Shen Yun Taught Me How to Cultivate Myself
(Minghui.org) Since we first learned that Shen Yun would come to Geneva, almost 10 years ago, I cannot forget that day. I feel that Master was asking us to follow him, like the ancient story of a man meeting a sage in the street who asks him if he believes in the Tao. The man answers yes and the sage tells him to jump into a bottle. The man does not think a second and he jumps. This story impressed me a lot because the man did not hesitate for a second.
I was aware of the sacredness of the mission, that is, to follow Master and save people. It was clear and simple but the pressure was strong because I knew it was about leaving all attachments and following Master unconditionally.
Master's words resonate in my head every time an extra step presents itself: “Whether you want to cultivate or are able to cultivate depends completely upon how your xinxing is improved.” (Lecture Two of Zhuan Falun)
This sentence has always been in my mind making me wonder if I would be able to keep up with the Fa rectification and achieve the criteria I believed it required to be a good cultivator.
I have long believed that cultivation was about doing things, and because of the emergency at the beginning of the persecution in China, I was rushing in doing things and often forgot to cultivate myself. This has caused me much trouble.
In my family life, I have been encouraged by other practitioners, because I did not cultivate tolerance and compassion. I used to hurry to do things but didn’t look inward and change my character. I thought the things I was doing were very important things and everything else was interference, instead of taking the interference as an opportunity to cultivate myself.
We are fortunate to have welcomed Shen Yun in Geneva for almost 10 years. The process of saving beings has become continuous. As soon as we finish one year, we immediately prepare for the next. And we do so in addition to the other projects we’ve had to deal with, human rights activities and government activities. Everything seems to happen at the same time.
The closer we get to the end, the more we feel this process of saving lives has reached a high degree of urgency. This notion of urgency is one thing that Shen Yun makes me feel very strongly. I then become aware of the severity of the thing and how urgent it is to save lives.
To Cultivate Well Requires a Solid Foundation
But in order to save lives, and cultivate well, I also realized that the foundation of cultivation must be serious and consistent. That is to say, we need to read more Fa, send righteous thoughts and do the exercises, to be able to strengthen our righteous thoughts and allow us to go and save sentient beings. I know that on some points, I am not yet up to par and still have to remind myself not to be lazy and take time to read more, to recite the Fa and to do the exercises.
Reading the Fa and learning the Fa is an absolute necessity, which I understood while doing Shen Yun promotion, because if one does not read enough, one does not have a sufficiently upright mind and one can easily be interfered by things of the ordinary world, lose patience or get angry easily.
Indeed, I found that when I did not read enough, trials were intensifying on all sides, making me unsteady and disturbed. The result would be that I could not do what I was supposed to do properly for saving sentient beings.
During the Shen Yun promotion period, we gather every morning to read a chapter of Zhuan Falun. We read the Fa together in the morning before leaving to do the various Shen Yun promotion activities, distribution or appointments, and this time spent reading together is very valuable. I can see this now, because if I arrive late and do not consider it as a sacred moment then the result would not be the same and the foundation becomes weaker. I am then easily disturbed and interfered by ordinary things like sentimentality, fame and gain.
Master has given us Zhuan Falun to allow us to build this base and strengthen our righteous thoughts so that we are totally washed and immersed in the Fa. If we read less, we move away from it and all the ordinary things can reach us more easily, and of course affect the salvation of beings.
One day during the morning group reading, four of us read together out loud and at same rhythm, and then I suddenly felt a big Falun turning in the room as though we were sitting in that huge wheel that was spinning. It was an incredible sensation. I was amazed I could feel that Master is giving us everything.
I also understood that even during the reading we are still cultivating. There are those who read quickly and those who read slowly. And if one does not read enough, one often makes mistakes. There are also those who do not want to read aloud. Here, too, one must drop one’s own sense of self and try to follow others to be in the same in rhythm, and eventually we can reach that harmonious field.
Cultivation Is About Looking Inward
Master told us: “Study Fa, obtain Fa, Compare in studying, compare in cultivating,...” (“Solid Cultivation” from Hong Yin)
I also realized that if one reads but one does not look inside oneself, it is useless and even worse, nothing will work. For example, we cannot reach the people we want to visit during promotion or we cannot sell tickets or find some support. If you do not search inside yourself enough when you encounter a problem, nothing works.
During Shen Yun we are together every day, so we cannot avoid disagreements and pressure, but it is thanks to this particular environment that Master has created for us that I can see if I reach the criteria for cultivation or not. If I stay at home, I cannot see all that.
To remove our strong sense of self ... that is what Shen Yun obliges us to reach. Remove the ego, even in the smallest detail. For example, we prefer to do something rather than another, whether we like it or not.
When facing an issue, I would ask myself: why don’t I want to do it? Is it because I prefer to do this or that? Why not do it? Isn’t it for saving people? Every situation during promotion forces us to continually rectify ourselves.
For example, it is organized that one day we have to go to a shopping mall for promotion, and on another day we have to visit companies. We follow what is organized and do not choose according to our preferences. Put salvation of people first, not our liking first.
One day, we received a very long list of names and companies and we had to call hundreds of them. I had many things I wanted to finish first and felt reluctant to make all these calls. With this negative thought, I couldn’t reach anybody. So I looked inside and asked myself: What are you doing? Why do you not want to do this list? Is it for your own preference?
I was thinking: Maybe these people you have to call are waiting for you to save them and you just do not want to fulfill your mission because of your own preference? I felt so selfish and realized I was not following what Master has arranged.
Correcting my thought, I decided to start the list again and call every single person. And the result was amazing. People would respond very positively and would gladly take the information. I also noticed that most of these people did not know anything about Shen Yun. I realized that this people were sent by Master to be saved.
Not Blaming Others Is Cultivation
Not blaming others is the other thing I learned while doing Shen Yun. When something goes wrong it is easy to blame others. In the past I used to do that and think that others are not cultivating well enough and this was why things go wrong. I sometimes fall into this trap. But this is not cultivation. Master told us looking inward is the key for everything. Now I try not to point other’s mistakes but to only blame myself. Why did this problem happen? Is it because of me? If I look well I surely find where the problem lies. Master indicates to me where I fell short.
If I think this way, it is much easier for me to move on and I feel lighter and lighter. I get rid of resentment because I know that the problem only lies with me not with others. My relationship with other practitioners improved when I started to look inward. Not because I was using sentimentality to get along with others, but because I wouldn’t hold grudges against others, blaming them for this or that.
Now, when I look at practitioners I can feel their bright side, and I feel happy to be part of this group of cultivators, instead of looking at their shortcomings. Now I know why Master says if somebody does well he can help others improve. I feel when somebody does well; he sets a good example for others.
At the New York Fa conference this year, one thing struck me as I listened to Master answering practitioners’ questions. He often responded by saying: “... I don’t necessarily view it this way...” (“Fa Teaching at the New York Fa Conference on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Dafa’s Introduction to the Public”)
I suddenly realized one thing: When faced with a problem, Master always sees the positive side of things. He does not look at what is negative. To save us, he only looks at our origin. So I wondered to myself: Do you also look at the positive when something happens? I looked into myself and I saw myself. I often dwell on what is wrong and complain about this or that. After this lecture, I realized that Master shows us another way full of light where the negative has no place. Everything can turn positive, depending on how we look at it. It all depends on our state of mind and it is only when we change our state of mind that things change. Since that conference, I decided to get rid of all negative thoughts in me.
Miracles Can Manifest When We Truly Cultivate
During the process of doing Shen Yun promotion, I experienced many small and big miracles, which have also reinforced my belief in Dafa more and more.
For example, we had some situation that was blocked for a long time and was suddenly unlocked effortlessly. I often felt tears of gratitude because I knew Master was opening all the doors for us. We only have to keep faith and continue despite conflicts and difficulties.
Sometimes I felt too tired or too busy to go out. But every time I would overcome this feeling and go to the theater, then Master would arrange for me to meet somebody I knew or someone who was eager to buy tickets or to support us. It is amazing to see how Master has already arranged every single thing and it is only up to us to go or not.
The environment during Shen Yun promotion is the most valuable because working together forces us to look at ourselves more often and without complacency. The others are like a mirror. When they do well, they encourage us to do as well, and when they do not do well, they allow us to reflect on our own cultivation.
Remove this ego, which is like a wall that keeps us from cultivating. When we do Shen Yun promotion, this ego is continually put to the test. For example, one day it is me who is organizing a certain activity and next month or next week it is somebody else who is organizing another activity. I then have to put aside my strong sense of self and just do what is good to save sentient beings.
I feel in these moments, when I just put aside my ego, I feel much lighter. I understand that no matter who is leading, everyone is following the same goal: saving lives. Therefore, the only thought that one must keep in mind is to do the best to save more people.
This is what good coordination between practitioners is all about: putting aside oneself in order to do what is best to save people. It is always putting the salvation of others before oneself. Abandon our own ego to form one body. We can only form one body if each one does well with what he has to do, without putting too much ego in it. If we all stand on our own position or think we are right and the other person is wrong, if we are filled with resentment, then we cannot form one body and save people. We have to get rid of our strong sense of self.
Thanks to Shen Yun, the thought of saving more people and the fastest way possible does not leave my mind, but sometimes fatigue, pressure or discouragement delay my cultivation process. I could see clearly that if I do not cultivate well the results will not be up to par and I cannot reach the people we need to save.
When I do Shen Yun promotion I feel totally immersed in Dafa, my thoughts, my actions everything must be on alert to save people, I must not slack off because I know that if I relax everything will be lost. When I understand the urgency of saving people then everything accelerates and everything easily falls into place.
When I do Shen Yun promotion, I feel very happy because I know deep inside me that I came in this life only for that reason and that everything else should not matter. When I keep this happy thought in my mind, then all the people I have to save suddenly appear before me. Our state of mind is so important while doing Shen Yun. Master can help us when he sees our heart.
Shen Yun is a gift from Master, not only to save sentient beings, but also for us, as practitioners. Shen Yun has taught me how to cultivate myself at all times: look inward, correct myself and move forward. Sometimes I fall, look again forward, get up and go on. Master offered us Shen Yun for our own improvement and it’s a chance to understand what cultivation is. How serious and sacred it is, because the salvation of many beings depends on this cultivation.
I want to thank Master from the bottom of my heart for giving me the chance again and again to follow Him by doing Shen Yun and giving me the chance to correct myself and see my shortcomings. I thank Him for keeping me on the sacred path and allowing me to see all my shortcomings. I want to be worthy of Master’s salvation; although I know deep inside that I will never live up to His infinite Compassion and infinite Grace.
(Presented at the 2017 European Fa Conference)