Balancing Shen Yun with Epoch Times Work

A Dafa Practitioner from Georgia

PureInsight | September 11, 2012

Experience Sharing at the 2012 International Fa Conference at the U.S. Capitol

[] Respected Master, fellow practitioners, hello everyone!

I’m a practitioner from Georgia in the U.S.; today the topic of my sharing is about balancing work on Shen Yun and The Epoch Times during the Fa rectification.

1. The Determination To Do Shen Yun
After the July 2011 DC Fahui, I heard that a manager in our editorial department wanted to fully focus on the local Shen Yun coordination work. We joked about it, saying that we’ll take over his editorial work for six months and that’ll be like our contribution to local Shen Yun promotion work. At that time I took over his responsibilities, and felt that the pressure was massive. I prepared to fully do Epoch Times work for the next year.

I live in Augusta, a city near Atlanta in Georgia. There are about 400,000 people in the area and there are six practitioners. For all sorts of reasons, starting in September of 2011, whether I had a lot more time that I could use to do local Shen Yun promotion work became one of the main reasons that we could hold a Shen Yun show at the end of January 2012.

At that time my heart was extremely torn: on the one hand, if I said “let’s not do it,” it would be like taking away the predestined relationship from 2,000 local sentient beings; I simply could not bear that responsibility. From another aspect, I have a huge amount of editorial work for The Epoch Times to do, and I had just taken over the other editor’s responsibilities; at the same time we were just getting started with the 2012 Shen Yun promotion. If I didn’t keep my end up, it would have been irresponsible to both The Epoch Times and Shen Yun. At the same time on the home front I was facing a lot of financial uncertainty and pressure. All these things pressed down on me and I felt that I just couldn’t handle it.

While studying the Fa I read in “The Master-Disciple Bond” in Master’s Hong Yin II: “When disciples have ample righteous thoughts, Master has the power to turn back the tide,” and enlightened that Shen Yun is something Master is doing, and for me what is an “impossible task” is for Master actually not hard; if Shen Yun in a given region is already arranged, then the people who come to it will be taken care of by Master in other dimensions. We have to follow Dafa’s arrangements in this dimension and do our utmost to find those people; what determines how many we can find is the extent to which we’ve assimilated to the Fa. I had a doubt about whether I could take care of so many things, but I had no doubts at all about whether Dafa could take care of so many things.

When I got clear on this principle and truly tried to commit to do the local Shen Yun, I still felt it was very difficult. So I simply relied on the thought from my true nature as to whether I should do it or not. When I felt that I absolutely must do this, I suddenly felt very light, because the only question left then is the issue of how you do it, just a matter of the specific work actions you take in order to sell all the tickets and have a full house. And here I also enlightened to what Revered Master in Hong Yin said: “Physical pains count little as suffering, Indeed, cultivating mind is hardest.”

2. It’s Only Possible With Righteous Thoughts
Locally we have 400,000 people, and only one show, so we all wanted to sell every ticket. We have four classes of tickets, the highest being $100 per ticket. When we spoke with local media about advertising they said these prices were too high for this area. But we weren’t moved at all, because we were all clear on the Fa taught by Revered Master, and we just took it as a test on whether we had faith in the Fa. We all realized that if we wanted to sell all the tickets it wouldn’t be enough to rely on ordinary people’s abilities, we had to use righteous thoughts and the state of divine beings or semi-divine beings to do it.

Because the basis of my decision to do both Shen Yun and The Epoch Times relied on righteous thoughts, our local group Fa study went from one day a week on Friday to three days a week, with extra meetings online Monday and Wednesday. We wanted to assimilate into the Fa as much as possible to do Shen Yun things well. At that time I felt that studying the Fa was absolutely imperative. One time after I got home from selling tickets, I was accustomed to turning on my computer and looking at the ticket selling situation for that day, and there weren’t many tickets sold.

After I ate dinner with my wife we started studying the Fa, and in the process I suddenly enlightened to something Master said in “Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa”: “As they see it, “If you are to save me, you have to reach my level first, and you must have this measure of mighty virtue before you can save me. Without such mighty virtue, without having reached my stature, how could you save me?” So they would have you trip and fall, suffer, and eliminate your attachments, after which, with your mighty virtue having been established, you will have cultivated to that level and be able to save them. That’s how they want to have it.”

We realized that in the process of promoting Shen Yun we have to look within all the time, and that this is an extremely important element in upgrading xinxing. If Dafa disciples cannot raise their levels to that needed to be able to save sentient beings, then these sentient beings will have no place to go; and it doesn’t matter how many human methods we use to promote Shen Yun, those sentient beings that should come will find it hard to buy tickets.

When we enlightened to this point we found that online another five tickets were suddenly sold! My wife and I were very excited, it was Master encouraging us. We would more resolutely deal with problems from now on and have the confidence that looking within would solve problems.

There was another time when we received a phone call from an activities coordinator at a church; she said she had over 50 people that wanted to see Shen Yun, but because it was just Christmas and no one had money, she wanted half price tickets for $50. Everyone debated about this at the time: some thought that saving more people is good; we should sell them the tickets, and because we hadn’t started selling tickets for long, selling these group tickets will encourage more people. Some people thought the price was too low, so we talked to them and said if the ticket price was a bit higher, or they did some work for Shen Yun (swapping labor for tickets) then we could sell to them.

Master taught the Fa: “Do you realize that as long as you’re a cultivator, in any environment or under any circumstances, I will use any troubles or unpleasant things you come across—even if they involve work for Dafa, or no matter how good or sacred you think they are—to eliminate your attachments and expose your demon-nature so that it can be eliminated, for your improvement is what’s most important.” (Essentials for Further Advancement, “Further Understanding”)

I questioned myself: why did this woman dare to try to get a 50 percent discount on Shen Yun tickets? Why did I hear this? Through studying the Fa I saw that I had so many attachments. Firstly, did I really understand from my heart the value of Shen Yun tickets? Or did I just stop at that level of feeling, of “knowing” Shen Yun tickets are precious? Secondly, our purpose in selling tickets is to save people, it’s not to pursue a high seating rate that we sell tickets, and it’s not to stop our seating rate from looking bad when compared with other cities. If a person wants to be saved they have to pay some basic price, and also, if they should come and see the show, then in other dimensions the money will be arranged for them to have. Ferociously cutting the price like this, maybe they’d have no way to be saved.

When I found I had this pile of attachments inside, I felt quite excited. I immediately called the practitioner taking care of this and shared my enlightenment. But to my surprise she hardly understood what I was talking about, and then turned around and criticized me. I felt really hurt. Then I turned around and thought about it: why would I get angry at her, why would I try to force my understanding on other people? Actually I thought that I’d cultivated better than other people, and had an attachment to having a higher understanding of the Fa. When I got clear on this I calmed down again. Whether these tickets were sold or not, we should still do what we have to do.

3. Arranging My Time
When I wanted to balance local Shen Yun promotion and work for The Epoch times I immediately found that I didn’t have enough time. I enlightened that if I did things according to Dafa’s arrangements, that would be the fastest. Master said: “Sometimes when you folks think about an issue you form a type of habit—“I want to do such and such thing… here’s how I’m going to do this thing… here’s how I’m going to do that thing.” You ponder over it a lot and, well, to the point that you feel you’ve covered everything in a satisfactory way. But when you get down to doing that thing, the real, actual situations can vary in a lot of ways and your plan won’t actually work (laughs). And when it doesn’t work, you start to ponder it again. That’s not how you should do things. Have righteous thoughts! However you think something should be handled, just go ahead and do it, and when you run into problems you will naturally know how to solve them. If your righteous thoughts are strong, everything will work out smoothly and it’s guaranteed you’ll do well.” (Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference)

In December of 2011 the Shen Yun tour in Texas began, and our editorial plan was to first have outside journalists support local Shen Yun reporting, and then in February and March have local reporters support outside reporting. Since ticket selling locally was going so well, in May Shen Yun decided to add shows in Texas—so the two local reporters who were the main force in promoting the show there couldn’t help with reporting in other areas.

At that time I was a bit shocked. There were three Shen Yun companies performing in North America at the time. Changing a key reporter for The Epoch Times Shen Yun reporting would significantly impact manpower arrangements. In late December it was our busy time for promoting Shen Yun locally again, and rearranging the plan for manpower wasn’t really possible. We could only go according to the original plan, and just take it one show at a time.

In February when reporters went to Boston to help with reporting, there was a reporter who hadn’t done much Shen Yun reporting that suddenly got inspired, and was proactive in volunteering to help. This reporter went with the editorial team to over 10 cities over the next three months, doing an outstanding job on dozens of Shen Yun reports, and making up for the manpower loss we had after the reporters in Texas could no longer help.

Our local Shen Yun promotion arrangement was also like that: the original plan wasn’t perfect, but in the process of everyone doing it we cultivated as we ran into problems and adjusted things as we went along, and we got through it. When I look back at the beginning, everyone had different ideas about the benefits and disadvantages of particular promotion methods, and we weren’t that efficient in using our time.

Since 2008 when I came to the U.S. to work, because of arrangements at my workplace, most of the time I worked the middle shift, that is from 1pm until 9pm. I deeply realized that this is a wonderful arrangement by Master based on my circumstances. This way I can arrange some Epoch Times editorial things in the morning, and once all the teams are in motion I can go to work. That way, at the most efficient time of the day I can do my Epoch Times work. At the busiest time of our local Shen Yun promotion I used the time in the morning to go to a ticket-selling point at a military base to sell tickets; at lunchtime another local practitioner would take over, and that way we could maintain a ticket-selling point.

In the beginning of 2011 I read a book written by an ordinary person, which discussed how to arrange one’s time every day to squeeze out an extra two hours. After I read it I thought it was very timely. I used a notebook and wrote down a list of all the things I would do that day, and took it out from time to time to see what things I had left to do. Whenever I had a bit of free time I would quickly do something. For example there is a lot of editing work at The Epoch Times, calling people on the phone, coordinating work, dealing with feedback, and so on. In the busiest times I would be spending 4,000 minutes on the phone each month. I used the time when I was driving, or on Saturday when I went with my wife driving to hand out Epoch Times papers, or going shopping, or breaks in my work, to make calls and communicate about things. In this way I could do two or three things at once and use my time more efficiently.

While all this was happening The Epoch Times editorial department, starting after the July 2011 Fahui in Washington DC, had started to promote and roll out time management, bringing in a set of workflow reconfiguration and optimization plans, which brought a lot of extra work. From November 2011 to February 2012 a lot of people in the editorial team went over to support ticket sales for Shen Yun, making a severe shortage of manpower in our daily editorial operations for The Epoch Times. After that I looked at The Epoch Times total web traffic, and found that when Shen Yun promotion was the biggest there was hardly any loss of page views—this showed me again the miraculousness of Dafa.

4. Getting Rid of the Attachment To Money
In the course of doing Shen Yun promotion and ET work I enlightened to the fact that before doing something it’s extremely important to have a clear and definite objective. Our objective in promoting Shen Yun is to have a full theater and a reasonable profit, and in the process of promoting Shen Yun we run into all kinds of things that need to be judged; I just use these two criteria to measure things, keeping in mind the overall objective we have. Anything that didn’t help those objectives I wouldn’t do.

Before Christmas our local practitioners decided that we would set up a booth in the largest mall. At that time it was only myself and my wife that had time, but we only had one car. If she first drove me to the other ticket spot at the military base or drove me to work, it would waste over an hour and a half each day; and we also couldn’t meet the requirements of the mall of being all set up at 10am. My wife and I talked it over and although our financial circumstances at the time were pretty tight, we decided that to sell Shen Yun tickets better we would spend over $1,000 to rent a car, and this way be able to handle both ticket selling locations. We’d come back at night with enough time to do food for the kids and participate in group Fa study. During this process my wife and I enlightened that our purpose was to sell tickets: we had to economize our time, not save money; when we are constantly hesitating about spending our money on gaining more time, that’s an attachment to money.

By a lucky “coincidence” right at that time my workplace asked me to take on more work. I worked an hour more each day and thus made enough money to pay for the car—so in the end we had no crisis financially.

On January 31, 2012, before our local Shen Yun performance we’d sold 90 percent of the tickets. A driver for Shen Yun asked me: how did you locals sell the tickets. I thought about it and said: “I actually don’t know how we sold them.” Now that I think of it it’s because the local practitioners studied the Fa well that the tickets sold.

5. Learning From Shen Yun To Do Media Well
Less than a week after Shen Yun had finished performing, the new period started: the final act in the drama as the evil CCP is collapsing. Editors and journalists upgraded their skills in the recent process of promoting Shen Yun, and they became the key factor in The Epoch Times’ ability to play its role in this battle between good and evil. In sharing, practitioners mentioned that we should study and learn from Shen Yun: have a clear objective, and use righteous thoughts to do it.

Just as we started reporting that the Wang Lijun incident would lead to the CCP’s collapse and major changes in China, people in society couldn’t accept The Epoch Times’ reporting on the matter. Practitioners in the editorial team could feel the invisible pressure from this kind of feeling in society. Everyone used the experiences they had from promoting Shen Yun, unconditionally supporting the broad direction set by coordinators, and on specific details—discussing things together, complementing one another—and while paying attention to the basic operating standards of ordinary media, also pushed forward with the editorial “Beijing Power Struggle Heralds End of Chinese Communist Party.” We reported that the Falun Gong question is the core question at the base of all problems in Chinese society, and we were absolutely not going to be ambiguous about this core information.

Later, after Bo Xilai was purged, and Zhou Yongkang lost power, people in society and governments began to pay very close attention to The Epoch Times’ reporting. Up to this point, originally some Chinese media overseas that supported the CCP have been unable to not follow The Epoch Times’ angle of reporting and ways of phrasing things. Mainlanders outside China have been looking for The Epoch Times even more, like quenching a thirst, eagerly reading our reports on these big political changes, understanding what is going on in China, and giving themselves a choice in this period of historical change. Mainstream W\western media also used The Epoch Times reports a lot, as well as New Tang Dynasty reports. When a media can, one after another, accurately predict major political changes in a country of 1.3 billion people, whatever standards or values other western major media hold, the basic standards of the media profession means that they have to follow the direction of the reporting we are leading.

Looking back over the last year, having the opportunity to promote Shen Yun and work on ET while cultivating, I feel a great sense of honor. From deep in my heart I thank Revered Master’s arrangements for the path given to me to upgrade in cultivation. And I also thank the fellow cultivators I have had predestined relationships to encounter, work with, and gain guidance, help and support from. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate in the above sharing.

Thank You, Revered Master! Thank you fellow practitioners!

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