Treasuring Cultivation Experiences in the Divine Land Marching Band
Greetings, esteemed Master!Greetings, fellow practitioners!
The Divine Land Marching Band, established by Master, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. In retrospect, I treasure the cultivation experience I gained throughout these years. I remember clearly occasions that helped me improve in my cultivation level.
Everything Tightly Linked to Cultivation
When I was a member of the band for about a year, somebody praised my playing. That spurred me on, and I doubled my effort the next day. However, I sensed that I was especially happy. I looked within and found that my motivation for improving my skills was to hear more praise. It was an attachment to fame.
This notion had to go, so I focused my attention on the music. Gradually, my mind calmed and then became devoid of thought. I felt that my limbs and my body no longer existed. It felt wonderful. Master talked about this ideal meditation state in Zhuan Falun, and I experienced it!
From then on, my sense of rhythm became more accurate, and I could detect even minute variations. Now, I can give technical assistance to fellow practitioners. Master gave me this ability.
I experienced another state of happiness about six years ago: when practicing with fellow drummers, I felt delight from the bottom of my heart. When my drum stick hit the drum, it felt so pleasant, and each beat was unique. It was a feeling that is hard to describe in words.
This made me realize that the foundational practice for percussion may seem boring, but if done without pursuit, one can experience unexpected results.
I worked hard on improving my technique and achieved results I had never imagined. At times, I thought that some things would take me forever to master, yet it became a piece of cake when I held the right attitude. When I finally convinced myself of this, I realized that I achieved this with Master's help.
My heart was again full of happiness, which immediately disappeared once I understood that all our abilities were granted by Master.
Many similar experiences taught me that whether we are producing a television program, selling advertisements, or performing technical tasks, when we reach the cultivation standard, Master would immediately give us the ability to do what we need to do.
When I put my mind on improving my technique, I often obtain cultivation revelations. For example, after receiving an instruction, I realized that rectifying one’s behavior is a prerequisite for doing anything well. Only when one is righteous will the music move people's heart.
Rectifying oneself, isn’t this what cultivation is all about? This means that my technique would improve only after my cultivation improves. Everything is tightly linked to cultivation.
We were practicing “Falun Dafa is Good” one day when I heard the instruments happily singing the words “Fa Lun Da Fa Hao!” This shows that when we can play well, the instruments are also happy. On the other hand, if an instrument is played by someone who has not practiced well, it must be depressed by the unappealing sound. Certainly, cultivating oneself is the foundation to doing anything well.
Forbearance of a Coordinator
As a coordinator, I must reflect upon the Fa principles, cultivate forbearance, and pay attention to the methods I use to motivate people.
For example, one of the drummers had a poor attendance record at practice. I put some pressure on her, hoping she would improve. Instead, she quit the band. I had wanted her to do better, not to quit. If she quit, wouldn’t that be my fault? So, I asked another drummer, a friend of hers, to talk to her.
Applying pressure is a method of everyday people, so it didn’t work well. I have been more or less successful in my coordination efforts. I found that when I behave like a cultivator, I do better, and when I use human notions, I trip and fall.
For example, in October 2013 I dealt with a practitioner whom I thought was ill suited for our band. She was was rather picky about choosing an instrument. I suggested that she focus on her other projects. This resulted in some unpleasant exchanges. Instead of using compassion, I let my feelings govern my actions.
“I’ve often said this: if you sincerely do it for the other person’s sake, and there is nothing self-serving on your part, your words will be able to move the other party to tears.” (“Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day”)
Based on her reaction, I knew my words to her were far from meeting Dafa’s standards. Thinking back, I did not mind my speech, said things out of spite, and held a negative opinion of a fellow practitioner.
Master said, “You should not casually do whatever you want, and you must be able to maintain your xinxing.”(Zhuan Falun)
My attitude made matters worse, and I thought that this was just too hard.
But Master said, “Cultivation is about reforming yourself...” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting”) So despite how hard it is, I have to cultivate myself.
In the end, after adjusting my mentality and treating the matter with the compassion of a cultivator, it all worked out, and she remained a band member.
Forbearance When Dealing with Children
It’s one thing to be a coordinator in an adult project, but something else when it comes to be a coordinator for children. This is far out of my comfort zone. But, I was faced with this situation when a 13-year-old wanted to play the bass drum in the band.
This youngster did much well, but also had a bit of a backbiting tongue and held the typical attitude of a youngster, which is to get away with as much and as little as possible. I tried everything I could think of, and even got his parents involved. I gave him music theory lessons, from what musical notes look like to the relationship among notes, and assigned him homework.
I was surprised that after ten months, his laissez faire attitude changed. He did what I asked of him, practiced at home, asked for help from other bass drummers, and came to practice 1-2 hours earlier each Saturday. Many people saw his improvement and told me about it. This youngster even passed the test to take part in the July 4th parade.
Whenever a band member improves, we always find that it was due to an elevation in cultivation. Each person’s cultivation improvement is a gain to the entire band, because sentient beings are waiting for all of us to save them.
Whenever I follow Master’s teaching, the result is always a great surprise. Sometimes the task seems difficult, but once I put my mind to it and apply the Dafa standards, the result is always way better than I could hope for.
Band Survived Tests and Tribulations
The percussion section has always maintained the same head count as when Master established the band 10 years ago. There were conflicts, laughter, and tears, yet there was also happiness, which happened when we elevated in our cultivation.
“By leading you all in doing Shen Yun, Master is in fact giving you a model. I have made Shen Yun the best show in the world. At the very least, in the performing arts, in the field of the arts, it’s playing the lead role. So how about our other projects, then? When what you do has just a little bit of success, you’re so pleased with yourselves. But are you playing the lead role [in your field]? You haven’t even managed to play a supporting role, and some are playing the role of a clown! Is that what Dafa disciples should be doing? Is that what Master has asked you to do?” (“Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference”)
Upon hearing this lecture, we all decided to do well when taking part in the July 4th parade in Washington, D.C. We wanted to play the lead role and be the best marching band in the parade. We took tests, and many of us failed, but we kept trying, never lowering our standard. When we marched in the July 4th parade, the sky felt extra sunny, and the wind felt great. Each of us had a smile on our faces.
Master assigned a new conductor to our band on July 6, 2013. We were ready for the 2014 July 4th parade when we played the most difficult piece, “Stars and Stripes Forever.” The Divine Land Marching Band will debut a song composed by Master, “The Sacred Song,” in the U.S. capital in the 2015 July 4th parade.
Whenever I felt that I acted like a cultivator during my 18 years of cultivation, I felt happiness in my heart because I follow the principles Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. When I encounter obstacles, I firmly tell myself: “I can get past the hardest test, because I want to and will follow Master.”
Master wants us to cultivate just as we did in the beginning of our cultivation. I shall strive to cultivate as if I had just started.
Thank you, Master!Thank you, everyone!
(Presented at the 2015 New York Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)