Improving through Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) Time moves so quickly. I have been living in Toronto for four years. I have learned a lot but have also made many mistakes. I want to share my experiences with you with the hope that we can improve together.
1. Cultivating in the Band and NTDTV
I remember very clearly that when I came to Toronto I was not comfortable with the Canadian lifestyle. It was totally different from what I expected. I used to wake up and phone practitioners in China to complain about how difficult it was here, and that I wanted to go back to China. They shared their understandings of the Fa to help me resolve my problems. They said that if I was feeling unbalanced it meant I had an attachment somewhere that was keeping me from being in harmony with the righteous Fa of the universe. They told me that when I got rid of the attachment I would feel better, and that I should do everything based on the Fa. They said, "You went abroad not for a better life, but to continue your cultivation path and your Fa-rectification responsibilities. You felt that China was good because you have emotional memories from there, you were familiar with the environment, and the western situation seems very complicated to you. You must find your position and you must study the Fa well."
I realized that they were right. I decided to study the Fa more, get rid of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) culture I was harboring, and really join in the Dafa work in the western world.
First, I joined the Divine Land Marching Band (Tian Guo). Many practitioners in China would like to join the band, but it is impossible for them to do so. I remember very clearly when I first touched the snare drum--I knew that playing it was what I should do. At the time my musical knowledge was zero. I could not play in tune. The requirement for playing the snare is very high. I used to practice many hours a day. I practiced four hours at a time. During the first parade I attended, I was told that we must smile all the time. I tried to stop my tears and I also understood that everything we do in cultivation is part of Master's plan.
Playing the snare drum requires concentration because mistakes are very obvious to the listeners. In the beginning, it was not easy; but I used this Fa implement to successfully eliminate thought karma. I remember one time, after getting rid of a lot of complicated thinking, that I felt Teacher's gong moving my hands to play the snare. I heard a voice in my head say: "You are successful."
I think that when playing any instrument we need to empty our heads of human thoughts and fully concentrate on the Dafa music so that we can feel the realm of the peaceful music. That is what I require of myself during each parade we participate in.
The Toronto Divine Land Band attends more parades than most other branches of the band. I have seen the efforts of my fellow practitioners. It is not easy to get the instruments. But behind each instrument, there is our practitioners' energy with cultivation factors. After one weekend of three parades, I dreamed that I had broken into many celestial bodies. I felt I acted like a rocket. I found my attachments from each parade. I want to have this precious opportunity to improve myself. Only when I get rid of human notions will I be qualified to save people, and will my drumming have the most Fa power.
The Divine Land Marching Band has performed in many communities. Many people, even Chinese, wave and smile at us. One Chinese person was surprised at the sight of the band and asked, "Why do you have so many members in the band? Most of you are so young."
The mainstream media cover our parades, and people seem very impressed when they see us. But I know we are far from meeting the Fa's requirements. We need an orderly group and a loud, clear, sound. But I believe, as we practice we will improve little by little. I believe that as long as we meet Master's requirements, we will become better and better. We are beyond an everyday marching band, so we are entitled to the Divine Land name.
In Toronto, every Dafa project is associated with other projects. I am very lucky to have a small role in NTDTV programming. I know that each of us has a different path. We cannot copy each other. There are so few people working in NTDTV. Sometimes, practitioners work over 10 hours at a time. It is not unusual for some practitioners to not sleep for one or two days. We can't often meet with other practitioners on the project but we keep in touch over the Internet.
We had conflicts at times, which were reflected in our work. Thus, I knew that I must study the Fa and recite the Fa before I start to work. After reciting the Fa, I feel quite good at work. Sometimes, I am able to immediately realize my mistakes. I become very worried if the coordinator calls me to tell me that I made an error. When I see her calling me, I become very nervous. I can best describe her efforts as painstaking. She has really spent a lot of time and effort to teach me.
Thursdays and Fridays are very busy days. Sunday is an enjoyable day because I attend band practice. I forget everything when I am absorbed in Dafa music. I see practitioners smiling and offering their honest sharing. I got rid of my attachments and found so much CCP culture in me. One day, I wrote a letter to the NTDTV coordinator with a suggestion. But it was not adopted, which I felt was unfair. I felt very angry when I saw his name on the Internet. I was against his every message. I thought that I had more experience at this than he did, I had the right to speak out, and they should listen to me.
I attended snare drum training as usual that weekend. One of the practitioners told me that my drum sounded off that week, and asked if I could get it adjusted. I immediately got someone to adjust the drum but the sound didn't improve. There are no coincidences in cultivation. I know I need to improve my "xinxing". During band practice I felt a power come to me. The sound of all drums should be the same. No matter how good you are, if your drum is different from the others, you should not play. The same thing applies when I work at NTDTV. My suggestion might be right, but keeping the whole team in conflict was my mistake. I realized this suddenly.
When playing the drum, I should not show off. The most important thing is for the band to sound uniform. You can have your own opinion, but when the music starts, "you" no longer exist; you become anonymous. When one's sound is harmonized with the others, the power is huge.
2. Attachment to Reputation and Showing Off
When I moved from mainland China to Toronto, I encountered many unexpected challenges, and found so many things were different from what I was used to. I suffered and cried many times. The most difficult thing was being told that anyone who just came from China, like me, must now focus on going to the Chinese Consulate and to Chinatown to clarify the truth, and withdraw from other projects. I felt very sad. I put my whole effort into doing Dafa work. Now, I was being asked to withdraw. I felt really upset, but calmed down eventually and read Teacher's lecture from Geneva, Switzerland in which he talked about the structure of the universe. Yes, based on my current level, how far and how wide can I see? I am such a small particle, what should I be attached to? I had an attachment to what I did and I could not give it up. Teacher has his own reason for arranging this for me.
When I stood on the street in Chinatown and watched the older practitioners hard at work, I suddenly knew why I was supposed to be there. I should face the public to get rid of my peacock-like attachment to showing off. I did the sitting meditation one day, calmed down, and became selfless. I felt a huge compassion that made me cry. In the universe, I have no name. I can be myself because Dafa created me. I am actually a tiny particle of the Fa. The Fa enhances me and I enhance Dafa. If I stray from the Fa, I have to be weeded out. The Fa of the universe is very strict and does not allow mistakes. Only if I give up concern for myself can I truly embrace Dafa. Whatever I am needed to do, I should do it. But my attachment is jut like sand covering the gold, which made me unable to do anything. When I realized this attachment, it hurt; but I felt Teacher helped me to get rid of it. I washed away the sand. I must stay on my own path so that I can assist Master in clarifying the truth.
3. My Mother's Arrival Made Me Realize My Selfishness
My mother also practices Falun Dafa. When she came to Canada to visit me there were some negative consequences. When I was in China, we lived in different cities. We seldom discussed or shared our understandings of the Fa. After I went abroad, she did everything by herself. I thought of her as a non-Fa-rectification practitioner. She came to me and said she wanted to live outside of China, which meant she would have to apply for refugee status. After her arrival, we argued often. I used to feel that my xinxing was okay, but in front of my mother, my weakness was very clear. I disliked her non-standard movements and felt that whatever she said was wrong.
To document her refugee status claim she needed photos of herself attending Dafa activities. I hated it when I saw people taking pictures during our events. Now, I had to take photos and I felt sad. She had a tough time too. She cried and said she should not be here. I argued with her. This situation lasted for several months. She and I had a hard time. I felt that my cultivation failed in the front of her. What was the problem?
Teacher said we needed to give up the attachment to sentimentality, even for our families. Did I need to do that? Why could I communicate with others but not my mother? When I saw the Shen Yun performance of "Splitting the Mountain," I was shocked. A mother who obeyed the law of the universe needed her son to save her. Her son needed to practice gongfu for over 10 years. Why? I had already memorized and recited Zhuan Falun several times, but Master said in Lecture Six:
"We must be good to our parents and children and be considerate of others in all respects. Such a heart is thus unselfish, and it is a heart of kindness and benevolence"
Did I really understand Master's words? What did I do? From my experiences with my mother I was able to identify my selfishness.
When I first started to cultivate Dafa, my mum was against it. I thought that evil things controlled her. If she went to hell, I would not have any feelings. But under Dafa practitioners' compassion in China, she started to cultivate, which surprised me a lot. I asked her why, after I had talked to her about Dafa for six years, she had not trusted me. Why, after other people talked to her for only two hours, did she start to cultivate? She said, "They were not rude like you."
Selfishness is doing everything for myself. I wouldn't let her block me; didn't allow her cause me to lose face. When did I treat her as a fellow practitioner and share with her? From then on, I shared with her based on the Fa whenever she had any problems. Other practitioners helped her to improve too. I saw her join Dafa activities and begin to step forward more. I was very happy to see that. When Dafa resolved our problems, we helped each other to cultivate. When I treated everyone as a relative and my mum as a fellow practitioner, I got rid of selfishness. I experienced Master's compassion.
4. I still have much to learn about clarifying the truth to Chinese people
After my mother came to Canada I needed more money. With practitioner's help, I found a job. I am in contact with non-practitioners very often. I found that I am still only at the elementary student level when it comes to clarifying the truth to Chinese people here in Toronto. I was blocked when I talked just a little. Some people had very strange impression of me. Practitioners told me that clarifying the truth is not just explaining things in a general way but also letting them really experience a practitioner's kind personality. Other practitioners had helped people to start cultivation and also sold many Shen Yun tickets; but I was not effective at doing either thing. Sometimes, I was just like a normal person struggling for fame and gain. My fellow practitioner reminded me: "Don't forget you are a Dafa practitioner. Don't behave so exuberantly when you are happy or so negatively when you are sad." I know this was Master reminding me by using a fellow cultivator's words. Compassion is not gained by pretending, but by cultivation. I had behaved really badly.
When I met people, including some westerners, I felt that their thoughts were very dirty. I did not want to talk with them. But I realized that my job is to clarify the truth and save people. I don't talk every day at work, but I positively do Dafa work. I should save them from my heart and let them truly feel that Dafa practitioners are good. Our every action should help to clarify the truth.
I understand that people have lost themselves, overcome by their attachments. If I did not cultivate Dafa, I would be one of them. I, and other practitioners are a whole body, and we take responsibility for our duties, get rid of selfishness, and measure ourselves by Dafa's requirements. We should not be satisfied just because those we touch are a little bit better than others just because they know Dafa is persecuted. Lots of them have predestined relationships with Dafa, and Master does not want to give up on anyone. Master worked so hard to take care of us. What we repay him is just this small amount.
From China to Canada, I felt I was covered in dirt. Too many things needed to be cleared away. As long as we practitioners work as a whole body, I can find my weaknesses through studying the Fa. I should eliminate attachments. Let us be as strong as diamond, clear and bright, worthy of Master's great compassion.