Cultivating Well to Save Sentient Beings
Greetings, Esteemed Teacher! Greeting, fellow practitioners!
I am a Washington D.C. Falun Gong practitioner. Over the past few years, I overcame many tribulations and shortcomings. I would like to share some of my experiences and hope we can learn from each other. I also hope we can improve together and become more diligent.
1. Overcoming Low Self-Esteem to Play the Role of a Goddess
There were three shows for the 2006 New York NTDTV New Year's Gala. Fifteen thousand tickets had to be sold within two months. We were short of help for this undertaking. Therefore, I decided to stay in New York and sell tickets. My English is not that good, but I thought I could join fellow practitioners who dressed up as Chinese goddesses. I could carry their bags, so that they could distribute flyers. I would hand them flyers whenever the need arose.
When I arrived at the first gathering of the "goddess team," I expected many young beautiful female practitioners. I was speechless when I saw only two female practitioners getting their makeup done. I asked, "Where is everybody? Am I late? Have they already left to promote the Gala?" The coordinator told me, "There are only three of us. Why don't you put on a goddess costume?" I envisioned a "goddess actress" to be about 18-20 years old and tall and slender. How could someone chubby and old like I play a goddess? I would make a fool of myself. I had not expected to play a goddess. I came here to help carry bags holding the flyers. Besides, I couldn't possibly fit into the small dress.
The coordinator told me, "This dress has a big waistline. It should fit you. There are only the three of us. Don't worry. Just wear it." I thought, "That's true. There is no time to find more practitioners. Countless sentient beings are waiting for us. Two goddesses are not enough. Why don't I just bite the bullet and get on with it?" I put on the dress and the belt. Alas, the belt was two inches short and had to be held together with a safety pin. With the green belt contrasting with the red dress, the problem with the belt's inadequate length became obvious. Looking in the mirror, I saw the chubby mother of a goddess. How could I walk out the door looking like this? I felt so embarrassed that tears welled up in my eyes. I thought to myself, "If not for saving sentient beings, I would never wear anything that shows my big figure." The coordinator tried to comfort me. She said, "We will wear an overcoat and nobody will be able to tell." That's true. I felt a little bit better. I put on my overcoat. Now nobody would notice the problem with the belt.
We put on makeup and a wig of the Tang dynasty style. We were now four goddesses. We each carried a large bag holding a laptop and a lot of gala flyers. The minute we stepped out the door, someone asked us for a gala flyer. Everywhere we went, people looked at us curiously, greeted us merrily and asked for a gala flyer.
New York City in November was bone-chillingly cold. We arrived at 34th Street in Manhattan. It was the Christmas shopping season, and the street was packed with shoppers. Nearly everyone looked as us. We were so different from all the others. Everyone was excited when they received a gala flyer. It was as if he or she had won a jackpot. Within two hours all the flyers were distributed. We were freezing. As I had tasted the success of promoting the gala by playing "goddess mother," I decided to help out again.
To promote the gala, a Taiwanese practitioner choreographed a simple dance. A few female practitioners in costumes performed the dance outside Radio City Music Hall, the venue of the 2006 New York Gala. People applauded enthusiastically at the performance. I went to Radio City Music Hall in the costume to distribute gala flyers. A fellow practitioner suggested I remove my overcoat to show the beautiful goddess costume underneath. But how could I take off my security blanket? My overcoat covered the problem with the belt. I finally agreed to take off the coat, even though, I felt very unsure and self-conscious of my waistline. I decided to cross the street and stand with my back against the wall so that no one could see my back. But, a practitioner came running up and shouted loudly, "Hey! Your belt has burst open!" Oh, my goodness. Speaking of embarrassment. That evening I was haunted by fear. What should I do tomorrow? Do I wear my black overcoat? If I don't wear it, everyone would notice the belt was too small for my waist. Then I decided, "I must not compromise my effort to save sentient beings because of my figure. Since I had agreed to play a goddess, I must wear the goddess costume." Once I rectified my thought, I had an idea. I could move the ends of the belt to the front, cover the opening with a large and beautiful flower, and make it look like an accessory.
In those two months in New York, I wore the goddess costume and a large flower on my belt daily. I distributed gala flyers with fellow practitioners every day. We went to many places, including subway stations, business districts, theater entrances, public squares, and plazas. We even stood next to a large Christmas tree. I distributed about a thousand flyers daily. People took pictures standing next to us, including New York City policemen. It was as though we were celebrities or stars. Many people asked me if I would perform at the gala and promised to see our show. After promoting tickets for the New York Gala, I returned to Washington, D.C. to promote the DC Gala. Before I knew it, I no longer needed the flower. I had lost weight and could buckle up the belt.
The experience of promoting gala tickets in New York made me realize that we had played many different roles during our long history. Our goal was to build a foundation for today's people to obtain the Fa. In order to save sentient beings, we are now playing different roles again in everyday people's society. Everything we have done has one goal: to assist Teacher in the Fa-rectification and save sentient beings. This is an unprecedented honor. Why did I feel embarrassed about the way I looked? I felt embarrassed about my figure because I thought like an everyday person. I thought selfishly and cared about my image. A firefighter would not care about the kind of water bucket he is carrying when he is trying to put out a fire. Our mission is to save sentient beings. I must let go of self. When I am required to play a goddess, I must wear a goddess' costume. When I am required to dress up and look beautiful, I must dress up and look the part.
2. Searching Inward Unconditionally
Once, DC practitioners had a meeting. My husband and I were supposed to bring some items. We had planned to leave early, but the phone would ring each time we were leaving home and we were asked to bring another item. Finally, we arrived at the meeting with a dozen items. But, we were ten minutes late. I had expected people to greet us cheerfully and thank us for bringing these items. But, as soon as I entered the door, a practitioner came at me with a long face. "You live the nearest to this place, but you are the last person to arrive. What have you been doing? Why couldn't you leave home early?" I was completely dumbfounded and speechless. I didn't talk back. I just couldn't find the words. For days I felt very unhappy. It was not my fault that we were late. We were repeatedly asked to bring additional items at the last minute. How could I not be late? I felt falsely accused and misunderstood. I kept thinking how I should have responded. Alas, it was too late. I am not a quit wit or a smart mouth. I thought that maybe I should have prepared some malicious responses when criticized or wrongly accused. My head was filled with different mock battles and scenarios. After two days, I finally calmed down. What was I thinking the past two days? I looked at my fellow practitioner's faults and completely forgot to search within and identify my attachments. This is not the mentality of a cultivator. After all, she was trying to be responsible for the valuable time of all practitioners in DC. She was not thinking of herself, but I only looked for her faults. I suddenly remembered what Teacher said in Zhuan Falun.
"Eating meat or not is not itself the purpose--the key is to give up that attachment." ("The Issue of Eating Meat" in Lecture Seven of Zhuan Falun)
I suddenly understood that it did not matter who was at fault. The key is to identify and eliminate my attachment that caused the conflict. Teacher said,
"Whenever you encounter problems you should each look inward to search for the cause within, regardless of whether you're to blame or not. Remember my words: Regardless of whether the problem is your fault or not, you should look inside yourself, and you will find a problem." ("Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe")
After I simmered down, I realized that I had expected recognition and praise for what I did or contributed. I validated myself, not the Fa. I went to the meeting, hoping for a pat on the back. This is why I encountered a xinxing conflict. The conflict hinted at my problem. No matter how much we have done, we are only fulfilling our obligation. Doing things in exchange for a pat on the back is a human attachment. How can I take this human thought to Heaven? Isn't it a rope that keeps me from sailing to Heaven?
3. Put the Fa First in Everything
Once I stayed up to make posters for an anti-torture exhibit held the next day. I had to drive to a practitioner's home in the middle of the night to laminate the posters. The coordinator of the exhibit called me. She told me that they were getting ready for the anti-torture exhibit in the park at 6:00 a.m., but the key was locked inside the truck along with the torture props. She needed my spare key and asked me to deliver it right away. Judging from her tone, I felt she was blaming me, and it was my punishment to deliver the key immediately. I was enraged. She should have told me earlier or picked up the key last night. But she called me at 6:05 a.m. and told me that everyone had arrived at 6:00 a.m. and was waiting for me to deliver the key. It would take 30 minutes to get there if there was no traffic jam. I was extremely reluctant to deliver the key. I felt I would be admitting fault. I tried to find all kinds of excuses not to go there myself. The posters were needed in the afternoon, so I had to go home right away to cut the laminated posters. I had no other choice but to deliver the key because the morning exhibit depended on it. Finally I decided to ask my husband to deliver the key. Although my husband agreed to do it, I felt unsure at heart. The exit to my home was getting close. It would take at least 20 more minutes for my husband to take the spare key. More importantly, I was avoiding the xinxing conflict. I did not want to pass the test. Teacher said,
"A Dafa disciple should put the Fa first in everything he does--whenever you evaluate something you have to consider the Fa first." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston")
I asked myself, "Why did her attitude bother me so much? It appeared as if I would only cooperate with her if she treated me nicely. I would refuse to cooperate with her if she was spiteful. Was my thought on the Fa? If I could deliver the key right away, fellow practitioners could start the anti-torture exhibit right away. Regardless who is at fault, it is more important to save sentient beings. Who am I doing this for? The coordinator? If I refuse to deliver the spare key or arrive there late, who would suffer the loss? The Fa would suffer the loss. Who would take delight in the loss? The demons would be delighted. I reinforced my main consciousness and cleansed my thoughts. I drove directly to the park. I felt worry-free and carefree. When I arrived at the park, the coordinator came to me with a big smile on her face as though nothing had happened.
4. Waking up People's Conscience in Internet Chat Rooms
For the past few years I have been clarifying the truth to Chinese people on the Internet. This is one method to clarify the truth to Chinese people directly. I have been doing a lot of truth-clarification on a one-on-one basis. It is more challenging to clarify the truth to a group of people in an on-line chat room. In a group, everyone is affected by the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) poisonous lies differently. They know the truth about Falun Gong to different extents. Besides, the on-line chat rooms are infested with Chinese Internet police.
For the first time, I chose a chat room where they were discussing democracy and tyranny. I suggested that disintegrating the CCP and withdrawing from the CCP would bring about democracy in China. One of the people in the chat room was opposed to my opinion. The host sent me a text message: "Don't sit there and just listen. Some of them have misunderstandings or they don't know the truth. Please tell them the truth." I didn't know the host, but I knew it was a hint. However, I felt as if my head was empty. I didn't know where to begin or how to change the topic to Falun Gong. Anxiety emptied my brain of all thoughts. I immediately called a fellow practitioner, asking him to get into the chat room. However, he was not at home and told me he couldn't be at home for another 30 minutes. I was on my own! I looked at the screen, "Please tell them the truth." I could feel these sentient beings were waiting to hear the truth. I remembered Teacher's words. Teacher said,
"So in clarifying the truth, don't wait, don't rely on others, and don't just hope for changes in external factors." ("To All Students at the Nordic Fa Conference" in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
You are Gods, and you are the future rulers of different cosmoses, so who would you count on? All the beings are counting on you!" ("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.")
Sentient beings are counting on me. How could I count on others? Besides, haven't I joined this chat room to clarify the truth? Don't I fear to speak in public because I have so many attachments that haven't been given up? I picked up the microphone and started to clarify the truth. I felt as though I was teaching the Fa to my sentient beings. No other thought interfered with me. I began by explaining to them about the CCP's corruption and degeneration. I suggested that restoring mankind's morality was the only solution to this problem. Next I told them how Jiang Zemin has destroyed people's morality and conscience. I talked about how he has been persecuting over one hundred million kindhearted people that believe in Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. Applause, flower bouquets and signatures from my audience kept popping up on my computer screen. I knew Teacher was encouraging me. The host sent me another message: "Continue to clarify the truth." Next I told them about the CCP's endless litany of crimes against Falun Gong practitioners over the past seven years. I spoke of the torture, abuses, murders and even organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. By the time I stopped talking, some of them took my side and supported me. The host sent me another message: "Please continue." Now, the practitioner I had asked to help had arrived at home. He joined this chat room. We cooperated with each other well and continued to clarify the truth until dawn.
Every person I have met in Internet chat rooms has a different type of predestined relationship with me. A lot of them have not heard about the trend to withdraw from the CCP or the truth about Falun Gong. Some have heard about them, but were skeptical. Some are completely in denial. Direct conversations gave me an opportunity to address their doubts and untie their knots.
A policemen who arrested Falun Gong practitioners wanted to arrest me first. He said if people practice Falun Gong, he would arrest them. I feel lots of policemen don't know the truth. They are deceived and know nothing about Falun Gong. They did many wrong thing under the CCP's lies. After I clarified the truth to him, he understood the truth. He also voluntarily let me help him write a statement to withdraw from the CCP, and all organizations related to the CCP. He changed his user name in the Internet chatting rooms as New Life. At last, he said: "I will not arrest you. I will invite you to have a meal. I know Falun Gong practitioners are good people. I will protect Falun Gong practitioners in secret now."
After I analyzed the CCP's crimes to a schoolteacher, he decided to have his daughter withdraw her application to join the CCP.
A Chinese woman found the statistics incredible, but she ended up withdrawing from the CCP and asked to get a copy of Zhuan Falun.
After withdrawing from the CCP's Youth League, a husband helped his wife and children withdraw from the CCP. He not only finished reading Zhuan Falun, but also helped his entire family obtain the Fa. His family and he now study the Fa and practice Falun Gong exercises daily. He even started to clarify the truth about Falun Gong.
Stories like these happen every day. A man asked me to pass these words to other Falun Gong practitioners: "Please accept my gratitude for those Falun Gong practitioners who have been clarifying the truth on the Internet, especially the Taiwanese practitioners. You must persevere."
Let's study the Fa well, cultivate ourselves well, assist Teacher in His Fa-rectification and save sentient beings.
Thank you, Teacher. Thank you all.