Improving My Xinxing While Shooting a Truth Clarification Film
(Minghui.org) Greetings Honorable Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
I have known about Dafa since 1998, when my mother and younger sister obtained the Fa in 1998 in Taiwan. Although I knew that Dafa is good, I was not prepared to let go of my attachments in the face of the dazzling human world with all its temptations.
I thought that if I started cultivation, I would have to give up many things and I was not ready to do that. Because of my poor enlightenment quality, I delayed cultivation for many years.
In 2005, I knelt before Master’s image and said, “I want to be a Dafa practitioner.” From that day on, in my heart I treated myself as a practitioner. Shortly after I became a practitioner, I was asked to work at NTD TV's Asia-Pacific station. I became a TV host and anchor, as well as keeping my day job. I had a fulfilling life and thought that this was my path.
I married in 2013 and came to Toronto. I lost my job as a TV host, and other production jobs were transferred to Taiwan practitioners. This gave me a lot of extra time. In this new environment I didn’t know what to do.
One day my husband, who is a practitioner, told me a truth clarification movie team had a role for me. When I was in Taiwan, I had watched movies this team made, and I was happy to join them.
I had no acting experience and the team didn’t know anything about me, so I didn’t expect a lead role. I would be satisfied with just a few words to say. A few days later, I was told that I would be the main actress.
This put a lot of pressure on me. My first thought was to decline the role because I had never acted before, but then I thought that this was a truth-clarifying project. If other practitioners chose me, what should I be afraid of? So I started working on the movie “Candlelight.”
Letting Go of Fear and Attachments
I would be playing the role of a kindhearted lady. My character makes a casual remark, which leads to the arrest and death of a neighbor who was a Falun Gong practitioner. Her daughter becomes an orphan.
During the shoot, the hardest thing for me was to figure out how Mainland Chinese women speak, which is different from how people from Taiwan speak, and to cry.
At first I was unable to cry. Everyone waited for my tears in a scene. I felt bigger pressure and found it even harder to cry. The practitioner who helped me get into my character was able to cry, but I couldn’t.
The film crew postponed the scene to the next day. That evening, I watched some Korean dramas and searched Google for how to act in a crying scene. I still didn't feel like I could do it. I was worried and upset, and asked Master for help from my heart.
The next day I walked onto the set, full of fear. When the scene began, I found that my emotions blended with the character. I imagined how this person would face her guilt. I thought that as an ordinary person, wasn’t she also being persecuted by the CCP? I thought of Master’s great compassion to save everyone like this person, and my tears came. Crying was still a challenge, but I don’t fear it anymore.
The movie was filmed at my condo. One day the manager of the condominium said that we were being too noisy. The family living downstairs had complained, and the manager needed to check if our carpet was thick enough to buffer the noise.
As a new immigrant, I was very nervous when I heard these complaints. I didn’t want to leave a bad impression with people after only being here a month, so I tried to solve the problem in an ordinary human way.
Practitioners on the team discussed this with me and said it was interference. We were actually very careful not to make noise, so it was unusual that a neighbor would complain about this. Practitioners encouraged me to have strong righteous thoughts and not be interfered with.
Despite what the practitioners said, in my heart I still complained. They caused this, and yet they asked me to have stronger righteous thoughts and to look inside. Looking back, it was interference and a test to see if I would continue. Although my neighbor didn’t continue to complain, I felt I didn’t do well in this test.
I had a big attachment to vanity. At my job in Taiwan, I would get upset if the makeup artist’s or hairstylist’s work was not to my liking. I tried to eliminate this attachment for years. It did lessen, but would erupt from time to time.
I reminded myself to do well to pass this test. On one occasion the makeup artist finished so quickly that I was shocked. In my mind I told her, “You just started, and you’re already finished?” When the hairstylist said I could arrange my hair any way I wanted, it was the complete opposite of my previous experience.
In Taiwan, makeup and hairdo are both done carefully. In this movie project, actors needed to look natural, close to real life, and in line with how the character would appear. I reminded myself to do well in this test, so I didn’t say anything, but didn’t pass the test in my mind.
When the movie finished, I was not satisfied with my screen image. When I watched the film, I only paid attention to my own performance. I felt I didn’t perform well, my hair was messy, or my makeup wasn’t satisfactory.
Practitioners said that everything was good. Later, the movie received many awards. At one film screening, our movie was shown on the big screen. My cultivation state was very good then: I was finally able to not focus on myself, but look at the whole project.
I felt that this movie was great and very touching. I enlightened that my selfishness, the attachments of showing off and validating myself, had been too strong. A person who only pays attention to himself or herself will miss many things and will not able to improve.
“Candlelight” won the Best Short Movie Award at the Canadian International Film Festival. When two practitioners went to accept the award, a Westerner in the film industry said to them, “You guys did a great job, thanks to your movie team for expressing a true voice and letting the world know the truth.”
When I heard this, I felt that all of the hardships we endured in the shooting were worth it. In a short period of time, our movie could be recognized by mainstream society and would help more people know the truth. I felt that the things that I am doing are very meaningful and I had more confidence for future films.
In Canada, the majority of practitioners I work with are from Mainland China. The way they do things, their notions, and the way they speak are very different than practitioners from Taiwan.
Sometimes I have to hear a sentence several times in order to understand the meaning. The most difficult part to adjust to was the difference in the way of doing things between Mainland and Taiwan practitioners. In Taiwan, we needed a long time to plan for one thing. In Canada it is done much faster. When we are told to finish something quickly, I feel uncomfortable. “Do we have to do things in such a rushed way?”
Little by little, I realized this was the working style of Mainland practitioners. I know that saving people is urgent. I understand that if the right conditions come up, we should take the opportunity and finish as soon as possible.
Once I understood this, I told myself to cooperate as much as possible. When negative thoughts emerged, I considered if I should or should not cooperate. If I didn’t want to cooperate, was it because some unknown notions and habits blocked me? Was it my True Self? If our wish is to validate the Fa, and to help Master rectify the Fa, why did I require that other practitioners make things just right for me or wait for the perfect conditions?
The films are completed quickly whether they are features, shorts, or commercials. I also acted in the films “Journey” and “Good Predestined Relationship.” My character in “Good Predestined Relationship” had a four-month-old baby who became very attached to me.
I was concerned about the baby’s well-being during shoots. Practitioners understood me. This character only needed a few hours of acting. The practitioners treated me so well, and I also appreciated Master’s arrangements to have this truth clarification opportunity. Practitioners arranged such a good job for me so that I could balance both family and truth-clarification work.
I visited Taiwan this year and, when I returned, the movie team started weekly actor training and weekend Fa study and sharing. Every actor improved with the training. We got to know each other better and became more cooperative. Our sharings were open and honest, and it felt like being in a big family. In this environment, I felt that I had progressed in cultivation and was able to blend in little by little.
Unaffected by Baby’s Cries
In March, we started a new film called “Dawn in Darkness.” The main scene was in my new home. My own baby always wanted to be held. I could not be away from her for even a minute, or she would cry hard until I came back to her.
Two scenes in the movie took a long time to shoot. For both scenes my baby would cry the whole time I was away from her. It broke my heart whenever I heard her cry. I reminded myself not to be affected. Someone was taking care of the baby, she would be fine, and there would be no problem. I must get rid of the attachment.
The miracle was, during the shoot, although I heard her crying, my heart wasn’t moved even a bit. At break time, I didn’t think about checking on her; instead, I practiced the dialogues with other actors. I was able to get into the character with a calm mind. It was hard for the practitioner who did the editing to endure the baby’s crying. I am thankful for the support of my husband, who made it possible for me to finish the role for this movie smoothly.
When I act as a character from Mainland China, it was hard to imagine the harrowing situation they encountered. The director gave me many instructions to get into the role. In one scene, he said, “You lost your job but you didn’t worry about yourself. You have been fired illegally, even though you didn’t do anything wrong, so don’t look so miserable,” or “You are a Dafa practitioner. You shouldn’t have that expression. You should have strong righteous thoughts.”
Each evening when I returned home I felt I had received a “stick warning.” I am also a practitioner: Why didn’t I know how to handle that situation? I felt some Mainland practitioners are really great. They really have strong righteous thoughts under pressure. I also felt that I am far behind them in my xinxing level.
Acting in the latest movie, I felt a big change in myself. I started as a new actress coming to this new environment. I was confused and felt a lot of pressure. Through years of tempering myself, I got rid of many attachments and felt more tolerant and mature.
Although I have a baby, I am more relaxed than before. I had seen myself as an outsider to the movie team. If I was called upon to help, I would cooperate and I would leave after finishing. Now I regard myself as a member of this movie team, and we are in this together.
During a shoot, I feel part of the environment and am more tolerant of other practitioners. I actively care about the shoot and what needs to be done. When facing problems, we sit down to study the Fa and have a discussion. We take this as an opportunity to cultivate and improve.
Although what I do for the team is still very limited, I feel that I and other practitioners have become one body and cooperate well. After the preview of the movie “Dawning,” practitioners gave us very good feedback, which gave me confidence to continue my acting in the future.
Taking the Initiative
I am ashamed to say that I am not a diligent practitioner. I do the exercises only occasionally, and I had a very childish thought in my mind. My mother and younger sister are both veteran practitioners, and they are always very diligent and are strict with themselves. I thought, no matter how badly I cultivate, at least I could go to their world as their sentient being.
In recent years, I have not had this thought as much. I didn’t realize that these thoughts are actually playing a role. In “Fa Teaching at 2016 New York Fa Conference”, Master said:
“Isn’t there Dafa, the universe’s Dafa that is spreading? Others have obtained it, why can’t you? Others can cultivate well, why can’t you?”
Later, Master said a few times: “Others can do well, why can’t you?” These few words hit me hard in my heart—I knew Master was talking to me. Yes, why can’t I do better? Why was I not able to shoulder my own responsibility?
Master is so worried and I was not taking his words seriously. I didn’t know if I had made a vow and what kind of vow it was, so I was unwilling to face it. In the end, it is a matter of believing in Master and the Fa. I hope to be more diligent and strict with myself in personal cultivation.
I wondered what more I could do to clarify the truth. Because my baby is still so little, I felt very worried and upset. Then I remembered a while ago that my sister asked me if I could do some recording for Sound of Hope radio. I agreed at that time, but didn’t carry through.
I contacted my sister. A few days passed and I didn't hear from her. I was in the habit of waiting for others to ask me to do things. I would feel awkward if I volunteered, feeling that I was degrading myself. Realizing that it was this attachment that blocked me, I told myself that, no matter what, this must be done. I would start dubbing for Sound of Hope in two weeks. I took the initiative to contact them.
I started a few days after I contacted them. Why had I allowed these attachments to stop me? I had wasted so much time.
I have been in Toronto for more than two years. Only in the past six months have I felt like part of my new environment. It was too slow. What I have done still does not meet Master’s requirement. I have so many shortcomings in my cultivation. During experience sharing, my attachments seem so childish and silly.
I am thankful for fellow practitioners’ tolerance, and even more grateful for Master’s benevolent salvation. Please correct me if there is anything improper in this sharing.
(Presented at the 2016 Canada Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)