My Cultivation Experience While Working at the Epoch Times
(Minghui.org) Greetings, revered Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I first heard about Falun Dafa in 1998. A friend helped my parents register for and attend Master’s lecture in Singapore. Afterwards they began practicing. Although they also registered me, I thought it was just another qigong class and nothing different from the others my parents had attended. I declined and missed the precious opportunity to hear Master in person. I still feel regretful.
My parents taught my two sisters and me how to do the five sets of exercises. I still didn’t quite understand how precious Dafa is and considered it an ordinary qigong practice for improving health. Sometimes my parents would play Master’s lecture recordings, and I’d listen with them. I felt what Master said was very good, but I still didn’t really understand what cultivation was. I occasionally joined my parents in doing the exercises. I didn’t read the Fa, however, as I still didn’t think it was important. The copy of Zhuan Falun my parents bought me remained untouched on the bookshelf. I was fourteen that year and busy with my studies.
In 2004, I enlisted in the army. I was fortunate to be assigned design work. It was an easy job, and I didn’t have to train in the sun or live in the army camp. When I finished working, I went home. I had free time at night.
One day I recalled a wish I had made. I wanted to be assigned easy tasks while serving in the army so I could have time to cultivate. I realized it was no coincidence—Master arranged this so that I had time to study the Fa while fulfilling my military service. Since I had made a promise to Master, I knew I shouldn’t break it. When I got home that day, I finally took my Zhuan Falun down from the shelf and started reading the first lecture.
After I finished reading Zhuan Falun, many puzzles and questions I had were resolved. I'm very grateful that Master didn’t give up on me.
Joining the Epoch Times
Three years ago, I joined the English language Epoch Times. It was so beautifully designed–totally different from what I remembered. A Vietnamese practitioner was in charge of the layout and design. He had worked as a designer for other companies before joining The Epoch Times, and his work was professional.
We also had a full-time reporter. I mainly helped with taking photos and videos, and I also designed advertisements. Every Thursday night we studied the Fa together in the office and discussed the next issue's content. Soon after I joined the paper, the Vietnamese practitioner resigned. After some discussion, two other practitioners and I were assigned to do the layout.
I initially hesitated as I didn’t feel confident in my abilities. I worried that my design would not meet the paper's standard. Although I had studied graphic design and helped with layout in the past, I still felt my designs were lackluster. The person in charge had high standards for the quality of the front page, and it usually took several revisions before a design was approved.
Since I was chosen, I understood that it probably wasn't coincidental. “This is a good cultivation opportunity,” I thought to myself after I was assigned the front page. Master said, “Nothing that you encounter is by chance…” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
When I first started working on the layout, I wasn’t very skilled and my techniques were rough. I spent hours revising my work while being criticized by the person in charge. Coupled with the pressure of meeting deadlines, I often felt stressed out and tired. I usually had to work until late at night. I thought about quitting several times. But after repeatedly studying the Fa and sharing my understandings with other practitioners, I knew that I should persevere. It all came down to whether I wanted to cultivate myself. We persisted, and gradually our skills improved.
One time we needed an illustration for our front page. No one had the skills, and we didn't have the budget to pay for a professional illustrator. We contacted a practitioner who could draw and showed him a design concept. After rounds of trial and error, we finalized the illustration. However, the practitioner was not very proficient in coloring, and we had to seek another practitioner’s help to color the artwork. When I saw the finished drawing, I was amazed! The illustration looked very professional and much nicer than I'd imagined. With the cooperation of practitioners with different skills, we successfully achieved an impossible mission. I realized that if we all worked together and cooperated well, miracles could happen.
Clarifying the Truth Through Social Media
Two years ago, we heard that some overseas practitioners were very successful in clarifying the truth online through social media. We contacted them, hoping to replicate their success. We learned it was more effective to produce and post videos on social media. However, most of us had no video editing experience, and it was difficult to master the advanced video editing software. I was concerned that the practitioner assigned to making videos would soon give up, so I looked for an easier and more user-friendly software.
She still found it challenging to produce videos using the software. I felt some notions was blocking her. I encouraged her to try it out and not think of it as being difficult. I explained that the software was actually very easy to use.
The practitioner soon produced a video based on a script written by the person in charge. It was nicely done and very touching. Surprisingly, after we posted it on our social media page, it went viral and garnered more than a million views within a few days. This was quite a feat for us, as our social media page wasn’t very active and we had few followers. It truly was a miracle! I felt that Master was encouraging us. Through this experience, I realized that as long as we put in the effort, Master will give us the wisdom to do better in our media project.
Breakthrough in Page Views
Although the Singapore English Epoch Times’ website had been set up for a few years, the number of visitors didn't increase. The articles that practitioners put so much effort into writing did not attract many page views. We all wanted to improve and hoped to increase the traffic on our website.
I had an idea and quickly drafted a new proposal. Our goal was to increase our daily page views to one thousand. When I presented the proposal, the other practitioners were supportive, and the person in charge also approved. However, to implement the plan, we needed more practitioners to write more articles and more practitioners to help. I shared the plan with many practitioners and encouraged them to join.
In the beginning, we faced many difficulties and needed to improve our skills. After some training, we gradually got the hang of it. Our monthly page views increased, which greatly boosted our confidence in developing our website.
When some of us started to slack off, we reminded each other of our goal and encouraged each other. Although we sometimes had conflicts, we eventually let go of the attachment to self and worked together as one body.
I'm not good at writing articles, but I tried to search for relevant topics for our writers to work on. A few months ago, I suggested a practitioner work on a popular topic. That practitioner was concerned that the topic attracted lots of online searches and thus might be too competitive for us to gain page views. I encouraged her to give it a try. A few months after the article was published, it started to attract many visitors, and its page views steadily increased. The practitioner was also very happy and felt encouraged. She knew the time she spent writing the article was worth it.
Our website has continued to improve thanks to all the efforts of practitioners. The page views of almost every article on our website has increased.
This September, we reached our goal of one thousand daily page views three months ahead of schedule. This was also the first major breakthrough on our English website. We've set our goal for next year—to achieve three thousand daily page views. If every day three thousand Singaporeans get to know our English Epoch Times, we'll increase our awareness in Singapore. As our brand becomes popular, it can also help spread information about Falun Gong. More businesses will wish to advertise with us. We need more practitioners to get involved.
A few days ago, a practitioner told me something encouraging. She said that one day her friend started telling her about the Hokkien language, how it was related to Japanese, its connection to the Tang Dynasty, and how it evolved. What her friend said was almost a reiteration of an article we had published online. She even attended a Hokkien language class, and the instructor was the person we had interviewed.
Here I would like to thank all those practitioners who work for The Epoch Times as well as all those who quietly cooperate and contribute. At this very last stage, I hope we can all do the three things well, save as many sentient beings as possible, and walk well on the path of cultivation.
If I've said anything inappropriate, please kindly point it out.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2019 Singapore Fa Conference)