(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I began practicing Falun Dafa in 1996 and came to the United States in 2008. Ten years ago while I was at university, local practitioners suggested that I help with the media. I’d like to talk about some of my experiences and improvements in cultivation while working in the media over the years.
When I was in my junior and senior years at the university, I helped report on Shen Yun in many U.S. cities. I later participated in news reporting, and I also participated in an event to stop the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution.
While interviewing a scholar from China, I helped him withdraw from the CCP and its affiliated organizations. I felt that working in the media offered me many opportunities to awaken peoples’ consciences.
After I graduated, I moved to a small city in the southern United States to study for a Master’s degree. I continued helping with media reports on weekends. But I soon discovered that it was not easy to balance my busy academic schedule and my involvement in Dafa and truth clarification.
I often had to stay up late to complete my schoolwork and then fly to other cities on weekends to work on news coverage. I was the only practitioner in that small city, and I felt that I did not have a good cultivation environment. At that time, another practitioner suggested that I work in the media full-time. I began to think about it seriously.
I left school in 2014 to work as a full-time reporter for The Epoch Times newspaper in Washington D.C. Working as a journalist there mostly included attending events, conducting interviews, taking photos, and writing articles. When I was in school, writing and photography were my hobbies.
As a journalist, I participated in think-tank lectures and various exhibitions every day. This helped me gain knowledge and insight. Every day I did what I liked and what I was good at. I could go out, explore, and meet people from all walks of life. I was also able to directly participate in reporting on practitioner events.
Although I often had to stay up late and write articles, I seldom felt that I was working hard. Instead, I felt that my work was meaningful and interesting. I think that I found the best job for me—here in the media.
By chance, I began working at the New York headquarters in 2017. I felt like I started a brand new cultivation journey as I left a job I was good at and interested in. As the needs of the New York headquarters changed, I was reassigned to different departments.
The reasons varied from my work team being re-organized, to having to join another team because more people were needed there. I felt disturbed at first, but once I remembered that our cultivation paths are arranged by Master, I understood that this was an opportunity for me to improve.
The team I was in was reorganized yet again in late 2018. By coincidence, I was called by my current supervisor to work in the then newly-established subscription department of the English language Epoch Times, where I have been working ever since.
There were less than ten people on our team. We started from scratch and did everything we could to help the paper succeed. We didn’t have any experience. I witnessed the development of this effort that started from nothing. I matured with the project and found that there were many opportunities to improve my xinxing. These last few months, I feel that I have made a big breakthrough in my cultivation.
In the beginning, my supervisor asked me to focus on coordinating customer service. At that time (about two years ago) there were only a few people working in customer service. Our pressure mostly came from subscriber feedback concerning various issues. Since most of us didn’t have much experience working in customer service roles, and we had to figure out how to handle various situations.
We were sometimes dealing with one troublesome issue when many more issues suddenly appeared. At one point our workload increased but not our manpower. I had to work overtime. All day long my brain was filled with customers’ problems and complaints.
I sometimes felt so stressed and helpless that I wept while I sat at my computer. However, I had strong righteous thoughts and I knew I was working hard for the sake of saving these subscribers. When I encountered particularly difficult issues, I asked Master for help, and in the end everything was eventually resolved.
As the numbers of our subscribers later increased and our products were updated and upgraded, we had more and more complex issues to deal with. During this period of time, more members who worked remotely joined the team. Since team members were from different regions and different time zones, as a coordinator, my workload increased and became harder.
At that time, the hotline was busy from morning to night, and the pressure was so great that the group members often did not have time to send righteous thoughts. It even became difficult to guarantee time for Fa study and doing the exercises. There was a period of time when we felt that there was a lot of interference from other dimensions, and several team members experienced family and physical tribulations.
Because the practitioners did not live in the same time zone, this made previous attempts to arrange group Fa study and cultivation sharing unsuccessful. However, I realized that our team members needed to strengthen our group cultivation state.
A practitioner whose third eye is open told me that she saw evil factors in another dimension interfering with fellow practitioners and making them suffer from sickness karma. We then asked every team member to set aside half an hour every Monday night to send righteous thoughts together.
After we sent righteous thoughts together the following Monday, the fellow practitioner with the third eye open cheerfully said that she saw Master coming while we were sending righteous thoughts. She said Master looked at us with gratification. I felt very encouraged and felt that we should keep up our weekly group cultivation sharing and sending righteous thoughts.
Our tradition of weekly righteous thoughts and sharing has continued to this day. Although the number of people who participate varies, I feel that we all benefited a lot from it. We started to hold Fa study and do the exercises for an hour in the office twice a week. All the practitioners on our team felt that this was very good.
With the rapid growth of the English version of the Epoch Times and the rapid increase in the number of subscribers, the customer service team subsequently also expanded. More and more practitioners joined us. We slowly built up our own management team, from a few people at the beginning, to a dozen, dozens, and then hundreds of team members.
Although customer service sounds simple, as if all one needs to do is answer phone calls and reply to emails, there is actually a lot of work involved. All of these procedures are related to the overall quality of customer service. I sometimes feel that making sure customer service is done well is a delicate and huge project.
I felt that coordination became increasingly difficult and that the requirements for my xinxing and capacity grew higher and higher with the expansion of the team and the addition of new colleagues. This was especially so because our team was made up of members from different cultural backgrounds, different languages, ages, personalities, and different communication and working habits.
I felt that all of my hidden attachments were exposed in the process of working with fellow practitioners. In the past, I thought I was very cooperative.
After I became a coordinator, I realized how overbearing I was. I had strong CCP culture, jealousy, the mentality of showing off, a competitive mentality, and resentment. I wanted to impose my will on others, and I disliked being criticized.
For a period of time I often had xinxing frictions with fellow practitioners. Even though in my heart, I knew it was wrong, I behaved badly when I was confronted with conflicts. I even complained and wondered why others had no understanding or empathy for me when I had already worked so hard and was so tired.
I sometimes apologized to team members on the surface, but I was actually thinking, “Since my apology is so polite, shouldn’t you look within and apologize to me too?” Until I let go of this attachment there was no way to truly resolve the conflicts and gaps with other practitioners.
I felt like I was about to explode whenever fellow practitioners pointed out my mistakes or said that I had Party culture. I couldn’t accept it. On the contrary, I felt a lot of resentment towards them.
At that time, I felt that I couldn’t pass the tribulation and that I couldn’t improve in cultivation. There was a gap between myself and my colleagues. In addition to the pressure of customer service work itself, I heard negative feedback all day, every day. I became very depressed and couldn’t keep up with the three things Master required of us.
This state of depression triggered an issue in my cultivation. During these years of cultivation, there was strong thought karma that would make me lose confidence in my cultivation, and make me feel unworthy of Master’s salvation. I even began to suspect that there was something seriously wrong with me.
Because I grew up practicing with my parents, I always felt that Master had arranged for me to have the best cultivation environment and that my diligent family members were arranged to always help me. Master also gave me all kinds of guidance and help in my dreams and throughout my cultivation process.
Because of this, I always felt that there was no reason for me to fail in cultivation. But actually, I often feel that I am not doing well, that I am not living up to Master's compassion and salvation, that I do not cherish Dafa and the opportunity to cultivate, and that I am constantly making mistakes in cultivation and discrediting Dafa.
I was able to suppress these thoughts when my cultivation state was good because I understood that confidence in my own cultivation also came from believing in Master and the Fa. I felt that I should believe that with Master and such a great Fa, Master would surely be able to grant me salvation.
However, this thought karma would come out when I felt that I had done poorly or I couldn’t pass a tribulation for a long time. I felt like I was struggling under murky water.
During that time, I felt that it took a lot of courage to go to work every morning. Facing each day became a torment. Although I knew that I was going through a tribulation and had to persevere, I felt that mentally, I had reached my limit. Later, when I was suffering mentally and faced pressure and various complaints and dissatisfaction from our subscribers, it felt like my whole heart was twisted, and that it was difficult to breathe.
In the midst of this pain, I still had a thread of rationality. I told myself to keep going to work every day no matter what, because I believed that this environment would help me. I felt that if I lost this group environment, my situation would be even worse.
Sometimes when I went to work, I felt that the substance weighing me down was lessened. I looked for ways to break through the old forces’ grip on me. Deep down, I knew that all those bad things were not my real self. From time to time, I remembered what Master said,
“The truth is, anything that is not consistent with Dafa or the righteous thoughts of Dafa disciples results from the old forces’ involvement, and that includes all of the unrighteous elements that you have. And that is why I have made sending righteous thoughts one of the three major things that Dafa disciples are to do. Sending righteous thoughts targets things that are outside of as well as inside of oneself, with nothing unrighteous allowed to escape. It’s just that there have been differences in how we have regarded and handled sending righteous thoughts.” (“On the Responses to the Piece About Assistant Souls”)
I knew that the old forces were trying to break my will and confidence in cultivation. I could not let the old forces win.
I also began to reflect on why my cultivation state had plummeted. I realized that because of my busy work schedule, I had slacked off on Fa study and sending righteous thoughts, which are fundamental to our cultivation. This was actually the root of my problem.
Having cultivated all these years, I knew that as long as I could study the Fa quietly and send out more righteous thoughts, there were no tribulations or difficulties I couldn’t overcome. I required of myself to participate in the morning group Fa study as much as possible. I also resolved to study and memorize the Fa more.
I read articles on Minghui.org written by fellow practitioners about their experiences and insights while memorizing Zhuan Falun. I felt very encouraged, and I also wanted to memorize the Fa. At first I was worried about difficulties; I felt that I was too busy with work and that it was already difficult to guarantee face-to-face Fa study every day.
However, I wanted to use my snatches of free time to memorize as much as I could. I felt that if I memorized even one paragraph I would be gaining a lot. While taking the subway, walking, or waiting, I began reciting Zhuan Falun. Although I couldn’t memorize it very smoothly, I often understood concepts of the Fa I didn’t see before. It was very helpful for improving my cultivation. I’ve now almost finished memorizing Zhuan Falun.
Memorizing the Fa during this period of my cultivation played a vital role. In the process of memorizing the Fa, Master has helped me untie many knots in my mind. For example, I can recognize that I have strong jealousy. I often feel that this creates a gap between fellow practitioners and me, and prevents me from treating the people around me with the kindness and compassion of a real cultivator.
Although I recognize it, I feel that this mentality is hard to eliminate. Sometimes it seems like some of it has been removed, but I also often feel that it is everywhere. I felt very distressed. Why is this attachment so strong? How do I get rid of it? Why can’t I be happy from the bottom of my heart when others have good things, instead of feeling that it is unfair?
One day, while I was memorizing the Fa about “Jealousy” in Zhuan Falun, I suddenly saw a sentence of the Master’s Fa:
“The different frames of mind in the two cultures lead to different responses. In China, it can lead to jealousy and resentment.”
When I memorized this sentence, my eyes were suddenly fixed on the words “frames of mind.” I realized that our notions are what make us jealous.
I thought that there must be some wrong notions hindering me. I followed this jealousy to dig deep into the notions behind it. I realized that this jealousy stemmed from not wanting to see that others were better than me. In other words, I had to be better than others. I realized that this was a kind of mentality formed by the education of Party culture I received when I was a child.
In Party culture education, only the strong can survive and will not be eliminated in society, while the weak are pathetic and cannot survive. I realized that if I wanted to get rid of jealousy, I had to reverse this thought. Why do I have to be better than others?
A person’s life is fixed, and Master has arranged the best for us. I should just do the things I should do well. I felt a sudden sense of enlightenment. From then on, I felt that my jealousy was easier to remove. As soon as it appeared, I could tell that it was not me, and eliminated it from my thoughts.
After that, I realized that many of the problems in my cultivation might have been caused by sticking to some misunderstandings that I hadn’t yet identified. I began to look for these notions. As I continued to study the Fa and look inward, I suddenly noticed a fundamental problem in my cultivation; my motivation for cultivation was based on selfishness.
As soon as I realized this, I felt a shock go through my entire being. I studied the Fa for so many years, and have always seen that in the Fa, Master requires us to be selfless and to think of others when doing things. Yet I seemed to never seriously think about why we should be selfless.
I felt as if I was stuck in cultivation. I kept thinking about the issues of selfishness and selflessness. I felt that I could only get past this point if I truly understood and improved from the principles of the Fa. I silently begged Master to enlighten me. One day, I suddenly stopped struggling with this issue.
I told myself that this was what Master requires. All I had to do was do as Master says. As a tiny life in the universe, a life created by Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, I must assimilate to Dafa and the universe’s characteristics.
I truly felt that when I had the thought of unconditionally assimilating to Dafa, the core of my life and my entire cultivation underwent a huge fundamental change. I finally knew how to walk the path in the future, get rid of selfishness, and become a being who is truly selfless and truly assimilates to Dafa.
“Through the process of continual cultivation, reading the books, and practicing the exercises, a person can gradually understand the Fa from within the Fa. You have a higher requirement for yourself and try your best to restrain those bad thoughts and things that you are attached to; you do your best to take them lightly and resist them. The portion of you that manages to meet the standard, even if it’s just for a split second, is then fixed there. It continually and constantly breaks through toward the surface in this way. When finally it has broken through completely, when the very last layer is broken through, you will discover that your thinking and thoughts are completely different from before. Even your way of thinking will be different from before. That is your true self, your true nature, whereas everything and anything that you think about and can’t let go of are postnatally acquired notions which are entangling you.” (Teaching at the Conference in the Western U.S.)
As Master said in this passage of Fa, after the internal change took place, I felt that my whole way of thinking and the way I looked at people and my surrounding environment changed drastically. This change in my way of thinking has also fundamentally changed many of my notions.
In the past, I always felt that cultivation was difficult and painful. I was attached to when it would end. I was also worried that I wasn’t cultivating well enough, and I was afraid that my cultivation level might drop one day because I couldn’t maintain my xinxing or that I couldn’t persist if the time for cultivation was extended.
When I realized that cultivation is about assimilating to Dafa and that we should be unconditionally considerate of others, cultivation suddenly seemed less difficult, painful, or complicated. When I was going through tribulations in the past, I couldn’t understand this no matter how I tried.
I would get stuck in an ordeal and felt that it was very bitter. I even felt that my cultivation process seemed to be harder than others’. I felt that I had to bear more than others. In fact, it was all caused by selfishness. I put my own happiness, anger, sadness, sorrow, feelings, and self first, instead of assimilating to Master’s requirements, Dafa, cultivation, and sentient beings.
“Yet when we run into problems, we often look outwards—“Why are you treating me like that?”—and feel that we’ve been treated unfairly, instead of examining ourselves. That’s the greatest and most fatal obstacle for all living beings.” (Teachings at the Conference in Singapore)
When I was able to put assimilating to Dafa and others above myself, I no longer wasted time wondering why this happened to me or why others treated me like this. Instead, I try my best to unconditionally look inward for my own mistakes and shortcomings. I try to be considerate of others. I reminded myself that if there was nothing for me to improve on, I wouldn’t have encountered that tribulation.
In the past, although I heard Master say that good things and bad things are all good things, I did not change my notions. Now, I see everything that happens as an opportunity to further assimilate to Dafa. No matter what happens, Master is showing me through the incident what my shortcomings are and how I can improve. Now, I really think these are great things.
As for fellow practitioners, I can ignore their shortcomings. I realized that Master systematically arranges the cultivation paths of all practitioners. When what some practitioners say or do bothers me, I now realize that this is meant for me to see and reflect on my own shortcomings. I no longer look at fellow practitioners with notions and prejudices like I did before, nor do I focus on their shortcomings. What I see now are their strengths and where they have cultivated better than me.
My mother, who is a fellow practitioner, once said that I was not good at cultivating and that I was unclear about the Fa. I never took her words seriously. I thought that I have cultivated for so many years, and after many trials and hardships, how could I not know much about cultivation? But after this fundamental selfish notion changed, I realized that I really didn’t understand how to cultivate before.
At the same time, I also realized that as a coordinator, I should do my best to cooperate with others and help others, so that everyone can give full play to their strengths and maximize their abilities. Every time I have negative thoughts, I immediately realize that these are the old forces wanting to create a barrier. I cannot allow the old forces to succeed, so I vigorously send righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil that interferes with our team as a whole.
Looking back at the growth of our customer service team, we have grown from a few people to hundreds, from handling hundreds of customer service requests a day to thousands. From doing everything manually, we have slowly been able to automate many issues and significantly improve our work efficiency.
This is the result of the countless dedication and hard work of all the fellow practitioners in our group. I feel very lucky to be able to work in such a team, and I am very grateful to the fellow practitioners in our team for their help, encouragement, and tolerance.
Our manager is also very concerned about the cultivation of the team, especially the young practitioners, and has created a good Fa-study and cultivation environment for us. I am also very grateful to my mother for patiently and tirelessly talking with me time and time again, and helping me to resolve the knots in my heart.
More than 20 years have passed since I started practicing cultivation at the age of five. There have been many miracles, large and small, that have occurred in the course of my cultivation in Dafa.
Looking back at the uneven and bumpy path I have traveled, I cannot describe how grateful I am to Master. Through cultivation, I have come to realize that when a practitioner puts aside his or her ego and unconditionally assimilates to the Fa and thinks of others and sentient beings from the heart, his or her heart will be filled with light, compassion, and peace. This freedom is truly incomparable to the joys of ordinary people.
Finally, I would like to conclude my experience sharing with the poem “Following Master” from Master’s Hong Yin III,
“Massive, powerful figures,they gathered for the Great CurrentAssuming different social statuses,and different occupationsDafa disciples are one bodyFollowing Master in Fa-rectification,working against sinister tides.”
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(2021 International Online Fa Conference)