I immigrated to Canada in 2002 and settled in Toronto. At the beginning, I had my everyday job and helped deliver the Epoch Times newspaper in my spare time. Later on, the Epoch Times boomed. It changed from the weekly newspaper to daily, and also started an English version. Of course, more funds were needed as it grew. In 2006, the director of the Epoch Times called for help during the group study and asked those with money if they could contribute and those with strength if they could work. I had no money, but I was strong.
The best way was to become a sales agent and bring in money to the Epoch Times directly. At the same time, the company that I worked for was downsizing, so I asked to resign and planned to work at the Epoch Times as a sales agent. I then contacted the sales manager, who asked, “Do you know Cantonese?” I said, “No.” “How’s your English?” I said, “Not good.” I did not hear back.
I did not know that they didn’t want me because of my lack of skills. Back then, the Epoch Times did not have a regular system like it does now. I went to the sales meeting on Monday. Nobody guided me, so I found a spot and sat down. I never thought I would stay there for over a decade. Now, I am known as a top sales agent. People who know me always say, “If he can be a salesman, anybody can.” Indeed, I am unattractive, I don’t speak Cantonese, and my English is not good either. I am a man of few words and speak slowly.
Frankly, I did not plan to work at the Epoch Times for this long. I thought I was going to help only for a short time and find a regular job later. But I got stuck here. It was like jumping into the water, then realizing that you don’t know how to swim, but you can’t get to shore either.
As I look back, my first client is still vivid in my mind. I had worked at the Epoch Times for several days and was familiar with briefly introducing the newspaper. I had printed my business cards. The first place I visited was a shopping mall near my office that had quite a few stores. As I thought about talking to strangers about the Epoch Times, my heart sped up. I gathered up my courage and went into a fashion store.
I walked around but was afraid to open my mouth. I saw a friend of mine there, so I tried to talk to him for a while. After he left, I knew I couldn’t run away. I went back to the store and, in my broken English, introduced the Epoch Times to a clerk. She didn’t understand what I was trying to say, so I told her to advertise in our newspaper. She eventually understood, but she said, “I’m not the person in charge of this. You need to contact our head office.” I thanked her and breathed a sigh of relief.
I felt I was as nervous as in the beginning, so I continued visiting several stores. But they all told me to contact their head offices. I wasn’t ready to speak to any head offices, so I decided to visit some Chinese stores.
Unexpectedly, people responded negatively. Finally I visited a store that I knew. Guess what she said to me? “There are so many things you could be doing. Why are you doing this?” It seemed like I was doing something shameful. I got cold feet and went back to the office.
But I didn’t give up. Maybe it was Master who was encouraging me, because without any experience, and without anyone’s help, I got three contracts signed. They were for $5000 in total.
I knew that it wasn’t easy to be a salesman, and I never thought I would work at the Epoch Times permanently. I thought of finding an ordinary job for the survival of my family. When I decided to leave, the director surprisingly asked me to stay. Although I only brought in several thousand a month for the paper, it was better than nothing. Without those several thousand, the company would have had to raise that amount. A practitioner told me, “When the Epoch Times is in difficulty is when we really need you.”
At that time, I was also in a difficult situation. My children were little, and my wife was working hard. The good thing is my wife is also a practitioner, and she is very supportive. We tried to minimize our living expenses, so we could still survive on my low salary.
After much consideration, I decided to stay at the Epoch Times.
A career in sales is a rough road. I wavered many times. Along the way, many attachments emerged: When sales were good, zealotry reared its head; when sales were bad, I felt dejected; when other people did well, I was jealous; when other practitioner salespeople negotiated with my clients, the attachment to competitive mentality and gain emerged; when I ran into conflict with colleagues, resentment came out; when a client gave me the cold shoulder, I was disheartened.
Once, I went to collect from a client who owed us. The client threw my bag out the door and swore at me. I was dismayed and upset and wanted to fight him. When I thought about being a Dafa disciple, I knew it would defame Dafa if I did. I held to my bottom line and swallowed my anger.
Sometimes, I felt like I was up against the wall, and there was nothing I could do. I tried to contact all potential clients, but with no results, and the sales kept dropping. Nevertheless, everything changed in the end, and there was always a way out, which encouraged me to keep on going.
Ever since Master taught us the Fa at the Epoch Times meeting in 2009, our business has grown by leaps and bounds.
My personal sales reached new heights. Meanwhile, more new salespeople joined the team. One of them may have a predestined connection with me and asked to work with me. Of course, I did not want that. You can imagine: I had been working for years and had experience. Yet a beginner wanted to work with me. But he had his own way. Whenever he got new clients, he would ask me to go with him. He had some ideas and wanted to cooperate with me. We learned from each other and eventually became inseparable partners. We chose to work on car dealerships. If you’ve ever worked with them, you know they are very tough to deal with. I had tried before but gave up because it was really hard.
When we started, most of the dealers advertised in our competitors’ newspapers. They had ads from more than 50 companies, but we had only one. They despised us. But now, we run ads for more than 40 car companies. One of our other competitors has only a dozen and another only one or two. At the beginning, they charged twice as much as we did. Now, in order to compete with us, they’ve lowered their prices to half of ours, and sometimes they even run free ads. However, our prices are rising.
When I look back, it is actually a process of getting rid of our selfishness and cooperating with others.
I used to meet clients on my own, but now “he” was with me. Even though he barely said a thing, he was listening. After the meeting, he would always criticize me: “Why didn't you say this? Why didn’t you say that? Why did you leave this out?”
Although I did not talk back, I kept thinking, “I am an experienced salesman—how can you talk to me like that? What you said might not be right. If you were in charge, you might not have done better than I.” Then I found excuses and said, “It was because of this and that. If anything you heard me say was not proper, you could have added something.” But in my mind, I was thinking that his advice was always too little too late.
So when we met with clients, I would be more nervous and felt like he was hovering over me. Sometimes I did even worse. If he nagged me again, I was filled with anger and sometimes I could not hold my temper and quarreled with him. Then I regretted it later, because I knew I didn’t handle it well. This situation lasted for a while. One day, I suddenly realized that he’d stopped complaining. He also discovered that the way he talked was not right. During this process, my ability to take criticism increased.
As we cooperated well with each other, more and more ad contracts were signed. We received a lot of praise. At the same time, I started feeling good about myself and thought I was pretty amazing. Then, seven ad contracts were withdrawn within two weeks. They gave a wide variety of reasons, and we were frustrated. Later on, we calmed down and reflected on ourselves. We found the problem. It was demonic interference from our own minds. It says in Zhuan Falun:
“Even in this class, there are people who think quite highly of themselves right now and speak with a different attitude. It is taboo even in Buddhism for one to find out what one is all about.”
About a year ago, a fellow practitioner shared his experiences reciting the Fa on Minghui. I was so touched that I decided to recite the Fa. I started with Essentials for Further Advancement. As I memorized, I kept enlightening to different levels of the Fa and my realm was uplifted.
Once I memorized “A Brief Explanation of Shan:”
“...question: “If everyone learned Dafa and practiced Shan, how would we handle foreign invasions or wars against us?” In fact, I have already said in Zhuan Falun that human society’s development is driven by the evolution of the cosmic climate. Are mankind’s wars accidental, then? A region with a lot of karma or a region where the people’s minds have become bad is bound to be unstable. If a nationality is to be truly virtuous, it must have little karma; it is certain there will be no wars against it. This is because the principles of Dafa prohibit it, as the nature of the universe governs everything. One doesn’t need to worry that a virtuous nation will be invaded. The nature of the universe—Dafa—is present everywhere and encompasses the entire cosmic body, from the macroscopic level to the microscopic level.”
After I recited this paragraph, I read an article on Minghui and suddenly understood another level of the Fa. In the article, the practitioner shared that she was hit by a car. She didn’t go to hospital and did not ask for money. Several days later, nobody asked about her. She felt resentful. Then Master’s Fa came to her mind. She immediately realized that there is no coincidence: “How could I be hit if there was nothing wrong with me?”
“This is because the principles of Dafa prohibit it, as the nature of the universe governs everything.”
“I should not blame the person who hit me,” she realized. “Why did I feel unbalanced in my heart?”
That allowed me to understand a part of “What is Forbearance (Ren)?”: “To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.”
Our own problems cause all these things that happen. Why should we blame others? I further understood the meaning of looking within. As a salesman, I should not worry about the client doing this or that. It will not happen if it is not allowed. My worries will make the problems worse.
As I memorized more than half of Essentials for Further Advancement, I became calm and compassionate. When I adjusted my mind, the clients changed. I felt that they were my sentient beings. I didn’t need to rack my brains to get ad contracts. There was one client I followed for a long time. I just sent him an email, and he agreed. The sales process became so simple.
It says in Zhuan Falun:
“When you always maintain a heart of benevolence and compassion, you will have time or room to buffer the confrontation and think, should a problem arise suddenly.”
One day, a person swore at me, but it was perceptibly weakened and did not touch me.
One day, I recited from Zhuan Falun:
“Why can this be done for a practitioner, then? It is because a practitioner is most precious, for he or she wants to practice cultivation. Therefore, developing this thought is most precious. In Buddhism, people talk about Buddha-nature. When a person’s Buddha-nature emerges, the enlightened beings are able to help him. What does this mean? If you ask me, since I am teaching the practice at high levels, it involves the principles of high levels as well as issues of great importance. We see that in this universe a human life is not created in ordinary human society; the creation of one’s actual life is in the space of the universe. Because there is a lot of matter of various kinds in this universe, such matter can, through its interactions, produce life. In other words, a person’s earliest life comes from the universe. The space of the universe is benevolent to begin with and embodies the characteristic of Zhen-Shan-Ren. At birth, one is assimilated to the characteristic of the universe. Yet as the number of lives increases, a collective form of social relations develops in which some people may develop selfishness and gradually their level will be lowered. If they cannot stay at this level, they must drop down further. At that level, however, they may again become not so good and not be able to stay there, either. They will continue to descend further until, in the end, they reach this level of human beings.”
I felt every word reverberating in my realm. As I understood more, a huge amount of energy flew through my body, which made me feel lightheaded. I burst into a flood of tears. It seemed like I just understood why I was cultivating; the sentient beings in the old universe following the law “to form, stabilize, degenerate, and disintegrate” will be destroyed. They don’t have a future. The only reason we came to the world is to obtain the Fa, to cultivate, and to return to our true selves.
I understood more as I was memorizing and reciting the Fa. When I shared with other practitioners, they praised me. Gradually, my mentality of showing off and zealotry surfaced. After that, I could not enlighten to the Fa principles for a while. I studied the Fa with a negative pursuit in mind and wished to see Dafa’s profound meaning so that I could show off in front of others. In fact, it was a dirty fame- seeking heart.
I remembered “Cultivator’s Avoidances” from Essentials for Further Advancement:
“Those who are attached to their reputations practice an evil way, full of intention. Once they gain renown in this world, they are bound to say good but mean evil, thereby misleading the public and undermining the Fa.”
While I was reciting the Fa, I found the attachment to lust. I’d been practicing for so many years, but I didn’t completely eliminate the attachment of lust. I was only meeting Master’s minimum requirement. I was only deceiving myself and tried to take chances. I thought that I was doing the three things and could live with this attachment until the end. However, I was completely touched by the Minghui brochure, “Eliminating the Attachment of Sentimentality.”
I read it twice, and decided to completely eliminate the attachment of lust. I dreamed that night that three excrement-filled worms the same size I was slid out of my body. After that, lustful thoughts popped into my mind several times, but I could control them and felt them became weaker and weaker. I expose my dirty attachment here to completely remove it.
Please point out my gaps in understanding.
(Presented at the 2017 Canada Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference)