassion in my heart for others and with endurance in mind to forge ahead.