Western Practitioner: Reflections on the Meaning and Purpose of World Falun Dafa Day
(Clearwisdom.net) In the Midwestern United States where I live, the most beautiful time of the year is the middle of May. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and everything is growing and thriving in a warm, gentle environment that has not yet yielded to summer's heat and humidity.
But regardless of the weather, May 13 will always be a beautiful day for Falun Gong practitioners, wherever they live.
On May 13, World Falun Dafa Day, we celebrate the birthday of our revered Teacher, Master Li, and in the process we pause to remember all that he has done and continues to do for us as individuals, for society, for the world, and for the entire universe. Actually, it is not within the power of our imaginations to fully understand all that Master Li is doing and has done, but we can see a small part of it, and we know without a doubt that it is good. Just considering how many millions of people have regained their physical health through following his teachings would by itself validate this goodness, but how can we even begin to measure the benefits that come from increased peace of mind and higher spiritual states? How many families on the verge of breaking up have been saved? How many broken-hearted people contemplating suicide have found new purpose in life and a renewed will to live? How many criminals have given up their anti-social pursuits and become productive members of society? Small wonder that millions of people from all walks of life around the world are enjoying the benefits of practicing Falun Gong!
Practitioners get together on this day to reach out to the public, so that people who don't know us or who perhaps have been negatively influenced by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda can learn the truth: that Falun Gong is an upright spiritual practice, deeply rooted in Chinese history and traditions, whose adherents live by the principles of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance. We are, so to speak, "in the world" but not "of the world." Whereas it is common for people in society to seek security and happiness for themselves by striving after them directly, which usually means competing with others for power and material benefits, we try to care less about notions of "loss and gain" and instead work to improve ourselves by looking within to find our faults and letting go of things that are holding us down. In doing so, we find that even without pursuing material gain directly, our needs are met in the process of living good lives, and we receive what we need when we need it.
Although we are informed citizens who care about the world we live in, we are not overly concerned with the burning political issues that currently divide people, which party wins elections or which political philosophy carries the day. We do reach out to our elected officials and clarify the truth to them about the persecution of our fellow practitioners in China. We speak to them heart to heart, ignoring their political orientation, and they respond to us in kind, depending on what is in their hearts. Consequently, we have received strong support in roughly equal measure from across the political spectrum.
We bring to light everything that the Chinese regime is so anxious to hide in darkness, such as that many consumer products exported to the free world are being made under wretched conditions in China's forced labor camps; that torture--severe, painful torture that maims and disfigures people for life if they are fortunate enough to survive it--has been used routinely as a matter of government policy throughout the persecution; and that thousands of our practitioners have been tortured to death. We tell them about how the Chinese government is deeply involved in the atrocity of organ harvesting from captive Falun Gong practitioners. People in the West are shocked by even the contemplation of such a horrible crime. They instinctively recoil and don't want to face it, but facts are facts, and two Canadian researchers (non-practitioners) have done stellar work in providing such facts in their book Bloody Harvest, which makes a convincing case that this crime has been and is still being committed on a large scale in China. Sooner or later, the world will have to face this issue, as well as the many other crimes against humanity that have been committed by the CCP in its persecution of Falun Gong.
Throughout history, cultivators aspiring to higher spiritual realms would invariably isolate themselves from the world, choosing to live in caves and remote monasteries rather than risk exposing themselves to the deleterious influences and the worldly pursuits of everyday society. For Falun Gong practitioners, however, this is not an option; it is not our path. We, cultivators of the Great Law, live normal lives in society, but we do not seek the limelight, and we do not put ourselves forward to lead movements or causes in society. We practice tolerance, and are content to live and let live, and to let the affairs of the world move along in their predestined grooves.
Often, when it comes to talking to people about the persecution, or letting our friends and relatives know about the greatness of Falun Dafa and our revered Teacher, we sometimes tend to be a little reserved, even though our environment in the West is relatively free and we won't go to prison or be tortured for speaking the truth, like in China. This reserved approach stems in part from our tolerance and our desire to remain anonymous and non-controversial members of society. We don't want to "make waves," or be seen as some sort of religious fanatics who pester people on the streets. This can be seen as a positive characteristic of practitioners, but there may also be a negative aspect to this holding back as well. Perhaps it comes from a fear of upsetting certain relationships between friends and family members, or simply fear of being challenged to justify our existence in a materialistic society which does not, in many ways, share our values or our aspirations. But if we hold back for either positive or negative reasons, in the end we are failing to do what we are called by conscience to do.
I do not wish to overstate the problem. Practitioners in China and around the world have made great sacrifices over the past ten years in order to let their fellow citizens know the truth about the persecution and about the goodness and the greatness of Falun Gong and its founder, Master Li. My wish for this Falun Dafa Day is that we re-dedicate ourselves to this great mission, and try to do even better in letting people know about the multiple blessings and benefits that come from following Master Li's teachings.
And let's not forget that it is what we are, even more than what we say, that really makes a difference, for our ability to move people's hearts with our words is directly proportional to our ability to upgrade our characters, let go of attachments and live by our guiding principles, Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance.
Category: Dafa Day Perspectives