March 07, 2013 | By a Falun Dafa practitioner in Hsinchu, Taiwan
(Minghui.org) The enormous “Fa Boat” handcrafted by Falun Gong practitioners was a highlight of the 2013 Taiwan Lantern Festival. This year’s big festival was held in Hsinchu County, located in northern Taiwan.
The Lantern Festival is an annual holiday celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in Chinese calendar. It marks the end of lunar New Year celebrations. The occasion is a time of much ritual and public festivities, often lasting for days. Such is the case for the Taiwan Lantern Festival described here.
The Fa Boat lantern handcrafted by Falun Dafa practitioners
Handcrafted to Show People the Beauty of Falun Dafa
Understanding that traditional art can cleanse the soul, uplift the spirit, and inspire joy, 60 Falun Dafa practitioners from age 8 to 80 spent seven months handcrafting the Fa Boat from scratch.
Although building lanterns to celebrate the festival is an annual affair, many of those involved this year were first timers. “They have the most sincere wish to share the wonderful practice of Falun Dafa,” said one of them, Ms. Hsu.
More than 10,000 Visit the Fa Boat Display in First 3 Days
The Fa Boat lantern is said to be the first in history that can hold 50 people. In the first three days of the festival, over 10,000 visitors came to admire this unique work of art. Many took pictures, of course, and a great number also learned much about the peaceful spiritual practice of Falun Dafa as well.
A practitioner working on part of the boat lantern
Practitioners assemble the boat lantern
The Fa Boat “lantern” is approximately 60 ft long, 15 ft wide, and four stories tall. The lower part is decorated with 12 lotus petals. Two flags emblazoned with dragons fly at the front. The three masts are set with nine sails. Nine Faluns decorate the sails, and each rotates nine times alternately clockwise and counterclockwise. The Fa Boat will remain on display until March 10.
Atop the masts are the Chinese characters Zhen, Shan, Ren, translated as Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, the principles of Falun Dafa. Around the boat are cloud-shaped lanterns, to give the impression that the Fa Boat flies through the sky.
Dedicated Volunteer Team
Mr. Zhuang has been in charge of making the Falun Dafa entry to the lantern festival for the past several years. He said that the first two months he put together and tore down the frame of the boat twice. There was a lot of pressure to finish the boat on time and make sure that it looked magnificent and sacred.
Whenever he encountered troubles he could not solve, he calmed down and studied the teachings of Falun Dafa. The teachings always guided him through difficulties. “I know that many people come to the festival to understand the truth about Falun Dafa. I had to make it happen no matter what. I told myself that I could not say no and that I must do it well.”
Fa Boat Introduces the Crowd to Falun Dafa
Next to the Fa Boat were posters illustrating the history of Falun Dafa, how it has been taught in many countries over the years, what is happening with the persecution, and how the lantern boat was made.
An engineer from Israel was mesmerized by the boat lantern and exclaimed, “Amazing! Spectacular!” When he saw the Israeli flag on the globe lantern, he said that he wanted to find out more about Falun Dafa.
Mr. Bai is in his 80s. He quietly watched the Falun Dafa Waist Drum performance on the stage, boarded the Fa Boat, and read the posters. After listening to the practitioners clarify the truth about Falun Dafa, he exclaimed, “Falun Dafa is indeed good!”
Mr. Bai has traveled around the world and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in pursuit of the true meaning of life. Yet when asked to recall what he had gained from his search, he was at a loss for words.
After seeing the following poem by Master Li Hongzhi displayed on the Fa Boat, Mr. Bai said that he wanted to get a Falun Dafa book and begin the practice right away:
“In the vast sea of people,
it’s hard to meet
A smile encountered by chance is from a karmic bond
Quiet down your mind and hear the truth
You’ve waited millennia for these words
The saving Dafa is spreading in the world
Each word of the heavenly secrets is true”
(“Talking of Karmic Bonds” from Hong Yin III)
A lady in the crowd followed along to a practitioner demonstrating the Falun Gong exercises on the stage. For the fourth exercise, she did not want to squat down because of her bad knees. A practitioner encouraged her to and she tried. She was able to squat down without a problem. She was very excited and said that she was going to buy a Falun Dafa book and start practicing when she returned home.
Grand Parade Held February 28
The host of the Taiwan Lantern Festival held a grand parade on February 28 to promote the festival. The Falun Dafa Divine Land Marching Band and Waist Drum Group were invited. Three hundred practitioners were led by a Falun Dafa globe-shaped lantern, which was absolutely stunning.
Spectators applaud after seeing practitioners perform
Spectators Deeply Touched by the Experience
Spectators applaud the Falun Dafa Waist Drum Group
The Falun Dafa globe-shaped lantern leads the Divine Land Marching Band
Both sides of the street on the two-mile parade route were crowded with spectators. Many of them cheered and applauded when they saw the Divine Land Marching Band and the Waist Drum Team. “Incredible! Falun Dafa is good!” they cheered when the band and waist drums passed by.
The Hsinchu County Magistrate stood up and waved as the Falun Dafa entry passed the grandstand and the band performed “Falun Dafa Is Good.” The master of ceremonies announced, “What a magnificent entry! Thanks to all members of the Divine Land Marching Band who have brought us the wonderful principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance!”
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