I am 39 years old and from Romania, a country in the European Union in Eastern Europe.
I came to Canada in early September 2012 as an immigrant. I immigrated because I wanted to discover the world and meet people from different cultures, races, and religions.
I also wanted to see if I was capable of handling this challenge of starting a new life in a new country by myself. Another reason at the time was to earn more money.
I had in my mind four places to settle: Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, or Montreal. I chose Montreal because it was the town to which I was drawn.
I went to the dentist on Thursday, December 27, 2012, because I had tooth pain. I saw there a flyer about a Chinese show called Shen Yun Performing Arts. What caught me were the words, “5,000 years of civilization live on stage!”
I always liked and was interested in Chinese history, Chinese music, Chinese culture, and Chinese martial arts, but not having the money to visit China, I said to myself, “This performance will show me China! I must see it!”
I went to the show on January 3, 2013. I bought the cheapest ticket to see the greatest show!
During the performance, they spoke about a meditation practice called Falun Gong, which is banned in China. I remember that I was somehow mystified by the fact that I had never heard about this practice. I knew about Tai Chi, Qigong, and Reiki. I had taken a few classes in Tai Chi and Qigong in Romania, and I was also practicing Yoga at that time. I had also learned about certain religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.
I was therefore extremely curious to see what Falun Gong was about. During the Shen Yun show I was asking myself, “Why do I not know anything about this Falun Dafa? Moreover, they are persecuted in China and I never heard about it?!?”
At home, I accessed their website to learn more. In February 2013, I went to Montreal’s Chinatown to see what the practice was all about. I found the practice place and met the instructor – a Chinese man. I did the practice that day, on a Sunday.
He told me about a book that I could find on the website and he said that it would be good if I started reading it.
I went home, found the book online in my native language–Romanian–but I could not read more than three pages.
The following Sunday I returned to Chinatown, and after the exercises the instructor asked me if I had started to read the book. I answered that I didn’t have time. He said, “Ok, no problem, you will read next week.” I went home and tried again to read the book, but I could not read more than three pages again. The next Sunday I went to Chinatown, but I didn’t go to the practice site, as I was ashamed to tell the instructor that I could again not read more than three pages.
The book was Zhuan Falun, and at that time I found it very difficult to read.
A year later, in January 2014, I saw a poster about Shen Yun. I knew it was a brand new show, but I didn’t feel that I wanted to go see it again.
In February 2014, an idea came to my mind that I could go to see if the Falun Dafa practice site in Chinatown still existed and if the practitioners were still there. I went on a Sunday, and this time I met a woman, a Westerner, who was explaining the exercises. She told me about the book on the website.
When I returned the following Sunday she answered my questions and told me about the book again. I already knew that I would not read it, using the excuses of not enough free time, I wasn’t very drawn to it, and I didn’t like to read online – I was working eight hours per day with two screens in front of me, so it was already too much. I did not return to the practice site the following Sunday.
In March, April, and May of 2014, I felt very bad, both physically and psychologically. All my frustrations and complaints came out, and I felt so overwhelmed that in May, I asked my boss to allow me to work only five hours per day because I felt I could no longer continue.
I had chest pain and sometimes I couldn’t even breathe. I felt like I had just finished a marathon race. I had never felt like this in my life. I had played sports in the past, so I knew that I had a certain amount of physical endurance, but the way I was feeling was more than I could bear.
I went to the hospital and the doctors said, “Sir, you are ok.” I was ok, but I felt like I was dying! I felt that I was over my head in mud and lost like a ship without a compass that couldn’t find the right way.
I said to myself, “I must do something because I cannot go on like this much longer! The doctors don’t understand how I feel. I’m not in my country, I’m alone here, so what should I do?!”
I returned to the Chinatown practice site in late May, hoping that the Falun Gong exercises would help me to improve my energy level. That Sunday, I met another woman who was the instructor, a Vietnamese woman. She also told me about the book, and she mentioned that she had copies of the book for sale. I bought a copy of Falun Gong and a copy of Zhuan Falun in French and I started to read. When I touched the blue book Zhuan Falun for the first time, I felt a gentle flow of energy.
I continued going to the practice site every Sunday. After doing the exercises on a Sunday in late June, the Vietnamese instructor invited me and another practitioner to attend a presentation. To my surprise, this presentation was about the show that I liked so much – Shen Yun!
I remember that while listening to their presentation I was thinking of another presentation that I assisted with in June 2010, in Bucharest, Romania. It was about immigration to Canada. There, I was wondering to myself, “What am I doing here? Do I really want to go to Canada?” That day in Chinatown, I was wondering to myself, “What am I doing here? Do I have something to do with this show Shen Yun?”
That day, after the presentation, I noticed a picture on the wall titled “Fulfilling Vows,” and I asked a Chinese woman in the room what it represented. She answered, “That is us, the practitioners, coming from the skies to Earth.” I noticed that everyone in that picture was holding a roll of paper in their hands. I asked about this and she said, “Those are the vows that everyone made before coming down to reincarnate.” I thought, “Wow!!” as I had a friend in Bucharest, Romania’s capital, who told me a few years prior, more than once, something like this, “When we come down to Earth we sign a papyrus with God that in our lives we will do all the things that are written on that piece of paper.”
I finished reading Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun for the first time in July 2014. I watched the nine lectures by Master Li Hongzhi, online, with Romanian translation. I was starting to understand something about Falun Dafa. I started to like the practice more and more and to feel better and better. I regained my energy. It was like my head had come out of the mud and I started to breathe and look around. I went to the practice site every Sunday, as it felt like my heart was calling me there. I also started to attend the Fa study with Western practitioners and ask questions. And I had a lot of questions at the time.
I seemed to have the heart for Falun Dafa, but my brain was not so easy to convince, possibly because I had practiced a Christian Orthodox religion most of my life.
So, for me, reading Master Li Hongzhi’s books was not without difficulty. I had many questions to ask because I wanted to understand. One day I found on YouTube a short video called “A fairy tale for the future people” which helped me in my understanding.
I finished reading Zhuan Falun for the second time in early September 2014. I believe that the Sunday practice and Fa study helped my understanding from that point on and helped me to overcome the difficulties that I experienced.
And, because Master Li Hongzhi speaks about “Practicing Only One Cultivation Way,” I decided that I wanted to become a Falun Dafa practitioner and follow only the Falun Dafa way of cultivation.
So, on a Sunday in September 2014, after the practice session, I talked with a Chinese practitioner. I said to him, “I think you are one of the coordinators. I know that you don’t ask about names or anything else here, but I would like you to know who I am. I want to become a Falun Dafa disciple and to help as much as I can.” He smiled, said, “Ok”, and then I left. From that day forward, I considered myself a Falun Dafa practitioner and a disciple of Master Li Hongzhi.
I started to attend the group Fa study in early October.
But I still lacked a true understanding of Falun Dafa. I knew that I needed to catch up on the last 22 years of information that Master Li taught. I therefore accessed the Falun Dafa website and downloaded all the documents that I could find that had been translated into my native language, Romanian.
The result was six volumes, totaling almost 2,000 pages. These included conferences Master Li spoke at from 1994 to 2014, Zhuan Falun Fajie, Zhuan Falun Volume II, Conversations with coordinators in China, Essentials for Further Advancement I and II, and Hong Yin I, II, and III. Now the question was, “When will I find the time to read all of this?”
In mid-November 2014, I found out that I had been accepted to start a Masters program at the university in January. I had no idea how I would do it with a full-time job.
The answer came fast. In early December 2014, I was fired from my job. I went on employment insurance for the next ten months. And at the end of this period, I found another job which allowed me the time to continue my studies at the university, and to finish them, by the end of December 2016.
So Master arranged my life and gave me the time to go to school and learn and study the 2,000 pages from his conferences that I printed, and enough money to be able to pay my bills and survive.
Reading all these pages helped me to understand Falun Dafa better; to know who is Master Li and what we, as disciples, are doing here on this planet; what Shen Yun represents; and all the others projects that the disciples are involved in.
During the next four years after I became a Falun Dafa disciple, (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018), I helped with Shen Yun in Montreal by distributing flyers, selling tickets, promoting the show to my friends and colleagues, and helping when Shen Yun was in town.
I was also lucky that in the summer of 2016, I got the chance to do my university internship at Epoch Times Montreal. There, I tried my best to improve the distribution of the French and Chinese newspaper editions, to help them reach more people and better clarify the truth about the persecution.
I helped introduce the books Bloody Harvest, an independent report by David Kilgour and David Matas, and State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China to Montreal’s Romanian community in October 2015. These books had been translated into Romanian a few years prior. During that event, the participants got the chance to watch the film “Free China: The Courage to Believe.”
I understood the importance of talking to the people about the benefits of Falun Dafa and clarifying the truth. So I tried to participate as often as I could at the truth-clarification spots in Montreal’s Chinatown, in front of the Chinese Consulate, and at the truth-clarification events for the university students of Montreal. I carry Falun Dafa flyers with me at all times.
When I meet people on the street, the metro, or the bus, I try to tell them about Falun Dafa, if I find a good moment or opportunity. I try not to disturb them and do it in a relaxed manner, but with dignity, without harming the image of Dafa.
I understand the importance of studying the Fa well and sending righteous thoughts so I can speak effectively about Falun Dafa to people.
In my understanding, it is very important that at every moment of our lives, we are fully aware, fully conscious, and anchored in the present. And we should not miss opportunities to speak to people about Falun Dafa. This would be like losing a human being who otherwise would have the chance to hear about Dafa. It happened to me several times and I felt sad. Who knows if those people will have another chance to hear about Dafa.
I was involved in a small but important project, which I put all my heart into. It was updating the list of practice sites listed on the Canadian Falun Dafa website.
I believe that more and more people are awakening and feel in their hearts that they are looking for something. Sometimes they don’t even know what they are looking for. As Falun Dafa practitioners, I believe we should be ready for these human beings who are looking for us.
This is why I wanted to help update the list of practice sites here in Canada. The list needed to be updated to provide correct and professional information to people who want to find a practice place and try the Falun Dafa exercises.
I started in October 2017 by calling every telephone number that we had at that time on the Canadian website. I spoke with the person responsible, found out if he or she was still practicing, and if there were other sites in their surrounding areas.
The work took a few months, with help from other practitioners, and now, in March 2018, the contact list for the Falun Dafa Canadian website has a brand new face. I was also thinking that perhaps other countries should update their own website contact lists.
I would like to add that, coming from Romania, I remember how it was to live in Romania under the communist regime. The methods that the communist party used wherever it took power were the same… killing, fear, lies, detention, labor camps, pressure, propaganda, control. In China, all of these are of the largest scale and intensified with the use of technology.
Through my sharing I would like to let Chinese fellow practitioners know that I admire you, and I am sure that every Western practitioner admires you, because, after so many years, you are still standing, waiting with hope and courage until this persecution ends, and cultivating yourselves well, while at the same time clarifying the truth to your countrymen and women who don’t know the facts about Falun Dafa or who still believe that Falun Dafa is not good.
Dear fellow practitioners from mainland China: You have earned the respect of all of us in the West!
Be diligent and resist until the end.
Falun Dafa Hao ! Zhen-Shan-Ren Hao !