Cultivation Experiences and Lessons While Promoting Shen Yun
Greeting Master, Greeting fellow practitioners:
It is very fortunate for me to participate in hosting and coordinating the 2013 Shen Yun show in Providence, Rhode Island. Rhode Island is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest state, but it also has a long and rich history in this country. In February 2013, for the fourth time, Shen Yun came to the city of Providence, the capital of Rhode Island. We made very encouraging progress this year, however, we haven’t reached our goal of selling out. I would like to share my experiences and lessons in cultivation while hosting and promoting Shen Yun.
In 2011, practitioners in Rhode Island started to host Shen Yun without outside leadership. Our group has a small number of practitioners, so this was no easy undertaking. When I thought about whether to do it or not, I remembered what Master mentioned about his teaching in Guangzhou “..when I taught the Fa in Guangzhou, during the first two classes students didn’t seem to know what I was talking about… It wasn’t until the third and fourth classes that they were jolted and suddenly realized what I was talking about..” (“Teaching the Fa at the Assistants’ Fa Conference in Changchun”). My understanding is, the period of time before everyday people realize what Shen Yun is and start flocking to it on their own, is exactly the time for us to take action and do what we need to do as practitioners.
From my own experience, the process of 2013 Shen Yun promotion is a process of overcoming all kinds of problems and making progress in cultivation. From the beginning, I was very determined “Whatever Master wants done, I will do it, and do it how He wants it done.” There had been different kinds of problems, sometimes external, sometimes manifested as lack of cooperation among fellow practitioners. Many times when I encountered problems, a passage of the Fa came to my mind “I am a person who dislikes fighting with others, and neither was it worth a fight with him. Whenever he brought some bad things upon me, I would just clear them up. Afterwards, I would resume my lecturing.” (Zhuan Falun) My understanding was that the problems I was facing are the “bad things upon me,” Master was instructing me to “just clear them up” and then “resume” what I need to do, i.e., continue Shen Yun promotion. However, looking back I realized that I only paid attention to the latter half of Master’s teaching and ignored another keyword “fighting.” During the promotion, many times I didn’t control my xinxing and had fights and conflicts with fellow practitioners. These conflicts had a negative impact on our Shen Yun promotion.
There were many of these kinds of experiences and lessons. Here I’d like to share three main issues with fellow practitioners.
1). Fa study is the most fundamental thing
Master has been telling us about the importance of Fa study again and again. From the beginning of my cultivation, I truly cherished Fa study. However, my Fa study state correlates with my own cultivation state. Sometimes I did my own intensive Fa study by going through all the published lectures and teachings one by one and the effect was amazing. But when I was not in a good cultivation state, it was even harder for me to pick up the books. That made the “low” or “down” period in cultivation even longer. In the end, it was always Fa study that brought me out of the “down” state. Last year, in all the lectures Master emphasized again the importance of Fa study. After we started the promotion, I pushed myself to study the Fa intensively. During the three-month period of Shen Yun promotion, I basically maintained daily Fa study. I went through the three volumes of Essentials for Further Advancement , and all the lectures and teachings after the persecution. For shorter lectures, I usually finished one per day. Longer lectures usually took me two or three days. Some lectures I read several times.
The promotion of Shen Yun manifests as a business event in everyday society. In our group, none of us have had business experience before. What could we do? On one hand, I learned from other practitioners, participated in the Shen Yun coordinator meetings and sharing very seriously; I also learned from everyday people; on the other hand, I felt that everything comes from the Fa, I let myself be guided by Master through Fa study. The experience was very amazing again. Very often, when I studied the Fa in the evening I found answers to the problems I had during the day, or even earlier in the evening. It was reaching to such a degree that every time I studied the Fa, Master gave me answers or guidance. One example is that when I was thinking what to do for marketing at the last stage before the show, just a few minutes later Master gave me answers. These answers or guidance are from the Fa perspective; I still need to translate them into action.
For example, in the past we had no clue how to open the door to mainstream society. Master hinted to me that we should put ads in the largest local newspaper. We didn’t do so in the past becaus we thought that nowadays days fewer and fewer people are reading the newspaper, and it is pretty expensive to put ads in that newspaper. Right before last year’s show, an elderly couple all of a sudden appeared in front of me and asked me why we didn’t put ads in that newspaper. I realized that it was a message from Master. So after we started promotion this year, I contacted the newspaper. However, the price was pretty high. I told the newspaper that we couldn’t do it. Later, I felt not right about my decision. I should try my best to do as Master suggested, no matter how hard it appeared. I re-contacted the newspaper and I sent righteous thoughts. Finally we did twice wrap with the newspaper with an acceptable price which was within our budget. Looking back, the newspaper wrap turned out to be the most effective way of promotion. Another example is that Master instructed me to promote Shen Yun to the military community. We tried several times without any results. I didn’t give up. Finally I reached the Navy Base and War College. We had pretty good promotion to the Navy base and laid a good foundation for future promotion.
I need to point out that I didn’t study the Fa for solutions. I just study Fa with a pure heart. During the promotion, we ran into many problems. Sometimes I felt very frustrated, when I studied Fa, I could even feel that Master was holding my arms, encouraging me to keep going.
During Shen Yun promotion, through Fa study, Master gave me not only instructions and encouragement, but also power and capabilities. Hosting and promoting Shen Yun involves a very broad range of activities, from negotiating with the theatre and media, to making promotion plans, ordering materials, contacting mainstream communities, to selling tickets at mall and door-to-door delivery. I feel, when I took responsibility, when I faced problems head on, Master gave me capability and power. The capability and power I got from Fa study and from Master were very comprehensive. They were different from the capability or experience from everyday people’s education and training. I could feel that they were gifts from Master. When I thought about this, a Fa came to my head “I distributed my gong to the disciples who were there with me. Each one got one share that was an energy cluster composed of over a hundred supernormal abilities.” (Zhuan Falun)
The night before the show, when I studied “Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Houston,” all of a sudden, Master enlightened me, or revealed to me an understanding of a paragraph in Lecture Three of Zhuan Falun :
“On one occasion I had my mind connected with four or five great enlightened people and great Taos from extremely high levels. Speaking of high levels, their levels were so high that everyday people would find it simply inconceivable.”
Since the beginning of cultivation, when I study Zhuan Falun , I understand the superficial wording of this paragraph, however, I never understand, or have a clue of any deeper meaning. Just as Master Li said, their levels were extremely high, “their levels were so high that everyday people would find it simply inconceivable.” The level, as far as I understand, was so high; it really made me have a sense that we Dafa disciples came from very high levels and how huge our responsibilities are.
During the promotion, I could feel that some attachments grew in my heart. After the show, Master's Fa teaching reminded me: “I am telling you this so that you will not develop this attachment. It is all done by my fashen.” (Zhuan Falun)
2). Working as One Body
Last year, our result was not good. After that, I discussed with many fellow practitioners. They shared their experience and understanding on the issue of teamwork and working as one body. These sharing were very helpful to me. When I went to a Fahui and listened to sharing from practitioners from all over the world, and listened to Master’s teaching, a key point is always the “cooperation” and “one body”, these are also emphasized in all of Master’s past lectures. This year, shortly after we started, Master's words reminded me: “We stress holistic improvement and holistic upgrade” (Zhuan Falun) Here, the English word is “holistic,” while the original Chinese word implies “one body” or “team,” as I understand it.
While understanding the superficial meaning of “cooperation” and “one body,” it was not easy to put into practice. I am pretty capable in everyday life and work and I also pay serious attention to Fa study. I don’t have much fear when I run into problems. Even on issues that I don’t have any knowledge of or experience, I like to learn. At home, my wife is a practitioner and I have her full support. In this way, although I have been trying very hard to think and act from a team perspective, sometimes I still feel that individually I am more capable than the team. Sometimes I feel, if there is an issue, if taken care by myself, it might appear to be faster and more efficient than by the team since I will study and find a seemingly best way to do it. If handled by the team, I need to spend a lot of time explaining to fellow practitioners and overcoming many conflicts. It is easy to pay attention to fellow practitioners’ shortcomings, esp., when I lack a solid understanding of “cooperation” from the Fa’s perspective. Fellow practitioners’ shortcomings can easily be magnified in our minds.
Although I kept telling myself to do things exactly as Master said, I feel that only sometimes I could do so, mainly when facing outside problems; when working internally with fellow practitioners, many times I couldn’t do so, especially on the “cooperation” issue Master emphasized again and again. What I can see is that my compassion is not enough and I lack consideration for others. I placed my “self” in front of the “team.” Before, I suggested more group Fa study in addition to our weekly group study. It went on for a while and the effect was pretty good. However, when we started the promotion, due to our busy schedule, this additional group study stopped. I didn’t insist on maintaining it, while at the same time I strengthened my own Fa study. From this example, I can see that in my heart there is a difference between “self” and “others,” and this difference prevents the group from forming a solid one body.
From the Shen Yun promotion, we have seen the power of “one body” team work. Take the marketing as an example, although we hosted Shen Yun before, we didn’t find an effective marketing means to promote Shen Yun to mainstream communities. This time, the final decision and choice of marketing came from input from all practitioners, including those on the marketing team and those not on the team. The final result was much better than before. Cooperation is also seen from working together among the cities in the region. Practitioners in different cities promoted Shen Yun and sold tickets for other cities. On one weekend, all the cities which host 2013 Shen Yun shows in the region released a newspaper wrap simultaneously. Shen Yun’s beautiful colors could be seen in all newspaper stands in the region. It was really powerful! And this time, most of our digital work was done by Boston practitioners, no matter how busy they were, sometimes they had to handle the design after one full day of selling tickets at the mall.
Another example of one body effort is that this time many fellow practitioners came to help us from many different places. These practitioners not only provided a direct help on putting up posters and door-to-door delivery, they also brought their righteous thoughts. Their presence connected our efforts into the regional, national and global efforts to help Shen Yun save sentient beings.
3). Shen Yun promotion and truth clarification
On the surface, we are promoting Shen Yun. Behind that, I feel that Shen Yun is doing a great favor for us, to help us fulfill our oath to save sentient beings and improve in cultivation. The Shen Yun show cleans the field in all dimensions and this cleaning is making it much easier for our truth clarification efforts. My understanding is that Shen Yun promotion and other truth clarification does not conflict with each other, but rather helping each other. Truth-clarification only makes promotion easier.
When we signed the contract with the theatre, there were three months left. Soon it came the holiday season which is a golden opportunity for promotion. The holiday season was the first wave of promotion as planned. There were so many things to do. Entering December, there came the white house petition movement for the organ harvesting issues, which need to be done within a month before the New Year. That was the busiest time promoting Shen Yun for the holiday season. I felt that I didn’t even have enough time to take care the promotion alone. However, I clearly understood the importance of this event for saving Americans. I told myself, could I use Shen Yun as an excuse not to do this extremely important project? My answer was “No.” That month was very busy at work. I alone took care of half of the workload of the whole division. All these difficulties didn’t stop me. I had a very clear and determined mindset to “just do it.” I wrote to Minghui to share my understanding of the significance of this White House petition. I shared my thoughts with fellow practitioners in our group, New England and other regions. I wrote to my professional and alumni societies to bring their attention to the petition. I wrote to national, regional and local newspapers. I shared this event with my colleagues and medical school. I wrote to many friends. On one hand, I shared with and encouraged fellow practitioners to participate in this effort, on the other hand, no waiting, no delay, I made my own flyers and distributed to a university, medical school and nearby business buildings. My division director also signed the petition.
Many times, I felt that I could not do any more. However, after a short break, I pushed myself keep on going. Many days after finishing work on Shen Yun and White House petition, it was very late. I sat down in front of Master’s picture, lit a stick of incense, and started to study Fa. I felt that I am the happiest person in the world.
Now looking back, no matter how hard it appeared on the surface, my experience is “just do it.” The result is that everything was done. Nothing fell behind. We seized the opportunity of the holiday season and got pretty good sales. The action on the White House petition created powerful impact both locally and nationally. The Shen Yun promotion and other truth clarification are also one-body, all aiming at saving sentient beings and improve our cultivation. Anything we do, no matter how small it is, Master makes it bigger and bigger.
My most important experience regarding Shen Yun promotion and other truth clarification is that Shen Yun sets a model for other truth-clarification efforts. From my participation of Shen Yun promotion and watching the Shen Yun performance, I was very impressed by Shen Yun’s high standard, such as seeking for greater perfection, paying serious attention to detail, working with one's whole heart; Shen Yun performers’ selfless cooperation; Shen Yun targeting the mainstream society; the training for performers and promotion teams, and so on. I am also thinking, why all these years, the results of many truth-clarification projects are not satisfactory? I feel that I should learn from Shen Yun and bring the same high quality and high standards into other truth-clarification efforts.
Above are some of the experiences and lessons I learned from Shen Yun promotion. I really benefited tremendously from participating in Shen Yun promotion. I realized what Master said “Master is giving you an opportunity to work together and for those who haven’t stepped forward to step forward..” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching”) This year, the result is that our team made very encouraging progress and we made a profit; however, we still can do better. The seats of the two highest price were almost sold out. This indicated that we have effectively targeted the mainstream society. What could be done to improve our Shen Yun promotion for next year? My thoughts are that we need to improve on group Fa study, team work as “one body” and do more in-depth truth-clarification.
Category: Experience Sharing Conferences