I Learned to Stop Passively Following Others
(Minghui.org) I've worked full-time at NTD for eight years. Two years ago, if someone told me, “You aren’t really cultivating.” I might have replied, “Then you don’t know me. Whenever I encounter conflicts, I'm able to look inside. I have been clarifying the truth through news reporting. I've set aside the desire for a comfortable life. How could I not really be cultivating?”
Although I didn’t want to admit that I was not solidly cultivating, I knew that my improvement was very slow. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but sometimes I thought that I had reached a plateau and my cultivation had stabilized.
I frequently overheard negative comments about myself, which caused me to develop negative thoughts that were very hard to eliminate. I finally realized that there really was a problem with my cultivation.
One day Tian, a practitioner whom I had not heard from for a long time, suddenly contacted me. For several years, she thought that she had failed a test and was very remorseful. She felt as though she was separated from Master and the Fa, and had stopped reading the teachings. Tian often wept and felt that her cultivation was over.
She seemed like a changed person. She said that she had started to cultivate in small things, and that her cultivation had become solid and joyful. After we spoke briefly, she suddenly said, “I am very concerned about you.” She pointed out a few of my shortcomings, one of which was that I passively followed other practitioners.
I didn’t quite agree. I didn’t want to admit that I was not cultivating diligently, so I didn’t take her words seriously.
But two days later, another practitioner also pointed out almost exactly the same thing. She said that I did not take initiative, and just followed along. I immediately asked her, “Did you talk to Tian? You just told me the same thing she said. She replied, “No. I don’t know her. If we've both pointed out the same issue, then maybe you really need to pay attention.”
I understand that for practitioners nothing is coincidental. It was obviously time for me to improve, but what was my problem?
Paying Attention to Small Issues
“Don’t think that it’s necessarily something major [that causes that]. You might think that you haven’t done anything majorly wrong, and that you are very firm in your faith in the Fa. However, you shouldn’t treat the little issues you have like they are nothing.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)
I realized that this was my problem. For a long time, when big tests came, I treated them seriously, as a cultivator should. But when small issues surfaced, I just carelessly responded with an ordinary person’s thinking. At deeper levels, this is a matter of proactively cultivating, or passively following along.
“Whether you proactively cultivate or are just passively following along reflects whether you are cultivating.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference”)
“Not paying attention, seemingly believing yet not believing, seemingly cultivating but not cultivating, totally not being responsible to himself—can such a person reach Consummation? ” (Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia)
I realized that I had not been solidly cultivating. Maybe Master saw my sincere desire to improve. Last August I started memorizing Zhuan Falun with two other practitioners. We memorize one paragraph each day. Even though it's been slow and we are only at Lecture Six more than a year later, we have been making steady progress.
Improving While Memorizing the Fa
I benefited greatly from this group effort to memorize the Fa. I had tried memorizing by myself before, but due to a lack of perseverance, I always stopped before I finished Lecture One. The three of us help each other, and I really treasure this opportunity.
In the process of memorizing the Fa, my attachment to instant success gradually faded away. In the past, if I didn’t do a good job at the news, I became frustrated and began to question myself, “After years of training, why am I still so unprofessional and never seem to get it right?” I felt defeated and sometimes even wanted to quit. I experienced this same frustration when I tried to memorize the Fa. But then I thought that actually what’s important is not the “finishing,” but rather really treasuring the process of understanding and enlightening to the Fa. Then, regardless of how fast or how slow I memorize, it is a process of solid improvement.
I also gained a deeper understanding of the impact of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) culture, and how it was reflected in my attachment to instant success. Master taught,
“That is to seek quick success. This thinking comes from the Party culture that the evil Party has indoctrinated in you. Whatever you do, do it well. In the process of doing things, what’s looked at is your hearts, not your success itself.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference” Team Blue Version)
After I read Master's teaching, I asked myself, “Why are we attached to quick success? Maybe it’s because the CCP has indoctrinated us with atheism and the thought that only the strongest succeed. In China, people usually gauge success by the final result, and no one cares if the process was ethical, or legal. This makes people from China prone to focusing on quick success, caring only about the outcome.
That’s the opposite of how we cultivators should view things. Success or failure is arranged by the divine. We need to focus on putting in our efforts with pure hearts. If our xinxing meets the requirement, we are able to save people. During the process of memorizing the Fa, I was gradually able to handle failure at work.
Many practitioners at NTD have been memorizing the Fa for a long time. When I asked one how long it took her to memorize Zhuan Falun, she said that she didn’t focus on memorizing. She just naturally memorized after reading many times.
I was very surprised because I also read the Fa. However, I felt that some passages were difficult to remember. I think because my mind sometimes wanders during Fa study, I never saw the deeper meaning behind certain passages.
A year later, I feel that my xinxing has stabilized, and I no longer wait for conflicts to escalate to search inward. Whenever “small issues” surface I immediately examine myself.
One day while I was meditating, I felt very serene and peaceful. I felt that this was my true self, but I also felt as if I had a hard shell. Later when I sent forth righteous thoughts I realized that the shell was made of postnatal notions and various human attachments. My true self is breaking through this shell.
Nothing is Trivial
“But it’s cultivation—whatever happened to being “free of gaps” (wu-lou)? There are no little things.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)
My understanding is that some of our biggest attachments are reflected in some seemingly little things. For example, some days I feel that I have not done very well in memorizing the Fa, but it's time to get on the phone with the other two practitioners. I don’t want to say, “I'm not ready yet.” Instead, I start reciting with them and look at the book when I can’t remember the next sentence. They don’t know this and think that I've memorized very well. This is like cheating during exams. What’s hidden behind my cheating and covering up is the attachment to fame and fear of criticism.
I overheard two people talking about some problems caused by another practitioner, and their discussion was rather negative. I didn’t agree, thinking that wasn’t really a problem, as I’ve been doing it that way and there’s nothing wrong with it. I felt unsettled, but I quickly realized that this thought was not righteous and eliminated it.
As soon as I eliminated this negative thought, another thought surfaced, “How can they comment on people so negatively?” I didn’t search within, and let my complaint grow. By the end of the day I calmed down and asked myself, “What are you complaining about? What attachment of yours has been touched by their comments? I started looking at myself to see why I was disturbed.
I finally realized that I also had the same problem they were talking about. I instantly became self-defensive, as I didn’t want to acknowledge my problem. The fact that I was so concerned about their attitude and so eager to defend myself, indicated that I was validating myself through my work.
Another example was when I noticed that someone needed help, so I put down what I was doing and helped her. I later overheard her complaining that I didn’t really help her. I felt that her criticism was unfair. Why didn’t she appreciate being helped? Then I remembered Master's words,
“If you can manage to handle things calmly no matter how wronged you may feel, if you can remain unmoved and not try to come up with some kind of excuse for yourself, then with many things you won’t even need to argue. That’s because on your path of cultivation there is nothing that is by chance. So, when you get into a heated exchange and it stirs things up in you, or you get into a conflict over something that concerns your vital interests, perhaps the factors behind it were put there by Master.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
I realized that this happened so as to expose my attachments of not accepting criticism, and looking for a reward, even if it’s just a simple “thank you.” These are selfish motives. These incidents were not minor.
I sometimes felt uneasy when I saw that people’s words and actions were not aligned with the Fa or that they reflected Party culture. When I asked myself if I also had these problems, the answer was that I did indeed.
“In any case, a cultivator must look at things as a cultivator should and with the mind of a cultivator, and absolutely cannot look at things with the mind of an ordinary person. Nothing you encounter is simple, accidental, or an ordinary thing. It must have to do with your cultivation and your improvement.” (Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles)
Remembering to Save People
As a journalist I meet many people. I deeply realize that whether we Dafa disciples do well or not truly affects whether people are saved.
On New Year and other holidays, we record people wishing Master a happy holiday. Many ordinary people I've interviewed are family members of practitioners who are grateful for Master and Dafa. Some have wept and others say that they are waiting for Master to return to China.
How well our media does matters. One expert from China told me, “We all watch NTD. You are great. Keep up the good work!” However, one tourist I met from China said some negative things. I felt that his negative feedback meant that there was something for me to cultivate.
“Don’t be like the propaganda tools of the wicked Party. It’s not right to depart from the truth when you describe events in hopes of achieving some effect. Just let the piece achieve whatever effect it will achieve. Don’t knowingly bend the truth. You will lose credibility.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the NTDTV Meeting,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IX)
Reporting the news is an opportunity to practice Truthfulness. I do my best to verify all the details and ensure accuracy. Reporting the news is also a process of eliminating Party culture, not exaggerating or using insincere flattery, which is the Party way of speaking.
Our NTD mission is “pure authenticity, goodness, and beauty,” and our goal is to save people. News reporting is also a process of ridding oneself of sentimentality, not working according to personal interest.
The news department started producing a series last year, titled, “Century of Red Disasters,” a history of the CCP’s killing and persecuting people. Reporters from other projects found many people who experienced the political movements and gathered valuable first-hand interviews. Another practitioner spent hours reading through the historical documents, in addition to her daily news assignment and family responsibilities. I made a few episodes, but the production was quite challenging. We finished the first season at the end of last year. This year the supervisor did not push to produce the second season due to workloads and lack of human resources. I didn’t ask for it either, because I was afraid of the challenges. I felt that I was not familiar enough with the historical events, and the production would be too much work.
I recently found some comments left by a viewer last year. He wrote a lot, saying that he felt deep pain for the Chinese people after seeing these historical facts. He asked other Internet surfers to, “Tell everyone you know to watch this historical documentary.” He also converted all the videos into small-size audio files and uploaded them for people in China to download.
From his words, I could tell that he was not a practitioner. This ordinary person was helping others learn the truth. But I, a Dafa disciple, was in no hurry or worry, passively waiting for the supervisor to say something before I did anything, even though I was fully aware of the importance of this special series.
“Of course you should proactively, of your own accord, do the things Dafa disciples do to save sentient beings when there aren’t any group activities arranged. Those are not things you can wait for a coordinator to set up.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
Now let me get back to the incident I mentioned at the beginning of my sharing.
Last year, two practitioners sent me text messages within a week pointing out the same problem, that is, that I have been passively following along in the media project. I didn’t search inward, so it took me a year to understand what they were trying to say.
Behind this passive, following-along tendency is a cunning selfishness. I had always waited for the supervisor to assign me tasks, as I felt that that way I wouldn't have to deal with too many conflicts. If I made suggestions, would the supervisor use them? If my suggestion wasn't good, would he develop a bad opinion of me? This strong attachment to self-protection caused me to avoid my responsibility to save people.
After realizing this, I took the initiative to suggest producing the second season. The supervisor felt it was very much needed, so we started right away.
“Why are Dafa disciples running a media company, after all? To save people. Don’t forget that your purpose is to save people, and the reason to run a media company well is to save people. Clarifying the facts and saving sentient beings are what you need to accomplish. There is nothing else for you to accomplish. There is nothing else in this world that you need to accomplish.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2015 New York Fa Conference”)
I am filled with respect when I see fellow practitioners cleaning the floor or busy in the kitchen and those who work on sales in all kinds of weather. We all have the same mission: to help the media succeed, assist Master in Fa rectification, and save sentient beings.
I still have many attachments, and I know that I haven't found all of them. I will do my best to cultivate solidly.
If some other practitioners feel that their cultivation is improving too slowly and don't know how to make a breakthrough, I recommend memorizing the Fa.
“Or when faced with what seems impossible, and even if others say so, try to keep this in mind, and see if it isn’t in fact possible. I believe, if you can do that, that you will always see light at the end of the tunnel.” (Zhuan Falun)
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
Please kindly point out any shortcomings in my sharing.
(Presented at the 2018 NTD and Epoch Times Fa Conference)