Fundamentally Changing My Way of Thinking
(Minghui.org) This year was the first time I participated in the promotion of Shen Yun. Through studying the Fa and listening to other practitioners’ sharing, I had understood the importance of devoting oneself to promoting Shen Yun to save sentient beings, but my understanding was at a superficial level. I knew I had to do it, but I didn't realize what promoting would mean and what was involved in it.
I had been entrusted with the task of looking after advertising. I had no experience with it, but I wasn't worried. My understanding was the promotion of Shen Yun was another great opportunity that Master gave me to cultivate myself and fulfill my vows. The only thing I could and should think of was to cultivate myself well and maintain righteous thoughts; the rest would follow Master's arrangements.
But that kind of determination was still an understanding that had to be put to the test and made concretely solid, so of course in the process many shortcomings and attachments arose, along with challenges to overcome. My determination wasn't always steadfast, and many times I wavered and I almost lost faith in what we were doing. I thank fellow practitioners for their patient support.
"You say that you must be firm and sure-footed. With this determination, if you can indeed be firmly resolute at that point, you will naturally do well because your xinxing will have already improved." (Lecture Six from Zhuan Falun)
The first time that I went to Milan, my determination was immediately put to the test. It was raining. I was alone because the practitioner who hosted me in her house was at work. I dropped the laptop that I brought to show the video for promoting Shen Yun at appointments and the screen broke. I wasn't familiar with the city and at that moment it seemed huge to me. I didn't know how to handle well commitments in ordinary work. Everything seemed to push me to go home and forget all of it. How could we succeed in promotion? It seemed to me as if all the efforts that we could make were wasted and useless; with this state of mind, human thinking and concerns had taken over and I couldn't find a calm state of mind.
Then, I received a call from a practitioner. In the course of conversation she told me something like, "You are not obliged to do so, you can go home if you want, no problem; but it is now that one can see the difference between a cultivator and an ordinary person." Going home would have meant losing a long awaited historic opportunity. Suddenly my heart calmed down and a phrase resounded in my head, “Let joy be found in hardship.” (“Tempering the Will” from Hong Yin) I wouldn’t have left the situation for anything.
I was concretely finding out the difference between the righteous thoughts of a cultivator and human thoughts driven by any kind of attachment, the importance of considering yourself a Dafa disciple precisely when the difficulties seem insurmountable, and maintaining your thoughts in the Fa. All the strength that we have in clarifying the truth comes to us from the Fa; without the Fa, we would only be ordinary people who live surrounded by illusions and are controlled by various human thoughts. When talking with other practitioners, we often shared the difficulties encountered in participating in the promotion, but this experience has shown me that if we put our heart and our strong wish in it, Master helps us and arranges things for us.
That week we got the first location for promoting in a shopping center.
Dafa Disciples Are One Body
During the promotion of Shen Yun I could also experience the power of the one body. Whenever my righteous thoughts were shaken or I felt tired, there was immediately a practitioner ready to offer support to cover that part in which I had a shortcoming and I could restore my enthusiasm to continue.
Despite that, the collaboration went through a process too. My attachments arose, but during the period of promoting Shen Yun, like never before, I felt so lucid and determined to recognize and remove them as quickly as possible to not create interference to our goal.
On one occasion, I had received a negative response from a shopping center that we thought was rather good for promotion and which was very close to the theater. I had talked to the secretaries who were enthusiastic about the show, but they told me that the manager had refused to host us. My ego had been hit. I felt personal regret, not for the missed opportunity to save sentient beings, but for having failed; though, I immediately recognized the selfishness that lay behind that thought and I immediately changed my way of thinking. The success of Shen Yun is not my personal success. Only putting aside one’s own ego and putting oneself entirely at the disposal of Master and the Fa, can one be effective in saving sentient beings. That place was a really good one for promotion, so I shared about the situation with another practitioner and she advised me to send another practitioner to speak with the manager. The practitioner went there and managed to get the location. We set up the stand in the center of the mall's square; it was one of the best places in which we had promotion. Together we did it, and each of us naturally played our part.
On several other occasions, I have been able to experience the power of one body along with the practitioners involved in the promotion and I was moved by the unconditional cooperation of other practitioners. In the last period of promotion, despite the fatigue, the pressure of ticket sales, the lack of participation, the difficulties that we had to balance well all things, trying to never miss Fa study and sharing, to immediately recognize the deficiencies that we had and expose and remove attachments, I felt I was actually part of that one body moved by a common will, a solid military force with a common goal. Everyone did what they had to do. If any changes in direction came from the coordinators, we reorganized ourselves and followed the directions.
We also had the good fortune to work with some practitioners from Switzerland, who not only effectively helped us in promotion, but were also a great example of determination and diligence. This has also broadened my mind on the understanding of one body. In the Fa, there are no national boundaries, we are tied together for this great responsibility that has been entrusted to us.
I was very impressed with the story of a practitioner who went out to distribute flyers with a Swiss practitioner. When she learned that we didn't do direct ticket sales, she was very surprised, but rather than complain or be upset as we probably would have done, she simply said, “Ok, it will still be a success.” Her righteous thought was simple and strong. Many of us have been moved by the Swiss practitioners' answers to our thanks to them for helping us in promotion, "It is we who thank you for the opportunity to fulfill our vows, we do it for ourselves." Once again, the understanding that everything we do to save sentient beings we do in fact for ourselves manifested, and Shen Yun – like any other project for clarifying the truth – is a great opportunity that Master gives us to cultivate ourselves in this extraordinary historical period.
"The task of saving sentient beings has to be carried out by you. And not only must it be done, but it must be done well. It is not done for Master, however. Though we call it 'saving sentient beings,' it is not done entirely for them either. It’s also done for your sake. That is because the sentient beings that you save, which includes the people that you clarify the truth to, shall very likely one day be a portion of the sentient beings in your enormous cosmos. You are perfecting and completing yourself, through your successes you are achieving what you shall become, and without these, you could not serve as King there nor complete your mission and establish the magnificent mighty virtue that’s needed. That is how things work, and thus you absolutely must do a good job of it." (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference”)
These are just a few situations that have occurred during the promotion of Shen Yun; actually what Shen Yun has given me is beyond words. After promoting Shen Yun, returning to the normal routine was not so immediate. The power of the field that had been formed during the promotion was no longer there and ordinary situations had resumed their course. However, I had cultivated in the heart a firm determination to remain diligent in cultivation and increase the quality of Fa study. Shen Yun showed me that my cultivation was not as solid as I thought, but now I know that the only reason I descended in this world is to assist Master in Fa-rectification. After promoting Shen Yun, the trials and tribulations have not decreased, but I have changed my way of thinking and believe in dealing with sincerity all that Master has arranged for me, "Let joy be found in hardship." Now I feel more lucid in dealing with situations and I know everything that, in thought and action, keeps me from my historic mission, should be discarded.
Master often repeats in his teachings that cultivation is a serious thing, there are no shortcuts, but at the same time he has also provided us with all the necessary means to be successful, it's just our responsibility to not miss the opportunity and put in all the determination and hard work needed; the reward will be incomparable. As the dancers of Shen Yun return home and immediately begin to work hard for the next season’s show, so we should prepare ourselves for the next year, increasing the quality of our Fa study and cultivating our hearts.
This is just my current understanding, I still feel very far from meeting the standards that Master requires us in cultivation, but I hope to maintain the enthusiasm to do it.
Thank you, Master.Thank you, practitioners.
(Presented at the 2014 European Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)