In Promoting Shen Yun, Have We Lost Focus?
(Minghui.org) In promoting Shen Yun this year, it seems that the methods used in previous years are not working this year. The first several years, I paid attention to the promotional methods used in other. If a more effective way was in use elsewhere, we adopted it locally to help boost our ticket sales. If the method worked, we continued it whole-heartedly and we had great results.
In 2010, we heard that some west coast cities promoted Shen Yun with newspaper foldouts called gatefolds, resulting in great ticket sales. The experience was shared with others and soon spread world-wide. Coordinators in many cities placed newspaper gatefold ads and it was very effective.
Although we could not place gatefold ads in a small city like ours, we decided to do an insert, instead. The newspaper agreed to add a banner at the top of the front page that said, “Please see Shen Yun insert.” The effect was great and the cost was very low.
My personal understanding of why the gatefold works was that first, it served as an endorsement by the mainstream newspaper. The reputation of the newspaper helped project Shen Yun as a significant local event. Secondly, there is sufficient space in such large ads to talk about various aspects of Shen Yun and to share audience feedback to help people understand Shen Yun at a deeper level.
Since our local newspaper distribution is only 20,000 to 30,000, I felt that we should not blindly follow what others did without understanding why the gatefold advertisement worked. If we only copy it with the mindset of merely completing a task, it wouldn’t work despite the high cost. This was one of the areas that we needed to think about further.
There was another phenomenon. Shen Yun is spectacular and is greatly effective in saving people. As time went on, many practitioners wanted to participate in this project, including those who recently came from China, or those who hadn't stepped forward in the past. However, one issue surfaced. Some practitioners came in with a strong attachment of validating themselves.
In some areas, they used the excuse that the previous coordinator had some xinxing issues, in order to push others aside and raise themselves. The end result was that ticket sales became slower and slower.
In the past, no matter how hard it was, as long as we tried our best, we were able to sell tickets. Why? As I understand it, it was because we felt the urgency to sell tickets and save more people. Our mindset of assisting Master in Fa-rectification was very clear.
As Shen Yun became more well known, the situation improved and the field in many cities has now opened. Our hearts, on the other hand have become restless and we've lost focus. Here are several of my thoughts on the matter:
1. Slacking Off and the Mindset of Merely Doing Things
The practitioners who have been participating all along have begun to feel very tired. Every year, it’s the same process over and over again. They just wanted to follow certain steps. What’s lacking is our basis as Falun Dafa practitioners, to “save sentient beings.” Instead, it has become, “merely doing things” or in some cases, merely “dealing with it”. Therefore, some practitioners have slacked off. However, those are practitioners who truly have the precious experience and resources to promote Shen Yun.
2. Validating Oneself
Some practitioners who hadn’t participated very much saw that Shen Yun has developed so quickly and is being led by Master. They wanted to become coordinators, and to show off in front of Master. Part of the intention of actively participating is righteous thoughts, but mostly it was from their attachment of validating oneself. They thought that it was very easy, and that the previous coordinator wasn't smart. They wanted to be in control.
In turn, they rejected others' suggestions and pushed them aside. However, although these practitioners thought they were smarter, they did not have the experience of assisting Master in Fa-rectification in the previous years when the situation was challenging. They only knew a little bit. If these practitioners were to take charge, the results would be obvious.
3. Have We Become Arrogant and Ungrateful?
Some practitioners have become arrogant because of their achievements. They look down on others and forget that every ability we have was given to us by Master. This is ungrateful. Master is leading Shen Yun. In this process, Master has also given practitioners a lot, including Shen Yun artists and the practitioners who promote Shen Yun. Any capabilities we have are given to us by Master.
A lot of the successes were built by Master in other dimensions. However, many practitioners viewed their little achievements as a result of their own capability. They've become arrogant and act as though what Master has done for them was supposed to be. Isn’t this using what Master has given you to get fame and glory? Would Master be utilizing practitioners with non-righteous xinxing?
Some of these practitioners feel that it was they who promoted Shen Yun and sold tickets. When they forgot about Master, the tickets sales stopped. When they thought of asking Master to give them more opportunities to satisfy their own glory, they would be using Dafa. Who sold the tickets and who saved those sentient beings? When we faced challenges in ticket sales, did we search within and examine ourselves for cultivation issues? Did we remember that in fact everything has been done by Master? We are merely assisting Master in Fa-rectification.
We should not claim Master's merits and sacrifice as a result of our achievements. We are assisting Master, we should not ask him to assist us. We should not act without reference to Master and Dafa.
From the standpoint of traditional Chinese culture, when a person helped you when you faced difficulties, then when you became successful later, the first thing you thought would be how to repay that person instead of being intoxicated with your own success. If one only asks for things for one’s own fame and benefits, it is considered being ungrateful.
In fact, we should ask ourselves, would there be today’s Shen Yun without Master? With our own capability, would we even be able to take on Shen Yun? Why would we even feel that we are in charge? Why are we even attached to our own thoughts or ideas? When we do things our own way, aren’t we interfering with Master’s Fa-rectification?
“No matter what happens, one must maintain good xinxing. Only through adhering to Dafa can one be truly right. Whether it is your supernormal abilities or your Unlocking of Gong, you achieve them through practicing cultivation in Dafa. If you put Dafa in a secondary place and put your supernatural powers in the primary place, or as an enlightened person you believe that what you understand one way or another is correct, or if you even regard yourself as being great and beyond Dafa, I would say that you have already started to stumble. It would be dangerous and you would become ever worse. At that time, you would really be in trouble, and your cultivation would end up in vain. If things are not done right, you will stumble and fail in your cultivation.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
When ticket sales are not good, wouldn’t it mean that we are failing in our cultivation?
4. Lack of Compassion
Some practitioners have the tendency of pushing their way to the front. They participate in projects that they think have mighty virtue. However, they leave the low-key projects without much fame or benefit, but that require hard work for others. Didn’t we say that when we came to the human world, if somebody became lost here, we would wake him up? Some of us have actually broken that vow.
There are those that have replaced others in order to become a coordinator. Did we come here to become high-ranking officials or to cultivate? If we don't have compassion towards fellow practitioners, how can we help others obtain the Fa?
It seems that our understanding of Shen Yun is still very shallow and superficial. We should all be more modest. Only Master knows what true traditional Chinese culture is. Which practitioner dares to claim that she or he knows? Wouldn’t this one thing keep us modest?
Isn’t Shen Yun’s future direction up to Master? If we can’t even clearly state what Shen Yun truly is, how can we feel that we've accomplished a lot? When we think about this using a calm mind, if we validate ourselves while promoting Shen Yun, aren’t we deviating from traditional culture and values? Shouldn’t we rectify ourselves?
We say that we are assisting Master in Fa-rectification. Have we really thought about what we have done? How would Master and gods view us? If we want to continue to participate in the Shen Yun project, we should indeed search within and reflect on our own behavior and cultivation, and make sure our mind is clear. Have we truly put our hearts into it? What kind of thoughts have we had? When I noticed fellow practitioners having these common xinxing issues, I became very anxious. Please point out anything inappropriate.