My name is Anna. In 1995, I participated in Master’s class held in Sweden. Dafa has given me so much. 12 years ago, I became involved in the Art of Zhen Shan Ren exhibition project in Sweden. Today, I would like to share with you some of our cultivation experiences during our latest three art exhibitions in Sweden.
During the past 12 months, we had seven exhibitions in different cities. The last three were held this year. We have regular meetings for the art group. Every Wednesday, we study Fa, share experiences and work together as a Dafa body.
Back in 2021, we wanted to find a more significant venue for our summer exhibition, especially in Gothenburg. It required us to cooperate and work as one body to find the right venue. To achieve this, some of us who live in Gothenburg started to have closer cooperation and physical meetings.
We searched among different museums, art galleries, and other vacant venues. We thought we would soon find a good one and waited for a positive answer, but, in the end, received a negative answer. We looked inwards and asked ourselves how much heart we have for this project. How can we improve our cooperation? How can we elevate our cultivation level? What initiative could I take? We started to do FZN every evening. Autumn and winter passed by, it was a process, a test, but we were determined to never give up! Our efforts gave us an opportunity to meet and speak with many people along the way and we had the chance to explain the truth to all of them.
An idea to contact an exhibition venue in Marstrand, a beautiful island near Gothenburg, came to us again. Early 2021, we approached them and they said it was not possible until the summer of 2023. We wished them to contact us in case of a cancellation.
To our surprise, an exhibition scheduled for July 2021 was canceled and the venue was suddenly available for us. We got one day to decide if we wanted to rent the place for our art exhibition on this beautiful island, for two weeks in the summer of 2021, when there are most people on the island. We felt that it was a hint from Master and he had helped us. Obviously, it was Master’s arrangement! Within a short time, we even found nice lodgings for the period we had the exhibition. It was a small house pretty close to the venue. Normally, this is very difficult to find with such short notice, because the island is a very popular tourist attraction, and even many people from abroad come to visit the island every summer.
We made the necessary arrangements and transported the paintings in a small truck to the island. We decided to hang up all the 43 paintings in one day, because we wanted the place to open as soon as possible for the visitors, so they can get the chance to come and see the art exhibition. The roof of the venue was high so it took some effort to hang up some of the big paintings. We were grateful that a couple of other practitioners outside of our project came to help. For the first time in Sweden, we could show all the big paintings together in one exhibition, because the place was 300 square meters. Before we began working, we planned to locate the right spot for each painting. Many of the big paintings were very heavy and most of us are women between 55 – 75 years old. We started to work at 8.00 o’clock in the morning and finished work by 10 in the evening. We cooperated well like one body and succeeded in getting everything in place by the end of the day. When we are together in the Fa and cooperate well, we can manage every difficulty with joy.
The exhibition was very successful and even many prominent people came. The people who live on the island are affluent and among the most influential people in Sweden, including many VIPs. There were even many tourists from both Sweden and abroad, mostly from Europe but we spoke to some people from America too.
Because we worked together like one body and laid a solid ground for our future exhibitions, we got in touch with one person who, after visiting our exhibition, invited our exhibition to participate in the 2021 Gothenburg Book fair in September, free of charge.
Practitioner A: My first meeting with the art exhibition project was two years ago, when I just started to practice Falun Gong and decided to visit the exhibition for the first time, on another island in the Gothenburg archipelago. I was very touched by the message of the exhibition and the story behind each painting. A secret wish started to grow inside me, to help with the exhibition as a guide, to be part of this great truth clarification effort and work together with others to tell the story of the paintings to all the visitors, to save human beings. This wish came true one year later, when I joined the art exhibition project.
During the spring of 2022 and thanks to the hard work of the guides, we succeeded in finding three different exhibition venues in Sweden. I was looking forward to studying the texts of each painting by the respective artists, and preparing for my first exhibition as a guide at the first exhibition in March this year, at a place outside Stockholm. I felt it was a sacred assignment, and was unsure of myself for taking on this task because I had high expectations of myself and worried about how I would manage it? Do I have enough knowledge to explain the paintings to the visitors? I was a beginner and lacked any previous experience. If any visitors had any difficult questions, what shall I do? Normally, I dislike showing others that I am uncertain of myself. Because of that I didn’t dare to guide the visitors in the beginning and tried to avoid it. I was staying mostly in the background but thanks to one practitioner who understood me, I got a push and found myself talking to the next visitor. This was exactly what I needed. I was a little unsure, but I became a guide for the first time. Every evening we shared experiences and reflected together through the events during that day. It was a big step for me to begin to let go of the fear and the uncertainty, and overthinking. Eventually, I felt that I could do it and be more confident in myself and comfortable with the task of guiding and talking to the visitors.
Practitioner B: After we finished the exhibition at Salsta castle, one practitioner came and asked me if I could drive her car back home, a distance of 450 km, in the middle of the night to Gothenburg.
The practitioner who was supposed to drive the car wanted to return home directly, to avoid a detour by first driving to Gothenburg and then taking the train to her hometown. It would be too much of a long and tiring trip for her.
The first thing that came to my mind was, “I can’t do it! I haven't driven a car for the last 10 years”. But after that I looked inside and realized that we could not leave the car at the castle, just because I didn’t dare and wasn’t comfortable to drive it? I reminded myself that we must cooperate unconditionally, and now was the chance for me to overcome my own hindrances. After I overcame this hindrance, I really felt that I grew and surprised myself, because I did something that I thought I could never manage.
During the pandemic, plenty of galleries and stores in Gothenburg were empty. We had a wish to have an exhibition in Gothenburg, which led us to Mölndals Gallery that was owned by a listed international company. Eventually, we got in touch with a lady who worked for this company. After some time, she managed to propose to the members of the board who decided that they wanted to promote great artwork. They showed us three different places and the last one was the best.
The place was big enough and the walls had a neutral color, enhancing the paintings in a very nice and welcoming way.
The cooperation between practitioners built a strong energy field and led to many people finding their way to come see the exhibition.
The most exciting thing we experienced was that a majority of the visitors came inside the gallery and started at the end of the exhibition and looked at the last painting named Tears of joy and sorrow – maybe they understood deep down that time is short.
I remember, late one afternoon, a man rushed in and said loudly, “Finally, finally, I found you” – throwing down his backpack on the floor! He told us that he had been asking in 10 different stores for our exhibition. Earlier, he saw an advertisement on Facebook about our exhibition. He said that he had visited China, Tibet and Bhutan years ago and he wanted to know more about this art exhibition. After he saw the exhibition, he said that he would bring his wife to see it too.
Some quotes from the guest book:
“Thank you for a rewarding tour, important message to the world”
“Thank you for the beautiful artworks, but also sad that your freedom can be taken because of your faith. Let freedom and light win forever.”
“Thank you so much that you took your time to guide us about the touching topics in the paintings and their stories behind. I got inspired to try Falun Gong and to spread it further”
“Thank you for a wonderful exhibition, sometimes I was absorbed by the paintings and could hardly find the words. I got touched and inspired”
“Thank you for contagious dedication and beautifully illustrative facts”
One family who saw the Art exhibition in Saltsjöbaden (close to Stockholm) wrote down these words in the guestbook: “Thank you for your interesting and nice presentation of the exhibition. Very thoughtful and we were very touched.”
Some visitors stayed very long, they looked closely and read about every painting. You can also see on their facial expression how it changes during the time they walk around. Nobody goes untouched from the exhibition, and it is important that they learn about the universal principles - Truthfulness Compassion Tolerance.
One little boy came in with his father. After they saw the exhibition, he wanted to write in the guestbook. The boy thought for a while and then he wrote: “THANK YOU. Thank you, it was interesting to look at the paintings. It was fun to look at very good artists that made those.
Miro, 8 years, (class) 2A. Last name: Karem, thank you for I was able to see them.”
Practitioner C: The practitioner got the idea to look for the exhibition venue at two places, Grunewald villa outside Stockholm, and Salsta castle, outside Uppsala. Two practitioners went from Gothenburg on this long journey to visit these two places and talk with the people responsible for the exhibitions. Both practitioners experienced strong health tribulations on their journey but this didn’t stop them, they took these opportunities to improve themselves and higher their levels. With Master’s help we got the opportunity to show the exhibition in both places.
Many people interested in culture and art came to visit the exhibition at the castle, including people from Ukraine and other countries around the world. A young woman who lives abroad and studies in Sweden said: “It is a higher purpose that I came to see this exhibition.” She wanted to begin practicing the exercises immediately and she said that she would look for a practice site in the city.
Practitioner D: In Gothenburg we rented a truck to transport the paintings to the Grunewald villa, and we later got a lot of tribulations with the truck, which tested our patience.
We rented an apartment close to the exhibition venue, and the same morning that we will hang the paintings, private viewings will take place, but the truck didn’t start, it was minus 6 degrees outside. We tried different ways, and it was even more difficult that we had a small area to maneuver the truck because of two poles at the entrance, which presented a problem for us. When the truck eventually started, we couldn't get the truck back. We changed drivers, sent forth righteous thoughts, but we never gave up and eventually, through some magical way that we can’t explain, we managed to get through those two poles and one hour and 15 minutes later we were on our way to hang the paintings.
There were lots of tests and tribulations during the time when we hung the paintings. A lot of work was needed to carry the heavy paintings up the stairs, and besides that I realized that I had the wrong shoes with me, especially right now when my legs go through different tests in another dimension.
When it was time to pack away the exhibition at the Grunewald villa and transport it to Salsta castle outside Uppsala, we were the only two ladies, over 75 years old, who needed to take care of all that. We asked some practitioners in Stockholm for help to pack up and later unpack the paintings in Salsta castle.
In my cultivation process I found it difficult when the cooperation is poor among practitioners and people complain, but during this close cooperation through the work with the exhibition I got an insight – it is my own notions and concepts about things that hinder me from seeing clearly – this was very clear for me to see during this time we cooperated during all those three exhibitions we had. I could see each person's True self better and it is different from what we see on the surface. I also came closer to my own True self which made me more compassionate and humbler towards the people around me.
I made a decision: “I will take full responsibility for my own cultivation”. What I understood and is clear for me in my own cultivation process is that I expand from within, outwards. From my True self that is inside, and not like I used to think before, from outside to the inside. It gives me such warmth and trust to the whole life process and full confidence in Master’s arrangement.
Practitioner E: Many children and young people came to see the exhibition in Mölndal (close to Gothenburg). Many brave girls and boys, around 10 – 12 years old came alone with no adults, they came many days in a row with different friends (other children). One girl, 10 years old, came many times during the first week and said the second day that she would bring her mother in the afternoon. When she came with her mother later, the mother told us that her daughter was very touched by the exhibition. Afterwards, the daughter wanted to donate some money and said: “Others need it better”.
One young and sensitive girl, around 20 years old, said with tears in her eyes that at first she didn’t want to look at the paintings with the persecution, because it is too painful. After we talked a while, she shined up as she understood that the artists wanted to express the message that hope and light for humanity is stronger than evil and darkness. We also talked about the importance of non-violence, not fighting back but the right to speak up when you are unfairly treated. You could see the positive change in her face afterwards.
One evening after the exhibition was finished, we stopped to buy a pizza close to one practitioner’s home. One practitioner talked to the owner’s son about the exhibition. The Gallery was actually a bit far away from his work place, so we didn’t know if he would come or if he had the time to come. The practitioner didn’t have a flyer right then so the next day the practitioner gave the pizza owner a flyer and explained more about the exhibition. The last day of the exhibition he came together with his family to see the paintings. They never heard about Falun Gong or about the persecution. Their little girl, who was 1.5 years old, looked intensely on the big paintings: the Buddha statue and the painting where Master is teaching the Fa and her little face lightened up and then she waved to Buddha and Master.
Practitioner F: During the last 12 months we have shown the Art exhibition in 7 different places in Sweden. That meant a lot of work and intensive cultivation for all practitioners involved in this project. As the coordinator for this project, I also had many difficult xinxing tribulations within my family during this period.
When human emotions try to take a grip on me I try to remember different quotes from Master, which helps me understand the situation from the Fa, and then I realize that this is a chance for me to enlighten. It gave me a deeper understanding of the importance of studying the Fa, when I experienced what a powerful effect it has to recite one of Master’s quotes that is related to the tribulation I went through in that moment. Everything becomes clearer and I can keep myself calm. And then I manage to take the situation and things in general, lightly. It is time to let go of all the attachments, not let even one keep me here, that can stop my return.
A quote from Master: “The evil takes advantage of the slightest gap and glares menacingly at every single word and action of yours. Whatever you're attached to, that's what the evil beings will strengthen, and when your mind is off they will make you irrational.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference)
“When he is attached to getting worldly things or to self-interest he can’t reach Consummation. When a cultivator cultivates in this world, he is to get rid of all sorts of human attachments, and only then can he become a divine being. Otherwise, any attachment or any element in the human world that weighs on your mind becomes a lock that fastens you down and prevents you from leaving.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2005 Manhattan International Fa Conference)
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