(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners participated in the 71st Mahabodhi Festival in Sanchi, India, on November 25 – 26, 2023. They distributed nearly 25,000 informational fliers, and held an introductory session where they demonstrated the Falun Dafa exercises at a government school. Their booth attracted many people, including travelers from around the world.
Sanchi is a small town in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh and is renowned for an ancient Buddhist complex—the Sanchi Stupa—which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The stupa is one of the oldest stone structures in India, and houses the relics of two of Buddha Shakyamuni’s disciples. The festival’s name, “Mahabodhi,” means “great awakening” and pays homage to the enlightenment of these spiritual seekers.
Dafa practitioners have participated in the Mahabodhi Festival for over six years. This year, their booth was given a prominent location—beside the Archaeological Museum at the foothill of Sanchi Stupa, in front of the Buddha Jambudweep Park. The booth was one of the main highlights and attracted hundreds of people walking uphill to visit the stupa.
Over their two-day stay, practitioners were interviewed by a local TV station. They also talked to monks and other people from all walks of life.
Senior Reporter: “Your efforts in raising awareness about the persecution are always selfless and pure”
Senior Reporter Arun Kumar Shende of MP 24X7 News and his team visited the practitioners’ booth on November 26, 2023. He interviewed two practitioners, who described in detail what Falun Dafa is and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ongoing 24-year-long persecution of the practice in China.
Pradnya Nikose, a 50-year-old practitioner from Nagpur, has practiced Falun Dafa for 10 years. She told reporters that this ancient cultivation system is freely practiced in over 140 countries but is persecuted in China under the communist regime.
When the reporter asked if Falun Dafa was involved in politics, given the CCP’s violent take on it, Pradnya replied, “Falun Dafa has nothing to do with politics. It is purely a spiritual practice which purifies our bodies, heals our illnesses and makes our lives better. Falun Dafa also cultivates our morality and the practice brings amazing results to practitioners. Not only does the practice benefit practitioners, Falun Dafa also benefits our families.”
The news team was touched by Falun Dafa practitioners’ activities. They learned that practitioners’ efforts to introduce the practice at Sanchi are all voluntary. Practitioners do not fundraise or seek any donations from the government or anyone.
Arun remarked, “Your efforts in raising awareness about the persecution are always selfless and pure. You are doing a great job.”
He said he would publish the interview on all their platforms so their viewers could know how the CCP is persecuting this peaceful practice.
Sudhir Garg, a retired senior officer from the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., has practiced Falun Dafa since 2015. He told the reporters that Falun Dafa primarily guides people back to the “path of tradition and morality,” and the CCP’s persecution is completely unjustified.
Sudhir, 63 years old, was diabetic for many years and suffered from extreme hyperglycemia. He told the reporter that Falun Dafa improved his health dramatically. “My sugar levels used to be 700 and I needed to take insulin four times a day. Doctors wondered how I am still alive and can still walk around without taking any insulin. These are just some of the common benefits of practicing Falun Dafa.”
A Monk Asks Practitioners to Visit His Hometown
Several Buddhist monks also stopped and talked to practitioners as they distributed informational brochures and fliers to the crowd. One monk was happy to receive a flier and said that he met Falun Dafa practitioners last year and knew about the practice.
Another monk visited the booth and looked at the information that was on display. He requested more information about the practice, and asked the practitioners to come to his hometown and tell the monks there about the practice and the persecution in China.
“You are doing a very good job,” he said.
Elderly Man: “The CCP Does Not Allow Good Things to Flourish.”
An elderly man who had extensive knowledge about Indian history, spirituality, and cultivation practices had a long conversation with a practitioner. He spoke with the practitioner extensively about Falun Dafa and the ongoing persecution. “Falun Dafa seems to be an ancient practice that people practiced in remote times,” he said.
The man also expressed a “deep understanding” of why the Chinese regime is persecuting Falun Dafa, and said that he knows very well that “the CCP does not allow good things to flourish.”
Children and Youth Eager to Learn the Exercises
Practitioners demonstrated the Falun Dafa exercises in front of the booth, distributed flyers and chatted with locals during the activity. Some people wanted to learn more about cultivation and wanted to learn how to practice the Falun Dafa exercises.
Many young people were interested in Falun Dafa and talked with practitioners. A group of university students read the Falun Dafa informational materials and chatted with practitioners. They left their contact information and said they were interested in attending the online classes to learn the practice.
A mother and son asked a practitioner to teach them the Falun Dafa exercises. As a practitioner taught them, a little girl also came out of the crowd to mimic the practitioner’s movements as she demonstrated the first exercise.
Sunil R. Gadge, 44, a businessman from Nagpur, along with a few other practitioners, also helped at the booth. From his observations of young people, he felt that more and more of them are now interested in exploring the relationship between physical and mental wellbeing. “Youngsters are eager to learn Falun Dafa,” he said, “and they are becoming more aware of wellness through mindfulness.”
Businessman: “Falun Dafa Has Given Me a New Life”
Sunit also shared how he learned about Falun Dafa, calling it “nothing less than a miracle.” He began practicing only three years ago during the pandemic, when India was under lockdown. He used to suffer from chronic depression and anxiety after the company he worked for had to shut down. Financial struggles and family responsibilities led him to despair, and he developed negative thoughts. As a result, his health deteriorated, even though he sought every type of treatment.
“I was taking medicine literally throughout the day but it did not help me at all. I came across a Falun Dafa poster one day during the pandemic. The local contact person invited me to his home at a time when everyone was afraid of catching COVID-19. He taught me the first two exercises and told me about Falun Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. That night I had a vivid dream and my life changed since then.
“I saw a big snake wrapped around my legs in my dream and I struggled to get free. An old man dressed in white clothes appeared in front of me and I felt a sense of calm and peace. I bowed down to him and that’s when I woke up. I could truly feel my life had started to changed for the better from the next day on. Today, my business is running well, I am in good health, and my family is harmonious. Falun Dafa has given me a new life.”
A Middle School Holds a Falun Dafa Session
On November 25, the practitioners went to a government junior school to conduct an exercise session with around 150 students, from kindergarten to grade 5 in Raisen, Madhya Pradesh. Schoolteachers and the headmistress, Jyoti Dabre, were also among the attendees.
Dabre was impressed when she watched the young students doing the exercises. “This practice is very beneficial for the kids,” she commented.
She said that several other meditation sessions had been organised in the school, but, “Falun Dafa is different. Even the teachers participated in the session and tried doing the exercises. Normally, they’d be monitoring the children.”
A practitioner who demonstrated the exercises to the students said that her “heart was filled with joy watching the little kids doing the exercises so peacefully.”
“The expression on their faces was filled with calmness,” she said. “They looked very adorable. The teachers were equally satisfied in seeing the children learning the exercises.”
The exercise teaching session for the high school couldn’t happen due to scheduled exams. However, the headmistress said that she would talk to the principal and recommend holding another session with the older students in the near future.
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