Letting Go of Self and Saving Sentient Beings
Respected Master, respected fellow practitioners:
I appreciate very much that Master has given me not only an opportunity to validate the Fa, but also an opportunity to reflect and think, to summarize my shortcomings, and to become clearer on my path in the future. While summarizing my experiences, I marveled about the miracles and beauty of Dafa, and how it has changed me from an ordinary person full of karma to a Fa-rectification Dafa disciple. It is our great Master who has created everything with his immense benevolence, which is beyond description.
For the last twelve months, fellow practitioner Xiao Yu (pseudonym) and I have been working together to help fellow practitioners from our region to establish over 30 small truth clarification materials printing sites. Currently, the majority of these Dafa materials production sites run smoothly. In addition, they bring about the creation of more materials production sites, which are gradually spreading throughout our region. This has achieved tremendous results in saving sentient beings. In helping fellow practitioners set up small materials production sites, we have run into many obstacles. Here, we are reporting our experiences to our Master, including the lessons that we learned, and also our reflections. We hope that fellow practitioners can point out where we may fall short.
I. From Amateurs to Skilled Workers
In February of 2004, practitioner Xiao Yu, who lived with me, and I bought a computer, a printer and a CD writer. After a practitioner from another province helped us set up the system, we printed the first Minghui Weekly. Since then, we have run our own materials production center.
At that time, there was no one from our area who knew about computers. After our fellow practitioner showed us how to set up passwords, print, log on to the Internet, and create CDs, he headed back to his home and left the two of us looking at the machine, puzzled.
In the beginning, I was not even familiar with the functions of left click and right click on a mouse, and I was only trying to print out materials and create CDs. Later, I learned to do editing, page design and system installation. I often worked through the night. Every time I came across some problems, I could always find a way to resolve them. I either figured it out myself, or an idea came across my mind all of a sudden. In some cases, I would happen to hear a discussion from somebody else, which turned out to be just the solution to the problem. I was always amazed that Teacher helped me overcome one difficulty after another. Three months later, I was not only producing all kinds of materials, but I had also mastered basic computer skills. As a result, I became our local "technical practitioner."
I split the tasks with Xiao Yu. I was in charge of the software, and Xiao Yu took care of the hardware maintenance and purchase of ink cartridges. Xiao Yu experienced the same difficulties as I, from not knowing what an ink cartridge was to managing to take a printer apart and put it back together. Through our tests and trials, we have become adept at all skills under the title of "technical practitioners." The miracle of Dafa has manifested through us many times.
II. Helping Fellow Practitioners Set Up Small-scale Materials Printing Centers
In our area, we hardly had any practitioners who knew about computers, and we also were short of young practitioners. We realized that helping fellow practitioners to set up small truth clarification materials production centers was our responsibility during the current stage of Fa-rectification cultivation. Since June 2004, we started helping practitioners set up small-scale Dafa materials printing centers. From our experiences, we found that fellow practitioners around us were not afraid to put in time and effort, and neither were they afraid of hardships. The greatest hurdles for them, however, was their lack of knowledge about computers. Another problem was overcoming the fear of danger. After Xiao Yu and I discussed the situation many times, we realized that our task as technical practitioners was to try our best to solve the safety issue and to reduce technical difficulties, so that our fellow practitioners could easily set up small-scale materials production centers.
Helping Fellow Practitioners Overcome Technical Difficulties
When we were helping our fellow practitioners, we tried to set it up at their homes, based on what they already had. In this way, they needed to purchase less equipment and had to learn fewer new computer techniques. In addition, there was less disturbance to their daily routines.
1. Practitioners who have computers at home
For those practitioners who had computers at home, we only needed to help them to switch their regular CD-ROM drives to writable CD-ROM. After setting up the system, we also had password-protected CDs ready for them, and put all the information needed on this CD. By doing that, we were able to keep the computers secure and thus eliminate practitioners' concerns. Generally speaking, it only takes 20 minutes to learn how to print materials and how to create truth-clarification CDs.
For those practitioners who were not well educated and had never used a computer before, we helped them by putting a movie, namely "Traveling Heaven and Earth Through Rain and Wind," into a file, and then we created a shortcut for this file. All they had to do was double-click this file, and a CD would be created automatically. Whenever practitioners created their first CD, they usually said the same thing: "I can really create a CD?" That was so encouraging! We handled the difficult tasks, or tasks requiring a high level of security such as logging on to the Internet, downloading, editing, or setting up publishing formats. We believed that practitioners managing small materials production centers did not have to learn all these skills, and they could use the time for clarifying the truth.
The first four truth-clarification materials production centers were set up like this. For a few months, their family members did not notice any difference in their computers, however, our fellow practitioners created thousands of CDs and distributed them throughout the city.
As more and more truth-clarification materials were printed, and with practitioners putting more and more effort into the current of Fa-rectification, they all came to realize their huge responsibilities. We saw great changes in every practitioner, and some took the initiative to ask for more printers. Some practitioners added more than one printer. After they gradually helped other practitioners to set up some small materials printing centers, they became practitioners who knew computer techniques themselves!
2. Fellow practitioners who do not have computers at home
Many experience sharing articles published on the Internet talked about how practitioners learned how to print, log onto the Internet, download files, etc. However, it caused a misconception for those practitioners who did not produce truth-clarification materials. They thought that in order to produce Dafa materials, they had to have computers plus the knowledge to operate the computer, and they had to know how to log on to the Internet. Even though practitioners who wrote these articles all said that it was not difficult, those brand-new computer terms intimidated those not so well educated practitioners. In reality, an all-in-one machine (a combination copier/scanner/printer) can completely solve this problem. It can work independently from a computer, as long as you have your original document ready, and it can function as a small-size photocopier when you press the button. It can print materials right away, and can be used even by elderly practitioners who are illiterate. In addition, the price is reasonable, and it is easy to handle, which makes it a popular machine for most people.
After having the idea of using an all-in-one machine to set up small-scale truth-clarification materials printing centers, fellow practitioners felt that it was really possible, and it was much easier than they thought. Some practitioners bought an all-in-one machine, and they were able to go out and distribute the truth-clarification materials made that same day. As a result, the number of truth clarification materials production centers in our region quickly increased.
III. Breaking Through Every Barrier and Setting Up Small Materials Production Centers
In the past, we thought that in order to set up small materials production centers, we had to be able to meet the requirements of time, money, family environment and other conditions. In reality, through fellow practitioners' joint efforts, it has been proved that there are no restrictions for setting up small materials production centers, and our past experiences have proved that clarifying the truth does not require any preconditions. There are many such examples.
One practitioner was often busy with work, as she had a full-time job during the day in addition to working three nights a week. Her 80-year-old father-in-law lived at her home and her son was a junior in high school. Her husband did a little bit of housework, and she took care of the rest. After this practitioner set up a materials production center, she became even busier. Sometimes she ran to the study to do the printing while preparing a meal. After a while, her home environment changed. Her son started to help her create CDs, and her husband also did more household chores. Her husband not only helped with folding truth-clarification materials, but also took their son to distribute truth-clarification materials. She now has a lot more free time, and within one year, she has memorized and recited Zhuan Falun. She often says that without getting involved in a small-scale truth-clarification materials production center, she would not have experienced such great changes.
An elderly practitioner, 70 year old, is almost illiterate. Every day she made neatly hand-written copies of truth-clarification materials, and then she mailed them out. After she bought an all-in-one machine, all she had to do was push the button, and the printed materials came out. She was delighted, and named this machine "salvation."
One practitioner's husband was against her practicing Falun Dafa and did not want her family to know that she made truth-clarification materials. We removed her CD-ROM and replaced it with a writable CD-ROM of the same color, so it looked as if nothing was changed. She was able to create CDs and distribute them without her family noticing.
A practitioner from the countryside is the only practitioner in her village, and she was being watched by the authorities all the time. To deal with this situation, she made a hole in the wall, and then put a power cord through the hole to the storage room next door. Every day, with a dim light in the storage room, she was able to produce truth-clarification materials using an all-in-one machine. In the past year, she supplied the truth-clarification materials to people in her neighborhood and neighboring villages.
After we practitioners overcame all kinds of technical difficulties and broke through all kinds of barriers, small-scale materials production centers in our area sprang up like mushrooms after a rain. The suggestions from the Minghui/Clearwisdom website on setting up small truth-clarification materials printing centers everywhere truly materialized.
IV. Be Steadfast and Selfless, Encourage More Practitioners to Set Up Small Dafa Materials Production Sites
We understand very clearly that as practitioners with computer skills, we need to be very steadfast and walk our path righteously. Only then can we eliminate the persecution and contribute the most to our local materials production sites.
1. Be firm concerning funds, do not accept money or equipment donations
Because we help start small materials production sites, we're familiar with computers and printers and have to deal with the funds needed for such activities. We must always keep in mind that we should not validate Dafa based on our preferences, and that we should always be righteous.
Our materials production site is a small one. At first, we produced only truth-clarifying materials for our own use. Then, we provided truth-clarification materials to fellow practitioners. After some time, we helped practitioners set up their own materials-production sites and helped them with the purchase of supplies. During any of these activities, we did not accept money or material donations. Even when we purchased supplies for other practitioners or helped with printing the materials, we did not charge anything beyond our actual costs.
2. Do not make excuses about not clarifying the truth and distributing truth-clarification materials
During the year, when most of our time was spent in helping others set up small materials production sites, practitioners suggested that we did not have to distribute truth-clarification materials. However, we believe that as a small materials production site, we cannot neglect or ignore any function associated with this activity. We should not find excuses for not clarifying the truth to people or distributing truth-clarification materials. Throughout the year, we distributed truth-clarification materials continuously. Sometimes we were able to hand out over 200 brochures and over 400 flyers. Sometimes we could distribute only around 10 brochures. Most of the time we were able to distribute 8-10 copies of the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" and associated brochures. It takes us about 4 to 5 hours a day to make the truth-clarification materials. Since we produce and also distribute materials, we have a clearer understanding of how to help other small materials production sites.
3. Be selfless and overcome obstacles in setting up small materials production sites
When practitioners were working out financial and technical problems, we tried our best to help them.
Every time we downloaded new materials from the Internet, we would complete the editing and typesetting first and then make copies for practitioners who had computers. For small materials production sites that use the all-in-one machines, we would adjust the "master copy" based on the model of their machine and the different requirements for page margins.
These are common tasks, but one must be detail oriented and understand that they are very time-consuming. During times of heavy workloads, it could be overwhelming. Practitioners who live in remote rural areas need special attention. We tell them to be careful, and make them aware of every detail they could come across. They need to pay constant attention to things such as, "At what angle should they put the ink injector, so it puts ink into the ink box! How much alcohol they should add to the ink, how to clean the ink box, etc." Sometimes we were very tired. But when we thought of the difficulties fellow practitioners might run into, our tiredness disappeared. We had only one goal in our mind. We needed to make our fellow practitioners aware of possible problems before they create issues for other practitioners. We tried our best to make sure that setting up a small materials production site was not difficult.
V. Help Small Materials Production Sites Operate Independently
1. Helping small material sites become fully independent
As more and more small-scale truth-clarification materials production sites were set up in our area, we were facing an increasing number of technical problems. Thus, we had to shoulder more and more responsibilities. The equipment at some sites didn't receive timely maintenance, and this interrupted the sites' normal operation. After much discussion and experience sharing, we realized that the small materials production sites should be self-sustaining. Since the beginning of this year, we trained practitioners running these sites so that they could operate independently.
2. Identify reliance on technology and get rid of the attachment to fame and material interests
Practitioners with computer skills know that it easy to get attached to researching technical problems and it's hard for them to get rid of the attachment. They focus too much on the task at hand. Their minds are controlled by resolving technical issues, and not by what they really should accomplish. For instance, when a machine broke down, they quickly went there to fix it. The minute they finished, another machine needed to be fixed, and they rushed there. If they enjoy researching and resolving technical problems, the dark minions will take advantage of their attachments and persecute them in this way.
A practitioner named Xiao Yin (pseudonym) is very skilled with computers. He had been detained illegally by the authorities for over half a year. Early this year, with his righteous thoughts, he got out of the detention center. He told us that several months before his arrest he was called to solve computer problems every several days. Sometimes after he spent over an hour on the road to reach the practitioner's home, he found that it was a minor problem that was a one-time computer glitch. Sometimes, the minute he took care of one problem, another practitioner had computer problems. He was rushing around like a busy bee. He was tired but there was this sense of pride in his mind. After a while, he couldn't calm down when studying the Fa. He was worried about this situation, but he couldn't stop and change it. Shortly afterwards, he was arrested.
This is a typical case of how technically skilled practitioners are persecuted.
I taught myself computer skills, and therefore, I also had a deep sense of pride. Every opportunity to help practitioners fix their computers was a challenge and triumph. Gradually, I became "addicted" to researching technical problems. Xiao Yu noticed this and made me aware of it. Every time I got engrossed in the computer and couldn't let go, she would become restless. She said she couldn't bear to see a practitioner being controlled by a computer. I therefore tried to control myself and send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the attachment. I got rid of it quickly.
But it was not enough to just eradicate this one attachment, since the reason why we couldn't calm down and study the Fa lay in a number of our attachments, including the attachment to doing work. The inability to study the Fa calmly also includes the attachment to self. Because practitioners valued our work, the attachment to fame and self-interest, wanting to gain fellow practitioners' respect, and the desire to control the truth-clarification materials production process became issues.
Other practitioners' reliance on technically-skilled practitioners goes hand in hand with the desire to control things. When practitioners who operate small materials production sites run into technical problems, they immediately, without another thought, call a practitioner with computer skills for help. In this way, the technically skilled practitioners became inextricably linked to the small materials production site's ability to produce. They neglected to help the small sites to become independent, because they wanted to be in control. One party wants to control, and the other party wants to depend. Thus, nobody could break away from his or her attachment.
When Xiao Yu and I finally realized that we should help small materials production sites to become independent and have practitioners run the small sites without us, we could feel deep reluctance within ourselves. This meant that we would become "useless." But, we knew that we had to teach practitioners what we had learned from experience, including where to get supplies and maintenance services. This experience was hard to come by. We risked our lives gaining such knowledge. We felt that we would no longer play a vital role in the development of local small materials production sites. We worked so hard to achieve such a status and now we were letting go. Furthermore, practitioners who were used to relying on our technical support might complain about this. We analyzed our reluctance and realized that it was caused by our attachment to fame and self interest. However, righteous thoughts told us that we are practitioners who came here to save sentient beings, and that we are practitioners in the Fa-rectification period. We didn't come here to pursue ordinary people's fame and material interests.
3. Remove technical obstacles created by the old forces and establish small-scale materials production sites like "flowers blossoming everywhere"
We realized that technical difficulties were obstacles created by the old forces to prevent us from establishing a greater number of small-scale materials production sites and to prevent sentient beings from being saved. In order to eliminate these obstacles, so that more practitioners can break away from their reliance on technology and establish their own small-scale materials production sites, practitioners who have computer skills should research and find out ways to simplify troubleshooting techniques. This way, we can truly negate the old forces' arrangements. If the practitioners who have computer skills can overcome the technical obstacles, but are attached to technology and put too much reliance on it, aren't they accepting the old forces' arrangements? Before long, these practitioners' desire to control small materials production sites, their attachments to doing work, fame and self-interest would grow, and they would "enjoy" the evil arrangements. If practitioners who run small materials production sites realize that their reliance on technically-skilled practitioners is accepting the technical disturbances created by the old forces, would they still rely on those practitioners?
We realized that practitioners who have computer skills should not be totally dependent on technology. The technical skills they master should be used to help practitioners get rid of their fear of technology, help them deal with technical problems, break through the mystery surrounding technology, and truly negate the technical obstacles. Only then can we really have more small truth-clarification materials production sites springing up like "flowers blossoming everywhere."
4. Be a real practitioner and walk the path of Fa-rectification steadily
We started in May 2004, and it has been over a year since we began to help set up small truth clarification materials production sites. Now Xiao Yu and I are no longer considered practitioners who have computer skills. We are practitioners who operate a small materials production site, one among the many flowers that are blossoming in our area. We were deeply touched by Master's new lecture, "The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be." We realized that Fa-rectification has higher requirements for us now, and we should act selflessly towards the world's people, get rid of the attachment to self, whole-heartedly embrace Fa-rectification, and advance forward diligently.