LONDON—A colourful sight unfolded in London’s Leicester Square on May 13, as Falun Dafa practitioners celebrated a meditation practice handed down from ancient China.
Wearing yellow costumes that glimmered in the sunshine, practitioners performed the slow-moving exercises of the practice in the bustling central London square.
The event was held to mark Falun Dafa Day, celebrated internationally on May 13.
Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, is an ancient Chinese spiritual discipline whose adherents follow moral principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
It is practised by millions across the world, but Falun Dafa’s founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, first publicly taught it on May 13, 1992. May 13 is also Mr. Li’s birthday.
The event in London included a Chinese dragon that swooped joyfully to the beat of a drum, led by dancers clad in blue and red.
Curious onlookers stopped by, mesmerised by the dragon’s movement and colour.
Some walked to a table to have their name written in Chinese calligraphy, while others read about the crackdown of the peaceful practice by the Chinese regime.
Among those gathered at Leicester Square were practitioners from China, now grateful for the freedom of belief they enjoy in the UK.
The Epoch Times asked several practitioners what practising Falun Dafa means to them.
“I feel very glad to have known about the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance (zhen, shan, ren in Chinese). When you encounter many difficult situations or some conflicts you try to look inside yourself, and try to hold on to these principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, to better handle them. I think it’s more a process, it takes some years, it’s not something that you can do at one time. Sometimes it goes not that well, but it’s actually a process of becoming a better person, called cultivation.
“I think it’s really important for today’s people, these principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It’s really difficult to follow these principles, but it’s very good if we can do that to become a better person. It’s a really great practice and I’m really happy to be a practitioner of Falun Dafa.”
“There are many things that can stress you out in this world. So having the ability to find the answers within yourself is really important. Falun Dafa teaches you how to look inward, it’s one of the basic concepts of Falun Dafa. How to look within yourself to find the answers that most people try to find through something outside of themselves, like shopping or food or drama in relationships, for example.
“I was going through life and trying to understand the world and how to improve myself in terms of my body, my physical strength, the money I was earning, how to live a good life. But I realised that in order to live a ‘good life’ you need to have an inner calmness, to be able to really understand things from the point of view of compassion.”
“I take things more lightly now. I used to get really frustrated when I didn’t get the things I want, I thought those things belonged to me. I’m starting to think about things in a different way. I think that everything happens has its own reason, and sometimes even the things that I think should belong to me, doesn’t mean they are meant to be mine. So I’m still trying to do my best in everything.
“I just go with the flow I guess. I’m not competitive, I try my best to treat everyone in accordance with the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. I feel that I have changed fundamentally. It makes me feel much happier. Especially now I’m here and I have the freedom to practise wherever I want. I have the freedom of belief now so I feel really happy, just amazing.”
(Yaoyao is not her full name)
“It’s just brought me so much peace in myself. More obviously in the beginning, for the mind cultivation. I was studying at the time, I’m not particularly academic, but I immediately saw improvements in my studies. I suddenly understood content that I didn’t understand before. I just understood the bigger picture of what I was learning, and of life in general.
“I just became a much more confident person. My fears, my social anxieties went away, I wasn’t afraid to put my hand up in class, and ask questions and clarify things, and I just basically had a new love for life. I could access life again.”