My Cultivation Path

A Practitioner from the San Francisco Bay Area

PureInsight | March 27, 2009

Experience sharing at the 2009 Los Angeles Fa Conference

Greeting Master, Greeting fellow practitioners,

I obtained the Fa in 2004 in L.A. through my new roommate. Two weeks before I had moved into my new apartment, I went to a temple with my schoolmate and prayed. I remember that in my prayer to Buddha, I said, “Buddha, it’s not that I don’t believe in you, it’s just that I can’t understand the Jin Wen (scriptures) that are printed nowadays. I feel that I’m going downhill as my thoughts start to slide down. If Shakyamuni can cultivate and achieve consummation after his prayer, I’m praying to you now that I just want a book that can teach me how to cultivate and stay upright in the face of loss and gain. Am I asking too much?”

A few weeks later, my cousin picked up the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times for rent information as we were both looking for apartments. Right away, we spotted USC graduate students seeking new female roommates. The next thing I knew, I was reading Zhuan Falun at my new roommate’s house.

During the first two years of my cultivation in LA, I basically followed my roommate wherever she went and had fun with different Dafa activities. I knew that the messages in Zhuan Falun were very good but I didn’t understand why we had to form a discipline in reading the same book. I only read it when I didn’t have any exams, every once in a while. When veteran practitioners told me how they enlightened to different meanings every time they read it, I felt that it was very hopeless. Zhuan Falun is good, but I wasn’t able to pick up any different meanings every time I read it. But I still tried to pick up the book as much as I could.

One time when I was reading Lecture 8, where Master mentions how do we do our meditation, it reads, “When you sit there, you should feel wonderful and very comfortable as though you are sitting inside an egg shell; you will be aware of yourself practicing the exercise, but you feel that your whole body cannot move.” I wondered in my mind what that was about? The next day in my meditation, I could feel it. It was such a pleasant feeling that I didn’t want to get up from my meditation. I felt like I was walking on cotton or clouds that afternoon…

In 2006, I graduated from pharmacy school and moved back to the San Francisco Bay area. At that time, I only knew that I didn’t have a roommate that could tell me what Dafa activities were out there anymore. When veteran practitioners mentioned that we have to maintain righteous thought at all times, I asked myself what righteous thought were? How come I had no clue what they were…? I prayed to Master to guide me on the path to contribute to Dafa and cultivate, a path that could clearly show me exactly what I should be doing in the shortest time…

The next thing I knew was that our media needed practitioners to help sell ads. Since I felt that I wasn’t afraid of talking to people, that the practitioner’s media needed money and that I could work with other veteran practitioners, I thought “Why not? Let me give it a try and see how it goes. It’ll be a good environment because I’ll be committed to something and not be floating around without goals.”

I remember when I first participated in the startup stage sales team—the “9 Letter” team. The original idea was to accommodate practitioner’s busy schedules and we would call one prospective advertiser and pass the lead on to the next practitioner in the team to do the follow up. I was clueless about sales and Dafa work. I was told to send righteous thoughts first and then pick up the phone. One afternoon, after my hospital shift, I got home around 3:30pm. I did what I was told and sent forth righteous thoughts and called. I briefly described our media and the gentleman on the other end of the phone showed interest. Instead of passing it on to the next practitioner, I was told to keep doing the follow up and try my best to close the deal. So I sent forth righteous thoughts more the next week and while I made my follow up phone calls, I started to pitch with more talking points. Not too long after this, the prospect signed the contract. The entire process took about three weeks and I only spent a few minutes on the phone each week to ask how he was doing and whether he was ready to move on to the next step. It was my first advertiser and I felt that it was not too hard. I could do it because Master guided me.

After signing the first two contracts easily, I experienced two months of not having any new contracts. I was trying very hard. Whenever I had days off from the hospital I would go to fellow sales team practitioners’ homes to learn how to make sales phone calls. One time when I picked up the phone, I started to throw up everything I ate earlier that day. I just couldn’t function. I was frustrated about my sales track record and had no idea what was going on. I knew that there was a lot about cultivation that I didn’t understand and I needed to catch up. And with my hospital’s fluctuating schedule, it made it hard to schedule appointments with clients and get my mind oriented for sales. So I asked my hospital to transition me from a full time pharmacist to a part time position. My hospital rejected that idea and told me that they didn’t have a budget for a part time position, but if I were to stay full time for another four years with them, they’ll pay back my $100,000 in school loans. It took me two months to decide to forget about that bonus because in Zhuan Falun, Master says in The Fourth Talk, “Giving up wealth is, of course, an aspect of loss, and a relatively major aspect as well. But the loss we refer to is not limited to this narrow scope.” I thought if I can’t give up this bonus, how do I move on to eliminating the other list of attachments that I have. Yes, I can earn money to donate to our Dafa practitioner’s media, but life always has so many uncertainties. How can I guarantee that what I’ve earned can be fully used for our media? In my experience, when I save enough money, there are always other bills to pay in life, such as buying a house or other stuff. So it didn’t sound like a good deal to accept the offer and my heart was not at peace with that… something was wrong if I accepted the money, so I turned down the offer.

That afternoon, I decided to leave the hospital. A new pharmacy then called me and said, “I don’t know where I got your resume, but your resume just fell into my hands. I’m wondering if you’re still interested in working for us?” In my heart, I thought, I need a job that can cover my basic expenses so that I can learn what it takes to do well with this Dafa practitioner’s media as a sales representative. I replied that, “Yes, I’m interested, but only if you can offer me a job that only lets me work three days a week. Preferably two weekend days and one weekday.” The other side said, “Yes, that’s what we’re looking for, someone that can commit to three days a week.” Benevolent Master arranged this opportunity for me to learn.

But my ad sales volume was still not really moving and I tried very hard to improve in both sales and cultivation. On December 31, 2007, I was pulled over by the police for speeding. I asked the police to let me go since I was only trying to be on time for my work. The police said, “No, I can’t let you go because I have to guarantee the safety of everyone in this critical period.” I asked, “What critical period?” He said, “We are transitioning into the New Year tomorrow.”

Afterwards, I read through a few practitioners sharing on the Minghui website and Master’s lectures in different areas. They all emphasize the importance of saving sentient beings and how we need to clarify the truth. I came to understand that I need to take every opportunity to clarify the truth. In my heart I cannot pursue ad sales results and I need to focus on saving sentient beings. Ad sales are only one of the many ways for us to save sentient beings because it gives us the opportunity to meet with different business owners, build a deeper relationship between our media and ordinary people and in that way they can also understand Dafa at a deeper level through their interaction with us.

There are a lot of attachments that I realized I had along the way of doing sales. For example, my attachment to comfort (the volunteer mentality), my attachment to results and self achievement, etc. At the beginning of my sales work, I would be late to the sales office or change my attendance time to whenever I wanted to, thinking that it is no big deal because there is no boss like my ordinary pharmacy work. There is no time clock to punch in and out. I have all the flexibility I want. This was my attachment to comfort and what we later called the “volunteer mentality,” or not taking my responsibility seriously.

When I think about it deeply, we all have the responsibility to report to fellow practitioners and keep them informed of where we are. On the surface, it shows how much we care about what our fellow teammates are feeling. But deep down, it actually shows how seriously we take our responsibility as sales people. We could do everything as we wish, free style, with no commitment to a schedule, but saving sentient beings is not a “voluntary position.” Regardless of which position we have, we have to be truly responsible and do it from our heart. When the little practitioners in Shenyun are training to dance, their professionalism, as demonstrated in the show, can truly give a huge impact in saving sentient beings. Not only do they study the Fa together, share experiences, send righteous thoughts and systematically train together from morning to night every day, they form one body and improve together. In terms of sales, I need to demonstrate the same degree of professionalism by going to work on time and setting goals so that I can move along in the same direction and keep looking inward whenever I’m not performing well. Saving sentient beings is a serious matter and the cultivation path is very narrow. Through sales, I am pushed to constantly look inside and be strict about my cultivation. If I encounter this interference or that interference, it means that I have attachment that I have not put aside. In sales work, an attachment manifests right away in the results, so it pushes me to upgrade faster.

As soon as I enlighten to different principals and upgrade, it reflects in my sales volume. Every thought of ours matters. One time I was servicing a big advertiser and I was told to contact their competitor to advertise also. In my mind, I thought it would not be loyal and I would not be happy if I were the big advertiser. Sure enough, after I started working with their competitor, this original big advertiser discontinued the contract due to some small interference. Afterwards, I realized that my thinking was wrong. The thought of making the other advertiser unhappy is a thought that I picked up while working with another fellow sales team practitioner with one of her clients. Since I respected her a lot, I had unknowingly applied her scenario or thinking into my situation and it had become a part of my thinking. But after looking inward, I realized that my mistake was not a small one. It shows that I followed other practitioner’s thinking without understanding the Fa. Our media on the surface services different advertisers, and everyone needs to have the opportunity to be saved. If I don’t feel comfortable with contacting the competitor and no one else is available to do the job, I need to clear out all my negative thoughts and just do my job as a Dafa practitioner doing sales, and no negative notions should be allowed to interfere with saving sentient beings.

I am really grateful for everything that Master has arranged. I feel very bad about the mistakes that I’ve made and all the time that I’ve wasted by not being diligent or strict about my cultivation. I hope that I can conduct myself with more self-restraint and continue to let go of self more and more because I understand that everything I let go of is a good thing. I need to be truly responsible about saving sentient beings and doing the three things well.

Thank you teacher,
Thank you my fellow practitioners.

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