My Experiences in Promoting Shen Yun
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners! At this sacred and dignified Fa-conference, I would like to share my humble experience of selling Shen Yun tickets. Please point out anything improper.
Setting up a Shen Yun Ticket Booth at the High-End Chinese Mainstream Shopping Mall
Master mentioned in the article “Be More Diligent” on July 24, 2010 in Washington, D.C.,
“There’s also the matter of Shen Yun ticket sales. I have said that we are now to focus on higher-end society, and only by making ourselves part of the cultural mainstream can we unlock society at large, have a greater impact, have more people attend, and have more sentient beings come to be saved.”
The greater Toronto area has a population of 5 million, and about one-tenth of the population or 600,000 people are Chinese. In order to reach the local mainstream Chinese people, one of the many ways that we thought of was to set up Shen Yun ticket booths at those shopping malls that are frequented by the mainstream Chinese. In Toronto, we have one Chinese high-end mall that is the largest in North America. In order to set up a Shen Yun ticket booth at this mall, we have been trying for many years to clarify the truth to the management there. However, each time they refused us, giving different reasons. This year when the coordinator suggested that I contact the management there, I delayed going due to my human notions and fear of being refused again. One day a fellow practitioner shared with me: With Master’s Fa-rectification moving forward, the cosmic climate is also changing. We should let go of our human notions and attachment of fear and talk to the management. We should also let go of our intention to set up a ticket-booth there and just take it as a great opportunity to introduce the beauty of Shen Yun and clarify the truth of Dafa to them.
Once I rectified my mindset, a fellow practitioner decided to accompany me to see the manager on the weekend. When we arrived, the door was locked. When we asked the people in the adjacent store, they told us the manager usually comes to work during the weekend, but they did not know why he was not there yet. After we confirmed the manager’s phone number, we called and left a voicemail. We waited for a while, but there was no response. Since the fellow practitioner had a second appointment, we had to leave the mall. While sitting in my car, I thought that I should not just give up like this and leave. I decided to call the manager one more time. I asked Master to strengthen my righteous thoughts. The phone rang for a while before the manager answered. I talked to him in a very polite and determined voice, saying I hoped that I could meet with him in his office today. He agreed to meet with us in two hours. This would give us sufficient time to go to our appointment and then return. Two hours was perfect! Hanging up the phone, I pressed my hands together in heshi to thank Master.
We returned to the Mall early, but the manager did not show up at the scheduled appointment time. We waited for another ten minutes, yet the manager still did not show up. My fellow practitioner reminded me that we should keep sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the interference. After awhile the manager texted me saying that after talking to me over the phone, he developed a very bad headache. Although he took some medicine, he was still in pain and therefore couldn’t drive to his office to see me. Obviously the evil elements in the other dimensions tried hard to interfere. I was hesitating how to text him back, when my fellow practitioner reminded me that we are eliminating the evil in the other dimensions. As for the ordinary person who is being interfered with in this dimension, we should treat him with our compassion cultivated from Dafa. The fellow practitioner’s timely reminder made me very clear-minded, and my heart was full of compassion when I texted him back. I said, “I am sorry to hear about your situation. Please don’t worry about us waiting here. The most important thing now is for you to recover soon!” In texting him back, I completely let go of my intention to talk to him or to set up our booth. I put myself in his shoes, feeling his physical pain, and feeling sorry that he missed the opportunity to make a very important decision. The manager immediately texted back, thanking me for my kindness, consideration, and understanding. He apologized and promised to meet me on Monday.
I read his text to the fellow practitioner. She asked me: “Aren’t you going to work next Monday? Can you come to see him? Should we ask for a different day?” I shared that it is not easy to book an appointment with the manager. Since he offered to meet with us on Monday, we should not miss this opportunity. I preferred not to change the date so as to avoid any further interference. I told the fellow practitioner that I made up my mind to take Monday off to meet with him.
On Monday morning, when the fellow practitioner and I went to meet this manager, we discovered that he was not the same one that we had contacted before. This manager was very young and was born and raised in Canada. He told us that there was a management change at the shopping mall. When we introduced Shen Yun and clarified the truth about Dafa to him, he was very willing to listen to us. He also accessed the Shen Yun website on his computer. At the end of our presentation, he said that if we could guarantee that we would not argue with the mall customers or try to pull them into a religion like some other groups have done, he would give us a chance. He asked us to wait to hear back from him since he needed to talk to his boss before he made the final decision.
Several days passed, and there was no response. I called, left some messages, and sent several emails. Still there was no response. Once again the situation seemed to be hopeless. The fellow practitioner and I reminded each other: Since this manager knew the truth, as Dafa disciples we should use our righteous thoughts cultivated from Dafa to help him eliminate any interference in other dimensions so that he could make the right decision.
One day after sending forth righteous thoughts at noon, I called the manager again. This time he answered the phone. I said to him: “Just as you suggested the other day, will you at least ask your boss to give us a try. When you are giving us a chance, you might actually give yourself a chance too. I guarantee you that we will never argue with the mall customers or pull anyone to join a certain religion. If these things happen, you can prevent us from returning; so you actually have full control of the situation.” He said that this made sense to him. He agreed immediately saying, “Fine, you can come in this weekend from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.”
He told me we could place our TV running the Shen Yun ads and the Shen Yun poster right in the middle of the stage. He said with a smile that he hoped Shen Yun could bring good luck to his shopping mall.
With the beautiful Shen Yun ads and the big poster set up right in the middle of the stage of the largest Chinese shopping mall in North America, we could introduce Shen Yun with dignity to many Chinese and non-Chinese mainstream mall customers. I truly felt that everything on earth has its own life, including this building. Think about it: many years ago, when this building was being built, who can say that it has not been waiting for this precious moment to introduce Shen Yun on its stage?
This manager said he would give us a chance. This chance started out as three hours and turned into seven hours the first day. This chance started out as once a week and turned into twice a week, then to five days a week. Later on, as long as we told him in advance, we could choose to go any day and any time. I believe it is the power of the truth of Dafa and the pure righteousness and compassion of Dafa disciples that made this manager trust us and have confidence in us.
Thanks to Master’s compassionate encouragement and strengthening, the next weekend when we were at the mall, a lady from Southeast Asia came to the ticket booth. After listening to the introduction of Shen Yun, she asked people around her whether they would like to watch Shen Yun, and all of them answered, “Yes!” While I was calling the hotline to pick the seats for her, she said besides everyone there that would go, she would also like to call and see whether other family members or relatives wanted to go as well. After making several phone calls, she eventually came close to me and said, “So let’s order 13 tickets.” She told me that in one shot she had finished her Christmas shopping for everyone.
After we closed the deal for her, her phone started to ring again. After answering the phone, she came back to me and told me that her relative on the phone asked her to order two more tickets. When we called the hotline back, there still were two available seats next to the 13 tickets she just ordered. She said immediately, “Let’s grab them.” She said that since she had paid with her credit card just now, this time she would like to pay cash for these two tickets.
The manager of the shopping mall later on also brought his family to watch Shen Yun. When I met him during the intermission, he told me he enjoyed every aspect of the Shen Yun performance, and his whole family looked forward to the second half. Thanks to the many fellow practitioners’ tremendous efforts and harmonious cooperation, we sold tickets at this ticket-booth until the second day after Shen Yun started its performances in Toronto.
Miracle at the Subway
The second day after Shen Yun started performing in Toronto, I was assigned to go to a downtown business building to sell tickets. On my way to the subway, in an elevator, there was a gentleman who said in English, “Good Morning” kindly to me. At that moment, my mind was focused on going downtown to sell tickets, so I replied politely but briefly, “Good Morning!” I quickly walked out of the elevator, faster than him. Several steps later, I did not feel right: Predestined people started to get my attention; so I sensed that I should not lose this opportunity.
I stopped and waited there for him to come over. I thanked him for his kindness and he told me that he was taking the subway to work downtown. We chatted as we walked. I told him that Shen Yun has its second show tonight at the Sony Center. I asked him whether he heard about Shen Yun. He told me that he lived north of Toronto and that for the past several years, he had read and seen Shen Yun ads in the newspaper and TV repeatedly. He was aware it was a Chinese show, but since he did not know exactly what Shen Yun was about, he hadn’t seen it yet. After a brief introduction, I gave him a Shen Yun flyer. He asked me where he could book tickets. I told him I was on my way to a ticket-booth and if he wanted to buy tickets, I could help him. Since I used a metro-pass, I could use it to get into the subway via the closest entrance. However, in order to have the opportunity to further talk to him about Shen Yun, I decided to go with him to a more distant entrance where he could enter. We talked like old friends.
When we got on the train, there were two seats next to each other, and we both sat down. I opened the beautiful Shen Yun album and talked to him about the uniqueness of Classical Chinese dance and the orchestral performance. He listened very attentively. He told me that he and his wife very often bring their three kids to different performances. I told him that Shen Yun has a brand-new show each year, enjoyed by different ages and different ethnic backgrounds. I hoped he wouldn’t miss it this year. After all, there were only five shows in four days.
Soon the train arrived at his stop. It was two stops before mine. Since my phone has no signal in the subway and I could not call our ticket hotline, I decided to get off the subway at his stop with him, walking with him together to a food court. When he was talking to his wife on the phone, I sat beside him, sending forth righteous thoughts. After talking to his wife, he told me, that he had persuaded his wife to cancel their weekend activity, and agreed that all five family members would come to see the Saturday evening Shen Yun show.
Initially, he picked five $80.00 tickets. But when he double- checked with the seating chart, he was not happy. Eventually he ended up buying five $100.00 tickets that were in the front. When I was writing his three-copy receipt, he told me he came from South America. Ever since he was small, his Mom always took him to theaters to see performances. Now he understands that Shen Yun is a world-class show, and Saturday night, he and his family were going to see it. He said he felt very happy and could not wait to see the show.
Just as Master mentioned in the new lecture “Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area fa Conference”,
“Everything has been prepared, and all that’s missing is for you to carry it out”
“…this is something huge—everyone is waiting to be saved!”
Master truly has prepared everything for both Dafa disciples’ cultivation and for saving sentient beings!
Looking Within Is the Magical Tool
I remember that on the Friday in early January after Shen Yun finished the performances in Hamilton, I went to a high-end western supermarket to sell tickets for the Toronto performances. After the set-up practitioner left, I discovered that the 30-second video clip was for Hamilton, not for Toronto. I called this fellow practitioner, and he told me that I had to use the Hamilton video clip because there were so many ticket-booths opened that day that there was no video clip for my booth. I started to complain to myself: after taking the whole day off, standing here with this outdated information, how am I going to sell tickets? It’d be better if the passersby did not see the outdated time and venue information at the end of the clip.
My mind was not righteous. As a result, whatever things I feared appeared. For example, while talking to a customer, he looked at the TV. At the end of the 30-second clip when the Hamilton show time and venue appeared, he started to read it loud. And he looked at me with a question in his eyes: the shows were done, why you are standing here?
The first time someone asked me this question, I did not know how to answer. And he left. I felt so bad and started to complain even more, feeling it was all the fellow practitioner’s fault. When the second and third person started to ask me this same question, I still had not enlightened, and neither I did look within. In time, when people passed by, they did not even bother to look at the TV. Even though I greeted them with a smile, they looked at me like I was invisible. I realized that the situation was serious and that I had a problem with my xinxing. My complaints ruined the pure energy field of this ticket booth. I calmed down, asking myself: Deep behind this complaint, what attachments of mine are hidden? I found out that I was attached to the time that I had taken off, and I was attached to the idea that if I could not sell tickets today with this outdated information, at the end of a long day, I would feel very unhappy and unsatisfied. When a problem occurred, instead of seizing the opportunity to cultivate away every single human thought and attachment of mine, I kept complaining. Not only that, I also could not see the situation from the one body perspective and think about what I could do to harmonize the situation.
When I dug out these human attachments, I felt very light-hearted. I started to cleanse my own energy field and eliminate the interference in the other dimension at the ticket booth. Very soon, there were people coming over looking at the video clips and talking to me. When the TV showed the outdated Hamilton information again, I told them that Shen Yun had finished its shows in Hamilton, full house. The next stop is the Sony Center. And then I would give them a flyer for the Toronto show, pointing out the show times in Toronto. No one challenged me with any questions this time. It turned out that more and more people came over to pick up the flyers and more and more people came to listen to me talk about Shen Yun.
A little while later, a father came close to our table. He squatted down to tie the shoelace for his daughter. When he got up, I passed him a flyer and told him this is the best Chinese culture show. He accepted the flyer and told me he really likes Chinese culture. I saw him waving his hand to someone at a distance, asking her to come over quickly. He told me that it was his wife and their second daughter. When his wife came over, he was excited and told her that this is the best Chinese culture show: “Let’s go to see it.” I told her this is a show that she must see. The wife said to her husband: “So you just make the decision then!”
The husband decided to go Friday night, and asked me to book tickets for him. I suggested that he buy four $160 tickets because they were the best. He said no problem. And then the deal was closed! The whole process took about 20 minutes.
When they left, I could no longer hold back my tears, I just let them cover my eyes and cheeks: Just like Master pointed out in “What is A Dafa Disciple?”,
“When you meet with a conflict, it doesn’t matter whether you are in the right. You should be asking yourself, 'What on my part isn’t right in this situation? Might it really be that there is something wrong on my part?' You should all be thinking this way, with your first thought being to scrutinize yourself to try to find the problem. Whoever is not like this is not in fact a true cultivator of Dafa. It is a magical tool in our cultivation. This is a distinguishing feature of our Dafa disciples’ cultivation. Whatever it is that you encounter, the first thought should be to scrutinize yourself, and it’s called 'looking within.'”
While selling Shen Yun tickets, we went through the hot and sweltering summer and into the windy and freezing cold winter. I understand that our disciples’ efforts, when compared to Master’s expectations and to the Fa requirements, are far from enough. After months of selling tickets, the following memories at times re-occurred in my mind:
An elderly lady of German origin broke through her husband’s objections and bought two tickets. She came back to our booth, gave me a hug and pointed her finger to the sky, saying, “It is God who asked me not to miss this show.”
An over 70-year-old Portuguese lady, who had been hospitalized for many years, bought the most expensive tickets available for herself and family members. She told us, “This will be the best gift ever for my birthday.”
A Vietnamese lady who drove all the way from another city told us happily after she got the tickets, “I have missed the show for many years. This time I got my tickets; I have no more regrets.”
An elderly Indian man bought tickets as a Thanksgiving gift for his wife. He kept telling us that he could not wait to see Shen Yun and discover the most genuine Chinese culture.
A new immigrant from Mainland China, with a three-copy receipt in her hand turned around to tell people around her in her not-very-fluent English, “Very good Chinese show. I bought my tickets. Please don’t miss it.”
A Chinese from Mainland China after watching the show, with all the fresh happiness on her face, said to a reporter, “Chinese people should feel proud of Shen Yun.”
A tourist who took the flyer called me weeks later to say that she decided to come to Toronto to watch Shen Yun by taking the Greyhound bus. During the intermission, she said, “It is really worth while even though it takes 10 hours to ride the bus one way to come to the show.” She said she will tell more people in her town about Shen Yun.
At the outdoor festival booth, there were people of different ethnic groups lining up to buy tickets.
At the show when the curtain rises, when the heavenly music starts, when I bathe myself in the tremendous Buddha grace of Master, I feel every single cell of mine cleansed by the boundless compassion. Master, I know, and I know clearly that it is the boundless blessings of Dafa. It is the boundless mighty virtue of Master's rectifying the Fa that brings Dafa disciples the precious opportunity to assist Master and the hope for the sentient beings to be saved. I will keep in mind Master’s teachings, solidly cultivate myself, follow closely Master’s arrangement to connect sentient beings with Dafa.
Thank you Master! Thank you fellow practitioners!