Breaking Away from Attachments While Promoting Shen Yun
(Minghui.org) I was a sales manager and constantly being evaluated. I was under pressure to meet a yearly performance quota for which I was either awarded or penalized. In such a high-level achievement driven workplace, everything that you hear, say and see are about pursuing fame, wealth, position and power.
When I first started cultivating, I realized that what ordinary people pursue is exactly what we practitioners should let go of. My work required that I be ambitious and strive for achievement. But the teachings of Falun Dafa taught me to let go of strong persuit. I struggled between the requirements of my work and cultivation. I could not seem to reach a balance between the two, and I was torn.
Why was I in such distress? Master said, “Cultivation itself is not painful—the key lies in your inability to let go of ordinary human attachments. Only when you are about to let go of your reputation, interests, and feelings will you feel pain.” (“True Cultivation” from Essentials For Further Advancement) After I read this I realized that what caused my pain was my attachment to reputation and my ego.
“Our cultivation way teaches you to obtain gong through conflicts. Therefore, we should accord with everyday people as much as possible. Materially, you will not really be made to lose anything. But in this material environment you need to improve your xinxing.” (Zhuan Falun)
Master’s words cleared my confusion and reminded me that I'm here to cultivate and improve. We cultivate in this material world to elevate our moral character, not to lose anything. Isn’t this exactly the form of cultivation Master has given us? Why would this cause me pain? As long as I remember that I am a cultivator, and follow the principles of the Fa I can balance both my work and cultivation.
At work, the pressure of constantly being appraised was almost overwhelming. As a manager I was given many responsibilities, such as training personnel, and customer service. On top of my heavy workload, I had to make time to help promote Shen Yun. I was so busy that I forgot to handle things as a cultivator. While I worked on this Dafa project I was filled with human thoughts. I became entangled in conflicts and was easily frustrated. I could barely calm down. My cultivation stagnated.
When I looked inward, I realized that my poor state of cultivation stopped me from doing the three things well. How could I save people? As a Dafa disciple, how could I treat my job like an ordinary person, chasing after fame and desire?
Giving Up Position to Save People
I knew that help was needed to promote Shen Yun and I thought of quitting my position as manager and becoming a salesperson. I would have more flexibility and time to help with Shen Yun. However, I could not let go of my desire for money and position.
“Clarifying the facts and saving sentient beings are what you need to accomplish. There is nothing else for you to accomplish. There is nothing else in this world that you need to accomplish.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2015 New York Fa Conference”)
I understood that returning to my true self and saving sentient beings is why I am here. I made up my mind to give up my manager position. When I finally decided to let it go, I experienced a huge feeling of relief.
I was able to spend more time promoting Shen Yun. When I first started doing presentations the ticket sales did not increase as I expected. I wondered why. When I looked inward, I found that I did not have enough confidence when I spoke, instead I relied on my professional appearance and my job title.
Master said, “As for whether the result is good, don't look at the other party, it comes from your minds.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival)
Rather than relying on my inner strength through cultivating myself well, I was focused on appearance. Was I validating the Fa or myself? I realized that in order to save people, we must truly cultivate ourselves. Therefore, I diligently studied the Fa, sent righteous thoughts, and worked on improving my xinxing. Afterwards, the ticket sales have continued to increase.
I have been a Shen Yun presenter for the past six years. I have cherished this grand opportunity. As the number of presenters and participants in the promotion decreased, I've had to play multiple roles: a driver, a presenter, a salesperson, and do public relations. I often leave home before dawn and return home after dusk. Gradually, I felt exhausted, and I started to complain. I blamed fellow practitioners for not helping. I was looking outward.
During a promotion at a junior high school, I directed my presentation towards the teachers and principal, not the students. As a result, most of the students either slept or talked. Unfortunately, the teachers were too busy keeping order to pay attention to my presentation.
I did not realize it was my own problem. The promotion coordinator told me, “As a cultivator, we must think of others. Your presentation should have included everyone – both students and teachers.” I argued and said, “How can the presentation for something as sacred as Shen Yun be causally changed?”
When I thought about the decline in ticket sales, I thought, “It was not like this before.”
“How sales go in a given locale is, in reality, a true, tangible sign of how well practitioners have cultivated and cooperated there.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference IX)
Although outwardly I was courteous to fellow practitioners, in fact, I complained, was frustrated, and looked down on them. When I was praised by other practitioners, my attachments to showing-off, complacency and validating myself grew.
Other practitioners worked hard to set up each public presentation, but I did not treat the presentations seriously. I did not revise the contents for each audience or memorize them. Instead of acting like a practitioner, I made excuses.
“What's key is how he deals with it and whether he can recognize his shortcomings when others point that part out or when his attachments come out in conflicts--that's what is critical. Once you recognize something you need to overcome it, and only that is cultivation.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York)
When I looked inward, I found many hidden and selfish attachments. I blamed myself for not being able to save sentient beings. I know I did not treat my fellow practitioners with tolerance, acceptance, kindness and righteous thoughts. Every fellow practitioner has positive aspects and capabilities.
“You're each a particle. And in my eyes nobody is better than anyone else, since I scooped all of you up at the same time. (Applause) Some are more capable when it comes to one thing, others with another--you definitely shouldn't let your thoughts run wild based on that. You say that you have such great abilities and so on and so forth, but that was all bestowed upon you by the Fa! Actually, it wouldn't work if you failed to attain that level of abilities.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival)
Yes, Master gave me abilities so that I could validate the Fa. What’s there for me to show off? Instead of validating the Fa, I was validating myself.
Perhaps Master saw my sincere wish to improve, and gave me another chance to give a presentation at another public school. This time, I corrected my attitude and followed the coordinator’s suggestion. I prepared the presentation for both teachers and students and I also memorized it. My presentation was well received and the students and teachers listened attentively.
I felt encouraged. I reminded myself to treat every opportunity to save sentient beings seriously. I also realized that only when we let go of our egos, think of others, and cooperate without attachments, can we save people.
Last August I hosted a tea party to promote the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra. Since I had no experience hosting a party, I felt pressured. My mind went blank. My inexperience with this type of event frustrated me. I felt bad that I failed Master, fellow practitioners and sentient beings. I had many negative thoughts, “Maybe I'm not a good tea party host? Perhaps I shouldn't host one again.”
However, the other practitioners were pleased with my efforts, and I was asked to hold another tea party in September. I was deeply troubled by my negative thoughts and my attachments to self. I knew I was struggling.
Master said in Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival,
“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.”
“I don't like it when you blame yourselves, it's completely pointless. I'll just repeat what I said: If you've fallen don't just lie there, get up right away!”
Master's words hit me like a thunderbolt! I knew that when I fall, I must get up and keep going. I should not be depressed. I will not disappoint Master, or let down the beings I'm responsible for saving!
I told myself that this time I will be fully prepared. I practiced over and over again, and memorized the presentation to introduce the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra. I increased my Fa study and sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate any bad thoughts.
During the tea party, I was nervous and I asked Master to empower me. The party went well, the audience was very receptive, and the atmosphere was nice and calm. I was very much touched by those people who were anxious to be saved. Later when I met a lady who attended the party, she said, “You did a very good job the other day. It felt very good.” I knew Master was encouraging me.
Nothing is lost when a practitioner follows the Fa. At work I'm able to promote Shen Yun and to also work on Dafa projects. I have truly experienced the meaning of “Gaining Without Pursuit” (Lecture in Sydney) and the blessing of being a Dafa disciple.
In the process of promoting Shen Yun, I have stumbled and experienced pressure, and frustration. I've even thought about giving up. Regardless of my many human notions, I have persisted on walking my path of cultivation arranged by Master.
My understanding is very limited. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.
Thank you, Master.Thank you, fellow practitioners.
(Presented at the 2017 Taiwan Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)