Cultivation in the Divine Land Marching Band
(Clearwisdom.net) I'd like to share my cultivation experience in the Korean Divine Land Marching Band over the past year. During events on July 20, 2006, at Jongmyo Park in Seoul, I saw the magnificent Divine Land Marching Band and listened to their music for the first time. The music was so wonderful that tears trickled down my face. From then on, I had a wish to join the band.
Then, when I attended the 2006 Fa conference in Washington, DC, I was in awe once again by the grandeur of the Divine Land Marching Band in the parade, and again couldn't hold back my tears. Now that I think about it, maybe their music reminded me of the ancient oath I made. Once I returned to Korea, I made a decision to join the band .
Back in Korea, the band coordinator welcomed me with open arms. I chose to play the bass drum as the band was short of bass drum players. Because I had never done this before, I didn't know how to play it or even read music. So I spent much time and effort listening to the band's recordings. At first, I couldn't recognize any sound of the bass drum in the recordings. I became very anxious. Then I realized I should calm down. I asked Teacher to help me to catch up in my musical performance compared to other practitioners in the band. When I overcame this emotion of anxiety, the sounds of the bass drum became louder and louder. Then, by comparing the recordings with the music scores, I could learn to play. After practicing for a week, I taught three other practitioners how to play. Very soon, we could play like the American practitioners. I realized that as long as our hearts are pure, Teacher can help us with anything.
The process of practice and performance is the same as the process of practitioners validating the Fa and saving sentient beings. Through learning to play an instrument, I had many opportunities to improve my xinxing. As part of the bass drum section, I often felt I was the best. So there was always a tiny part of me wanting to instruct and command others. Sometimes this had an impact on the band's performance during parades.
Once, during a parade, I asked the three other practitioners in my row to follow my pace, but they didn't listen to me and kept walking at a fast pace. I asked them again, but they didn't even look at me. I started to feel uneasy and even angry. I thought, "How could they behave like that. We should walk slowly for practitioners behind us to follow." After the parade, practitioners behind us complained that I walked too fast. They didn't know it wasn't me.
With my heart moved and righteous thoughts diminishing, my drum performance was not as good as usual. After I got home, I thought it over. Teacher told us to look inward when conflicts occur. After looking inward, I found I had some very bad attachments, including the mentality of feeling above others and showing off, and a competitive mentality. I let down my fellow practitioners in the bass drum section. I felt ashamed of my attachments but was determined to get rid of them and do better next time.
During this process, I realized the importance of being one body. Even if some practitioners can't play very well at first, we can't complain or blame them, we should do whatever we can to help. When I had conflicts with people around me, I found out that most times I was the cause of the problem, because I did not cultivate well. If I didn't have attachments or areas to work on, the conflicts wouldn't happen. Often, I saw conflicts between band members, which made me wonder why they happened in front of me. It was because I had the same xinxing issues as the practitioners in the conflicts, and the same kind of problems existed in our team. I realized that when we always maintain a heart of benevolence and compassion, we will have time and room to deal with the confrontation.
For a while, my drum didn't sound as loud as it used to, so I tried to adjust its screws. But it didn't improve no matter what I tried. After talking with other practitioners, I realized it was my cultivation state that needed improvement. I was surprised that I was looking outward for solutions again. Actually, my cultivation state had lingered at the same level for too long. I didn't study the Fa or do the exercises everyday. Teacher has emphasized the importance of Fa study many times. The reason that we don't do well in many things is that we don't study the Fa well. I believe if we study the Fa well, there is nothing we cannot handle well.
Now I realize more and more the importance of Fa study. Although I knew it before, it was more of a superficial understanding. By having more of a rational outlook on this issue, and with more Fa study, my cultivation state gradually improved. Also, the sound of my drum became loud again.
I found that the state of our mind is very important no matter what we do. We have performed at several parades on rainy or cloudy days, and many times the rain stopped right before our performance. But one time when we played on a beach, the rain didn't stop like I thought it would. I didn't realize that I was pleading for the rain to stop. I also wanted to show off, knowing that the rain always stopped before the Divine Land Marching Band's performance. From this experience I now know that our state of mind is so important. We should always regard saving sentient beings as our first priority.
When we played on Yeouido Island, I only had one thought--to save sentient beings! That event lasted for a long time, but I didn't feel tired at all. Just the opposite--I felt better and better. My arms swung effortlessly, and the sound was very good, too. I realized that Teacher helped me and took the burden off me. Whenever I felt sore and tired during parades, Teacher always helped me get through it.
Now I feel, more than ever, the importance of the Divine Land Marching Band in validating the Fa and saving sentient beings, as well as the joy of cultivating in the band. I am very proud to be a member!