Ten Months in the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra
Greetings, Fellow Practitioners!
I'm a practitioner from Korea. I am currently a violinist in the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra.
When I first began practicing Dafa with my father, I didn't know what cultivation or Falun Gong was. In 1999, when the persecution of Falun Gong was covered in the Korean newspapers, many Koreans thought that since Falun Gong was persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), there must be something special about it. As a result, many people were asking about it and were interested in learning the practice. Therefore, we started an outdoor practice site, and I began introducing Dafa to people and teaching them the exercises. In this way, I started to practice.
I didn't like being in the public eye, but since no one else was able to demonstrate the exercises, I had no choice. With more and more people practicing Dafa in Korea, we often went to experience sharing conferences in other parts of Korea or overseas. We met many other practitioners, and I developed a deeper understanding of Dafa and cultivation. I also felt that I was doing rather poorly in cultivation.
I was a college student, and I was busy with the school orchestra at that time, so I spent little time and effort on cultivation. I was a practitioner on the surface but actually didn't cultivate well.
During the 2001 Fa conference in Washington, DC, I saw Master for the first time in my life. I did not know why, but tears kept running down my face. After the Fa conference, I decided to cultivate diligently. However, upon returning to Korea, I start slacking off. Originally I planned to do better in cultivation after graduation. By then, however, I had a lot of orchestral performances and was teaching students, so I became even busier.
At that time, I heard about the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra. I thought that if I could play in the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra, how wonderful it would be! Since I was a member of an orchestra, plus had teaching jobs, I had a stable life, both socially and financially. It was not easy for me to let go of this and go to the US. One big concern was the language barrier, and I was also afraid because, although I wanted to join the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra, I had never lived away from my parents before and I couldn't imagine leaving my family and starting a new life.
Several months later, less than one month before the Fa conference in Washington DC, my father said that he had received a phone call from the US, suggesting that I try staying with the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra for a month after the Washington, DC, Fa conference. If things turned out well, I could stay. I agreed without even thinking about it. But my father told me it was part of cultivation, so I needed to take it seriously and make the decision myself.
When I heard the name "Divine Performing Arts Orchestra," I felt it was the last chance Master was giving me. I felt that if I lost this opportunity, I would regret it forever. Although I had not been diligent in the past, Master nonetheless gave me this opportunity, and I was very grateful.
So, I decided to go. I was thinking that even a single thought of not going would be letting Master down. In fact, I did not have any other thoughts in my mind except going. There were only ten days before the Washington, DC, Fa conference, and it was not easy to settle everything at home prior to leaving. I had originally planned to get married at the end of the year. I was going to be away from the orchestra where I had been a member, as well as from the students that I had taught for a long time.
I hurried to get organized, and meanwhile I also examined myself. After confirming with my father that I was indeed able to join the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra, I submitted my resignation to the orchestra in Korea. I also told my students about my plans and talked with my fiancé. Although several months earlier it had seemed like a difficult prospect, now everything was ready only two days after I received the notice from the US. When I thought about how Teacher was helping me, my heart was deeply moved.
In late July 2007, after attending the Washington Fa conference, I went to New York with other Korean practitioners. In the evening, after other Korean practitioners left, I went up to the mountain and got a ride to the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra dorm and spent my first night there.
On the following day, on the way to rehearsal after lunch, I was in tears when I saw the pond. Practitioners were saying that you would feel as if you were in heaven upon arriving at Dragon Springs Temple. But I wasn't sure how things would turn out, and I couldn't understand what the others were talking about. Could I make it, I wondered? My heart was heavy.
Starting on the second day, my roommates helped me settle in just like older sisters might, and I began to get familiar with life there. Every day we spent half a day helping with things on the mountain and the other half practicing music. In everyday society, a music professional does not need to do physical work, but other orchestra members, including the female members, didn't seem bothered by it. Seeing their happy faces, I was wondering when I could become as good as they.
On the weekends, we all got together to rehearse. The orchestra members were from many different places with different backgrounds. Although most of them had to travel five or ten hours for the rehearsal, they did not seem to be tired. From morning to evening, we practiced one piece of music after another. During the breaks, we did the exercises and then continued practicing. After lunch, we had group Fa-study. We took turns reading in Chinese, English, and Korean. I was the only one who read in Korean. I appreciated the consideration of the conductor and other members of the orchestra.
When playing the music, I realized that every piece of Dafa music was so wonderful. At the beginning, I did not put much effort into practicing the pieces, thinking that they were very simple. But seeing other orchestra members working so hard practicing, I asked myself, "Why do they put so much effort into these simple pieces of music?" When I really put my heart into them, I felt it was indeed not so simple. Every note was a manifestation of Teacher's Fa. After realizing this was the way we saved sentient beings, I felt guilty for my previous ignorance and arrogance.
In an everyday orchestra, practicing over and over again is boring. But our music is different. Every time I practiced, the pieces seemed new and fresh. Every time I thought that I needed to practice with righteous thoughts.
Starting in September, we needed to start doing dress rehearsals, so every day we had to spend half a day sewing costumes for the dancers. All the costumes for the two dance companies, from the decorative elements to the actual clothes, were handmade, so there was lots of work. At the beginning, we sewed small decorative items. We had to sew them one by one, and our eyes easily got tired. Plus we were not used to this kind of work, so it was difficult. Other practitioners were chatting as they did these things, and they seemed very happy. Because of the language barrier, I could only work. Sometimes I felt lonely and a little depressed. When that happened, I would remind myself it was a cultivation process. In this way, I readjusted my way of thinking.
It was rather embarrassing when others misunderstood me and I was unable to explain myself due to the language barrier. I could only find a place and cry. After this happened several times, I started to look within. Every nation and ethnic group has its traditions and customs. Insisting on doing things my way, made it easy to cause misunderstandings. Therefore, I became more self-disciplined and those problems disappeared.
There were many areas that I could improve on. Very often I eliminated one attachment, another one emerged. For example, I felt as if my life was very tiring, but when I looked at the practitioners around me, they were working a hundred or a thousand times harder than I, but they were always smiling, especially the young dancers. Every day they practiced from early morning to the late evening, which was very exhausting. In order to stretch their legs, they had to bear lots of pain. They encouraged each other and practiced together. Watching these young practitioners and examining myself, I felt very ashamed, and I no longer felt tired.
Finally it was September, and I played in the Divine Performing Arts show in Toronto, Canada. During the rehearsal, while listening to the piano introduction to the song Holy Law-Wheel King, or Chakravartin, an image of Teacher's hard work came into my mind. I was very touched and was in tears. I could not understand Chinese, but I was able to follow most of the lyrics in the song. I deeply understood why I came to join the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra and how I could save sentient beings.
During the shows, in addition to individual practice every day, we also had group Fa-study and exercises. When we needed to travel a long distance by bus, we studied the Fa on the bus. During breaks, we got off the bus and did a set of exercises.
Little by little, I was able to understand some common Chinese words. Still I could not understand in-depth discussions, and this upset me. But the orchestra members explained these discussions to me using the Chinese words that I could understand, or using English words that I could understand. I was no longer lonely, since I was no longer "deaf."
Every time before the show began, the orchestra members would get together to send forth righteous thoughts and recite Hong Yin. We would then start the performance.
At the beginning, when orchestra members recited Hong Yin, I kept silent. Later, I felt I needed to recite it with them in Chinese, so I asked other orchestra members to teach me word by word. I am now able to recite several poems of Hong Yin that we often recite together. When orchestra members recited Lunyu, I felt it would be better to recite it with them in Chinese. Although I am still not very fluent, I am now able to recite Lunyu.
When on tour with the performances in the US and Europe, the response from the audiences was very strong. After the shows, the audience would stand up and applaud for a long time. They seemed unwilling to let us leave. Looking at the audience members, I really hoped they would be saved, and I was almost in tears. It may have looked strange to others for orchestra members to be in tears, so I held them back. After the show I heard that other orchestra members had similar feelings. I felt we were one body.
When we were performing in Belgium, I heard that the Divine Performing Arts New York company had very successful shows in Seoul, Korea, but that the shows in Pusan were canceled. I could not believe this and was very sad.
What kind of loopholes could exist in Korea? Such an important Fa-rectification opportunity was missed in Pusan, so what could we do now? There was indeed some difficulty in holding shows in Pusan, but I believed that Korean practitioners could come together as one to overcome them. After hearing news of the cancellation, I could not calm down during the performance, but I believed Master would arrange everything. While helping Teacher with Fa-rectification, I realized I could not be too attached to this ethnic group, that is, Korean people. When thinking this way, my heart gradually calmed down, and I was able to focus on the performances themselves.
I later heard that five shows were to be presented in my hometown of Daegu. I could not believe it and was very grateful to Master. Through this, I came to understand that everything is under the control of Master and we cannot judge things on the surface, based on human notions. We need to eliminate our human notions and remain undisturbed, no matter what. We need to have faith in Master and walk our paths well.
When performing at the last stop in Sweden, Master enabled me to enlighten to new things. During those shows, I became a lead player and also had solos during some sections. I had the burden of playing absolutely error-free performances. After the first show, my roommates on the tour told me it seemed that I had been somewhat nervous. I heard Master once ask the solo singers why they were nervous when they are saving sentient beings? From then on, I often remember these words when I play. My heart also gradually calmed down.
When other orchestra members were lead players, I played my instrument without pressure. While performing as a lead player, the sense of responsibility and mission lifted me to a new level of righteous thoughts. Before that, I thought I had been diligent with righteous thoughts, but I now realized that my righteous thoughts had not been strong enough.
The tour in the US and Europe is now over. Practitioners in various countries overcame lots of difficulty to do the preparatory work so that Divine Performing Arts could have a convenient and comfortable setting, and we are very grateful. This makes me feel more that practitioners around the world are one body. Here I want to express my gratitude again.
Since we went on tour, I can now understand some Chinese. It is actually easier for me to understand Chinese than English translations. In the past, due to the language barrier, I tended to avoid talking with others. Now, I feel like part of the family with other orchestra members and other people at the mountain. Whenever I have time, I go to the pond to study the Fa or do the exercises. The feeling I once had in my new environment of being lost is now totally gone.
Here I also want to thank the other orchestra members and practitioners at the mountain who have given me so much help. I am thankful to Master for giving me the opportunity to save sentient beings despite my many shortcomings.
Master, I promise I will walk my path well until the end.
Thank you, Master!
Thank you, fellow practitioners!