Another Date to Celebrate! Plus Three "Trivial" Things That Really Shock Me
Jennifer doing Falun Gong meditation at Prospect Park in New York on June 29, 2017(photo by Benny Zhang)
July 15 is another date for me to celebrate. On this day 20 years ago, in 1997, I finally found a Falun Gong (falundafa.org) practice site in Beijing and started learning how to do the exercises.
After reading "Zhuan Falun" and other three Falun Gong books that my sister posted to me twice (http://zhengzeng97.blogspot.com/2017/07/twenty-years-ago-today.html), I decided to practice it right away. I called my sister to ask her where I could learn Falun Gong exercises, she said, “Just go to any park and you will be able to find a practice site.”
So I tried my luck in two parks near my home without success. On the third day, in the early morning on July 15, 1997, I came upon a group of several dozens of people practicing something together with closed eyes. I asked an elderly lady who was standing there watching, “Excuse me, do you know what they are doing?”
“Falun Gong,” she said.
I silently exclaimed in my heart, “Thank goodness! I've finally found it!”
A huge current of warmth, and a relieving feeling of finally finding my true home surged through my heart. But I didn't show them on my face. Instead, I said calmly to the lady, “Great. I’d like to learn it.”
From the Falun Gong books I had already read, I knew that everything in Falun Gong was free. No one would charge me anything for teaching me the exercises. So I happily learned the five sets of exercises within one week at the practice site near the southern gate of Temple of Heaven Park in Beijing.
Although I knew that Falun Gong didn’t charge people money, I was still shocked by three "trivial" things very soon.
The first shock came when I purchased a copy of "Zhuan Falun" from a volunteer at the practice site. Ever since I started practicing Falun Gong, I had always been eagerly recommending it to my colleagues and friends. So I always kept some extra books in case I needed to give or lend them to those who were interested in learning.
I saw that the price on the book was 12 yuan; but the volunteer only asked for 8 yuan.
I asked, “Why do you only ask for 8 yuan for a 12 yuan book?”
She smiled and said, “Because we bought the books at the wholesale price, which is 8 yuan. So we sell them for 8 yuan.”
The second shock came when I purchased a set of audio tapes of the lectures of Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong. The volunteer asked for only 3.5 yuan for each cassette tape; and the price was also 50% lower than the blank tapes one could buy from the shop. The explanation was also because they purchased the tapes at a wholesale price. At that time, the volunteers alway purchased large amount of tapes to satisfy the needs of more and more new comers.
I clearly remember that when I learned another qigong practice before, they sold their music tapes for 16 yuan, saying that there were precious messages and energy in the tapes, so the price had to be high. Although I didn’t feel any energy or messages from those tapes, I willingly accepted that it was normal to sell them at a higher price as they contained messages and also “copy rights” of that school of qigong practice.
The third shock came after I already practiced Falun Gong for a while. When I practiced another qigong at the same park before, once in a while somebody would collect battery fees from everybody, as we needed to buy battery for the cassette player we used to play the exercise music.
However, at the Falun Gong practice site, I had never been asked to pay any battery fee. So one day I couldn’t help asking, “Did I miss any fee collection? Why nobody ever asked me to pay for the batteries?”
A fellow practitioner smiled and said, “You see those three volunteers? They have bought re-chargeable batteries and take turn to charge them at home. So we never collect battery fee here. They bear all the costs.”
Later I also learned that in order to save money for the practitioners, the volunteers actually traveled very far to the wholesale market in Hebei province to buy the blank tapes and used their own cassette recorders to duplicate Master Li Hongzhi’s lectures and then sold them at the originally wholesale price of the blank tapes. Because the quantity of the duplication was too huge, one volunteer’s cassette recorder had been burnt. None of them ever complained about anything. They happily did everything at home and never charged one penny for anything they did for everyone!
I was moved beyond description. In a society where people fought each other to death for petty gains, these people were going against the downward, corrupting tide and quietly practicing and embodying their beliefs in “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance” with their hearts, their everyday actions, and not empty words.
For me, that was what was called a miracle.