[Hong Kong Fa Conference] 23 Year Long Cultivation Path
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master and fellow practitioners!
I feel honored to share my cultivation experiences of 23 years, and what I have understood and learned, with fellow practitioners.
Obtaining the Fa at a Young Age
My mother’s colleague introduced Falun Dafa to her in 1996, telling her that practicing this cultivation could help people recover from illnesses and they could return to good health. Many people with complicated and hard-to-cure illnesses did recover without treatment.
My mother, who had never practiced any qigong, started on her cultivation path with a dubious attitude. At that time, I was nine years old. One day, I saw that Mother was practicing the first Dafa exercise. She was stretching and stretching, which seemed quite fun, so I copied her. I wanted to learn and she did not stop me.
Witnessing the Power of Dafa at the Early Stage of Cultivation
Not long after Mother started to cultivate, she recovered from her old foot injury. Even her chronic illnesses disappeared. As she disciplined herself to follow Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, she also improved her character.
Mother used to argue with people if she thought she was in the right, but she stopped after she started to cultivate. She worked diligently and was nominated as the most hardworking employee almost every year in her company.
Since a very young age, I had suffered from many illnesses. On average, I visited the hospital two to three times every month, and my health worsened when it got closer to holidays and festivals. My parents were tormented by my poor health. However, everything changed after I began to cultivate.
I understood the Fa principles and knew that it would reduce my karma. When I was 10 years old, I suddenly had symptoms of kidney inflammation. I recognized the symptoms to be kidney inflammation, as a classmate had to postpone her studies for a year, because she had to be hospitalized for kidney inflammation. I knew very well that this was to eliminate my karma and my heart did not waver. I believed firmly in Dafa and Master and recovered. I did not let this affect my schooling and did not stay home even one day.
In this way, my family of 3 plus relatives, 10 of us immersed ourselves in Dafa. We went out to the practice site for the exercises in the morning and joined the Fa study group at night.
Onset of the Persecution
I thought we would continue our peaceful cultivation for the rest of our lives. However, we did not expect that after July 20, 1999, because of the onset of the persecution, we could no longer go to the practice site. The Fa study group was disbanded, and the practitioner who was in charge of the practice site was arrested and detained. Being still a child, I did not understand why the television could broadcast such deceitful programs, and I was not sure what happened. With all this on our hearts, Mother and I decided to go to Beijing with practitioners from our practice site, to appeal for justice for Falun Dafa. We left by train to Beijing in December 1999 on our journey to Tiananmen Square.
We arrived in Beijing the next morning. There was a cold wind when we started on our journey. At Tiananmen Square, before I had the chance to take a look at the surrounding environment, practitioners had already unfolded the banner, and the rest of us did the second exercise.
Within less than a minute, officers in plainclothes arrived and forced us into the police cars by hitting us. Then, we were detained in an unknown detention center. I only remember that we were detained for a very long time, and there was a continuous influx of practitioners. As there were many people in the cell, we had to sit on the floor with our legs bent.
After a long time, they registered us and forced us to board the train to our hometowns. At that time, I did not know how to send forth righteous thoughts, and I also did not know that I needed to reject the arrangements by the old forces.
Although we followed the instructions by the policemen, we did not manage to get home successfully. Mother was taken to a prison, while I was taken to the neighborhood committee, as I was too young to be detained in prison. The neighborhood committee said that before I could be released to go home, I must write a guarantee statement to acknowledge that I was in the wrong and that I promised that I would not practice Falun Dafa again. However, I just kept crying and refused to write the statement. My father came to pick me up. At that time, I only held the thought that I would not write that statement. In the end, they had no choice, but to let my father take me home.
After that, my heart was filled with sorrow as I missed my mother and did not feel like attending school. Although we knew where Mother was being detained, we were not allowed to visit her. We could only deliver some clothes so I hid a letter within those clothes to encourage my mother, so she would persevere.
Mother was released after one month. She had gone on a hunger strike with other practitioners in the prison. Although she went through a lot of hardship, she did not give in. I was so happy that she persevered. Since then, the police often came to my house to harass us. They took Mother to the police station, claiming that she would be back soon. However, she did not come back. It was only after my father and mother’s company boss sought information did they find out where she was. And only after the company boss vouched for Mother did they release her.
I was about to take the entrance exam for senior high school. In order to avoid the harassment from the police, Mother decided to move out of the house so as not to affect my studies. Although we were far away from harassment, we also lost contact with fellow practitioners. Since we did not know how to go online, we cultivated by ourselves.
Although we were steadfast in Dafa, we did not really clarify the truth. We wasted a lot of time. After I went to college, I gradually managed to contact other practitioners and realized that I had to do the three things. However, the nightmare from my childhood still loomed over me and I did not dare approach strangers to clarify the truth. When I tried to talk to the classmates whom I was closer with, I did not tell them that I was a practitioner. I always tried to clarify the truth about Dafa to them from a third party’s point of view. The attachment of fear is the cause of this.
Being Free to Cultivate
After I started to work, I was offered a chance to go to Japan. I knew that I did not do well when I was in China, so I must work harder to compensate for what I had not done well. The first thing I did in Japan was to log onto the Minghui website to contact local practitioners. Then, I participated in activities to promote the Fa in the local park. The sky was clear that day and the sakura trees were in full bloom.
I saw a practitioner meditating under a sakura tree. I walked over and said to that practitioner, “I am also a Dafa practitioner.” That practitioner smiled and said, “In that case, come and meditate with me.” Since 1999, it had been ages since I had the chance to do the exercise in broad daylight. I was very touched. From that moment on, my journey on the path of the Fa-rectification started.
In my childhood, I had learned the flute and piccolo at school and had some basic knowledge of music. Therefore, my entry into the Tian Guo Marching Band was quite smooth. However, when I saw that many practitioners had joined the band many years ago but were not playing up to par and not marching in the parade in an orderly fashion, I had many complaints in my heart. I felt that when I was young, I had played pieces which were much more difficult than what we were playing now. I had participated in the city-level military band competition and formation band parades, therefore the much simpler stuff in the Tian Guo Marching Band should not be too difficult for me.
That was the beginning of my developing many attachments, such as showing off and being happy about myself. However, I hid them deep within me, not showing them to anyone. Thus, apart from the times when I participated in the band’s activities, I almost never practiced my instrument. I thought that there was no need for me to do so and practicing wastes time. I thought that the standard of my playing was sufficient to meet the band’s requirement.
Taiwan’s professional conductor came to Japan in 2015, to give us some guidance. He pointed me out in front of everyone and said that my playing could not merge into the whole band’s playing. He also said that I was living within my own world. Initially, I was disgruntled and did not look within.
During parades, I often played very loudly on purpose and looked for excuses, such as my need to play louder to make the existence of the flute section be heard, as the other flutes were not played as well. Once when I was performing with a Taiwanese practitioner, that practitioner told me kindly that although I was playing quite well, my playing stood out and was not blending with the sound from the other musicians. Although I said thank you and that I would take note of it in the future, I did not pay much attention nor take her advice to heart. I had no intention of changing my ways. I am really regretful when I think about that now.
It was only until one day, as I was driving home after band practice while listening to the Shen Yun Orchestra CD that I finally understood something. Although I had been listening to that CD every day, on that day, I suddenly felt the stunning energy of harmonized music. The instruments interacted so well. Be it a peaceful prelude, the fall and rise to a climax, or expressing vast greatness, none of these pieces had any outstanding sounds or sounds that seemed to emphasize itself. At that very moment, I finally understood the meaning of harmonized music. Actually, the participation in the band is also part of my cultivation. I should also use the Fa to discipline myself when it comes to practicing the instrument. Master has already let me know how I should go about doing it a long time ago.
Attachment to Validating Oneself
“There's something you must pay attention to: you are validating the Fa, not validating yourselves. A Dafa disciple's responsibility is to validate the Fa. Validating the Fa is cultivation, and what you remove in the cultivation process is none other than the attachment to self; you can't, instead, go and exacerbate the problem of validating oneself, even if you do it unwittingly. When you're validating the Fa and cultivating, that is a process of removing self, and only when you do that are you really validating yourself. That's because ultimately you have to let go of all your human things, and only after you've let go of all your human attachments can you step out from the throngs of everyday people.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI)
Yes, it is the attachment to validating myself that caused me to have the attachment to showing off, being happy about myself, complaining about others and looking down on others. Thus, I was not able to accept the advice from others, which resulted in my destroying the harmony of the band’s overall performance. I finally realized that the beauty of music originates from the cooperation from the different instrument sections, where there should be no emphasis on oneself, but to let go of one’s own self.
The Taiwan professional conductor hoped that Japan’s band could also perform like the Taiwan band. Thus lessons from professional music teachers for a specific instrument was important. Initially, I had some contradictory feelings about it. After a few lessons, I realized that the everyday people teachers of Japan do not use very serious training methods for their adult music students. I felt that there was nothing practical to be learned and it was just a waste of time and money, so I had wanted to stop taking lessons. However, my husband, who is a practitioner, hoped that I could persevere so he helped me to look for another teacher. Thus, I went to listen to his trial lesson with an unwilling attitude. During the lesson, I was surprised that the teacher actually pointed out my fundamental playing problem and taught me some correct practicing techniques.
This made me realize that I am still validating myself when I did not want to go for lessons and thought that the teacher would not be able to teach me anything useful. In fact, as long as I let go of myself and believe in Master, I will be able to gain something.
Master mentioned in the 2010 New York Conference:
“Disciple: Right now, the Divine Land Marching Band in New York is studying a lot of music theory, with people even having to take exams. Is this a waste of time?
Master: You’re saying there’s a lot of music theory that they are being required to study? Is that really the case? At present it’s not feasible to try to become professionals. There are many things that need to be done to validate the Fa. As long as you are clear [on how to play the music], that’s good enough; you don’t need to become a professional caliber member of the Divine Land Marching Band. Dafa disciples are shouldering so many duties at the same time. It’s understandable if you all want to do each of the things that you’re doing somewhat better, but you really need to weigh your priorities carefully.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
From Master’s Fa, I understood that everyone needed to master the fundamental music theory in the pieces that the Tian Guo Marching Band performs. I finally understood that I had to let go of the attachment to validating myself and learn the correct way to play. I gradually accumulated my knowledge in music theory, and my tone quality improved without me realizing it. My breath control has become more skilled and the music that I play sounds more like music now. I know that I have chosen the correct direction.
Elevating as One Body
While improving my personal playing skills, I also noticed the state of the other practitioners in the band.
“Question: How can we better improve as a whole and elevate as a whole?
Teacher: If you cooperate with each other well then you can do it. Everyone's realm is different, and I'm telling you now, Master has seen that some of the disparities among students have increased. It wasn't apparent before, but now they've increased, and the more it's toward the end the bigger the disparities. So there are bound to be differences in people's understandings. The key is how to cooperate better and coordinate better with one another.” (“Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. III)
Although the above Fa was not referring to the band, but there were some practitioners who were falling behind. I could not just improve myself. If there is a change, I would like to help these fellow practitioners improve, cooperate and improve as one body. However, I lived far from Tokyo, thus although I had the heart to help, I could not do so. Master saw my sincere heart and one year later, I got a job in a company in Tokyo, bringing me one step nearer to the band.
After moving to Tokyo, the band hoped that I could lead the flute and clarinet sections in their practice. At that time, I had the passion but had no experience, so I looked up some basic music theory, explained them to the practitioners, took reference from my flute teacher’s teaching methods, had everyone practice the basics, slowly adjust my pace according to the practitioners’ level of acceptance and understanding, and gradually gained experience.
I did not expect that a few months later, the band coordinator asked me if I could take up the technical coordination job. I thought simply that the technical coordination job is just to share technical information with the Taiwan and Asian Pacific countries’ coordinators, so I immediately agreed. However, I did not expect that not only did I become the window for exchanging the band’s technical information, I also needed to be in charge of the whole band’s technical standard, make plans for the band’s practices and lead the band practices. I was dumbfounded.
Believing in Master and the Fa
Luckily, my husband studied with me the practice methods and content. With the selfless help and guidance from the Taiwan professional conductor, I gradually managed to find a practice method and direction that was suitable for the Japan Tian Guo Marching Band. At the same time, I firmly believed that as long as we believe in Master and the Fa and can improve ourselves based on the Fa continuously, Master will naturally give his disciples all the ability that he/she is supposed to have. Therefore, every time when we faced difficult practice problems during the band practice, I would recall the Fa to calm down my anxious heart.
The actual process really was not a smooth process. In order to improve the practitioners’ technical standard within the shortest time possible, the band requires band members to pass the exams for the performance pieces before they can participate in the band parades. However, this is a tall order for some of the band practitioners. If one is not able to pass the exams, he/she would not be able to join the band performance in the parade.
Every parade event in Hong Kong and Japan will need more band practitioners to participate so as to achieve the grand-looking effect. How do we balance these two requirements? When we first started the examination system, some practitioners participated eagerly every time, but they made almost the same mistakes every time, saying that they did not practice much recently, and so on. Although I did not say anything, my heart was in turmoil. Aren’t they wasting everybody’s time when they come here with the attitude of trying their luck in the exams? So again, I was full of complaints towards the practitioners and negative thoughts swarmed up, but I did not look within.
After returning home, I wondered, why did this happen? The behavior of these practitioners is a chance for me to improve myself. The work with the band is an environment for me to improve my xinxing, so I cannot separate my cultivation from the band and cannot treat my job in the band just as a job. I cannot become a practitioner only when I study the Fa or do the exercises, and become a non-practitioner when it comes to playing the instrument.
I changed my way of thinking. If practitioners did not practice well, I need to think of a way to help them to practice, won’t that solve the problem? Therefore, I thought of a plan for the exams. As long as I let the practitioners know about the problem, they would be able to correct it. After that, the examination efficiency improved and the passing rate increased.
Some practitioners often send me recordings of their playing their instrument. Although it is obvious from their recordings that their past problems have already been corrected, I still have the attachment of the fear of inconvenience. This is also something that should be gotten rid of. In fact, this method has been progressing in Japan and there are already some results that are showing up. Although there are some imperfections, I am also improving myself as I coordinate with fellow practitioners slowly.
“I have not only taught you Dafa, but have also left you my demeanor. While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person’s heart, whereas commands never could! If others are not convinced deep down inside but only superficially comply, they will still conduct themselves according to their own will when no one is around to see them.” (“Clearheadedness,” Essentials For Further Advancement)
“I often say this: When a person talks to someone else, if he points out that person’s shortcomings or tells him something without attaching any of his own notions, the other person will be moved to tears. If you don’t have any personal agenda, don’t seek to gain anything, don’t even want to protect yourself, truly mean well, and are thinking about the other person, then that person will really see your heart—no matter what kind of person he is.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Singapore)
I understand now, that only when we help the band practitioners resolve their playing problems will the band be able to improve as one body. I need to do my job well with a selfless heart and the power of compassion. During this process, I need to get rid of my attachments, let go of myself and coordinate with the band's practitioners so that we can improve as one body. I think this is what Master really wants.
Thank you, Master, and fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2019 Hong Kong Fa Conference)