(Minghui.org) On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the first European Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference held in Frankfurt, several practitioners who attended the conference reminisced about the introduction and spread of Falun Dafa in Germany.
In 1998, the first European Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference was held in Frankfurt, Germany from May 30 to 31. Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong), gave lectures and answered questions from the audience.
Ms. Waltraud, who hosted the conference, recalled, “More than 700 people came from all over the world. When Master came to the meeting place, everyone present felt the powerful energy. It was an unforgettable scene.
“Shortly after the start of the Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference, Master arrived,” Ms. Waltraud said. “I felt lifted up by Master’s great compassion, as if I were in heaven. Everything was so beautiful, full of happiness. It felt like my whole body and everything melted into a higher level. It is incomparable and cannot be expressed in words. I will never forget the Frankfurt conference.” She shared several photos taken 25 years ago, as she recalled the conference and that wonderful feeling.
Ms. Ruan, who started to practice Falun Gong in 1996, also attended the conference. She said the day before the conference, she had a bad cold. Her eyes and nose kept running. At four o’clock in the morning on the day of the conference, she rushed to Frankfurt from out of town. She said she only ate a piece of bread and a little fruit all day, but she didn’t feel hungry or tired. She shared something even more amazing: “After Master gave the lecture, during the lunch break, I suddenly discovered that my cold symptoms had disappeared.” That realisation stunned her mentally. Ms. Ruan, who has a doctoral degree, explained, “It’s amazing. (Falun Dafa) is different from the science we knew. It’s a brand new thing, but it’s real.”
After the conference, Mr. Li Hongzhi also accepted an interview with ZDF, one of the largest TV stations in Europe.
On the second day (May 31), Mr. Li returned to the conference to answer questions from practitioners. After the meeting, he posed for photos with students from various countries. Ms. Waltraud recalled, “Everyone talked with Master and took pictures. It was just like a big family gathering.”
Ms. Ruan said, “After the conference, I really wanted to pass on such a good exercise to the German people.”
Over the past 25 years, practitioners in Frankfurt have cherished their relationship with Falun Dafa’s founder, Master Li Hongzhi, and Dafa. They have conducted their cultivation practice according to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, and have also introduced Falun Dafa to many more people.
Falun Dafa Spreads in Germany
Located in the centre of Germany, Frankfurt is an important financial, transportation, commercial, and exhibition centre in Europe and the fifth largest city in Germany.
Ms. Zhou, who went to Frankfurt to work in the 1990s, began to practice Falun Gong in early 1996. She recalled, “Falun Gong was introduced in China in 1992, and was very popular in China by 1997. At that time, there were only two or three practitioners in Frankfurt, and Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong, had not yet been translated into German.” In order to spread this practice to the German people, several practitioners from Frankfurt and surrounding cities organised the first free nine-day class in Germany in the fall of 1997.
Later, as more people learned the exercises, they chose Grüneburg Park in the city center as the group practice site. Practitioners from Mainz, Wiesbaden, Heidelberg and other surrounding cities also came to participate in the exercises and to read Dafa’s teachings (the Fa) as a group.
Ms. Waltraud recalled, “In 1997, a local newspaper published an article about Falun Gong written by a practitioner. Afterwards, people kept contacting us, wanting to learn the exercises. So we set up a group practice site in Schlosspark in Heidelberg. Soon there were more than forty practitioners.”
Ms. Zhou said, “At that time we practiced together three days a week and read the Fa together two days a week. We were like a big family.”
To this day, local practitioners persist in doing the exercises in the park every Sunday. During the COVID pandemic they followed the government regulations, but continued to practice the exercises on Sundays.
More People Learn About Falun Dafa and Support Practitioners’ Efforts to Expose the Persecution
Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to persecute Falun Dafa in 1999, practitioners have continued to carry out various peaceful awareness-raising activities in the centre of Frankfurt for 24 years. They talk to people about Falun Dafa and how the CCP persecutes the practice. Their persistent efforts have helped many politicians and members of the public understand Falun Dafa and support Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
Over the years, many people have signed petitions to support practitioners’ efforts to end the persecution in China. Some have mentioned that they often see practitioners’ activities in the city centre, and witnessed the kindness, peace and perseverance of practitioners. Many encourage practitioners to persevere in the efforts.
Ulrike Nissen, Member of the German Parliament, said in an interview with a Minghui reporter in May 2019 that she admired Falun Gong practitioners for taking to the streets every week to raise awareness about the persecution. She said, “Your unremitting efforts are admirable, and people cannot turn a blind eye to you.”
Falun Gong practitioners follow the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Nissen said, “This is a value that must be supported absolutely, and it should be supported all over the world – absolutely.”
Michel Gahler, Member of the European Parliament, learned about the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong as early as 2005. In recent years, he has attended many activities held by Falun Gong practitioners in Frankfurt to express his support. On May 6, 2023, he came again to participate in the celebration of World Falun Dafa Day and gave a speech.
Mr. Gahler said, “According to my many years of experience, Falun Gong practitioners are a group of peaceful, honest, and kind-hearted people. They have brought positive influence to the environment around them and made contributions to peaceful coexistence among people. Truth, compassion, and tolerance are the basic principles for building a peaceful, democratic, and open society.”
MEP Gahler also expressed his condemnation and concern for the CCP’s long-standing disregard for human rights and its persecution of faith groups. He said, “What we see today is [practitioners celebrating by] singing and dancing, but if Falun Gong practitioners were to celebrate in China like this, they would be brutally persecuted. The [Falun Gong] founder and his disciples have made every effort for this [to end the persecution]. We hope that China will usher in a bright future.”
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