Guidelines for Writing Experience Sharing Articles
(Minghui.org) All practitioners are encouraged to write experience sharing articles to contribute to our cultivation environment and help one another improve, and writing these articles is, in itself, a cultivation process. As such, we have compiled the following suggestions and passages from the Fa related to experience sharing to encourage practitioners to look to the Fa for guidance when writing articles. These suggestions come from years of reviewing, discussing, and editing experience sharing articles. However, they are not comprehensive or absolute, as the authors are also practitioners in the process of cultivation. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvements or point out anything that is not in line with the Fa.
Share the Process
This includes the process of raising one's xinxing in cultivation through studying the Fa, overcoming tribulations, or cooperating with fellow practitioners. One's points are often much easier to follow when illustrated by the events and thought processes the writer experienced that led to a deeper understanding of the Fa and improved xinxing.
"I often say that I don't worry much about the final outcome, as what is to be completed in the Fa-rectification is inevitable. No matter how harrowing things may get during the Fa-rectification, the outcome is certain. So I don't pay much attention to it, given that it's bound to succeed. What I value most is the process. Only with the entirety of the process that a being goes through do you have the complete entity that is that being." ("Fa Teaching at the U.S. Capital")
"Of course, the process of cultivation is a very slow and gradual one, and one must sacrifice quite a lot. It is not very easy for one to temper oneself physically and mentally. Can one remain calm in a xinxing conflict with others? Will one be unaffected when personal, vested interests are at stake? It is very difficult to do this, so it is not that as long as one wants to achieve this goal, one can achieve it. Only when one's xinxing and de have been upgraded can one achieve this goal." (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)
Refer to the Fa Teachings
We can only share our understandings of the Fa at our respective levels, so it's important to include quotes from the Fa where appropriate in our articles to ensure that our own understandings don't go off course or lead others astray.
"You are not allowed to say it, using my original words as yours, or else it is an act of plagiarizing the Fa. You can only use my original words to say it, adding that this is how Teacher says it or how it is written in the book. You can only say it this way. Why? Because when you say it this way, it will carry the power of Dafa." (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
Be Considerate of Others
Practitioners share experiences for the benefit of others. Please keep this in mind when writing your articles. Keep the focus on the main points. One doesn't need to share everything that happened in one's cultivation in a single article. Focus on a few key points. Exclude details that are not crucial to the story or purpose of the article.
"I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism. So from now on, whatever you do or whatever you say, you must consider others--or even future generations--along with Dafa's eternal stability. ("Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature," Essentials for Further Advancement)
"I often say that if all a person wants is the well-being of others and if this is without the slightest personal motivation or personal understanding, what he says will move the listener to tears." ("Clearheadedness," Essentials for Further Advancement)
Look Within, Not at Others
When practitioners have conflicts or problems, they look within to find the source of those problems. We should not let our articles become a means of venting our displeasure with others' shortcomings, but, rather, focus on how we found our own shortcomings in the midst of conflict and have risen above them.
"Cultivation is about looking inside yourself. Whether you are right or wrong, you should examine yourself. Cultivation is about getting rid of human attachments. If you always reject reproaches and criticism, always point your fingers at others, and always refute others' disapproval and criticism, is that cultivating? How is that cultivating? You have grown used to focusing on other people's shortcomings, and never take examining your own self seriously. When others' cultivation one day meets with success, what about you? Isn't Master hoping that you are cultivating well? Why won't you accept criticism, and why do you keep focusing on other people? Why not cultivate inward and examine your own self?" ("Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles")
Articles should portray Dafa and Dafa practitioners in a positive light. This does not mean we shy away from talking about our problems or shortcomings in cultivation. However, the article should not simply recount the negative things, but should show how those negative things were overcome through looking within and following Master Li's teachings. Avoid going into unnecessary detail regarding past wrongdoings.
"The experience sharing conferences organized by assistance centers in different regions should never be turned into self-criticism conferences. Such solemn Fa Conferences for sharing cultivation experiences in Dafa should never be turned into exhibitional conferences for exposing the dark side of society, still less should you force students to reveal the shortcomings they had and mistakes they made when they were everyday people; you would thereby inflict serious, negative effects, damaging Dafa's reputation. You should be clear on what you should do and what you should not do. This is solemn cultivation practice. The experience sharing conferences are intended for the improvement of students and the promotion of Dafa, but not for publicizing how bad our students once were. They are for talking about doing Dafa cultivation practice, not dumping so-called 'dirty water'!" ("Clearheadedness," Essentials for Further Advancement)
"The papers mostly involve rationally analyzing and uncovering shortcomings, and they exchange thoughts for the purpose of validating the Fa, reducing losses, helping fellow cultivators to think and act righteously, thinking of ways to help fellow cultivators who are being persecuted, and saving more sentient beings." ("Mature")
Avoid Trying to Instruct Others
It is a common temptation for cultivators who have enlightened to the higher principles of Dafa to unknowingly place themselves in the role of a teacher when sharing with fellow practitioners. Writing articles is another opportunity to look within and discard this attachment.
"...you should not add personal things to Dafa. In other words, during the course of teaching the exercise, regardless of whether your Celestial Eye is opened, you have seen something, or you have developed some supernormal abilities, you cannot use what you have seen to explain our Falun Dafa. That little bit that you have seen at your level is nothing and far from the actual meaning of the Fa that we teach. So when you spread the practice in the future, you ought to be very careful with this issue. Only by doing so can we ensure that the original things in our Falun Dafa remain unchanged.
"In addition, nobody is permitted to teach the practice in the manner that I do, and neither is anyone allowed to teach the Fa in this large-scale lecture format that I use. You are unable to teach the Fa. This is because what I am teaching has very profound implications, and it incorporates something of high levels. You are practicing cultivation at various levels. In the future after you make progress, you will continue to improve when you again listen to this recording. As you constantly listen to it, you will always gain new understanding and new results. It is more so with reading this book. This teaching of mine is taught by incorporating something very profound at high levels. Therefore, you are unable to teach this Fa. (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
Avoid Incorporating Concepts That Are Not from the Fa Teachings
Most of us have accumulated many things along the way in our quest for the truth. These things may not be bad, but are definitely at a lower level than the Fa we are assimilating to, so we must be careful not to incorporate foreign concepts into our articles, lest we undermine the Fa or lead fellow practitioners astray.
"We teach that a person must practice only one cultivation way. No matter how you practice cultivation, you should not mess up your cultivation by adding other things." (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
"...one must be single-minded in only one practice, and even ideas from other practices should not be intermingled." (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
"You should not casually take up a term used or mentioned by everyone. Isn't this adding something human to Dafa? [...] Of course, there are still some other improper terms being circulated. You should think about it: If one word is added today and another the day after tomorrow, with the passage of time the next generation of disciples will not be able to tell whose words they are, and gradually Dafa will be changed." ("Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature," Essentials for Further Advancement)
Avoid Showing Off
Practitioners are encouraged to share the good things that have happened in their cultivation and clarify the truth in the context of sharing experiences and understandings. Through looking inside, one can differentiate between sharing with the purpose of benefiting others versus reporting accomplishments in an effort to bolster one's own image.
"It is necessary for disciples to share with one another what they have experienced and learned in their cultivation. There is no problem with them helping one another make progress together, so long as they don't have any intention of showing themselves off." ("The Fa Conference" Essentials for Further Advancement)
"...absent is the attachment of reporting accomplishments with the mentality of 'If I don't tell people, how will they know...'" ("Mature")
"Gone are the flowery expressions meant for affective show: the papers are full of substance, and they are accurate, clean, and free of human sentiments." ("Mature")
Study the Fa
Besides Zhuan Falun, the following articles were referenced above, and it is highly recommended that they be read in their entirety for guidance on experience sharing. This list of articles is not comprehensive, as there are many places in the Fa teachings that address cultivation principles related to sharing experiences and insights.
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