Cultivating Through Dafa Projects and Removing My Human Notions
Greetings Master. Greetings, fellow practitioners.
I have cultivated in Falun Dafa for over ten years, which gives me plenty of experiences to share with fellow practitioners. There have been many stumbling blocks during my cultivation, and I am ashamed to say that sometimes I did not do very well.
Cultivation Experience in the Divine Land Marching Band
Righteous Thoughts Replace Show-Off Mentality
I participated in a parade in Ottawa in February 2008 and went on to Montreal a few days later. A local practitioner asked that I hold the banner for the Divine Land Marching Band during their parade.
They were ordering costumes for the band at the time. I did not know what instrument I would end up playing, but I knew white was my favorite color, so I ordered one as well. White costumes were for female cymbal players, and I decided that I would play that instrument.
I was excited that we would wear blue and white costumes that day, which represent the Kingdom of Heaven and the Divine Land. However, we ended up wearing blue polo uniforms.
Finally, for the Calgary Stampede, we were told that we would be wearing the costume. I had been looking forward to this parade, but things did not end up as I expected. On the way to the parade, I was asked to give my costume to another cymbal player who did not have one. I felt really upset.
We were given other uniforms. While I was indescribably smug, our band coordinator took our uniforms and gave them to two trumpet players from Montreal. I had to accept clothes from others and wore a t-shirt and a three-quarter length pair of pants. I was no longer feeling smug. Instead the words "showing off" came to my mind.
“We also have such cases where those who practice a little better than others, have better Celestial Eye visions, or whose exercise movements look better also like to show off.” (Zhuan Falun)
“As long as you have them, all of those attachments must be removed in different environments. You will be made to stumble, whereby you will become enlightened to the Tao. This is how one goes through cultivation practice.” (Zhuan Falun)
Master’s Fa opened my eyes. I said to Master deep in my heart: “Master, I don't want this attachment! I am a cultivator, not an ordinary person doing ordinary things. I should be helping to rectify the Fa, not promoting myself. To do well in Fa-rectification and save sentient beings, my mentality must be righteous.”
Playing Instruments Requires a Solid Foundation
I attended the Experience Sharing Conference on the 10th Anniversary of the Divine Land Marching Band in New York in 2015.
When I first joined the band, there weren’t any professional teachers. Many of the cymbal players could not read notes. A practitioner’s daughter translated these musical notes into symbols. This helped us learn how to play faster and to participate in the parade sooner. Even though we learned how to play the music, it did not sound good.
I thought that, as long as we hold the pure thought of saving people, Master would transform our musical notes into beautiful, lovely music.
Our band coordinator arranged a couple of trips to New York, so we could rehearse with the band there between 2014 and 2015. We realized how important it was to have a solid foundation before playing an instrument.
We now have professional teachers guiding our practice, and we have learned to read musical notes.
Sometimes, I wanted to resign from the band because of nervousness or xinxing tests among practitioners. However, whenever I think of the words from Master's poem “Divine Land Marching Band” and what Master said in his greetings to the 10th Anniversary conference, I sincerely felt Master's hope for his disciples.
“With any project or any task, if you decide not to do it, then don’t do it; and if you do decide to do it, then you definitely have to do it well and carry it through to the end. If you do otherwise, how shall the time you wasted go down in the annals of history? Whatever is not brought to completion amounts to a failure.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference XI)
Cultivation Experience in the Epoch Times Media
I joined the Epoch Times Media in Montreal as an accountant in August 2011.
Eliminating Cunning and Self-Protection
For a while, a sales representative often asked me to send a potential customer a newspaper. Then she asked me to mail several issues of the newspaper to different prospects. I was hired to do accounting, not to be her assistant. I did not show that I was displeased, but she should have known.
“There’s a reason. Chinese people were strongly influenced by Confucianism in the past, and their personality is pretty introverted. When they’re angry it doesn’t show, and when they’re happy it doesn’t show.” (Zhuan Falun)
I looked within. Yes, I took the job when the financial manager offered it, as I did not want to lose the chance to save people.
In my interactions with practitioners, I minimize talking to avoid conflict and not to offend others. I never expressed my views and looked like a good person. I used the same attitude towards work. I fulfilled my responsibilities and didn’t disrupt or blame others, and I hoped that others would not blame me. We seemed to cooperate well with one another and maintained a superficial solidarity and harmony.
In reality, the way I acted was out of self-protection and not wanting to get hurt. It is a cunning attitude. I had built a shell around me and did not cultivate solidly. Whenever something touched my attachments, I would hide in that shell. I could not assimilate to the universe’s characteristics of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. I studied the Fa and did the exercises, but my xinxing had not elevated.
At home, I complained to my daughter about my co-worker. She said, “You should be honest with her and tell her what you think. Don’t judge her behind her back. This is not how you cultivate.” My daughter's words were a wake-up call.
“What I least like are those who are all talk and no action. Nor do I like those who are cunning. What I like are those who are honest and simple, sincere and down-to-earth. I also hope that you can all, after so many years of cultivating, positively grow in wisdom and not grow so much in terms of knowing how to deal with worldly matters or how to conduct yourself as a human being leading a worldly life.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference XI)
I never thought that this part of the Fa was pointing to me. Even non-practitioners agree that I am a hardworking person. I realized that my cultivation has not improved for the past few years. My heart felt as if it was surrounded and covered by a substance and I could not break through. This recognition helped me eliminate my attachment.
Eliminating Negative Thoughts
A practitioner asked me “Do you think you are saving people by working at the Epoch Times?”
My first thought was, “Of course. Master even said that practitioners working in the media are all saving people, including you.” However, I then got confused. Since I was not a salesperson or a reporter, I did not have a chance to clarify the truth to people face to face. It was difficult to know whether I was really saving people.
The financial manager moved to the headquarters in New York in July 2013, and my workload increased. I felt that I could no longer put up with it all, and I held a lingering resentment. I had all kinds of thoughts during meditation and could not calm down. I thought about finding a job in ordinary society; then I could participate in other truth-clarification projects.
Besides, there were all these attachments that I had not let go, including self-interest, jealousy, and blaming others. A negative sentiment developed. I thought I should improve my skills, continue my education, and get a CPA. If things did not improve at the paper, I would find an ordinary job. But inside me there was still a sense of responsibility.
“The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts.” (“Drive Out Interference” from Essentials for Further Advancement II).
After reading Master's Fa, I studied the Fa diligently and cultivated every thought of mine. I decided to let go of my attachment and maintain a pure heart and hope.
I did the exercises and joined The Epoch Times Fa study every morning. I listened to experience sharing on Minghui Radio while I did housework. I studied the Fa with my daughter after supper. I read it with a stable and serene tone and focus on quality rather than quantity. I believe Dafa is all-powerful; as long as I maintain a pure heart, Dafa will guide my way.
“Your enlightened, original nature will automatically know what to do.” (“Expounding on the Fa” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
Master has talked many times about the importance of the media in saving people. No matter what I do, we have to maintain the normal functions of the media. People can be saved by the paper every day. I strongly believe that, since this media project can save people, I am also saving people.
“As a person with genuine gong and energy, you do not need to give it off intentionally; you will leave energy on whatever you touch, and it will all be shining brightly.”(Zhuan Falun).
Each of us has our own characteristics and talents. Every life walks its own path to validate the Fa. Master has arranged a different path for each of us.
Sometimes we do not realize how magnificent Dafa is. In fact, it is not that Dafa’s strength does not manifest; the problem is my lack of solid cultivation and lack of faith. I realized that participating in the media is a boundless grace from Master and a privilege.
Letting Go of My Quick Temper
I am short-tempered and do not possess the state of kindness and compassion of a cultivator.
After my workload increased, I was always in a state of anxiety. I was always busy, and my head felt so tight. A fellow practitioner said that I always looked displeased. It was a manifestation of my heart, but I did not realize it.
Recently a practitioner said that our environment was depressing, that some of us looked resentful, and that I was one of them.
“Our practice has a focus and truly points out those attachments. By abandoning them, one will make very rapid progress in cultivation.” (Zhuan Falun)
I began to tell myself not to rush, to slow down, and to be calm and follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It helped me remove my short temper, and I am no longer bothered by any disturbance.
Power of Dafa Manifests
This year I coordinated the scheduling of mall ticket booths. I am efficient and systematic, so I agreed to take on that task. Then, I was also asked to coordinate flyer distribution. This was not a good idea, because March and April is tax season, an accountant's busiest time of the year.
I was helping some long-term clients with their tax returns, attending university classes, and had an exam on April 27. Shen Yun was to perform on April 30. The end of the month is also the busiest time at The Epoch Times.
“... as cultivators, steady your minds a bit and do well at what you’re supposed to do, everything will be there for you, in fact.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)
With so many things going on, I realized that Master gave me this opportunity to elevate my xinxing and establish my mighty virtue. So, my heart did not move. I just did the three things well. I no longer worried and remained calm. Fellow practitioners said that my xinxing had improved.
Why am I so calm this year? When I can calm down my impetuous mind, the magnificent power of Dafa will manifest.
Removing Party Culture
Two Western practitioners wanted to hand out flyers. Due to some unclear communication, I handed the phone to another Western practitioner. However, the practitioner wanted to talk to me and told me, “I wanted to ask your opinion first, before you passed the phone to someone else.”
I was displeased and felt that she was unclear, which made me misunderstand her. I endured on the surface but was not sincere in my response.
“When a conflict occurs among one another, it is very difficult to control one’s mind.” (Zhuan Falun)
This reminded me that a few years ago a Western practitioner discussed with me how to issue a receipt to a client. After the discussion, he stared at me and said, “It’s strange. You’re so elegant, but how come you said things with so much strength.” I understand the fellow practitioner was indirectly saying that my voice was loud.
My loud voice, which was not congruent with my outer looks, really surprised the practitioner. It made me realize my inappropriate behavior. I had always prided myself on not focusing on minor details and considered my forthright personality a good thing. I thought that I was like what Master said, “Women are strong and smart.” (“Yin and Yang Reversed” from Hong Yin III)
“full of great aspirations while minding minor details.” (“Sage” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I have not paid attention to minor details. I find that I am sloppy in my work. The Western practitioner felt I am not serious and have too much Party culture, which was the result of the indoctrination by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
He was right, and I thanked him for pointing it out. Finally, I realized how much the CCP culture has been ingrained in my thought process, which took me so long to recognize and only after a Westerner's remark.
This spurred me on to read the Nine Commentaries and Dissolving Party Culture again.
Thank you, Master! Thank you to all fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2016 Canada Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)