I first encountered Falun Dafa in July of 1993 and was very lucky to be able to attend the founder of Falun Gong, Teacher Li Hongzhi's lectures held in the Feichi Hockey Stadium in the 8th district of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province.
I received news of the lecture very late. By the time I heard about it, the lecture was already sold out. Teacher's lecture was scheduled to start at 5 pm. I went to the hockey stadium long before the lecture started. As soon as I reached the front door, a lady approached me and asked me if I needed to buy a ticket. She sold me a ticket for fifty yuan and led me directly to my seat. I learnt later that this lady was a stadium employee. The seat she sold me was in a good spot, where the hockey players rested. I had a long wait after I took my seat so I chatted with the lady. She had bought the ticket for herself but she said she could not live up to Teacher's standard, though she knew Falun Gong is really good. I remember her name was Zhu.
I was very fortunate to get a seat. The hockey stadium held four to five thousand people, most of whom came from other cities. As Teacher came in and passed right by me, the audience applauded eagerly. Teacher is tall and well built, dressed that day in a short-sleeved white shirt. He walked gently toward the centre area of the stadium accompanied by the warm applause of the audience. I could hardly believe that I could have this great predestination to see our Teacher. He was standing right in front of me teaching the universal law.
While I was listening to the lecture, Teacher's face appeared to me to be the image of a Buddha. At that time I did not have a good understanding of the principles taught in Falun Gong. I was eager to see the Buddha image more clearly. When I tried to focus hard I could not see anything. Whenever I did not have the attachment to see and concentrated on the lecture, the image of Buddha then reappeared.
Teacher cared greatly about the Falun Gong practitioners in Harbin, so he gave a special lecture at the Harbin Workers' Union. Since we only had very limited understanding of the Fa [universal principle, the teachings in Falun Gong], Teacher stopped in the middle of his lecture, and asked everyone to feel the spinning of the Law Wheel on his or her palms.
In order to help the practitioners in Harbin upgrade themselves as quickly as possible, Teacher even arranged an experience sharing with practitioners from other cities at the Harbin Teachers' University stadium. Teacher went there in the company of a Falun Gong practitioner.
One day, after the lecture, I quietly watched Teacher as he stood not more than two feet from me, listening to a report from a practitioner. Teacher looked much younger than his picture and looked very kind. I had no thoughts at all at that moment but just stood there and stared. I could not believe that I could really be so close to Him. After the lecture, after most practitioners had gone, I also prepared to leave, but before I left I could not help but turn back look again. At that moment I found that Teacher was watching me too.
The next few times I saw Teacher coming out from the stadium I clapped my hands like many other practitioners did. I remember that on the last day of the lecture that Teacher's image as a Buddha appeared as clearly as though a Buddha statue had been placed onstage. Teacher, in the Buddha's image, began to give the lecture. Later on, the Buddha image disappeared and the place where Teacher sat shone with golden light. Teacher's voice was the only sound in the stadium. After the whole series of lectures finished, many practitioners offered silk banners to show their gratitude and respect. Teacher announced that several exercise sites would be established in Harbin and appointed several assistants to help practitioners.
At last, Teacher concluded the lecture. I cannot recall many of the words but deep in my heart I know that this kind of opportunity, to listen to Teacher's lecture in person, is very rare. I know that Teacher is great and that we have to believe in him. Teacher told every practitioner in the stadium that we all have a deep predestination with him. Teacher also told practitioners to remember his words whenever practitioners confront any kind of tribulation: "It's hard to endure, but you can endure it. It's hard to do, but you can do it."
In the end, Teacher made a series of hand gestures toward one direction of the stadium and then made a circle with his right hand toward all of the practitioners.
Every time I recall this experience it feels more precious to me. Teacher's voice and countenance, the hardship he endures for the sentient beings, encourage and inspire me and have become an ever-lasting precious memory which accompanies me forward during this period of time.
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