I am one of the Vancouver (Western) practitioners who went to Beijing in mid-February. I arrived in Beijing Feb 8th, and was detained by police on Feb 9th, and was sent back to Vancouver the same day. My plan was to participate in the demonstration in Tiananmen on the 14th. My personal emphasis was on clarifying the truth in person to Chinese citizens, so I arrived in Beijing early enough to hand out flyers to people over several days.
On the morning I was detained, I walked a good distance away from the tourist areas, to reach Chinese citizens who might not see foreigners very often. I brought a personal message with me, which I had translated into Chinese by Chinese practitioners in Vancouver. Within fifteen minutes of handing out copies of my message, four or five police caught up with me, and I was taken to the a police compound.
Looking back now, the parts of my trip where I managed to stay in the Fa are clear in my memory, and I can remember how I felt and what I was thinking. I was not in the Fa my entire trip, and in particular, I don? believe my divine side was directing my steps the hours leading up to my arrest. Upon my arrest, it was clear to me that all I had to be was Zhen-Shan-Ren, and I did much better at staying in the Fa from that point on.
In my interactions with the police, one thing became clear to me very fast. Many of the police were good people at the human level. Blinded by the lies, they were trying to do their duty the best they could. They did resist speaking about the truth of the persecution. The officers in charge of overseeing me were willing to talk about anything not to do with Falun Gong: university life, family life, life in Canada. As hard as I worked at moving the conversation towards Dafa, they worked at moving it away.
Which is why I am glad they had to formally interrogate me with a specific set of questions. Almost every question they asked was an opportunity for me to clarify the truth, and describe how Falun Dafa has made me a better person, and how I now work at being more selfless in my everyday life. Also, their questions allowed me to make clear my motives for coming to China.
How did you join Falun Gong?? Where do you practice? These questions allowed me to explain that Falun Gong isn’t a structured organization, And that Falun Gong books are in the library, and that people can come and go as they please to practice sites. No membership, no fees.
It wasn’t all congenial. At one point during the interrogation, when I refused to give my postal address in Vancouver, a police officer threatened me. I have the power to put you in jail for ten years. Do you understand? I have the power? Yes, I said, you do have that power. And I have the power to be silent. They didn’t ask for my address again. Indeed whenever I drew a line, or clearly refused a request, they would not bring it up again. One example is when one of the officers, in response to my saying Falun Gong is good, said Falun Gong is bad in China. I said Falun Gong is good in China. Just because something is illegal, doesn’t mean it is wrong. They didn’t disagree with my statements of Falun Gong being good again. Instead they continued trying to talk about anything but Falun Gong.
Before going to Beijing, I knew I had a shallow understanding of Compassion. Being face to face with decent, honest beings on the human level who are headed toward destruction because they believe lies they are obligated to act on (again at the human level), has evoked in me a deeper understanding of compassion.
At the end of Lecture One, in Zhuan Falun, Master explains that in teaching the Fa: We will systematically expound the Fa of high levels, from the simple to the profound. [my italics] A simple understanding of compassion is enough for a person to use the word in conversation, in the appropriate contexts. A simple understanding is something the mind grasps. A profound understanding is deeper, something the heart grasps, and for me, something my whole body resonates to.
Through my trip to Beijing, my understanding of compassion has gone from simple to profound. With a more profound understanding of compassion came a correct understanding of mercy. Mercy is something I once identified with pity, while pity is a concept steeped in sentimentality. Mercy, as I now understand it, is an act motivated purely by compassion. Though I didn’t realize it before my trip to Beijing, I now realize and understand that clarifying the truth is an act of mercy, an act that demonstrates great compassion. I have come back from Beijing with Compassion, a precious gift I am grateful to have received.