On the 5th of August, a Falun Gong practitioner in Seattle published a report describing how Falun Gong practitioners were invited as volunteers to lead the prize-winning floats in the annual sea-fair parade in Seattle. This event is very influential locally and practitioners received high praise for marching in the parade this year, wearing yellow T-shirts with "Falun Dafa is Good" printed across them. The picture in the report showed two practitioners holding the prize banner and leading the prize-winning floats in the parade.
This is a significant step because the sponsor had turned down the practitioners' application for three consecutive years, including this year. The day before the parade, the sponsor suddenly called a local practitioner, enquiring if they were willing to become volunteers in the parade instead and gave them 15 slots. Participating in this activity indeed has its positive effects. After all, this is the first time that Falun Dafa has appeared in this procession, and everyone, including those who opposed our participation was aware of this. However, when we consider the pros and cons from a different angle, the local practitioners missed an opportunity to further clarify the facts about Falun Gong to the sponsor. The sponsor had obviously been influenced by propaganda and did not have a positive attitude towards Falun Gong. Practitioners who participated in the parade were restricted by the conditions set forth by the sponsor. Under such circumstances, the positive effects created from our participation were limited as well. Most importantly, they lost another chance to clarify the facts in depth, to thoroughly eliminate evil interference and to provide more people the chance of being saved.
This incident reminded me of something that happened recently in a city in the eastern United States.
This city government has been really supportive towards Falun Gong. However, due to the slander of Falun Gong by the former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and his regime, the holiday celebration organised by the local Chinese community had excluded Falun Gong from their program three years in a row. This year, the sponsor welcomed Falun Gong practitioners to perform, demonstrating the Chinese waist drums. In order to create a festive atmosphere in the beginning of the event, the sponsor even arranged for the practitioners' program to go first. However, the sponsor also laid out several conditions beforehand. For instance, Falun Gong practitioner would not be mentioned as the performers in the introduction to their performance, nor could Falun Gong practitioners wear any clothing or signs suggesting that they practice Falun Gong during their performance.
In view of such terms, local Dafa disciples began to discuss whether or not they should participate. Some practitioners believed that this was an opportunity that was hard to come by. On the surface, the sponsor permitting us to perform on stage seemed to suggest that our environment was getting better. Actually, the evil took advantage of the practitioner's impatience in presenting the beauty of Dafa to the world and in saving sentient beings. If the practitioners agreed to participate under these circumstances, the world's people would not be able to receive their full message, and practitioners would also be hindered from playing their role in this activity.
Meanwhile, in order to get practitioners to agree to participate under such restrictions, the evil factors in other dimensions also created illusions like this in some practitioners' minds, "At least we will be able to participate in the event this year. This is major progress compared to the past. If we work harder and build a good relationship with the sponsor, maybe we will be accepted next year as Falun Gong practitioners." Other practitioners thought, "We can talk about Falun Gong after our performance." In fact, this was unattainable because the host explicitly prohibited the distribution of Falun Gong materials during the event. Secondly, experience told us that we would not have time to talk even after the event because the audience would leave shortly after the performances were over. Wouldn't we end up just entertaining everyday people? If we do things according to ordinary people's mindset, no matter how much we do, we will not achieve the effect of saving sentient beings We will only be good persons amidst ordinary people.
In "Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students" a practitioner asked, "If an ordinary people's organisation doesn't let us participate in a parade under Dafa's name, can we use another name or should we just not participate at all?" Teacher replied,
"If that's the case of course we can't participate. Are Dafa disciples joining them for fun? Dafa disciples came to save sentient beings, so [we join parades] to show Dafa to the world's people and let them know that Dafa is here. If they won't let us do that, then of course we won't participate. But not participating isn't a solution--why won't they let us [use Dafa's name]? You should go talk to them, and you can clarify the truth. If they have an underlying political motive, then we can also resolve it via legal means; no matter how long it takes, it needs to be resolved on a fundamental level."
Through discussions based on the Fa [law, the teachings of Falun Gong], practitioners in that area visited the sponsor once more. They indicated that Falun Dafa practitioners would only participate if they were mentioned as the performers during the introduction of the program. Because of their strong righteous thoughts, the sponsor gladly accepted the terms brought forth by Falun Gong practitioners.
Some practitioner who participated in the torchlight parade might believe that wearing Falun Dafa clothing is sufficient to tell the world's people that Dafa is good. This kind of notion is shared among many practitioners across different regions. Teacher has taught us repeatedly that since we are doing the most righteous thing in the universe, when we present Dafa to the world's people, our approach must be honorable and upright.
After the 20th of July, 1999, the Jiang regime directed Chinese consulates around the world to threaten or bribe local officials from issuing proclamations to Falun Gong. Quite a few city governments have resisted Jiang's regime's attempts at interfering. Nevertheless, under the pressure and the propaganda, the city of Seattle withdrew its proclamation to Falun Gong. The mayor later left the office ignominiously. Yet no matter how practitioners try to clarify the facts to the current mayor, he still refuses to let them participate in any activities held in Seattle.
In this situation, we can only continue to work hard in clarifying the facts and do our best in the process of saving sentient beings. As for whether the officials in the city of Seattle can be saved, it is up to them how they position themselves. As Falun Gong practitioners, we can help by strengthening our righteous thoughts, continuing to cultivate ourselves, and refining our approaches in clarifying the facts. However, we should not be attached to the outcome.
Each and every minute of Dafa disciples' time is very precious and should be used to save sentient beings. Wherever a barrier exists, that is where we need to clarify the facts. When we come across difficulties, are we truly able to relinquish our human notions to do what Teacher asks of us? Are we able to manifest our steadfast belief in Dafa and our complete faith in the Fa Teacher has taught us. Only when we use pure and righteous approaches to save sentient beings can we truly establish Dafa disciples' mighty virtue.
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