[New York Fa Conference] Cultivating Solidly
(Minghui.org) Greetings revered Master and fellow practitioners!
I obtained the Fa in 1998, and thus have practiced Falun Dafa for more than 20 years. During these 20+ years, I was involved in different projects, let go of attachments, and clarified the truth.
Obtaining the Fa and Studying the Fa
It was announced that Master had given a lecture in Beijing in July 1998, after the first public release of his book Zhuan Falun. I thought that I must obtain this book Zhuan Falun. That night, I borrowed a book from a practitioner. At home, I read Zhuan Falun throughout the night, and felt incredibly moved. All the perplexing questions that I had in life were resolved by this book. But I did not start practicing right away. I felt that in order to cultivate, I had to let go of many human notions, but was not ready yet.
I then borrowed all the newly published Dafa books and the videotapes of Master’s lectures. I used all my free time to study the Fa and watch the recordings. During work, when I had a break, I read the books. After dinner at home, the first thing I’d do is watch Master’s lectures. I watched many lectures dozens of times. After roughly two months, I finally decided that I would start cultivating.
Master has repeatedly emphasized in many lectures that Dafa disciples must study the Fa well and study often. I did not dare to slack off. While studying the Fa, I was often stunned by the high-level Fa principles Master taught.
Enlightening to Fa Principles
In the Zhuan Falun chapter, “The Transformation of Karma,” Master said:
“Throughout the generations in the family, ancestors may also accumulate karma for later generations.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
I have read this passage countless times. But in my heart, I always had the feeling that this “generations in the family and ancestors” was about other people, and had no connection to me. But, the Fa manifested what my current cultivation level reflected as the true inner meaning this time.
Every Dafa practitioner is a god and lord in the colossal firmament of this universe, and an ancestor in this big family that makes up the universe’s colossal firmament. If we do not do well, then it will affect every sentient being in all the levels of the universe’s colossal firmament. When I understood this, I was shocked and also realized the weight of the responsibility I shouldered. If we did not do well, we would let down Master, let down Dafa, and let down all the countless beings in the universe.
Every time Master released a new lecture, I told myself to read it from beginning to end at least ten times, in order to really understand the Fa principles and keep up with the progress of Fa-rectification.
In the past, whenever I enlightened to a new Fa principle, I was very shocked and moved. But I gradually calmed down. I realized that enlightening to a Fa principle is a good thing, but whether you can actually do it according to the Fa, that is a whole other issue. Master said:
“...Examine how each and every thing measures up—Achieving these is cultivation” (“Solid Cultivation,” Hong Yin)
Often, when we enlighten to higher principles, it becomes harder to put into action. But of course, if you cannot even enlighten to the Fa principle, then you absolutely cannot accomplish it. So I realized that in daily life, if we are able to truly carry out what the Fa at different levels requires of us, then that is solid cultivation.
Persevering When Participating in NTD Television
With Master’s guidance, Dafa disciples established NTD Television in 2001. From the very first broadcast, I participated in producing a special segment on sports. Before I started practicing, I had a strong attachment to sports. After practicing, I gave it up, but I never would have thought that this would come in handy when NTD Television was established. But as I started working, I began to admire those practitioners who were in charge of doing segments that clarified the truth. I always felt that doing sports programs would not be able to save people. Every week, I spent dozens of hours, and it felt like a waste of time.
“Who you're saving are the lives in ordinary society, so all the more so you need to come closer to ordinary society and have your media outlets become something the general public loves to see and hear. Only that way can you achieve a better effect.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI)
I thus let go of that attachment.
When meditating one time, a scene suddenly appeared before my eyes. I saw Master appear on NTD Television giving a lecture to all sentient beings in the future. Seeing this, I realized that when the truth is revealed, all beings will know about Dafa and Master. At that time, Master may not be giving lectures like now, but using a different method. I understood the deeper meaning of working at NTD. I quietly made a vow to Master: No matter what difficulties I encounter, I will do NTD work until the very end. I absolutely will not give up.
Making the vow was easy, but actually doing it was not so easy. Every time a large-scale Fa conference was held, it was on the weekends. But many major sports games and competitions were usually held on the weekends, which is when the program I produced would have to air. Because I could not prepare in advance, every time there was a Fa conference, I had to work overtime, oftentimes working all night. Even during the Fa conference, I would be thinking about how I needed to complete the program. But all these years, I did not delay the airing of any program due to attending a Fa conference.
Opportunity to Cultivate and Improve
Another challenge is cooperating with fellow disciples. At the beginning, whenever problems arose, even though I could endure it, I still felt resentful. Only later was I able to treat every problem as an opportunity to cultivate and improve.
When there was a major international soccer competition, the beginning games were finished. But, when it came to the final game, the program host had to go out of town. I said that’s okay, you can bring your laptop with you. When I’ve finished the script for the final, you can remotely record the narration. But the practitioner said his car had too many things inside, he could not fit the laptop and did not want to bring it. I asked, “Why don’t you just put it at the bottom of your car seat.” But the practitioner just would not bring the laptop no matter what I said. At first I wanted to keep insisting. But I felt this was a chance for me to cultivate, so I thought, forget it. I did not hold any resentment in my heart.
I then understood that in cultivation, one must encounter all sorts of challenges, and one must face them head on, instead of walking around them. But in my mind I said to Master that there is no way to complete this task without the narration. What should I do? Suddenly I thought of something. I found all the different narration recordings this practitioner had done. I then combined the different words from different recordings into the one for the final game. The end result wasn’t too bad. If one didn’t listen too carefully, one could not tell the difference. I passed this test.
Difficulties Changing from Engineering to Sales for the Epoch Times
Not long after the Shen Yun tour was over in 2010, I received a phone call from an Epoch Times manager. Without explanation, he said, “You join the Epoch Times to do sales.”
In China, I was doing scientific research. In America, I also did work related to electronic engineering research. I had never done sales. I never thought I would have anything to do with sales. I was shocked and just asked, “Why are you asking me to do sales?” What I was implying was that I wasn’t suitable to do sales, you should find someone else. The manager then said, “I saw that you sold Shen Yun tickets pretty well, so you won’t have any issues doing sales for the Epoch Times. Show up for work tomorrow.” In his words, there was no leeway. I knew that there was no such thing as a coincidence, so I agreed to it.
But I felt conflicted when I hung up the phone. I was preparing to look for an ordinary job, but the salary would be pretty decent, and it also would placate my wife’s endless complaints. But, I would have no time left, and yet I truly wished to be involved in more things to validate the Fa. If I really did sales however, even though it was something for validating the Fa, I had no confidence, because I did not have any experience.
“Dafa disciples all have in mind the thought, "We will rush to the front lines, no matter how hard or exhausting it may be or if it means long nights without sleep--we can, and will, do whatever it takes." But, when it comes to management, they falter.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings Vol IX)
I immediately reread that section of the above lecture, and read it again and again.
“Didn't you say that you could do whatever it takes? (Audience laughs) Didn't you all go from not knowing how to do something to knowing how? Then why is it that you can't do this part well? Only by running a media entity well can it grow stronger and have more of the desired effect. Right now how much time is wasted figuring out how to keep it going and scrounging around for money to sustain it--how hard it has been! If you really put some thought and effort into this, then I think the outcome will be great. Whether it's seeking sponsorship or getting ads, all of that behind-the-scenes work done to get capital for the media companies is the same as that of those who act as the public face of the company--the mighty virtue is exactly the same.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings Vol. IX)
After reading this, my heart became brighter and clearer. Working on the front lines, staying up all night without sleeping, these are the things I’ve always done while on projects to assist Master in rectifying the Fa. But now what is most needed is finding sponsors, looking for advertisement (ad) clients, and helping the media secure sufficient funding. So I should become the kind of practitioner whom Master needs for this. Even though it is difficult, could it be any harder than what is encountered by those practitioners in China who have to risk their lives to clarify the truth at all times?
Having understood this, I went to the Epoch Times office the next day. At the beginning, I followed the senior staff person on their sales runs, and learned by doing.
With my technical background, all the electronic equipment are dead objects. As long as you study and research them continuously and do repeated experiments, no matter how advanced, you would be able to figure them out. In sales however, that’s not the case at all. In sales, you interact with a living person. One moment they are happy, another moment if you say something wrong, they may become angry. In order to convince someone to shell out money to place an ad, you have to analyze what the other party is saying and what they’re thinking. Then you have to use different methods to persuade the other party, and then ask them to place an ad. This was not an easy task. This meant that I had to completely change.
Because of my habits from my old work, I became accustomed to living at home by myself or doing research and experiments by myself. But I now had to go out, interact with different people, and introduce them to our newspaper. I was not used to this. I spent all day explaining why they should advertise with the Epoch Times, and thought that I was doing well. But the other party was able to tell right away that I was a newbie and didn’t know anything. They would impatiently tell me, don’t waste your time doing this. Do something else more useful, find a better way to make money. I experienced the difficulty of changing from being an engineer to being a salesperson. Of course doing sales for the Epoch Times would be especially hard.
During a few months time, I had visited all the car dealerships big and small in my local area. Whenever I had the chance, I clarified the truth to each person. One day, after roughly a month, I signed a three-month contract for a half-page black and white ad for a Honda dealership. I later invited the sales manager at this dealership to see the Shen Yun show.
Clarifying the Truth as a Salesperson for the Epoch Times
As a Dafa practitioner, doing sales had one great advantage, which is that you can use the newspaper as a way of meeting with people and clarifying the truth to them, especially those Chinese people who still had misunderstandings about us, or even had negative feelings about us. This requires us to constantly persist in clarifying the truth in order to change their minds. Over the years, I used sales as an opportunity to clarify the truth at deeper levels, and helped many Chinese people change their minds.
One time I bumped into a Chinese salesperson at a car dealership. Even though he did not have good feelings about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), he did not acknowledge our newspaper. When I started clarifying the facts to him, he would say something to contradict whatever I said. But after repeated attempts, he slowly changed. He later even discussed with me some topics exploring life and its deeper meaning. He asked me about different things related to current affairs. Later, he recorded and printed out the principles I told him about the essence of traditional Chinese culture. He taped it to the wall in his office.
There was also a rich Chinese person in the local area. I had the chance to meet him and discovered that his views toward us were very negative. He didn’t read our newspaper, and said many things that were CCP propaganda. After talking with him over a long time, his thoughts underwent a huge change. He later told me that he now reads the Epoch Times every week. He became a good friend of mine.
There was also a Korean working at a Chinese dealership. Every time I saw him, I took the opportunity to clarify the truth. He later told me, “Your newspaper is different from the others, who all want money. After they get the money, they leave. I’ve never met someone like you who would talk with me for so long.”
There was another dealership that was quite far from a Chinese neighborhood. The general manager was a Korean. After clarifying the truth to him, even though there are not many Chinese who go to his dealership, he still wanted to place an ad with me. He said, “I want to support you guys.”
Importance of Perseverance
The key to doing sales is perseverance. Even in difficult times, one must persist. There was a Honda dealership that was the biggest in Atlanta. I tried there many times. But because that dealership has rules that it does not place newspaper ads and only does TV and online ads, the sales manager, who was also a Korean, would always tell me, “Later on when you have a TV station, you can look for me.” But I never gave up. Whenever I had the chance, I went to see him.
One time, I suddenly saw that the dealership had placed an ad in a Korean newspaper. I thought, this is my chance. So I went to see him. He had been promoted to general manager. At the meeting, he said, “Now I don’t need you guys. But maybe if you persuade me, I will change my mind.” So I started to clarify the truth to him.
After a while, I met with him again. He was on the phone, and waved to me to enter his office and wait for him. After he finished his phone call, I was just thinking how I should start talking to him, when he uttered, “I like you,” and proceeded to say just before me, another Chinese newspaper approached him but he gave the sales person less than 30 seconds before rushing her out. He said, “I didn’t like that person but I like you because you are patient and polite. I already decided to work with you guys.” In less than five minutes, he signed a one-year contract for a full page ad.
Developing Skills for Truth Clarification
I saw the defamatory propaganda that the Chinese communist regime spread throughout the world, after July 20, 1999. Thus, like many other practitioners I decided to join the truth clarification projects online. I changed from not knowing how to talk to people online, not knowing where to start at all—to being able to easily answer many questions about science, religion, and faith.
With the progress of Fa rectification, we have a newspaper, television station, different websites, and phone-calling platforms to clarify the truth, greatly expanding the reach that practitioners have to save people.
Of course, Shen Yun is the biggest project for saving people. One time, while promoting Shen Yun at an exhibition expo, I encountered a couple, an American man with a Chinese woman. Because our daughters attended the same dance school to study ballet, I knew them.
I talked to the lady about Shen Yun. After saying a few words, she stopped me and said, “I like all of China’s things. But why do you claim that in all of the world, only you guys are spreading Chinese culture, that you are the most traditional and authentic?” Her face was unhappy. Then she left. I didn’t say anything, and only thought, what should I do? It must be something that I did wrong.
After a short while, I bumped into her again. I had the chance to say, “Sorry I was a bit rushed earlier and didn’t say things properly. What I meant to say was, now many Chinese people do not understand true tradition and true Chinese culture. Because after 1949, real tradition and culture was destroyed in one political campaign after another, especially the Cultural Revolution. For example, Christmas is approaching. Because you have been in America for so long, you must know why Americans celebrate the holiday, as well as New Year’s and Thanksgiving. Well, as a Chinese person, could you tell me why Chinese people celebrate the New Year?”
She was surprised and didn’t say anything. I used the chance to clarify the truth: I said I didn’t know before either. It was only after I came to America that I understood true Chinese culture. Isn’t that ironic? But that is not our fault. It is because from a young age, no one has ever taught us about basic Chinese customs.
In history, the Chinese civilization was known as a country of propriety and decorum. Many neighboring countries also adopted similar customs from China. But now Chinese people with 5,000 years of history don’t even know the meaning of the Confucian five basic virtues: kindness, justice, etiquette, wisdom, and honesty. Yet today Chinese are taught to struggle with heaven, earth, and people, and find boundless joy in doing so. We don’t even know what the Lunar New Year means. Isn’t that a great shame and tragedy? But Shen Yun is able to spread the glory of Chinese civilization to the whole world—shouldn’t it be the pride and joy of the Chinese people?
From then on, when I meet Chinese people, I started talking to them using this point. I saw their reactions and then assessed and summarized which parts I didn’t explain well, which questions I didn’t answer well, or where I could improve. I constantly improved my skills in clarifying the truth. For each question I couldn’t answer, I carefully ruminated on it, found the answer, and made sure that there would not be a second person whom I could not give the answer to.
Facing Cultivation Tests
I’ve cultivated for more than 20 years. I’ve encountered tribulations big and small. Some I’ve passed well, some not so well. One time while working on a project at home, I was using the bathroom and thinking about the project at the same time. When I stood up, I saw that the toilet was filled with blood. Many layers of tissue were all soaked through with blood. I was shocked, and thought, what is this? Is something wrong with my body? Then, my second thought was, forget what it is. I have given my all to Master. Whatever I’m supposed to do, I’ll keep doing. Since then, nothing else of this sort ever happened again.
After this incident, I shared with other practitioners. I thought that I had passed the test quite well. I recently decided to review the path I’ve walked all these years and this incident came to my mind. I was shocked to realize that using higher standards, I actually did not pass that test well. It was only my second thought that was righteous, but the first thought was that of an ordinary person.
I realized that in many incidents that suddenly came up, my first thought was always me, me, me. It would be the second, third, or many other thoughts until I finally had the righteous thought. I decided to become determined to solidly cultivate this point and make a breakthrough. But this was easier said than done. It was like my body had an automatic mechanism. Whenever something happened, the first thought was me, me, me. I felt very dejected.
One time, when our local area had done the last Shen Yun show, I filled my car with kitchenware to drive to the next stop on Shen Yun’s performance tour. But as my Honda car drove out of the city for about an hour, my car’s transmission burned out. I stopped on the side of the highway.
At the next performance stop, there would be local practitioners cooking for the Shen Yun performers. They all depended on the kitchenware I was carrying. My first thought was, no matter what, I have to find a way to transport this kitchenware on time, otherwise it will affect the performance on Shen Yun’s next stop. The timing was very tight, but I remained calm. Just then, a female practitioner who was also in my car said, “Wow, how can I be so unlucky as to be in your car.” I was unmoved and cleared my thoughts.
I called a practitioner to bring me another car, and called a towing company to get my car. It all went well. In less than three hours, I was on the road again with the other car. As I drove all night to the next stop and passed on the kitchenware, my heart felt very grateful. This was the first time I did not think of myself, from the beginning to the end of an incident – not even about the repair of my car. This, of course, was still far from my cultivation goal, which is to have 100 percent righteous thoughts at all times. But I will work solidly toward that goal.
Practitioners Only Have One Road of Diligence to Walk On
I now work full time at a project for clarifying the truth. Aside from the TV segments, Epoch Times sales, and being responsible for part of the Southeast United States’ Shen Yun promotional video productions and Shen Yun reporting, when I’m at home I help my wife cook.
I oftentimes have to submit work for different projects at the same time. Sometimes, I cannot complete them on time and feel pressured by the heavy workload. Many times I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have multiple me’s to do the work. The only solution was to sleep less. I seldom get to sleep before two a.m., frequently getting to sleep at close to four a.m. I only eat two meals a day and sometimes go a full day without eating. During the busiest times, I could skip eating for two whole days, only drinking water. During the Olympics, I spent roughly 120 hours a week doing special segments. Even though doing this work was hard, my heart felt very fulfilled.
Saving the Main Soul
We know that in past universes, the gods who chose to save people decided to do it when humanity was still not as corrupt. Anyway, they only saved the Assistant Soul. Through a lot of effort, they only saved the assistant soul out of the Three Realms.
Today, our Master is saving people and spreading the Fa at a time in the universe’s history when humanity is at its most degenerate. Master is saving the Main Soul, and bringing people to the positions of gods and lords in the universe. This is something never before seen in history. This is unprecedented and something all gods could not have imagined. All the gods of the universe admire and respect Master tremendously because of this. Shouldn’t we as Dafa disciples cherish this precious chance?
Why do we have to save humanity? Because in the gradual transformation of the universe for billions and billions of years, they were just like us—they left their beautiful heavenly kingdoms in different levels of the universe to accompany Master to the human world.
But at this most critical moment in the last stage of the Fa rectification, if they cannot be saved or obtain the Fa, all the efforts for these billions of years would be for naught. Everything old in the universe will disintegrate. We as Dafa disciples are just one step ahead. Even though we have obtained the Fa, if we cannot fulfill our vows at the last moment, we will be just like them—all efforts are for naught. So there is no other path for Dafa practitioners to take, there is no way out. There is only solid cultivation and diligence until the end.
Lastly, I want to end today’s speech with a passage from Master’s Fa:
“Right now none of you need to say how magnificent I am, or this and that about me, your master. In the future, take a look back and you'll see that everything I did was to establish things for you.” (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
Thank you Master! Thank you everyone!
(Presented at the 2019 New York Fa Conference)