Study the Fa Well and Pass Each Test with Flying Colors
(Clearwisdom.net) In March 2007 I finally started practicing Falun Gong after having finished studying 38 Falun Gong books and after my mother's endless persuasion.
Wisdom Is Bestowed Upon Me When I Persist in Studying the Fa
At the time I had just got a job working as a marketing planner for a cosmetic company. I was responsible for all the monthly marketing activities of all 32 cosmetic counters at the department stores in Taiwan. Usually it would require a marketing coordinator to work until 8 or 9 p.m. However, I did not want to work late every day because I already started practicing Falun Gong late. In addition, I decided that I needed a stable work schedule that allowed me to cultivate. Therefore, I made up a plan for myself since day one. First, I will go to work an hour early to study the Fa. Second, I will get off work on time so that I will have time to study the Fa. Third, I will go to the Fa study group every Monday to study the Fa with fellow Falun Gong practitioners.
Actually, I was nervous about making the second action item. I didn't want my boss to think a new hire like me was trying to dodge work or act like a diva.
"Yet it is not for you to become a pioneer that the Buddha Fa has given you wisdom. You have attained it because you are a cultivator. That is, you are first a cultivator and then an expert. Then, as a cultivator, you should make use of all feasible conditions to spread Dafa and validate Dafa as a correct and true science, rather than preaching or idealism—this is every cultivator’s obligation." ("Validation" from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I decided to let go of my concerns. I wanted to try to study the Fa, practice the Falun Gong exercises, cultivate myself diligently, and see if I have the wisdom to do my job well. During the three years I was with the company, I managed to execute my plan without sacrificing the quality of my work. In fact, they had to hire three people to replace me after I left the company.
In hindsight, I passed every xinxing test with incredible ease. When the R&D department head gave me a hard time, I would think: "I must be paying you back the karma I created in my previous lives." When three sales supervisors disapproved of my marketing plan, I put myself in their shoes and analyzed the plan from the perspective of sales, which they were most concerned about. When it came to the busiest time of a department store, anniversary sales, I created sales and inventory projections that helped the sales department meet their targets. Yet I knew these accomplishments were made possible because I persisted in studying the Fa and because the Fa bestowed wisdom upon me.
Shen Yun debuted in Taiwan at the end of 2007. I longed for an opportunity to spread the upcoming performances to all of my work colleagues, but there was no such opportunity. While I was anxious for an opportunity, my boss suddenly made an announcement two days later. “For the sake of nurturing our company in the cultural aspect, all employees are now required to take turns making a book report at the weekly meeting.” I was able to take the opportunity to spread the news of Shen Yun to the entire company. That year half of my work colleagues bought tickets for Shen Yun. Later on I took the opportunity of the book report to talk about the Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance Art Exhibit, important facts about Falun Gong and Jetsun Milarepa (one of the most renowned Tibetan monks). One day I even presented myself in the costume with the drum set for the Divine Land Marching Band when I introduced the band in Taiwan. After my presentation, a trainer from the education department of my company commented, "We should send our sales associates at the cosmetic counters to Falun Gong classes before they start working." I also started a free Falun Gong class at work and used my lunch time to teach my work colleagues Falun Gong exercises.
Overcoming the Test of Love
In 2010, my boyfriend of 12 years thought I was someone else when I called him. That was when I realized he had been seeing another woman. That day he asked to break up with me. I agreed to end the 12-year relationship without protest. Next my company started to lay off a lot of employees as a result of the financial crisis in Asia. I decided to leave the company because I lost interest in work after the betrayal from my boyfriend.
I remember laying on my bed and not knowing what to think. I used to lead a fulfilling and meaningful life. Now I spent four to five hours a day studying the Fa and practicing Falun Gong exercises with nothing else to do for the rest of the day. I was 30 years old. It was the very first time I thought of ending my life. The prospect of a successful career and marriage disappeared all of sudden. My non-Falun Gong friends called me stupid. "Why didn't you hit him, condemn him, or make a scene?" They asked. Meanwhile I kept thinking of Teacher's words.
"At the crucial moment when I ask you to break away from humanness, you do not follow me. Each opportunity will not occur again." ("Digging Out the Roots" from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I finally managed to calm down. Indeed, Teacher is right. In the past three years of working at the company, I passed all the tests with ease. I thought my xinxing level was high and I was pleased with my cultivation! The truth is that I had not encountered any genuine test until now.
I searched inward in an attempt to identify why I could not let go of my emotions. I was jealous and I wanted to fight. I felt like a loser, as though I was not as good as that woman, because he had cheated on me and chosen her instead. My pride and dignity made me feel ashamed. I didn't want any friends, relatives, or my parents to know about it. I was unwilling to let go after wasting 12 years of my youth on him. I once tried to comfort myself with the thought, "He has no taste. He will break up with her sooner or later." But it did not help; instead, I became even more negative. As I contemplated more, I realized it was all about selfishness. Isn't it something I ought to purge as a cultivator?
"Dafa can dissolve sadness of the heart" ("Clearheaded" from Hong Yin III)
Why don't I study the Fa? I shall have the Fa fill what's missing in my heart!
I started to study the Fa for seven to eight hours a day. I also sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the inference from my emotions. During that period of time, I faced many xinxing tests about lost love in my dreams. At first I would wake up from my nightmares in tears. Eventually I became impervious. I knew I had prevailed over this major test.
Study the Fa and Cultivate Solidly to Fulfill My Pledge
In April 2011, I started working for New Epoch Weekly. My very first marketing project targeted the Taiwanese tea industry. Because I worked in the marketing department, it was not difficult for me to come up with a marketing proposal. Once a proposal is presented to a potential advertisement client, the challenge is to have the client buy an advertisement. The challenges that the marketing department of New Epoch Weekly face are that it has limited circulation, it is not well known, its articles do not meet the taste of an average Taiwanese reader, it is perceived to be politically or religiously motivated, etc. Often times I felt let down when I faced rejections from the clients because of these reasons. Sometimes I felt anxious or upset when I had spent a lot of time only to procure no advertisement sales.
Fellow Falun Gong practitioners and more senior colleagues told me, "None of us try to make advertisement sales with such an obvious agenda. You must first make friends with your clients and stop thinking only about revenues." Or they would say, "You must be prepared to socialize, potentially for six months, before you can cut a deal."
I searched inward and asked myself, "Why did I join this organization? Wasn't I planning to save sentient beings? Was I aiming for sales, or to have my clients willingly advertise with New Epoch Weekly after I clarify the truth to them?" I began to rectify my mentality. I started studying Teacher's new articles since 2009 every day in addition to my regular assignment. I went to reporters when they went on reporting assignments about the tea industry. I tried to learn as much as I could about the tea industry in Taiwan. Finally, I procured my first advertisement contract six weeks later. I knew I didn't have to wait for six months to get a client to advertise with New Epoch Weekly.
One day I went to Jhongli City in Taoyuan County to interview the chairman of a tea association, and presented my advertisement proposal. We had a good time chatting during the interview. I almost told him that I practice Falun Gong. On the way back to Taipei, he called and told me he would not advertise with us because the tea association does business with China and it would not be appropriate to advertise with Falun Gong media. I was shocked. I felt terrible. I suddenly realized what it means to have to fight with the Old Forces in order to save people, to save sentient beings, and to clarify the truth.
I reflected upon myself. When I made sales calls, I would talk about Falun Gong and important facts about Falun Gong, but I would look for an opportune moment to do so. If I didn't have time, I would not clarify the truth about Falun Gong. These conservative and kindhearted tea businessmen and businesswomen leaned towards the Chinese Community Party (CCP) because I failed to clarify the truth to them. I felt I had done a poor job clarifying the truth. I must grasp time! I must grasp time! That was all I thought about. I had 30 days left before the next publishing date, but I met only 1% of my advertisement sales target.
Since I could not get a large account, why not focus on smaller accounts? I changed my strategy by dividing a page into three. I asked myself how much I would be willing to pay for a block of advertisement this size if I were the client? If I have only smaller clients, then I must make up for it with quantity. In my estimation, I needed at least 30 clients to reach my sales target. I started to make a lot of phone calls and arrange trips to the tea farms. For the first trip, I went to Nantou and visited four tea farmers in one day. I had planned to travel further south the next day, but I found both my body and mind exhausted with burdens as though I had just fought a major battle. I felt powerless. I decided to end my trip and go back to Taipei. I searched inward and realized that it might have been the karma of these sentient beings preventing me from telling them the truth about Falun Gong. The only way to prevail over the obstacles is to study the Fa more, upgrade my xinxing level, and stabilize my cultivation state.
For my second trip, I traveled to Alishan (or Mount Ali). This time I made up my mind to visit all the tea farms on my list. I worked as a team with a local Falun Gong practitioner in the area. While I clarified the truth and negotiated the advertisement deals, she would send forth righteous thoughts. We began visiting tea farmers at 10 a.m. We visited over 10 tea farmers. I also sent forth righteous thoughts during the car ride between tea farms. We finished visiting the last client after midnight that day. On the way back to the fellow practitioner's home, the breeze brought the sweet fragrance of freshly roasted spring tea. Fireflies flashed on the side of the roads. Tears came down my face. In the end I reached 95% of my sales target for the special topic on tea. Nearly 90% of the accounts were new ones. I would like to thank Teacher for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my duty.
So far New Epoch Weekly has covered three special topics. I have learned during the process the significance of studying the Fa, practicing Falun Gong exercises, clarifying the truth, and sending forth righteous thoughts. Studying the Fa is particularly important because all of our wisdom and energy comes from the Fa. In the 10 weeks of selling advertisements, especially the final few weeks, I studied the Fa with tears every single day. I nearly collapsed because of the pressure. The one righteous thought I had to keep me going was that Teacher requires us to be selfless and save sentient beings. In addition, the New Epoch Weekly team has been studying one lecture of Zhuan Falun together every morning for over a year.
"For a cultivator, all the frustrations he comes across among everyday people are trials, and all the compliments he receives are tests." ("A Cultivator is Naturally Part of It" from Essentials for Further Advancement)
Once I reached the sales target, I kept reminding myself it is Teacher that gave me the wisdom and the hope for New Epoch Weekly. Yet I still became arrogant and jealous. I disapproved of the team lead that lacked professional knowledge on marketing. I followed certain practitioners, instead of following the Fa. I became belligerent because of my emotions. These forms of interference made it difficult for me to focus on my work. Finally I stopped working for New Epoch Weekly and went to New York for the Falun Gong experience sharing conference to reflect upon my cultivation. I listened to many cultivation insights at the conference. I was blown away when a fellow practitioner said his biggest regret was failing to cultivate himself and blaming it on others. The words "cultivate myself and search inward" have been branded in my mind since the conference.
I began to search inward.
I became jealous when I was very busy with work, but some fellow practitioners had a lot of free time. Isn't it an opportunity to establish my mighty virtue? As to my disapproval of the team lead who didn't have any training or experience on marketing and my inclination to follow certain practitioners instead of the Fa, Teacher has already cautioned us in his lectures.
"However, if you are focused on the superficial, ordinary human things, then you are attached and are using human thinking. Don’t give weight to such things. If you can manage to quietly complete what you notice is lacking, quietly do well what you should do, and quietly do something well when you find it to have been done less than ideally, then the multitude of gods will have tremendous admiration for you and exclaim that this person is simply extraordinary. Only doing things this way counts as what a Dafa disciple should do." ("Be More Diligent")
I became belligerent because I failed to cultivate myself and search inward. All of sudden, all the negative feelings disappeared into thin air. I also felt I worked on advertisement sales because I made a pledge! Every person's inborn temperament, personality and characteristics determined what type of work he or she is capable of doing. There is no such thing as fairness because we each have something unique we should do.
In the past five years of cultivation, I have only managed to pass xinxing tests because of my rebellious nature. I truly thank our compassionate Teacher for continuing to watch over me and allowing me to witness the magnificence of the Fa when I did cultivate myself. Nowadays I cherish very much the opportunity to cultivate while working for New Epoch Weekly. By working on different topics, we have opportunities to get in touch with corporate leaders of different industries and people of different walks of life. Our interviewees get to witness how we stand apart from other media. Corporate leaders and celebrities get to know Falun Gong and change their attitude towards Falun Gong through interview opportunities. After repeated rejections, I am reminded to reflect upon my cultivation. Instead of flying solo, I have learned to cooperate with fellow practitioners to reach our collective goal. I would like to thank Teacher for giving me such a sacred opportunity to fulfill my pledge. Finally I would like to remind myself, as well as my fellow practitioners, to cultivate ourselves and search ourselves from within.
Thank you, Teacher.
Thank you, everyone.