Coordinators Are Not Role Models
(Minghui.org) Treating local coordinators as role models is a mentality rooted in communist party culture. This mentality leads us to think that a coordinator should do everything well and serve as an example for other practitioners to follow and that he or she won't be qualified as a coordinator if he or she doesn't do well personally.
As a coordinator, I used to have this mentality, too. I required myself to do well in personal cultivation as well as with everything else—and stay ahead of fellow practitioners. While there is nothing wrong for a coordinator to want to do better than others, it isn't right to have the attachment of being a role model.
In July 1999, when the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners was launched, I was the first practitioner arrested in my area. I thought the communist party must have seen me as the “head of local practitioners.” An incident later made me realize another reason that might have attributed to my being persecuted.
When I was released on medical parole from the detention center at the end of 2004, I found some serious conflicts between our local coordinator and the practitioners running truth clarification material production sites. The coordinator thought the practitioners running the sites didn't do a good job, which created shortages of materials. However, the practitioners producing these materials complained that the coordinator's assignments weren't realistic and that they had been kept so busy that they had no time for Fa study or exercises.
After communicating with them, I discovered there were very few production sites in our area. Some practitioners were too afraid to print materials at home. They felt that owning a computer and printer could lead to an arrest if the local authorities found out that they had the ability to print materials at home. Another reason was the technical obstacles of using computers and printers. In addition, knowing that the coordinator did not even produce materials at home, some practitioners weren't willing to do set one up even though they would have been able to.
Because that had gone on for a year, I thought I should set up a material production site in my home. I bought a laptop computer and a printer and asked a fellow practitioner to teach me how to use them. He was very worried when he heard what I'd planned to do.
He said, “Do you want to be a hero? Don't you know your own situation? Production sites are usually set up in rental apartments. Why do you want to set one up in your home? Even if you feel you have very strong righteous thoughts, have you considered the safety of your practitioner wife?”
I argued, “I know I have recently been released on medical parole and the police and other authorities often come to harass me at home. But if nobody wants to do this, how can we set up more production sites?”
We could not convince each other. I thought this practitioner had a strong attachment to fear. However, as I continued to study the Fa with my wife and look within, I began to see my problem. It was true that we needed more production sites and that I had a responsibility to set one up, but why had my fellow practitioner said I wanted to be a hero? I reflected deeply and eventually realized that I indeed had an intention to become a role model!
Master has told us,
“The Dafa disciples' way of cultivation, then, has no predecessor and no model. I have always said that in cultivation Dafa disciples have no role models. And it's not just that in your personal cultivation you have to walk your own path--even the form of cultivation I have imparted to you has no example to follow.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. International Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference VII)
It dawned on me that, whatever Dafa practitioners do, we are fulfilling our own missions at our cultivation level; the purpose isn't to show others what we have done.
This practitioner came to see me again three days later. I shared my thoughts with him and told him that we all shared the responsibility for setting up more material production sites, so there was nothing wrong with setting one up in my home. He didn't argue with me again and carefully taught me what I needed to do to use a laptop and printer.
When New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) started using the satellite to broadcast programs into mainland China, many practitioners began to install satellite receivers. A local coordinator came to me and said that she wanted to quit her coordination duties. I asked why.
She explained, “You see, many practitioners in other areas have installed satellite receivers, but very few have done so in my area. One practitioner even told me that I had hindered progress in our area because I, as a coordinator, haven't installed one at my home. I do want one, but my husband is a non-practitioner, and he strongly resists the idea. I do not want to be an obstacle for others to watch NTDTV programs.”
I told her, “You know there are no role models in cultivation, so a coordinator doesn't have to be a role model…” Before I could finish, she said, “I know what you mean, but I have never thought about being a role model. How could I, an old woman, possibly be someone’s role model?”
I shared with her the tribulations I had suffered in the past when I held the mentality of being a role model and how I used Dafa principles to eliminate this attachment. I said, “Since you know what Master has said about this, and you truly did not mean to be a role model, think about what other practitioners have said. Didn’t they treat you as a role model? When we feel hurt by their words, doesn't it mean we still unconsciously hold the mentality of being a role model? You are worried you couldn't be a good role model for other practitioners, which would hinder the installation of satellite receivers. All your words point toward 'not being a good role model.'” She smiled in agreement but didn't know what to do.
I said, “It is not about who should take the lead. A coordinator has done his or her job if he or she has done things such as calling a meeting, holding a discussion about it, and guiding practitioners to realize the importance and benefit of watching NTDTV. When all practitioners understand that their families and others would benefit from NTDTV, everybody will realize it's their own responsibility and will voluntarily install a satellite receiver. What's left for coordinators is to just do our best to facilitate the installation.”
After our conversation, she called several experience sharing meetings, and, since then, more and more practitioners have installed satellite receivers.
There are still many coordinators who believe they must be a role model, especially coordinators who are too busy to study the Fa or do the exercises. They are probably driven by the intention of serving as role models, worried that they could hinder fellow practitioners' progress if they don't do well with everything.
Given the persecution in China, we are involved in many truth clarification projects, such as establishing more production sites, rescuing imprisoned practitioners, clarifying facts through phone calls and in person, installing satellite receivers, and so on. It's impossible to be a role model in every project. Many coordinators have endured tribulations due to their lack of Fa study and genuine cultivation. In addition, this role model mentality has distracted many other practitioners from validating the Fa independently, which brought them tribulations as well.
The role model mentality also leads coordinators to look for role models among practitioners. I used to praise any practitioner who did well in any aspect of cultivation or truth-clarification and even added details to make the person sound more perfect. My intent was to motivate others to progress in cultivation. Then something happened that made me reflect deeply on my behavior.
A certain practitioner proactively worked on rescuing imprisoned fellow practitioners. She always showed great compassion while working with lawyers, fellow practitioners, and their family members, and I praised her on many different occasions.
She told me several times that she wasn't trying to bolster her reputation among fellow practitioners, but I didn't take what she said seriously. I thought she was simply being modest.
Then another practitioner complained to me about her. I couldn't stand it and asked this other practitioner, “Are you jealous?” After that practitioner left, I looked within and realized that was because I actually had an attachment to reputation and establishing a role model. Even if the other practitioner was a little jealous, it was due to the fact that I handled things poorly.
I was more disturbed later when the first practitioner was arrested and persecuted. I have paid special attention to eliminating my mentality of having role models since then. I think twice about my words and consider the basis of my intentions. If it's something I shouldn't say, I won't let the words out of my mouth.
Some coordinators enjoy organizing experience sharing meetings and tend to exaggerate certain practitioners' merits at these meetings. No matter how they emphasize that the purpose of these meetings is to improve as a whole through sharing experiences, there is always a hidden mentality of establishing some role models. This mentality should be rectified through our cultivation in Dafa.
All coordinators and all practitioners need to look within in the face of tribulations, identify our loopholes, and work together to form strong righteous thoughts to disintegrate the evil and resist the persecution. Both admiring role models and over-reliance could become excuses for the old forces to inflict persecution.