Young Dafa Disciples Should Also Accomplish Their Missions
(Minghui.org) Greetings Master and fellow practitioners!
I started doing the Falun Dafa exercises with my parents when I was five-years-old. My parents had immigrated to the US when they were 10 and 11 years old. My three siblings and I were born in the San Francisco Bay Area and the six of us practice Dafa. My dad was the first to become a cultivator, because he thought it was very good, so we followed along.
Because I was young, I had no concept what cultivation was all about. Back then, practitioners’ organized a Minghui school every weekend at someone's home. Some kids were about my age. They all could read Zhuan Falun in Chinese, with some needing no help. My family conversed in English and spoke Cantonese with our grandma, so my Chinese language skills were nonexistent.
When I first looked at the Chinese language book the characters looked like a bunch of black dots. I even opened the book in the wrong direction. When I see the other kids read, I also wanted to learn and read in Chinese.
The Chinese language has deep meaning behind each character. Moreover, this is Master’s Fa, so I hope to be able to read it one day. Back then, I also did not know that there were simplified and traditional versions of the book. As one book’s black dots somehow looked better, I chose to read the traditional version of Zhuan Falun.
One day my dad obtained an English version of Zhuan Falun. Now, I often go back and forth between the Chinese and English versions of Zhuan Falun.
My father helps me understand the surface thought when I have a problem making any sense of what I read. But, I know that the deepness of the Fa could only be enlightened on one’s own. Everyone’s understanding is a little different.
Dance Is a Form of Cultivation
When I was nine years old, our parents wanted us to get to know more about Chinese tradition. They suggested us girls learn Chinese dance. I did not know it would be so painful. The teachers had us do the splits on the first day of class, but I could not do it. Student B had started the class earlier than I did, so she could do the splits. She encouraged me, saying that I did better than she did that first time. I thought that was impossible. Because of the pain, I could not talk, while she talked up a storm with student A while doing the splits.
The following week, I told the aunties that I did not want to take a dance class. To be honest, I was afraid of hardship and did not want to endure the pain. Those aunties told me hardships were a good thing. As cultivators we needed to eliminate karma and accumulate virtue, this is a good opportunity. Students A and B were able to perform well because they worked hard.
I recited Master's poem“Tempering the Will” from Hong Yin many times, but only now do I understand it. If I missed this chance, I would regret it later, so I endured.
We practiced every week for a few hours. First, we stretched and warmed up on the bars. Then, we leaned against the mirrors to do handstands, followed by splits, kicks, tumbling, and so on.
The teachers spoke in Mandarin, and my peers translated for me. After class I would feel sore for several days, and once I had recovered I had class again. I attended dance school for about two years and realized that dance is also a form of cultivation. If I wanted to dance well, I would have to suffer – no loss no gain.
Attending dance class helped me discover many attachments, including jealousy, showing off, zealotry, competitiveness, and so on.
My biggest attachment was fear – fear of pain, fear of getting hurt, and fear of getting tired. I looked at students A and B as my role models and wanted to be like them – smart, able to understand the teacher, and dance well. I thought they could learn quickly because they had less karma. I now realize that I did not try as hard as they did. After getting home, I only thought about relaxing, while they practiced.
I had thought the three of us would walk the same cultivation path. Cultivation is not just tempering the body, but also oneself. I needed to change my way of thinking to improve.
Xinxing Cultivation Most Difficult
My dad wanted us to prepare a few performances for Dafa’s upcoming events. My siblings and other practitioners’ children participated in countless parades. Lots of ordinary people surrounded us with smiling faces. Behind us were the Dafa flags and banners. We also had an opportunity to perform. We gained in two ways during every event.
One year the NTD television Chinese New Year Gala came to perform in San Francisco. For promoting that event, our dad had us perform everywhere. Every weekend we performed on the streets, sidewalks, shopping malls, fairgrounds, libraries, and so on. At the beginning, it was fun and interesting, but over time we were getting tired.
When going to a different place we had to consider the performance environment. Sometimes the ground was rough, dirty, or slippery. For our safety, we often changed some dance moves at the last minute. When it rained halfway through our dance, we kept going. Once we flew to New York in the winter to perform. There was already some snow on the streets, but we danced in thin clothes.
On a Christmas Eve, we performed at San Francisco’s Union Square for eight hours, from noon until eight p.m. That was our longest performance ever. Back then the youngest performer was my two-year-old sister. The audience kept encouraging us, giving us the strength to keep dancing.
I think my xinxing cultivation was most difficult when I see ordinary kids relax on the weekends having fun. Every weekend if I was not doing truth clarification, I took a class. During long vacations, my peers would have fun, while I studied or promoted Shen Yun. I know that I’m doing something extraordinary, but others’ carefree days still appeal to me. Every time I wanted to give up, I thought of the practitioners being persecuted in China. They live in a dangerous environment, while I am safe in the United States. I had no right to complain.
Everyone's Path Is Different
When I was 13, I went to the mountain to be tested for Shen Yun with students A and B. We did not meet the height requirement for females, but the teachers noticed that we were not dance novices, so they let us stay. Every day we practiced dance, rehearsed, did group exercises, read the Fa, and took regular classes.
This was my first time experiencing this wonderful environment where cultivation and dance complemented each other. Before, I trained on and off, so my improvement was slow. Now, we trained daily from morning to night. In addition, Master personally corrected our movements, so everyone improved very fast.
When I see my peers training to the point of extreme pain and did not give up, I would be moved to tears. I also felt Master silently helping me cleanse my body a little bit at a time. In this environment, everyone helped, cared for, and supported each other. Words like “tired, hard work, and giving up” were not to be used. The longer I stayed there the more I felt that this is reality. My memories of school in the ordinary world felt like a dream.
My most memorable experience was when we rehearsed the entire show for the first time. The teachers sat at the front, with Master in the middle. I took part in only two dances. In the first dance, I was a small fairy with a flute, a short role. In the last dance, I became nervous and forgot my dance movements.
I tried to maintain a compassionate expression while looking straight ahead, but Master was also right there, so I started to feel nervous. I felt the spotlight, eyes, sentient beings, including Master, looking at me alone. I was so nervous that I started shaking and did not synchronize with the dancers behind me. However, after seeing Master my thoughts became more righteous. I realized that there are countless gods at various levels who watch over us as we cultivate.
About two months later, a teacher asked student B and me to step outside for a chat. She told us that our parents would come to take us back home. Student A could stay because she was the tallest, but we were still far from the height requirement. I saw that Student B nodded in understanding, while I broke into tears. Two weeks later student B’s mom came to take us home.
On my return home, I could not figure out why I was rejected. Many thoughts went through my mind. I thought that it was not just a height problem, but also my last performance? Or, I did not do well in my cultivation?
I’ve worked so hard in dance for so long, I thought that I finally found my cultivation path. Every night my mind circled around the same questions until I cried again. I did not think that my parents would understand and could not help me, so I never talked to them.
Then, I remember that Master said, “You may think that you are good at everything, but your life does not have it. That person is good at nothing, but his life has it ...” (Zhuan Falun)
Besides, I could not let go of sentimentality. In New York, I missed my family. When it was time to leave, I could not bear to leave the people on the mountain. I had thoughts of them as my new family. I was too greedy, too stubborn. I had also forgotten the purpose of going there. As a Dafa disciple we need to do the three things well. Every time I removed an attachment and enlightened a bit, my level would rise a bit.
Then, I thought that when Shen Yun comes to San Francisco to perform I would have more chances to be tested. However, every year after I grew a little, their requirements would also increase a little. Three years later, I knew I could not catch up. I came to understand that everyone’s path is different.
I chose to study design in college and wanted to graduate early, so I took summer classes. Then, my father told me to be a double major and study psychology as well. He suggested that it would be beneficial to my design thinking process. I wasn’t very willing, but did it anyway. However, I told him that after I graduate, I want to rest for a while and travel before finding a job.
Barely three days after I graduated, my father had arranged an interview with the San Francisco’s Dajiyuan manager. I had studied hard so that I could take a rest, and had graduated within three years. I hadn’t even had my graduation ceremony, what’s the rush? I understand now that his mindset was caused by my attachment to comfort.
Dad suggested that I help out for one month, so I went to work on Monday. It felt like I was suddenly back in China. The newspaper and ads were in Chinese, Fa study was in Chinese, emails were in Chinese, meetings were in Chinese; and even my design software was in Chinese. Google translation software became my best friend.
Every day my commute was about three hours. In the morning, I left for work, did the exercises and studied the Fa, while in the afternoon I designed ads. If I left work at 5:30 p.m. I got home around 7:00 p.m. After dinner, I still had to make layouts for the next day’s newspaper. I got to bed around midnight. It was the same from Monday to Friday and that one-month became a three-month internship.
My supervisor asked me to stay, but I was not really willing. My dad wanted me to find an ordinary job, but I got angry. I felt that he treated me as some kind of tool or experiment. I could no longer stand it, so I agreed to my supervisor’s request and signed a one-year employee contract. This is my second year at Dajiyuan. I still have xinxing tests with my dad, but it’s no longer as serious.
Treasure Karmic Relationships
Once you've reached Consummation and returned it'll be almost impossible for you to see each other again, even if you want to. So, you should treasure this part of your karmic relationship. And what's more, those karmic relationships of yours have been intertwined with each other, and different karmic relationships were formed over every lifetime--it hasn't been easy. So, cooperate well when you do things. Each Dafa disciple's thing is everybody elses. Don't create distance and disharmony between each other over some little, trivial thing. You can't do that, and you should treasure all this. (“Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference III)
Master's Fa told me that there are times at work when everyone has different ways of thinking. For the sake of improving as a whole, everyone has to cooperate well.
Because my dad is a coordinator, he is often busy. When he needed help, my conscience would not let me refuse him. When the new Lunyu was published, I took care of replacing it in Zhuan Falun books for our family. Then, after our small Fa study group, my dad gave me a big pile of Zhuan Falun books, and asked me to update them. I boiled with anger again. Normally, I am busy with work, now I have to update everyone’s books. He didn’t even ask me first before promising others. Each person also had more than one book to correct.
This is also cultivation. When I needed more time to correct the books, my work needed to be done quicker. My hands and thought process became faster. I also understood that I needed to be calm when correcting these precious books. I would make mistakes if I had bad thoughts.
Preparation for San Francisco's Fahui
More and more people are coming to our Experience Sharing Conferences, which requires us to start preparations earlier. For the 2016 San Francisco Fa Conference, my dad had to get ready for the parade and music a month ahead of time. We only had time at night to prepare. Around midnight, our dad tested his speakers at high volumes, making sleep impossible. That time he also had to go on a business trip to Japan and he was not certain if he would be back on time. He also did not have time to teach others, so every night he taught my brother and me. Thanks to Master’s arrangement, our dad came back a few days early and we didn’t feel as pressured.
On the day of the parade, we had to arrive early to set up the music and torture exhibit truck. After the parade we searched everywhere for the small and big speakers we loaned out. After we found them, we had to charge them for that night’s candlelight vigil. We also had to arrive early to set up everything for the Fahui.
I felt very tired and sleepy, but if I listened to Master’s lecture I would definitely feel awake. In the end, Master did not show up and I felt disappointed. Some people say it’s interference, but for me, it was a test.
When on the Mountain, I saw Master everyday. I thought that if I never saw him again, I would not be moved. I realized I was seeking external help. Actually, if I did not do well, I would feel too ashamed to see Master.
After the Fahui ended, everyone could do as they please. Our family had to stay behind and clean up. I decided to go to the parade the next day. Even though I was tired I was happy because there were a lot of ordinary people watching.
Security Work for Dafa Projects
This was my first year doing security for Shen Yun. At the same time, a staff member from the New York NTD television asked me and an elderly man to go to Phoenix, Arizona and perform at the Chinese New Year celebration. She said last year the manager really liked my rainbow ribbon dance, so this year she invited me to perform again. I had not danced in a long time, but sat in front of my computer everyday, so I did not think I could perform well. However, if the XianYun’s students go, plane tickets would be very expensive. She emphasized that I am really needed, so I agreed to the request.
On a Thursday night, the person in charge of security told me that they needed more people. I knew my brother would go, so I told him to take my suit with him to the theater. I left for work early in a hurry and accidentally twisted my ankle.
My first thought was, “Since when did I become so weak? I fell countless times when I danced, but I’ve never twisted my ankle.” I just did not believe that I could not walk normally, but decided that I would not let it affect me doing security. Even though it hurt, I still stood by the big doors where the audience members enter and leave. When I got home, the more I walked the more it hurt, so I hopped.
I had promised to perform in Phoenix in two weeks, but now that I am hurt, I had an excuse to not go. But, I realized that this thought was not right. We needed to promote traditional Chinese culture and Shen Yun. The elderly man who didn’t know English would have a difficult time going alone. I needed righteous thoughts.
Actually, the advantage of doing a solo dance is being able to freely change the moves anytime. No one would notice a mistake. On the day of the performance, the elderly man and I went to the airport early in the morning.
When Shen Yun arrived in Phoenix in March, a person from our group email asked if there were any tickets left. Someone replied, that it was sold out a month ago. I came to realize that everyone is important. It’s not about how many people, what’s important is that everyone holds righteous thoughts and cooperates well.
These eighteen years of cultivation seem long, but there were times when it felt fast. There are many young practitioners like me who obtained the Fa at a very young age and are young veteran practitioners.
I hope that more people from the younger generation can come out during this crucial time to complete their mission. It might be difficult, but when I encounter a difficult situation, I recite Masters poem from Hong Yin.
To consummate yourself, reaping Buddhahood,Let joy be found in hardship.Physical pains count little as suffering,Indeed, cultivating mind is hardest.Each and every barrier must be broken through,And everywhere does evil lurk.Abundant troubles rain down together,All to see: Can you pull through?The world’s miseries endured,One departs the earth a Buddha. (“Tempering the Will” from Hong Yin}
(Presented at the 2017 New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)