(Minghui.org) Greetings venerable Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!

I am seventeen years old. Last year I came to Shen Yun from Taiwan, and this year I went on my first tour. I would like to share the various changes I experienced since coming to Shen Yun.

I obtained the Fa nearly ten years ago, but I’ve never been a diligent Dafa disciple. When I was little, my dream was to dance in Shen Yun and help Master rectify the Fa. I was accepted into the Taiwan branch in 2011, and in the group environment where we compared how diligently we studied and cultivated I started to act like a Dafa disciple. However, the changes were exterior—inside, I still had many human attachments, such as jealously, competitiveness, pride, and my biggest attachment, sentimentality, all of which hindered me on my path to Shen Yun and continued to hinder my cultivation path after I arrived there. These attachments also made me forget and even lose my original intention—the prehistoric vows that I made to help Master rectify the Fa and save people.

Before I passed my qualification exam for Shen Yun last year, I had made two previous attempts but failed. On the surface the reason was my height, but in reality it was because of my human attachments to my friends and my school whom I couldn’t bear to leave, and because my originally steadfast heart to help Master rectify the Fa had wavered. The longer I stayed in the Taiwan branch, the more lost I became, to the point where I couldn’t even decide if I wanted to perform with Shen Yun or not.

Last year when Shen Yun came to Taiwan I took the exam again. I was told that I could go to the U.S. for further exams. When I got there, Master came to watch the exams. When I saw Master, I didn’t know why but I really wanted to be accepted into Shen Yun. Perhaps it was my knowing side that understood that I must fulfill the vows I made! I was not tall and I was a bit overweight, but Master let me stay and I felt really happy. I couldn’t believe it!

1. Cultivating away My Inability to Take Criticism

When I first arrived, all the groups were on tour, so I took classes with Class 14. I didn’t show it at the time, but I still had many human attachments that poured out like a fountain. I felt that I already had four years of schooling at the Taiwan branch, how could I be placed with these brand new students? This exacerbated my attachment to sentimentality, as I could not stop thinking about the people, events, and things from my past. My attachment to competitiveness made me think that I was quite good, and my attachment to saving face made me not want to practice in a group—instead I preferred to practice alone—and I didn’t want others to see through my intentions. In reality, all these different human attachments stemmed from my inability to take criticism. I couldn’t accept others pointing out my flaws and I was afraid of losing face. Whenever I was criticized I would get very angry inside. At the time I didn’t acknowledge these problems and I didn’t look inside.

I held on to these attachments even after I entered Class 13. During the program rundown, I was always called the new student. My movements always had this or that problem, and during our classical Chinese dance class I would often be criticized by the teacher. I felt really frustrated and I became dejected. Actually, it was all those bad attachments affecting me. For a while, another practitioner would always criticize me, and sometimes I would immediately become upset. I would find external reasons and excuses, and I developed an attachment to explaining myself which further prevented me from looking inside. I would push down all the unhappiness, grievances, and anger that I felt. I also had a very strong competitive mentality.

I didn't get rid of my attachments so I couldn’t pass my xinxing tests. After participating in various sharings and studying the Fa, one practitioner directly pointed out my attachment to explaining myself, and another practitioner told me, “The class leaders want the best for us, they want us to do well and that is why they continue to point out our shortcomings.”

Master said,

“That’s how things will be for you, starting now. Whether you are right or not is, for a cultivator, not important whatsoever. Don’t argue left and right, and don’t emphasize who’s right and who’s wrong. Some people are always stressing that they’re right, but even if you are right, even if you’re not wrong, so what? Have you improved on the basis of the Fa? The very act of using human thinking to stress who’s right and who’s wrong is in itself wrong. That’s because you are then using the logic of ordinary people to evaluate yourself, and using that logic to make demands on others. As gods see it, for a cultivator to be right or wrong in the human world is not important in the least, whereas eliminating the attachments that come from human thinking is important, and it is precisely your managing to eliminate those attachments rooted in your human thinking as you cultivate that counts as important. (Applause) If you can manage to handle things calmly no matter how wronged you may feel, if you can remain unmoved and not try to come up with some kind of excuse for yourself, then with many things you won’t even need to argue. That’s because on your path of cultivation there is nothing that is by chance. So, when you get into a heated exchange and it stirs things up in you, or you get into a conflict over something that concerns your vital interests, perhaps the factors behind it were put there by Master.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference X)

My competitive mentality had always been very strong. I always wanted to win and prove that I was right. Deep in my heart I hid away a sense of self and a need to protect myself. Later, after continuously studying the Fa and looking inside, I found my deeply rooted issue, which is my inability to take criticism. Only then did I realize it and eliminate those human attachments.

In cultivation, we must look inside at every step. Whenever we are faced with a difficult test, we should think of Master’s poem in Hong Yin III:

Don’t ArgueDon’t argue when people argue with youCultivation is looking within for the causeWanting to explain just feeds the attachmentBreadth of mind, unattached, brings true insight

2. Eliminating Selfishness

I discovered my selfish mentality. One time during our tour, I was preparing materials and took a music stand to put my props and headdress on. But I soon noticed that another classmate put her things on the other half of the music stand. I thought, why did she put her things here? She already has a chair, and plus she didn’t even think to ask me first? I blamed her a bit, but I didn’t say much. Later she came and told me that we had run out of music stands so she gave hers to someone else and shared mine. I thought to myself, I was really too selfish. She was thinking of others and gave her stand to another person, and I didn’t even want to share mine with her even though I didn’t have that many items.

Another time it had to do with the placement of items. Perhaps because I didn’t pass that last test well, it happened again. Because there was not enough space, an older classmate made some room for me and I put my props there. When I came back with a chair for my things, I found that all my things had been moved. When I asked around, I found out that it was the same classmate from the previous incident who put a laundry basket there. My first thought was, how could she do that? But this time, I immediately had another thought: I was being too selfish—perhaps she needed the space. After this second thought, my heart suddenly lightened. From that time forward, whenever we had a really small quick change booth, this classmate would always save a spot for me or share a music stand with me.

While organizing materials and costumes, we’re always thinking of how to do it quickly. In actuality, everyone is going through the same thing—we all change costumes at the same time. When we perform at a theater with poor backstage facilities, everyone helps each other, reminds each other, and everyone thinks of other people. And in day to day life, every action of ours will show whether we are thinking of others. For example, when riding the elevator whether we think of the people behind us before we let the doors close, or whether we ask around when we find another person’s items in our laundry. Through these things, I realized that I had a selfish mentality. I knew I need to maintain the mentality in which I put others before myself and I always think of others.

3. Helping Master Rectify the Fa and Save Sentient Beings

I had many accidents during the opening show of my first tour. I also dropped a handkerchief. That night a fellow practitioner shared with me, but in actuality she mostly criticized me and pointed out my shortcomings. As a disciple, I was not diligent enough and I brought my human attachments to Class 13 and to the stage. The practitioner made me realize that I hadn’t cultivated well, and I was acting like a “new practitioner”. In addition, I didn’t have righteous thoughts. I didn’t think about why I was here, I only thought about putting on a good performance and that as long as we didn’t make mistakes, it was fine. But this is not enough.

When I studied the Fa I did not focus, when I did the exercises my mind was not clear, and I didn't focus when I sent forth righteous thoughts. How could I save people when I didn’t do the three things well! And there was also the attachment to sentimentality in ordinary life, such as friendship, and my memories of my past—these attachments meant that I wasn’t fully committed to saving people through our performance.

These words struck me like a stick warning and allowed me to become enlightened. I could not continue to be muddle-headed and stubborn. I had already delayed my cultivation path so I must charge forward and catch up.

Since coming to Shen Yun, I’ve changed quite a bit, and throughout the tour I have continued to cultivate myself. Master gave us all our abilities and let us dance on stage, so that we can save sentient beings in this world. I hope that I can be more steadfast and diligent in my path of Fa-rectification and cultivation, and fulfill the important task entrusted to us in history.

This is a bit of my cultivation experience so far, if there are any shortcomings, please kindly point them out.

Thank you Master!

Thank you everyone!

(Presented at the 2016 New York Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)