May 23, 2016 | By Minghui correspondents De Xiang and Li Xiao in New York
(Minghui.org) Nearly 10,000 Falun Dafa practitioners from over 50 countries paraded in New York City on May 13, 2016 to celebrate the 17th World Falun Dafa Day.
The Divine Land Marching Band led the three-and-a-half-hour parade across Manhattan’s 42nd Street, from the United Nations on the east side, through Times Square, to the Chinese Consulate on the west side.
The parade was comprised of three sections: introducing Falun Dafa, stopping the persecution in China, and supporting the 230 million who have quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its youth organizations.
A middle-aged tourist from Beijing said he had watched the parade for a long time and was moved by its tremendous scale. Yet he had only seen part of the first section.
“All the Answers are in Zhuan Falun”
Practitioner Jorge Gimeno from Spain said he found the answers to many questions about life in the book Zhuan Falun.
Jorge Gimeno has come to New York City every May since he took up the practice of Falun Dafa in 2010. He enjoys meeting so many fellow practitioners and hopes that more people will come to appreciate the beauty of Falun Dafa from the grand parade.
“My whole life changed after I practiced Falun Dafa,” Gimeno said. He had been wondering why some people have almost everything and are happy and many others have very little and are unhappy. He had been looking for happiness for years, and says that Falun Dafa gave him the answers he was looking for.
He noticed that many Chinese people still don’t know the truth about Falun Dafa because of the negative propaganda from Chinese state-controlled media. “If they open their hearts to embrace the truth about the practice and return to traditional culture, they will find peace in their hearts and experience the beauty of Falun Dafa,” he said.
“Practicing Falun Dafa Lifted Me Out of Depression”
Ms. Barbro Plogander from Sweden
Swedish practitioner Barbro Plogander feels lucky that she encountered Falun Dafa 10 years ago. She had been experiencing a very difficult time in her life and had fallen into deep depression. Practicing the exercises brightened her life, lifted her out of depression and filled her heart with confidence and energy to deal with life and work.
“I am very happy to celebrate this special day with fellow practitioners today.” Ms. Plogander said, “Teacher has given me so much. I have to come here in person to thank Teacher. I have been happy in both life and work since I started practicing Falun Dafa. There are no words to describe how amazing it is.”
Ms. Zheng Jon-bun and Kim Seon-ja from South Korea
Ms. Zheng heard of Falun Dafa and attended the experience sharing conference in Singapore in 1998 where she met Teacher Li Hongzhi.
Practicing Falun Dafa, she regained her health and let go of negative thoughts. She now regards it as her duty to participate in the parade to show the merits of Falun Dafa to the world.
She said that Falun Dafa changed her from fighting for personal gain to being considerate of others. “My name has the character ‘compassion’ in it.” She said. “My family said my personality changed for the better and has become gentler.”
Ms. Amparo Ambia from Bolivia (left) and Ms. Minerva Cruz from Dominica
“Falun Dafa changed my life for the better. I feel very much alive now, completely different from the past,” said Amparo Ambia.
“Teacher taught us to look at life from a different angle, a higher level. I am very thankful,” she added.
Ms. Minerva Cruz is a finance clerk working for the Dominican government. Her younger brother received a Falun Dafa flier from someone on the street and took it home. She saw the flier and was very interested in it.
She later saw a Falun Dafa booth at a Book Expo and learned the exercises. Her family quickly noticed the changes in her because she used to be a very emotional person.
“My family supports me and my brother practicing Falun Dafa. My parents also help with some Dafa related projects, too,” said Minerva.
Juan Pablo Boschi (left) and Merleders Gambini, a couple from Argentina.
Juan Pablo Boschi has practiced Falun Dafa for 6 years. He quit smoking and enjoyed improved health of both mind and body soon after starting.
“I know that many Chinese people live in a communist party culture and they have taken in much propaganda. I hope they can listen to what Falun Dafa practitioners say and read some materials about it,” said Boschi.
Category: Dafa Day Celebrations