Maturing in Cultivation While Helping with the English Language Epoch Times
(Minghui.org) Greetings revered Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
During most of the six years that I've practiced Falun Dafa I have worked for the English language Epoch Times. Looking back, I cherish the cultivation path I've walked with other practitioners while working on the newspaper.
Other practitioners may have had this feeling—many things that occur seem to be arranged. At first, my joining The Epoch Times seemed coincidental. A practitioner who worked there told me they needed someone to translate articles about traditional Chinese culture into English, so I started helping. He also suggested I join the weekly Fa study and work meetings with other Epoch Times staff. I wasn’t used to the way The Epoch Times meetings were conducted. One week, I decided to instead attend another small group weekly sharing on truth clarification. To my dismay, I learned that that sharing was no longer being held. So, I began attending the English language Epoch Times’ meetings. The whole situation may look coincidental to others, but I felt it was a hint, showing me where I should be.
There were several young practitioners my age helping with The Epoch Times back then, and we all joined around the same time. I believe it was a predestined relationship that brought us together.
Soon after I joined, a practitioner who worked as a reporter asked me to get interviews during the opening of an event. When I arrived at the event, a staff member asked whether I’d like to interview the chef. I also met the café owner. The owner is Japanese. I asked him in Japanese whether it was okay to interview the chef. His demeanor became very warm and he said yes. The chef was also Japanese. He wasn’t very fluent in English and the interview was mostly done in Japanese. I had a very shallow understanding of the Japanese language, but I was able to understand what he said. It was a huge encouragement for me since I had almost no reporting experience.
The practitioner reporter later brought me along on interviews and encouraged me to write articles. Although I don’t think my participation actually helped that practitioner, I benefited a lot from it. I understood the preparation work needed and how the interviews were conducted. Reading the published articles helped me learn how to write the interviews. That was a very memorable experience and I am very thankful to that practitioner.
Becoming Mature in Cultivation
Around three years ago, some practitioners including me felt that our publication lacked a clear market niche and the front cover didn’t look professional. We had many discussions about it. We browsed through magazines in bookstores and libraries for ideas. Sometimes we discussed until midnight how we could improve the newspaper.
One of us who was experienced in design came up with a front page design. I conceptualized the content while other young practitioners came up with a business direction and plan. Our enthusiasm soon died down as our proposal was greeted with skepticism. The person in charge did not approve the plan and the other practitioners weren't very supportive either.
There may have been several reasons why we didn’t win much support. We wanted to revamp the paper and proposed many changes, but we weren't very sure of how much time we would devote to working at the paper. I can still vividly recall the person in charge asking the other young practitioners and me how long we planned to work for the English Epoch Times. I'd never thought about it before. I remember my response was, “However long.” When I thought about my response afterward, I suddenly realized what being responsible for the project really meant. When I later faced difficult xinxing tests or felt like quitting, I remember what I had said at that meeting.
Although I can now talk about our experience as if I’m telling a funny story, it didn’t feel good when our proposal was rejected. I had many negative thoughts. I had to remind myself to let my anger go and strengthen my righteous thoughts.
After the meeting, a practitioner said, “Everyone needs to be involved. You just don’t get it.” This woke me up and helped me have a new understanding of what it means to cooperate. Before that, I really never thought about what cooperation is or how to cooperate. I shared what that practitioner told me with the rest of our small group and we all agreed that we should look inward, quietly get things done, and quietly make up for what was lacking.
In “Be More Diligent,” Master said,
“Then there are those who say that they raise those differing opinions in order to bring about better cooperation, and if their opinions aren’t accepted, they find it difficult to go forward with things. But that shouldn’t be the case. A Dafa disciple’s righteous thoughts stem from the Fa, and your cultivation is not a matter of how good, as a human being, your ideas are or how brilliant your approach is. Rather, your cultivation is a matter of whether you manage to have righteous thoughts in the face of challenges. If the idea that someone puts forth, or his approach, is lacking, then you can have a rational discussion, set up by the coordinator, with your project members. But, when what you bring up is not agreed upon or accepted, and yet you feel it’s obvious that your approach is necessary for things to be done more ideally, you start to become negative and passive. Actually, though, as a Dafa disciple, if in such cases your thoughts are righteous, and what you are thinking about is cultivation, about being responsible, and about how it’s something that should be done well, then you should quietly take whatever it is that you feel is lacking and do it well. That is in fact how a Dafa disciple should handle it. If all Dafa disciples could manage to handle things in this manner, everything out there would go extremely well, for sure.” (“Be More Diligent,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
Learning to Write Articles
Before I joined The Epoch Times, I had limited writing experience. I mostly composed essays for coursework. The person in charge suggested that we write original articles for the newspaper. Few of us were experienced writers. We started by rewriting published research reports on topics that might interest people. One day a practitioner told me that it was difficult to understand my article and that it contained many obscure words.
I was fortunate to later coordinate with writers and copy editors. This offered me an opportunity to improve my writing skills. The writers made suggestions on how my articles could be improved and why the copy editors changed certain parts.
I also learned a lot from the person in charge. Some practitioners felt that he was too strict. But I listened to his comments and learned how our articles and layout could be improved.
Sometimes writing articles is a test of our patience and focus. It can take hours vetting through the information that’s relevant to the article. One time after hours of tedious work, I told a practitioner, “I’ve had enough and I don't wish to take a second look.” The practitioner pointed out that I shouldn't have said that as it might inject negative energy into the article.
We sometimes doubt whether what we’ve been doing is helping to save sentient beings or not. Unlike clarifying the truth face-to-face, we aren't able to directly gauge the effectiveness of what we do. During the 2019 Fa Conference in New York, Master said,
“In your environment, even if you just post a few decent articles online, you can play your part. As Dafa disciples, you should do what you’re supposed to.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2019 New York Fa Conference,” Team Blue Translation)
“Master is so benevolent!” I thought when I heard this. Although posting an article online doesn’t seem to require as much effort as some other project work, Master still encouraged us.
Soon after we came back from the New York Fa conference, we published an article exposing a Chinese company closely tied to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on our website and also posted it on our social media page. The article received a lot of comments. Many were negative ones attacking us, some were more positive and objective. A practitioner said that he posted the article on his social media page and observed how his colleagues reacted. He said that one of his colleagues had previously “liked” the social media page of that company connected to the CCP. But after he read the article, his colleague “disliked” the company’s page. We felt encouraged.
I've mainly talked about how we've done slightly better and the encouragements we’ve received. We do face many xinxing tests as well. For instance, I'm sometimes easily influenced by negative thinking. When certain things are not done according to my standards, I develop negative thoughts about practitioners. Sometimes I feel that our meetings are pointless and I'm reluctant to attend them. Only after I let go of my attachment to self am I able to break free of those negative feelings.
My show-off mentality was also exposed. Once when I wasn’t in a good mood, a practitioner told me that I sounded arrogant. I hope to eliminate my attachments.
I hope that we can all do better in our cultivation and continue to walk our paths steadily.
Thank you revered Master! Thank you fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2019 Singapore Fa Conference)