Western Practitioner: Master Gave Me a Project and Exposed My Fear of Criticism
(Minghui.org) I live in a remote rural city and am the only Dafa cultivator for 450 kilometers (280 miles). I would like to share this story with fellow Dafa practitioners because this experience encouraged others and me. I began cultivating late in 2010 and have never been overly confident of my understandings of the Fa, but during the six weeks in which this story unfolded, I made decisions I was sure of. No matter where or who we are, we each have skills that can be used to clarify the truth and deal blows to the evil.
It started with the book published by the Epoch Times entitled, “How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World.” I really struggled to start reading it. I was very reluctant to start and didn’t immediately recognize that the reluctance wasn’t me. A city practitioner kindly encouraged me, and we have been reading it together online and supporting each other through the process.
While reading, I felt invisible barriers I needed to break through and bad elements being eliminated. I was surprised how much communist thought I unknowingly had, as I’m a Westerner born in the late 60s. I now see that the old forces are preventing some practitioners from reading these articles because they are effectively eliminating layers of the communist specter. The old forces are keeping the communist specter alive.
Seeing the Hints
Some chapters were harder than others. I found Chapter 12, “Sabotaging Education,” especially difficult. My youngest son has been a student at UXYZ University (not the real name) for a couple of years. My oldest son recently quit his job and enrolled at UXYZ, and my husband was offered a night-class tutor position at the UXYZ campus in our town. Suddenly and unexpectedly, my entire family became associated with UXYZ.
The day after I finished this chapter, I saw an advertisement on Instagram that caught my eye because I thought it was for Shen Yun. But it was an ad for a Beijing Dance Academy performance in the city, hosted by the UXYZ Confucius Institute. Until that moment, I was unaware there was a Confucius Institute at UXYZ.
There are no coincidences, so I took this sequence of things as a big hint from Master. As soon as I decided that this piece of the communist specter, the Confucius Institute, had to be exposed, I immediately encountered internal and external interference.
Two opposing types of thoughts attacked my mind. One was overwhelming self-doubt and anxiety; the other was grandiosity. I then got a phone call informing me that one of my sons was in the hospital. This all happened within two hours of seeing the ad. At the same time, I felt bathed in a righteous field strengthening my determination, and I rejected the interference.
I come from a family of academics going back generations, but I have reason to believe that Master arranged my life so that I would not take that path. Though many academics practice Dafa, I sense it would have been an impediment for me. My academic family members are agnostics or atheists who have contempt for spiritual concepts and mock me for practicing Dafa.
I believed that to expose the Confucius Institute, the approach had to be academic since the audience was a university. I didn’t want to take a lead role, but I couldn’t ignore the hints Master had given me. I sent an email to the city practitioners. My fears were revealed fully on the surface of the email. I made excuses for myself and tried to put the responsibility for this project onto them.
I felt sure that the higher-profile practitioners would see that this was out of my league and would volunteer to take it on, but instead they encouraged me to do it. Josh (not his real name), who is a UXYZ student, was especially encouraging. Given that I could not ignore Master’s hints and still felt surrounded by a righteous field, I agreed to try, but I had trepidation.
I ordered a book and was sent links to academic reference material, but I quickly realized that I was in over my head. I have never been able to retain or rote learn details easily, so to become academically competent on this issue would take a long time. I was working long hours and doing over five hours of Dafa study and exercises every day. It seemed impossible to learn this topic well enough.
But I was very determined not to use human thinking and not to let Master down. I resolved to “give it a try and see if it was possible.” I started reading many newspaper articles on the topic of Confucius Institutes. They were like cheat sheets, as the articles were shorter and easier to digest than the academic articles.
Seeing the Path
I then stumbled onto the UXYZ Confucius Institute website and saw two things that changed my direction. The website stated that there were over 40 Confucius classrooms in schools across the state and that applications for the language programs for 2019 would open in November. It was September when I read this.
I knew without any doubt that this was Master’s arrangement. The path I needed to take had just been shown to me. I now knew what to do. I needed to write to all the schools in my state before November. I had enough basic knowledge and reference material to achieve this.
Having people understand the nature of the CCP’s Confucius Institutes is clarification of the truth, and I would now be reaching a lot of people. Clarifying the truth while trying to achieve a goal is actually a successful outcome in its own right.
“Sometimes when you folks think about an issue you form a type of habit--“I want to do such and such thing… here’s how I’m going to do this thing… here’s how I’m going to do that thing.” You ponder over it a lot and, well, to the point that you feel you’ve covered everything in a satisfactory way. But when you get down to doing that thing, the real, actual situations can vary in a lot of ways and your plan won’t actually work (laughs). And when it doesn’t work, you start to ponder it again. That’s not how you should do things. Have righteous thoughts! However you think something should be handled, just go ahead and do it, and when you run into problems you will naturally know how to solve them. If your righteous thoughts are strong, everything will work out smoothly and it’s guaranteed you’ll do well.”
“Why do I tell you to do things this way? It seems passive, right? But that’s not true, because the side of you that’s been successfully cultivated knows everything, and no matter how you do it, it will work, and no matter how you do those things you’ll be able to do them well. So you just need to have the thought. When you know what to do, just go ahead and do it, and while you do it your wisdom will continually come forth, because at that time the side of you that’s been successfully cultivated will fuse together with the side of you here. That’s a God, who’s omnipotent! So of course a small issue will be resolved in no time, and your wisdom will come forth--it’s different then! And if you get stuck Master will give you wisdom (laughs).” (“Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. III)
I manually compiled a database of 1,000 school email addresses. I then wrote a draft letter to the school presidents. I decided to be careful not to make any statements against the Confucius Institute myself. I instead included quotes and references that left the reader in no doubt of the suspicious nature of the Confucius Institutes and gave them the opportunity to investigate and decide for themselves. Before obtaining the Fa, I was vigorously opinionated about various issues, but since taking up Dafa cultivation I have changed my character and am now much more gentle in my approach.
I sent the draft to Josh, but I hadn’t told him about my decision to change directions. His response felt very critical. He seemed disappointed that I clearly hadn’t gone down the path of becoming academically knowledgeable. His words moved me. I felt embarrassed and unfairly treated. I even got defensive during a phone call with him. But I know that being irritated or moved means that I have attachments and now have an opportunity to improve my character.
I looked inward and found laziness, comfort, fear, sentimentality, and a very strong attachment to what other people think of me. Despite finding attachments in myself, I was still sure of the path Master had clearly shown me.
I firmly decided that the letter didn’t need to be overly academic, but someone of academic caliber should polish it. I improved the letter only slightly and again sent it to Josh. He took days to reply.
I remained calm and took the time to look inward more. I noticed the two opposing types of thoughts–grandiosity and self-doubt–continuing to torture my mind. The old forces showed me in my thoughts a newspaper article with my photo shaking hands with the vice chancellor of the university after successfully convincing her to close the Confucius Institute. I imagined being able to share this newspaper article with my family and friends, who would all have to admire me and think I was intelligent. This grand fantasy gave me feelings of pride and self-validation.
When I caught this fantasy and negated it, my mind was then attacked by every little humiliating memory from my life. My righteous thoughts were not strong enough against the onslaught of these memories, so they had power to make me feel extremely bad. They also gave me fear of further humiliation from my lack of academic intelligence being exposed. They made me want to not do anything.
I reminded myself that Master has said that a simpler mind can be better. A person could have all the academic intelligence in the world, and it still wouldn’t amount to much. Aren’t Dafa disciples the most intelligent people because they are able to obtain the Fa and enlighten to the Fa?
“In the eyes of gods, if a person’s mind is simple and clean, gods consider him a good person. And if a person’s mind is complicated, then gods consider him bad, because as gods see it, hasn’t it become complicated because of attachments formed in the human world? Isn’t being complicated a result of being attached to the human world? So this is a truth in cultivation.”
“Having a simple mind doesn’t mean you have little wisdom, and having a complicated mind doesn’t mean you have wisdom. And that’s not at odds with the form of cultivation Dafa disciples do here in the setting of ordinary people or any of the things you’re doing today to validate the Fa. A Dafa disciple’s wisdom comes from righteous thoughts--divine thoughts--and that kind of wisdom is different from the concept of a complicated mind that has formed among ordinary people and in society.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI)
I was not going to let anything stop me from following Master’s arrangement, especially my fear of other people’s opinions. I calmed my heart and waited. After a couple of days, Josh got in touch. I explained the hints and the November deadline to him, and he immediately polished the letter for me.
Seeing the Impact
I immediately ran into another difficulty while trying to get the letter to look good. The layout changed when I pasted the letter into the email. Surprisingly, I found a place that gave me a free 15-minute lesson in using a bulk-email program. This fixed the layout problem and saved me a lot of time and effort sending out the emails. As a bonus, I had a report showing how many times each email was opened and how far in the world they go.
Late on a Wednesday night, I took a deep breath, ignored my anxiety, and pressed “Send” on the bulk email. On Thursday morning, before I left for work, the report showed that 150 emails hadn’t been sent because the addresses started with “admin.” They were all elite private schools. I sent them manually the next day.
On Thursday evening, the report showed that many emails had made it past gatekeepers and had been forwarded on. Dozens of emails had been forwarded and opened more than four times. Several had been forwarded and opened over ten times. One was forwarded and opened 34 times. I looked up that school and saw that they had a Confucius Classroom dating back to 2005.
When I sent the 150 manual emails, I was able to solve the problems with the layout easily. I understood that Master arranged for those problems before so that I would find the email program with the report function. The report was almost as good as being able to see in other dimensions. Master was showing me that my efforts were having an impact.
On Friday morning, less than two days after sending the email, the report showed that it had been forwarded to China. I’m an isolated, rural practitioner. This was a big deal for me. I noticed that I was experiencing both elation and fear. I struggled to keep my mind calm, and at that time I decided to keep occupied by writing the letter to the university.
Knowing When to Move On
I had a text conversation with Josh who indicated that another project aimed at exposing the Confucius Institute was now in the pipeline. The implication was that I didn’t need to write to the university. I was still buzzing from seeing the impact of the first letter, so I wrote and sent my draft second letter to him anyway. It was written with attachments and of lesser quality than the first letter.
Josh then stopped communicating with me completely. I felt hurt. I felt I had lost face in front of someone whom I least wanted to see it. And I was afraid of not finishing the project given to me by Master.
I spent a few days not knowing what to do. I gathered email addresses of VIPs at the university. I noticed one of the deans at the university was also one of the principals. I could see from the report that she had forwarded the email a number of times. I realized it was very likely that the university already had my first letter.
I then accepted the fact that my second letter was no longer needed. I also noticed that the righteous field I had been experiencing had now faded, which indicated to me that I had completed this special task that Master needed me to do. If I insisted on continuing with my second letter, it would have been done completely based on attachments.
I noticed thoughts in my mind that were negative toward Josh because my pride was hurt, but I negated them. He did me many favors, for which I am grateful. He gave me encouragement, criticism, assistance, and silence, and everything he did was helpful to the Dafa project and to my cultivation.
Even if Josh did have some type of attachment to having things done at high academic and professional levels, wasn’t it because he wanted to save the academic and professional people of the world? I resolved to have righteous thoughts for Josh’s project.
In my first few years of cultivation, I was over-excited and said things people couldn’t understand, and I witnessed zealotry in other practitioners. After that, I became cowed and cautious. I am almost entirely aware of only my uncultivated side, which has sometimes caused me to doubt myself. This project has reinforced my confidence in my own cultivation and helped me find a balance.
I understand that Master makes perfect arrangements with perfect timing for each of us. He gives us opportunities. There are no coincidences. We should be alert to the hints Master gives us. No matter how isolated and anonymous we feel, if we are genuinely cultivating from our hearts, Master is right beside us.
We must be able to step forward, but we must also be able to stop or step aside if that is what is needed. We should not be attached to self or to our own things; we should step back and be clear about the bigger picture. We should do our best but not go to extremes. What is in our hearts is the most important.
In the story of Han Xin, I can think of two alternate paths Han Xin might have taken. He could have been zealously combative and argued and fought with the ruffian; or, he could have been intimidated, run home, hung up his sword, and quit learning martial arts. But young Han Xin was balanced and rational, and he did not let fear of humiliation ruin his future.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to compassionate Master for coming to teach us the Fa. Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners. Please kindly point out anything in my understanding that is not in accordance with the Fa.
Category: Improving Oneself