Cultivating Myself as a Coordinator
(Minghui.org) Greetings to Revered Master and fellow practitioners!
I started practicing Dafa in 1995. Looking back at the path I have traveled, I strongly feel that everything followed an orderly arrangement: attending university, working for China Radio International, going to Canada to study English in 1976, moving to Australia in 1988, and my parents-in-law coming to Melbourne to teach me Falun Dafa in 1995. Each part of my path served the purpose of paving the way for my gaining the Fa, spreading the Fa, and cultivating and saving sentient beings here in Australia.
During the first ten years of my cultivation, each day I read at least one lecture of Zhuan Falun and some of Master's new articles, and did all five sets of exercises. This laid a solid foundation for the rest of my cultivation.
Although I have experienced tribulations, my cultivation has been fairly smooth. No huge tribulations or spectacular miracles have happened to me. In the early days, I spread the Fa and clarified the truth when I could. All of this proceeded in accordance with the progress of the Fa-rectification. But in August 2012, when a sudden announcement made me the main coordinator of our area, ripples started to break the smooth surface of my cultivation environment. Though not exactly huge waves, these disturbing ripples appeared one after another.
I would like to report to Master and to fellow practitioners some of my experiences during this short period of time. Please point out anything inappropriate.
I am an introverted, quiet person. I don’t like to make decisions or take on responsibility. When I first took over the position as coordinator, I felt it was all a bit sudden. I felt a little uneasy. Though I had been a coordinator from the very early days, I had always played a supporting role, assisting other coordinators. I had never been a main coordinator. Soon I understood the reason for the change. Master was providing an opportunity for me to let go of attachments and establish mighty virtue through the process of helping local practitioners to save more sentient beings.
Recalling the early days of my cultivation, there were a lot of things I dared not do or didn’t know how to do. I have matured in some areas through cultivating in Dafa. I used to strongly dislike speaking in front of people. Although my job was a reporter and I didn’t feel uncomfortable when interviewing a president or a head of state, I found it almost impossible to speak in front of a group. Even if I wanted to say something, I always seemed to end up speechless.
I went through the process of being made to speak to speaking of my own accord. I now can speak before a group of practitioners at a public rally. To take on the position as the main coordinator was far from my ambition. But I know I need to face new challenges in my cultivation. I will try to improve myself through doing a good job of being a coordinator, so that I can become more mature and live up to Master’s expectations.
1. I Must Cultivate Myself Well
The first challenge I faced as the main coordinator was the resentment I felt when a fellow practitioner failed to cooperate.
Practitioners came to me saying things like, “How can he treat you like that, you gave him so much help in the past,” and,”he is not like a practitioner.” These kinds of words strengthened my resentment. The more I thought about the other practitioner, the more I thought I was right. I totally forgot that the manifestations were all meant for my cultivation. I totally forgot what Master said about how looking within is a magical tool.
“In order for you to improve, your heart has to be provoked when problems arise; otherwise it won‘t do. Working for Dafa is also a good opportunity for you to improve your xinxing!” (“A Person in Charge is Also a Cultivator”, from Essentials for Further Advancement)
My resentment was the result of using human reasoning: “If I treat you well, you must treat me well, too.” But aside from the factors meant for improvement in cultivation, karma and predestined relationships also play a role. After studying the Fa with a calm mind, I enlightened that what had happened was actually arranged by Master for the very purpose of my improvement in cultivation. Master wants me to step forward from humanness, but I acted the opposite way. I looked outward and intended to ask the other person to cultivate better.
After I had a better understanding of the matter, it seemed on the surface that the problem had been solved. I shared about it at our big group Fa study. But I could still feel something faintly negative in my heart. Actually, the substance I thought I had let go of was still there. At that moment, someone told me, “You looked within, but the other party is saying that he was in the wrong.” Hearing that sort of comment, my feeling of resentment returned.
“If your own thinking doesn’t change, you cannot advance even one step and are deceiving yourself. Only when you truly improve from within can you make real progress. So be sure to remember this: Whenever you come across anything such as troubles, unpleasant things, or friction with others, you need to examine yourself and search within. You will find the cause of that insurmountable problem.” (“Lecture at the First Conference in North America”)
When I first looked within, I only got rid of things superficially. Deep in my heart, I still clung to my own vital interests. The reason I felt others were not cooperating was because I viewed things from the perspective of being attached to myself. I failed to see things from the other person’s perspective. The sentiment of “I am in the right” is actually a human attachment of selfishness.
I also enlightened that things like that happened for me to increase tolerance. While sharing with a coordinator, she said to me, “As a coordinator, you must have capacity like the sea, which can hold the water from thousands of rivers.” I thought to myself, “That’s right. How can I lose my tolerance over such a small matter?” I thought it over many times. After I enlightened from the perspective of the Fa, I let go of my attachments. Now I can feel peace of mind. I can truly let go of self and truly progress in my inner heart.
During this process of looking within, I thought of Master’s tremendous compassion toward us and all sentient beings. Every time I thought of that, I would shed tears. I asked myself: after having cultivated for so many years, how could I still not treat every practitioner, including those who had different opinions, with compassion? I enlightened that cultivation is to cultivate myself. It is impossible to change others. The only person I can change is myself. I need to watch every thought, eliminate bad thoughts whenever they emerge, and provide no energy for those bad thoughts.
Because I failed to cultivate well, it affected projects that help save sentient beings. Our 2014 Shen Yun campaign did not reach expectations. A lot of premium seats were left empty. Many sentient beings that were meant to be saved were not saved. Because I had this xinxing, problem one of my bodily functions was affected. Some practitioners started to point fingers at others who failed to step forward to join the promotion effort.
A separation between Chinese and Western practitioners also appeared. Western practitioners held that Chinese practitioners were not professional enough with the way they organized the promotions. They felt that the free methods of promotion would damage the Shen Yun brand. The Chinese practitioners, on the other hand, were saying that Western practitioners are good at spending money, and that with all that money spent, not that many tickets sold. As a matter of fact, the paid and unpaid campaigns all played a role. The less-than-ideal outcome was the result of Western and Chinese practitioners counteracting the effectiveness of each other’s efforts.
As my own cultivation progressed, the one body environment also improved. Those practitioners I thought had been uncooperative became cooperative of their own accord. The complaints between the Western and the Chinese practitioners reduced. As a result, there was a breakthrough in our ticket sales in 2015. We sold almost every single premium seat, and the average ticket numbers sold for the five shows reached 86 percent.
The results of the Shen Yun promotion over the last two years have shown me the impact the main coordinator’s cultivation status can have. I also realized that the lack of cooperation that I perceived may not have been real, but rather an illusion. But because my cultivation status was not that solid, I made it real. If I had thought it was just an illusion, it might have disappeared very quickly without any bad effect on the one body. I enlightened that by looking within and cultivating myself well, the conflicts would disappear instantly.
To me, this is a lesson. As a coordinator, I must cultivate myself well; otherwise, I will affect the body's progress. I should not look for trouble, but simply try to improve in my cultivation.
2. Turning Trouble into Improvement
As a coordinator, I often found that some practitioners were not talking or acting the way I wanted. Sometimes they would even say something that I really would not like to hear. It seemed that they purposely made trouble for me and tried to make me look bad.
As a matter of fact, they were actually helping to expose my attachments–those that I fail to notice or that are deeply hidden in my heart. I sometimes felt that their sarcastic comments, the way they talked, and the way they looked at me were meant to make trouble for me. But if I calmed down, I would have a different understanding on the issue. I would think that what they said was very reasonable, and it was true that I failed to do a good job. What they said was truly for my own good.
I still remember a big group sharing the Saturday night before the Canberra Fa Conference last year. When it finished, it was already very late, but the bus we arranged to collect us did not show up. Someone told me that the majority of younger practitioners all went back to their hotel early, and some did not even bother to come to the sharing. Now the hotel was overbooked, and even the bed I had paid for was taken. Instead of smiling when confronted with a situation like that, as Master has talked about in his Fa, I became very irritated. I started to complain about this and that. I failed to act like a practitioner, let alone a coordinator.
A practitioner yelled at me, “Why don’t you look within?” We had traveled to Canberra on Friday night without sleep. Then Saturday was one activity after another, plus the sharing in the evening. A lot of elderly practitioners were really tired. As a coordinator, the bus not showing up was clearly my responsibility and meant that I didn't do a thorough enough job with the arrangements. As a result, these elderly practitioners had to suffer. At a time like that, how could I complain to other practitioners and try to shirk the responsibility onto other people?
That “stick warning” did not make me sober. Instead of thanking the practitioner who pointed out my shortcomings, I turned around and shouted back, “Why don’t you look within?” I knew I was wrong as soon as I said those words, but I did not apologize. I later reflected on what I did and realized how big the gap was between my cultivation status and Master’s requirements.
These experiences made me gradually enlighten to the fact that these practitioners who seemed to want to make trouble for me were actually helping me improve in my cultivation. Therefore, I truly should thank these practitioners. When I enlightened to this, I became lighthearted and did not think about others making trouble for me any more. On the contrary, I decided to look within to find out where I fell short.
Since I became the main coordinator, I have been making progress in my cultivation by dealing with all the problems one after another. I have gradually improved my coordinating skills as well. Since this is cultivation, as problems are solved, new ones will emerge. I will continue to let go of the bad substances exposed during the process of being a coordinator and put effort into stepping out of humanness. I am determined to save more sentient beings together with our local practitioners. I am determined to cultivate myself well, and ultimately return home with Master.
Thank you, Master!Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2015 Australia Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)