A Western Practitioner in Europe: Thoughts about Dafa Work
(Article from 2006 Benelux Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)
This is the first time that I have shared my experiences at a conference like this one. However, it's not the first time I have sat behind my computer to write an experience sharing report. It's only that now I succeeded in actually finishing one. I find it very hard to put my thoughts into words or really capture in writing what I learned and what I enlightened to. It's as if I cannot express my thoughts, that I do not remember things or that it seems a meaningless thing to do when I want to write it down. It seems as if it all goes without saying and as such it doesn't bring anything new to my fellow practitioners. But for this occasion, the first official Falun Dafa experience sharing conference in Holland, I told myself to write an article, no matter what it takes. I let go of the thought that it would be meaningless and started writing.
What I want to share with you is my understanding about the skills all of us have and how this relates to our cultivation and our cultivation environment. Master Li mentioned it recently in "Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles [Lecture part]." By the way, over the course of my cultivation I experienced several times that Master just spoke about something that was about something I was also just occupied with or something I also recently understood or experienced. It was with this subject as well, the skills we have in ordinary human society.
There are two aspects I'd like to go into regarding the issue of the skills we have. The first is the attachment of complacency and the other is the relation between our skills and our cultivation environment.
From Teacher's last lecture in Los Angeles, I understand that the wisdom related to the skills we need to develop has been endowed upon us by Master, and that we can develop them further and further if we let ourselves be guided by Dafa. If we cultivate ourselves well, our skills will also develop well.
I myself have been doing a lot of Dafa work on the computer; it's also my profession and I am convinced that they are the skills I have been given to be able to fulfil my vows in this period of Fa-rectification in order to save sentient beings and cultivate myself. For instance I am pretty skilled not only in graphic design, such as designing flyers and websites, but also in programming. This enables me to produce nice materials quickly, do translation work or write letters and spread the truth on a large scale over e-mail and the Internet. When I look back, from my childhood to now, I see that many events have contributed to the knowledge and skills I have now. I have even developed some skills to a professional level.
Reflecting especially on the last few years of my cultivation, I see much progress in my skills with computers. What I recently realized, and what really became clear to me after recent events, is that we shouldn't become complacent with the skills we have. After setting up a website for the art exhibitions, I was asked to help out with other websites as well. I put a lot of time in it to make something nice out of it and get everything running. In that time I learned a lot. However, when the deadline for publication came near, suddenly a different system was chosen. My design was copied to a large extent, but the technical framework I set up was not used - which is what took most of my time. At that time I didn't realize that I should have looked inside for why it happened this way, after all I put a lot of time in it. I went on with another website and the same thing happened again recently. Again I had put a lot of effort and time in it and just before publication, another system was chosen. Besides that, I picked up a lot of this kind of work lately, whereas I actually wasn't really able to manage it time-wise. Reflecting on this, I think I have been too complacent with myself. I had been too narrow-minded and didn't pay enough attention to signals coming from outside. If I think my skills are better than those of others, I am already wrong. It's like Master tells us in Zhuan Falun:
"If you make Dafa secondary and your divine powers primary, or now that you're Enlightened you think that some understanding or other of yours is correct, or if you even think you're so great you've gone beyond Dafa, I'd say you've started to fall, and you're at risk, and you're getting worse and worse."
My skills may have been significantly improved. However, the purpose of my getting them and developing them is to use them for Dafa, not to validate myself.
Our cultivation environment
Another aspect in relation to our skills and knowledge, is the role they can play in the cultivation environment for which we are responsible.
Before, I used to think that exchanging practical things didn't contribute much to the insights of others or that of my own. I always liked to hear what other practitioners had come to understand, what they enlightened to. Practical things were in my opinion just superficial and accessory. When I joined a Fa study, I often felt a bit disappointed as practitioners would discuss practical things almost every time.
Looking back, I realize that I missed many chances to cultivate myself and improve my cultivation environment. Now I came to the understanding that behind practical things there must be a reasoning as well, which of course should be based on the Fa. The "how" and "why" of every little thing we do in our work to spread the truth and save people has come forth from an understanding of the Fa. I have the idea that exploring these matters together can enable us to come to a right decision quicker and it can help us to handle things more harmoniously. I think that if we could really be open to the insights, suggestions, and approaches brought forward by fellow practitioners, we could accomplish the tasks we have in mind more efficiently. After all, with our different insights, we can view the essential problems from many different angles.
Didn't Master Li teach us that an environment in which we share our experiences and understandings is the best to make fast improvements? I have some skills, you have some skills. If we can learn from each other, we can improve our skills faster and do the work better and more efficiently. It also reminds me a bit of this part in Zhuan Falun:
"Back then school students put value in meditation, they emphasized good posture in sitting, and it was considered important to control the breathing and direct qi when they picked up their brush-pens. People in every line of work made a practice of clearing the mind and adjusting the breathing, and the whole society went by that."
From this I sense a certain coherency. What is referred to here could be a kind of cultivation environment. I compare it for instance to a project meeting for Dafa. First we read Fa together, clean up our minds and prepare for the meeting. After studying the Fa we work out an approach for a certain project. Because we cleaned our minds first, we created harmony, which allows us to come to a right approach or decision in an efficient way. With the Dutch translation group, we had a meeting like this several times and I could see that there obviously was a significant boost with regard to the quantity and quality of our work, including the related results. When we skip Fa study and go straight to the practical things right away, the results turn out to be less good.
The relation between applying and improving our skills to save people and how we contribute to our cultivation environments, be it a local group, a national group or a certain project team, the success of it all can, as I see it, all be traced back to a good understanding and application of the Fa. The Fa nourishes and purifies our righteous thoughts. The basis of everything we do is Fa study and self cultivation. These enable us to have righteous thoughts at all times, which in turn enables us to overcome the difficulties we encounter in our work for Dafa, in spreading the truth calmly and successfully.
I am looking forward to hearing more of your suggestions, ideas and insights in this last phase of Fa-rectification.