(Li Hongzhi ~ October 17, 2009)
You’ve all worked hard, truly hard. You have traveled a tremendously bumpy path since setting up The Epoch Times newspaper, and the process you have gone through—going from not knowing how to do it to eventually knowing how—has truly been marked by hardship after hardship. It hasn’t been easy working through, step by step, all of the xinxing tests of a personal-cultivation sort as well as the outside interference. The success that The Epoch Times now enjoys is, I think, the product of the collective efforts of each of you seated here as well as those who have been involved at The Epoch Times but couldn’t make it this time. The Epoch Times really has had a major impact in Fa-rectification. You have all seen it. The thinking that human beings have is in fact rather simple. Many people believe whatever the media says, and in the majority of cases it is the media that normally serves as a person’s source of information. As such, this informational mechanism is very useful to you in your efforts to save the people of this world and validate the Fa. And in fact, it really has had a remarkably positive impact in terms of clarifying the truth. For this, I want to thank you on behalf of the world’s people. (Applause)
As The Epoch Times has made its way from its start-up to where it is today, it has become quite influential. This tells us, then, that even though while running the paper people’s cultivation states may have often been inadequate, the main current has been good and made indelible achievements. That’s excellent. And as for its future prospects, things should only get better and better as you continue, and ordinary people will attach ever greater importance to the paper. Many Chinese language media outlets are having a hard time surviving in the current economic recession, with some already having folded. If you can manage to do things a bit better, your paper will grow even faster. Nothing happens by chance. If you do a good job, it’s possible that others will further make way and leave you with a road that, as you are saving sentient beings, is wider [than at present] and your readership will grow. And with such changes, circumstances will be more favorable for your paper’s success. But you have to know to capitalize on this opportunity and think of ways to render your paper more stable, like normal media companies. When your paper first began, you all viewed it as a vehicle for clarifying the truth and didn’t think much further than that. And some people even regarded it like a flyer. Things are of course different now, and you have gradually come to realize that you should no longer harbor the thought that this is just something temporary, and realized that you have to run this paper well and operate it like a normal entity.
I think it would still be good if you could draw upon the experiences of ordinary companies, be it in terms of management or sales and operations. Yet often that proves hard to do. And why is that? It comes down to cooperation. (Laughing) Dafa disciples are all outstanding, and in history you all served as kings (laughing), but, there’s a saying in China, “One mountain isn’t big enough for two tigers.” (Everyone laughs) With just one king, things are easy—whatever he says goes. But wow, here you’ve got so many kings all together, they’re full of ideas and approaches, and each has a strong tendency of wanting to make the decision and have others follow it. This is the biggest challenge that Dafa disciples face when they collaborate together, and it is an obstacle that stems from who you inherently are. Each person here is capable, with some being tremendously capable, and one of you alone can equal the strength of many ordinary persons. But, on the other hand, this spells trouble when it comes to working together. This problem has persisted for a long time now. If you can find a way to cooperate well, to be of one mind, and apply all your strength together in one direction, then, with the abilities you have, you will really be an unstoppable force. So what I’m wondering is, do we have to wait until you’ve cultivated better before you get close to that and increase your [collective] strength? (Laughing) Only if you can manage to do this while things are the most difficult will your situation change fast and will you do a good job with what you are supposed to do.
But time waits for no one, nor do circumstances. Whatever the case, Dafa disciples now must cooperate together well. The situation that you are faced with requires that you cooperate well, for only by cooperating well can you fulfill your pledges well and make this newspaper more powerful. The major media out there in ordinary society are really worth your learning from, be it in terms of management practices or how they do sales and operations. Just by means of a newspaper they are able to provide a livelihood for thousands of people. So how do they do that? And what’s more, the employees at ordinary media outlets—be it an editor, a reporter, or even a pressman—all earn wages on par with what’s normal in society, so the salaries aren’t low. So, what I am thinking is, though you have all given so much of yourselves and gone through the process of learning how to do what you’re doing, along the way you should still be thinking about how to run things better and get more firmly planted in society, such that you will no longer be vexed by issues like printing costs or teamwork. With normal management practices each Dafa disciple would have an allotted role. Having an assigned role, however, does not correlate with how well you have cultivated. It’s not as if whoever is an editor or reporter, or whoever gets the routine tasks, has cultivated well or poorly. There’s no such correlation. You know, in the cultivation world it often used to be that whoever had it toughest, or whoever had the lowest stature, was the one who could cultivate best. Having allotted roles is just about doing different types of work, and it doesn’t correlate with cultivation, it’s not the same. Cultivation is about cultivating one’s heart and mind, and in any setting at any social stratum a person can still cultivate. But, that’s not to say that people in a certain social class can cultivate to high levels while people in some other one cannot. There’s no such thing. Cultivation is a matter of a person’s realm of xinxing as well as how responsible he is about saving sentient beings and what attitude he has towards it.
The same holds true for working on The Epoch Times. It doesn’t matter what work you assume there, none of that represents the height of your cultivation. The only thing that matters is whether or not you are diligent. With cultivation, you know, what Gods and Buddhas look at is simply a person’s heart; they only look at whether or not you are diligent about your own cultivation. In ordinary society, whatever work it is you do or whatever setting you find yourself in, those things are just meant to provide you with a setting for cultivation and different means to enable cultivation. You really need to be clear on this, handle yourself well, and get rid of that human sense of unfairness. When there is a division of labor there will be those who supervise others and those who are supervised. Yet you get upset when someone tries to supervise or direct you. (Laughing) Truth be told, if from the depths of your hearts you all want to see this paper succeed, then it won’t matter much what tone someone uses with you, who directs you, or who you have to be a subordinate to.
When Dafa disciples are together, often what you can least stand is someone directing you to do something. But if you do work in ordinary society at some company, you do whatever your boss tells you; however that ordinary person directs you, you comply. Then how come it doesn’t work like that with our own things? (Laughing) When I spell it out, it’s likely that you will recognize the problem. But when you really encounter such a scenario, and especially when there are conflicts, it’s really hard for you to take. Of course, I realize that there is one other factor that makes us different from an ordinary company. Ordinary companies provide financial compensation right from when you start, and a person’s livelihood depends on it. So, one has to listen to others and pull in a salary, and not heeding others isn’t an option. For the moment, suppose we set aside the historic responsibility that Dafa disciples have of validating the Fa and how priceless cultivation is. Some newer students or students who aren’t that diligent really do have challenges with this, and that’s an objective reality. Since it is human beings who cultivate after all, they cannot overlook the things that they have to deal with as a part of life in normal society. So, what you should do is to manage your paper well and increase its profitability, with everyone formally becoming employees and having normal pay.
You actually have an excellent foundation in place now. It’s such an influential paper, each Dafa disciple is so capable, and you have dedicated yourselves wholeheartedly to this effort. Those issues will be resolved if your market share grows big enough. Put your hearts into addressing this, and truly run the paper well. You need to all think like this and act upon it. Just having a small percentage of people think like this won’t work. You need to all work together. If you can really turn it into a decent company, there won’t be, when you truly achieve that, any more problems of people not wanting to be supervised or trying to make ends meet in their daily lives. If you can run the paper well, you will have a more powerful effect saving sentient beings and validating the Fa.
At present, some regions have broken even financially, with some having made a small profit. That’s very heartening to see. But you can’t stop at that. A lot of coordinators think that it’s good enough if they just break even financially, and they take that as the standard. That’s inadequate, though. Just imagine if all those who are involved didn’t need to go and work at ordinary companies to make ends meet, since your own paper would be providing for them, and they could put all their energy here. If this paper can manage to become a normal workplace in ordinary society, with people getting normal salaries, then wouldn’t you be both doing what Dafa disciples are supposed to do as well as assuring financial security in your life? Wouldn’t that be great?
Actually, I’ve been thinking about this since the day you first began. If you can really achieve that, it would make me the happiest. I don’t have any misgivings about Dafa disciples making big money. I’ll be happy when your businesses grow even bigger and you have ever greater wealth. My only concern is that you won’t achieve this. If you all had great financial means, wouldn’t you have greater strength to draw upon for these things that Dafa disciples do to validate the Fa? Wouldn’t that be outstanding? I have never told you to be like those mountain-dwelling cultivators, who’d rather go penniless. That’s because you cannot be like that when your cultivation is carried out in ordinary human society. I never told you to be like that. Rather, I have always said that Dafa’s cultivation is done in a manner that maximally conforms to the way of ordinary human society. But that said, you mustn’t go to the other extreme now. I’m not telling you to get obsessed with making money from this day forth. (Everyone laughs) It would be a problem if you stopped doing the things that Dafa disciples do. You have to do those things. What’s key is that you now have the right conditions, and you really need to seize the day and run the paper well.
There have always been people who contemplate, “What kind of business can I get into to help support The Epoch Times?” or “What kinds of investments can I take up so as to help The Epoch Times reduce its financial burden?” The thinking behind that isn’t wrong. But what I’m talking about is this: why not put some thought into making things go better for The Epoch Times itself? If you could really make it reach a certain level, wouldn’t you have it all? You can in fact achieve that. When viewed in light of The Epoch Times’s prospects and the current economic situation, indeed, the conditions that you need are being created for you. If you are able to cooperate well in terms of management, really spend more effort on increasing your readership, and can manage to improve your profitability, then you will be able to guarantee a salary for a portion of your staff. And afterwards, when things are managed better and better, you will become an enterprise that has completely normal operations, you will be able to support the paper yourselves, and you will be able to provide for those who are involved. This is fully achievable. In previous years I referred to this as “a goal.” Now I would say that it’s something doable.
At present, some regions have fallen a bit behind. I think the issue is the amount of emphasis you have placed on it. In some places, when students have done a little better they are apt to get complacent. It’s not sufficient for The Epoch Times to just break even, though, and you haven’t thought about how to do better or how to become a regular enterprise that will enable you to have an even greater impact in saving sentient beings and clarifying the truth. That’s what I have been thinking. And the same holds true for NTDTV. A little while ago I told them that they should maintain a stable sales and marketing staff and pay those people a salary, and that it’s okay if the pay is a little low; you need to make sure that those students’ lives are stable so that they can do this work with full focus. That’s what they are now doing, and I have heard that it has gone very well. If you really want to see your paper do even better and have a greater impact, then you too can try that approach if conditions permit and see how it goes.
There are so many things you have to do. You have to do your ordinary job and do it well, you have to manage your family’s affairs, and as Dafa disciples you need to make time for Fa-study and exercises; you also need to clarify the truth, as well as participate in Dafa projects, such as The Epoch Times. So, if clarifying the truth and the task of running a Dafa-disciple media entity could be rolled into one, wouldn’t that help resolve the time constraints that you face? And it would also be resolving the issue of making a living and having a job in ordinary society. What’s not to like about it? I think that this is now imperative. (Laughing) And it’s not as if you have to do something for the first time, for NTDTV has already done this. A similar case is that of the teachers at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts, who were teaching full-time for quite a while such that they too were having their lives affected by it. They are now paid for their work, though it’s rather little. As circumstances gradually get better in conjunction with the expanding impact of Shen Yun’s performances, and as our income improves, their monthly salaries will gradually increase.
Having said this much, I’ll talk about something else. Our students everywhere have really worked hard to sell tickets, so in light of what I just said, I’ve thought about whether we have shortchanged those students who worked on selling the tickets. But the good thing is, you’re all clear that it is done to save people, and that selling a ticket equates to saving a person. So you’re all able to balance these things just fine. And you won’t be asked to do this forever. When Shen Yun Performing Arts’s influence truly spreads widely throughout the world, all you will have to do is run an ad saying that Shen Yun is coming and people will flock to see them. At that point we will be able to pull all of our Dafa disciples out of that role and not worry about ticket sales anymore. We are working hard towards that. Whatever it is I choose to do, I will certainly do it well. The same should hold true for The Epoch Times newspaper. You definitely have to work toward that goal.
You all know about the mischief that secret agents of the wicked CCP make outside of China. When you work on soliciting advertisements, they make calls to try to ruin the deal. When these thugs do that one time, there will be one dose of karmic retribution; and if the sin is great, the payback will be bitter. The people in this world came here for the Fa. If you can really do this work with all due seriousness, then those agents will be just wasting their breath. The key is that you put in the effort, and not just go through the motions. And that’s especially true when you meet with challenges: you need to clarify the truth then, and help people to see the true face of the CCP gang. As long as that rogue regime is still causing trouble, you have to do an even more solid job of exposing it. Those agents of the CCP are nothing really. What’s behind them are possessing rotten demons that were arranged by the old forces, with the goal being to test whether the world’s people could be saved. Once a person’s mind truly takes the right stance, then, with that one sentence or one thought, he is no longer governed by the present, for he is counted among the people of the future. Those thuggish agents will no longer have any power to affect him after that.
As long as you come into contact with someone, you are doing something to save him—including when you solicit advertisements. Which side a person stands on, and whether he will make it—these are all things placed along the way as Dafa disciples go about interfacing with ordinary people in various capacities, and you shouldn’t attach too much importance to those activities in and of themselves. The bigger you perceive the challenges to be, the harder things will be to carry out, since “the appearance stems from the mind.” And so the task will become increasingly burdensome. When I say “the appearance stems from the mind,” by that I also mean that the difficulty stems from your overstating the importance of the matter itself and seeing yourself in a lesser light. Don’t take any such things to be a big deal, for with something as significant as saving sentient beings you should just do what you are supposed to do, going about it in a composed manner. When you encounter things that don’t sound so good or that aren’t what you hoped for, don’t take it to heart, and just nobly and confidently do what you are supposed to. If you don’t let the evil’s interference sway you, bad factors won’t arise from you, the evil will become trivial, you will become towering and massive, and your righteous thoughts will be ample. That’s truly the case.
There is a lot of hidden meaning contained in [China’s] semi-divine culture, and that also holds true for the old expression “the appearance stems from the mind.” Because each person covers a certain expanse of his own in the world around him, his emotional state will have a bearing on his affairs. That’s even more the case for Dafa disciples, for they shoulder the mission of saving sentient beings, and their expanse is even greater. The Dafa disciples of the world together encompass the whole earth, with each person having a certain reach. All of what you encounter and meet with owes to factors that are present within your expanse. If you can have sufficient righteous thoughts, you can then be towering and massive within your expanse and suppress any bad things that might exist there. Were every Dafa disciple able to achieve this, the entire world would change, since each of you assumes responsibility for a large expanse in this world and represents a certain segment of sentient beings. I often tell you to cultivate inward and to search within yourselves when problems arise. When you clear yourselves at the time of sending righteous thoughts, that is meant to purify and rectify your thinking as well as clean up what is your own share, the domain that you are responsible for. If every Dafa disciple could manage to treat sending righteous thoughts correctly, and routinely have strong righteous thoughts, then all evil spirits throughout the entire world could be quickly dissolved. If all Dafa disciples could grasp this, and all sincerely achieve a state of having their righteous thoughts be at their most powerful point, then one day would be enough to resolve things. With every person dissolving the bad factors within the scope of his reach that he is responsible for, wouldn’t the entire world change? Actually, the world’s people themselves have a certain expanse of their own, only it’s a very small field and it doesn’t include other people. So for them, too, one’s emotional state can determine the outcome of certain things. Ordinary people don’t know that all of this is encompassed by the expression “the appearance stems from the mind.” So, put another way, one’s own factors can in fact change one’s surroundings. “Cultivate yourself” and “search within” are words that I have said in a very straightforward and clear manner. (Laughing) But, there aren’t that many people who give these words due weight. What I was describing holds true for Dafa disciples when they do things.
Whether it be working on advertising for The Epoch Times, operations and management, or seeking financial support, in each and every regard there exists the question of whether you are able to handle things with righteous thoughts. Of course, at the same time the overall situation also involves old-force factors that are steering certain things. But isn’t that a case of their exploiting your gaps? If you can all handle things correctly, there will be no exploiting of gaps. Sometimes you may feel that the evil is not being wiped out fully, and you wonder how come it is surfacing again. Well, if you could achieve Consummation after just cultivating for one day, and become a Buddha on the spot, it wouldn’t amount to cultivation. It really is hard to clean out those notions and bad things that you have formed while leading your daily life, and you need to change those habitual things that have formed. You have already formed a way of thinking such as that, and so you have to look into your manner of thinking and correct things there if you want to avoid more problems. You might be wondering, “But haven’t I already cleaned those things out?” Indeed, when you send righteous thoughts the field does become bright and clear. However, the moment you get up, what’s in your head is in fact human thinking, and when you think about something or do something, you quickly lapse and go back to where you started from, and that thing [you cleared out] is there again. And further yet, if your mind and thoughts aren’t even steady when you send righteous thoughts, you will be clearing out and eradicating bad things over here while at the same time producing them over there. Cultivation is about reforming yourself, and things are indeed as I’ve described.
Another thing is, I am often told by you who are coordinators that The Epoch Times’s headquarters has a lot of challenges, with the many local branches not paying any regard to headquarters’s situation. The challenges stem from having so many of the paper’s editors being from the head office, which consumes a lot of manpower and means that a good amount of energy is being expended. What each local branch is doing is just adding in local reporting, so they have a relatively easy job and only worry about not taking a loss in their own area, with no concern for how things are at headquarters. Since you are one body, and The Epoch Times is a collective enterprise, then you have to be mindful of the head office’s difficulties. These difficulties mean there’s a need for coordination, and that you should adhere to the corporation-wide managerial decisions made by the head office. I think that only this way will things work out. And something in particular is, in many regards people are rather dependent on the head office, and when that’s the case it brings more pressure upon them. I think that you should utilize this meeting to really explore and discuss how to manage things well and really ensure that the paper gains a foothold in ordinary society and turns profitable. What I want to see is you turning this thing into a real, solid entity; figuring out how to run things well; allowing the Dafa disciples who participate to make a living, thus being able to put their whole hearts into this; and making it more powerful for validating the Fa and saving sentient beings. Finding a way to pay salaries to those involved [at the paper] is the next thing you need to achieve. You can’t be content just breaking even. And of course, those [local editions] who are still suffering financial losses really need to, I think, put in some serious effort and work hard. You can’t always lag behind. My Dafa disciples… You all say that you want to do what Dafa disciples are called to do, to really have an effect in Fa-rectification, and to help Master rectify the Fa. But to achieve that you need to put your heart into it, lest you instead be a burden. If you can’t achieve it, you will cause interference and you will fail to fulfill your oath as a Dafa disciple. Only when you truly give this due weight will things work out.
I’ll say a few words in passing about the English and other non-Chinese editions of The Epoch Times. I know that there are quite a few challenges at present, with the primary one being lack of manpower. That’s the biggest problem. What I’m thinking is, if the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times can manage to do a good job, that will, at the same time, help the English edition to expand its market and influence. The Chinese edition of The Epoch Times has had such a big impact in society that most everyone knows about it. And if some people can’t read it, well, then there’s the English, French, German, or other editions for them. So, doing well will bring about favorable conditions. Right now things are indeed difficult, since what the English newspaper is now experiencing is the same as what the Chinese one did in the beginning, with the biggest issue being a shortage of manpower. If you can manage to be tenacious about doing a good job with what you need to do, things will gradually be resolved on every front. That’s because new students, whatever the case, are constantly entering and they will mature bit by bit. And once they have matured, they can get involved. Your journey is one where if you can take correct, right steps, the doors before you that were once shut will open and the road will become wide. The journey is the same, whatever project it may be. When things don’t go well it stems from poor cooperation or not giving it enough priority. Human attachments are what block your path, and thus the entire journey has been bumpy and filled with constant troubles. Because there are too many human attachments involved, people try to defend themselves when problems come up, rather than defend the Fa. I know you have made enormous efforts and haven’t let up, but in any case, sooner or later you all have to do well.
The editions of The Epoch Times in other languages are crucial as well, for Dafa disciples are the sole hope of salvation for the world’s people, whatever corner of the earth they may inhabit. It wouldn’t work if I, Li Hongzhi, who serves as Master to the disciples of Dafa, took on this work as well. It is something that you must do. My involvement will happen later, after the Fa rectifies the human world. Before the time of Fa rectifying the human world you must save more people, and allow more of the world’s people to remain. In the process of clarifying the truth, validating the Fa, and saving sentient beings you are enabling people to survive the great catastrophe, and only this portion of the human race will be worthy of seeing, during the stage of Fa’s rectification of the human world, the true picture of the cosmos and all that has occurred since the world’s creation. Only after that will I commence Fa-rectification of the human world. Many things need to be done if this plane of existence is to be kept, for human affairs are really not so simple. Saving sentient beings is something that has to be done by you, and during this period you are given this path so that you may establish mighty virtue and, with your righteous thoughts and actions, head toward Consummation. Were I to get any further involved I would be interfering with you. Some students want to seek me out to resolve things, no matter how minor they are. That doesn’t count as progressing toward Consummation. That’s because you are Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples, and this matter has been set, with things handled in two separate stages—Fa-rectification of the human world and Fa-rectification period cultivation. As for Fa-rectification period cultivation, it has already arrived at the final phase; the most evil of beings are gone, and the time when circumstances were the most horrible has passed. This batch of Dafa disciples has tasks and responsibilities unique to this batch, namely, saving the world’s people and, through this, perfecting oneself. And this too has progressed to the point that it has. So it is. If we are to save more people throughout the world, it has to be Dafa disciples who do so. It has to be you.
Of course, there is another factor involved. Though the people of mainland China have become quite awful after having had their thinking ruined by the wicked CCP, and their moral values have bottomed out, and despite the fact that that society is a real wreck, in that place are truly indeed many reincarnated kings from each and every ethnic group and era. This includes [kings from] all ethnicities, and even included among them are many celestial kings who have reincarnated there. The reason that place was made into such a mess, was that the old forces of the cosmos wanted to see who could emerge from a place as chaotic as that. They would only approve of those who managed to obtain the Fa while amidst such peril and pressure, for they knew that once a human being gains salvation, it will lead to the countless sentient beings behind him gaining salvation in turn, and so too would it mean salvation for all of those sentient beings and earthly peoples of the ethnic group for whom he once upon a time served as king. Thus, a Chinese person’s gaining salvation would result in the sentient beings of many ethnicities in this world gaining salvation. What the Dafa disciples outside of China do has reverberations inside the mainland. The Dafa disciples inside China have done a terrific job, with the truth now blanketing the landscape there. What the Dafa disciples around the world and the Dafa disciples in the mainland do is the same, so when you clarify the truth to people in the mainland, the strength of what you do has to be significant. And the same holds for the editions of The Epoch Times in other languages around the world that clarify the truth there: they too have an impact on the Chinese people and Chinese society, and they too are helping things there. Pay no heed to what stage this now is or at what point the persecution will end. Just focus on the task at hand. Were it really to end now, you would all have regrets. As long as things have not been finished, as long as the Fa’s rectification of the human world hasn’t arrived, you should all just focus on the task at hand. And as you go about saving people, do whatever you should do, and do your utmost to see that what you do goes better and better. Doing so, who this will perfect will be none other than you—the disciples of Dafa.