PureInsight | October 7, 2009
Experience sharing from the 2009 Washington D.C. Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] In Zhuan Falun Master wrote, “‘The Buddha Fa’ is most profound; among all the theories in the world, it is the most intricate and extraordinary science. In order to explore this domain, humankind must fundamentally change its conventional thinking.”
Cultivation practice is all about changing conventional thinking. So what does it mean to change conventional thinking? When I sat down to write this paper I thought to myself, “How can I change my conventional approach to writing a paper? How can I make this experience sharing paper solemn, sacred and improve the most from it?” When looking back at the papers I’ve written for Fa conferences in years past, I realized that I did very poorly. I didn’t meet the standard for experience sharing papers that Master outlined in the article “Mature”: “…absent is the attachment of reporting accomplishments with the mentality of, ‘If I don't tell people, how will they know.’” I subconsciously validated myself by listing the things I did to clarify the truth and the hardships I faced in my cultivation, when I really should have validated the magnificence of the Fa for giving me the wisdom to overcome my tests.
How does one root out the attachment of self-validation? My understanding is that quality Fa study changes everything. Studying the book with undivided attention, respect and solemnity is the key to removing emotion and sentimentality. I read the Fa sitting up with a soft and tranquil voice and wash my hands before touching any Dafa book.
Since this is an experience sharing paper, I do need to look back at how I’ve conducted myself in the course of my cultivation. At first I was hesitant to talk about any of the work I’ve done with the fear of showing off. But that is an extreme. Only by looking back can I hope to find my shortcomings and advance in my cultivation.
My main truth clarification project is with New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV). I rise at 5:15 in the morning to begin producing the news. I used to have a lot of problems with writers not showing up for their shifts on time, or not showing up at all. As a result, I needed to pick up the slack, which can lead to a decline in the quality of the production, and it has a weaker effect in saving sentient beings. For a long time I was angry that people didn’t take their jobs seriously. But there was also a self-validating element in my mind. I thought that I was so great for waking up on time and for being a better employee than everyone else. I’m almost always on time and treat my work with NTDTV very seriously. On the surface these words may seem correct, but these were actually a manifestation of an attachment to the human ego.
Master said in “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference,” “Though what you are doing is saving people, you are nonetheless cultivating yourselves as well.” I think that I had the issue of people not taking their shifts seriously because I had the attachment of egotism. I needed to do better to treat my work at NTDTV as a cultivation environment and to always look inside myself, and not at external factors. But lately this problem has gone away almost completely. All our staff shows up for their shifts on time, and the quality of our newscasts have increased greatly. My understanding is that Master arranges tests for us in all our projects, and that no matter how sacred or serious we think our work is there will always be tests to help shed our human attachments and progress towards higher levels.
I also became relaxed in my cultivation as I have few interpersonal conflicts with practitioners. My ordinary job is working at a professional TV station where I have acquired a certain amount of skills. I help train the staff of NTDTV’s Multi-language division on how to create news reports from start to finish. As I have a certain degree of knowledge, few people question my judgment and always go along with whatever I say. My state has reflected what Master said in “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference,” “Some students haven't encountered much in the way of ordeals and have gradually become lax. This means that they have formed attachments to the various temptations of ordinary society, and been dragged down by its lure.” This became most apparent during a series of intensive training sessions I taught. I would give technical television courses for three days at a time for eight to ten hours a day. It made me feel like a star for being the know-it-all and for having so much knowledge. I wanted to talk, and appear high and mighty. Looking back now, I’m truly happy that my attachment to wanting to look important was exposed.
I have become relatively comfortable as a coordinator, and even when my Fa study wasn’t up to par I still got my job done. However, I didn’t complete my tasks as well as I should have. In fact, I needed to place more emphasis on Fa study to transform myself and assimilate to the Fa. I need to remember more often that I am a cultivator at all times, one particle in the body of Fa-rectification Falun Dafa disciples trying to fulfill a vow I made to Master and to all of the sentient beings that have placed their infinite hope in me.
But have I really done well? Master’s words in “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference” touched the core of my very being, “While you might have played a positive role during Fa-rectification, there would remain the question: did you fulfill your responsibilities to the utmost degree? Another example is, those who came here to be Dafa disciples: 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? If you did not honor your original vow or do as the Lord Creator required, then you would not have completed what you were supposed to do and would have in effect deceived the Lord.” How can a cultivator make it through if we commit such a huge crime? The standard that Master has set for Dafa disciples is the strictest of any cultivation way in history. With the responsibility of ensuring the stability of the future of the cosmos, how can we disciples not do well? It’s not a personal issue at all. Only with our righteous thoughts getting stronger and stronger can we make it through.
So how have I tried to maintain strong righteous thoughts? I don’t think I have. But one way is my involvement with Washington, D.C. practitioners. I truly treasure the personal time I share with practitioners. When I first began to cultivate, I lived in big cities with large groups of practitioners. I could go to a nearby Fa study every week, a group practice site and have other projects to work on side-by-side with practitioners. But for the past three years I’ve been living in areas with few practitioners. Why have I decided to take this path? The main reason is to work at ordinary television stations to build up my skills so as to help increase the quality of NTDTV’s programming. Even though I find myself at fires, crime scenes, political events and other situations like this, I have learned how to help practitioners achieve the standards of ordinary television stations.
But cultivating in a remote area has led to the test of loneliness that Master outlined in the “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference”, “…to quietly cultivate in bleak loneliness, unable to see hope, is the hardest of all. Doing any form of cultivation entails undergoing a trial such as this and a path with such features. Only if one can persevere and continually forge ahead does it amount to true diligence.” Whenever the thought of loneliness comes up I know that it is not rational. Master has told us that the human world is the focal point of Fa-rectification and that all lives are watching what unfolds on this speck of dust that is the human world. It is only the delusion of this dimension that makes cultivators feel alone. Whenever I feel alone, I try to pick up the book, or if I’m not at home and traveling I will recite the Fa out loud. However, I’m not always able to do well in this regard. Sometimes, I go off and indulge my attachments to food, TV and socializing. After I do these things that are separated from the Fa, I feel a lot of regret for not taking the test as a gift to improve. I also felt very lonely at work for several months.
Last January several people were laid off due to the company’s economic conditions. My once positive work environment suddenly became negative, and I contributed to that negativity, severely. I would complain how unfair management was to the employees, how the stories I was shooting weren’t to my liking, and other external factors. I complained even more than my non-practitioner co-workers, so much that I had to call out sick from intense headaches from the aggravation I caused myself. It took me several months to stop having this negative thinking. I got over it by letting go of my expectations for my workplace. I realized that I should do my job well in whatever situation I may be in. Once I had a shift in understanding, the environment around me completely changed. I now go to work everyday with a big smile on my face, no matter how tired I may be. And I am also increasingly doing more interesting stories. It was my emotions that caused the environment around me to transform into a dark setting, instead of a bright one where I now emit strong, positive righteous thoughts forged from Dafa cultivation.
I have also become involved in VIP truth clarification work in D.C. I regularly visit Congress and go to events with a lot of high profile people. Lately, I’ve been trying to invite these high level people to see Shen Yun, which will be coming to D.C. a month from now. Whenever I meet VIPs, I first look at them as sentient beings that need to be saved, rather than people who are higher than me. Dafa disciples need to be responsible to the world’s people and should not be intimidated by anyone, be it a president, a celebrity or businessman. I just maintain the thought to save them. Sometimes I just get a moment to hand someone a flyer, or share a sentence or two as they walk by, but I attempt to leave them with my compassion and eliminate any interference that may prevent them from attending the show. However, I discovered that I have a deep-rooted attachment to this kind of work. I really like meeting famous people and get excited about it. I stoop down to the level of an ordinary person admiring ordinary people, when cultivators shouldn’t have heroes. I got excited when I told my parents who I had met, and that I had such good conversations with the VIPs. Even practitioners would tell me how well I had done, which really made my heart heavy, because I had the attachment to looking good that I could see clearly, but couldn’t eliminate.
Right now in Congress we are trying to pass a resolution that condemns the persecution of Dafa. I made an appointment with an assistant from my local Congressman’s office, and took a persecuted Chinese practitioner with me for the visit. We clarified the truth for 30 minutes with the staff member. As the Chinese practitioner told her story of her persecution in China, I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate any interference the staffer may have had that would prevent him from being saved. When I spoke I had the feeling that my gong should come out with every word that I said. After the meeting, I mailed a thank you card to the staffer and sincerely thanked him for arranging the meeting. A week later, a dear colleague letter was drafted urging President Obama to demand the Chinese Communist Party end to the persecution of Dafa that I wanted my Congressman to sign. I simply emailed the staffer that I had met with, and two days later I found out that my Congressman had agreed to sign.
The following week, a strong resolution that carries even more weight than the dear colleague letter was circulated in the House of Representatives. It needs co-sponsors in order for it to be voted on by Congress as a whole. I simply emailed my staffer contact information on the resolution. Then it just so happened that my Congressman was holding a town hall meeting close to my house, where I would have a chance to meet him in person. I had the opportunity to thank the Congressman for supporting the dear colleague letter, put a copy of the resolution in his hand and asked if he would like sign on to it. Congress was in recess at the time, but the next day his staffer emailed me and said that the Congressman would be a co-sponsor for the resolution. I was really astonished because it took me very little effort to achieve this. I didn’t feel happy that I achieved something for myself, but rather, that the Congressman positioned himself so well for the future. I still don’t know how it worked out so easily because I don’t think I had ample righteous thoughts at the time. I recently stopped into the Congressman’s office to thank them for being so supportive. The staffer I originally met with came out at once to greet me. His complexion looked completely different from when I first met him a month ago. His face was bright, and almost had a glow to it. I know that it is Master who saved them. I am so grateful for being able to see this effort come to fruition.
But now that our July 20th activities are nearing completion, it is time to move on to inviting more VIPs and selling tickets for D.C.’s August performance of Shen Yun. When Shen Yun came to D.C. last February we had nearly half a year to sell a week’s worth of tickets, but this time we have only 3 months. I haven’t been involved in selling tickets in stores because I feel I have to be responsible to get VIPs to attend the show. My work schedule allows me to go to a lot of events to meet these people that many other practitioners cannot. Even though we almost sold out every show in February, I did not feel that we achieved complete success as we didn’t have enough VIPs attend. Since D.C. is the political capital of the world, we cannot leave out this group within human society from being saved. So starting Monday, I will be in full Shen Yun mode and won’t have a moment to take a deep breath until September.
To do all this work well I need to keep up my personal cultivation. Secondly, I try to attend group study as often as possible. I feel very fortunate that my work schedule allows me to attend a Fa study on a weekly basis. My heart and body feel light when I drive to the study group, despite making the two-hour trip after a long day at work and a busy morning of NTDTV writing. When I walk into the study group, I feel tranquil and blessed that I can be in a room with magnificent beings… Falun Dafa disciples.
Sometimes thought karma tries to prevent me from going to the study group. It projects thoughts into my mind that I’m too tired to drive or that I have too many things to do, or that the weather is too bad to drive such a long distance. But whenever these thoughts arise, I try to remember that they are not my true self, and treat them as a wonderful hardship to overcome. I was touched when I read Master’s poem “The Fa Rectifies All” in Hong Yin Volume II (Translation Version A), which states:
“Having gone far past the colossal firmament
The Lord’s seat is ever more magnificent
Lionhearted is He by nature—
A trait that shan’t be worn down”
I need to do better in remembering how hard Master has worked to give disciples the very best… the best cultivation practice, the holiest environment, and the chance to truly succeed in cultivation. No other cultivators in history have had a master who has borne so much for them. How can we not be lionhearted? We cannot be worn down, no matter what. And since we’re humans cultivating and not gods, we need to continually assimilate to the Fa in order to meet the standard that Master has set. Otherwise our human side will cause interference.
I cannot say that I have done well enough. When the persecution is over and the day of Consummation arrives, will I be able to face Master and say that I did my best without any regrets? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I should use the remaining time to further eliminate as many human attachments as possible so that I can cause less damage to the dimensions and sentient beings I am responsible for, and to try to make up for any losses.
I would like to end with Master’s poem “Rational and Awake” from Hong Yin Volume II:
Rational and Awake
“Pause for a moment of self-reflection,
and increase your righteous thoughts
Thoroughly analyze your shortcomings,
and progress with renewed diligence”
Thank you, Master, for all you have done for me. I sincerely hope I’m worthy of all you’ve given me!