PureInsight | August 31, 2012
Experience Sharing at the 2012 International Fa Conference at the U.S. Capitol
[PureInsight.org] Greetings revered Master and fellow practitioners.
I have been actively involved in Fa validation projects with the New Tang Dynasty television station, in short NTD, since it was established in 2001. In 2006, I moved from Boston to [work for] NTD. Given my long term experience with NTD, I would like to share with everyone my cultivation experiences over the past few years.
1. Learning How to Coordinate a Project
When I first came to New York, I was mainly involved in promoting NTD’s New Year Gala. Later, I was put in charge of the culinary competition. At that time I was not clear about how to coordinate this project. The experience sharing by a Shen Yun coordinator at a Fahui (experience sharing conference) gave me a lot of inspiration. He said, “We are just like the arrow shot by Master. Our power comes from Master and the goal is decided by Master. Every one of us is part of this arrow. As long as we believe in the power given by Master and the goal he has set, we will reach our destination.”
I regard the coordinator of a project as the arrow head. My responsibility is to make sure the parts of the arrow will remain unified so we will reach our goal. I spent a lot of time sharing with everyone. We held a meeting once a week and there were no conflicts. However the jobs that I assigned seemed to make little progress. Everyone seemed to be a weak link in the project. I searched everywhere for help but still not many people wanted to be involved in the project. A practitioner said to me once: “You always emphasize how much work needs to be done. You should use your enthusiasm to encourage everyone to be more proactive.” His words stuck in my mind and I thought deeply on how to coordinate better.
At the time, I went to Taiwan to take part in the preliminaries of the NTD Asian culinary competition. It was the first time the station held a culinary competition that was open to everyone and it was a big event. I saw how well practitioners in Taiwan had organized the competition, starting with the stage set up and continuing to the preparation work, narration on the background of the participants to media reports, posting of competition results, and all related aspects that made the competition successful. The practitioners who were involved cooperated very well. This made me think, “Why is it that practitioners in Taiwan could cooperate so well, yet I just can’t bring everyone together?”
I realized that because I was born in mainland China and had moved to the US in my adult life, I retained the influences from the Communist Party culture and could not function in the Western environment where independence and individualism were fostered. I was arrogant and impetuous. Taiwan practitioners showed me what a true Chinese person is. I saw the Chinese virtue of humility and self-discipline in them. I saw that a good coordinator should spur on his team members.
After I returned from Taiwan, I let go of all my worries. I stopped worrying as to how many practitioners would take part in this project. I also stopped focusing on how much work others are doing. I thought that even if I’m the only one left in the project, I will still make it work. Even if this arrow is left with only its head, I will still make it reach its destination.
Many practitioners on our team held a day-time job and it was very difficult for them to put more time into the project. Therefore, I decided that since I had more time and could do things quickly, I would change the responsibility part. I thought, “You make the decisions and I simply implement them.” Every week I brought up issues for discussion and after everyone decided on what’s to be done, I would execute it. Later on, I discovered that after we had a meeting, things would proceed very smoothly for me. I knew this was because I was supported by the power from the whole team.
Before obtaining the Fa, I often had a dream. I was in a very dirty room and it was very beautiful outside. The only way out of the room was a small hole. However I could not even squeeze through as the hole was too small. It implied that if I could not see the scene outside I would not know that I was in such a dirty place and would not be so unhappy. Seeing such a beautiful scene appeared so real, yet I was stuck inside. This kind of thing is extremely torturous to a being.
This year, when the pressure from the culinary competition was the greatest and it was the most difficult time for me, I finally realized why I had this dream. I could not leave the room because I was too egoistic. I did not have the wisdom to belittle myself. If I could turn myself into a tiny butterfly then wouldn’t the hole become very big and I could immediately get out? From then on I often reminded myself that I am insignificant and strived to take myself lightly.
Perhaps it was because I made progress in cultivation. Subsequently many practitioners came forward to help me. From looking for contestants to preparing for the competition, many practitioners helped out quietly. There were so many practitioners who got involved that I lost count of the numbers. I knew on the day before the start of the competition that more than 100 practitioners from the greater New York district planned to participate in the event the next day. I deeply felt that only Master’s Fa could bring so many practitioners together. There is no one else that could mobilize or coordinate this activity on their own.
2. Cultivating Amidst Tribulation and Finding My Fundamental Attachment
That year, the culinary competition went rather smoothly and once that project had come to a conclusion, NTD put me in charge of public relations as well as the culinary competition. In the words of an ordinary person, I was highly regarded. At that time, I felt that NTD’s development was not ideal because there weren’t many professionals devoting their full time to the organization. Therefore, the most important thing in my mind was to perform my work earnestly and professionally. I neglected the cultivation aspect. I worked very hard daily. However because I had slacked off in cultivating my xinxing for a long time, I had to face all kinds of severe tests. The old forces made use of all human attachments we had not eliminated and which had opened a lot of gaps. Through these gaps, causing conflicts among practitioners, the old forces succeeded in stopping us from accomplishing our objectives. Yet I did not cultivate myself solidly when facing these tests and failed to do well. This mainly came to light during conflicts between me and two other coordinators. I felt that disagreements with one of the coordinators which had been going on for a long time was affecting the efficiency of our department as well as our relationship. Furthermore, there were all kinds of rumors, forming a bad environment. I wanted to change this unhealthy environment, but I was instantly bombarded with all sort of pressure and was trapped in it. Consequently I resented this coordinator for allowing issues to accumulate for so many years and affecting our roles during this NTD TV station project.
I was suspicious of another person in charge at NTD. I’m not sure if this was due to a predestined relationship. Previously I often overheard negative remarks about her personality, so I kept distance from her out of fear of getting on her bad side. Subsequently, a few things happened and these seemed to confirm the truth of the negative remarks I had heard. As a result, I did not trust her. There were also conflicts between the two coordinators. I forgot to look within when caught in such complicated conflicts and so didn’t negate the old forces’ arrangements. Instead I was resentful for being thrust into such a complicated environment at NTD. All three of us were the main coordinators for the competition and gala show that year. Due to mistrust, management of the project was chaotic. At that time I stuck it out using my human capabilities.
However, cultivation cannot be solved using human means. After several hundred practitioners had put time, effort, and money into the culinary competition that was held at Times Square in New York and it rained on the day of the event, we couldn’t deny that it had nothing to do with the overall cultivation state of our one body. During the busiest time of the culinary competition, my mother suddenly was diagnosed with a rare heart disease and had to undergo an operation. I also neglected my duties in my every day job and had to face criticism. My life and cultivation were in a mess.
I remembered that the old forces would not hesitate to destroy us, because they decided that we had to meet their so-called standards. But what was my problem? I read many practitioners’ sharings on the Minghui website and they spoke about their fundamental attachments. I also thought about my fundamental attachment, but what was it? The year when I was trapped in all kinds of conflicts during the culinary competition I found my fundamental attachment. I was a perfectionist and therefore my purpose for cultivating Dafa was to achieve perfection. On the surface I was very diligent and could look within myself when I encountered problems, but this was for the sake of achieving what I regarded as perfection through cultivation. It was not assimilating to Dafa unconditionally. Isn’t this the same as using Dafa?
Although I found my fundamental attachment, it did not mean that the attachment disappeared. I had to get rid of it through true cultivation. However, because I had been in the state of simply doing things for such a long time, I no longer was certain as to what it meant to be truly cultivating. I did not think of how to get rid of this fundamental attachment. When the culinary competition concluded, at a department meeting I found courage to share with everyone about my fundamental attachment. The coordinator said, “That’s right, it was because you were not in the right cultivation state, this year’s competition was fraught with many problems. If you had been in a better state of mind, the competition would have proceeded smoothly.” Another coordinator commented at the meeting that the competition this year was successful in all aspects except for public relations. After hearing these comments, I was on the brink of collapse and hit the lowest point in my cultivation.
I could not remain at NTD anymore and I felt that life was not worth living. I wanted to leave NTD but I was reluctant to do so. Yet, if I remained I might not be able to find how to change my cultivation state and this environment that brought me so much heartache. As I struggled through these difficult times, I could feel that Master was constantly encouraging me. For example, if I could summon a bit of righteous thoughts and go to the TV station, I was moved by the actions of every practitioner. As long as I had a bit of righteous thoughts to do something for the station, no matter how big or small it was, Master would help me accomplish that job. However, in the end I still decided to leave NTD. I felt that I could change myself but I could not change the environment at NTD.
3. Becoming Insignificant
If leaving NTD was a painful decision, it was worse after I left NTD. After quitting NTD, I went on a holiday to South America with my family who were non practitioners. Every morning as soon as I opened my eyes, I could not wait to read the emails from NTD on my cell phone carefully. I was so afraid of being apart from this group that I read every single email. Although I was on a vacation, eating and drinking, deep in my heart I longed for the days when I was at NTD working day and night without food and drink.
All along I was very clear that all my abilities were given by Master. Especially after I worked full time at NTD organizing the competition and acting as a public relations officer, wisdom and many abilities came from the Fa, flowing easily. After leaving NTD, sometimes I would think, “How should I use these abilities? Master, how I wished that I did not speak English fluently. Then I could go to the Tuidang site every day to clarify the truth to people.” I was uneasy about having these abilities, but how to utilize what Master had given me to work at NTD was a test that I could not overcome. When a being clearly understood that all her wisdom came from Dafa and yet she could not use this to validate the Fa, words cannot describe the pain one feels. Subsequently for a period of time, Master truly took away my abilities. My mind was empty and I was not capable of doing anything. I had to pause and think before I did anything. I was at a loss. I continued to be in such a state until I took part in the vocal competition. From a capable person, I became one who did not know how to do anything. But this was an extremely precious cultivation process.
The coordinator of the vocal competition was a new practitioner. His dedication to the role was unusual and he had high expectations of us. We were often reprimanded by him. Once he lost his temper at me in front of a room full of people. When I returned home, my mind was numbed. The next day, I seemed to have turned into a fool. However, I reminded myself not to resent him for the way he treated me. As a veteran practitioner, I should be patient towards new practitioners. He would not criticize me if there was nothing for me to improve on.
On one occasion, he asked three practitioners including myself to make a speech at NTD. He told us the topic and content of the speech. Two days later, as soon as he got off the plane from a business trip, he asked us to present the speeches. After listening to it, he said unceremoniously: “Who would want to listen to your speech? All three of you go back and redo your speech. If you cannot remember it, then write it down. It’s ok to read your speech tomorrow, but it must be correct!” It was already 12:30 a.m. My mind was empty. I planned to write my speech and read it tomorrow. In the middle of the night, he phoned me again and asked me to talk about my cultivation.
The next day I got up early in the morning and started to write my speech. Before the meeting, the coordinator asked me to read my speech to him. As I read the speech, I started to cry because I was so afraid that he would reprimand me again. After listening to my speech, he said to me kindly that it was very good and reminded me not to cry when I read it in front of everyone. At the meeting, I carefully explained to everyone that because I had not spoken in front of so many people at NTD for so long, I was very nervous and therefore I wrote my speech. As I read my speech, I wanted to cry but I tried hard to stop myself from crying for fear that I would be scolded again. Before, I had no problem speaking in front of people in either English or Chinese but now I finally turned myself into someone insignificant. I greatly treasured the process of being involved in the vocal competition. I abandoned my past notions and experiences in doing things and let go of all my capabilities. Although I became very foolish on the surface, I obtained greater wisdom.
During the time of being insignificant, I also had different understandings. Initially I thought that discrediting me meant speaking less and keeping a low profile so that I would not be noticed by others. However I discovered that when I tried to be like this intentionally, I was turning myself into a being that was not me. Later on I realized that life in the universe is filled with different kinds of beings. Beings have different characteristics. Some are strong and some are weak. There is nothing good or bad about being strong or weak. However, if this strength and weakness is based on the old universal characteristic of self, then this strength would manifest as aggression in the old universe while weakness would manifest as low self-esteem and self-protection. If we assimilate our unique characteristics to Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance, then this kind of strength would not harm others. It becomes a power for upholding the truth. Conversely a weak trait that has assimilated to Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance would not be a display of helplessness. Therefore, I realized that our cultivation is not meant to change the characteristic of a being. It is of utmost importance that we assimilate to this Fa unconditionally. To accomplish this, we must study the Fa well.
4. My Understandings on True Cultivation
For many years, I was busy with projects and often worked late into the night. I did not study the Fa on a regular basis and when I studied the Fa, my heart was not calm. There were many things on my mind. I was very troubled about it but still I could not break through this incorrect state. Nothing is coincidental in cultivation.
Early this year I met a guy who tried to court me. This put me on guard. Having practiced cultivation for so many years, I always thought I was very clear on the Fa principles in this aspect. I was very careful in my dealings with the opposite sex and took care to avoid this sort of trouble. Then how did this problem come up? Surely there must be something wrong with me. When I returned home at night, I read articles on the Minghui website regarding lust, one after another. As I read the articles, I discovered that I actually was very lustful. I was conscious that despite cultivating I had accumulated too many of all kinds of human attachments. This demon of lust is the most superficial and dirtiest thing. It is also easily exposed. However behind this demon of lust is hidden a whole lot of other attachments such as showing off, pursuit of fame and gain, and zealotry, etc. I knew that there is nowhere I could hide in cultivation. I must face my attachments and elevate solidly.
From that time onwards, I resolved myself to thoroughly change my habit of sleeping and getting up late. I also began to study the Fa regularly. I disciplined myself every morning before I stepped out of the house to send righteous thoughts, do the exercises, and study the Fa. On weekends, I went outdoors to do the exercises in the morning. During my daily bus ride, I either studied the Fa or sent righteous thoughts so that my mind would not be thinking of all sorts of things. In the morning when it was time to work, I focused on doing my job well. At night when I returned home, I continued to study the Fa or did the exercises. When I persisted in following this routine for several months, my cultivation underwent a great change.
Before, I was passive when looking within myself. Often I would look within myself only when a tribulation came and I was left with no choice. Now, I was constantly reminded that I am a cultivator. I learned how to look for thoughts that didn’t meet the requirements of the Fa and eliminated them. Previously, although I looked within myself and found the attachment, I did not cultivate truly and did not take the initiative to eliminate these attachments. Now I understood that besides studying the Fa, doing the exercises, and sending righteous thoughts, truly cultivating is also very important. When eliminating one’s attachment, the main thing is whether one is able to take hardship and has the right understanding.
5. Eliminating Attachments
Eliminating one’s attachment is a process of eliminating karma. The symptoms displayed are similar to those when eliminating karma. The only difference is sickness karma manifests physically while when getting rid of an attachment, one suffers mentally. The first attachment I got rid of was the demon of lust. This desire was very strong but it was easy to let it go. In the process of eliminating lust, all kinds of random thoughts fill one’s brain. If I regarded these thoughts as myself I would be moved and not only was this attachment not eliminated, it deepened. Therefore, when it appears, don’t be led by it. In fact this is the final struggle before it is eliminated. At this moment, it must be destroyed and rejected. The more steadfast we are, the quicker we will get rid of it. The manifestation of sentimentality is more obscure and it is not so easy to detect it. This is because it is made up of all kinds of feelings and sentiments, such as sadness and happiness one is used to. Often sentimentality is intertwined with other attachments, making other attachments appear more disastrous. For example when jealousy and sentimentality are intertwined, it would make one tend to say bad things about others and cause conflicts. When the demon of lust and sentimentality are combined together, one would be trapped in desires.
One day, I discovered that I looked down upon others and this made me very anxious to the point that I broke out in tears. I didn’t know what to do. I thought, “From now onwards, I will regard everyone as better than me.” But this is only restricting my behavior. I have to be clear on this on the Fa. A fellow practitioner told me that jealousy has two manifestations. One is you cannot tolerate that others are better than you. The second is you look down on others. Later on I discovered that I could treat everyone equally regardless of their status or looks.
However there was a practitioner whom I looked down on no matter how hard I tried. This was because I thought she had serious problems in her cultivation state. I felt that there was no way I could treat her equally. I knew that I had a problem! When I shared with another practitioner, he told me, “When you look at others with your standard, you will think this is good or that is no good. When you use the Fa to measure everything, you will not have these thoughts.” His words helped me a lot. We cannot use our standard to judge others just like the old forces and pretend that we are helping them. Then aren’t we cultivating to be like the old forces? We should use the Fa to measure everything around us. Later on Master gave me hints to eliminate my sentimentality. I understood that attachment to sentimentality would also strengthen this shortcoming of looking down on people. When I got rid of the attachment to sentimentality and looked at this fellow practitioner, I no longer despised her.
In the process of getting rid of one’s attachments one must undergo hardship. As bad substances are continually pushed to the surface, I kept rejecting and eliminating them. I know that in other dimensions these are huge mountains. It is not possible to extinguish them without great effort. Sometimes I felt that these substances can never be fully eliminated. During such times, it definitely is a test of one’s resolve and righteous belief in Master and Dafa. How much you put in is how much you will gain. The stronger your righteous thoughts, the more attachments are eliminated.
On several occasions, after I persisted in getting rid of a particular attachment after a long period of time, Master would let me experience the wonderful state when an attachment is eliminated. Because I continuously strove to eliminate my attachments like this, I could see myself changing daily. I felt as if finally I was back on track in my cultivation. It is Master who gave us the mechanism to get rid of attachments in cultivation and make progress. I experienced the state of “the Fa cultivates practitioners.” Indeed there is nothing difficult about cultivation. As long as we maintain the pure heart of a cultivator and constantly cultivate our xinxing, the speed with which we assimilate to the Fa is astonishing. I finally found the feeling as if I just started cultivation.
As I improved in cultivation, I changed the way I saw things. Before I always held resentment towards NTD, but this winter, I became aware of the negative field created at NTD due to negative thoughts from everyone that had accumulated over the years. I told myself that NTD already has many problems and let all negative thoughts I had about NTD in the past not have any effect. Whatever needs to be borne let me bear it. Several days after I had this thought, I began to cough and this went on for a month. My understanding is if one does not bear hardship in cultivation, one will not be able to elevate. Often when things are difficult, elevation is quickest. Therefore when in trouble and pain, don’t lose this good opportunity to make progress in cultivation.
After this year’s New York Fahui, I returned to NTD. I made this decision very quickly because I wanted to fulfill my vow, do my part at NTD well and make up for my past inadequacies. I would like to advise practitioners who previously struggled at NTD that these conflicts are deceptions. Let go of your attachments and deny the old forces’ arrangements. Treasure the opportunity and do your best at NTD. When you look back at these so-called tribulations and tests, it is nothing but a chance to temper Dafa disciples. I also hope that practitioners who left NTD like me will return to the station sooner and fulfill our vows together.
About seven or eight years ago, I read a sharing on the Minghui website and was very moved by it. It was written in the article, “Dafa disciples’ cultivation ended.” By then they are gods and don’t have human thoughts. Consummation is just a thought only and one step away. However to the gods who have reached consummation, this step is extremely difficult because they cannot bear to face their incomplete world. When I finished reading this sharing, I clearly felt the pain of not being able to face one’s sentient beings described in the article. I often used this to encourage myself to be diligent and do well in saving sentient beings. I hope that we can find the passion we had when we first started cultivation and not leave any regrets in our cultivation and let down the hopes of sentient beings.
Thank you Master! Thank you everyone!
Chinese Version: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/111803