Looking Within, Clarifying the Truth and Validating the Fa
(Clearwisdom.net) I was introduced to Falun Dafa in 1998 and started to cultivate in the spring of 1999. Now I have cultivated Dafa for almost 10 years. I work on projects for NTDTV and the Shen Yun Performing Arts shows. My mother and younger sister are both Dafa practitioners and my father has gradually started to cultivate.
The main reason I have followed the path of Dafa is that I have a grand and compassionate Master who protects and cares for me. Master tells us to do the three things: study the Fa, send forth righteous thoughts and clarify the truth. Indeed, what I have done is far from the Fa's standard, so I really don't have much to share with all of you. But I feel that I still should write something as it is a process to search inside and I might find my shortcomings and thus better keep up with the process of Fa-rectification. I hope that I can be Master's good disciple. This is my first time to share with fellow practitioners in a written form.
My sharing will be comprised of three parts: the beginning of my Fa study, clarifying the truth and taking part in the promotion of Shen Yun Performing Arts shows.
I. The beginning of my Fa study
I was born into an ordinary family. My father went to America by himself when I was three years old. When I was little, I had some extraordinary thoughts and questions:
"I am from the universe instead of being born from this earth."
"Why was I not born in ancient times but in this period?"
"Why am I a Chinese?"
As I grew up, I kept looking for the answers. I always had a feeling that something would happen. I often wished that a master would come to me and take me away. I thought that I had a mission on Earth and felt that I was somewhat different from others. But nobody could tell me about the purpose of life and my difference from others.
I came to America at the age of 12. America is a noisy society and I was puzzled by things I encountered. I tried to be a good person but I was often misunderstood. I dabbled in religion and qigong but I found it hard for me to accept them as they couldn't answer my fundamental questions. In fact, nobody could give me a satisfactory answer. Nobody could tell me the true purpose of life. I gradually indulged myself in this earthly world. I smoked, drank, and had many bad habits that many other youths had. I became stubborn and I didn't easily trust others. Without knowing the purpose for life, I didn't know the standard to judge what's wrong and right. I became corrupted and lost in ordinary society. I pursued the happiness of ordinary people but felt empty from the bottom of my heart. Problems in my life troubled me but I had no way to walk away from them. Gradually I gave up pursuing the answers to my childhood questions and lived an ordinary life in this earthly world.
One day in the summer of 1998, one of our relatives in China mailed us a copy of Zhuan Falun. He included a letter telling us that the book is a treasure that one could not expect to find in thousands of years. I thought what he said was incredible, so I just smiled but did nothing. Then at last I took a glimpse at the book and thought the content was different from other qigong books but I was quite busy at the time and I didn't think about it. It was not until later that I understood that I actually had found what I had been looking for. Master started to change my life. After the Experience Sharing Conference in Los Angeles in February, 1999, I was suddenly awakened when I saw how happy my mother and my sister were after they met Master there and started their cultivation in Dafa. At once I realized that I had finally found the Master I had been looking for. I read Zhuan Falun again and Master answered all my questions. Dafa told me about my past life, the purpose of my coming to the world, and my future. Master told me that Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is the only standard to judge what is good and bad. Master also tells us that you can attain something naturally, without pursuing it and before you get something, you must lose something. As practitioners, we should always think of others first. Master also tells us, "It's hard to endure, but you can endure it. It's hard to do, but you can do it." Cultivation is a process of getting rid of all attachments. I now feel relaxed and happy. I know who is Master and where my future path is. I know the purpose of life and how to be a good person. I started to cultivate immediately and I was determined to change myself by getting rid of my attachments, assimilating to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and improving my xinxing. I swore that I would follow Master, listen to Master and successfully cultivate.
Sitting in meditation is really a challenge for new practitioners and I was not the exception. At first it was even very difficult to keep the half-lotus position, not to mention the full-lotus position. Master said that divine beings will laugh at you if they see you can't do the full-lotus position [paraphrase]. At that time, the full-lotus position was the most difficult barrier in my cultivation. With great effort, I could do the full-lotus position but I could only do it for ten minutes with great difficulty.
I will never forget my experiences at the Experience Sharing Conference at Toronto in May, 1999.
As I heard that Master would come to attend the meeting, I told myself that if I couldn't do full-lotus position for twenty minutes, I would be too ashamed to see Master. I really didn't know whether I could make it or not. On the first day of the conference, Master didn't come, and I felt too tired to do anything but fall asleep after a whole day's activity and totally forgot about my promise. In the middle of the night, I suddenly felt that there was a big Falun flying into my stomach and turning slowly twice inside my body. I was scared and awoke. I was very frightened and realized that I hadn't kept my promise. I got up from my bed and woke up my mother and sister. I said that just now there was a big Falun that came and I must do the full-lotus position for twenty minutes before seeing Master tomorrow. My mother and sister immediately got up with great excitement and helped me to do the position. I usually do the full-lotus position with the help of reading "On Buddha Law". I could read that article in three minutes. Before I started, I thought that I would almost finish the full-lotus position after I read "On Buddha Law" seven or eight times. Then I started to do the full-lotus position. The twenty minutes was the longest time I had ever experienced. In the first ten minutes, I felt so much pain that I couldn't even shed tears. While I was reading "On Buddha Law" for the sixth or seventh time, it felt as if my leg was being torn apart. The agony made me feel that other suffering in the world was not important at all. My knowing side knew that Master was removing some of my karma while I was suffering. In the agony, I realized the call from Master. Within the short yet long 20 minutes, I understood everything. I was indeed enlightened as to what Buddha's compassion meant and that everything, including my life, is given by Master. I must follow Master and return home. The next day Master came to the conference and I was at ease. From then on, I told myself that to honor Master, I must cultivate myself well and return home following Master. Master gives me everything, and I must pay my debts with great gratitude.
II. Clarifying the Truth and Validating the Fa
Since July 20, 1999, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Jiang Zemin started to suppress Falun Gong, our faith in Master has never been rocked. We went on doing our exercises at the seaside and studying the Fa. I felt sad because the CCP told so many lies. Master shouldered everything for us and we in return must at least speak the truth for Master and Dafa. I told myself that I would persist with my practice of Falun Gong. In the meantime I must try to clarify the truth of Dafa. At that time, I was not enlightened much but I believed in Master firmly. My experience and change witnessed that Master really changed everything about me. Our cultivation is in the everyday world and we must interact well with others so as to validate the Fa. I am surrounded by non-practitioners. If I do well, I, myself, embody the truth of Falun Gong, and rumors will collapse by themselves.
Before cultivation, I was an irresponsible person, had lots of attachments and lived in a mess. After cultivation, I understood that I couldn't behave like before. I must get rid of my attachments to fame, benefits, and sentimentality, and live in a dignified way. I also understood that I must make judgments according to the Fa instead of according to ordinary people's notions.
I remember that I was sensitive to anything I did when I had just started to cultivate. Whenever I did anything, I would think about what Master says and think of what Master would do in the same situation. I always feel that Master is beside me. Even if I told myself that I could give up everything, there were many traps and tests in the ordinary world. Every time I passed the test, I walked forward three steps then walked back two steps. Once I even tried a cigarette to find out whether what Master says is true in, "When you smoke a cigarette again it will not taste right." It really is true. Even if I have not behaved so well, Master still compassionately takes care of me. In society, I play many roles, a good son to my parents, a good husband, and a good employee. Master says, "Cultivation is up to you, gong is up to the master." I know that I only have one thought in doing many things while Master helps me solve the problem. Gradually Dafa gives me wisdom and lets me know how to behave myself. I gained other practitioners' trust and support. Many conflicts dissolved under the instruction of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and I live an entirely new life. I have more time and energy to take part in Dafa projects.
On December 9, 2000, Master gave the lecture, "Teaching the Fa at the Great Lakes Fa Conference in North America":
"You've done very well in clarifying the truth to the people of the world. At the same time, I can tell you that this is also magnificent and merciful. ... So when we clarify the truth, we're eliminating some people's evil thoughts towards Dafa. Haven't we rescued them, at least when it comes to this? Since in the process of your clarifying the truth there are people who obtain the Fa, not only are their sins eliminated, but at the same time you will have also saved them. Doesn't this show that you've done something that's more merciful, something even better?"
In 2001, practitioners in Los Angeles set up the Fang Guangming TV group. We had no money, no facility and no experience but we had our wish to clarify the truth. Today we have our own office, studio and necessary facilities. We produced some programs and the NTDTV local station was also set up. We accumulated much experience during the process. Today our local practitioners cooperate with each other for promoting the Shen Yun Performing Arts shows. We have been able to walk so far only because we listen to Master, cultivate ourselves well and do everything according to the Fa.
Now I would like to share my experience about taking part in selling tickets for the Shen Yun Performing Arts show. The show is a project that Master is doing Himself to rectify the Fa. As disciples, to assist Teacher in rectifying the Fa is our responsibility. We should assist Teacher to promote the Shen Yun Performing Arts show and help more people buy tickets and be saved. The Shen Yun Performing Arts show provides us countless opportunities to save sentient beings. The number of audience members in Los Angeles has doubled every year. When we held the show in the first year we sold only 2,000 tickets. The Shen Yun Performing Arts show is now well-known in Los Angeles. Promoting the Shen Yun show is quite different from any other project in the ordinary world as both our goal and way of doing things are different from ordinary activities. In this project, each practitioner played different roles and shouldered different responsibilities, from selling tickets, marketing, PR, production, and contacting the media, to seeking sponsorship and other work. We improved ourselves in the process. Teacher didn't teach us how to do it in detail, but told us two keys vital to the success of the show: coordination between practitioners and the wish to save sentient beings.
The wish to save sentient beings, for me, means putting the Shen Yun Performing Arts show in the most important position in my life. We have so many things to do in promoting the Shen Yun show, so sufficient time and energy is the prerequisite to doing things well. However, clarifying the truth is the key to meeting this prerequisite.
For all these years, my relatives and friends have all known that Dafa is the most important thing in my life and they also understand why I am so devoted.
I remembered that once my wife asked me which was more important, her or Dafa? I told her directly that Dafa was more important because Dafa has changed me and taught me how to be a good husband. Without Dafa, I would not be the same person and maybe I would not be a good person but quarrel with her every day. Of course, Dafa is more important. Now the CCP is still persecuting Falun Gong. As a practitioner, I should stand up and clarify the truth of Dafa. Maybe due to trust, support or no other choice, my relatives seldom doubt me or stop me while I am doing things relevant to Dafa. Thank you, compassionate Master for providing me such good conditions to validate the Fa.
Without planning to be, I've become a coordinator. The requirement for practitioners in the Fa-rectification period is very high. While promoting the Shen Yun Performing Arts show, if your behavior, thoughts or notions are just like an ordinary person's, then trouble will come.
Teacher has instructed us as to how to be a good coordinator. I keep in mind the following points: See more of the merits of others while seeing fewer of their shortcomings. Take a step back in a conflict and look within. Be humble and honest. Trust each other and compensate for each other's shortcomings. Be able to undertake the responsibilities and pressure. Coordinators are also practitioners, just the same as other practitioners. Apart from good planning and pushing the project forward, more importantly, we should also communicate with fellow practitioners, listen to their advice, let go of self, and give every practitioner a chance to be involved.
However, we might meet many difficulties and conflicts during the process. I really feel pain when we argue, do not cooperate with each other, are not able to solve problems, or when many tickets remain unsold. Sometimes I really want to run away from the pressure.
For instance, in the process of making decisions about promoting the Shen Yun Performing Arts show, I have my own way of doing things and thinking about things based on my own experiences. Most of the time I thought my opinions and methods were helpful for the promotion of the show, while other practitioners thought differently and they believed that their ideas were based on the Fa. In such a case, disputes and conflicts arose. Everyone thought that their ideas were based on the Fa and nobody would take a step back. On many occasions when my method was not accepted or the project could not be pushed forward, I would feel very angry. I felt wronged. Though I said nothing, I still insisted on my own opinion and looked outwards. My notions prevented me from letting go of myself. At that moment, I comforted myself: Let's see who is right in the end. I thought that I had cultivated the Fa for a longer time than others; I had more experience in doing these things, while other practitioners knew little and were wrong, and so on.
"If you can examine yourselves with every thing you come across, then I'd say you are really remarkable, and nothing can block you on your path to Consummation. Yet when we run into problems, we often look outwards--"Why are you treating me like that?"--and feel that we've been treated unfairly, instead of examining ourselves. That's the greatest and most fatal obstacle for all living beings." ("Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Singapore")
After I suffered the setback and depression, while sitting in meditation, I thought of Master, the Fa, Teacher's compassion, and of Teacher telling us to look within. I found that I felt pain because I didn't cultivate myself well and wouldn't let go of my attachment. I am a practitioner. Why should I always insist on my own opinion? Why should I feel pain? Should I compare my level with the Fa's requirement or with other practitioners? Is it possible to reach our goals by using others' plans? Finally I found that most conflicts between me and others were my own fault. If I want to solve the problems, I must cultivate myself well, and then we can solve the problems with the wisdom that the Fa gives us. This is what Teacher hopes for us. When I look within, I can find many shortcomings. Looking within is fundamental for improvement in cultivation.
In the process, I was enlightened to why Teacher told us the story about Han Xin--why Han Xin didn't use other ways to deal with the conflict, but instead, crawled between the ruffian's legs. As Han Xin had his own ambition, he might be tolerant to anything to realize his ideal. It is the same with me. As long as all the tickets can be sold and I can assist Master in saving more sentient beings, I too should endure my suffering and undertake my responsibilities so as to firmly go on doing what I should do. When I enlightened to wisdom from the Fa, I found that all my grievances and suffering disappeared.
"Every Dafa disciple is cultivating, every person is walking his own path, and each person still has human attachments, which is why you can still cultivate. Then the human attachments will show. Don't be unwilling to work with other students when there are conflicts or differences of opinion. Keep in mind that all of you have been through that state, and from time to time each person may experience that state. You should forgive others and be understanding of others, and you should help each other. To be able to work together and do well the things that Dafa disciples do to validate the Fa--now that's what you should do." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference")
I enlightened that as a coordinator, I should forgive, understand and help others more, in order to sell tickets and save sentient beings well.
I enlightened to the point that as a coordinator, I should consider fellow practitioners more and help fellow practitioners. Only by doing things this way can we do well in selling tickets for the Shen Yun Performing Arts show and save sentient beings.