I am a Falun Dafa practitioner from Italy. I am 57 years old and a retired civil engineer.
In 1990 I was staying in China as I was responsible for the Italian part of a joint-venture project between Italian, German and Chinese companies for the construction of a big steel factory, located some 20 km east of Tianjin, 120 km east of Beijing.
At work, dealing with my Chinese counterparts was frustrating. They would always smile in a way I thought very provocative and, instead of trying to solve problems, they would keep themselves busy looking most of the time for the guilty ones. It took me time to realise that I could not tell them what to do, but instead I had to find a way to let them come to the solution on their own.
In the meantime I would look around trying to understand Chinese people and their customs. I had found out that after all they were not bad people and moreover their food was delicious! Many things were still very strange to me, like men and women gathering together in the public parks early in the morning for different kinds of training. People would tango and waltz, make aerobics, martial arts ( taijiquan and wushu as I discovered) and some slow exercises called qigong. With astonishment I would often watch old men and women stretching in a way it would be hard for me to have done in my twenties.
The turning point happened one evening after duty. I was taking rest on a bench in the small garden park located on the right river bank, just outside my hotel. It was dinner time and almost no one was around. In the twilight I saw an old man, tall, skinny, with a soldier coat three sizes bigger at least. His hair was white and he had his back turned to me. I realised in a moment that he was walking backwards towards me, moving steadily along the meandering garden path (at that time I didn't know anything about feng shui and the reasons why no single public garden path was made straight). I thought: "The bum must be dead drunk!" As he went past me, for a moment I caught his eyes and...what a surprise: they were lively, bright, young eyes. I was speechless. The old man smiled at me, probably amused by my expression and kept walking backwards. That was the exact moment I realised there should be something else about Chinese culture worth to be studied and discovered. A new world was in front of me to be learnt, a new journey I didn't know then where it would lead me.
However at that time I would work too much, smoke too much, and eat too much. I was abusing myself. I asked one of my interpreters - Lin was his name, a kind young man - to find me a healer - one of those famous qigong masters everybody was talking of - able to help me improve my health.
Some days later in the evening I, Lin, my driver and my wife (she was on visit) took the car and left for an unknown destination. Lin and the driver looked nervous and suspicious. What they were doing with foreigners was not allowed by Chinese law. It was already dark outside and the streets were deserted. After a long detour we ended up at the top of a narrow rough concrete staircase in a two room flat crowded with silent people. In the middle of the room on a chair there was a robust young man with thick black hair, dressed with a sort of golden yellow martial art costume. He looked really young and I was disappointed since I expected to meet an old man with a white beard. The man and Lin talked briefly in Chinese and he nodded to me kindly to a chair in front of him, some three meters away. He closed his eyes and I felt immediately a kind of fire blade running slowly from my head down to my belly. Twenty seconds maybe and it was over. I was...confused and unable even to think. The young man talked briefly again with Lin and he translated for me. It was a proper picture of my health conditions, physical and mental. Then the young man did the same to my wife pointing to a problem in the left part of her belly, something that later happened to be very true. That was all. Everybody was silent. I tried to thank him and asked how much I owed. Nobody replied and the young man smiled. We left a bit uneasy. Years later I realised that I hadn't even asked for the young man's name.
I forgot this episode almost immediately and in 1992 I left China. My life went on with the usual ups and downs, job and family troubles, illness, and plenty of misfortune due mainly to my intolerant character. I discovered I was diabetic: my energy was wavering and I had to retire. In the meantime I would keep on studying Chinese arts. I learnt fengshui, taijiquan, Yijing, qigong, Daoist magic and divination. I read many classics of Chinese history, medicine, literature and philosophy, many tests from the Daozang and about Daoism, inner and sexual alchemy. I started some kind of Daoist meditation, especially the so called "inner smile meditation" and I had some good results. But I was never at peace with my own mind.
One day in September 1999 I had a dream. I was again in that room in Tianjin and the yellow dressed young man was talking to me, but I was unable to understand him. I woke up a bit upset, wondering what such a dream could mean. Some days later I saw news on TV about Falun Gong. FALUN GONG, FALUN GONG...That name was completely unknown to me. I was sure to know each and every modern Daoist group, but I had never heard before about Falun Gong. I hurried up to my p.c. looking on the web for Falun Gong. I found a website that I was later to discover was the official Falun Gong website. I clicked to see the picture of the founder and a portrait came up with the image of a man apparently in his thirties. I could hardly believe my eyes. I called my wife for confirmation and yes, that was the young man we had met that evening in Tianjin some 9 years before. That was also the man in my dream.
A sudden warm happiness filled my mind and my heart. I was quiet and excited at the same time. Finally I had a sign - I thought - finally I was shown the way I had been desperately searching for so long time. It couldn't be by chance. It had to be predestination. There was no doubt in my mind and that was the moment my Falun Dafa journey began. I began to study the Falun Gong teachings by downloading Master Li's books and scriptures, slowly learning the five slow moving and meditative Falun Gong exercises, all on my own.
I changed. Apparently I was the same man, but my way towards, people, problems, politics, religion was different now. My wife noticed that I was no more the feisty, intolerant, hard man I used to be. I said it was because of Falun Dafa, so she decided to read Zhuan Falun and she then also started to practise Falun Gong without any pressure from me. Some months later I got in touch with some Italian practitioners and I met one in particular, a very good man of my age and education. We became close friends, we used to share our experiences concerning cultivation and that was of great help for both of us.
In my daily life I try to fulfil the three things Master has asked us to do. I study the Falun Gong teachings as much as I can, I send righteous thoughts from time to time and I talk to as many people as I can about persecution. I have taught the Falun Gong exercises to many persons and in the meantime I have introduced Falun Dafa, Zhuan Falun and cultivation, taking the opportunity to clarify the truth about the persecution. Some of these persons have become practitioners and I am happy for them. I don't exercise very much because I'm often lazy and I have given up crossing my legs in the double lotus position. My diabetes is still there, but, as far as it lets me practice, I don't care that much. I don't expect to be healed by Falun Dafa, I expect Falun Dafa to take me back to where I belong.
The attachments of fear, lust and laziness are still present, but Falun Dafa gives me the confidence I'll be able to get rid of them.
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