My Cultivation Experiences While Doing Shen Yun Reporting
(Minghui.org) Greetings, revered Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I’m a Falun Dafa practitioner from Taiwan, and I’d like to talk about my cultivation experiences over the last eleven years.
I started practicing Dafa in February 2007, the first year that Shen Yun came to Taiwan. The other practitioners were excited: “Shen Yun is coming!” But I had no idea what Shen Yun was or how important it was. Even though I thought that it was just a theatrical performance, I invited friends and family to watch Shen Yun.
I was surprised when I watched Shen Yun for the first time. I realized that the performances were uplifting and conveyed many things. They reminded people of mankind's traditional moral values, how wonderful Falun Dafa is, and told people about the persecution. Because I had just begun practicing, I didn’t know how to do the three things well. Seeing the other practitioners enthusiastically supporting Shen Yun, I told myself that next year I should also volunteer to help and become part of this hard to come by cultivation environment.
That year, Master published “Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference,” (from Teaching the Fa at the Conference VIII). Master answered a new student’s question:
“Master: This is a great question. To those Dafa disciples who have just obtained the Fa, I say that you are so fortunate. Do you know what kind of group you have joined? These cultivators have made it to today after going through the harshest of tests. Of course, this persecution hasn't ended yet, but the evil is no longer so abundant or rampant, and the pressure is no longer so great. However, it won't be that just because you have entered [Dafa] only recently the standard of cultivation will be lowered for you. So in cultivation you must try hard to do the three things that Dafa disciples should do well, and at the same time save sentient beings and fulfill the roles that Dafa disciples should. In order to do these things well, you must study the Fa well. Make great efforts at studying the Fa, and you will be able to keep up with the progress of Fa-rectification, and you will in an impressive manner become a Dafa disciple who befits that name and is of the Fa-rectification period.”
I was greatly encouraged by Master’s words. Even though I had just started practicing, I knew that Master was looking out after me. I felt that as long as I did as Master taught, I should be able to walk my cultivation path well.
Forming a Transcription Team
Since I was young and good at typing, I felt I could help reporters quickly get the interview audios typed into text. So, the next year, other practitioners suggested that I transcribe Shen Yun interviews. I sometimes transcribed 30 to 40 interviews in one night. I usually worked with the reporters all night and did not sleep. I also rode my motorcycle or took buses and traveled to other cities to help the reporters.
I gradually came up with an efficient way to transcribe the interviews. Some practitioners saw that I could endure hardship and worked well with others, so they asked me to form a transcription team and be the coordinator. I didn’t know how to be a good Dafa project coordinator, but I had taken several leadership roles in student activities and community work, so I felt that leading a team would not be a big challenge. I also realized that in a Dafa project, the coordinator is not just a leader but, more importantly, cooperates well with and looks after the team.
Our transcribers must follow the requirements for Shen Yun reporting, and our speed and quality must be satisfactory.
“Everything that human beings draw or paint includes elements of the artist himself. In an artist's work, everything about that individual and about the person being portrayed is attached to that painting.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art,” from Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Writing Music and Creating Fine Art)
I realized that we must eliminate any negative thoughts about practitioners who are reporters or the people they have interviewed. Even though we only do transcription, any negative thoughts we have may form negative substances and affect the report. We must do well what we need to do, and remember that we are saving sentient beings.
After I worked on the Shen Yun transcription team for eleven years, some practitioners said that since I now had a Masters degree, the transcription work was a waste of my talent. I also wondered why the reporters couldn’t transcribe the recordings themselves. I also thought that the other transcribers already knew what to do and might not need me. I felt that they knew how to work with the reporters, and they could take care of the transcriptions themselves.
But the consequences of my relaxing were severe. I did not make arrangements for team members to work on the transcriptions, and as a result the reports were delayed. The reporters were waiting, but I was the only one available to do the transcriptions. No matter how quickly I worked, I only had two hands and I could not complete everything on time.
“It’s critical that the overall coordinator of a project cultivates well. If he fails to cultivate well, it will impact the entire project, causing it to stagnate and for there to be many difficulties. So this is critical.” (“Be More Diligent,” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference X)
I realized that although transcribing interviews seemed to be a simple task, it's the cultivation path that Master arranged for me. By listening to the interviews I saw the deeper meanings behind the performances and heard the joy in people's voices after they watched Shen Yun. I believe that no matter how hard, easy, or small a project seems to be, every project offers us opportunities to save people and to cultivate ourselves.
Forming a Report Translation Team
At other practitioners’ suggestion, I also formed a Shen Yun translation team in 2009. We organized those practitioners in Taiwan who could speak and read English to translate English language interviews into Chinese. This way we were able to support the reports coming from Shen Yun in North America. We stayed online and waited for the interview recordings. When there were two shows on the same day in a North American city, the reporters, who were busy between the shows, may wait until the end of the weekend to send us all the recordings. It often took us four to eight hours, or even longer, to translate everything. I kept thinking that it was hard for me. I had to stay home all weekend, and even going shopping was an extravagant idea. My initial sacred feeling of joining the translation team was replaced by human thoughts and I even thought about giving up the translation coordinator work.
Whenever I thought of quitting, I reminded myself that the environment in North America was not as comfortable as it was in Taiwan. There's usually a long commute between the theater and hotel and the cold weather also makes things harder. On the other hand, I just sat at my computer, doing translation and I could always grab something to eat when I was hungry. I told myself, “I have nothing to complain about! I should study the Fa and do the exercises while waiting for the audios to come in. I should not complain.”
I looked for my own gaps in coordinating. I realized that a coordinator does not just do the work, nor does he just use his human skills to get things done. A coordinator is like a string that connects fellow practitioners to each other, like pearls. It's the coordinator's responsibility to manage time, resources, and the flow of the project well. He should also maintain a good cultivation environment and allow other practitioners to use the abilities that Master gave them. We should work together as a whole and get the job done smoothly. After I looked inward, I told Master, “I must do better.”
Afterward, our translation work went much more smoothly than the previous year. Team members were always on time and some of them even contributed more hours. Their everyday people’s jobs that used to demand their time suddenly slowed down, and they were able to handle both their everyday jobs and the translation assignments. I will never forget this experience. I know that Master was helping and encouraging me.
“If you can manage to be tenacious about doing a good job with what you need to do, things will gradually be resolved on every front. That’s because new students, whatever the case, are constantly entering and they will mature bit by bit. And once they have matured, they can get involved. Your journey is one where if you can take correct, right steps, the doors before you that were once shut will open and the road will become wide. The journey is the same, whatever project it may be. When things don’t go well it stems from poor cooperation or not giving it enough priority. Human attachments are what block your path, and thus the entire journey has been bumpy and filled with constant troubles. Because there are too many human attachments involved, people try to defend themselves when problems come up, rather than defend the Fa.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting,” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference X)
This experience showed me that no matter how capable a practitioner is if his focus is not on the Fa but on himself, he cannot effectively save people.
Supporting Shen Yun Reporting in Korea
In 2014, I was invited by a practitioner from The Epoch Times to go to Korea to support their local Shen Yun reporting. I thought, “I have just finished helping with Shen Yun reports here, and I don’t speak Korean. What can I do there?”
The practitioner explained that they were short of people with experience. Since I was quick in typing Chinese, local practitioners could translate the Korean interviews into Chinese orally while I typed them out. I could also organize the workflow following the North America translation team’s model. I could also interview Westerners in English and work with interpreters to interview Koreans and edit reports.
Still, I had doubts, but I said to myself, “When other practitioners need me, I should just do it!”
On my return flight to Taiwan, the airline upgraded me to the business class. I felt this was Master’s encouragement. Year by year, I felt that my cultivation path was arranged and every step I took, from small-team coordination to large-scale cooperation, I could feel myself becoming more mature.
Even though the Korean practitioner and I speak different languages, we read the same teachings and share the same wish to save people.
I have gone to Korea for five years. Several Taiwan practitioners and I have decided that we should go to Korea every year to work with the local practitioners on Shen Yun reporting. We feel that this has become part of our job, as if we’ve made a promise to each other in other lifetimes. At this moment in history, we will assist Master to rectify the Fa and save sentient beings. I feel very honored and the sacredness of doing this.
My everyday people’s job is project management. I am used to focusing on workflow, methodology, and efficiency. In truth-clarification projects, I find that practitioners often participate in the work with righteous thoughts, and passionately believe in Master and Dafa, but they ignore issues of time, cost, and resources. Since they don’t pay attention to these issues, money, and resources may be wasted.
Sometimes I wonder why I, who have many everyday people's skills, was assigned the low-tech typist job in a Dafa project. When I lack righteous thoughts, I even doubt whether my job is necessary or whether it's a waste of resources.
“All of the many amazing things that you are doing in the course of validating the Fa are being recorded in this chapter of the cosmos’s history, with nothing pertaining to even a single disciple being omitted. However, if you are focused on the superficial, ordinary human things, then you are attached and are using human thinking. Don’t give weight to such things. If you can manage to quietly complete what you notice is lacking, quietly do well what you should do, and quietly do something well when you find it to have been done less than ideally, then the multitude of gods will have tremendous admiration for you and exclaim that this person is simply extraordinary. Only doing things this way counts as what a Dafa disciple should do.” (“Be More Diligent,” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference X)
When I read this, it was a great wake up call! Yes, we should quietly complete what is missing, but not in order to promote our own ideas, or even show ourselves off in some sneaky way.
During the past eleven years, I found that the more projects that I participate in, the more I need to improve the quality and quantity of my Fa study, do the exercises well, and send forth righteous thoughts. If I don’t do these well, then my participating in Dafa work becomes just like doing everyday people’s work. When there is a break, I become lax and fall into thinking about things like an everyday person.
“A lot of our Dafa disciples are indeed quite tired, but on the other hand, they haven't taken Fa study and cultivation seriously. They've done lots and lots of things, but they haven't cultivated themselves, and so they'll feel fatigue, feel tired, and feel that it's hard. Actually, I've always told you that doing cultivation doesn't compromise your Dafa work, for sure. That's because doing the exercises is the most effective way to get rid of fatigue, it's the best way to quickly make your body recover.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference,” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference IV)
Looking within, the root cause of my questioning the validity of my work or wanting to slack off is that I didn’t focus on Fa study and didn’t improve my understanding of the Fa. When I was supporting Shen Yun reporting in Korea, besides supporting the performance and writing reports, fellow practitioners and I kept reminding each other to study the Fa and do the exercises. Though I slept little time, I was always in good spirits and energetic. I especially cherish those opportunities and experiences.
I hope that by listening to other practitioners' experiences at the 2018 Washington D.C. Fa Conference, I can examine my cultivation experiences and look for my own shortcomings.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2018 Washington DC Fa Conference)