Cultivating Amid Promoting Shen Yun
(Minghui.org) Esteemed Master, and fellow practitioners:
I have been practicing Falun Dafa since 2008. I cannot claim that it has been easy, but no one said that it would be. Nevertheless, I feel that I am the most fortunate person ever – at least this is how I see it, and how I feel deep in my heart.
I admit that I have made a lot of mistakes throughout my cultivation, but I know that I have Master who is taking care of me. And I have the Fa that lights up my path and leads me to the place I belong. The only thing that does not make me happy is the fact that Master had to bear so much pain because of me, and every time I think about it, I know that I still have to do better and continuously improve on my cultivation path.
It is very easy to think we are so fortunate, because we have Dafa, and no matter whether in the end I am going to make it or not, it is still a great honor to be a part of this sacred mission during this special time in history.
Becoming still more mature in my cultivation, I have realized that this kind of approach might also block me from thinking even more about others, as well as do everything to fulfill my vows, and my mission here on Earth. Going to extremes shows that I look only at myself, instead of having in mind all the beings I am responsible for. To keep everything in the right balance is the key – according to my understanding – to do the things in the most appropriate manner seems to be the course I need to focus on for now.
Preparing to Bring Shen Yun to Warsaw
This last year has been very important for me. Although we could invite the Shen Yun show only 3 times to Poland, I know how important this project is. We should do everything we can to invite Shen Yun more often, especially as we have not had a chance yet to host it in Warsaw, where we have the second largest opera house in the world – after the one in Beijing. Of course, each and every year we are helping with the shows in Europe, but we need to do our best to have the show in our own country – Poland.
I was helping with Shen Yun show in Salzburg, Austria in 2018. It was the most extraordinary time, and I felt that it was predestined. Besides I understood that it would help me get enlightened to my mission. It has been made very clear to me how important it is to work on Shen Yun. Although I did not put it in to action right away, the message has been engraved very deep in my heart. Thus, another practitioner and I decided that we would do everything needed to have this mission accomplished.
I am glad the other practitioner helped and motivated me to get on this path, and that we travel together to achieve one common goal – to have Shen Yun perform in Warsaw. Since then we have been motivating each other all the time to not stop with what we have begun.
When we do anything related to this project, I seem to cultivate much faster. In order to be worthy of working on it, I need to eliminate all my attachments I am being shown. This always creates a very good opportunity for me to cultivate much more efficiently.
Facing and Eliminating Attachments
While working on the Shen Yun project, I am trying to look closely at myself, and whenever something does not feel right I search for the attachment that was causing this feeling. Until now, the most noticeable attachments I was dealing with and trying to eliminate were: fear, jealousy, combativeness, showing off, and zealotry.
If we are talking about “fear”, in my understanding this is the base of all other attachments, and the main trait of “ego”, which is a foundation of the old cosmos. For everything we do, when driven by different attachments, fear seems to be a kind of a fuel for them. At the same time being afraid, and harboring fear, feeds the evil. Thinking about ourselves instead of others makes fear grow larger. We are always afraid of losing something, to lose our face or reputation, fear of not making a good impression, fear to achieve less than others, fear of suffering, and so on. In my opinion, to get rid of fear is to make a huge leap forward, and it is one of the preconditions to be able to become a part of the New Cosmos.
If we do not fear anything can we still talk about having an ego? The fear that I am talking about, and that appeared when I was working on the Shen Yun project has been reflected in everything I have mentioned above. This was most noticeable when I had to approach some VIPs or others that we needed to clarify the truth to about Shen Yun.
Many times, the fear was so irrational that it seemed to present an obstruction for me. My hands were sweaty, my heart was pounding and sometimes I couldn’t utter even one word. Yet, I knew that there was often only this one chance. Who knew if the being before us would have another chance to hear about Dafa? Thus, it is so important to always be able to face this attachment, and show how deeply we believe in our Master and the Fa.
Master said :
“With this fear, it may indeed bring this person some trouble. Once you are scared, it is an attachment of fear. Isn’t that an attachment? Once your attachment surfaces, shouldn’t it be removed? The more you fear it, the sicker you will look. This attachment of yours must be removed. You will be made to learn from this lesson so that your fear can be removed, and you can advance.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
In my personal cultivation this is one of the attachments I have to truly work on, for there are still a lot of situations where it seems to be stronger than me.
Jealousy is another attachment that tries to interfere with me, and at the same time creates some negative thoughts towards others. It deeply influences my righteous thoughts, and can bring about negative results when cooperating with others. It is crucial not only when working on Shen Yun projects, but also on any other Dafa project.
Jealousy is a very dangerous attachment, especially when we lack righteous thoughts and don’t cooperate well. This might create unacceptable results to the things we are doing, causing us to lose opportunities to accomplish something. Whenever it affects me, I try to eliminate it by strengthening my righteous thoughts. I try to admire and respect others for what they do.
It is bizarre as it mostly emerges when I know someone has had an opportunity to clarify the truth that I didn’t have. I know it’s ridiculous, but still it happens when someone else talks about their achievements and accomplishments.
Fortunately, I can very quickly notice this attachment. I clearly feel that it is not me, and the thoughts that are popping up in my head at that particular moment are not mine. This feels so ridiculous sometimes that it makes me wonder, how is it possible that something like that can be deeply buried, holding on to me, and trying to ruin the arrangements Master made for me.
I know that the issue of jealousy is very dangerous, and I need to limit the maximum extent of losses it can cause.
“The issue of jealousy is very serious as it directly involves the matter of whether or not you can complete cultivation. If jealousy is not abolished, everything that you have cultivated will become fragile. There is this rule: If in the course of cultivation jealousy is not given up, one will not attain Right Fruit—absolutely not.” (Lecture Seven, Zhuan Falun)
The attachment of being competitive is very much related to the attachment of jealousy. This attachment emerges even more vividly when I work on the Shen Yun project. On one hand, it might sometimes be a bit helpful, as long as it does not go to the extreme, for it can lead me to be more diligent. However, on the other hand, it can very easily lead one astray and turn into jealousy.
When I am working diligently on things I feel at ease, yet when I have some difficulties and do less than others, I have this restless feeling that blocks me from having strong righteous thoughts, and wanting to cooperate well with others. I feel that I do not do well enough and others are much better than me. I always need to explain things to myself, as you would do to a young child, and then I eliminate it with my righteous thoughts. Of course, when I am talking about that it seems that it is done with one simple thought, but in a lot of cases these things are not that easy to do, and I have to put in much effort to balance my inner peace.
When working on this kind of project or when working with VIPs, and doing things that would even seem extraordinary for everyday people, it is so easy to become overjoyed and then sometimes show off. When I feel a lot of zealotry it is easy for me to do inappropriate things, such as saying too much or even offending someone without knowing it.
“In other matters and in the course of cultivation practice, one should be sure to not develop the attachment of zealotry—this mentality can be very easily taken advantage of by demons.” (Lecture Eight, Zhuan Falun)
This attachment leads very much to having problems with cultivating my speech. From there, there is only a small step to exposing my mentality of showing off, and I have already experienced this many times. It comes very often when I have managed to achieve something, or did something really well.
“This mentality of showing off can manifest in any situation; it can also surface when doing a good deed. In order to gain fame, personal profit, and a little benefit, some people often brag about themselves and show off: “I’m very capable and a winner.”” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
It is a very strong attachment, and also one that can make me feel especially bad, as it gives an impression of being better than others. Then, it may be difficult to cultivate compassion. It becomes very difficult to control.
All of the attachments I have mentioned are feeding one another, which makes it very difficult to eliminated them. Fortunately, there are a lot of cases I can handle correctly, but there are also many where I simply fail to meet the Fa requirements. Nevertheless, I told myself that no matter how many times I fall, I will get up and continue until I can do better and better.
Difficulties in Bringing Shen Yun to Warsaw
We are trying very hard to get the best venue for Shen Yun in Poland. This has been going on for more than 10 years, and we have never even had an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the director of this opera house, for he was never willing to meet with us.
We decided to meet all relevant people at the end of 2018, to clarify the facts, and get closer to the venue, to have Shen Yun finally perform there. One day a fellow practitioner informed us that we would have a meeting with one of the technical directors at the venue. We thought that finally we were getting a bit closer, especially as we had been trying to meet this person for a very long time.
On the day of the meeting, I got up to do the exercises at 4:30 a.m. and saw a message that the meeting had been canceled. The message came during the night, which was quite strange. For a few seconds I was thinking that it was due to some big interference, but then right after I thought to myself, if this meeting has been canceled there is a chance that something more important will be arranged for us.
And indeed, it was. I went to Warsaw where I met with the practitioner who was also working on the project. At the same time, I could arrange a meeting with a politician to talk to him about the resolution against organ harvesting, and about Shen Yun, as he is a very open-minded person.
After we were done with the meeting, we came up with an idea to go to the theater and just simply wait in front of one of the entrances until the main director arrived. Of course, we were not sure whether he would come by car, bicycle, or on foot, but we had this strong righteous thought that after 10 years of trying, we must meet him in person.
We had been waiting there for about an hour when he came. We approached him and talked to him for about three minutes. That was the first time we met him in person. We did not receive good news right away, but we felt that we were now a step closer.
In addition to that, I realized that what I had been thinking about that morning, this bigger thing that was supposed to be arranged for us – was exactly what we had just experienced.
We met the directer after we changed our opinion about him. We had been watching his interviews and studied them, and because of that we concluded that we cannot see him as an obstacle in getting the theater, and should see him as a being who needs to understand the truth of Dafa.
After this meeting, although we received a polite “no” from the director, we knew that this was the beginning of a journey where we will most probably hear “no” quite often. However, we decided that every “no” will simply motivate us even more to use this venue for the Shen Yun. After this meeting we have been making appointments, and held meetings with the most important people in our country.
It was obvious to us that it was the CCP at work, and that there were some political aspects involved in the negative decision from both the theater and the politicians who did not want to cooperate with us. Taking this into account we decided to contact the US Embassy and to frame this issue in such a way that an American company is encountering difficulties with performing in Warsaw, whereas companies sponsored by the Chinese Embassy have no such problem.
We made an appointment with the Cultural Attaché at the US Embassy. That seemed to be a very good meeting, but given the past experiences, we knew that we could not simply rely on this one meeting, although we were told that some steps would be taken, and that our case would be passed to the Ambassador.
We knew that there is one very important thing with this project– we cannot put all our hope in just an ordinary person, and wait until something happens. We decided to take the initiative, and contact the US Ambassador to Poland on our own. It was very difficult to make an appointment just out of the blue, and so we found an event where one of the guests was the Ambassador.
We bought tickets and went there. The event lasted two days, and we had no choice but to buy tickets for the whole event. Fortunately, the Ambassador was there. We spent up to one-and-a-half hours trying to see the Ambassador, and despite the fact that the bodyguards were not really cooperative, we managed to talk with the Ambassador for about one or two minutes, including showing the Shen Yun trailer, and giving a business card to her.
One of us spoke while the other sent righteous thoughts. After that we simply left the event. We knew that some sentient beings have just one shot to hear the truth from us, and that we cannot fail no matter how difficult it might be at the time.
The next occasion where we could meet officials from the US was a military event organized by the embassy, and although we did not really know who we would be able to meet there, we signed up to participate in it. After the welcoming speech by the Deputy Chief of Mission we knew that this was the person that we needed to talk to, especially as he left right after he had given his speech. We immediately followed him, and talked to him about the difficulties we were facing. In addition to this, we were invited by the US Embassy’s Commercial Services for a meeting, where we were able to explain our current situation.
In the US Embassy, we were also in touch with people that were responsible for organizing events, and the press. This helped us get informed about most of the important events taking place.
We also signed up for a TEDx meeting named “Be Bold, Never Regular.” But only my fellow practitioner was chosen to participate in it. I was not. Nevertheless, I thought that if the main topic of this event was to be “bold,” I would just go there. They said that I had not been chosen, and therefore could not enter, but because of my strong righteous thoughts I knew that I had to be there, and I did not give up.
After a while they called someone responsible for letting people attend. I told this lady that I came from another city and had traveled to participate, and so she agreed to let me in. There were some nice talks by different people, including the director of a foundation and some other VIPs we met there. We knew that when we are clarifying the facts about Shen Yun, we are at the same time inviting these people to the shows that we will later have in our venue.
In addition to that, we contacted the Israeli Embassy, including the Ambassador, and established a very close contact with the Taiwanese Embassy, who are very helpful. We have been able to build a nice relationship with an employee from there.
After that we took part in a Christmas Charity event where we had a chance to talk to the First Lady, a Senator who is a daughter of a very famous Polish general, and the Director of Diplomatic Protocol in Poland. Also, we talked at that event with some other VIPs, including the Chinese Ambassador. Since the Chinese Embassy also had a booth there, we thought it might be the only chance to talk to the Ambassador and to clarify the facts to him and pass the Shen Yun album, so we approached him right away. We introduced ourselves as Shen Yun promoters and showed the Shen Yun trailer. At first, he was very excited to see the traditional Chinese culture on stage until some lady from behind told him that it was Shen Yun, then he simply turned, and without saying anything, walked away. We tried one more time to approach him, but he did not want to talk to us.
We also managed to talk to the Polish President and Minister of Culture. We have been talking with a very close friend of the Polish President. We have written emails to all the most important people in Poland, and even to the President of the United States, and the Vice President.
Until now, no one has been able to help us with getting the venue. We are in close cooperation with the American VIP project coordinators who helped us to get recommendation letters from two American politicians. We could use the letters when talking to our politicians and sending emails to VIPs. We have contacted European Parliament Members, including the former Prime Ministers of Poland. One of the MEPs asked us to write a letter to the opera theater's director, which he would then send and ask for a venue. And we have contacted different cultural institutions.
In order to clarify the truth, we have also written some emails to the Chinese Embassy and all kinds of organizations that are in close cooperation with it. One of these organizations offered to help us get the venue, but after about two weeks they said they could not help us.
Of course, there are still a lot of people to contact and to clarify the truth to, but the above-mentioned has happened within the last four months. At a certain point in time we concluded that we need to get rid of the attachment to the date when we had planned to have Shen Yun in Poland. There were two such dates and every time, in order to move forward and open some new interesting arrangements, we had to let it go.
Changing Our Tactic: Creating International Cooperation
In the meantime, we also gained the understanding that we cannot limit ourselves to put our efforts only locally, and we need to think about the whole of Europe and even beyond. And so, we initiated weekly online meetings, and created a group of people who are striving to get the best venues in other European countries.
In my understanding this is the only way for us – to unite Europe, and get all the best venues we have on the Old Continent. Only by helping, supporting and cooperating with each other will we be able to complete this mission. We should go beyond thinking of only our local venues, and start thinking of our best theaters, join our efforts into one and finally get them all.
It all might look a very distant idea, and a long-term project, but the Fa is boundless and Dafa's power is beyond imagination. The only thing we need to do is to change our mindset. When will there be a better time to start to make the dream come true, than now? Let's become one body and take the full responsibility on our shoulders to fulfill our Master's wish to make Shen Yun a great success here in Europe. We can do it. There’s no one else to do it.
I was really glad to have our European Shen Yun Group. This will help us make our one body stronger. I have this understanding that if we are not going to cooperate on a European level or even global level, we will not get the best venues. This is what in my opinion must happen to have success in this area. We really need to transcend our thinking to get a big picture of our mission and not keep thinking only about our own countries.
I knew that it might not be easy, but it is a mission of huge importance - if not the most important. The key prerequisite is to change our mindsets, go for it 100% and make the dream finally come true. This is the reason why we are here today, and I strongly believe that we will make it together.
We will relax after going back home, but now it is time to work hard and never ever, give up until the mission has been accomplished. We have started this initiative within the last three months, and I am glad to see that Europe is at the start of this epic journey to become united. A lot of historical figures tried to achieve that, but it was for Dafa disciples to conclude it in this final time. If we will not do it, who else will? With this understanding we started our international cooperation on a bigger scale.
In addition to Europe, we also want to include Russia, Latvia and Lithuania. We set up a group, discussed the situation, and invited their practitioners to participate in our European Fa study group. In my understanding reading together and even talking and sharing with each other brings us a step closer to creating a stronger one body that will terrify the evil. We also set up a Fa study group in Africa, which turned out to be a great success. This one is the fastest growing Fa study groups that we have set up. In the end, of course, the aim is to have Shen Yun perform in Africa and from my observation, it is clear that this is possible, and that there is huge enthusiasm in the group.
We have just started this new approach to the Shen Yun project now and we know that it cannot be done in just one day, but we will do our best to take it to the end. The journey might take some time, but we feel that we must do whatever it takes to bring it to conclusion.
My understanding now is that we really must do all we can to engage and motivate more practitioners. In the beginning, the involved practitioners said that no matter what, if in the end we have to do it on our own, we will do it. However, we see that we really need to help other practitioners to find their place in this project, and to show the big hearts they have towards it. Only by creating one strong body will we be able to follow well what has been arranged.
We have already completed some of the tasks, and have met with different people. More and more people of the upper class are talking about Shen Yun, and still more and more VIPs and politicians see that this topic is not something they can be indifferent to.
Lots of people have been contacted and of course there is still a good number of people we will have to contact. But, at this stage, we need to very carefully look within, see where we have to improve and let go of attachments, raise our xinxing, elevate our understanding, and make a breakthrough.
If our mind is set on nothing but success, and if our righteous thoughts are strong, we will achieve our goal. We simply need to believe more in Master and the Fa, and simply fulfill our vows by following all the arrangements Master prepared for us.
Thank you esteemed Master, and fellow practitioners.
(Presented at the 2019 European Fa Conference)