Gratitude to Master
(Minghui.org Greetings Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
It is the 25th anniversary this year of Falun Dafa being brought out to the public. I obtained the Fa in 1995. Under the meticulous care of Master, I’ve walked to this day with bumps all along the path of my cultivation. Looking back, I now have a better understanding of Master’s statement that everything in our cultivation is arranged in an orderly fashion. I can feel Master’s benevolent salvation at all times. No words can express my gratitude to Master.
In 1995, my parents-in-law traveled from Beijing to Australia to teach me the Falun Dafa exercises and I thus obtained the Fa. I had smoked for more than 20 years and would have 35 cigarettes per day. When my father-in-law noticed that I wanted to learn the exercises he gave me a tape and asked me to listen to what Master said about smoking. It was a miracle. After listening to that tape I naturally quit, with no suffering. At dinner, I started to drink a famous brand of liquor that I had kept for years. My father-in- law told me if I wanted to learn Falun Dafa I must give up drinking as well. So I just quit smoking and alcohol within hours.
At that time I felt happy all the time. I did the five sets of exercises in the morning before going to work and read the Fa in the evening, and never skipped a single day. After getting into contact with practitioners in my city, I spent almost all my spare time spreading the Fa and organizing Fa study groups. I enjoyed a full and meaningful life. I understood for the first time why I came to this world and the meaning of life. I was grateful to Master who turned me, an everyday person, into a cultivator and sent me on the path toward Godhood.
The Test of Sickness Karma
I suffered from serious bronchitis owing to heavy smoking. Every time when it recurred I coughed violently and had to use strong medication to suppress it. After I started practicing Falun Dafa, the same symptoms occurred several times. I knew Master was purifying my body. No matter how serious the symptoms were I took it lightly. After a few bouts of cleansing, the symptoms disappeared forever. Hay fever, which made me suffer greatly, also disappeared. Thereafter, I suffered from the symptoms of some other illnesses. I easily passed all these tests.
But when I was in the state of lightness, free from sickness, tribulations suddenly appeared without warning. I was fine going to work in the morning, but in the afternoon I could not walk. My colleagues put me in a wheelchair. At the time I had no righteous thoughts at all, but thought “how come? I always tell people that practicing Falun Dafa keeps one free from illness. Now I couldn’t even walk. How will other people judge me?” I was very keen to get rid of the symptoms.
I had hurt my back before. Every time I had a backache, I just went to see my chiropractor who would fix it in a few seconds. Since I was too eager to get rid of the symptom, I forgot I was a practitioner. I wanted to use the same method. The chiropractor told me that my lumbar vertebra was damaged and some kind of liquid came out, and I must go through surgery. He suggested a CT scan. My initial thought was not right so every step that came afterward was all wrong.
I went to see my family doctor. The amiable doctor looked at me with a strange expression as if to say: “Why are you here? You don’t have any illness!” At the time I failed to enlighten to my situation and still took the symptoms as sickness. The CT scan showed prolapse of a lumbar intervertebral disc at the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebra. My doctor told me that surgery was the only way and that it had a success rate of 50 per cent. He contacted a specialist and made an appointment for me. After a painful struggle, I came to my right mind.
“As a practitioner, if you always treat yourself like an everyday person and always think that you have illnesses, how can you practice cultivation? When a tribulation comes in cultivation practice, if you still treat yourself as an everyday person, I would say that your xinxing at that moment has dropped to the level of everyday people. At least on this particular issue, you have dropped to the level of everyday people.” (Zhuan Falun)
I enlightened that I am a practitioner. How can I be manipulated by everyday people? I must first negate my wrong thinking. So I canceled the appointment. The assistant could not believe her ears and asked several times if I really wanted to cancel the appointment. I said firmly, “yes.” Then shred all the CT scan films and threw them into the garbage bin.
Since I could not stand up, all I could do was to meditate. I thought to myself that I must not be controlled by the old forces. Their purpose is to confine me at home and prevent me from saving sentient beings. So I tried to stand up to do the exercises. But every time I was trembling in pain and wanted to sit down right away. Still, I managed to finish the first exercise. After a short rest I stood up to do it again. I also did the third and fourth exercises, but dared not try the second exercise as I didn’t think I could stand that long.
When sending forth righteous thoughts in front of the Chinese consulate, I only did the meditation. One day when the music for the second exercise came on, I stood up and finished the standing stance. It was the first time in a month that I could do the second exercise. Tears ran down my cheeks. I was so grateful to Master who helped me stand up again.
I was thinking that I must negate the old forces’ arrangement and walk on the path arranged by Master. I decided to go back to work. I asked my wife to drop me off at the entrance of our office building. Then I walked to the lift step by step and moved to my desk. Even such a short distance was extremely hard, Many times I wanted to sit down, but I kept going.
One week later I took the train to work. It usually took me 6 or 7 minutes to walk from the train station to my office. I was unable to stand straight, but tilted to the right. The 6 to 7 minutes walk became extremely long. I repeated silently what Master said: “When it’s difficult to endure, you can endure it. When it’s impossible to do, you can do it.” (Zhuan Falun)
When I could not go any longer, I said to myself: “If you are merely a human being, just sit down.” With that firm belief my back became more and more straight. Eventually I could walk normally.
The Test After the Persecution Started
After the persecution started, more tests came along. I was a reporter in China and interviewed a lot of people, including presidents. From what I heard and witnessed, I came to know how the Communist regime persecuted people. And I had developed a sense of self-protection.
During the early days of the persecution, I dared to say anything in front of strangers, but with friends or acquaintances, I held back due to human thoughts and fear. One day, several of my media friends came on a business trip and asked me out to dinner. A Chinese consulate official was with them, too. That was a good opportunity to clarify the truth. But I failed to do so. I feared it might cause trouble to my friends, to my family members in China or to myself. Afterward, I deeply regretted and felt ashamed of myself. I had failed the test.
Master said, “Fear can cause one to make mistakes, and fear can cause one to lose a predestined opportunity.” (“Pass the Deadly Test” from The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol III)
Because of that regret and shame, I eliminated my fear mentality. When going to the consulate again I felt at ease under the surveillance cameras. I could make public speeches at rallies and even go inside the consulate to clarify the facts to the officials. I also attended a hunger strike with practitioners to protest the persecution.
Cultivating Myself while Being a Coordinator
Since the early days of cultivation, I had been doing some coordination work, but only in a supportive role. This suited me well. My cultivation was very smooth for many years without ups and downs or big tests. Several years ago, I was made the main coordinator in our area. Ripples appeared in my cultivation environment, one after another.
Since the announcement was a bit sudden, I felt uneasy. I am an introverted, quiet person. I don’t like making decisions, nor taking responsibilities. Being the main coordinator, I must make speeches at various public events. I must make decisions and take responsibility for a lot of issues. All these were my weakness.
I understood the reason for the position change. Master gave me this opportunity to turn my weakness into strength and to let go of some of my attachments. It was also an opportunity for me to cultivate myself well while at the same time help local practitioners to save sentient beings and establish the mighty virtue needed in the future. Master wanted me to elevate. The first challenge was that a veteran practitioner did not seem to cooperate with me.
“In order for you to improve, your heart has to be provoked when problems arise; otherwise it won‘t do. Working for Dafa is also a good opportunity for you to improve your xinxing!”(“A Person in Charge is Also a Cultivator” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I knew I should look within. But I could only get rid of some superficial things. With no fundamental change in my heart, conflicts inevitably recurred. At a time like that, there were always practitioners standing up for me. But their words only enhanced my aggrieved feelings. The more I thought about it the more I felt I was right. I totally forgot it was meant for my cultivation. And I forgot what Master said about looking within being a magical tool.
Then I searched further to see what I should let go of. It seemed that I only looked at things from my perspective. I failed to see things from the other party’s perspective.
In addition, things like that were to increase my tolerance. A practitioner said to me: “A coordinator should be like the sea, receiving water from thousands of rivers”. I thought to myself: “that’s right. How can I lose patience over such trivial things?” I reflected upon it in many occasions. After I enlightened to the Fa, I let go of my attachments and had a peaceful mind. I felt I really improved from my heart. I also found that being the main coordinator doesn’t necessarily mean others must cooperate with me; actually I also can cooperate with others. So I would go seeking others for help, instead of waiting for others to cooperate. When we are working together, the energy field becomes harmonious.
During this process of looking within, I thought of Master’s tremendous compassion toward us and all sentient beings. Every time I thought of that I would be in tears. I felt ashamed that after so many years, I still could not treat every practitioner, particularly those who had different opinions, with compassion.
Being the first coordinator I clearly felt more responsibility and pressure. I also heard some comments about me from time to time. Some were out of context, some put me in the wrong, some were sheer fabrications and others confused black and white. For some time, I felt miserable, tired and hopeless.
I did some serious thinking and gradually saw the reasons behind it. Master put me in this position to get rid of my attachments and to establish mighty virtue. All these “accusations” were created to provide me with an environment to elevate.
Now when I looked back to see the so-called “unfairness” , I found that these “bad comments” were not all out of nothing. As long as I looked within further, I could see that it was all incurred by my shortcomings.
As a coordinator, I also enlightened that cultivation is to cultivate myself. Under no circumstances should I try to change others. It is impossible to change others. The only change I can make is to change myself. Now, whatever I heard anything, I would look within. I needed to watch every thought of mine and eliminate a bad thought whenever it emerged, providing it with no energy. I found that whenever my thoughts changed, the elements interfering with my cultivation lost their ground for existence and disappeared.
Being the main coordinator I am also responsible for an important project in saving sentient beings – the promotion of Shen Yun. I have been coordinating Shen Yun promotion for a few years, sometimes the result was good and other times not that good. Every year we would have the same issue, the distrust among the practitioners and looking outward. Some would say, we should do an advertisement this way or that way; or who and who is not doing anything; or how can this coordinator do that? Why don't we do this or that? In addition, there were cultural differences between Eastern and Western practitioners. Each denied the other party’s efforts from their own perspective. The mistrust among practitioners brought down the effectiveness of the promotion.
At the beginning of the 2017 Shen Yun promotion, I made it clear that we must adjust our mentality to what Master requested: “act as one, have righteous thoughts and have no complaint”. I asked the practitioners to only look within and trust others’ efforts, supporting the various promotion campaigns and media campaign. Another Dafa Association member also suggested to promote Shen Yun with a positive mindset and gratitude.
When practitioners support various promotion campaigns with righteous thoughts and looked within in conflicts to see how they can improve instead of finger-pointing at others, especially those who didn’t step forward, the overall situation became better. Those who didn’t come out felt uneasy and began to participate in various projects.
During this Shen Yun promotion the sharing at the big group Fa study also improved greatly. Practitioners had the same opinion that it is the best in recent years as far as the number of attendees and content of sharing were concerned. The cooperation between the Chinese and the Western practitioners also improved compared with previous years.
Compared with last year, we did better in ticket selling and targeting the mainstream audience. Still, we needed to catch up with the fast pace of Shen Yun. In the United States, Shen Yun in almost every city has a full house. Some cities put on more shows. We really needed to double our efforts and not lag behind.
Being a coordinator for some time now, I felt Master’s grand mercy and painstaking sacrifice. Master has entrusted so many Dafa practitioners to me and asked me to be in charge of such a big project like Shen Yun. All this is to temper me and help me to establish mighty virtue. In addition, I needed to learn a lot of things in management and marketing as well.
Looking back on my path, I have come to see that everything that happened to me was arranged in an orderly fashion to prepare me for the task I must complete at this time. I was able to go to college and study English, studied in Canada in 1976 and came to Australia in 1988, having in-laws who would introduce me to Dafa. All this was to pave the way for me to obtain the Fa, spread the Fa and cultivate overseas, as well as to save the sentient beings in this area.
Master has scooped me out of the jaws of hell, cleansed me and guided me onto the path of cultivation, helping me to establish the mighty virtue I needed for returning home. I am grateful to Master. However, only being grateful is not what Master wants. What Master wants is that I must cultivate myself well, along with the practitioners of our area, and save more sentient beings.
“All of the things that Dafa disciples do today is Dafa disciples' validating the Fa, and is your walking a divine path. You can't slack off in the final stages; keep doing well with what you should do.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference”)
Master also said: “But the path will be very narrow—narrow to the extent that only if you are extremely righteous will things work out and will you manage to save people. Only if you can go about things in an extremely righteous manner will there be no problems.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple?” - 2011)
I must walk the last stage of the journey well, live up to Master’s expectations and return home with Master to reach consummation!
Thank you Master! Thank you fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2017 New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)