(Minghui.org) Greetings esteemed Master, and fellow practitioners:
I obtained the Fa at the same time as my family, 1997 in Changchun. I’m currently attending a university in Quebec City, working on an MBA degree. I would like to share my cultivation experience of promoting Shen Yun in Mexico in 2018.
At the end of last year, the Shen Yun coordinator from Mexico called to ask if I could help with ticket sales. He said that the situation in Mexico was very critical, as he felt strong pressure coming from other dimensions. Since the performances would be in April, during the winter season, and there were only a few Dafa activities in Quebec, I agreed to help. I signed up for the MBA winter courses online, refreshed my Spanish language skills, resigned from my weekend part-time job, and headed to Mexico City in early March.
Since the turnover of practitioners was high there, Mexico City had a serious shortage of staff in the mall. Five Chinese practitioners from various parts of North America came to help sell tickets. We lived in an apartment offered by a local Mexican practitioner.
Since I was visiting for the second time, I was quite accustomed to the local culture, lifestyle, and language, especially as I felt a strong predestined connection with this place. Everything seemed natural and familiar to me, and I went about the city independently. However, the coordinator asked me to look after the practitioners who had come to Mexico for the first time. I found this to be challenging, since it involved taking care of many petty things, which were time consuming and tiring.
I needed a relatively quiet space, as I was taking the MBA courses when I was not selling Shen Yun tickets. Since I lived with other people, the lifestyle of the other practitioners made it impossible for me to stay focused while studying. Also, I was accustomed to planning ahead in great detail. However, when we worked as a group, I often had to cooperate with others, which meant I had to forget about my timetable. It turned out that many of my plans were delayed. Living in a group seemed natural for practitioners who liked to support others. But it was a painful experience for me, especially when this nightmarish lifestyle got seriously out of hand. I thought many times that I should rent a hotel room and live on my own. However, I knew that this was a test that I needed to pass.
During this rather bumpy process, I realized that we should form one body. Whether the ticket sales were successful or not depends on not falling into the old forces’ traps. They looked at whether we were able to live together, whether we could let go of our egos, and whether we could work as a team. I kept telling myself that I could not check out, but must stay with the other practitioners. Even though there were ups and downs, we managed to work as one body throughout the whole journey. Every morning we studied the Fa together, and in the end we achieved our sales target.
Outside of that, my ego was also challenged at the ticket booth. One day when I was in the mall, a practitioner from another city in Mexico came to help out. It was the first time we had met. We exchanged greetings and names, and then she started talking about sales pitch. She said, “Mexico just changed to a new leftist president this year, so you should talk about the danger of the Communist Party when you sell tickets.” At that moment, I was feeling quite upset. I thought, how could she begin to educate me on selling tickets when we had just met? I wasn’t a newcomer, I knew how I needed to adjust my sales pitch according to customer reactions, so why was she teaching me what to do? This created a barrier in my heart with this practitioner. In the end, I had an argument with her at the booth due to a trivial matter on the payment collection process.
There was also a couple that worked full-time and could only help on weekends. While working with them, I observed that after some of the customers listened to them talk for a long time, they replied by saying, “I will think about it.” At this point, the couple would just let the customers leave without trying to convince them and close the deal. The show was only three weeks away at the time, and I was feeling quite anxious. I accused them several times in a rude manner of failing to close the deal. The coordinator then arranged for them to work at a different mall. When I found out that they were gone, I felt very regretful. I came here to help local practitioners, but I had actually forced them away.
The coordinator spoke to me about how to work with others. He said that many of the local practitioners in Mexico were fairly new. They came to help out with Shen Yun ticket sales despite their financial situations and time constraints, which was truly remarkable, and should be cherished. He suggested that even though the local practitioners were lacking in self-cultivation, they were veteran Chinese practitioners who obtained the Fa prior to the persecution, and we should treat them with compassion. He suggested that I look inward.
When I looked within, I found that on the surface, it appeared that I was anxious to sell tickets. Yet, was my motivation really one hundred percent on the Fa? It was not. Deep down, I had a really selfish, arrogant, and self-validating heart that felt hurt. Since the behavior of other practitioners and their understanding of the Fa was different than mine, I developed a grudge and formed a separation between us, whereas working well with others requires one to let go of oneself completely. One has to give up one’s ego to the point where one has no ego. I was apparently far from that realm. I also set a “bottom line” and some principles for myself out of my ordinary notions, and rejected anyone who did not meet that criteria. This made my motivations far from pure.
After I found these attachments, I paid attention to eliminating these notions by sending righteous thoughts. When I had another chance to work with local practitioners, I quietly sent righteous thoughts when they talked to customers, instead of judging whether they did a good job or not.
They encountered many customers who said that they needed to talk to family members to finalize the date. Based on each situation, when it was appropriate, I joined in the conversation and added that as tickets sales progress, they’d have less available seats to choose from, so they’d be wise to make a quick decision. When I didn’t find the window to join in, I sent forth righteous thoughts for the customers to come back and purchase the tickets. I believed that Master would arrange those who were predestined to see the show.
When I let go of selfishness, I saw that even though my own city had hosted Shen Yun for over ten years, the local practitioners in Mexico were not inferior to my local practitioners in terms of knowledge about Shen Yun, their strong desire to save sentient beings, and their sales techniques.
One time, a very prestigious looking elderly gentleman was passing by our booth. I gave him a flier. After looking at it, he said that his wife joined a high-end social club. People from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had penetrated the club, and spread lies about Shen Yun. The gentleman spoke little English, and my Spanish was not good enough to clarify the truth in depth. At this moment, my colleague, a Mexican practitioner, walked over and greeted the customer. He talked to the gentleman for a long time, starting from how the CCP ruined traditional Chinese culture, to how wonderful Shen Yun is, and how it’s welcomed among mainstream society. The gentleman learned the truth, but did not buy tickets right away.
A few weeks later, just a few days before the performance, when the mall had just opened for business, he came straight to our booth, purchased nine top-priced tickets, and said that he would like to invite all of his grandsons and granddaughters to enjoy the show. The practitioner who talked with him last time was not there that day, but I felt truly grateful for her efforts, and thanked Master for letting me understand the power of cooperating as a whole body.
In Mexico, working at the booth can be very intense. I had to work ten hours or more every day, six days a week. Mexico is a very populous country, and the daily mall traffic is like Christmas time in Canada. I got up at 4:00 a.m. every day to do the exercises and study the Fa in a group at 6:30 a.m. After I was ready, I went to the mall. I usually got home at around 11:00 p.m.
I had signed up for four MBA courses. Even though they were offered online, I still had to spend time and effort learning the materials and finishing the homework. After a few weeks, I felt very stressed, because if I ensured that I did quality work required for Shen Yun ticket sales, I had no energy left for studying. The only solution was to cram before the exam when I got back home.
My original plan was to head back as soon as the show in Mexico City was over, since it was close to my final exams. However, the coordinator said Shen Yun’s third stop in Mexico, Queretaro was also experiencing low sales volumes, and they only had four local practitioners. The coordinator wanted us to stay for a few more days to help out at the booths in the Queretaro malls. Persuaded by the coordinator, all of the other practitioners changed their plane tickets to a later date. I was the only one who could not decide. The practitioners told me to go back home to finish my studies and that they could handle it themselves.
Maybe Master saw that I was too attached, so he helped to wake me up with a tribulation. I received an email one morning from my school informing me that all of the scholarships I applied for had been refused. This came as a surprise though the money was insubstantial. My GPA the previous semester was quite high. I also participated as a VP in the departmental student club and hosted many events, so I thought that I would receive a scholarship for sure This was totally unexpected.
The first thing that came to my mind was what Master said in Zhuan Falunabout getting rid of attachment to fame and wealth:
“We believe in letting things happen naturally. We know that we won’t be deprived of what is rightfully ours, and shouldn’t labor to get what is not.” (The Seventh Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I then started to think about why I was so attached to my schoolwork. Tracing it to the original thought, I realized that I wanted to achieve good grades to find a decent job, which was driven by a thirst for selfish gain and wealth. However, compared with Shen Yun, which one has the higher priority? It was obvious.
I shared my thoughts with practitioners, and everyone felt happy that my xinxing was elevated. When we re-booked the tickets, we found that the cheapest tickets were for the flights on the day right after the closing curtain of the Queretaro show. It was the same situation for all of us, even though we were heading in different directions. When I got home, I actually kept up with my schoolwork, and participated in the major events in Eastern Canada, including April 25th and May 13th events. Master had already made the best arrangements.
When I first came to Mexico, I adapted to the local lifestyle smoothly. The other Chinese practitioners were not used to Mexican food, but I really enjoyed the food, and never got sick. Everyone joked that I was a Mexican in my former life. Other Chinese practitioners went through various degrees of sickness karma when they first arrived, and some were even quite serious, but I was fine.
One morning, on my way to the mall, the bus passed over a bridge spanning the river. I looked down at the whole city from above, and a thought came to my mind, “There are so many capable practitioners in North America, why was I chosen by Master to come to Mexico? Maybe in history, I made a vow with the sentient beings to save them here, and I must do my best to fulfill it.” Then, I arrived at the booth.
That afternoon my body started to shiver, even though I hadn’t experienced any illness karma during the past five to six years. At night, when I returned to the hotel, I felt colder and colder, even though the temperature was 20 degrees (68°F). Practitioners found four thick wool blankets to cover me, but I still felt frozen right down to the bones. I couldn’t fall asleep, and couldn’t focus when I sent righteous thoughts. I kept asking Master for help. A few times I called for help out loud. But, I didn’t feel scared.
While I was feeling muddle-headed, I was thinking that the next day was a weekend, and that the mall would need more practitioners, so it wouldn’t do if I skipped my shift. Finally, late at night, I went from feeling cold to boiling hot. This tribulation lasted all night into the morning, and I then studied the Fa with everyone.
The coordinator asked me to take a rest. I slept a little bit, and then woke up to do the exercises and felt much better, so I went to the mall in the afternoon. During the next two days, I didn’t feel overly cold or hot. But I still couldn’t eat anything, and I threw up whatever I ate, so I only drank water. It was truly miraculous that my mind was so clear at the booth, and I didn’t feel hungry at all. I worked at the booth for the whole day without feeling any fatigue.
This sickness karma came and left like a flash. My enlightenment on this issue was that I needed to endure for my sentient beings, and at the same time eliminate the corrupt beings in other dimensions.
“This especially holds true in the Fa-rectification period, where all of the cosmos’s beings, both positive and negative, want to be saved. And that includes even the unimaginably massive gods at the highest of planes, as well as, notably, the sentient beings of their worlds. It is because of this that they have managed to have a presence in the human world, and in the Three Realms. Could they forgo this once-in-eons opportunity to be saved? ‘You have to save me’—they all utter this, imploring to be saved. But the way this comes across is not what one would expect by using the kind of reasoning and comprehension found in the human world, such as how you must be courteous and humble when asking for help—‘As you are here to save me, I must first express my gratitude toward you, and I will do my part to make it easier’—it’s nothing like that. As they see it, ‘If you are to save me, you have to reach my level first, and you must have this measure of mighty virtue before you can save me. Without such mighty virtue, without having reached my stature, how could you save me?’ So they would have you trip and fall, suffer, and eliminate your attachments, after which, with your mighty virtue having been established, you will have cultivated to that level and be able to save them. That’s how they want to have it.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
On the other hand, I feel that the old forces found a gap and took advantage of me. When I saw other practitioners dealing with sickness karma, I showed off, and got carried away. I thought I was more capable of adapting to a new environment than the others, and wasn’t impacted by the polluted air, food, or water. I realized that pollution was only an illusion on the surface. In essence, I should negate the tribulations forced onto me with righteous thoughts.
This one-month experience was an intense period of cultivation for me, and I also met many predestined Mexican people through selling Shen Yun tickets. I came across many touching stories, but I won’t list them all. However, in the end, all shows were sold out in Mexico City and Queretaro due everyone cooperating well with each other.
On opening night in Mexico, I sat at a corner that was opened up the last minute before the show. When I turned around to look at the theater filled with 5,000 people, plus the additional seats that were opened, my eyes filled with tears. We had met Master’s requirements by finding every single person who should come to the performance, and they were sitting in the seats that belonged to them. This feeling was indescribable. It also aroused a sense of shame and regret since we did not do so well in Quebec. The end result would always reflect how much heart we put into making it happen. From then on, I knew what kind of attitude I should bring with me to next year’s Shen Yun promotion in Montreal.
I think that during the Fa-rectification, even though every practitioner is counting the minutes and seconds trying to save people, Master is still painstakingly teaching us that we must cultivate ourselves in order to meet the standard of the Fa. I also feel that for the heart and effort put into a project, one cannot force it, as it’s rather based on one’s deep understanding of the Fa.
When you hold righteous thoughts, you will naturally have the determination and motivation to overcome tribulations. When it seems to be impossible, see if it might just be possible. At the same time, we must reflect on our own behavior by being guided by Dafa, analyze every thought to see whether it came from the main consciousness, attachment, selfishness, thought karma, or was imposed by the old forces. For the latter sources, we must send unwavering righteous thoughts to eliminate and negate them.
(Presented at the 2019 Canada Fa Conference)