“The Swastika symbol is thousands of years old…”

Originally we were told it would rain that day. Considering the Falun Dafa practitioners’ energy, enthusiasm and optimism with which they approached their tasks it could not be raining. Every one of us had the Fa [the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance”] in his/her heart. We all utilized a valuable chance to spread the truth about the terrible persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

We had not even set up our table, had not yet displayed any materials nor had we completed the construction of the walls for the booth, but things did not seem to progress fast enough for the good people of Ulm (a city in Germany). The first person to arrive wanted to learn the exercises immediately. We suggested that he please return later so that he could observe the exercises at his leisure, without hurry.

During the preparations we played Falun Dafa music until everything was ready. The music alone seemed to magically attract people, like a magnet. More and more practitioners arrived. We did the righteous thoughts meditation. The atmosphere was quite harmonious. All visitors wanted to receive a copy of the newspaper and the flyers. A sizeable number also wanted to learn the exercises. Some only left after we had presented them with a gift of the book. It seemed as if nothing could hold them back. We did not discern any hesitation, suspicion or doubt. People seemed to be genuinely glad to hear about Falun Gong and wished us success with our intervention efforts and expressed their hope that the gruesome persecution of those who practise such a peaceful meditation system will finally come to an end.

Particularly obvious was the especially large number of children who came to the booth to accept newspapers. A mother and her child stood at the booth for a long time to watch the exercises. I asked the girl if she liked the exercises. The mother answered for her, saying, “She does not want to leave.” I told the woman of my own daughter who insists that I read to her from the book Zhuan Falun every night, the main text for Falun Gong, and related further that children seem to have a different approach to Falun Gong than the adults. The other practitioners told me later that his woman and her daughter had visited the booth before and were here for the second time.

An old woman approached. She spoke loudly, perhaps because she was hard of hearing.

“I did not know all that,” she said, and walked straight toward the information table, as if she was on her way home, as if she had known Dafa for a long time.

But of course we also encountered a few sceptics who spoke of “sect.” When we told them the truth [about Falun Gong], they were astounded. We really were convinced that we were able to tell many of those who had only heard one-sided, negative reports about Falun Gong and did not have a good opinion of it what the truth is really like. They had only heard unfavourable media reports, were fooled by them and had no idea of the actual situation and the persecution in China. It was primarily our placard with the swastika symbol that shook people up.

The swastika symbol [from the old Indian Sanskrit] denotes the hierarchy of a Buddha. The swastika looks similar to the symbol Hitler had used. Because of that, Germans in the past were unsure and suspicious of it. Our placard, however, had images of Buddhas or ancient temples displaying this symbol. Once they noticed that circumstance it became clear to them right away that Hitler had blatantly abused this sacred symbol. A passer-by commented that he knew that this symbol was thousands of years old and was even displayed on some [European] churches during the medieval era.

Altogether it became obvious to us that people had begun to ponder the events concerning us and they no longer believe the lies coming out of China. Here I have to tell you about something that made a big impression on me. In spite of the fact that China is so far away, Germans and people from other nations are genuinely interested in Falun Gong and also in the fate of the persecuted practitioners in China. Two years ago, at the beginning of the persecution, things looked completely different. Then people often remarked, “Why should I be interested in something that’s happening in China; a lot of bad stuff is happening here, too.”

I am hugely pleased people realize that Dafa is something really valuable and good and the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance” belong to all of us; they have something to offer to all of us. The practitioners who participated in the City of Ulm Information Day will not quickly forget this beautiful day. I already wish the sponsors of the Augsburg information day on January 26th, 2002, a big success.

A German practitioner

16th January 2002

(Original text in German)

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