PureInsight | September 22, 2009
Experience sharing at the 2009 Washington D.C. Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
Today the topic I'd like to talk about is: “Walking to the end the cultivation path arranged by Master, a cultivation experience in the Divine Land Marching Band.” In 2005, Master personally established the Divine Land Marching Band and I am very lucky to be have been a member of the first group. After the Divine Land Marching Band was established, Master personally taught us to play trumpets and led us to rehearse and attend the parades. The Divine Land Marching Band quickly matured under Master's personal instruction. For the past three years, regardless of cold winters or hot summers and no matter where it was, we stepped onto the street to save beings.
Like other Dafa projects, I met with many difficulties cultivating in the Divine Land Marching Band. However, every time I had difficulty and I felt it was hard to pass, I always remembered the sacred time when Master passed me the trumpet with Chinese characters personally engraved by Him. At that time, I had made a solemn vow to Master that I would use the instrument to follow Master's Fa-rectification to the end. If I gave up today, I would not fulfill my vow. If I can't fulfill the vow I made to Master in this life, how can I talk about the vows I made before this life? This thought is pushing me to pass one test after another.
1. Walking the Cultivation Path Arranged by Master
The biggest problem is that many practitioners did not retain their original enthusiasm for the band after we finished our training at the mountain. Many practitioners gradually left the band. Practitioners who attended the weekly rehearsal became fewer and fewer. Sometimes there were 20 to 30 people. There were also fewer people attending the parades. Facing such a situation, all of us were extremely anxious. This is the band Master personally established. How can we maintain the band well? Then I called to invite the practitioners back. However, most of them said they were too busy to rehearse. Some of them said that they would come only if we could return to the mountain to rehearse. At the beginning, I controlled my temper and continued to call them. Because I had persisted, some of them had to say they would come. However, they did not follow through and never actually came. One practitioner did not come even though I called him 5 or 6 times.
I really couldn't bear it and complained to him, “In history, Zhu Geliang had an ability. Liu Bei only invited him three times. I have invited some of you 5 or 6 times, but you have not come. It is too much. I will take your trumpet back and dismiss you if you do not come.”
Other practitioners then criticized me saying, “You only know how to dismiss people. Aren’t there other ways to resolve it?”
However, people still weren’t coming so I felt very disheartened. Then one day, when the attachment came up, I thought it was OK and let it go. At this time, some practitioners said they would return if our band's field was good. Their words reminded me that Master required us to look inward. I realized that if I wanted practitioners to come back, we first had to understand from the Fa why we were participating in the Divine Land Marching Band and what role the band played in Fa-rectification. When a practitioner exchanged with me, he said, “If we want the band to walk the path arranged by Master, we should form a cultivation environment.”
Following a practitioner’s suggestion, we all recited “Lunyu” before rehearsal and then we put our full hearts into rehearsing. Once a month we have an experience sharing before rehearsal. To mark the third anniversary of the band, at the end of last year, we held our second cultivation experience sharing conference. At the conference, band members shared their experiences and recollected the unforgettable days when Master established the band. Because there was a limited number of practitioners who participated in rehearsal, we only rented a conference room with a 100-person capacity. Unexpectedly, many practitioners came, so many people had to stand to listen. The experience sharing touched all of us very deeply. From then on, gradually more and more people began to attend rehearsal. One time a practitioner told me that when we participate in the band it’s because Master arranged our roles for us. However, when a practitioner leaves the band, his or her position becomes empty. She was very worried about what would happen if the practitioners who had left didn’t return by the time others reached consummation.
Listening to this practitioner, I was shocked. Although I was not able to know the seriousness of the problem, as a Dafa practitioner, Master gave us the instrument and we promised to use the instrument to save beings. However, we were not able to fulfill our vows. This is no small matter. At that time, I was really worried for those practitioners who had not returned to the band. When I called them and shared with them, my attitude changed completely. I did not beg or accuse them; I was just worried about them. Perhaps practitioners felt my intention so their reactions also changed. One practitioner who had returned his instrument decided to come back. After that a fellow practitioner who was a main coordinator of one of the media came back to the band. She said she was very glad to come back and thanked me for talking to her. She felt the band's field was very good. She did not give up after she came back to several rehearsals. In order not to shirk her media work responsibilities and still be able to join rehearsals, she adjusted her work time. Thus, she could rehearse and do media work well. In the past, when a practitioner wanted to withdraw from the band, I would ask him to return his instrument. Now, when a practitioner wants to return the instrument, I ask him to reconsider it. Once a practitioner wanted to withdraw from the band and return the instrument, but I did not take his instrument right away and asked him to reconsider. Later on, he decided to stay in the band.
Only now have I enlightened to the fact that our great Master was waiting for these practitioners to return to the band. At the same time, Master gave me chances to get rid of my attachments.
At that time, there was another problem in the band. We were too lax. We recalled that band management was very strict when Master established the band. However, after we left the mountain, gradually we deviated from the road arranged for us by Master and relaxed the band's management. In the beginning, I worried that practitioners would feel threatened and leave if management was too strict, but the facts proved my worries unnecessary. Not only did practitioners not run away, but actually more and more practitioners came back. There were also more and more new practitioners who asked to join.
Now the number of practitioners who participate in rehearsals has increased from 40 or 50 to more than 100. Practitioners whose third eye is open see that our rehearsal field is covered in golden light. They say Master's law bodies have placed a dome over us and protect us from above the dome.
While coordinating the Band in the beginning, because everyone was busy with other projects I did not know if we should spend 3 to 4 hours every week rehearsing. Some practitioners thought that it was enough just to be able to play 4 to 5 songs during a parade. They thought that we did not need to learn new songs, so we did not have to spend too much time rehearsing. I talked about this problem with another coordinator who has a background in music. We enlightened to the fact that the Divine Land Marching Band and Shen Yun were personally established by Master and although one is nonprofessional and the other one is professional, they are the same. They are both using the form of art to save beings. Therefore, as an art group, rehearsal is essential. Talking about the Shen Yun performance, Master said, “It's performing arts after all, so the higher the caliber, the more people are going to be receptive to it and the greater the changes that are going to occur in people. They thus have to be perfect performances.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference”)
Therefore, if the Divine Land Marching Band wants to have a better effect saving people, we must raise our performance level. How do we raise our performance level? We gradually realized that it is not just through everyday people's practice methods, but by each of us paying great attention to improving our character. For example, practitioners in the clarinet team, on average, are more than 50 years old and their average education is not high either. Their team has the oldest average age for members but the effect of their performance had been the best. Later on, we found that they always arrived to rehearsal on time and then they made sure to rehearse as a team. Some did not play well, so they helped each other. Thus, the whole team improved quickly. While performing, they never tried to stand out from the rest, but merged into the whole body and thereby reached the best performance effect. Master has asked practitioners to share in study and share in our cultivation. After we introduced the clarinet team's experience to the whole band, other teams were touched.
The French horn team is known as the “golden flower,” but their sound was coarse, like a cow mooing. Everyone said they looked beautiful but the sound was bad. Later on, they rehearsed together like the clarinet team had and invited the conductor to help and instruct them. In addition, they also asked tutors to give them classes to help them improve individual performances. Now their sound is much more pleasant. The number of players has also increased from four to seven. Because their team's field is very good, new players make progress quickly. After only several months, they are able to pass the test and become official members.
One time a practitioner said in a group experience sharing, “We all say we must save people. However, how can we save people if we can't play well? We shouldn’t talk about saving people irresponsibly!” His speech had an impact on everyone. Our performance level is a reflection of our cultivation status. Now the band has established a test system, which requires that each member reach a certain performance level. Practitioners who do not pass may not participate in some significant parades. The percussion team was originally quite sloppy. Some of them thought they played drums very well, so they did not rehearse often. When there was a parade, they came and blindly played, which impacted the overall effect. Only when they rehearsed with the whole band did they find that the band’s level had risen while the drum team now paled by comparison. Thus, many of them came back to join rehearsal. Once we needed to rehearse a new song that included a section in which the big and small drums played solo. It was difficult but practitioners rehearsed very diligently, so within several weeks, many practitioners could play it. As the only coordinator, I felt more and more pressure to meet the unceasing demand for strong band management.
Master said, “Each of you is like an Assistant.” (“Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference”)
I realized that it would be impossible to rely on several coordinators if we wanted to manage the band well—we needed to rely on all practitioners in the band. In order to let more practitioners participate in the management, we restored the system of team leaders. The team leaders not only supervised rehearsals and parade work, but also shared with the practitioners who gave up, which helped many practitioners return. At the same time, we also accepted suggestions raised by practitioners, which enabled everyone to positively participate in the band's management. Once problems arose, all practitioners exchanged together to find the problems. One practitioner who had left the band for a long time sighed with emotion when he came back. He said, “I feel like I’m coming home.” This helped me enlighten: After we left the mountain, we gradually lost our original practice environment and pure field, so some practitioners left, while they naturally came back when we were able to righteously walk the road directed by Master.
2. Divine Land Marching Band's Divine Power on the Road of Fa-Rectification
Some practitioners, including the practitioners in the band, have a question: Practitioners in the Divine Land Marching Band spend so much time rehearsing, how does this effect saving beings? In “Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles” (2006), Master replied to a practitioner’s question about how the Divine Land Marching Band saves beings:
“You know, when the band took part in the parades in New York's Chinatown and Flushing areas, on both occasions I saw this scene: When the band was playing, the energy they emitted was tremendous. Be it the energy emitted, the sounds you made, or the music and notes themselves, they all had the effect of validating the Fa and sending out energy.”
The Divine Land Marching Band in the eastern United States attends more than ten parades each year. The audience at each parade is at least several thousand. Sometimes there are more than one hundred thousand, several hundred thousand, or even close one million (D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia parades had about one million audience members). There were many Chinese people in the audience. In the Chinatown parade, 80 to 90 percent of the people watching were Chinese. Their bad thoughts were eliminated. Westerns were also shocked. Although the Divine Land Marching Band in the eastern United States only has just over one hundred practitioners, the audience they face is more than two million each year. From this angle, the responsibility we take on is tremendous.
Next, I'd like to give you several examples. This way you will see the special role in Fa-rectification played by the Divine Land Marching Band.
Last year, when the global Human Rights Torch Relay arrived in the United States, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) incited Chinese students in the United States and pro-Communist Party agents to cause disruptions to put pressure on Falun Gong practitioners. When the torch went to Yale University, the CCP mobilized nearly one thousand Chinese students and pro-Communist Party people to protest the human rights torch activities. After Dafa practitioners at Yale University learned this news, they asked the Divine Land Marching Band to come and support the event. At that time, the Divine Land Marching Band had already promised to attend another activity, so we couldn’t go to Yale University. However, a practitioner at Yale University called us again and again and asked us, no matter what, to come. Later on, we had no choice, so we had to divide into two groups and sent 50 practitioners to support Yale University. (At that time, the band had only around 80 musicians in total.) During the parade, when the band entered the area of the Chinese students and pro-Communist Party Chinese people, the Chinese people went crazy waving the blood flag, shouting wildly, and rushing into our group. Their sudden action scared the American police who quickly used their motorcycles to form a barrier, which prevented the people influenced by the CCP from rushing into us.
The Divine Land Marching Band has attended several dozen parades, but that was the first time we had ever experienced something like that. However, no one was moved and they just played with all their strength. The band’s director calmly directed the band to play “Falun Dafa is Good.” The band's music became louder and louder, which surpassed the wild shouting. When the parade was close to the end, I was wondering what those Chinese students had shouted. As soon as I listened to it, I couldn’t believe my ears, because those students were saying, “Falun Gong keeps going! Falun Gong keeps going!” At that time, I thought I had heard incorrectly. These students came here to oppose us, so why were they shouting, “Falun Gong keeps going?” After the parade, when I talked this over with other practitioners, they also said they heard, “Falun Gong keeps going!” This was very strange. Did we all have problems hearing? When everyone was talking about this, one practitioner said we were not mistaken because she heard the leader of the students shout, “It is wrong. It is wrong.”
After the Flushing event on May 17, 2008, the CCP also stirred up many pro-Communist Party people to attack Falun Gong in Flushing. Once the Divine Land Marching Bands from New York, Canada and other areas assembled in Flushing. A group of pro-Communist Party people stood across the street shouting abuses. It began raining and the rain became heavier and heavier. The pro-Communist Party Chinese people were very happy. They held umbrellas and complacently shouted their abuses. However, our bands' practitioners calmly played one Dafa song after another in the rain. Then a miracle happened. The rain gradually became lighter and lighter and then finally it stopped. The sun came out and a ray of golden light was cast on the area where Dafa practitioners were assembled. The original rampant arrogance of the pro-Communist Party people suddenly disappeared. Most of them left downcast. Later on, I heard some of Chinese people say, “Falun Gong is really terrific. They blew out the rain.”
At the beginning of this year, we attended a Chinese New Year parade in Flushing and the evil of the past had disappeared. At the end of the parade, one Chinese person generously told a practitioner in our Divine Land Marching Band, “It is said Falun Gong is an X religion. What I see is that the Falun Gong troop is the neatest and its people are the best.” Another Chinese person told me, “At today's parade, Falun Gong was the most visible. How beautiful your uniforms are!” Seeing these saved Chinese people, we were very happy.
After leaving the mountain in 2006, we passed through repeated difficulties and sometimes we were confused or afraid, but when we were able to firmly strengthen our righteous thoughts, we could feel Master always looking after us and protecting us. I remember at the beginning we did not have a place for rehearsal. We found many places, but either we were not satisfied or the other party was not willing to keep us. Later on, we began rehearsing in a printing factory that a practitioner ran. Band members felt it strange that a workshop piled with machines and equipment was our rehearsal space.
On July 4, 2007 when we planed to attend the National Day parade in Washington D.C., Master personally designed the band badge. In July 2008 when we went to Washington D.C. to attend National Day parade again, Master asked a practitioner to hang the precious group picture of Master and the Band in the printing factory. I gradually enlightened to all the chances of establishing mighty virtue given to us when Master let the Divine Land Marching Band descend from the mountain. Master gave us to manage the Divine Land Marching Band that He established. This is the trust He has in our Dafa practitioners!
Master said at “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference, “What was the vow that you made? Did you honor that vow? What did the Lord Creator require of you? Did you do as the Lord Creator required?”
Hearing this Fa from Master, I felt even more strongly that the responsibility practitioners in the Divine Land Marching Band shoulder is significant. We must cherish this once in a thousand millennia opportunity, fulfill the vows we made before and in this life, and never disappoint Master.
Thank you Master and thank you everyone.
Please correct with compassion anything improper.