PureInsight | October 24, 2005
[PureInsight.org] I knew next to nothing about media when I first started working at a newspaper. I mostly did typesetting, distribution and advertisement. As the newspaper grew, I switched to marketing and sales. Several weeks ago, I volunteered to coordinate newspaper sales. Pressure from work became greater, so I emphasized Fa study. In the past few weeks, I clearly felt my tolerance expanding. I used to complain a lot but now I don't feel the need to complain as much. My heart is lighter.
1. Why are Dafa practitioners operating mass media?
I obtained Dafa in 1998. Looking back at the period of self-cultivation, I persisted in studying the Fa, doing exercises and disseminating the Fa. When I worked at a computer company, I was able to read a lecture of Zhuan Falun during lunch. After July 20, 1999, practitioners in Atlanta, where I lived, actively participated in Fa rectification activities. We went to Washington DC many times to clarify the truth. I remember when the Minghui website was first created, it was nothing compared to what it is now, in terms of technology and design, among other things. Later, Xingsheng and other Dafa websites were born and they played important roles in clarifying the truth. In order to make the truth known, some practitioners paid for advertisements in the media, and we also published newsletters such as Clear Stream, The Truth about Dafa, etc. However, we were not able to publish ads in Chinese language media as the evil Party infiltrated and controlled overseas Chinese communities and media. We realized we needed our own mass media. A few practitioners spent sleepless nights in a garage and founded the newspaper's website in 2000. In August 2000, the first issue of the newspaper was printed. One month later, official publication of the newspaper in Atlanta began, and later the paper was distributed in several major cities in North America. Currently, the newspaper is published in 28 cities around the world and it serves to clarify the truth to people of different races. The media in some countries refuse to report on Dafa due to financial interests, and sometimes they report negative and false things about Dafa. Considering this fact, we created the English-language newspaper in September 2004. The newspaper is now printed in eight languages, and along with NTDTV and Sound of Hope they together clarify the truth and save sentient beings. One advantage of the media is it can reach a large number of people, which works effectively, given our shortage of manpower and time.
In December 2004, the newspaper had the honor of publishing the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party". NTDTV and Sound of Hope broadcast the "Nine Commentaries" and had a tremendous impact on helping people see through the evil Party and learn the truth about Dafa. The media created by Dafa practitioners can help people learn the truth from different perspectives and can be used in combination with other projects in saving sentient beings.
2. Progress of Fa rectification and its requirement for the newspaper
The circulation of the newspaper increased continuously and is now a multi-language, around-the-globe medium. The number of daily hits on the newspaper's website reached one million at the same time the New Times Printing Shop went into production, just one week ago. I shed tears when I read the first edition of the newspaper was and the "Nine Commentaries" was printed in our own factory. The first daily newspaper was published in Washington DC. When we discussed the possibility of switching to a daily paper, I thought we only needed to do well with the weekly paper and increase circulation. Later, facts proved that daily paper is necessary because of its effectiveness. My understanding is we should not only take Dafa work seriously but also use our wisdom and look at things from the Fa. We should not limit the growth of our media with ordinary notions. Of course, planning and structure are still necessary.
Once during discussion, one practitioner said, "We are short of manpower and resources. It's too hard." Another practitioner said, "Why did we create our own media? What's the significance of increasing the circulation in Manhattan? Should we do according to the Fa or should we follow our own notions?" She further said, "If we are clear on Dafa's requirement for the English-language newspaper, resources and manpower will not be a problem." I realized that we should follow Dafa's standards in everything we do.
3. The importance of cooperating as a group in media work
After the 2003 Fa conference in Washington DC, I decided to work as a full-time salesperson at the newspaper. At the time, I was the only salesperson at the Atlanta office. After the New York conference, I saw that the New York office was short of people and lots of Chinese people live in the city, so I spent most of my time working in New York. I had lots of conflicts when I first arrived in New York and many of my hidden attachments surfaced. I often complained and thought, "How come others don't work with me?" or "If you continue to treat me like this, I'll go back to Atlanta." However, I realized my mind was not pure and was attached to the work itself. For a while, I wasn't diligent in studying the Fa, yet I felt I was doing well. As I studied the Fa more, I was able to quickly eliminate the impure thoughts. I complained less and was more tolerant toward others, although I was not always considerate. Once, a fellow practitioner and I went to the vice-CEO of an airline company to show him our New Year's Gala. However, the sound wouldn't come out when we tried to play the DVD. Before, I would have become upset, but this time I didn't. I said to the other practitioner, "We encounter great interference in everything we do, we shouldn't let the evil take advantage of our gaps."
Because we have different understanding on Fa principles and different attachments, misunderstandings, arguments and even conflicts would sometimes arise, but if we base our starting point on saving the world's people, we would have righteous thoughts and won't be affected by external circumstances. Cooperation of the whole group is especially important in sales, because we have individually assigned work but also teamwork. Some practitioners are good at making appointments, some do well with negotiating prices, some are excellent at signing contracts, and some excel in post-sale service.
Another time when a practitioner and I went to meet a client, the client didn't show up until long past 11, the agreed meeting time. He was busy with work when we met and didn't say hi to us. I said to the other practitioner, "We are here to save him, let's not be affected. Ordinary people are weak. We should influence him with righteous thoughts and eliminate the bad elements behind him." We had a smooth conversation and kept in touch.
4. My understanding of selfishness existing on different levels
Teacher said, "This selfishness penetrates very high levels." [Translator's version, no official translation found]. During cultivation, we often get mired in work and our existing selfish thoughts come out.
Salespeople who work for Dafa practitioner-owned media only get paid from commissions, and some live on commissions alone. Because our system is not well developed, salespeople sometimes unknowingly contact the same client. When they realize it, they mostly ask the other person to work with the client. On the surface, it seems we are considerate of the other person and are not fighting for personal interest, but if judging with the Fa and looking from the perspective of saving sentient beings, we have sentiments, therefore we should think about how to better serve the clients and what is better in terms of saving people.
Another time, a fellow practitioner called and asked me to go to a car dealer. It began to pour when I was about to leave the office. I was wearing my best suit and shoes at the time, so I didn't want to get wet. I stood in a doorway, waiting for the rain to stop. There was no trace of it stopping while the practitioner called me several times, urging me to leave. In the end I had to give up. Our arguments on the phone became heated. In the end I said, "This is the last time I'll ever work with you!" I thought, "I was almost always at your beck and call and I tried my best to help you. How selfless I am!" From then on, I was cold and distant when she came to me for help, and I was busy with my own things. At a sales meeting a few weeks ago, she talked about the importance of working as one body. After the group Fa study the next day, she again mentioned the incident and clearly pointed out, "You think it's natural that you don't participate and don't take any commission, but have you thought about how much this client means to the newspaper? What an important role it plays in saving people?" I only thought about the things that kept me occupied and my suit. Her words touched me and I saw my selfishness. I realized that after years of cultivation, although I generously donated money to the newspaper and worked hard, I still fell short of eliminating selfishness on a higher level. The depth of my understanding of the Fa was not enough, because it is not enough to simply make sacrifices and do work. Before when I studied Dafa, I felt like completing a task. Recently, however, I really wanted to study the Fa. When I studied more, I could do better when conflicts arose. I truly felt my shortcomings and attachments when others are tolerant toward me, and I felt the power of a whole body when I am tolerant toward others. Things ran smoothly during these times. In fact, everything is within the Fa.
I take the subway train to go to and from work. When I study the Fa in the train, I felt I completely melt into the Fa, and every single one of Teacher's word enters my head, and I feel as if nothing else exists, only myself studying the Fa. I was often moved to tears by Teacher's boundless benevolence. I learned what truly looking inward is and the wonders that manifest after I was able to do so.
As sales coordinator, I still need to improve in many aspects. My understanding of selfishness is not up to par and I didn't eliminate this substance in time. For example, I thought sales are the most important part and during Fa conferences and sharing at the office, I was often upset that discussion on sales was toward the end, which is a form of selfishness. In fact, I should calmly discuss my opinion with the meeting coordinator, but sometimes I would complain and act arbitrarily.
When I first starting selling advertisements, I would tell the client, "It's not a big deal if you don't want to advertise with us," while in my heart I still wanted to win them over. As we shared experiences, the disparity between words and intention was no longer a problem. As time went by, I was able to sign contracts with strong righteous thoughts and negotiating skills, although sometimes I didn't live up to Dafa's requirements because I didn't associate it with saving sentient beings and only thought about needing more money to print the newspaper. Through sharing, we realized that we should have the pure mind of having a relationship with and saving the client when we meet and talk with them. When we do this, things run more smoothly and we are closer to Dafa's requirements.
5. The newspaper should be run like an ordinary company
The successful operation of a media comes from the selfless contribution of every employee. The concept of balancing ins and outs is important for media, and usually we think that we only need enough money to pay for printing after paying commission. This is also selfishness. The editors, reporters, ad designers, distributors, accountants and administrative workers are all essential to running the newspaper, and we should not restrict ourselves. We should think about developing our paper into the Number 1 news source in the world. We should set our goal on having all staff as paid full-time employees, and having our paper grow in the largest in size and scope, and rich in content. In terms of pricing, it is true that many of our salespeople are inexperienced and have never dealt with large clients. However, we should have a righteous mind and discard our notions. We should know what is being truly considerate of others and separate Fa principles from human sentiments. On the surface, the things we do are not too different from those of ordinary people, but no matter what we do, we should not think, "Let's get every penny in his pocket." We also shouldn't think that offering a low price means we are being compassionate, and we shouldn't worry too much about the client not being able to afford our price. We should do it with a pure mind. When we make a mistake with the ads, we should give an honest explanation to the client but not simply give it to them for free. All beings came for Dafa and salvation of sentient beings is the top priority. They are lost in this world and they didn't come here to enjoy worldly pleasures. We should have a righteous mind when discussing prices, because the client would be blessed in unimaginable ways if they pay a little more for our media. If we stick with low-level understanding, we won't be able to save people and eliminate selfishness. Only by getting enough funds will we be able to do a better job and save more people.
Another practitioner is in charge of coordinating the work at the newspaper. No matter what we say to him, even when we are unreasonable or blunt, he never complains. I think we can all learn from him. The role of a coordinator sets higher standards for me, and I must have a broad mind, the right tone of voice and kindness when talking to people.
Sometimes I become disconcerted when only a few people came to the Teamspeak sales meeting and complacent when lots of people came. Once, I sent an email asking people to pay attention to using a uniform quote, and I didn't care to be diplomatic in the language used. At the evening sharing, some practitioners were absent and one practitioner called them and the issue was brought to my attention. Ordinary people say, "Speak casually but those who hear it interpret in different ways." I saw my selfishness in wanting everyone to attend the discussion and over-emphasized the importance of certain issues. I lacked compassion in my words and it was a lesson learned. That evening, we opened our heart and exchanged many things; we all gave our ideas on how to better manage our media. At midnight when we sent forth righteous thoughts, I entered trance right after I double-crossed my legs, and I felt everything disappeared except my main consciousness. I sent forth powerful righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil. I think Teacher was helping me after I made improvement.
After 18 months of doing Fa rectification work in New York, I haven't completely learned to like the city. Sometimes I thought if it weren't for Dafa I wouldn't be here, or "it's more comfortable living in Atlanta." These are all selfish thoughts and must be eliminated.
Break through old force's financial blockade and save more people
We must completely negate all of the old force's arrangements, including its financial blockade. How do we do it? Of course, we can't just say it. My understanding is study the Fa on a deeper level is the key to negate the old force's arrangements. Upon studying the Fa, Dafa practitioners form a whole body and each particle would a play different role. Dafa practitioners' media are different from ordinary media, because our media can save people. Therefore it is extremely important to believe in and support our media with righteous thoughts. Everything we do influences society. Think about it. People who publish their ads in our paper are very special, so shouldn't we support them as well? I think it's only natural. Of course, the prerequisite is we have the need for that product and the price is reasonable. Every Dafa practitioner is a member of society, and when we spend our money, we can ask the company whether they need to advertise their product. If practitioners spend money on products promoted in our paper, other people would follow suit, then we'll have a good outcome.
Media work is different from other Dafa projects in that it cannot be stopped once it's started. We have to publish and broadcast programs on time, which holds the staff and especially salespeople to a high standard. The persistence in sales work is similar to cultivation, as sales cannot stop halfway. We need more salespeople and more input from current staff members. It is hard to do a good job if one only wants to make enough commission for a living. Interference will arise if one makes his own life the top priority and sales work is only in second place. I'm not saying we don't need to think about livelihood but we need to have a correct base point. Although life is difficult, if I simply work hard and improve the outcome, things would naturally get better and our own life won't be a problem. A practitioner said, "I've never worked for such a large medium like the newspaper. My own life is not a problem." She has faith in our media.
A practitioner from Japan who worked for the newspaper in New York spoke little English, but she has done much better because of her selfless sacrifices. Another practitioner from Ottawa almost doesn't speak any English, but she sold almost half of the ads in the English newspaper. Everything depends on how much we grasp the Fa, whether we have powerful righteous thoughts, whether we are willing to make sacrifices, and how we handle interference and tribulations.
The cooperation among marketing and sales people at the newspaper's offices in different countries and regions and between projects and media is a pressing matter. Because we are short of manpower and money, we could be more productive if we give up our attachment to ourselves and work better together as one body. Then we'll do a better job and our media will fulfill its responsibility during Fa rectification.
Practitioners working for the media in New York have begun working together to contact 2,400 companies about sponsorship opportunities for the NTDTV New Year Gala and the fifth anniversary of the newspaper. Personally, I have never had a single doubt about Dafa and our benevolent Teacher since April 25, 1999. I have walked my path with determination. I will continue to work in the media with fellow practitioners and do better with Teacher's benevolent help.