My Experiences and Understanding of Cultivation Practice as a Member of the Divine Land Marching Band
Have you ever read an experience sharing article that tells of a practitioner who felt that it took too long to practice the exercises and who always wished it would end soon when practicing because there was so much to do? Then, one day this practitioner realizes that Master gave us the five sets of exercises and we should practice them with a grateful heart. From that day forward, the practitioner practiced with a grateful heart, finding that the environment was filled with unmatchable harmony.
If truth be told, Master also gave the Divine Land Marching Band to practitioners for truth clarification and Fa-rectification purposes. When receiving our Fa implements and when we perform, I realize that we must fulfill our Dafa disciples' mission with an indebted heart.
Just after the band was formed, beginning with choosing a musical instrument, I faced many tests. The most serious was eliminating the attachments of self-contempt and reputation. In the past, I had thought that I would eliminate all the attachments I could find. I hoped to do so secretly, as I was not willing to have others know about my shortcomings. As soon as I found this attachment I decided to get rid of it.
Therefore, I decided to tell my fellow practitioners in public about my attachments. But, since I still held the heart of pursuing perfection and holding onto a sense of inferiority, I fell apart. I burst into tears, feeling humiliated by the thought that my image was ruined. I cried for two days after I returned home. All I did was cry myself to sleep. I continued to cry after waking up, and I sent an email to my fellow practitioners saying that I would quit the dancing team. I thought I could do things for Falun Dafa again if I moved to another city. I was thinking about moving to Toronto.
When I saw the little drum beside me, I felt that I was not good enough to be a member of the Divine Land Marching Band, and that I'd better quit and leave my spot for another practitioner. I said to the drum in my heart, "I will give you up to a practitioner who cultivates much better than I do so you may play your role well. But inside me, I dislike the idea of giving you up." At the time, I could feel that the little drum was weeping too. I felt drained and fell asleep. Suddenly I heard Master's voice as if warning me. I woke up with the thought that whatever tribulation I was facing, I wouldn't give up studying the Fa. Without further ado I got up to study the Fa. Then I remembered that we had group rehearsal that evening. I asked myself, should I go for it or give it up?
I decided, although I would be late, I would still go to practice. By the time I got there it was already dark. I hoped to be able to join in without anyone noticing that I was late. I adjusted my drum, when suddenly I heard a voice, "There you are!" I knew that it was just a greeting, but feelings of inferiority and the unwillingness to have others realize that I was late overwhelmed me again. I couldn't hold back my tears. Thus, my group practice ended with tears running down my face.
On the way home, I realized that I was cultivating the greatest Fa in the universe. If I would really try to let go of this tiny little attachment and tribulation, it would be eliminated in no time. It was late at night with no one on the street. I held back my tears and sang, "Falun Dafa Is Good." At the same time, I said in my heart, "Keep crying if you want, for it is the attachment that nurses a grievance. However chagrined it seems, I must eliminate this attachment. Whatever its strength appears to be, it is evil, and therefore nothing." In "Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference," a disciple raised a question:
Question: Compassion arises after emotion is removed. So how is mighty virtue cultivated?
Teacher: You walk this path of Fa-rectification well, you manage to overcome your limitations in cultivation, you let go of your attachments, you save all beings with righteous thoughts in your mind, and you handle everything you face with righteous thoughts--that is mighty virtue.
I knew that what I was experiencing was just the process of eliminating attachments. I had to eliminate them. I should have no egoistic thoughts, and should live unconditionally for the existence of the truth of the universe and the existence of sentient beings. I made a resolve not to give up. No, I should do even better, for it is a serious cultivation practice. Thus, I've been taking part in almost all performances of the local band.
The practice sessions with practitioners are also chances to improve my "xinxing." At all times I am proud of my drum-beat. But once, during a practice, a practitioner in the drum team told me, "You played too fast." When I heard her orderly and steady drumbeats, I did think that I was out of time with the entire group, so I slowed down a little bit. But, I was told again that I was still "too fast." Therefore, I watched her and followed her drumbeat. Then, I was told a third time, "Your drumbeats are still too fast." What was going on? Was it that I simply did not know how to play the drum? I told myself, "I didn't play fast." Then, during the second group practice I was told again, "You played too fast," by the same practitioner over and over again. I felt a bit uneasy by these same four words. I thought that I played on the beat. Why did she always complain about my drumbeat being too fast? I then attentively listened to the drumbeats and carefully looked at the conductor and played in time with his baton. Later on when we practiced again, I deliberately stood away from her. I lined up at the edge in the back row, but she turned to me again saying, "You are playing too fast." I told myself that this time I really had played with a regular speed, as I had fastened my gaze on the conductor. Therefore, I thought out loud, "I did not play fast." A practitioner beside me said to me "You didn't play fast."
At that time I decided to look within, to think it through. Did I have some attachments hiding deep inside or was I no longer was in sync with the group. Yet, a practitioner standing next to me also reminded me to "look within." Unfortunately, I had no clue where I went wrong. But, later on I realized that it might be just because I was too sure about my drum playing. I thought I played the drum well and was certain that I rarely made mistakes during practice. I kept my attention on the conductor and followed the drumbeats. I had never thought of the drum team as a whole. I only thought of playing the same beat instead of playing the drum with the same force as the rest of the drum team.
That reminded me that when the band was newly formed, quite a few of the drummers were not skilled yet, and their drumming was not loud enough. Therefore, some of us more skilled drummers would intentionally play the drum loudly to assure a greater effect when we were parading along the street. Thus, I had formed the habit of playing loudly and never adjusted myself to more players having reached the required skill level. Now, almost everyone played well and my loud drumbeat was out of tune with the rest of the group.
I then found that I was quite self-conscious. Every time we took part in a parade, I lined up in the front row and I never considered how the other drummers played. I only focused on myself, my playing, and exerted great strength. One time, I had positioned myself to the side at the front again. At the time, we had to do a right turn on the spot, and then a left turn, so I ended up in the back row and I could see everyone playing. Among them there was a practitioner who played with great strength, just as I did. Looking at it from the back, it appeared as if she was unhappy and played the drum rather angrily. This was rather notable in the procession and it was not pretty at all for the spectators to see. I suddenly realized that I most likely did not like to be criticized by others especially if no real error could be found. As I became aware of this, the practitioner again said I was too fast. I smiled back at her, since I really appreciated her helping me to raise my xinxing and to discover my shortcomings.
Because of fellow practitioners' efforts, we receive the Epoch Times at my workplace. When colleagues read anything about the Divine Land Marching Band, they would come and ask me questions. Later, I told them that we also have a TV series called "Office Story." They asked for the website. It was as if they couldn't wait to watch the series. At that time, I clarified the truth to them and persuaded them to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations.
Soon after, I overheard someone wanting to set up a CCP area committee in the workshop. I immediately sent forth righteous thoughts and clarified the truth to them. Since there were other practitioners who worked in this workshop, they had already clarified the truth to them. Therefore, it was easier for me when I chatted with these people. But, many of them were very much deceived by the CCP propaganda. I realized that they would have a clearer mind after I clarified the truth two or three times. The first man I convinced to quit the CCP was one of the initial sponsors of the area committee. When he was clear about the facts, he voluntarily told me the name of the party members in the workshop and what kind of attitude they held toward the CCP. Another sponsor was the second person to quit.
Both were very concerned about the third sponsor who was a senior party member. I then decided to clarify the truth to him. After clarifying truth to him the first time, I felt exhausted. He raised too many questions, which I had to answer with patience one by one. But he was very quick in finding ways to challenge me, and it was hard to listen to all his words. He said that Falun Gong was involved in politics. I then countered with a question: "Aren't those innocent kids, at the age of seven or eight, who are forced to wear the red scarf and vow to spend their entire lives honoring the bloody flag, getting dragged into politics? And what about joining the Party and the Communist Youth League? Whoever the evil party wants to persecute would be labeled as being 'involved in politics.' A person should have the freedom to choose and decide, but this evil party only allows people to join but not quit. So it has been forcing everyone to be 'involved in politics,' hasn't it?" He was rendered speechless and I could see the expression on his face changing. I eliminated the evil spirit behind him while I was talking. That was the first time I had talked to him. I thought I'd told him all that I should say and didn't feel like talking more.
For two days, when I passed his work table I didn't say anything more. But on the third day, he stopped me and said, "Your frequency of clarifying the truth is far from enough, how come you only did it once? It seems like it was a task you had to fulfill. You have to do it, so say something more to me, please." I thought he was finally coming to his senses. So, I talked to him some more, including what I'd seen and experienced myself when I was in China. When I felt that I had almost nothing more to say, he opened his mouth. He said that he was a senior level party member. If he quit the CCP and stayed in Canada, it would not create any problems for him, but if he were to go back to China and his colleagues' found out that he quit the CCP, he would no longer be safe. I then told him I would keep it a secret, but he still bowed his head helplessly. During our third chat, he asked, "Must you quit it for me? Or can I quit it myself? What is that website?" After I told him, he said, "You have clarified the truth enough, you don't need to come talk to me any more."
Since he hadn't really told me that he had quit and had not told others that he hadn't quit, I tried to strike up another conversation to find his real intentions. I asked him if he didn't want to hear me clarifying the truth. He said he enjoyed listening to me, for what I'd said was absolutely true. I considered that was enough to have him know about the truth. Since then the workshop staff know about my clarifying the truth. Often they will come up to me and ask what progress I have made, how many people have quit and who they are. I would tell them that I'd promised to keep it a secret and I have to show respect to others' wishes. On hearing this, they were also very joyful. As of this date, ten people in my workshop have quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
Talking about another of my truth-clarifying efforts, I once was on a phone team where I made a call to a woman in China of around fifty or sixty years old. I clarified the truth about quitting the CCP and its affiliated organizations. The woman answered, "Ok, ok, thanks," and hung up. But I hadn't even let her know about having an alias to quit. I thought it was not that important for she had already shown her compliance. Therefore, after hanging up the phone, I chose a nickname for her and was going to quit for her on the Internet. Yet an older practitioner nearby said it wouldn't count because the woman had to be informed about the nickname I chose for her, plus she should be notified of her quitting number. So I called her again saying that I was sorry that I hadn't made myself clear. I said I hadn't fully expressed what I wanted to tell her before she hung up the phone, and that I had chosen a nickname for her to quit. But unexpectedly, she asked what she should quit and what I'd said. I told her again, and this time she understood clearly and told me to help her quit the CCP. After hanging up the phone, I felt very regretful. Convincing people to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations is to save people. Yet I was not even sure whether I had made everything clear to this woman. It was just like finishing a task irresponsibly. Even so, if I didn't have the opportunity to give the person her quitting number, I should have told her about the nickname and made sure that the person at the other end had clearly understood and remembered the nickname. At least this would have drawn the person's attention. I realized that a practitioner's responsibility is to make the truth clear to people, instead of simply speaking the truth.
(Toronto Divine Land Marching Band Experience Sharing Conference paper)