Cultivating As If I Am Just Starting
From a “Junior Monk” to a “Senior Monk”
In 2011, I started to work in one of our media organizations. I felt very fortunate. Every practitioner in the media was like a family member to me. We worked, read Dafa books, and did the exercises together every day. At that time, our media was not making money, so all of us worked without pay. Yet everyone was focused on how to improve. No one was thinking about themselves. I did not even check my bank account to see whether I had enough money to last until the next month. In that environment, I was simply happy to work for our media. I did not mind working at the lowest position, and I was happy to help anyone who needed help. I never had a complaint.
Eight years have passed since then, and I have gone from a “junior monk who cooks meals” to a “senior monk.” As such, I started noticed others' imperfections and kept correcting them. My colleagues called me “housekeeper.”
Most practitioners were very cooperative. I thought that what I was saying and doing was for everyone's good, until one day when I told a new colleague that she shouldn't wear slippers to work. Because of that simple suggestion, and to my surprise, she made a full 30-minute speech criticizing me: “Is your real purpose saving people? Do you think you are saving people? You think you own the station! You have been doing everything out of sentimentality!”
I was totally in shock. I thought to say, “Everything I do is to save people!” Yet I had another thought that her criticism was not accidental, that she might be right.
I tried to look inward but did not see what my problem was. So I continued as I had been—telling new salespeople how the experienced salespeople did things, telling new show hosts how the experienced hosts did things in a better way—I constantly looked around, noticed problems, and tried to give suggestions to anyone I felt was not doing things perfectly.
This went on until I joined a new project: the Tian Guo Marching Band.
Playing In Tian Guo Marching Band
In 2016, I joined the Tian Guo Marching Band; I was in the side drum team.
Playing the side drum turned out to be very difficult for me. It requires a player to have a very strong sense of rhythm. I found that I had no sense of rhythm at all! I could not hear the rhythm in the music. I didn't know when to hit the drum, and I couldn't move my body with the rhythm.
With the help of other practitioners, I stayed on. Only later did I realize that it was a cultivation opportunity that Master had arranged for me.
Right before my first performance, a team member ran towards me to remind me of a few things. She lowered her body and had her head below mine, and then she looked up at me with a beaming face. With a very pleasant and kind voice, she explained a few things that we needed to pay attention to during the march.
I suddenly saw the difference between that practitioner and myself. I never thought that one could give direction to another person in such a way—by lowering herself first! It was a stunning realization. I suddenly understood that this was a true act based on Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
I received a message one evening from the same practitioner. She said she had no doubt that I would be an excellent drummer. I could feel that every word was from her heart. I was so touched that I started to cry. I felt that her understanding and care dissolved some heavy matter of grievance that had accumulated in me since I had started to practice the drum; I felt lighter. I would like to thank my fellow practitioner for her compassion!
In order to help me to improve my drum skills, another practitioner suggested that we do an extra practice once a week. She very patiently taught me drumming techniques. After each session, she said to me, “Thank you so much for practicing the drum with me!” The forgiveness and patience this practitioner showed me made me feel ashamed in comparison. I so often blamed others when they failed to do something perfectly. I told myself, “You shouldn't blame your fellow practitioners in the future. Look at how practitioners treated you when you faced problems!”
I am grateful that Master used this opportunity to let me know what Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance really is, and what true cultivation is!
Cultivating as If I Had Just Started
I attended a training event several days ago. When doing the assigned homework, I heard a fellow practitioner say that she would not turn it in until she was one hundred percent satisfied with her work. She said it in a casual way, yet it stunned me. What I was thinking was that it was just homework and I would turn in what was sufficient to pass.
Yesterday I attended another training for photographers. A practitioner said that for many years she had been thinking about how to take better portraits.
I was touched. I remembered when I started as a radio broadcast director: I would check every sound file before broadcasting and edit the file if changes could improve the result. No one asked me to do it, and no one knew I did it. I just wanted to make sure everything went smoothly. But over the years, I gradually stopped doing that.
I also recalled a situation that occurred in the early years. A broadcasting file arrived only a few seconds before the show, so there was no time for me to make changes. It caused an error during the live broadcast. I cried. I was so sad that I was unable to correct the error in time. But as time passed, I was hardly upset when there was an error in the broadcast.
I discovered that I had lost something precious.
“What Master is most concerned about is that at present a number of you have become not diligent. When the persecution first began you were full of vigor, and you turned around that entire situation. But as circumstances have eased up, you have instead slackened. Cultivation… There’s a saying, and it’s one I’ve shared with you before: ‘Cultivate with the heart you once had, and success is certain.’ ( Enthusiastic applause) The reason many people didn’t succeed in their cultivation was because they weren’t able to make it through over the long haul. They might have felt lonely or bored, or they might have become so familiar with something or have grown so accustomed to something that they didn’t want to do it anymore. Anything can cause a person to become lax. So you should continue to be diligent. In the past, there would be sudden tests for cultivators even at the very last step. If you grew increasingly lax, you certainly wouldn’t be able to pass that test.” (“Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day”)
I looked inward. When did I lose my passion? What made me unable to do things as I did at beginning? I found the answer: selfishness.
When I first joined the media, everything was new to me. There was no “self” involved. Gradually, I had my position, my opinion, and my losses and gains. When this “self” got bigger, I wanted everybody do things the way I wanted; otherwise I would blame others and complain.
I found that some practitioners treated everything as cultivation and were not simply doing things. These practitioners walked on their cultivation path very stably. When they did something well, they knew it was Master who did it, not themselves.
While thinking about playing the side drum in the band, I realized that for a long time I was satisfied that I was able to follow the other team members to find the right rhythm. However, I was unable to play on my own. Why couldn't I break through this stage? I finally realized that I only paid attention to getting it right on the surface. I did not try to solve my basic problem—lacking a sense of rhythm.
I found that I made similar mistakes while doing other Dafa work.
A year ago, another practitioner and I were in charge of a 10-minute news highlights program. At first, we simply searched the internet and gathered several important news items and read them. A year later, I was still doing things the same way. But the other practitioner who worked with me on this project had already become a real reporter. She understood each news piece, followed up on them, and wrote her own news reports. Now I can see that she is truly making news reports, while I only aimed to finish a 10-minute program. I suddenly understood more about “Truthfulness.”
I used to have a very selfish thought: “It will be good enough if I can reach beyond the Three Realms.” I did not have a wish to return to the original place I came from. As I continuously read the Fa, I finally understood that the purpose of life is to return to where we came from. If I don't reach the level I came from, what would happen to all the beings there who are waiting for me?! I came to save them!
I want to be a qualified disciple of Master's. Although I have not cultivated really well, I am confident I will do better. Master chose me. Master trusted that I can do it, and Master created every element needed for me to succeed at the most microscopic level. I am determined to treasure the time we have and cultivate as if I am just starting!
I am grateful for Master's merciful salvation!I am grateful for the support and accompaniment of fellow practitioners!