Bay Area residents watched as beating drums led a parade of colorful people on May 11 celebrating World Falun Dafa Day.
Curious onlookers and tourists from around the world stopped to take photos and learn more about Falun Dafa, an ancient spiritual practice from China.
“It’s lovely and I’m inspired by the beauty of it,” Charolette Dubey from San Jose told NTD. “[I] Noted the bright yellow colors that everyone was wearing, and so it immediately caught our attention.”
David Lam, a practitioner from Santa Clara, started practicing Falun Dafa last October.
“Before, I was trying to be a good person and improve myself each day and then I had my own experience of how I wanted to do that,” Lam said. “But then after, with Falun Dafa, I had an actual set of principles to follow, and I feel like it’s a really good standard to follow.”
Practitioners of Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, say that their beliefs teach them to aspire to the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
“I’ve changed mentally, in the sense that I stress way less. After I started practicing for a month or two, my mom said, ‘Oh, David, nowadays you’re more calm.’ Exercising here, it’s more calming and I feel like a sense of enjoyment.”
“After I started listening to lectures, I thought it was really good,” Lam said of the audio recording of the teachings that he downloaded from Falun Dafa’s website. “I got more inner meanings from it, and it’s definitely something that I feel like I could help benefit other people. And that’s really important to me.”
“To know that other people are doing the same thing widely, it’s also motivating,” Lam said.
Shalina Fung, a Falun Dafa practitioner from San Jose, has been practicing for 15 years.
“Because we do it so early in the morning, people don’t see us that much, right? So, today is a really nice day and sunny, and so we all come. Every year we try to bring this goodness, the words to people,” she said.
“The teachings in Falun Dafa really help me see very clear[ly] about the meaning for life. There’s the truthfulness, compassion, forbearance elements. It’s a guiding principle of the practice. It’s easy to say, but when you actually incorporate [it] into your daily life, it’s really wonderful,” Fung said.
In China, people practicing Falun Dafa are persecuted for their belief. In other countries, practitioners are allowed practice and share the benefits of what they have experienced with others.
“I can’t believe that someone would persecute something that is so simple, and natural, and something that is so peaceful,” said Alejandro Machado from Venezuela. “The activity that you’re doing here, it’s very publicly in the middle of the street. I think it’s very important because it calls attention to people, so more people should know about this.”
“I happen to walk upon it by chance, but I immediately feel calm, stillness, peace. We need more of it in our world,” said Melanie Burg from Malta.
“I want to thank teacher Li Hongzhi, for all that he’s done to spread and made Dafa public and for having patience for everybody,” Lam said.
NTD News, San Francisco, California