[New York Fa Conference] Cultivating in Falun Dafa as Particle of the EpochTimes
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master, and fellow practitioners!
I am a Falun Dafa practitioner from Hong Kong. After college, I did part time typesetting for the Epoch Times. Then, I became a full-time salesperson a few years ago. From designing truth clarification fliers, being involved in media operations, contacting mainstream society, to resisting bad business behavior, and negotiating with owners of big business groups, I feel that every step involves cultivation. It is a process of letting go of oneself and benefiting the entire business.
My father used to say: “businessmen are fraudulent.” So I held a strong bias towards anything to do with business, and I felt contempt for salespeople. After I practiced in Falun Dafa, and read Master's teachings, I still held onto these notions. Master said, “There was a saying in the old days, “Nine out of ten merchants are fraudulent.” That is a saying of everyday people. I would say that this is a matter of the human heart.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
I still held on to my notions, until the managing director of the Epoch Times asked me to be a full time salesperson. At the beginning, I was afraid to change. My strength is in graphic design, which I did for the Epoch Times for over 10 years. I could cultivate at the same time without giving up my well-paid everyday job. I knew that Master wants the media to get into a positive cycle. Thus, I thought that it was time to give up my “cozy nest.” Master wanted me to let go of selfishness and be involved in the overall development.
Breaking Through Human Notions
When accepting the position, I had no clue about the basic concepts of sales. Thus, I just went with other practitioners to visit potential clients, where we clarified the truth. They were moved by our presentation, and were willing to sponsor small amounts, but they seldom signed a contract. I was complacent and felt that those people were saved. A colleague said, “You are like a teacher lecturing kids. However, if they didn’t give up their notions, they won’t accept what you said.”
Indeed, do I truly understand their barriers? Can I just keep on saying what I want, or should I try to make them understand and accept what we told them? It’s a critical issue when involved in sales, but also when writing articles, doing designs, and the typesetting I used to do, as well as the manner in which I speak. If I keep on talking, the other party would not speak. How do I know the obstacle that stops them from understanding?
When doing media work, if we focus on what we want to say without paying attention to people’s feelings and preferences, we are unable to clarify the truth based on their thoughts and understandings. If I didn’t give up my notions against business, I cannot understand the market and customers. This leads to the crux of the issue, “If our media doesn’t generate advertisements, how will we survive?
Whenever Master used to talk about our media getting into a positive cycle, my heart was heavy. There was still quite a distance for the Epoch Times in Hong Kong, to achieve normal operations. Practitioners experienced personal conflicts. Lack of manpower and resources due to outside pressure and suppression made it difficult to break even. As a free newspaper, we can reach a certain amount of people and help them know the truth. But, we haven’t broken into mainstream society. Seeing that practitioners became exhausted and numb, I was anxious, but had no solutions.
Shen Yun, under Master’s guidance, has set a good example for different Dafa projects. They train people and aim to reach a very high level. We realized that any method can be used to save people, and provide a better idea for the media’s direction.
Reasons Behind and Against Breakthroughs
The heavenly climate changed drastically in 2014. Many corrupt Chinese officials were arrested, which confirmed the Epoch Times’ predictions. It was a great opportunity for our media.
The managing director arranged for a business genius to work with me. I absorbed all the knowledge she gave me. Her business sense completely conforms to the embodiment of the Fa in the human world. It helped me understand many things.
When I let go of self, I could better appreciate the traditional values cherished by Hong Kong's people. I could speak about the Epoch Times values and Dafa truth in a way more suitable for mainstream society. Facing those with different ideas, I could keep calm and understand their mindset, allowing me to dissolve their impediment.
During that time, we were visiting clients daily, signing contracts with renowned international and local brands. Everyday people, out of respect and admiration, gave us contacts of owners of listed companies. We were able to reach out to the mainstream to clarify the truth about Dafa and media.
I also found that whenever we faced conflicts among ourselves and didn’t look within, the clients would become disagreeable. There was no hope to sign a contract. Therefore, no matter what kind of conflict we faced, we learned to let go of self and work together. I realized that how people behave is related to our cultivation state. Our state and view on matters will have an impact on whether they can be saved.
Unfortunately, we could seldom renew contracts with big brands, for two reasons. One is that many people in those big companies do not know the truth. There is resistance within the company as well as from their clients. Our reporters were also treated unfairly when trying to get interviews with them. It is difficult to reach those mainstream people and clarify the truth face to face. The other reason is that the Chinese police went to their business in China and threatened them.
We need to make a breakthrough in the mainstream and change the situation of being marginalized.
Cooperating as One Body
The Epoch Times in Hong Kong started selling its papers at 200 newsstands in 2016. But to hit the convenience stores on major roads would cost 10s of 1,000s of US dollars. Distribution companies didn’t want to get involved. In order to keep the print runs, we distributed free paper at the same time. To build as a media brand, we told practitioners not to distribute at the truth clarification sites. However, one day I saw a practitioner at the site in the financial district giving out the paper. I asked her to stop doing it, she said, “You stop. I will never stop giving out the paper.”
I was surprised to see that some practitioners couldn’t understand why we are selling the paper instead of giving it away for free. All these years, practitioners have taken the paper as means to clarify the truth and save people. They have a reason to think that way. But, in order to get into the mainstream, we cannot treat it as a flier. We should make it into a real brand in the market, like what Shen Yun did.
“When your paper first began, you all viewed it as a vehicle for clarifying the truth and didn’t think much further than that. And some people even regarded it like a flyer. Things are of course different now, and you have gradually come to realize that you should no longer harbor the thought that this is just something temporary, and realized that you have to run this paper well and operate it like a normal entity.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
It’s not so easy to have consensus and form one body. The Epoch Times needs normal operation, which requires to change staff’s mindset. A normal operation calls for the practitioners involved to give up the mindset of being a volunteer and abide by the rules like an employee. Even if the salary or compensation is low, one cannot come and go at will. An employee needs to be managed and follow the company’s requirements, even if he or she has a different understanding. One needs to let go of oneself when facing unsolvable conflicts with other practitioners. One has to cooperate wholeheartedly, even if it means doing things one is not good at. Normal operation calls for a clear job description and responsibility. And one has to be responsible for one’s words and behavior.
It is an unprecedented high requirement and good xinxing test for all the practitioners involved. It’s a path that must be taken by the Epoch Times to achieve normal operations. Only then can we establish a root in society, and leave this media to the future.
The daily group study and weekly group study ensured that we channel our efforts into one. To me the daily group Fa-study is extremely important. But sometimes I couldn’t focus. The thought karma made me drowsy. And various information popped up to interfere. I knew that I could not continue like that.
In the summer of 2016, I started to recite the Fa at the group study. I was surprised to see that when I focused my mind, I could recite the first lecture. Gradually, I recited all of Zhuan Falun at the group study. If I cannot concentrate, I won’t be able to recite properly. No matter what conflicts or problems I encountered, after Fa-study, everything seemed easy and smooth. Thus, I joined the morning group study. It helps me to keep in mind that I am a Dafa practitioner and will face any test with rationality.
Selling the Epoch Times at Convenience Stores
At the beginning of this year, the managing director asked me to negotiate with convenience stores to sell the paper. Perhaps the heavenly climate had changed. When I called the convenience store purchase people and clarified the truth, they agreed and gave us favorable conditions.
To sell in the stores is only one step. More challenging is the distribution. Everyday media hired distribution companies to do it and the cost is tens of thousands of U.S. dollars. We needed practitioners’ help to take the papers to the stores in their local district.
To avoid interference, we only informed respective managers before signing contracts. We finally signed contracts one week before the launch. The director immediately contacted the Falun Dafa Association and held a meeting with practitioners who would be involved in the distribution. Practitioners worked together and within a short period of time, the paper was sold in 500 convenience stores in Hong Kong.
There were still last minute arrangements to be made before the launch, as we had to take into consideration practitioners’ time and driving routes. The convenience store group kept reminding us that the paper be delivered before 8 a.m. They tried to persuade us to do only 300 stores, in case we couldn’t handle it. But, I knew that with 500 stores, not only those on the transportation hubs, but the stores in some communities, would be included. It means more people can see the paper in the market. The weekend before the launch, we did a test drive with all practitioners involved.
On April 1, all of our managers did another test drive at mid-night and checked each location. All the distribution people were at their posts. Apart from a few stores unaware of us selling papers and in need of some communication, the rest went pretty well.
On the first day, only 10 stores didn’t accept the paper, because they didn’t receive the notice. On the second day, almost all the stores took the paper. The contact person said, “you guys are pretty fast in sorting things out on the second day.” I know practitioners are capable of anything as long as we put our hearts in it.
But, on the second day, the stores group supervisor in charge of our project was upset and told me that we got many complaints from the stores and their internal marketing departments, for various reasons. She said if there were more complaints, she would stop carrying our paper. I immediately asked our people in each district and found out that some were misunderstandings, while others were violations of the mainstream company culture due to our good intentions. I felt bad and held some resentments. I knew that wasn’t a right state.
“The bigger you perceive the challenges to be, the harder things will be to carry out, since “the appearance stems from the mind.” And so the task will become increasingly burdensome. When I say “the appearance stems from the mind,” by that I also mean that the difficulty stems from your overstating the importance of the matter itself and seeing yourself in a lesser light. Don’t take any such things to be a big deal, for with something as significant as saving sentient beings you should just do what you are supposed to do, going about it in a composed manner. When you encounter things that don’t sound so good or that aren’t what you hoped for, don’t take it to heart, and just nobly and confidently do what you are supposed to. If you don’t let the evil’s interference sway you, bad factors won’t arise from you, the evil will become trivial, you will become towering and massive, and your righteous thoughts will be ample. That’s truly the case.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
Looking within, I saw that my worries were the recognition of the old forces’ arrangements. If I worked in an everyday company, I might have received similar complaints. But I wouldn’t panic. Why now? Because I was afraid that the stores would not sell our paper due to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), or from their colleagues and business partners who didn’t know the truth. Isn’t that acknowledging the old forces’ arrangements? If I didn’t have a steadfast mind, the tribulations on the other party might be enlarged. I knew I should deal with it like a normal business.
The next day, I called the supervisor and explained what happened and how we solved the problems. I told her it’s the initial stage. After the run-in period, it would be fine. She said, “I know you people have been quite cooperative.” But she also hinted that it was not so peaceful on her side. I knew she was under pressure. So, I called every store reluctant to carry the paper. Many problems were solved in the end.
In doing different projects, I realized that as long as we keep strong righteous thoughts, many things were taken care of by Master, who was assisted by the divine. It was not our capability that made it happen, but how much heart we put in it, our cultivation state, and our mind to save people would be reflected in the process.
Holding Preliminary Dance Competition in Hong Kong
We tried to hold the dance competition in Hong Kong in 2012, but it was undermined by the CCP thugs. Due to the CCP’s interference, the venue contracts for the preliminary competition in 2016 were rescinded twice on a short notice. In the end, the event was held in Taiwan.
We again held the dance competition in 2018, and this time signed a contract with an international institution. Unfortunately, they succumbed to the CCP pressure and broke the contract three weeks before the competition. It turned out that the Hong Kong government called and demanded that they not work with us. We didn’t hold any fear, nor wanted to give up. We started to contact private venues.
Two weeks before the competition, we learned that the sports center of a prestigious university in Hong Kong was available. We were cautious not to let the evil get the information. CCP’s agents were probing the venue information everywhere. We saw all their moves and dealt with them wisely. When it seemed that the competition would be held in Taiwan, we quietly signed the contract with the sports center. It was a harrowing process like a blockbuster movie.
The day before we paid the rental fee, we received a notice to change the venue. I explained it to the sports center and canceled the venue. Now, it was really going to be held in Taiwan. The next day, another notice came to let us still hold it in Hong Kong. I was shocked and had mixed feelings. I reminded myself not to be moved. I immediately contacted the sports center and booked the place.
Perhaps because of all those maneuvers, the evil CCP’s thugs never figured out where exactly the preliminary competition would be held. On the morning of the competition, the contestants and staff were taken to the venue on a bus. Two hours before the competition, the head of the evil CCP’s organization gathered his thugs outside the venue and chanted bad words. They tried to break into the sports center. The center’s staff called the police and sent several dozens of security guards. I took the opportunity to clarify the truth to the university’s administrative staff, asking them to watch the competition. When they saw the that the competition had nothing to do with what the thugs were cursing, the tense expression on their faces relaxed. A high ranking official from the university’s security department walked pass the thugs and got into the sports center. He shook hands with me and said, “Your event will go on smoothly. ”
It rained heavily on that day. The evil thugs were soaked. We stayed inside and completed the preliminary competition without interference.
The official told me that he used to work at the legislative council. Among all the appeal groups, he admired Falun Gong the most, because Falun Gong is the only group that’s really peaceful and rational, yet perseverant. I was quite moved, by the choice this person made. I thought about Hong Kong practitioners’ efforts during the past years. I was in awe, reflecting on Master’s arrangements to save sentient beings.
Upon departure, over a dozen security guards shook hands with us and watched us board the bus. The police formed a human wall to block the thugs and made sure we left safely.
The success of the dance competition in Hong Kong laid a good foundation for next year’s application. It awakened the sentient beings, showing the international influence of our media group and at the same time suffocating the evil CCP and its followers.
Cultivating Away Shortcomings
Reflecting the path Hong Kong practitioners take to validate Dafa and save sentient beings, I realize that no one is perfect. We all need to cultivate. On each of us there are elements arranged by the old forces and shortcomings on the human level.
Some lack of civility, that is nurtured by traditional culture, has to be overcome. Some are tainted by the party indoctrination. Some imposed others strict standards of their own making. Yet every one has their merits.
We strive to cultivate ourselves and cooperate with the whole body. I think the way to negate the old forces’ arrangement is to let go of oneself, follow the guidance of the Fa, make up for each other’s shortcomings, expand our capacity, and benefit others. Only then, can we “... attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism.” (“Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature,” Essentials For Further Advancement)
Thank you, Master, and fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2019 New York Fa Conference)