PureInsight | August 6, 2013
Revered Master, dear fellow practitioners,
My name is Ondrej, and I am a practitioner from the Czech Republic. Let me share my cultivation experiences with you. Though I had no idea what to write about at first, I still decided to write since sharing is also a process of improving oneself.
I started my cultivation of Dafa seven years ago. Just like many other practitioners, I have directly or indirectly experienced many things Master mentions in Zhuan Falun. Although it does not seem like I have made great progress in cultivation, looking back I feel I have changed a lot. It is just like what our Master said in the article “Learning the Fa” from Essentials for Further Advancement:
“Actually, in cultivation practice you ascend by improving yourself gradually and unknowingly. Keep in mind: One should gain things naturally without pursuing them.”
Validating the Fa in my Family
My close family members’ attitudes toward my cultivation of Dafa have changed from objection to full support.
My younger brother once told me my mother said something bad about Falun Gong. I was shocked to hear this, but after a while I realized I had not actually clarified the truth to her. I treated her as my mother, who was very close to me, instead of as a sentient being.
One day, I drove her to the clinic for a check-up. I took the opportunity to talk about Falun Dafa. I told her not to say bad things about Falun Dafa. I explained to her what Dafa was. I asked her whether she noticed how much I had changed since I started practicing. She listened and agreed with what I said. She said she was sorry about her previous words about Dafa and that she did not mean them.
Since then, I have tried to keep her informed about what I do and why I do it. I gave her Falun Gong materials to read. I clean, cook, iron, garden and perform other odd jobs to help my parents. Seeing my great changes in person, my parents support me a lot in my Dafa activities. Both of them have signed the petition against the persecution of Falun Gong in China. My mother even asked the neighbours to sign the petition.
I try to be a good husband at home. Though we do not see each other much due to my work patterns, my wife supports me in everything I do including the three things. She even financially supported an important Dafa activity. Occasionally she does the exercises and studies Zhuan Falun, trying to be a good person at her work and elsewhere. Her righteous behaviour has a good impact on the people around her. She told many people about Falun Gong, and some of her friends have seen Shen Yun. Our harmonious relationship allows me to devote more time to studying the Fa and clarifying the truth to sentient beings.
Last year, my grandmother was quite ill. She had a tumour on her kidney and other problems. I visited her more than any of her other grandchildren did. I brought her some Dafa materials. She liked the book about Gao Zhisheng. She got better and was moved from one ward to another as her condition improved. Nothing happens by chance. I used this opportunity to ask the nurses and doctors to sign the petition. The nurses were surprised to find a young fellow who took such good care of an old granny. Whenever I was in the country I would visit her frequently, which I enjoyed. I cooked and helped her with her personal needs. I was there more than her own children were, and she came to trust me more than anyone else. I would always fix a paper lotus flower on the bed frame when she moved to a new room. I urged her to remember Falun Dafa is good. Sometimes it was hard for me to see her suffer. Due to strong drugs, she would sometimes be unable to recognize anyone, including me.
Her condition gradually deteriorated, and several times we thought she would not survive, yet she always managed to pull through. Although she was very weak, she signed the petition I gave her. When I told her daughter about this, she could not believe it as she had tried unsuccessfully to make grandmother sign a paper for a notary or for her pension money. For her to sign the petition was a small miracle. She even urged other family members to sign it.
I took good care of my grandmother whenever I had time. Others said her eyes always shone when she saw me. Although her journey in this world ended after a year of suffering, I was not sad. By supporting Dafa, she chose a good future for herself, and her suffering helped her eliminate a big chunk of karma. I think my conduct showed many people the goodness of a Dafa practitioner.
Joining the Epoch Times
When I first started my cultivation in Dafa, I was not very diligent. However, a year later I repeatedly read through all of Master's lectures and Zhuan Falun. No films or hobbies could catch my interest anymore; I only wanted to read the Fa. After attending my first Dafa activity in Edinburgh in 2008, I felt I wanted to do more. Master said in Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston: “If you remain stagnant, you definitely won’t be able to keep up with the Fa-rectification.”
The time had come to fulfil my historic mission, to help save more sentient beings and not to just focus on my own cultivation. It was a natural feeling and an inner drive. I contacted practitioners in the Czech Republic (I did not know there were any until then as I was living in England) and started working for the Czech Epoch Times. My advantage was my English, so I could do translations. However, it was not easy. Now I know Master has arranged everything. I was destined to go abroad and learn English to use it during the Fa-rectification period.
I had no experience with translations, let alone writing articles. As time went on, I grasped how to write from the original articles. Apart from translating, I can now write my own news articles, which readers find good. Master gives me wisdom and I am constantly improving. I could never do it without diligent Fa study. Master also said in Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston: “If you don't study the Fa well, you won't be able to do Dafa work well.”
I have failed before and learned many lessons in this respect. Without the solid foundation provided by concentrated and regular Fa study combined with the purifying effects of sending righteous thoughts, project work does not go well, there is no inspiration and the cultivation state stagnates or drops. It is then easy for the evil to exploit our gaps, and we start looking for others' mistakes.
Sometimes when I wasn't within the Fa, I became so furious in my mind about my fellow practitioners' shortcomings that my anger would flare up ten meters high. I had many negative thoughts about the coordinator and other practitioners feeling hurt. Sooner or later I would come back to my senses and calm down. We are not here to validate ourselves but rather to validate Dafa. When you find out how difficult the situation was for the other person at that time, you feel ashamed and become more tolerant next time. In the past I would often blame someone or something else when problems arose. I have gradually become better though, and I can now usually first look within for problems. This is the magic tool Master has given us.
Whenever I come across an error or inaccuracy in the already published articles or see a low-quality title, I just quietly fix it so that our paper can be higher quality. When the errors occur repeatedly, I think it is all right to tell the responsible person kindly and calmly. After all, we all want to improve as a whole. In everything I do, I try to work hard and be responsible, meeting deadlines and keeping a strict standard for myself.
For years the Epoch Times project in the Czech Republic just stagnated because there was neither long-term coordination nor visible results. Many people have joined the project, and many have left. I think it was because there was not much cooperation. Everyone did what they thought was good. However, the situation is now changing. We now have a coordinator with a vision and a heart to lead people. I am truly happy about this. I believe we will only grow and improve from now on.
Master said in Be More Diligent, 2010: “In the near future, people in this world will realize that Dafa disciples are saving people. It is something that you definitely have to do better at, and do with greater strength. So this requires that you cooperate well. If you fail to cooperate well, the evil really will exploit your weaknesses and you will suffer major losses. Losses, that is, in terms of both individual cultivation as well as our group projects that are meant to save sentient beings.”
I have realized one important thing that our coordinator also emphasized. We are one body, so even if I perform my task well and succeed in everything I do; it is only a surface-level success. From a higher point of view, if the project fails or stagnates, I am the one responsible for the failure because we are one body, and as one body, we were not successful. Therefore, it is crucial to support those who lag behind or are going through difficult times. This is something upon which I really have to improve.
Shen Yun 2013
In the past I worked on Shen Yun much less and did not regard it as a top priority. This year, however, the situation was different. Right from the start of autumn 2012, I wanted to be involved wholeheartedly, a feeling that only grew stronger. I still worked on the Epoch Times and NTD, but Shen Yun became my priority. The performance was scheduled to be in Prague, which is some 180 miles from my home. However, that did not stop me. I enjoyed going to Prague. I felt that Master helped me on different levels by pushing my understanding higher so that everything felt easy. There was neither fear nor nervousness like in the past, only joy and keenness. Since I usually work abroad two weeks on and two weeks off, I could spend those two weeks in Prague. I would stay in the city during the weekdays and come back to spend the weekends with my family so they would not feel neglected.
While working for Shen Yun, I volunteered to go to meetings in Prague whenever possible. Sometimes we were dealing with very rich and influential people. In the past, I would have fear in such situations, but now I did not. I knew Master had arranged everything and chosen who we would meet. We are just simple messengers doing what must be done. However, doubts and human thoughts occasionally arise as tests to see which side we take – are we practitioners or ordinary people?
The poem “One Thought” from Hong Yin III would often occur in my mind:
“Secular and sacred, one creek apart
Forward or back, two different realms
Enter the temple in the woods,
One step and you've reached heaven.”
The first two weeks after I started going to Prague on a regular basis, I had strong thought karma manifested as annoyance with other practitioners' behaviours. Every single detail – manners, mind-set, habits – I would find fault with. I felt very unhappy and upset about this. I managed to eliminate it through regular Fa study with others and sending forth righteous thoughts. Later I noticed that other practitioners were going through the same situation, and I tried to share with them. These sorts of thoughts must be eliminated. The best way to do so was studying the Fa and sending forth righteous thoughts together as a group for the whole day. Afterwards nothing bad was left in my mind; there was only immense compassion and understanding. Actually, every practitioner has some attachments. Someone may feel that it is very hard to deal with this, while another may feel that it is hard to let go of that. What can be easy to pass for one person may be difficult to pass for another.
Our Master mentions in Lecture Eight of Zhuan Falun when he talks about the Heavenly Circuit: “When our great heavenly circuits are about to open, a situation will occur wherein some people will lean forward during the sitting meditation. Because the circulation in one’s back is opened better, one’s back will feel very light while the body’s front will feel heavy. Some people lean backward and feel their backs are heavy while the fronts of their bodies feel light. If all of your body is opened well, you will feel as if you are being lifted up, like levitating off the ground.”
We would feel tired after entire days of Shen Yun promotion at the shopping mall or meetings, but we still needed distribute flyers at the theatres in the centres. At times, human notions of my body being tired or having no strength persisted. Besides, it was freezing outside, and it was bound to be tough. Sometimes I gave in to this notion, but other times I had enough righteous thoughts to overcome it and go out. Every time I actually managed to do so, the results were great: the theatre was full of people from mainstream society, and people gladly accepted the materials and were interested in what we offered. That was always a massive encouragement, and we were really happy we went out after all.
One month before the performance, I took time off from work, and I was in Prague during the week. However, during the weekends at home, I relaxed and slacked off in my cultivation. Although I was giving a lot to Shen Yun, I did not give it my all. I did not let go of all of my attachments unconditionally, thus leaving gaps for the evil to interfere. I was also focusing more on myself rather than on the whole body of Dafa disciples in our country. I thought everything would be fine as long as I did fine, but that was not the case.
Although I had a good feeling about the preparation process, the ticket sales were not doing so well. Ticket sales had been really low as if we had gotten stuck somewhere. We all believed that we would break through, but the situation was still critical, and I started having doubts. About a week before the performance, I even succumbed to the illusion that everything I did was for nought, that I had failed in everything and that I was just a burden to the whole project, a total failure. Later I realized that such notions are really not right, that it is only the evil trying to knock me down into depression and self-contempt.
Master said in Be More Diligent: “You should cherish all that you have done, for this amounts to cherishing yourself! Remember Master’s words!”
The main coordinator and other key persons concentrated all their strength into contacting the mainstream media while the rest of us sent forth righteous thoughts. We created a strong field, and several miracles happened. There was a promotion campaign in the mainstream media, which had a really big impact, and ticket sales finally started to climb.
Eventually we managed to sell 70 percent of the tickets, but it was a disappointment for me – so much effort put in, yet only this! There was no one to blame but me. Because I did not give 100 percent, perhaps others did not either. How could we have sold all the tickets? On the other hand, it was a strong impetus for next year to work harder, cooperate better and introduce the saving grace of Shen Yun to more people in our country. At the same time I realized it is not important to do as much as I could on my own like a super-hero; it is more important to get more practitioners truly working well together. Our efforts would then be multiplied, and our impact as well as the effect of our work would be much better.
I thank our Master for his tremendous compassion and patience and fellow practitioners for your support and attention. Finally, I would like to end my sharing with a poem from Hong Yin III, “All For This Day”:
When disciples walk righteously the path of Dafa
Their light illumines the world, purging evil completely
Diligent disciples – plum blossoms in winter's chill
The eons of hardship were all for this day.
(Speech at the 2013 European Falun Dafa Experience-Sharing Conference in Copenhagen)