Truly Cultivating Myself Through Coordinating Dafa Projects
(Minghui.org) Greetings, esteemed Master and fellow practitioners!
My mind went back and forth about writing an experience sharing article for this Fa conference. I thought that my cultivation status was not up to par, because I have not passed many xinxing tests. Besides, I just could not think of much I could share and did not believe that I would make a positive impact on the lives of practitioners.
In recent weeks, there have been a few smaller experience sharing conferences in Sydney. I was deeply touched by what I heard. Fellow practitioners revealed their shortcomings and attachments without trying to protect themselves. I could feel everyone's heart of wanting to be compassionate and to truly cultivate.
I realized that my reluctance to share was because of my attachment to reputation, a form of selfishness. I wanted to protect my public image. I was concerned that, if I shared my attachments, fellow practitioners might talk about them. I certainly have a few xinxing tests that I have not passed, nor have I found my fundamental attachments. However, it dawned on me that sharing my attachments could be instrumental in finding my shortcomings. This, in turn, would help me improve my cultivation state.
Cooperation Is of Utmost Importance
In recentFa lectures, Master mentioned that the responsibilities of a coordinator are huge. As a coordinator, Master's words worried me. I was concerned that I could not take on these responsibilities and meet Master’s standard.
“Let me tell you, if you do not cooperate well with someone, as a person in charge or project coordinator, you have leaks in your cultivation, which you need to patch. If you cannot patch them up, you’ll have leakage and it will be a problem on your way toward Consummation. Don’t you believe this? I have been stressing all along that you should cooperate with each other.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”)
Lately, it seemed as if the conflicts between different projects were more serious, and I just could not pass the tests.
Sometimes, I wanted to quit being a coordinator and thought that truth clarification projects would be easier for me to handle. Of course, when I calmed down and looked at the issue based on the Fa standards, I knew I was wrong. Quitting would mean breaking my vows, wouldn’t it? Yet, how could I make a breakthrough? Alas, I could not overcome xinxing conflicts from time to time and limped along on my cultivation path.
I then decided that it would be best to just ignore some issues and simply do whatever I could and cultivate my xinxing. That way, I would face fewer conflicts with fellow practitioners.
Living Up to One's Word
Recently, quite a few practitioners shared about letting go of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) culture with which we had been indoctrinated.
Manifestations of Party culture include “the halfhearted way of working, negative thinking, and committing bad deeds.” I wondered if I was “working in a halfhearted way.” If this were true, I could not reach the standard of an enlightened being.
In fact, the behavior of people in ancient times would surpass me. In the past, once people made a promise or took a job, they would give it their best. Even if it cost their lives, they would live up to their word. As Dafadisciples, if we assume the running of a project, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.
Conflicts Uncover Hidden Attachments
When conflicts were not as noticeable, I thought that my cultivation status was okay. In fact, I had let go of a lot of attachments, such as those to reputation, personal gain, and sentimentality. However, as conflicts became more serious and my attitude became more negative, I found that the foundation of my cultivation was not solid enough, and there were more hidden attachments.
In my opinion, I was always correct and wanted others to compliment me. I could not stand to hear different opinions, especially criticism. Before I started cultivation, I was quiet and pessimistic; I had felt inferior from the time I was a child. Although I had always been outstanding in my studies and work, I always wanted to hear compliments and was afraid of being criticized.
Because of cultivation, I have become more and more outgoing, but I realized, given recent conflicts, that my attachments had not been eliminated thoroughly. Every time fellow practitioners disagreed or doubted my decisions or actions, I got into an argument or became unhappy. I was no longer willing to communicate.
Jealousy Results in Disputes
My attachment to jealousy was quite pronounced. It made me unhappy when I was told that a fellow practitioner had a good idea or that it worked well. I felt that it was unfair that my work and efforts were not recognized. My self-esteem fell, and I developed a heightened sensitivity about my reputation.
I had disputes with other coordinators, and a divide formed between us. Some veteran practitioners told me that veteran practitioners and capable practitioners were not willing to join the projects or activities organized by the association because they did not like my personality and way of doing things. They thought I didn’t have the ability to coordinate the entire group, but just a few practitioners.
These conflicts and criticism overwhelmed me. I felt shocked, wronged, and discouraged. I thought, “Despite all my efforts and hard work, I'm treated like this? Practitioners used to cooperate well. Why can't they appreciate my hard work and effort?”
This exposed more of my attachments, including seeking others’ respect, a competitive mentality, and attachment to comfort. I turned pessimistic to protect myself from being hurt. I no longer cared, refused to give support to each project, and no longer put my heart in my work like before.
I developed laziness and the attachment to comfort. I could not get up early every day to study the Fa and do the exercises. Instead, I watched videos and claimed that this was to relieve stress. I was not wasting time because I watched the videos while eating. However, the content of the videos turned me into an ordinary person, which affected my Fa study and exercises. I also was no longer of pure mind, nor could I concentrate while sending righteous thoughts. No longer did I have enough compassion and tolerance when facing fellow practitioners, so it was easier for conflicts to arise.
Some coordinators suddenly came down with sickness karma. This made me realize that cultivation is serious. I looked inside to see how I could improve in my cultivation and cooperate with other practitioners. I talked, shared, and sent righteous thoughts with practitioners who suffered from sickness karma. It pained me to see fellow practitioners tormented by the old forces and weakening.
“Am I better than they?” I asked myself. “Why do they have to face such interference? After accomplishing so much, do we really understand what cultivation is and how to cultivate? Is what we do because of human passion, and do we see it as being diligent? Can the requirements of the Fa be lowered for us just because we do Dafa work? When the Fa rectifies the human world, will we be up to standard and be pure enough to consummate?”
Remembering the past, I realized why I was able to cooperate well with fellow practitioners and have fewer conflicts. It was because I was not a coordinator, and the attachment to self was not challenged. Therefore, it was not exposed. At first, things went smoothly. However, during the process, my attachment to self grew. Especially when we made some progress, the attachment to prove myself and the thought of myself always being right, grew. I would think the progress of the project was because of my effort and ability. I forgot that “Cultivation is up to you, gong is up to the Master.” (Zhuan Falun)
I forgot that any success is due to Master’s strengthening and Dafa’s mighty virtue. When I needed to cooperate with fellow practitioners, I could no longer cooperate unconditionally. In particular, it bothered me when fellow practitioners were of different opinions or wanted to use a different method.
I thought, “According to the Fa, you should cooperate with me because I am the coordinator. Why does the coordinator have to cooperate with you?”
When some of the methods didn’t coincide with my understanding of the Faor I thought the effect would be small, I would feel even worse. I even used the Fa to cover my attachments. I saw myself as being responsible to the Fa, to the one body, and to the saving of sentient beings. Thus, I forgot to look within, cultivate, and find my attachments and shortcomings.
Encouragement, Not Rejection
I finally realized that, no matter what I think about what is going on or what I understand at one moment, I must improve and elevate in cultivation. The Fa requires me to improve in levels. Thus, we cannot be attached to the enlightenment of one level or the success of a project.
It is not important if other practitioners’ habits or methods don’t appeal to me. It does not matter if we make a few mistakes or take a longer path, because each practitioner or coordinator walks on his or her path of validating the Fa.
Master is looking after and guarding the cultivation path of every disciple. I believe that, if anyone does not walk his path well, he or she lacks faith in Master and the Fa. The coordinator is not necessarily the one who cultivates the best, nor the one who is the smartest. Thus, when fellow practitioners come up with different plans and ideas, they should be encouraged and not rejected.
I also realized why some veteran practitioners and capable practitioners don’t want to participate in the current projects. It may be because my understanding and actions limit the development of some truth-clarification projects and thus the abilities of some practitioners go unutilized.
As a coordinator, I need to fulfill my responsibility to the one body, open my mind, and encourage more practitioners to realize their potential and enthusiasm to better save people and validate the Fa.
Shen Yun Promotional Activities
At the beginning of the 2016 Shen Yun promotion, I thought it would be easy, because coordinators and fellow practitioners were more familiar with one another. Also, all promotional methods and teams were more mature, and the one body was cooperating better.
Promotional activities went smoothly during the 2015 Shen Yun season, so I thought we should do well selling Shen Yun tickets in 2016. I based the 2016 sales schedule on the 2015 promotion and sales plan.
However, there were different requirements for 2016, especially since we were asked to promote the show to the higher end of society. Ticket sales were really slow. We had sold only half the tickets compared to the same time in 2015. The promotional methods from the prior year were not effective.
Practitioners looked tired and did not show any concern. They were lackluster and did not want to speak when sharing experiences. It looked like something was suppressing them. I was worried, and my complaints grew.
The pre-Christmas ticket sales in shopping centers were even lower than what we paid for in rent, which made me even angrier. I told the shopping center coordinator that he should look within and thoroughly reflect on the situation.
What I did not admit was that I blamed him for not picking the right spot and not training the salespeople well. Actually, we should not have sold tickets before Christmas, when the rent was so expensive. The atmosphere between coordinators and practitioners turned sour. I told myself it was still early and that the sales would get better after Christmas. After New Year, the rate of ticket sales did get a bit better, but it was still much lower compared to the previous year.
Gods and Buddhas Pave the Way
Some practitioners visited from other states to share what they had learned. Their experiences regarding the Shen Yun special edition and sponsorships inspired me a lot. Some practitioners had allotted time a few days to a week to work on the Shen Yun promotion. This showed me that I had not paid enough attention and did not give it my full support.
Another coordinator and I decided to take two days off every week to promote Shen Yun with other practitioners. Although we did not have as many practitioners as usual, we shared information. We also had breakthroughs in media sponsorship. We got 80% off the cost of several billboards and 80 bus advertisements in January and February, including two free billboards, saving several thousand dollars. It intensified our outdoor promotion dramatically.
The tickets sold faster in January, but we were running out of time. We had sold just over half of the tickets three weeks before the show.
We had an emergency sharing conference and discussed what other states had done. We realized how important Shen Yun was for saving people, and everyone was thinking about how to sell more tickets.
Just about two weeks before and after the show, I truly felt that the Fa-rectification was pushing me and the one body to move forward. It was not about how many tickets we sold or what we did individually. It was that, once the practitioners were moved, Gods and Buddhas would pave the way for Shen Yun, and the rest of the tickets would all be gone.
We had a full house for the closing show, and I was extremely grateful to Master. For the 2016 Shen Yun promotion, the result had already been arranged, and we only needed to do our best and open our hearts. Those difficult situations were just testing me as a coordinator and testing the one body to see if we would still believe in Master and the Fa during the most difficult time, and resolutely walk our path.
Promotion for Shen Yun 2017 has now begun. I hope that I can believe in Master and the Fa 100% and do all projects better. I hope to have strong righteous thoughts. I need to live up to Master’s expectations so his tremendous suffering for disciples and sentient beings will not have been in vain.
I would like to conclude with Master’s poem:
I climb the steep steps, stretching miles ahead,Winding upward and steep, this road,even to set off is hard;Glancing back, ‘tis just like cultivating Righteous Fa,Pausing half way makes salvation hard.
So steel the will, and lift thy leaden leg,Endure the pain, diligent, and cast off attachments;Dafa disciples, the tens of millions—A place still higher awaits you at Consummation.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners.
(Presented at the 2016 Australian Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)