Learning “How to Provide Assistance”
(Minghui.org) I was working odd jobs away from home when a fellow practitioner Michael (pseudonym) asked me in July 2004 to produce materials containing important facts about Falun Gong. I gladly agreed.
When the Chinese Communist regime began its suppression of Falun Gong in July 1999, it destroyed all the Falun Gong publications, including those confiscated from the homes of practitioners, despite the fact that China's constitution guarantees its citizens the freedom of spiritual belief, speech, and the press. The state-run media runs only negative propaganda on Falun Gong to instigate people's resentment of Falun Gong and to justify the regime's policy of persecution. If we want to provide our fellow Chinese with positive information about Falun Gong, the only solution is to produce it on our own.
Michael and I rented an apartment together and started printing materials there. There were very few practitioners producing materials in 2004. The police would stop at nothing to locate the source of these materials. Those who are found producing or even handing out these materials face grave consequences, if not death. Therefore, the only one that knew where we lived was one local practitioner that worked as a volunteer coordinator for our cause to clarify the truth about Falun Gong to the local people. He was the only link between us and other local practitioners who used the materials we supplied. Each week he would visit us and bring new contents on a USB drive to be printed.
We were quite isolated from other practitioners. We had no visitor except the coordinator. While such an arrangement might reduce our safety risks, it created a “single point of failure” to have the majority of the practitioners depend on just few practitioners to supply them with materials. Each time the police found a material production site, distribution in the entire area was paralyzed.
When the problem became pervasive, Minghui.org published a noticed in June 2005 that encouraged practitioners in China to stop depending on the supply from the few practitioners and start creating materials on their own.
I used to carry a suitcase packed with materials to County A every week. I had a discussion with Annie (pseudonym) in that county in the winter of 2005 and asked if she would be interested in producing materials herself.
“Do you think I can?” she asked.
“Yes, I do. I will teach you. I know about your financial situation as a farmer. I will pay for all the equipment.”
Each week when I delivered materials to Annie, I would teach her another step in making materials. She learned quickly and started printing the materials after just a few lessons.
Brook (pseudonym) from County B wanted to do it, too. I bought her the equipment and she started printing materials after a few lessons. Her husband, who does not practice Falun Gong, was opposed to the idea because he was afraid of the Communist Party, but he agreed after Brook had a sincere talk with him.
The majority of the practitioners that produce materials I know of are on the mature side. Many of them hesitated at first. One said she did not have enough education. One said her husband did not practice Falun Gong and would object. One said she did not know to use a computer. One said she could not afford a computer.
I would tell them, “I am no spring chicken myself. I am in my 50s. I only went to school for a couple years. I didn't know how to use a computer. I just wanted a way to save people from the lies the Chinese Communist Party has told about Falun Gong. It was Teacher that has given me the wisdom to make it happen. I picked up everything I needed to know quickly. I am not just an exception. Even a woman in her 70s or 80s can do it as long as she is determined to save people. After all, Teacher is watching over all of us.”
Those practitioners who could afford a computer bought one. Those who could not afford a computer would be given a used one from a fellow practitioner for free. Otherwise, I would buy them one.
I must have assisted 20 practitioners in learning to produce materials since 2005. I have faced many tests on my character, but I eventually realized that it was my destiny to assist them as I tempered myself as a cultivator.
I once taught an elderly practitioner, Chloe (pseudonym), to produce materials. She has a poor memory. She would remember the steps, but forgot about them quickly after the lesson. I had to make frequent visits to Chloe for 12 months before she finally “graduated.”
Chloe emailed me in mid-August 2012 and asked me for assistance--again. I was very busy, so I rejected her flat out.
“I am busy. It's time for you to cut the cord,” I replied.
“Find someone else to do it then. I quit,” Chloe fussed.
I was very upset when I saw her reply.
“My dear Chloe, this is cultivation, not a game. You don't quit doing it on a whim. Think about all the trouble I had to go through,” I replied.
Yet I had no choice but to pay her a visit the next day.
I thought of all the things I wanted to say to her. After all, I had spent such a long time on her. Just when she had finally started working on her own, she quit? I was so mad at her.
But once I saw Chloe, all my resentment dissipated. I melted when I saw her gray hair and her smile that radiated kindness and compassion. This lady is in her 70s, yet she has never once shown any sign of frustration during any computer lesson! As soon as she learned how to print materials, Chloe would post them in public with no regard for her own personal safety. She thought only of letting people see the truth about Falun Gong.
I was no longer upset with her.
I remembered that she never got upset or offended when I lost my patience and raised my voice during our computer lessons. I am really sorry for my behavior. I was reluctant to assist her when she needed it. I blamed her for costing me time I could have spent on studying the Falun Gong teachings. I now knew I was wrong.
It was most curious, but I no longer feel any resentment for Chloe for all the time I had to spend on her.
“Dafa disciples should handle everything positively. Don't look at the negative side of other people. You should always look at their positive side. Actually, did you know that back when I was teaching you Dafa, during the classes a lot of human thoughts were sent out from the audience down there? The thoughts sent out by some people were really bad, but I didn't look at any of that. I just look at your positive side, and thus I can save you. If I were to always look at your negative side, how could I save you? The more I looked at it the angrier I'd get, and then how could I save you? (Applause) So in any situation, don't be affected by human-type behavior, don't be affected by human thoughts, and don't be affected by the feelings and emotions in this world, either. Look more at the positives in others and less at the negatives.” (“Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference”)
I felt so ashamed of myself when I checked my behavior against Teacher's expectations for us.
An elderly practitioner, Diella, once asked to watch TV programming from New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), a North America-based television network that broadcasts news uncensored by the Chinese regime through satellite, including news about Falun Gong.
“Get a computer and you will be able to watch it,” I told her.
“But I don't know how to use a computer,” Diella said.
“I will find you a used computer. Do you want to learn how to use a computer”
“Yes, I do.”
I taught her how to use the computer and watch NTDTV online.
After a while, I taught her how to print from her computer. I decided that she was ready to supply materials for fellow practitioners, so I asked her to print some materials and deliver them to another practitioner. I even took her to the practitioner's home so that she would know the way.
I could sense Diella was upset about something on the way back, but I left without asking her what it was. She emailed me a few days later and told me she quit. She asked me to pick up the computer and the printer I had given her.
I realized she was upset because I did not respect her feelings. I made a unilateral decision to have her produce and deliver materials at her own risk, but she asked only to be able to watch NTDTV at home.
“I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism. So from now on, whatever you do or whatever you say, you must consider others—or even future generations—along with Dafa’s eternal stability.” (“Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature” in Essentials for Further Advancement)
I should have talked to Diella and asked if she was ready for the volunteer work, not just technically ready. I also realized that I am not her boss and should not have assigned her any task without her consent.
“Then how can we do the assistant job well? First off, you should treat yourself as one of the students instead of considering yourself above them. If there is something that you do not know in your work, you should humbly discuss it with others. If you have done something wrong, you should sincerely tell the students, “I, too, am a cultivator just as you are, so it’s inevitable that I’ll make mistakes in my work. Now that I’ve made a mistake, let’s do what’s right.” If you sincerely want to have all practitioners collaborate to get things done, what results will you get? No one will say that you are good for nothing. Instead, they will think that you have learned the Fa well and are open-minded. In fact, Dafa is here, and everyone is studying it. Students will measure every move an assistant makes according to Dafa, and whether it is good or not can be clearly distinguished. Once you have the intention of building yourself up, the students will think that you have a xinxing problem. Therefore, only by being modest can you do things well. Your reputation is established based on a good understanding of the Fa. How could a cultivator be free of mistakes?” (“How to Provide Assistance” in Essentials for Further Advancement)
Once I had identified my selfishness and other attachments, Diella bought a computer and started producing materials again.
I have learned that providing assistance to fellow practitioners in producing materials is only a small part in our cultivation practice. It is more than work; it is a process of cultivation practice. The process gives me opportunities to assimilate myself to Falun Gong's teachings, but I will only be able to do so if I cultivate myself well.