My Cultivation Experience Working for New Tang Dynasty Television
(Minghui.org) I obtained the Fa in Germany, in late 2001. At first, I always looked inward, even over trivial things. I did it very happily, as I felt like I was the luckiest person in the entire world. As long as I had Dafa, I didn’t need anything else.
I remember during the first week after I began practicing, Master published the article “Foretelling the Fa’s Rectification of the Human World.” At that moment, I thought to myself, “Oh dear, I came to the Fa too late.” I was so disappointed, as I felt that I couldn’t become a Dafa disciple in the Fa-Rectification period. Around that time, another city was holding activities for three days. Because there weren’t any practitioners there, they needed support. Two practitioners from my city decided to go, and I wanted to join too. But the fellow practitioners said that they now had enough hands so I was not needed. I thought to myself, “Well, I need to look inward. Why didn’t they want me to go? It must be because I haven’t reached the standard of a Dafa disciple. That’s why they don’t want me, I need to cultivate well.” I was quite disappointed, but I didn’t loathe the practitioners.
The next day however, one of the practitioners from the other city said to me, “If you want to go, of course it’s OK, but it’s really cold there.” I was so pleased! It was winter and indeed very cold. The snow was so thick on the ground. As soon as we got out of the car, the chilly air blew on our faces like a knife, and my face was in pain from the cold. We were giving out leaflets to the passersby and we couldn’t feel our hands after a short while. My whole body was shaking. I repeatedly told myself in my heart, “It’s not cold, it’s not cold.”
No one seemed to be willing to stop at first. They all just walked past me very quickly. I was thinking, “How could they be like this? Such a good Dafa is here and they don’t even want to look at it, so rude!” But then I thought, “That was not right, I should look inward. Was it because all I could think of was how cold I was, therefore they all appeared to be very cold and unconcerned.” I realized that I should no longer think about the cold, as it won’t change the situation.
So, I started to recite, “When it’s difficult to endure, you can endure it. When it’s impossible to do, you can do it.” (Lecture 9, Zhuan Falun)
To my amusement, very soon, the passersby started to gradually change. Some accepted the materials, and some stopped to watch us doing the exercises. They were very curious about what we were doing there and asked me lots of questions.
The three-day event finished quite quickly in a world of ice and snow. My experience there made me realize for the first time that as a cultivator, as long as my heart changes, the everyday people will also change. I can influence them.
Compared to the joyfulness and diligence when I first obtained the Fa, I’m really ashamed of myself nowadays. When I encountered issues in the past, I used to take it as an opportunity to improve, and felt happy about it. Although I still look inward today, the “feel-good” mood has gone. These days, I’m looking inward rather passively and most of the time it stops at the surface level. When I realize that the situation is very serious and I have nowhere else to go, it is almost like a “stick wake up” for me – I won’t pass the test without looking inward, and only then do I start to genuinely look inward unconditionally.
Cultivation in a Project
I joined New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD) by chance in 2004. Before I began cultivating, I was very introverted. I didn’t like to be around people, nor did I like talking to others or joining gatherings. I had no friends. I only liked to be by myself. Soon after joining NTD, by chance I was selected to be the anchor for a program. I had no confidence in my appearance, and truly didn’t want to stand in front of a camera. I rather preferred to work behind the scenes. Being an anchor means everyone would see me and judge me, and this is what I was most afraid of. However, since the person in charge had made the decision, I knew I needed to let go of self.
I knew nothing in the beginning, so fellow practitioners always gave me feedback by indicating what was not good and what should be improved. Because I didn’t have any experience, I was very modest and accepted their views. However, after a while, I became rather confused. For example, when I was wearing the same clothing, one practitioner would tell me how pretty it looked, whereas another practitioner would ask me not to wear it again as it wasn't attractive. Or, for the same feature I edited, someone would say that one special effect I used was very good as it highlighted the focal point, but another would comment that effect I used was too fancy, not serious enough. At first, I felt wronged and at a loss... I just didn’t know what to do. As time passed and with these incidents becoming more and more common, I started to complain about it. I felt that these practitioners were not professionals themselves, so why did they have so many opinions? My husband often joked with me that only professionals were allowed to make suggestions to me.
As these things happened all the time, I felt that it may not be a coincidence. Looking inward, I could see my heart was not big enough. Some people like sour flavors while others like sweet. This is not right or wrong. Why couldn’t I accept different opinions? Why was I only happy when everything went according to my will? Wasn’t my being happy or unhappy really just sentimentality? I felt I should increase the capacity of my heart to calmly face the opinions and accept them.
Looking deeper inward, I could tell that I hadn’t let go of self. When I was too attached to self, I would think and worry too much, and appeared to have no confidence. In fact, I knew what I was doing and what the standard was, and that I should just try my best to follow it. The purpose of what we do is to save sentient beings rather than bolster my own reputation, or any other selfish motive. The comments from others were just a test for my xinxing, to see whether my heart was moved.
After I realized this, I was gradually no longer moved by these things, and it also didn’t happen as often as before. Of course, for myself, it was a long cultivation process. Whenever I felt that I’d eliminated my attachment to self, after a while, I found out that I still had it – and it was still at large. It was back and forth all the time, but I always reminded myself to let go of self.
Stand up When You Fall
I once read someone’s name wrong during a session recording and didn’t realize it until it was broadcast. When I noticed it, I couldn’t believe I made such a big mistake. Would the audience think that NTD was lacking in standards? What should I do? My heart just got stuck there and I couldn’t emerge from self-blame. I shared the issue with the video editor on duty. To my surprise, she didn’t criticize me as I expected, but rather looked inward herself, even though I felt this mistake had nothing to do with her. I was really amazed at her kindness, and I could see the gap between us right away. I thought if I had come across similar situations, I would definitely blame others first, then look inward for convenience.
The sharing with her made me realize a very negative part within myself – self-blame – which I was not aware of before. I found out that it was not like I was too afraid to admit my mistake, or the fact that I wasn’t good enough, it was because I couldn’t face myself after making a mistake. If I made a small mistake I was quite often drawn into a negative emotion for a long time, like when I used a wrong subtitle or inappropriate footage. I just couldn’t get over it. I always thought that this was my character, being such a perfectionist that I couldn’t accept anything with even a tiny flaw. But actually this is not true – this so-called character was something forced upon me. Once I realized this I felt a bit lighter. I no longer felt like I was being pressed out of breath. Whenever I feel this, I intentionally try to get rid of it, and it is being eliminated bit by bit.
“It's not a big deal if you haven't done well. Just do things well next time and try to find out where the problem was. There's a prominent phenomenon in you folks' cultivation, which is, after you haven't done something well, you're only overwhelmed with regret, and you don't do it over. If you regret it too much then that's another attachment. Once you've done something wrong, seen where it was wrong, and recognized it, then do it well next time, do it over. If you trip and fall, and just keep lying there instead of getting up, (audience laughs) then that's no good.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival)
Letting Go of the Attachment to Gain and Loss
Some of the Chinese news I work on takes a lot of time and effort to edit, as the station is very specific and usually doesn’t have much footage available to use. The team members are from all over the world, and it can be very troublesome to communicate to and cooperate with everyone. Also, it’s quite hard to see audience feedback and the actual click rate on the website. So sometimes I thought, “Is it worth spending so much time on it?” A few times, when the program encountered major difficulties, I seriously thought about leaving the team.
I was envious of those who worked on feature programs. Even though they take lots of time and total attention, the end result is a very good product. This is unlike the news team, where we just work around the clock all the time. Nonetheless, after so many years of involvement, I was actually quite reluctant to leave. In fact, my thought at that time was quite similar to Pigsy from Journey to the West. Whenever they encountered any danger, Pigsy would want to separate from others and go back to the village where he was from. Did I want to become like Pigsy? I knew my thought wasn't right, but my attachment to loss and gain was very strong. Although I realized it, it wasn’t easy to let go. When a test came however, I chose to eliminate it.
One time, a fellow practitioner I worked with was on leave and asked me to do the recording during her absence. Because we agreed on this a long time prior, I didn’t check with her again on that day. Just after I finished all my recording sessions and was uploading the files, I suddenly saw that this practitioner sent a message saying she’d already uploaded the files. I thought this was very strange so I asked her, “Aren't you on leave? Didn’t you ask me to stand in for you? She suddenly remembered and apologized, saying that she was actually free that day but forgot to tell me.
Deep down in my heart, I was quite angry. I thought, “What is this about? Both of us spent so much time doing the same thing, wasn’t it a waste of time? My time is also very precious.” The video editor was a bit confused so asked the coordinator what to do. The coordinator then came to ask both of us, “Which one of these recordings should we use now?
The second I saw the question I felt as if time slowed down. I thought hard. I could sense very strongly that this was a test, as it made no difference to the program which recording was used. I knew very clearly that if I said to use hers, they’d use it without further hesitation, which meant I’d just wasted a few hours of my time. But wasn’t this feeling caused by my attachment to loss and gain manifesting? Hadn’t I said that I wanted to eliminate it?
So I said, “Just use hers.” I meant it from the bottom of my heart and wasn’t just being polite. I knew the attachment was being eliminated, but the process was very uncomfortable.
Keeping Righteous Thoughts, Eliminating Interference
In fact, before something actually happens, we often receive hints about it, but such a hint could be only a tiny thought that flashes through our mind. I thought it was just a coincidence at first, yet nothing is simply coincidence. When such a thought first appears, I should seize it and send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the interference, then check what I am doing very carefully.
For example, I may suddenly have the thought to check a piece of news again. If I do it then, I am bound to find some issues with it. The same applies if the thought that the equipment might have problems today flashes through my mind. If I could send righteous thoughts then to deny all interference, it would be fine. But if I let it slip through and take a chance on it, problems would likely occur. Also, when a problem does surface, sending righteous thoughts really makes a difference. I’ve experienced many times when the program was about to be broadcast I had issues with the Internet. I couldn’t do anything except be anxious about it. If I strengthened my righteous thoughts, had the will to meet the deadline for broadcasting, and denied any and all interference, it would be cleared away very quickly by sending righteous thoughts.
The news team is in a hurry at all times, especially those few hours before broadcasting. The time was counted in minutes and seconds. I operate all the equipment myself, except the lighting, and I often don't see any issues while recording. If I find out that something has gone wrong with the equipment after I finish recording, it may be too late, and may directly impact the program's broadcast. Therefore, my heart was always hanging there, and I constantly worried about things. I was so tired. After a while, I felt my state didn’t seem to be right. Once when I was sharing with a fellow practitioner, I said inadvertently that every recording was like a battle for me, as I was so scared of experiencing issues. I said I could only relax once everything was finished, and think to myself, “Fortunately, the day has concluded successfully!” She then asked me, “Were you scared of the program making a mistake or you yourself making a mistake?” Her unexpected question stunned me.
Of course, I was worrying about the program making mistakes – that was the basic responsibility we should have towards the project. But besides that, I seemed to have more fear of making mistakes myself. I never thought about the difference between the two in the past. But they are actually different, very different indeed. As for the same type of mistakes, if they were not made by me, I felt it didn’t matter much, and I just needed to be more careful in the future. However, if it was my own mistake, it would be a big deal. Why did I think differently? When I thought about it, I was frightened by my own thought. I didn’t realize that such a deep attachment was hidden behind the thought of being responsible. So, what was it exactly?
I looked inward and I felt that there were two of me. One was the real me who doesn’t have many notions, watching the other me in this human world. I could see the thought activity of this “human me,” and as soon as a thought was developed, I could seize it.
The “human me” always has excuses. The equipment or the software was not working, the Internet was down, or there was interference, and it was not my fault. It was right on the surface that it had nothing to do with me. But how did I get interfered with? Wasn’t it because I had loopholes? I relied heavily on techniques, as they are tangible things that can be controlled. I didn’t believe in anything that I couldn’t see. Was I really treating myself as a cultivator?
Also, when I saw others’ faults or shortcomings, although I tried my best to harmonize, I did so only because I knew I should, as a Dafa disciple. I still complained about it and would think why is she like this and why can’t she be like that. Through Fa study, I enlightened that others’ shortcomings are my shortcomings, otherwise they wouldn’t be shown to me. True compassion and mercy is unconditional, it’s a natural state. I’m clearly not at that standard yet.
Working in the media means I’m very busy on a daily basis. Everything I have to watch and be concerned with is everyday people’s stuff. If I forget about why I do it, I can easily get sucked into it and become an everyday person doing ordinary things. While writing this sharing, I saw so many attachments that were developed because I still haven’t let go of myself. I am so ashamed.
For 13 years, I have felt deeply that Master’s arrangement for me is to see my attachments and cultivate myself while working on the projects.
Thank you, Master!
(Presented at the 2017 European Fa Conference)