PureInsight | August 8, 2005
Greetings, Master. Greetings, fellow practitioners. It is such a humbling honor to speak before you today at this grand Fa conference.
During the past year and a half, I have been working on a newspaper. It is the first time on my path as a Fa-rectification Dafa disciple that I have gotten involved—and stayed involved—in a long-term Dafa project. But I have come to learn that our media outlets are not Dafa projects—they are businesses that are part of ordinary society. The newspaper is using a form in society to reach sentient beings and save them. Because of the magnitude and impact of this form, there is a great deal of pressure, tribulations, and tests that come with working on the paper. There have also been miraculous and amazing breakthroughs on different levels. I would like to share some experiences and understandings about the English newspaper with all of you today.
In October, 2003, I was living and working in Japan as an English teacher. During that time, a fellow practitioner who was involved with the newspaper contacted me to help out. In those days, it was only a website and there were less than a dozen practitioners involved. At first I thought they were ambitious and doing something great, but that it had nothing to do with me. Then I thought that they had the skills to work on it, so best let them do their job and not get involved. Besides, there were plenty of other activities to help out with; I didn't really see the point in working on the newspaper. I actually remember thinking, "What does a newspaper have to do with clarifying the truth? It is best if we just go out and hand out flyers and demonstrate the exercises."
Then one day I started to think about the Chinese newspaper. It started publishing in 2000 and the "head office" in those days was a practitioner's basement in Atlanta. There were four practitioners inside Mainland China who wrote news stories and submitted them to the US for publication. The original news reports and articles came out of China on a daily basis, until they stopped suddenly sometime in late 2000. The editors in the US later found out that all four of these practitioner journalists had been arrested and taken into police custody. Today, of those four, two have been murdered in the persecution and two are still imprisoned. The turning point for me to decide to work on the paper came from the single righteous thought that Dafa disciples are one body. I knew I could not let my fellow practitioners' sacrifices for this newspaper be in vain. I knew I had to do whatever I could to help English version of the newspaper succeed.
I am a writer by profession, so I began by rewriting news stories published by other newspapers; taking many different sources and writing something that seemed original. Actually, this is not really journalism, as I came to learn, but a lazy version of journalism, and soon the standard had to be raised. Even though I have had several jobs in ordinary society as a professional writer and am most confident with this skill above all others, I had to learn to develop new writing skills that are special journalism after joining the paper. It was both frustrating and annoying. Sometimes I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, even though I had such great confidence in writing. Sometimes it took me weeks to write something. Sometimes I was very attached to what I had written and found myself reading and re-reading articles I had written that were published on the website. Sometimes I was really impressed with myself. Other times I would talk and talk about writing different stories, but never act. This meaningless talk was a reflection of a lack of righteous thoughts and a manifestation of selfishness. Why did I suddenly have so many selfish notions and attachments to fame surfacing? In fact, from the beginning, working on the newspaper has been an intense and unrelenting cultivation experience. Part of my job on the paper is to work with writers—some who are more skillful and confident than others. But every person I have worked with, regardless of their skill level, has gone through a tough process of letting go of fear and human notions before writing their first really significant article. This shows what a key part of a successful newspaper well-written content is.
With something like the newspaper, we are indeed having an amazing impact on society—just look at the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party"! Once when we were doing a special distribution of the Nine Commentaries in Manhattan on a Saturday, I realized the eagerness with which sentient beings are awaiting our newspaper. I traveled with a three-person team; the driver would sit in the car and send righteous thoughts while the other practitioner and I get out on each block we stopped at to distribute newspapers. We approached every restaurant, club, bar, deli, and coffee shop along the densely packed blocks with stacks of the newspaper format of the Nine Commentaries. At first I felt uncertain; afraid they might think it was a weird thing to put in their stores. But almost every single place not only took stacks of the Nine Commentaries, most places also went out of their way to find a good spot for the newspapers. Even in places without one other single publication, The Nine Commentaries were in the most prominent and obvious places directly before main entrances. People were truly waiting to receive them!
There are also several newspaper delivery routes done by car in Manhattan every week when we publish. I have been doing one of these car routes for over 6 months with another practitioner, and we have experienced many amazing things on these delivery routes. We deliver to doorman buildings, apartments that are literally guarded by doormen. In the beginning, we had to "sell" the idea of the paper to every building. Later on, they started to recognize us and take the paper readily. One doorman who was very hostile in the beginning has since become one of our happiest customers on the route. These doormen are like gatekeepers, and sometimes we cannot begin to imagine who the residents are that they guard. One night, we noticed many police cars and motorcycles outside of a building with police barricades on our route. We asked the building next door jokingly, "Hey, who do they have in there? President Bush?" "No," answered the doorman. "It is the Prime Minister of Israel." We realized at that moment how important our newspaper truly is—we never know who we might be reaching and clarifying the truth to, and what influence they have.
Think about a newspaper created by practitioners, filled with articles and photos by practitioners. These things carry the gong and righteous thoughts cultivated through cultivation in Falun Dafa. The value of such a paper cannot be understated. Even more so, a newspaper is a truth clarification tool that is a lot like a conversation between readers and practitioners. Within the pages of the paper, we show our readers a variety of news and information, and throughout the pages we weave in articles and advertisements that directly clarify the truth. Each person who picks up the paper has the chance to learn the truth about Falun Dafa and the evilness of the persecution. It is a different form than the more traditional methods we have used over the last few years. But there are different stages and different situations that manifest as Fa rectification progresses. The manifestation of the English newspaper in the human world is a magnificent thing, and is a chance for sentient beings to awaken at a fundamental level.
For example, one practitioner from the San Francisco edition told me that during a recent activity in San Francisco for a charity walk, newspaper was front and center with the most important dignitaries at the event. Our paper had run an ad for the event for four weeks, and on the day it took place, representatives from the paper sat up on stage with other event participants, two seats away from the mayor of San Francisco. Afterwards, they were able to give the mayor a copy of the Nine Commentaries book, and they also met and clarified the truth to famous musicians and actors who were there. They were able to use the newspaper as an avenue to clarify the truth to certain members of society who they might not otherwise have had access to.
Just imagine, our paper, published in seven different languages, is the most widely distributed newspaper in the world! Practitioners throughout the world already form a massive, intricate network of very special beings—Dafa disciples. If we can harmonize and coordinate with one another on the newspaper, we will eventually be able to report on the news from all corners of the world. No other newspaper has that capability.
Aside from our network of practitioners, we all had interests as ordinary people before we cultivated; hobbies, music we liked, places we traveled, et cetera. We are using this knowledge and experience to turn the tables and save sentient beings. After all, every article in the newspaper cannot be about Falun Gong, China, or the persecution. The method we use is to create interesting and engaging content that draws the reader in, keeps them reading, and helps them to lead others to the paper. We think of the readers first, so we must use their notions and attachments to help them become a loyal reader of the newspaper. This is our solemn and sacred responsibility in Fa rectification, so the path we are blazing with this newspaper is indeed not easy. But it is well worth all of the sacrifice and effort when we can realize that one edition of The newspaper reaches tens of thousands of people! How magnificent that is! Thank you, Master, for giving us this newspaper to save sentient beings!
At the end of November 2003, I moved back to the United States for the 2003 Atlanta experience sharing conference, and was united for the first time with some of the newspaper staff in the United States. During the conference, I stayed with many other practitioners in the house in Atlanta where the newspaper began.
It was during the Atlanta Fa conference, through sharing experiences with other practitioners that I realized I had, in fact obtained the Fa from two different newspapers—The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. One day while reading the Journal for a work assignment, I had come across one of the Pulitzer Prize winning articles in a series written by the journalist Ian Johnson about Falun Gong and the persecution in China. From this article, which I read with total fascination, I learned the truth of the persecution. It was easy to see that Falun Gong was good and that the persecution was evil from his article. I greatly admired the stories of courage and strength of practitioners that Mr. Johnson described, and a long-dormant part of my heart began to awaken. Two weeks later, while reading The New York Times, I saw a full-page ad with an open letter from New York practitioners to a Chinese government official clarifying the truth. On the background of the page was a photograph of New York disciples in Central Park, doing the sitting meditation. At the bottom of the page was the website, www.falundafa.org. I visited the website, and from that point on, I began to learn Falun Dafa. I realized in Atlanta that this experience happened in just that way for a reason. Master's fashen have carefully arranged these things for us, and each step of our path in Fa rectification is major. Learning the Truth and obtaining the Fa by reading newspapers proves to me that the form of clarifying the truth through the media is an extremely effective way to save sentient beings. How many people saw one or both of those articles? How many hearts were turned towards goodness because of them? How many future practitioners had a seed planted in their mind from seeing them? There is no way to know.
In late 2004 I went to New York to help with truth clarification efforts there and to support the newly opened newspaper office. I try to do whatever I can to help—including vacuuming and taking out the trash in the office (when I am not being lazy).
There have been many communication difficulties and xinxing conflicts that seemed impossible to overcome in working on the paper. Sometimes we get upset with each other and fail to practice forbearance. Sometimes we laugh and joke like children, joyful at the job of coming up with a catchy headline for the front page of that week's edition of the newspaper. One of my best memories was when about 12 of us spent an entire Sunday finishing the assembly of the first 50 newspaper boxes to be put out on the streets of Manhattan. It was tense at first, but as we began to work together, it was an incredible experience. I saw the fortitude of fellow practitioners who had come from all corners of the planet to work on the New York edition of the newspaper, putting their hands to anything and everything that it needed, including manual labor. When the boxes were done and lined up waiting to go out to the streets, they truly looked like rows of soldiers awaiting the most significant moment of their existence—a chance to play a positive role in Fa rectification.
In working on the newspaper, I always find that when my Fa study and doing the three things well is lacking in any way, my heart and mind seem like an empty well that has dried up. I try to write a story or edit one of the pages I am responsible for, and nothing works. I pull the bucket up from the well for water, but find it full of rocks and leaves. On the other hand, when I am in the Fa and diligently progressing in doing the three things well, including face-to-face truth clarification in daily lifer, things are quite different. I go to the same well, and am able to draw fresh, pure water. My wisdom bestowed on me by Dafa for the purpose of saving sentient beings becomes like a life of its own that guides me in making contributions to the newspaper. I know that if all of us use our time well and diligently progress in the Fa, we will find that the success or failure of the newspaper is up to our efforts and determined by our righteous thoughts as a body.
This is my personal understanding at my current level. I humbly ask my fellow practitioners to point out anything improper.
Thank you all!