Cultivation Through Delivering the Epoch Times Newspaper
Greetings Revered Master
Greetings Fellow Practitioners:
When the Chinese Epoch Times newspaper was established in 2001, I gradually became involved in its distribution. There aren’t a great number of practitioners in Sacramento, so distributing the Epoch Times has become a main vehicle for validating the Fa and clarify the truth locally. Delivering newspapers for 10 years may seem like a simple thing, but tied into this process is my cultivation and doing the three things. With Master’s protection, strengthening my righteous thoughts, and other practitioner’s selfless sacrifices and support, I have been able to persevere and continue to this day. When I was an everyday person, I can remember that my enthusiasm to carry out a task lasted only about 5 minutes before I got bored. Whenever I think about the journey I have been on, my heart is filled with gratitude. Here I just want to share some of my understandings with you and please compassionately correct anything that is inappropriate.
At first, I had to drive two hours each way to the Bay Area to collect the newspapers once a week. I took the opportunity to attend the big group Fa study on that evening, so by the time I got home, it was normally 2 o’clock in the morning. Initially my driving and map-reading skills weren’t too good, and I was afraid of driving at night, worrying that I might get lost. So collecting the newspapers by myself was a challenge. I didn’t have a cell phone at the time, nor GPS. I couldn’t find anybody else to do the task, so I had to break through my attachment of fear and worry, and shoulder the responsibility. I remember the first time I went to get the newspapers, I did indeed get lost on my way back. When I finally figured out that I was on the wrong road, I got off at an exit, but only to find myself in a bad area. It was around midnight in the wintertime, and it was cold and the streets were empty, except for a couple of drunk people walking by. I didn’t dare to stop to ask for directions, as I didn’t know exactly where I was. I didn’t want to drive too far away from the highway fearing that I might not be able to find my way back. It was just me and my 2-year-old daughter in the car, who was sound asleep... Looking back, it was quite a funny adventure, but at the time I was really nervous. Since that incident, I have overcome the fear of driving, and have felt the joy of breaking through in cultivation.
2. Eliminating the evil
In the early days, we had quite a few incidents of newspaper theft, and newspaper boxes were also frequently stolen or vandalized. Most newspaper drop-off locations are concentrated in the downtown area, quite some distance from my home, and it was difficult to prevent the thefts. Several times after I dropped off the newspapers, I would pretend to be a customer sitting nearby or watching from my car, and I actually caught the thieves. We began to take it more seriously by strengthening our righteous thoughts, and every time when I arrived at each drop-off location, I would clear the field by sending forth righteous thoughts, ask for Master’s help, and ask for help from all the righteous beings from other dimensions to play a guarding role.
One rainy and windy morning, I pushed a shopping cart full of newspapers covered with my poncho to the entrance of a crowded Chinese supermarket, but when I got to the entrance, I couldn’t find the newspaper box. I looked around and still couldn’t see it. Looking at the cart full of newspapers that were about to get wet and all the people walking by who seemed rather indifferent, I cried out in my heart, “Master, what should I do? There are so many Chinese people here, and they can’t be without the Chinese Epoch Times.” All of a sudden, I felt that someone was making fun of me behind my back. I figured that the box must have been taken by the workers there. A thought came to me that the box was close by, and my instinct led me to the warehouse behind the supermarket. It turned out that the Epoch Times box was lying on top of a refuse pile, with a small box for a different newspaper next to it. I wiped the Epoch Times box clean and placed it back to where it should have been. Right after I placed the newspapers in it, many people happily came to get a copy. At this time, the rain stopped and the sky brightened up. I knew that Master must be helping me clear away the evil in other dimensions because I didn’t back down in the face of the tribulation. Instead, as a practitioner, I showed my compassionate side and had righteous thoughts.
The same box disappeared again. This time I found it stuck between a wall and a large dumpster. I tried very hard to get it out but couldn’t, even with the help of a young Western security guard who told me that I would be able to retrieve it in two days time when the garbage pickup truck came to lift up the dumpster. I didn’t want to leave it like that and have people see the Epoch Times newspaper box stuck next to a dirty trash dumpster. With strong determination, I walked up to the box, pulled it with both hands, and surprisingly enough, I got it out. The security guard dropped his jaw with disbelief; I knew it was Master who helped me.
Throughout all these years, only the Epoch Times box and rack have been allowed to be placed at the front and back entrances of this very busy supermarket. Actually, the box itself is made of a very lightweight plastic, and anyone can lift it up with just one hand. It is placed outside the supermarket, but nobody has touched it since then, even after the newspapers have all been taken. Every time I see it, I think it has been through many tribulations, just like a practitioner, and I have respect for it. I think that maybe it has already achieved the status of an Arhat or a righteous divine being in another dimension who is safeguarding the Fa.
3. Clarifying the truth
“Once a problem comes up somewhere, that's where you need to go clarify the facts. Don't avoid it, no matter how evil it comes across.” (“Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference”)
Every time I deliver the newspapers, I try my best to utilize my limited time to clarify the truth to people I run into. When someone comes to get a copy of the paper, I ask the person how he likes it. Usually I can tell if someone is from mainland China by a glance, and I would ask him if he has heard about the “Three Withdrawals” as published in the paper, and encourage him to withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party and its two affiliates, the Communist Youth League and the Young Pioneers. I warmly greet the cashiers and workers who unload the trucks, and clarify the truth to them. At the beginning, they would gang up and verbally attack me, now they have started to have more and more righteous thoughts. Some of the vendors by the supermarket entrance have voluntarily watched the newspaper box for us. For example, a Vietnamese lady told me that every once in a while so-and-so would try to take more newspapers than he was supposed to, and she would stop him. She would point to the Buddha and Bodhisattva statues for sale next to her table and warned the thief that stealing the newspapers would offend the Buddha and bring him bad luck. I have given this lady Shen Yun calendars and told her that treasuring our newspaper will help accumulate virtue and obtain protection from Buddha, and she nodded and agreed. At some of the locations where newspapers were frequently stolen, I would go directly to talk to the managers or owners and clarify the truth to them. With the changes in the cosmos and the quality of the newspaper improving every day, there have been less and less incidents of newspaper theft.
After learning the truth, the security guards and policemen patrolling the shopping centers would help us safeguard the newspapers as well. During the weekends and dinnertime peak hours, it is very difficult to find a parking space. One time, a practitioner got a ticket for briefly parking his car by the curb outside the supermarket. I went to talk to the policeman who issued the ticket and told him the facts about Dafa, how the CCP persecutes Chinese people, and how we all volunteer to deliver the newspapers. He finally said, “Ok, I will let you park in front of the supermarket when you drop off newspapers, but you have to be very quick.” Not having to find a parking spot each time has saved us a lot of time.
At a seniors apartment complex in Sacramento, every weekend morning, a group of seniors gather outside to do exercises or chat with each other. One time, I went there to drop off newspapers. People came to pick up a copy. One elderly person who looked like a mainland Chinese government official suddenly yelled out loudly, “Why are you all trying to read Falun Gong’s newspapers. Falun Gong is …” I walked over and clarified the truth to him while sending forth righteous thoughts. Soon, his son came to pick him up. I then talked to his son and asked him to help his Dad get to know the correct facts about Falun Gong, which are not available in China. Since that time, whenever I go there to drop off newspapers, he happily tells others, “Newspapers are coming, newspapers are coming.” He will cheerfully get a copy for himself and thank me. I also bring some English Epoch Times and leave them with the security guards by the door. One time I saw two security guards trying to retrieve a bunch of Chinese newspapers from a trash bin. I quickly got out of the car and asked whether they were our newspapers. It turned out that they weren’t. The security guard then said, “Nobody would throw away your newspaper; they even take them home after reading them.”
On another occasion, there were 4 or 5 people standing outside the supermarket talking. I walked over to give them a copy of the newspaper after having placed the rest in the box, and started to tell them how good the paper is. One of the people didn’t quite agree with me, nonetheless I continued to talk to him. After everybody had left, the last person asked me if I knew who I was talking to. I said I didn’t have a clue. He told me that the person was the owner of the supermarket. What I understood from this was that if we have the heart to clarify the truth, Master will arrange those who are predestined to meet with us.
4. Understanding the Truth
The owner of the above-mentioned supermarket brought a dozen family members and friends to see Shen Yun once he learned the truth. Typically, they don’t allow posters on the windows of the supermarket, yet Shen Yun and NTD Television’s Nine Competition Series posters are always displayed in the windows. At another supermarket, there is a worker who is in charge of cleaning windows and collecting shopping carts. He takes down whatever I put up in just a couple of days, so I try to talk to him every time I drop off the newspapers. When it was time to promote Shen Yun, he told me that nothing would be allowed from that time on. I chuckled and said, “You know the truth, you must allow Shen Yun posters.” He hesitated and said, “Ok, I will give you a week.” I replied, “Until the Shen Yun performance season is over!” I wasn’t too confident when I said that, thinking that one week would still be better than not at all, but surprisingly, he waved his hand and said, “Sure, go right ahead.” I wanted to thank him, but he just turned around and walked away talking loudly to himself, “I am promoting Dafa, I am accumulating virtue.” I was surprised that his attitude could change so quickly. I understand Master was trying to remind me, through this person’s words, that we are doing the most righteous thing, we must do it with dignity, and we must have strong righteous thoughts. The Shen Yun poster was indeed displayed until the performance season was over. I came to realize that everyday people also can have righteous thoughts, and it is up to practitioners to help them bring out those righteous thoughts, follow along with the celestial phenomena, and aid us in saving sentient beings, which also helps them to lay a good foundation for their own future.
“Beings that have come to understand the facts become mobile media, and they too clarify the facts.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Midwest-U.S. Fa Conference”)
One time, I put both Chinese and English Epoch Times in the library of a famous local university. Later, the library director contacted me and said he often picked up our newspaper in a certain place, liked it very much, and he asked me for permission to put the newspaper in their library archive, as well as in the reading room, so that others could read it also. This was of course what we wanted. I now mail a copy of the Chinese and English Epoch Times to the library each week. The library director sent a thank-you letter to us. One time, I ran into a student from mainland China, and he mentioned that he would often read our newspaper in the library. We have an Epoch Times newspaper box in another state university library. One day, a note was posted on the box asking if we could add more copies of Chinese Epoch Times. After we increased the number for that location, we saw another note on the box saying “thank you very much.” On behalf of our readers, here I would like to thank our practitioners who have worked tirelessly at the Epoch Times, and for the sacrifice they make to be able to produce a newspaper of such good quality and under such a harsh environment.
Driving for long hours on the road makes me feel exhausted. Even though I can listen to the Fa, it is difficult to concentrate, and I have to use my will to resist tiredness. I often get home at 2:00 a.m. from picking up the newspapers, and then I have to leave home at 7:00 a.m. to do deliveries before I need to be at the exercise site at 9:00 a.m. There was a period of time when several practitioners moved away from the Sacramento area. Pretty soon I was about the only person taking care of the whole newspaper delivery operation. In order to prevent theft, I need to make several rounds of deliveries and only leave a few copies at a time. Later, another practitioner joined the effort; still it would take quite some time to get the deliveries done.
In order to be able to join the big group Fa study and also be able to spend time with my family on weekends, I often stay at a practitioner’s home in the Bay Area the night before, and then get the newspapers early the next morning, or leave home at 5:00 a.m. to go to the printing shop, come back home at around 10:30 a.m. after dropping off newspapers at a few main locations, and at the same time bring back breakfast for everyone at home. After breakfast, I would go to the market to buy groceries with my parents or go on an outing with my family. After dinner, I need to package up a few bundles of newspapers and go to the post office to mail them to practitioners in other areas. After putting the kids to sleep at night, I start cleaning up the house and taking care of other chores. By this time it is almost midnight. My mother sees me doing so many things during the day, and not feeling tired. She thinks I am a superwoman. The owner of the printing shop saw me getting the newspapers 3 or 4 weeks in a row, including holidays. He was moved, and said he admired the sacrifice that practitioners made. I asked him to go to see Shen Yun; he said he had seen it twice already. There were a couple of times that I didn’t arrive on time and he asked his employee to call me and ask if I was ok. The night before my Dad returned to China after his visit with us, he said that my Mom and he had visited us for 10 months and that there wasn’t a single weekend that I stayed at home the entire time. My Dad waved his hand and stopped me when I tried to explain. He sighed and said, “We weren’t trying to blame you, we are both old, and we didn’t want to go anywhere.” He then said to himself, “You Falun Gong practitioners really sacrifice your lives.” I knew clearly that in actuality our sacrifice accounts for nothing in comparison to those in mainland China. They are facing the test of life or death at every given moment, and they are really using their own lives to save those of others.
6. Letting go of fame and personal interest
Delivering newspapers is fairly easy, which doesn’t require any particular skills. As long as one knows how to drive, it can be done. After doing newspaper deliveries year after year, I sometimes feel a little disappointed, especially when I see other practitioners who focus on one project, and they develop certain technical skills and become experts in some fields. Looking at myself on the other hand, I am getting older, and so is my car. I feel I haven’t gained anything other than that my driving skills have improved. Sometimes when practitioners organize training courses or workshops, I can’t attend or can only attend for part of the time before I have to leave to deliver newspapers so that I don’t miss the peak times when readers come to get the newspaper. Sometimes I become somewhat numb, treating the newspaper delivery as an ordinary job, and lacking a sense of sacredness and urgency to save sentient beings. Newspapers sometimes sit there for a long time and nobody takes them. Sometimes I might think that the editing of a particular edition is not that good. Will people still want to read the paper? I also began to complain about other practitioners who would only help every once in a while, not willing to shoulder the responsibility long term. I have a family and sometimes when my daughter sees me, she accidentally calls me Daddy because she spends most of the time with her dad.
Once at an event, as a reporter, I interviewed a professor. The very next day, I delivered newspapers to the library and bumped into him. He looked very surprised, and said “How come you are doing this?” One time, one of my colleagues at work saw me delivering newspapers on a hot day. I was sweating profusely and she was too embarrassed to even acknowledge me. She stopped by my cubicle the next day and said, “How could you do things like that? Men should be doing that type of work.” Many times, I would also bump into people I knew. I could feel my attachment to fame and reputation coming out. I studied the Fa very hard but still couldn’t remove it from the root. At one time, my husband strongly wanted to move to another area and find a different job. I was tempted because I didn’t like to stay in one place for a long time either. In the end, my sense of responsibility and mission as a practitioner made me change my mind. But cultivating is really very hard. One time, I was studying chapter four of Zhuan Falun. One sentence regarding the transformation of karma jumped out and enlightened me.
“Whether you can practice cultivation all depends upon whether you can endure, sacrifice, and suffer. If you can commit your mind, no difficulties can stop you. I would say that there is not a problem.” (Zhuan Falun, 2000 Translation Version)
I re-examined myself and realized that every time I can’t let go of attachments it is because I don’t want to bear anymore or put in a little more effort or endure a little more hardship. Cultivation is a personal matter. I can’t complain because I decided to cultivate myself, as it is my own choice. Besides, other practitioners have all tried their best to help me. In the past, I would just leave English Epoch Times in the State Congress building once a week, and now another practitioner voluntarily hand delivers the newspapers to each official office for me.
In fact, the little effort I made in delivering newspapers in all these years can’t compare to the benefits I reaped from practicing Dafa. I can feel Master’s compassion and encouragement, which have accompanied me throughout the years.
In chapter six of Zhuan Falun Master says,
“As long as you regard yourself as a practitioner, you will remember it right away and be able to restrain yourself, and you will then be able to pass this test.”(Zhuan Falun, 2000 Translation Version)
I have seen the power of this sentence in Master’s teaching. One time, I was walking with two bundles of newspapers in my hands. Suddenly I took a step back, but I forgot that I was standing on stairs, and I tripped by the edge of the stairs. I fell with one foot down to the ground facing up. I said to myself, “This is not going to be good.” I landed on cement. A thought came to me that I should just lie there without moving. At that very moment, a car was driving by. I immediately got my mind cleared up and thought, “It won’t be good for a practitioner to be lying there like that.” I jumped up, looked around and strangely enough I didn’t feel any pain. The skin on my palms did get scratched, and I could see blood coming out. I said to my palms, you can’t hurt me now, I need to carry the newspapers. A miracle happened; I continued to carry the newspapers and put them away, then looked down at my palms: everything was normal.
7. Boundless Compassion
Speaking of miracles, I think they can’t be separated from Master’s compassion. Once I was rushing home in the middle of the night and I was going to catch a 6:00 a.m. flight to attend a Fahui, so I had to get to the airport at around 4:00 a.m. Unfortunately, the highway that I was familiar with was shut due to construction work, and the road sign wasn’t very clear. It seemed that I drove through some mountain roads where it was pitch black, and then through a small town with some lights but not a single person in sight. Subconsciously I found the entrance to the highway again after going through several intersections, and I made it to the airport on time despite the detour.
There was another time, when I was driving at night, I felt my front lights were sort of dim. It was a good thing that there weren’t many other cars on the highway, and I made it home by driving very slowly. The next day when my husband checked the headlights on my car, he found that both front high beam lights were out. I was driving with only low beam lights the whole time, and at that time, I did not know to turn on anti-fog lights, which could have been a disaster. There have been many cases like this. Whenever I am by myself facing danger, Master is always with me, quietly protecting me. In the past 10 years, there have been numerous times that I got out of trouble and was not hurt. I am sure those practitioners who also deliver newspapers would agree with what I am saying. One time I fell asleep behind the wheel when suddenly a loud noise woke me up. I opened my eyes to see tall grass brushing the windshield. I quickly turned my steering wheel and got back on the road. It turned out that at that moment I had already run off the road and almost drove into a ditch.
I would like to talk about another experience. I had a dream once in which I was standing on the side of the road with a few other practitioners. It was cold and dark. I turned around and saw Master standing there, yet his white shirt was soaked with blood. I didn’t know what was going on after I woke up. Two days later, several practitioners and I drove to the Bay Area after work for the Divine Land Marching Band rehearsal, when suddenly the tires were making a noise. We didn’t pay much attention, but then the sound from the tires got worse and something didn’t seem right. We promptly got out of the car and realized it was a very serious problem. We could have had a major accident if we had continued to drive. As the practitioners were replacing the tire on the side of road, the scene reminded me of what I saw in my dream. I came to realize that Master used his body and avoided this accident from happening to us.
Master teaches us to think of others first all the time. The reason why I took on more responsibilities in delivering the newspapers was because I was in a better situation compared to others. For instance, my whole family practices Dafa, and for quite some time, I didn’t look for work and I had time, etc. Sometimes when I was delivering newspapers I ran into other practitioners who were shopping, dining, or watching movies with their family members. Even though I hadn’t even had a chance to go home yet, I still felt happy for them as my taking on the deliveries had enabled them to spend more time with their families. Here I would like to sincerely thank my husband who is also a practitioner, for his hard work in taking care of our daughter. I would also like to thank those practitioners who have provided us with lodging when we come to the Bay Area to collect the newspapers. Their selflessness and tolerance have motivated us to be more diligent.
Let’s all treasure this rare opportunity of cultivation during the Fa-rectification. Looking back on the path I have walked, I have found that my cultivation state is closely tied to Fa study. If we follow the Fa, everything will be in order. No matter what we do, there are always opportunities to cultivate. I am grateful for the last 10 years. I got to listen to the Fa a lot while driving. Late at night, it is so wonderful to immerse myself in the Fa and upgrade my xinxing through learning the Fa.
When I first obtained the Fa, the change in my physical body was very obvious. Master opened my celestial eye, so I could see Falun at my level, Master’s law body, and each character in Zhuan Falun is actually an image of a Buddha. I also experienced the mighty power of sending forth righteous thoughts in other dimensions. Even though now I hardly see those things anymore, I trust every word Master says as true. If I have doubts about anything that I don’t understand, it is because my karma, human notions and attachments are blocking me. In fact, what percentage of Master’s profound Fa principles do we really understand? If we wait until we understand everything before we become diligent, we might have missed the opportunity to cultivate ourselves.
In chapter 3 of Zhuan Falun, Master says,
“…and you have to truly upgrade your xinxing—then, it is true cultivation practice.”(Zhuan Falun, 2000 Translation Version)
My wish is that we would all become true practitioners and truly cultivate ourselves.
Thank you, Revered Master,
Thank you, everyone