Learning to Unconditionally Look Inward in Doing Media Work
Greetings, honored Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I started working with the Epoch Times in April 2004. I’ll first talk about my job, which is writing. To me, this kind of work is very easy. That’s because I seem tp have an innate memory of traditional characters, ancient language, and poetry. [As for] simplified characters and modern Chinese grammar, I went through strict training when I was a student.
Before long, I was getting both the manager and co-worker’s un-ending affirmation and praise. After hearing so much praise, a complacent and conceit [way of thinking] began developing in my heart, but I hadn’t realized it. Until one time, there arose an argument about a grammar issue with a co-worker. I thought that her writing had a mistake, while she thought she didn’t have a mistake, so if I were to change it, I would be changing the meaning of her words. In the end, we were unable to convince each other. Fuming, I went to study the Fa.
When studying Explaining the Fa for Falun Dafa Assistants in Changchun, a student asked, “Is there anything in the cosmos that’s completely the same as something else?” Master [Li Hongzhi] answered: “There might exist two things that are the same, but that’s extremely rare. I haven’t seen them.” My heart was moved, and I thought it over: Master hasn’t seen it, so it must not be, yet Master’s response wasn’t “There isn’t,” but rather, “I haven’t seen them.”
Master clearly understands everything, yet is so modest. I compared this to my own pride and impatience; the Chinese language is vast like an ocean. How much do I know? And I became stubborn as if I knew everything. With a calm heart, I began to think over what my co-worker had written, and [I realized] that the way she wrote was a bit unusual, but there was nothing actually wrong with it. So we used her original sentence.
I warned myself that I have to always maintain a modest and prudent [mindset]. That’s especially so in areas where I feel I’m an expert and that are easy to unconsciously make wrong judgments because of blind confidence.
At the beginning of 2005, I took over the online editing work at the Epoch Times headquarters. The website has to be kept active 24 hours a day. At that time there were few employees, and many things to complete, and I felt bearing the pressure of the workload was like bearing the weight of a mountain. I was often needing to sit in front of a computer for 8-9 hours constantly taking care of problems. The habits for taking breaks that I originally had were completely turned into a mess. Slowly, I began to overlook studying the Fa, exercising, and sending righteous thoughts.
The seriousness of my negligence finally surfaced during sending righteous thoughts. Due to the time-sensitive nature of our work, I often used that as an excuse to skip righteous thoughts. Yet I slowly found out, I was often required to completely re-do the work that I had completed during the 15 minutes of righteous thought time. Sometimes since the editor’s back-end platform had problems, sometimes the internet connection was lost, at that time the editor’s back-end platform didn’t have an automatic saving function, so that’s to say, when there was a problem, I could only re-do things. Even though I felt dejected, I still thought this was just a coincidence.
One day, the righteous thoughts alarm went off, I once more quickly shut it off and continued working, however, my computer monitor suddenly went black, as there was a power outage. At this moment, everything was lost: not only the files on the editor’s platform but also the files on the computer that didn’t require an internet connection.
With this shock, I finally realized that I should stop and righteously cultivate myself. I took out the scriptures, and my eye was caught by what Master said:
“Even now some people still can't concentrate when it comes to reading the books. Those of you who do work for Dafa, especially, shouldn't use any pretexts to conceal your not reading the books or studying the Fa. Even if you do work for me, your Master, you still need to study the Fa every day with a calm mind and cultivate yourself solidly. When your mind wanders all over the place as you read, the countless Buddhas, Daos, and Gods in the book see your laughable and pitiable mind, and see the karma in your thoughts controlling you, which is detestable. And yet you cling to delusion and fail to wake up. Some volunteers go long periods of time without reading or studying the Fa. How could they do Dafa work well? You have unwittingly incurred many losses that are hard to recover. Past lessons should have made you more mature. The only way to prevent the old, evil forces from taking advantage of the gaps in your mind is to make good use of your time to study the Fa.” (“Towards Consummation,” Essentials for Further Advancement II)
I fixed my break schedule, and every day in the morning before I turned on the computer, I studied and did the 5 exercises, not consciously missing the worldwide righteous thoughts time. Afterward, the computer stopped having problems. After a short time, my work efficiency clearly improved. Even though there was so much work, my mind was clear and speed was fast, and anything I did had double the effect with half the effort.
In September 2007, I transferred to primarily office work.
While doing office work, I had to work with “Aiyin.” Her thoughts and notions were very different from mine, sometimes being directly opposite. What she felt was important, I felt was unimportant; what was important to me, was not to her, and I had to do my best to follow her way of doing things, but my heart often felt unsatisfied and wronged. As things built up, knots formed in my heart.
One day when I studied, Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland, I saw, “I can give up to the greatest extent possible everything of mine, and that is why I can resolve all of it.”
Everything became clear at once to me. I enlightened to that I was too attached to my own ways of thinking and post-natal notions. I feel uncomfortable about Aiyin’s actions because I used my own notions to evaluate her. I defined all those things where she and I differed as wrong or bad.
This unraveled the knots in my heart, made righteous my state of mind. I stopped using my set of evaluation standards to push Aiyin away because of our discrepancies. Soon after I made my thoughts righteous, I found that what I used to think of as her shortcomings were exactly what I needed to improve on and what I was lacking in my daily work.
For example, in the past, every time I encountered some difficulty at work, I would not face it and just down. Yet Aiyin would keep going no matter what. In her eyes, there is only the goal, and she will achieve her goals no matter how much effort she has to put in to get there. In the past, I always thought she was being too stubborn, and working with her was tiring, because I always felt a lot of pressure. However, now I think that I used to back down from a challenge because I cared too much about how I felt and had prioritized my personal feelings over completing projects. However, as a practitioner, I should be working at giving up my attachments. After changing my notions, my work efficiency improved, and I also received more positive results.
As work progressed, the size of our team has grown, too. As more people joined, the problems that I have to solve became more complicated. The new members have brought with them their ways of thinking and how to go about completing a task, and everyone had a strong view, so it’s very difficult for everyone to give up their thoughts, and to cooperate with others. Thus the number of xinxing conflicts increased.
“Whenever you encounter problems you should each look inward to search for the cause within, regardless of whether you’re to blame or not. Remember my words: Regardless of whether the problem is your fault or not, you should look inside yourself, and you will find a problem. If the matter has absolutely nothing to do with you or doesn’t involve any of the attachments you should break, then that thing would rarely happen to you. If you didn’t have an attachment the problem wouldn’t have come about. I have to be responsible for your cultivation. Any problem that happens to you, around you, or among you is most likely related to you, and there is something for you to get rid of.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe)
So when the relationship between team members was tense, I would, with a calm mind, look within. I reminded myself that our team was playing a supporting role. Only by doing our part well could the practitioners on the front line stay focused with their work without getting distracted. The reason that we were in that position was probably because I needed to go further with giving up self-centeredness. I started trying to patiently understand other team members, such as their way of thinking, and how they go about their work. I then tried my best to adapt to their way of thinking and working when giving support to their work. My work was not in vain. Soon after, people acknowledged my efforts.
In August 2015, I switched to a different department. The tasks, environment, and people are all very different. Coming from a very experienced team to a team that still has many shortcomings, I had a very hard time adjusting at first, and I started to have complaints.
Master taught us:
“When a problem arises, do not try to find out who should be held accountable. Instead, you should examine your own conduct.” (Correction, Essentials for Further Advancement)
What I understood from this is that when we see there is a problem in our [working] environment, rather than spending our time complaining, we should use our time productively and try to change the environment. We shouldn’t only expect to gain from our surroundings, but to try our best to make it better.
Soon after joining the new team, I found a problem: even when I was not responsible for a problem, my supervisor would criticize me for it. At that moment I was really upset, and I wanted to find a way to prove that it wasn’t my fault. In the past, every time I encountered something, I was always determined to find out who was right and who was wrong, and if I really was wrong, then I would take responsibility, otherwise, I would never agree to take the blame. After calming myself down, I realized that there were two things which do not align with Dafa: first was the competitive mentality, which I used to think I didn’t have. Now I know that I was using the idea of “if other people don’t bother me, then I won’t bother them” to hide my competitive mentality. This “if other people bother me, then I must get to the bottom of it” idea showed my strong competitive mentality. The other thing was that I had not cultivated my “tolerance” very well so that I could not be wronged, I could not tolerate.
The next time when this happened, at the moment I was about to explode with retorts, I forced myself to tolerate it, so that I kept quiet without explaining my case. However, I still felt upset, finding it very unfair.
“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing. To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.” (What is Forbearance (Ren)?, Essentials for Further Advancement)
Now I understand that at the time, I mistook passive tolerance as the way to pass this trial. I thought I took a step back and didn’t worsen the conflict. If I can’t win, I avoid. I thought this was good enough for cultivation. However, really passing through a trial requires righteous thoughts, while deep in your heart you feel calm and open, but what was causing my heart to race at that time?
I asked myself, did I really think about how the practitioner feels from her perspective? Probably not. So again, I only thought about myself and didn’t try to understand the other party. A true cultivator shouldn’t worry about his feeling getting hurt, but only consider others’. When I realized this, I no longer have complaints about practitioners but felt apologetic about the pain I put the practitioner through due to my unintentional actions.
The new team’s supervisor hoped that I could help him with some managerial tasks, however, I dislike managing. For a long time, I have been accustomed to cooperate on the sideline, so I don’t want to be a leader. I’ve always thought I’m someone who has very few pursuits and desires and am very adaptable to different environments. In this mindset, I feel at ease and comfortable. However, my supervisor kept giving me new tasks, so for a period of time, I felt very tired because I didn’t agree with her.
When I was sharing with this practitioner, she reminded me that this is a manifestation of my attachment to comfort. My heart felt shocked – maybe she was right. However, I strongly didn’t acknowledge it and retorted that “I can’t do well with things that I don’t like, and if I can’t do it well, then it’s better off for me to not do it in the first place. Following the course of nature is better.” But she replied immediately, “How can you know you can’t do it well without even trying it? You say following the course of nature and having little ambition is the right way of thinking? The old forces are watching our each and every move, and they are using all sorts of ways to interfere with our efforts to save people, how can we ‘follow the course of nature’? How many lives out there are waiting to be saved by us? How can we have so little ambition?”
I was speechless. Looking at my own thinking, I really had been pursuing a comfortable life on the sly, and I didn’t want to take responsibilities. Everyday people’s thinking would push us to go to places where we feel safe and comfortable. The problem is, we are not everyday people, our goal is opposite of theirs. Obviously, in managing people, I will be faced with many complicated issues, and I must put in more effort. However, if giving my all can help our media to produce better results for our audiences, which would mean more sentient beings can be saved, then it’s worth it no matter how arduous. As Master’s disciple, isn’t this why we are here? How can we be so unwilling to put in our time and effort on this?
After experiencing many things, I’ve found that, no matter what issue a practitioner is facing, one can always find the answer from oneself.
Master taught us: “For a cultivator, all the frustrations he comes across among everyday people are trials, and all the compliments he receives are tests.” (A Cultivator is Naturally Part of It, Essentials for Further Advancement)
Thank you, Master! Thank you, everyone!
(Presented at the 2018 NTD and Epoch Times Fa Conference)