(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master. Greetings, fellow practitioners.

I began to practice Falun Dafa almost one year after I had graduated from college. I had been searching to deepen my spirituality for a long time. Ever since I was a child, I knew that something extraordinarily special was going to happen during my lifetime--I just did not know what it would be.

I worked as a teacher in China during my first year after college. One spring day after class, a student approached me and introduced me to Falun Dafa. He called his mother and asked her to find an English version of Zhuan Falun for me, and she quickly found a copy and mailed it to him so that he could give it to me.

While reading Zhuan Falun for the first time, I remember thinking that this was the path I had been looking for, and that my xinxing would continue to improve for the rest of my life if I took up this path.

I also remember having a negative thought at that time. I thought, “If my xinxing improves, then I'm never going to have all those experiences that my friends have had and that I've dreamed about.”

What I didn't fully understand at the time was that those experiences weren't healthy.

Master says in Zhuan Falun:

“What we lose is actually something bad. What is it? It is karma, and it goes hand in hand with different human attachments.”

“To tell you the truth, the entire cultivation process for a practitioner is one of constantly giving up human attachments.”

Through precious years of cultivation, we have elevated our xinxing and culled away unrighteous thoughts by examining our thoughts based on the Fa. And Master has helped us remove our karma. Because Master guides our cultivation and our karma is removed, we come closer and closer to actualizing our true selves.

My understanding is that Master does not give up on any of us, including me, despite my many mistakes, because He clearly sees our true selves. He sees our sincerity and the solemnity of our decision to descend to the world and participate in Fa-rectification, and He is waiting for us to collectively play a leading role.

In “Be More Diligent,” Master says:

“There is one point that you’re all very clear on: history’s being able to progress to this day, here in this world, is precisely because it was reserved for Dafa disciples to save sentient beings, as this chapter of history exists expressly for Dafa disciples’ success and so that you may fulfill your vows.”

Cultivating While at Work

For the past 14 months, I have worked full-time as a sales person for the Epoch Times. For seven years prior to this, I worked as a high school teacher, and I really enjoyed my job. From the beginning of my teaching career, I felt that the job was a blessing. It gave me a way to live while having plenty of time to clarify the truth about Dafa. I had the summers off, too. During a couple of them, I had attempted to work as a salesperson for the Epoch Times. However, I had almost no success while trying to sell ads in this sporadic way.

Before elaborating on my experience in sales, I want to share a few experiences I had while working at a few high schools. I understood that my workplace was a setting to both cultivate my xinxing and validate Dafa. I worked in harmony with other teachers, and I tried to communicate with them in a professional manner and fulfill my teaching responsibilities to the greatest extent possible. This was a form of validating Dafa.

However, I had to learn how to balance a few aspects. First, I needed to balance the way in which I explained the facts about Dafa to people. There were a few times when I could have used better judgment while doing so. I needed to find appropriate avenues that would help people accept what I had to say.

One day–I think Master was guiding this arrangement–I walked into the student activities office and asked how I could become the sponsor for the Amnesty International Club. A student overheard me and said that he wanted to be a member of the club. He even became the club president and helped attract other students to the club. We had petition drives and met with other such clubs to distribute information about Dafa. He was the only student accepted to Princeton University from his class that year.

I worked at three high schools (sequentially), and at each I became the sponsor for the Amnesty International Club. I noticed that the students who participate in clubs and other extracurricular activities tend to be high achievers. The presidents of the Amnesty International Clubs had excellent organizational skills, and they planned their meetings and activities very well. Their skills surpassed mine. It was a lesson for me to watch them work.

Another method of presenting information about Falun Dafa and the persecution in China in a high school setting was to inform history teachers about the history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). After I approached a few history teachers, I was allowed to show parts of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party in their classrooms. The Nine Commentaries was welcomed by world history teachers as well, because part of their curriculum covered the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward (sociopolitical movements of the CCP).

The second issue I needed to balance while working in high schools was how to discipline my students. The first few years were quite a challenge. To put it mildly, some students weren't as kind to me as I was to them. From a practitioner's perspective, it was an opportunity to look inside to see where I fell short. I realized that I lacked assertiveness and stage presence while being in front of a class, and I wasn't able to judge when students “crossed the line” so to speak and when they needed to be disciplined using an appropriate strategy.

Over the years, especially during my fourth through seventh years of teaching, I gradually improved in these regards. My classroom rules revolved around truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. I put these principles in my class syllabus. My method of managing the students' behavior revolved around the principle of loss and gain. I would immediately recognize students when they put forth effort, showed initiative and participated in class activities, and I would swiftly respond to poor behavior and inappropriate actions. The students' positive and negative actions were reflected in points that I awarded at the end of each class, and I would total their points.

I felt that Master was using my experiences at work to help me overcome my weaknesses and strive towards becoming a true man.

Master says in Zhuan Falun:

“While walking on a street or in another social environment, one may come across some trouble. You will be made to abandon all those attachments that cannot be given up among everyday people. As long as you have them, all of those attachments must be removed in different environments. You will be made to stumble, whereby you will become enlightened to the Tao. This is how one goes through cultivation practice.”

A third issue I needed to balance while working in a high school was how I often became too engrossed in my job and failed to take a step back and look at the big picture. The big picture for us is to always remember that we are practitioners and to clarify the facts about Dafa when the opportunity arises.

Master says in Zhuan Falun:

“The enlightenment that we actually refer to is a matter of whether in the course of cultivation practice one can enlighten to and accept the Fa taught by the master or the Tao taught by the Taoist master, whether one can treat oneself as a practitioner upon encountering tribulations, and whether one can adhere to the Fa while practicing cultivation.”

Many years ago, I worked in a bank. As I was busily completing tasks, a co-worker asked me if I was going to the CEO's retirement dinner. I told her that I was too busy. She encouraged me to go, however, and I eventually agreed.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I sat right in front of the CEO. I thought it might be the last opportunity I would have to tell him about Dafa. The co-worker embarrassed me (in a joking way) by telling everyone that I almost didn't come because I said I was too busy.

At work in the high school, I was often quite busy collaborating with teachers and preparing reports for student and parent conferences. A small group of teachers would always gather around a circular table to eat lunch in my room.

One day while walking past them, a teacher pointed to one of the booklets I was carrying and said, “That would be perfect for tomorrow's lecture.” The booklet was about the persecution of Falun Gong, and she asked me to present the topic to her English class, as it pertained to the themes of the book her class was reading--discrimination and injustice.

I told her that I could do the presentation, but in my mind I was preoccupied with how busy I was, and I was anxious because I felt that I didn't have time to prepare.

It wasn't until later in the day that I thought to myself: “What are you living for? Aren't you living exactly for this opportunity to clarify the truth?” Once I realized that this was a special opportunity, I found the time to prepare for the presentation.

In “Let Go of Human Attachments and Save the World's People,” Master says:

“For a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple, personal liberation is not the goal of cultivation: when you came, saving sentient beings was your great aspiration, and that is the responsibility and mission history has bestowed upon you in Fa-rectification.”

After about five years of teaching, I learned about the possibility of taking a temporary, unpaid leave of absence. I wanted to give more support to the Epoch Times. I called the union representative for the school district, and a the leave of absence did not seem possible.

A couple years later, while speaking with other teachers, the topic about taking an extended leave arose again. I decided to approach the school principal and request one.

I talked it over with my wife and family for many months. Although they were not fully supportive, they were not fully against it either.

In June 2012, I made the request to the principal and, after discussing it for a couple minutes, he accepted it. I was surprised at how easy it was. He knew about the persecution of Falun Gong and forced organ harvesting in China, so he granted the request on the grounds that I would be working for a good cause.

I had been slightly nervous about approaching the principal, so I had decided to give him a letter to fully express my thoughts. When he responded so easily, I could see how my humanness is the only obstacle I face in cultivation.

This reminds me of what Master says in Zhuan Falun:

“Cultivation practice itself is not difficult, and neither is upgrading one's level itself difficult. It is because they cannot give up the human mind that they call it difficult.”

The Joy of Working for the Epoch Times

There's a feeling of satisfaction when working for the media established by practitioners to expose the persecution. It is more than just a feeling of satisfaction; it's fulfilling. It's a similar kind of fulfillment that I have when clarifying the truth to people face to face. I feel that I am doing what I should be during Fa-rectification. Of course, there are many other important projects that require human resources, and we can travel our paths in any project.

Prior to working at the Epoch Times, in my other jobs, I would find it difficult to practice or study the Fa before work. Furthermore, I had a habit of going to bed at 12, 1 or 2 in the morning. Then, I would often wake up and need to rush to school, since I had to be there by 7:30 a.m. After a full day of work, I would return home and try to balance Fa study, exercises, and working on projects, which I sometimes found overwhelming.

During the last 14 months, although I haven't done it on a daily basis, I routinely study the Fa at 5 a.m. on weekdays and then exercise before going to work. It's a wonderful feeling to start my day this way. A small group of practitioners practice in a park that's brimming with Chinese people.

I made an agreement with my wife that I would need to earn a certain amount of money in commissions if I wanted to continue working as a salesperson for the Epoch Times beyond one year. After 10 months, I was far from my goal. I thought that I would indeed have to return to my prior job.

One evening in early June, during the weekly group sharing among the Epoch Times staff, I told everyone my plan to return to teaching. While speaking, my heart was in pain, and I shifted my eyes downward to hold back my tears.

Then a practitioner sitting near me broke into tears. Another practitioner solemnly told me that I would regret my decision if I did that. I felt tremendous compassion from fellow practitioners. It was free of sentiment and full of righteousness.

This kind of compassion and righteousness reminded me of the faith that all of the beings whom I'm responsible for have placed in me.

I would like to take a moment to comment on the supportive environment at the Epoch Times office. Month after month, I had few, if any, contracts, but the salespeople and manager remained steadily supportive. “You will do it. You will make it,” one person would say, month after month.

Master says in “What is a Dafa Disciple”:

“The more hopeless things may seem, it’s possible hope will appear right before your eyes.”

During months 11 and 12, I finally made my goal. My wife and I then realized that the goal had been too low. Although I had worked hard to succeed, we realized that the goal needed to be twice as high in order to make a living on par with what I had earned before.

My understanding is that this situation was similar to the general process of cultivation: I enlighten to something and think that it's correct; I do something and think it's good; and I think that I'm good. But the truth is that I am far from meeting the standard. Only by constantly looking within, constantly trying to have a heart that's unmoved, and always remembering that I'm a practitioner will I improve.

I have two sales partners with whom I work, and I rotate working with each during the week. We make “cold” visits, follow up with prospective clients, and work with existing clients to update their ads and create articles for them. There is much coordination needed between the clients, my co-workers, the graphic design/layout team, and the ad placement person.

A few months ago, I learned a lesson while working with one co-worker about the importance of working in harmony.

We had approached a business owner for many months. After about seven or eight months, we were on the cusp of signing a contract. Just days prior to signing, an aspect of the contract needed to be changed, so we needed to communicate this change to the prospective client. I disagreed with how my partner wanted to approach him. Although I told my partner that I was okay with her way of doing it, in my heart, I really disagreed and couldn't let it go.

As a result of this lack of harmony, something strange happened: The prospective client didn't sign the contract, and he stopped responding to us. I hope this situation changes soon. I think it will turn around if I continue to improve the way I communicate with my partner, thus fostering more harmony.

Master identifies this problem and the solution in “Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa – Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference”:

“The difficulty lies in each person having his own views, each having great ideas, in which case collaboration will not go very well if each person insists on his or her own ideas. But you are cultivators and disciples of Dafa after all, so ultimately when the tasks that need to be carried out come before you, it should be the righteous thoughts of a cultivator that guide you.”

While meeting with people in various communities and introducing the Epoch Times, we've come across people with a variety of attitudes. Some Westerners never heard of the newspaper. Most Chinese are familiar with the Epoch Times; some have a positive attitude and some have a negative one.

A young man who manages a restaurant told me that the Epoch Times is political. I told him that newspapers are supposed to be political. I explained to him that the Epoch Times is the only properly functioning Chinese newspaper because it offers uncensored news and dares to report sensitive topics, which ultimately protects people. We didn't land a contract, but it was helpful to engage him and share a different understanding.

I think it's amazing that those Chinese practitioners who have worked at the Epoch Times for 10 years or more have persevered with tenacity to overcome the slander and discrimination and raise the Epoch Times to where it is today.

I feel honored to work for the Epoch Times. At the same time, I understand that we can cultivate and save sentient beings in a wide variety of ways and environments. Wherever we are and whatever we do, our guiding principles are the same.

Master says in Zhuan Falun:

“This characteristic, Zhen-Shan-Ren, is the criterion for measuring good and bad in the universe.”

As we forge ahead to fulfill our prehistoric vows, may we continue to more diligently study the Fa, clarify the truth, and send forth righteous thoughts, and thus become more and more aligned with our true selves.

(Presented at the 2013 US Western Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)