The Thread that Holds the Group Together
(Minghui.org) A local coordinator, or contact person, is also a practitioner and should be diligent and steadfast as such. Coordinators, just like all other cultivators, must let go of human notions. I have observed that some coordinators tend to display the attachment of “validating oneself” rather strongly, and offer the following comments with the hope of allowing us all to improve together.
Validating oneself may manifest in any number of ways. One may think that one's understanding is correct, and better than others. Therefore, one looks down on others. One may also overemphasize one's role in group projects. Such a person might recognize his own contribution in a project, but ignore Master's help and the cooperation among practitioners. One might refuse to take criticism when having done something wrong, or find themselves often criticizing others while failing to see the others’ strengths.
Deeply Rooted Issues
Many contact persons in China have personally experienced persecution. Some are ready to help others and some are experts in certain fields. Thus, practitioners trust them. However, the trust may strengthen their attachments to validating themselves.
Validating themselves could lead other practitioners to admire and rely on them, even taking them as role models. This again might inflate their attachments to validating themselves. If the contact person does not read the Fa and solidly cultivate, this state might be seen as being normal. Thus, some of the local practitioners might not walk their own paths, and the coordinators would control them based on their own notions.
I am myself a local contact person, and I also used to have a strong attachment to self, which I admit has not been completely eliminated. But one thing woke me up. When several contact persons in my area shared understandings of an issue, everyone gave his or her opinion. One practitioner who had until then not said anything told us that her understanding was different from ours. I became jealous and held sarcastic thoughts.
What she said was not opposite of our opinion, but the same opinion from a different viewpoint. I again was critical in my mind and felt that the way she presented her opinion was offensive.
“Why is it that at times you see arguments coming up a lot, and sometimes the arguments go on and on? Why is it that in validating the Fa, disciples' opinions are time and again not unified? This is something that's been quite prominent recently in Mainland China. What's the real problem? It's very simple--it is a question of whether you are validating the Fa or validating yourself. If you are validating the Fa, no matter what another person says about you, you won't be affected inside. If someone counters your opinion and you get riled up and don't like it, if when other people raise an opinion opposite yours based on some problem you have or disagree with your opinion and you don't like it, and you stand up to oppose it and argue on your own behalf, and when this leads to your going off topic and not listening to others, [in all such cases] you are--even if you are defending and explaining yourself with the best of intentions--still just validating yourself. (Applause) That is because you didn't put Dafa first, and at that time the thing that you couldn't let go of most was self.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York”)
Master's Fa told me that this practitioner was pure, so she could tell everyone that her understanding was different. I, on the other hand, was more slick. I always wanted to get everybody's acceptance, and I was always picky when it came to other people's opinions. I always try to point out other people's shortcomings to prove that I am right – validating myself.
Blocking Others Paths
We met with local and out-of-town practitioners for an entire day one time when I did not have time to read the Fa. Thus, I could not keep my palm vertical when sending forth righteous thoughts.
A practitioner from out of town said: “You used to do well when sending righteous thoughts. I mentioned you many times to practitioners in my area. But today, you were not good. Didn't you have enough sleep?”
I nodded and did not mention that I had been like that for a while. My wife often pointed it out to me. Later, at the local contact person meeting, I complained that things had become chaotic and there was too much expected of me. I explained that I did not have time to read the Fa or send forth righteous thoughts.
One of the practitioners said: “Why don't you look inward and find why everyone asks you for help?” I kept calm on the surface, but in my heart I was upset. I said: “I should look inward. But, if you guys would accept what you are responsible for, maybe the situation would be different.” Then, I realized that my thought was not pure.
When I looked inward, I realized that Master hinted about my shortcoming through that practitioner. I thought that I could help practitioners in their cultivation, and was good at giving technical support. This attachment to myself made other practitioners rely on me. Practitioners come to me with their attachments, and I dealt with this situation with my attachments. I blocked practitioners' own paths of cultivation. For this thought I began to send practitioners to other contact persons when something was not my responsibility.
When a senior practitioner asked me to transfer some files to her e-book device, I asked her why she had not approached her local contact person. She said he is usually too slow, and it would take a week to get it done. I said that I have the attachment to validating myself, and I should not interfere with other practitioners walking on their own path.
She understood immediately and agreed that she had to let go of the attachment to rapidity, and consider others' needs first.
The mentality of validating oneself would interfere with the group's cooperation. A few years ago, the contact person in a nearby town was arrested and they selected a new contact person. Yet, there was much dissension, so they invited some practitioners from my area to talk to everybody.
I found that they put the contact person at a higher position than others, and held very high expectations and criteria for the contact person.
“Let's not treat the contact person as a perfect person,” I suggested. “We are cultivators, and none of us is perfect. Your current contact person is the same as you and also has shortcomings. You either need to complement her flaws, or maybe ask a certain practitioner in your area who cultivates very well to be also the contact person.”They went with my suggestion. However, the two contact persons had conflicts because of different opinions and different understandings. Given unpleasant interaction, the second contact person decided to resign this task.
“I agree with what you told me,” I said. “We should look inward. There must be room for us to improve. But, what the other contact person said is also correct. Maybe you should not bring up opposing views, but talk to her from a different angle. Why didn't you agree with her first, and then give your opinion. If you took this approach, she may not think you are trying to oppose her.”
Then, I shared some experiences of mine on how to react when cooperating with the group. I said that every practitioner is a particle of the Fa, and we form a whole body in the Fa. We should prioritize the Fa when working on a group project. We should complement each other, instead of emphasizing our own understandings. Master will help us to do well. And that is truly validating the Fa.
Contact Persons are Facilitators
Most contact persons that I know are great. They experienced the persecution, and overcame difficulties. They have helped local practitioners to form the whole body and validate the Fa, which is not easy.
Everybody has his or her own amazing story, and Master knows about all of them. The gods have also been watching. But, since we are cultivators, we sometime have misunderstandings of the Fa or make mistakes. When fellow practitioners point them out, no matter if they are right or wrong, we should not be moved. Instead we should look inward and cherish the opportunity of improving ourselves. As a contact person, those are special opportunities for us. We must cherish them.
Contact persons are not different or higher than other practitioners – they are facilitators. In a group, a contact person is like a thread that holds the pearls together. We should make all the pearls into a necklace, and let every pearl shine. Although the thread itself will not show, it connects all the pearls.
By setting up the Fa-study sites, contact persons create environments for everybody to study the Fa and share experiences. They help other practitioners find opportunities to validate the Fa. We should listen to others' opinion. When conflicts arise, we should not complain about others, instead, we should look inward for what there is that we have not let go of.
When practitioners have difficulties or are being persecuted, we should try to understand them. We should form a unified body to send forth righteous thoughts to help those who are in tribulation.
A contact person should help practitioners who slack off in cultivation, study the Fa with them and not put blame on them. When on a group project, we should trust other practitioners and let them walk their own paths. Our role is to coordinate, and help fellow practitioners to cooperate, but not make them rely on us or admire us. This way, we will form one body successfully.
Coordinators may run into more tests and tribulations than other practitioners. When others blame us, complain about us, or even wrong us, we should not quit. Think about Master. How much burden has he taken for us?
Just like all practitioners, contact persons must get rid of human notions and attachments. But, to do so, they must be diligent and steadfast practitioners. If they don't cultivate well, the old forces would take advantage of any loophole.
Some contact people passed away. Some had car accidents, and some were arrested and sentenced to prison. The cultivation status of a contact person has significant influence on the practitioners in that area, and affects the Dafa truth-clarification in that area.
Thank you for considering my comments.