Practitioners on the UK Shen Yun Hotline Team Share Cultivation Experiences
(Minghui.org) Sharing 1: Improving While Facing Difficulty
This year, Shen Yun Performing Arts shows were held in 7 cities in the UK, including London and Birmingham, the largest and second largest cities in England. Thirty-two performances were given and nearly 60,000 tickets were sold. Almost every show played to a full house. Tickets in some theaters were sold out a month before the show, and some people purchased tickets from unofficial channels (not from the show's website) for even higher prices. The ticket sales hit a record high since Shen Yun first came to the UK in 2008.
It was my responsibility to coordinate the Shen Yun ticket hotline. After I was told that the show would visit 7 UK cities last September, I prepared. At the beginning of October I organized a weekly Fa study for the hotline group. I arranged for 2 members to be on duty from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day, to answer the hotline.
Every difficulty we encountered was an excellent opportunity to improve our xinxing.
When Shen Yun first came to the UK in 2008, I worked on the ticket hotline team. In previous years Shen Yun only performed in 1 or 2 cities, with fewer shows. In 2018, Shen Yun made a breakthrough in the numbers of cities and shows in England.
After so many years I knew the pressure and tests facing us. I knew that in order to do a good job in working on the ticket hotline and coordinating the group I needed to make my own breakthroughs in cultivation. I repeatedly recited the following passage from Master’s teachings,
“What is xinxing? It includes de (a type of matter), tolerance, enlightenment quality, sacrifice, giving up everyday people’s different desires and attachments, being able to suffer hardships, and so on. It encompasses various things. Every aspect of xinxing must be improved for you to make real progress. This is a crucial factor in improving gong potency (gongli).” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
With continuous Fa study, whenever I came across problems in my work I was able to behave according to the Fa, and handle the situation calmly. I looked inward unconditionally rather than blaming the other person.
This year there were 16 people on our hotline team. Many of them had never helped with the hotline before. Because of their enthusiasm, availability and their native English language skills, they were all invited to join the team.
We spent lots of time on training, because working for the Shen Yun hotline is not as simple as just answering the phone. It’s customer service.
Sometimes, the same problem occurred many times. Some very simple steps had to be demonstrated repeatedly, and some practitioners kept making the same mistakes. All this tested my patience.
No matter what happened, I refused to become angry. I calmly corrected the mistakes. I encouraged everyone to work carefully and to improve our service so that we were able to provide the best service for people. We were able to display practitioners' positive qualities and show the beauty of Dafa to people through our interaction with them on the Shen Yun hotline.
Our hotline received a lot of positive feedback from our customers who praised our friendliness and courteous manners. The practitioners on our team were very enthusiastic and worked tirelessly to help people, including finding the right price and the best seats. Each day we faced different customers. Sometimes they chatted for over half an hour asking various questions, but did not buy a ticket.
I worked as the hotline coordinator full-time for almost six months. When I was on duty I signed in from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., sometimes until midnight. Some people thought that the hotline was a 24-hour service, so they might call us at any time. I didn't want to miss a single person.
Perhaps Master was encouraging me and the calls I received early in the morning (before signing in on the hotline), and late at night before turning off the computer, were mostly calls from people who needed help with buying tickets. One night, at midnight when I was about to turn off the computer a phone call came in. A customer wanted to book 10 tickets for their family and friends. They were excitedly looking forward to watching Shen Yun.
Even though we worked long hours each day and we felt tired, achieving a full house for 32 shows made all the hard work worthwhile.
Sharing 2: Coordinating Well with Other Practitioners
I also experienced xinxing tests with other practitioners on the team. For example, I was once blamed by a practitioner for a trivial thing. It was the strongest scolding with the harshest tone I ever heard. I was so surprised that I almost cried. Luckily, I was able to stay calm and I didn't argue back. But I couldn't sleep that night and I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with those accusations still echoing in my mind. When I mentioned it to the other practitioners I cried. It wasn't because my ego was hurt; the pressure was so huge that I had to release it. After I wiped the tears away, I started to answer the hotline with a smile on my face. I knew I must look inward unconditionally. Master said,
“As a cultivatorOne always looks for one’s own faults‘Tis the Way to get rid of attachments most effectivelyThere is no way to skip ordeals, big or small[During a conflict, if you can remember:]“He’s right,And I’m wrong,”What’s to dispute?”(“Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong,” Hong Yin III)
That practitioner sincerely apologized to me later, but I had already forgiven him. Several times practitioners who were scheduled to be on duty forgot to sign in. I always covered for them. I tried not to blame them, but quietly filled in for them.
One time, a relatively new practitioner didn't sign on to the hotline and didn’t inform anyone beforehand. I had an important arrangement that day and was unable to cover his shift. I had to find someone to help and I was irritated.
How could a practitioner be so unreliable? Another practitioner was also unhappy with him. I realized that I shouldn't feel irritated. He must be very busy with his work, so I called him and he was indeed very busy and would only be available that afternoon. He promised to sign on to the hotline as soon as he got home.
Perhaps he realized that he should have given us notice. After he returned home he worked from 2:00 - 10:00 p.m., and answered every phone call. The team sold more than 300 tickets that day. This was the highest daily record for the Shen Yun ticket sales.
In our compassionate and supportive environment, other practitioners on the team were able to understand, support and encourage each other. Gradually, our entire team formed a very good cultivation environment and the xinxing of the whole team was upgraded.
This year, the dates for Shen Yun in London changed twice, which put extra pressure on us. One of the changes was due to technical problems at the theater, and the cancellation of the evening show was only announced at lunch time. All the tickets for the evening show were sold out.
That day, we received over 180 phone calls from lunch time to 10:00 pm. During the peak hours, four practitioners were on duty at the same time to answer the phone calls. No one had a break. What a busy and intensive day!
Throughout the following week, the number of calls the hotline received was more than average, and everyone felt that they were being tested. We were able to keep calm and cooperate unconditionally which smoothed out the ‘crisis’.
Working on the hotline really helped us understand the importance of cultivating ourselves, upgrading our xinxing and cooperation. I often recited Master’s poems to encourage myself and also shared them with the team members,
“To consummate yourself, reaping Buddhahood,Let joy be found in hardship.Physical pains count little as suffering,Indeed, cultivating mind is hardest.Each and every barrier must be broken through,And everywhere does evil lurk.Abundant troubles rain down together,All to see: Can you pull through?The world’s miseries endured,One departs the earth a Buddha.”(“Tempering the Will,” Hong Yin)
Those 7 months of ticket sales covered the two most important Western holidays - Christmas and Easter - as well as the Chinese New Year (the most important festival for Chinese). But our hotline team never took a break.
Since 2008, I have been on duty during Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year. Each year, we spend six months promoting Shen Yun and selling tickets.
In other dimensions intense battles rage between righteousness and evil. No matter what difficulties or challenges we encounter, if we truly regard ourselves as cultivators, we remember our mission as Dafa disciples to assist Master in Fa Rectification and save sentient beings, and as long as we trust Master and the Fa and do not let Master down, every problem is smoothly resolved.
When the theater curtain rose on Shen Yun's first performance this year and I saw the full house, I felt all our hard work was worth it.
I was very fortunate to watch Shen Yun in the last two cities, London and Plymouth. My heart was filled with happiness. Being able to participate in the Shen Yun project fills me with great pride. I thank our great and compassionate Master. I can only fulfill my mission by being diligent.
“Dafa disciples are the hope for humankind, and you are the only hope. Saving all beings is our mission, and the responsibility is tremendous. Only by cultivating yourselves well will you be able to do well the things that Dafa disciples must do.” (“ A Congratulatory Letter to the European Fa Conference in Paris”)
Sharing 3: Cultivating Kindness and Compassion While Working on the Hotline Team
In November 2018, I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the Shen Yun hotline team. I found the team to be very professional. There was genuine respect, kindness and cooperation among team members.
One by one my attachments came to the surface. One day I did not sign on for my shift until someone contacted me and informed me that I was two hours late. My first thought was it was due to a misunderstanding, but it became clear that it was because of selfishness. Because of selfishness, I had not given Shen Yun top priority in my life. I should have been more attentive to the duty roster, thereby avoiding a practitioner having to wait two hours for me after they had finished their shift.
Our team would meet every Sunday, study the Fa, receive training and updates on how we could become more effective in ticket sales and thereby help save more people. The experienced hotline staff suggested that we should try to be understanding and caring to everyone who called the hotline.
Over time, we kept discussing our experiences and cooperating our trust grew and our compassionate energy field grew stronger every week. It was like being enveloped in a golden light that guided us in our cultivation and our ability to save people.
This helped us improve as a team to meet the challenges we would face later.
On two occasions, Shen Yun had to be postponed to a later date. Hundreds of customers had to be contacted and their tickets reallocated. Most people were understanding, but some were very upset. I found that being genuinely concerned and sympathetic towards the customer helped to dissolve any anger and some later apologized for being rude.
There were many instances where customers had to overcome challenges in order to attend Shen Yun. Several customers said after seeing the advertisement on TV they felt compelled to buy a ticket but needed to save up the money or wait to be paid before they could afford it. One customer was so grateful that a seat was held until he could pay.
Another man wanted to see the show but the seats were all sold out. I remember saying that if he kept faith, he would get to see Shen Yun. A few days later additional seats became available and the customer called back to book a seat. He was so grateful.
I will always treasure this special time. Being part of the hotline team has helped me cherish fellow practitioners and realize that kindness and compassion is an effective way to clarify the truth.
Sharing 4: How I Eliminated My Attachment to Comfort and Stopped Worrying about my Family
When I started participating in the hotline, I asked my coordinator to give me 3-4 hour shifts so I could continue fulfilling my family and house duties without any disruptions. I always make sure that my husband, son and dog are taken good care of, that my house is clean, meals are cooked, and everything is running smoothly. It’s not wrong thinking, unless you are prioritizing it, when saving people is more important.
One evening, about a month before the end of the Shen Yun UK tour, the coordinator phoned me to find out if I could increase my hours on the hotline. During our conversation it occurred to me how much she had carried on her shoulders, how huge her responsibilities had been, and how stressed she had become. To manage the Shen Yun hotline means managing a front line in a battle between good and evil, that’s how I understand it. Nevertheless, I wasn’t ready to fully cooperate as my first thought was whether my family could endure my longer hours, whether I could allow chaos to enter my household due to lack of time. I asked my coordinator to give me time to think about it.
After I hung up, I knew something was wrong with my thinking.
Master said,“…a cultivator should also be able to make sacrifices, abandoning different attachments and desires of everyday people.”( Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)
I explained the situation to my husband and my concern about not having enough time to do my routine household chores. My husband, who is not a Falun Dafa practitioner, was very understanding. He said, “Take as much time as you need, we will manage, don’t worry.” I immediately sent a text message to my coordinator and let her know that she could give me shifts with any hours and for any duration that she needed me for. I also apologized to her for being selfish and not realizing how much help she needed.
I became incredibly busy, covering long shifts for a few weeks. Surprisingly, it helped me to have more in control of my life, my self-discipline improved, and I managed to keep my family happy and my house clean and tidy.
Everything was under control. I felt very happy, I realized my attachments to comfort and my family’s well being were so strong, and it was high time to deal with them.
My cultivation progressed during those months. There were so many things about myself that I hadn't eliminated, such as selfishness, not being truthful with myself, a show off mentality, and jealousy. I learned to look within without beating myself up, and I became humble and appreciative.
I am so grateful to Master, who is looking after me and giving me opportunities again and again in order to raise my understanding of the Fa and to become a better practitioner. I am also grateful to my hotline team members for their endless support and kindness. I've learned so much from them, like treating others with dignity and compassion, and being humble and tolerant.
(Presented at the 2019 European Fa Conference)