Minghui Fahui | Although Busy, We Dare Not Forget the Mission
(Minghui.org) The customers were left with a long-term, deep impression of this truthful fact: “The convenience store manager is a Falun Gong practitioner; the goods are genuine, not fake, and fairly priced.” Therefore, the number of customers has increased steadily, and subsequently, so have the sales.
– By the author
No Holidays for a Convenience Store
I operate a community convenience store. I have no Sundays off, and take no holidays during the year, except two days during the Chinese New Year. The store's dimensions are eleven meters long, 3.3 meters wide – just over 33 square meters in area (about 43 square yards), where I work long hours daily. I open the store before 8:00 a.m., rest about one hour at noon, then close at 10 p.m. I work as much as 12 hours a day. Holidays are usually the busiest time in our service industry.
I worked in state-owned enterprises before, but many of them are now bankrupt, and their former employees are without jobs. Many people open community convenience stores, so it's difficult to be profitable and survive. The same goods are sold in every store, so competition is fierce. In order to retain customers, I have to sell at the lowest price. In order to make a profit, I have to sell more and keep my customers. I keep the store open over 12 hours daily.
The store is small, so I can manage it myself. My wife works in an administrative office, and our two children go to school. I get up at 3:30 a.m., then my wife and I do the five exercises together, then send righteous thoughts at 6 a.m. My oldest daughter is in middle school, and she sets her alarm for six in the morning. By the time my wife finishes sending righteous thoughts, our older daughter has finished washing and starts the morning reading. My wife and I wanted to place Fa study before breakfast, but the child's teacher arranged morning reading and reciting, so my wife helps her while she's making breakfast. In order to have our oldest daughter study the Fa with us, my wife and I arrange the study time right after she finishes her homework, before she goes to sleep. Even though she's tired and wants to sleep, my wife and I patiently persuade her to study the Fa consistently, even if it's only a short paragraph.
Other stores don’t close at noon. My wife and I discussed this and decided to close my store from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. so that I can have a quiet lunch, make up sending righteous thoughts from noon, and get a little rest. Otherwise, I will be too tired to send righteous thoughts at midnight. My wife comes to help me after her work, so that I can also make up the sending righteous thoughts at 6 p.m. After the kids get out of school, my wife cooks and eats dinner with them first, then helps them finish their homework. Later, I have dinner while she takes care of the store. Whenever she gets too busy, I stop eating and help her.
At 10 p.m., we prepare to close the store. When everything is done, it's almost 11. We clean up, check our children's school work and Fa study, then finally send righteous thoughts at midnight before going to bed. When the alarm wakes us up the next morning, my back is sometimes too stiff to turn over, but after doing the first exercise, I feel relaxed and my body is flexible.
I have operated the convenience store continuously for the past eleven years, since 2002.
In order to free up more time to study the Fa and do truth clarification, I've tried various scenarios. My parents saw that I was busy and helped me for periods of time in the store. They are both in their 70s, so their responses weren't as fast as younger people's. Most importantly, they spent too much time in the store. This disrupted their Fa study, truth clarification, and distributing Dafa informational materials, even though my father didn’t work hard on it. It is not right to use three Dafa disciples' time in one convenience store. Therefore, my parents stopped helping, and suggested that I find other help in order to have time to study the Fa and do truth clarification. However, I found that this didn’t work, either. There are fewer customers between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m., so I tried to close the store during that time. However, I actually lost many customers who normally came after 2:30—they went to other stores. It took a long time to get those customers back after I resumed opening at 2:30.
In order to participate in the weekly group Fa study, my wife and I invited fellow practitioners to our home for group study. Fellow practitioners understood my situation and purposely arranged Saturday and Sunday afternoons, because my wife is off work on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. From 3:00-4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, my wife takes care of the store because there are fewer customers, and I can attend the group Fa study. There are more customers from 4:30-6:30 p.m., so I take care of the store and my wife attends the group Fa study. During one period of time, some practitioners in our area decided to combine the dispersed study groups into one large group study to discuss how to learn the Fa, improve together, keep up with the Fa-rectification process, and save more sentient beings. The large group study is far from my convenience store, so it's impossible for my wife and I to attend and take care of the store at the same time. Therefore, only one of us participates in large group Fa study, while the other operates the store. Several fellow practitioners pointed out kindly that the opportunities to attend large group study are few, so both my wife and I should attend. According to the Fa, as long as we consider the Fa as the most important, and put aside the attachment of earning more money, it should not affect the store's business! My wife and I listened to the fellow practitioners’ recommendations, closed the store, and joined the large group Fa study.
Clarifying the Truth to Customers
"What Dafa disciples are doing here is validating the Fa, and they are Disciples of Fa who are saving sentient beings, and have tremendous missions. Put another way, they are emissaries of the Divine." (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference”)
"Messenger of Shen" often gives me a sense of pride. I usually have the feeling that we came from Shen’s world, the Lord of Buddha, and we are the ambassadors to the human world! I think carefully of the meaning of “the ambassadors to the human world” and how to fulfill the mission without dishonor and helping Master's Fa rectification. We are Fa-rectification period Dafa practitioners.
Master told us “a Fa that even gods weren’t aware of before” (“Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland”), and gave us the responsibility to save sentient beings. If we don’t do a good job, and one day the truth appears to the world, then human beings will think: “Ah, see! You are Dafa practitioners. Why didn't you explain the truth about Falun Dafa to me, so that I could be saved? Master sent you to save us, you have that responsibility. Did you do your job? Did you fulfill your mission? As a Fa-rectification period Dafa practitioner, do you deserve that title?”
I try my best to do more Fa study, clarify the truth, and persuade people to do the three withdrawals from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its two affiliated organizations. I must finish my work in the morning and afternoon, and study Fa when there aren't many customers. Customers come in and out sporadically, so in order to study the Fa whenever possible, I made a clean, hidden, and unnoticed space next to the cashier drawer to place Master's book Zhuan Falun. In order to calm down to study the Fa and understand it in my heart, I memorize, then recite Fa after reading it. I recite the Fa one paragraph after another. I try to remember it in my heart and brain after reciting one paragraph. Clarifying the truth and persuading people to do the three withdrawals are done in the morning and afternoon when there are customers in the store, but not many. There are not many times when there are no customers in the store. When this happens, I study the Fa. When there are three or more customers, I have to take care of them. In fact, many times, I do Fa study and face-to-face truth clarification at the same time.
My convenience store customers are either neighborhood residents or passersby. Customers come into the store and spend a maximum of two or three minutes, some as little as half a minute or so. If I lack a righteous mind and hesitate, I miss the opportunity to explain the truth about Falun Gong. The neighborhood customers may come back, but the passing customers might not be seen again. I try to consider every customer who comes to my store as a being that Master arranged for me to save. Whenever possible, I try to clarify the truth to them. After clarifying the truth for awhile, I can naturally, like in a friendly chat, lead to the topic: “Have you heard that people who joined the the Young Pioneers, the Communist Youth League, and the Chinese Communist Party are quitting now? The CCP is so corrupt!” Judging from my long-term, face-to-face explaining the truth experiences, I've found that most people accept it this way and are then willing to quit the CCP. I then change the subject: “There was false news on CCTV's ‘Focus’ program on January 23, 2001.” Most people I meet show different degrees of surprise when they hear this. I continue by explaining the truth about the staged Tiananmen “self-immolation,” so that people will remember that Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good! Most people believe what I say. I also asked their names in a reasonable way, and generally they gave their names.
I've left a deep impression on my customers by clarifying the truth repeatedly over time: “This convenience store owner is a Falun Gong practitioner. His goods are genuine, not fake, and fairly priced.” Therefore, the number customers has increased steadily and so have sales.
Not all customers can be persuaded to quit the CCP. Some couldn’t be persuaded, wouldn't listen to the truth, or simply disagreed. There are many reasons for this. Looking inward, I think that the main reason was that I didn’t study the Fa well, my righteous thoughts were not strong enough, and the energy emitted when clarifying the truth was not sufficient to clear the evil factors preventing those people from understanding the truth.
Life’s Supreme Glory
My sister reminded me several times “You've already been involved in two incidents, and you should learn from them. Our parents are old, and they can’t bear such frightening events. For the sake of your children and parents, you can't get into another incident!”
I was detained for a month because I went to Beijing to validate the Fa in 2000. In 2006, I went to the rural countryside to distribute the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and informational booklets, but was reported to the authorities by local villagers who didn’t understand the truth. I was then imprisoned for six months. During my incarceration, local practitioners went to the police department, Public Prosecution Bureau, and court staff to clarify the truth and send righteous thoughts to clear away the evil factors. Overseas practitioners called the detention center and the Public Security Bureau responsible for my arrest. This greatly deterred the evil and alleviated the persecution. At the human level, my elder and younger sisters and brother-in-law paid quite a lot to rescue me from prison. They live in a different city 200 miles away. In order to rescue me and comfort our parents, they travelled between the two cities nine times while I was in custody. At that time, their only daughter was taking the national college entrance exam. Although my parents are practitioners, my two experiences of arrest and detention had a great impact on them. My parents and wife had a lot of grey hair in 2006 after I was held in prison for six months.
I understand my sister's heartfelt words and good intentions. Yet I believe in Master and in Dafa! I bear in mind Master's teachings, bear in mind the mission of saving sentient beings. Whenever my sister talked about her fear of my being arrested again, I smiled without a word, listened carefully, and looked for the right time to clarify the truth to her and guide her to obtaining the Fa.
I often recite a paragraph from the Fa:
“Of course, we don't acknowledge any of the things that the old forces arranged--I as your master don't acknowledge them, and Dafa disciples of course don't acknowledge them either. (Applause) But after all, they did do what they wanted to do, so there's all the more reason for Dafa disciples to do even better and cultivate themselves well in the course of saving all beings. When you encounter ordeals during your cultivation, you have got to cultivate yourself and look at yourself--that doesn't mean acknowledging the ordeals arranged by the old forces and trying to do well amidst the ordeals they've arranged, that's not the case. We negate even the very emergence of the old forces and everything that they've arranged; we don't even acknowledge their existence. We're fundamentally negating all of their things, and all of, and only, the things you do while negating and getting rid of them is mighty-virtue. It's not that you're cultivating amidst the ordeals they created. Rather, you are to walk your own path well while not acknowledging them, not even acknowledging the elimination of their ordeals' manifestations. (Applause) So looking at it from this angle, what we need to do is completely negate the old forces. Dafa disciples and I don't even acknowledge the manifestations of their last-ditch efforts.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference”)
One afternoon this past summer, a well-dressed young man came into my store. He appeared to be rather arrogant, and bought a pack of expensive cigarettes and a beverage. As usual, I sent righteous thoughts to clear out the evil factors in other dimensions while he was selecting cigarettes and a drink. I hoped that he would understand the truth and be saved. When he came to pay, I explained the truth to him. He didn’t speak and was cold to me. He didn’t speak when I attempted to persuade him to quit the CCP, and was still quiet when I talked about the self-immolation and clarified the truth. He was still quiet when I said “Dafa is good” and to remember that “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” At that time, my Fa study was good and my mind was righteous. Frankly, I just wanted to let everyone know the truth and to be saved without any distinction. I told the young man the basic truth briefly, and stopped. He then spoke coldly: “Do you know who I am? I am the one who could put you in prison.” He left with his cigarettes and drink.
This event left a deep impression on me. During my daily truth clarification activities, I deeply understand that if we study the Fa better, the desire to save sentient beings then becomes stronger, and we're able to clarify the truth with less attachment. This way, more people hear the truth and it is easier to explain it to others, and the success rate in persuading people to quit the CCP is higher. When my Fa study was not good, the attachment of fear appeared. That is, in fact, a certain degree of inadequate trust in Master and the Fa. When we study the Fa well, our minds are righteous, we trust Master and the Fa, and our face-to-face truth clarification is safe!
“Dafa disciples, you are golden light in the mortal world, the hope of the world's people, Fa-disciples who help Master, and future Fa-Kings. Keep diligent, Awakened Ones that walk the earth: Everything of today will be the glory of the future.” (“Congratulatory Message” from the Atlanta Fa Conference)
My job is really busy and tiring, but I feel very fortunate to be a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple, to become a “messenger of Shen” and follow Master in order to save sentient beings. This is the supreme glory of life. I am willing to work for Dafa! I am willing to strive to do my best at the three things that Dafa disciples should do. I am willing to complete my mission with every effort.
“Fa-rectification is sure to succeed, and Dafa disciples are sure to achieve Consummation.” (“Greetings” 2008)