Germany: Cultivating As a Member of the Tian Guo Marching Band
(Minghui.org) I became a member of the European Tian Guo Marching Band. Then, I became a member of the coordinating team. I want to share how I changed as a result of participating and truly cultivating in this Dafa project.
At the outset, I was very proud to be a part of this precious project, as it is meant to save sentient beings. I actively participated in meetings, asked questions, and accepted different responsibilities, all meant to improve the project.
Over time, I felt that my co-coordinators reacted slowly and passively. It appeared to me that they were really not interested in saving sentient beings, and just wanted to get the job done. I believed that we should be more active and take part in more parades.
However, my co-coordinators were of a different opinion. My suggestions were denied and I asked myself if they were truly interested in saving sentient beings. Why should we proceed so slowly? I held negative thoughts that I refused to let go. They became more and more obvious.
I frequently noticed problems in others. For example, one of the coordinators wanted to take on more tasks, but was unable to do a good job with the tasks he was already involved in. As a result, he needed to be frequently corrected when it came to information that was passed on to other team members. Another coordinator often sought outside help to solve problems, while another lacked the ability to make decisions. My negative thoughts became more notable and got stronger.
And, we were preparing for the European tour. Then on top of all this, I was very busy at work and my temper was getting short. The conflicts worsened. Eventually, I suffered mental overload and contemplated quitting the coordination team. However, none of the other members could take on my part of the project. So, I decided to be a member of the band, but only play an instrument and take part in parades. I definitely did not want to be involved in the coordination.
This was a solution that took me away from conflicts and I would experience less pressure. I would still be part of the project and keep my vow. This would be good – right? When I met with the other coordinators, I told them my decision and reasoned that I needed more time for my cultivation. There could be no point in going on without studying the Fa and doing the exercises.
Attachments to Time and Combativeness
Just a few days later I dreamed that the old forces were happily dancing around Master. Master stood in the middle, looking compassionate. He did not look sad or angry. I cried when I saw this. I was responsible for this scene. However, no matter what I thought to be right or wrong, or what I did – Master still protected me. He bore my burden, so I could continue to cultivate to higher levels and save sentient beings.
When I woke up, my face was covered with tears, and I realized that I could not just walk away from the team. I had to look inside. Besides, it did not matter what I thought, this was the path that Master had arranged for me. It was not important as to what I thought or wanted to accomplish. As a practitioner I had to walk the path arranged by Master.
When I looked inside, I found that the attachment to combativeness was the root of my problem, as well as the attachment to time. I wanted to hurry, worrying that not enough sentient beings would be saved. These two attachment were the reasons for my problems, and the old forces strengthened them.
My mistake was that I did not reject these attachments when they appeared. I just accepted them because I thought that I was in the right. I placed more value on the number of parades we attended instead of the cooperation amongst team members.
I admitted that the thoughts that arose in my mind had to do with these two attachments. I did not recognize them in time, and they made me believe that they were right, and that I was in the right to follow them.
“This person thinks: 'Maybe I’m a Buddha, and perhaps what I wear is also a Buddha’s robe.' Then he will find that what he wears is indeed a Buddha’s robe. 'Wow, I’m indeed a Buddha.' He will be very excited. 'Perhaps I’m not even a small Buddha.' With another look, he will find himself a big Buddha. 'Perhaps I’m even greater than Li Hongzhi!' He will take a look again: 'Wow, I’m indeed greater than Li Hongzhi.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun, Version 2000)
Deeper Level Attachments
It slowly dawned on me that the two above-mentioned attachments arose from attachments on a deeper level – attachments to reputation and fame, sentiment, and to self-interest. I wanted to be more important than others, and I pushed to have my suggestions accepted by the group. I wanted to be in charge and affirmed by others.
But I cultivate Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, which require me to let go of fundamental attachments, such as fame and reputation, selfishness and sentiment, while walking my cultivation path. Once I recognized these attachments, I asked myself, whenever a thought appeared, if it was an outcome of my fame-stricken heart, and if I wanted to hold on to time. Thus, from then on, my actions were always based on the Fa.
Furthermore, I learned to accept the shortcomings of others. I learned to note their virtues and be empathetic when they had difficulties. Additionally, I rectified my thoughts and no longer thought that I no longer would notice the faults of others. Cultivation means to open one's heart and be part of the one body, thus, one can achieve higher cultivation levels as one body. It is a simple thought, but it took me a long time to cultivate that, and do it from the heart.
Ups and Downs of the European Tour
We arranged the first big marching band tour two years ago, and visited several cities. This helped us gain experience. The second large trip, undertaken in the same year, took nine days, and included major and smaller cities. There were many Chinese tourists at our stops. The tour commenced after the European Fa Conference in Prague. The band proceeded to perform in Vienna, in Munich during the Octoberfest, in Zurich, and Lucerne.
Preparations took about a year, given everything that had to be arranged, such as the route, the buses, the parades, informing local practitioners, lodging, food, and much more. I worked almost 10 hours daily, studied the Fa, did the exercises, practiced my instrument, and after I went to my room I worked another 3 hours on preparations for the tour.
Arranging the lodging and overseeing the payments took a lot of my time. We gave a deadline for the room arrangements, as we had to know how many members would partake in the Europe tour. Thus, it was easier to arrange for rooms and food from local practitioners. However, we still had more members commit to participate and we needed to make adjustments.
One member asked to participate, but not perform in the band, or others decided to participate or cancel. Given these individual changes, the overall plans had to be changed – concerning the number of rooms, payments, and so on. The changes had to be provided to the local practitioners, to make sure that they knew the actual number of meals needed for the band.
When arranging the first tour I had a hard time accommodating and accepting all the changes. I believed that the tour was arranged to save sentient beings and all members were obligated to participate. I was of the opinion that Master arranged the number of participants. I felt that if one made changes or canceled, one neglected to follow the Fa.
Later, I changed my inital opinion. After the first tour, we held an experience sharing meeting and I found out that one supporter first registered, and then canceled. However, instead of going on the tour, she helped some people quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This showed me that Master arranged everything, and I must accept changes and others' opinion without complaint.
When planning the second tour I held no negative thoughts. I didn't complain about any changes and just accepted them. I understood the Fa principle to let go of myself and first think of the needs of others. This is also part of my cultivating compassion.
The coordination team experienced much that needed to be resolved while on tour. I noticed that one of the coordinators had to count the money we received from our members late at night. Thus, he could not do the exercises in the morning. Another coordinator could not go to bed until he had solved a problem.
There were many last minute changes in the plans. Shortly before our departure to a parade, one of the members disappeared. Thus, the entire band had to look for him, which resulted in us arriving late at the parade starting point.
There were many incidents in Switzerland. We arrived late after a long bus trip from Munich. The problem was that we did not have enough cash to pay for our lodging.
Our driver had an accident which required police intervention. Then, the driver parked the bus on the street and local practitioners had to find him. He had to move the bus. These and other problems needed to be resolved. Thus, we experienced many late nights. All of these, and much more, were tests for me to show if I resolved them based on the Fa.
These situations taught me that I should not complain about others. I only concentrated on resolving the problems that confronted us. I no longer thought of the “why,” who was at fault, and who had the responsibility to resolve it. I was available to resolve the problem, help others solve their issues, or support anyone with righteous thoughts.
I realized later on that the negative thoughts had disappeared from my body. This does not mean that they happened one after the other without my recognizing them. I noticed that these negative thoughts no longer appeared in given situations. This showed me that I had let go of these thoughts. Not that they did not appear from time to time, but I could ignore them.
Dealing with Interruptions
On our second day in Munich we went to the Marienplatz to give a concert. On arrival I was told that one of the members had left her instrument on the bus, and the bus was on its way to the parking lot– too far from where we were. I wondered if I should ask local practitioners to drive to the park – which was quite a drive. There were also other problems. I could not concentrate during our performance and I wondered what to do. I wondered how all that could have happened. Did we have a loophole? Was there another attachment I had to let go?
We performed some songs, then a practitioner gave a speech about Falun Dafa and the vicious persecution in China. Then, we performed again, and then another speech – repeating this way several times.
I noticed that people would stop, listen to the band, and then leave when someone spoke. One time I saw that at the beginning of a speech, a Chinese practitioner approached two Chinese tourists who had listened to our performance. The practitioner began to distribute Dafa informational materials.
The two Chinese tourists turned around and were about to leave. I sent the thought, “Don't leave, we came here especially for you.” Surprisingly, the two Chinese tourists stopped and accepted the Dafa materials. Watching that, I had tears in my eyes.
At that moment all my problems dissolved. I was in a time-warp where time stood still. It was a field filled with compassion, and I was in state where no one and nothing could disturb me. It was just as Master said, “True thoughts transform the whole sky bright...” (“Stirred Reflection,” Hong Yin IV)
Master Is by My Side All the Time
During this year on my cultivation path I began to realize that Master is always by my side, pointing out my attachments, protecting me, and pointing me to the correct path.
Why do I still fall when I face a test? It is maybe because I don't understand Master's hints, or I might believe that the hints do not conform to Dafa's principles – Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance – and I believe that they are normal issues. Maybe I don't understand the hints because of my attachments, or maybe because I can't let go of my attachments. I must remember to let go of my attachments if I want to cultivate to a higher level.
(Presented at the 2019 German Fa Conference)