PureInsight | August 1, 2005
Part I. Putting to Use Our Talents Given by Dafa
I started practicing Dafa in my third year of art school. When the TV project was formed I knew immediately that I should help out since I studied illustration and film. But I just did a little here and there since at that time my cultivation state was not very good, and so I could not realize the responsibility that I was avoiding. Only very recently, after years of not getting involved, I took a serious look at what talents Dafa had given me. Soon after, I received a curious email from a company that manufactures software that basically said: "Robert, thanks for purchasing our film editing training software." Since I had not bought any such software to train me in film editing, I felt somewhat solemn after reading the email. I took it as a hint from Teacher that I should use the talents Dafa gave me to save more sentient beings. I am now in the process of learning to use film editing software so I can help the TV project.
As an art student one of my greatest aspirations had been to learn to paint classically like the Renaissance masters since Teacher explained in the "Lecture on Fine Arts" that this is very important for a painter. However, since I work a full-time job, I find no time to train my painting skills with all of the pressing things that need to be done in the Fa Rectification. Although in the past my mind would often fantasize thinking about elevating my art skills to a very high technical level, recently my understandings have changed regarding this. I would like to share a few things from our media meetings during the time of the 2005 New York Fa Conference since there may be people out there that also did not know these facts and would want to help if they knew. On attending the a media project meeting, I was greatly moved when I saw that the people at this meeting worked so hard on one of the media because they understood the importance of media to clarify the truth. This experience helped me further enlighten to the fact that this medium has a great historical mission in the human world. If done well, a news medium could potentially help millions or billions of people all around the world to understand the truth. When it was revealed in the meetings I was attending that our media are still at the stage where they cannot pay people full-time to work for their companies, I felt very uncomfortable and sad since I had not understood the deep importance of marketing before.
I grew more solemn after attending the marketing meeting for the 2006 Chinese New Year Global Galas. Many people there put in a lot of effort for the TV project. Yet some of the facts they revealed shocked me. They told us that it took an extremely large amount of money to run the TV project last year – a truly huge amount of money. They also said that this money was coming out of the pockets of volunteers like you and me since the old forces have made it so difficult for us to make money. A question came up: When are we going to be able to pay people full-time to work for the station and make it self-sustaining to (1) relieve the volunteers who are straining to donate, and (2) make money that can be used for more useful things at the station. On this issue, "how well we do is up to us" and we cannot sit by and do nothing or wait for these media to build themselves up, relying on supernatural forces to make it happen. We are the supernatural forces that have to awaken to this. I will use an analogy to explain this. If we go out and buy a car since we need to travel somewhere we cannot expect the car to drive itself. We need to be the drivers of the car or else the car will travel nowhere. Due to old force arrangements, marketing has been very difficult and the television station has gotten very few advertisements. One of the old forces' biggest arrangements has been to crush practitioners financially and block us from receiving any money in Fa Rectification. This even manifests in the CCP's policy against Falun Gong to "destroy them mentally, ruin them physically, and crush them financially." In their eyes, the old forces would rather have everything fail then let us make a little money to make truth clarification easier. But since our mission goes beyond self-cultivation and is for saving all beings, we have to negate these old forces and do marketing for our media companies well. Even though things are difficult, how well we do is truly up to us and I think Teacher believes that we can break through the arrangements if we try our best.
Along with marketing, prioritization is also of utmost importance. My understandings are limited, so I am only raising this point for consideration. Since everyone's time is very tight and many of us work full-time or have other responsibilities, there is not a lot of time for Dafa projects. So we need to think about prioritization of our one-body projects. I will also raise this for consideration: if our new media projects were self-sustaining they could pay people to work for them full-time. Those of us who had skills and the desire to work for one of these companies would go to work all day for these companies and then go home at night to plan out truth clarification work so that we could save more beings. Its sounds like a wonderful concept to me. So, we have to prioritize well or else we may get sidetracked and forget what the most important things are. Each one of us needs to follow our hearts and the Fa when it comes to this issue, but we do have to think about it.
After returning from those media meetings, my life's goal became to work full-time for news media companies instead of becoming a master painter. Soon there will be a lot of positions to fill, so I invite you to think about it and help make it happen. I also want to encourage everyone to think without bounds about what their talents are in this period of time and to use them well, because we were given them to help save beings. Regarding the arts, I often see a lot of young disciples with talents in design and the arts or other things, and do not see them using these gifts as much as I feel they could.
Since I began working on marketing, many attachments have come up in me that I had failed to recognize for a long time. One of the reasons I failed to see them is because I did not want to see them. But I have been forcing myself lately because I am clearer that if I see even a little bit of a shortcoming in my thoughts, I have to do my best to be responsible to them. In the "2002 Boston Fa Lecture" it was explained to us that we all have many ordinary people's skills and because of this we think our ideas are good and that we have the best ideas. It was further explained that this is how arguments happen. For example, I put a lot of effort into designing many of the newspaper ads, and I always think that they are great designs or that I am such a good designer and have some special abilities, etc. If people tell me that my designs are good I am happy, but the moment someone would say something even a little negative about my design, I would quickly stand up to defend my design, sometimes even without first listening to what they had to say. In addition, regarding some of the promotional ads I did for the newspaper, I thought they were really good. I noticed that when I have these thoughts about one of my designs, there are always people who do not like it or say things about it that are a bit negative. Compounding this is the fact that I could be a little too sensitive when it comes to hearing feedback about my work.
I also noticed that since practitioners are all really capable and everyone is cultivating their xinxing and has a clear mind, they all have a different understanding of aesthetic values. Some people like sweet and some like sour; this is the way beings are. So when designing things I try to look at whether or not certain changes are glaring and absolutely necessary. Everybody has personal preferences about things and if practitioners are not careful, it is really easy to fall into ordinary people's ways of holding preferences and not letting go of our own ideas. This is especially dangerous when conflicts arise because of the preference, and then the sacredness of what we are doing is forgotten. I have also realized that one of the causes of conflicts is that when I get humanly excited about designing something in some certain way, I fail to cater my design to what the person asking for the design wants. Due to this excitement, I may even forget to ask them about their ideas before jumping ahead to design something which could make the design very far from what the person needs for their project. It is also not polite and can cause conflicts if the other practitioner needs something specific or is not having a good day with his cultivation. As far as my designs go, even if people do not say anything negative I find that I have to be really diligent and let go my ego as a designer. The truth in all of this is that my designs are not good and it is not that I am some great designer who is better than anyone else, but just that design is a gift from Teacher that I have to use in this period of time to save more sentient beings. The selflessness that practitioners display at every moment should manifest itself when I am designing something because that design is truly not for me, but can have a huge effect if my heart and mind are pure when I am designing it.
To make one last point about marketing, many practitioners see the work that the news media volunteers put in, which usually involves long, grueling hours. Everyone seems to think that they are magnificent. I agree that they are magnificent, but I think that the situation is also sad. It is sad because the reason they have to put in so much effort and barely get by on a day-to-day basis is because there is no money to support them. We should not think that a Fa Rectification disciple should live so frugally with such suffering to produce news programs or articles. Of course, Fa Rectification disciples will work hard no matter what the circumstances. If the media are self-sustaining our efforts will go towards perfecting what we have and reaching the world's people, instead of barely scraping by.
Part II. The Issue of Lust
In my cultivation, lust has been something that for a very long time had evaded me. For different reasons I could never seem to overcome it or the strong thought karma. Nearly a year ago I was in a situation of just passively enduring. I felt negatively about my situation and thought that there was no way that I would be able to overcome this attachment that seemed to be bigger than a mountain. Realizing that I could not just stand by and let these thoughts overcome me, I decided to change my attitude and do whatever I could to correct my thoughts and finally live up to a Dafa Disciple's standard in the world. I came to the conclusion that if the thoughts would not leave my mind then I would do nothing but study the Fa and send righteous thoughts and maximize the three things in my life until they left. I started sending righteous thoughts very frequently for at least a half hour at a time, concentrating on purifying myself and adding in a thought that my mission was to save all sentient beings during this period of time. Afterwards, sometimes I would feel that the thoughts were completely gone, but soon after they would creep back in. During this time I felt that it was still very difficult to get rid of these desires. After about a week of sending righteous thoughts, studying the Fa for about 6 hours a day, and practicing the exercises every day, I would usually feel like there were differences in my state of mind in that I was calmer and the thought karma was almost non-existent. But on a fundamental level I still felt like there was not much improvement.
One night Teacher gave me a hint in a dream. I was in a public place clarifying the truth by handing out flyers. A little boy walked by with his mother and I wanted to give the boy a flyer. As I tried to hand him a flyer a person walking by collided with me. After reattempting to hand the boy a flyer yet another person collided with me, and then another, making it very difficult for me attain my goal of giving this boy a flyer. In the meantime, the boy's mother seemed to be having negative thoughts and was trying to keep me from giving her son a flyer. With all of this happening around me, anger and frustration flared up. As soon as my anger flared up in the dream I woke up and had the symptoms of having failed the test of lust. With this, I realized that although I was putting in much effort to overcome the attachment to lust, if I did not work hard on removing my other attachments and do my best to also overcome other problems in my cultivation, there would be no chance for me to overcome lust. I realized from this that the attachment of lust is just one attachment, and to overcome it one's xinxing as a whole needs to rise, making ourselves into beings whose minds can no longer have those thoughts.
Over time as I kept working on this attachment I realized that a big problem of mine is that I am actually attached to my attachment of lust, and had a great fear of the attachment surfacing at all. After my fear arose, the thought karma would almost always become worse, making the bad thoughts more extreme and making me feel worse. As soon as I realized this fear was having an effect I tried my best to not worry about it when thoughts would come up and just tried to use my own righteous thoughts to tell myself that this is a very small attachment and that as a practitioner of Dafa in this period of time I would completely give it up. In addition I would try to stick to the basic principles of being a practitioner. Normally when I was at work it was easy to get me worked up and catch me off guard to make me angry. During one of those days when a woman at work seemed to be deliberately trying to make me angry by bossing me around, I felt a deep release and compassion for her. When I felt this I knew that things were changing. I will not spend much more time on this issue, but I will say that for those people still having difficulties with this issue, it is not something impossible to overcome and is actually quite possible to overcome. It just takes some determination.
In recent times as my compassion for beings grows, I am realizing that the true issue related to lust is that when my mind is always and completely involved in saving sentient beings, these thoughts find it very difficult to make it into my head. The issue of lust or of any attachment can never be overcome by trying to force them humanly, but can only become less when our minds are too pure to be accepting those kinds of thoughts. If every thought and action is just revolved around letting go of self and saving all beings, the attachment of lust is helpless and diminished.
Thank you for listening to my experiences, and I wish everyone the greatest of luck on the rest of their path.