Doing Well in Fa-Rectification Cultivation
Greetings revered Teacher! Greetings fellow practitioners!
I'm from Toronto, Canada. Like many practitioners helping out with the media, especially those directly involved in media operations, I often ponder how to bring our newspaper into a positive cycle. I'd like to share my understandings with you, starting from the very beginning as a conscientious and hardworking volunteer, to developing a sense of teamwork and co-ordination, until the latest thoughts about our global advantages and putting everyone's efforts together in making our newspaper a professional media giant.
Teacher said, "Everyone has sought to make a breakthrough with the advertising and get into a positive cycle. That's my wish as well, and it is the wish of all students who help run the media, and they have been working toward that." (Teaching the Fa in the city of Los Angeles, 2006)
I've always felt that Teacher has taught the Fa regarding our newspaper in clear and precise terms. It's merely that we have not been able to carry things out. When my heart is very pure, I can feel the tremendous power of Fa-rectification. As long as we go with the flow, we will put in a small effort but have an enormous impact.
At the Toronto office, our advertisement department has begun to take shape, with close to 10 full time salespeople. During the weekday, our day starts with reading one chapter of Zhuan Falun each morning. Oftentimes we work until midnight. We use the weekends to study the Fa and share our experiences.
Our media's advantages goes without saying. The future is ours. Even though we face many difficulties, including individual matters and those involving the media team overall. Sometimes it seems there are many conflicts and difficult problems. Nevertheless, we still sit together to study the Fa and share understandings. We all agree that the key problem is in our cultivation. Therefore, creating a Fa-study environment is the key. During Fa-study, our thoughts are in harmony, our hearts are inter-linked, and our true selves on the other side communicate with each other as well. I feel that we have been walking hand-in-hand, supporting one another through the past several years of cultivation in the Fa-rectification period.
It has always been a test for me, as to how to cooperate well with practitioners from other projects, particularly within the media projects. Sometimes, I have had to just clench my teeth and have faith in Teacher to get through it. It has not been easy for me to understand why fellow practitioners would switch to other projects for whatever reason. While I confront challenges with a positive attitude, I have a hard time understanding other practitioners' pessimism. When I think about it now, certain cultivation states of practitioners may be caused by characteristics of their own worlds, or influences from their upbringing. Even if some practitioners are no longer directly participating in our media work, all the thought they used to put into it and all the pressure they have endured were really immense; those were certainly not easy matters. Those practitioners who have stayed involved have also accompanied me through some very trying times. If one day our media becomes fruitful, these people will have been the early troops who didn't shrink from the toil and hardship of laying the groundwork.
The overseas practitioners have undertaken many projects, including several media projects. What we lack most are sales and marketing people. I did not work in this industry before, but I unwittingly grew to become heavily involved in the newspaper operations. Now several years have passed. When Toronto was hosting the Chinese New Year Spectacular, although my work of selling advertisements for the paper was very time consuming, I started pondering how we could get sponsorships for the show. Later we cleverly merged the two endeavors together. Last year, our Toronto Spectacular event received an extra brand new car from a sponsor. For this year's spectacular, we attracted more cash sponsors and media sponsors. We have established connections with many world-renowned brand names, and accumulated quite a bit of experience dealing with large corporations. Among other things, I could truly see that the influence of our media is now completely different. Our events are truly soul-stirring for our audiences. However, I could only feel a sense of guilt: our marketing work really needs to be done a lot better before it can match the caliber of our event.
Looking for sponsorship is also a process of cultivation. In the course of working on this, my sense of inertia was exposed. My wishful thinking was something to the effect of: I would make the arrangements with clients and meet them along with my partner, who should get the deals signed. How light and pleasant that thinking was! One time, I met a client at a golf course. At our routine marketing brief, I analyzed that this client could be a potential sponsor. Everyone agreed with my suggestion. Later a western practitioner and I drove over to discuss the idea with the client. The practitioner is a professional salesman and a native English speaker. During the meeting, I hardly said anything, as I am usually not a talkative person anyway. Although the initial discussion on sponsorship went well, the client unexpectedly turned us down. This was a big client, but I didn't take it as a serious matter in the beginning. At a sharing with a fellow practitioner, she seriously pointed out, "Maybe this deal is meant for you to cover; you should not have just let it be. Language and experience are a small part of the process. You can't just write it off without giving it a try at least." My instinct told me that this client was deeply connected with me and that our encountering each other was not accidental. Through me, this life may have the chance to know Dafa. I looked into myself and started to put some effort into trying to get the sponsorship again. I called on everyone not to give up and to support me with righteous thoughts. I went about contacting some individuals associated with the client and tried to present the best features of our paper. Thus, after talking to them back and forth, we obtained two verbal promises, but they were again turned down shortly after. Later I contacted the client in person. I talked with her about our media and about Chinese culture. I explained to her how sponsoring our activities would be a case of what Chinese call a "discerning eye spotting the pearl". In the end we got the deal. In a recent meeting, this sponsor smiled at me as soon she saw me and again expressed how happy she was about sponsoring the event and her willingness to sponsor it in upcoming years.
However, the Fa has its requirements for practitioners. Teacher says in his article "A Dialogue with Time": " ... they always compare themselves with humans and with their own past, but fail to examine themselves with the requirements of the Fa at different levels."
When I am in a poor cultivation state, I often think of an accident I had that affected me deeply. On a snowy Saturday, I was driving to see a potential client for an ad worth 300 Canadian dollars. However, my car spun out of control and collided with a snow plow. The police came and gave me a ticket. The ticket and repair cost me 4800 Canadian dollars. For over a year I was badly shaken and thought I had already given a lot for our cause and thus could take it easy. Eventually I came to realize that I should not draw comparisons with my former self--the one who never did sales and who trembled when talking to strangers. Nor should I compare myself with those who are not doing well in cultivation. Instead, I should compare myself with the Fa, "great" practitioners and the title of "Fa-rectification Dafa disciple." After this year's spectacular event, I have a pronounced sense that the upcoming pressure and battles will be much larger. And thus, correspondingly, the Fa's requirements for Dafa practitioners are higher. While studying the Fa and cultivating myself, I repeatedly think about the following question: "What type of clients can match our global giant media?"
On the surface, our advantages are our network of a globally distributed multi-language newspaper and our collaboration with NTDTV's spectacular show. Compared to other Chinese media, our staff is fluent in English, and thus, we should have no problem communicating with mainstream society. Such strengths leave us little competition in the human world. In other dimensions, the situation speaks for itself. I was very excited by this revelation.
Even if we get an advertisement, our relationship with our clients should be one of a partnership, rather than a simple advertisement. Our Toronto office's nationwide advertisements have already reached an embryonic form. When I had this idea and put it into action, I managed to meet some big potential clients and at the same time, some clients have approached me. When I shared my idea with practitioners in the marketing department, they could also understand the situation. Lately, we have formed teams of two to contact clients, prepare proposals and other meeting materials. It's been pretty busy. We have laid out our goals and taken action accordingly. However, it's easy to talk about, but getting it done is a cultivation process.
On the morning of the latest Western U.S. Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference, I had a very clear dream. In the dream, the coordinator of the global marketing said to me: "You've earned one million dollars. You should no longer solicit advertisements; otherwise, you will be like a saboteur that affects other practitioners." My self in that dream was dumbfounded and then said: "Then I'll go and participate in other Dafa projects." I also said, "I didn't know that I'd earned a million."
I didn't quite understand what the dream meant. I shared it with practitioners and many of them suggested I just ignore it, saying it could be interference. I looked inside myself - it could be an unknowing attachment of pride; a test to see whether I have a pursuit of fame after achieving success in a project; or a hidden attachment of wanting to bail out while I still "look good" when the going gets tough and my will wavers. Whatever the explanation, I believed that I should just let go of these attachments. Worldly things are not what we are after; validating Dafa and saving beings are our glory. Coming back to my point, I believe that we should regard the Fa as teacher. Teacher says in his poem "Steadfast," in Hong Yin II:
"The awakened esteem what is beyond this world
The devout cultivator sets his heart on Consummation
When great is the ordeal, keep steadfast
The will to be diligent never bowed"
If this is what the Fa requires of us, then I have no choice. With this thought, I have found that I have many more ideas for how to do well the things that I'm responsible for, as well as how to fulfill the sacred vows I once made lifetimes ago.
I feel that validating the Fa through the media projects is not an easy job. Each day, most of the people we face are ordinary people, and when burdened down with the trivial details of our work routines it's often easy to slip up and fall when we're not being attentive. I often cannot hear my cell phone ringing even though the ring volume is turned all the way up. This reflects my being in a restless state, which is not befitting of a practitioner. One of our salesman says that the first thing he does when he gets home are the exercises, for it seems to be the only way to wash off the dirt from the human world.
When I calmly study the Fa at night, I am always reminded of the feeling of attaining the Fa in the early days I had - the solemnity of the oath I took with Teacher far back in time. Thereafter, I have far fewer complaints and undertake my responsibilities while helping to share other's work. When we study the Fa well, are proud of being a Dafa particle and when we are amazed by the grandeur of Dafa, we can consciously form one body when facing hardship and spot great opportunities. I believe the opportunities are right before us.
Thank you, Teacher! Thank you, everyone!