Cultivating and Saving Sentient Beings as a Member of the Tian Guo Marching Band
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Revered Master and fellow practitioners.
I am a Vietnamese practitioner who lives in France, where I obtained the Fa and have cultivated on my own. I always wanted to join the Tian Guo Marching Band and participate in projects to save people but didn’t know how. I asked Master Li to help me join a project. I believe he helped me.
I contacted two practitioners in my city and learned that the band was looking for people, so I instantly signed up. Someone tested me over the phone and said that the French Horn was the most suitable instrument for me to learn. I didn’t know what a French horn sounded like, so I searched online. I began to like the way it sounded and bought one last March.
Playing in the Tian Guo Marching Band was a great cultivation experience for me. Even after several months, I hadn't improved much, but my teacher encouraged me to practice. She told me that the French horn is one of the most difficult instruments to play, as the notes it produces are gentle but powerful, and teachers at music academies pay a bit more attention to French horn students than others. As I tried to overcome this obstacle, I remembered something Master said:
“Doing the exercises isn’t hard in its own right, and there’s nothing hard about raising your level in and of itself. They only say it’s hard because they can’t let go of their human thoughts.” (The Ninth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
Learning to Play the French Horn
In the beginning, playing each note felt like climbing a tall mountain, and my breathing was very loud. At my level, I realized that as a Dafa practitioner, once I let go of my fear of tackling something difficult and practiced the instrument daily, I would be able to play the higher notes.
I went to London last June to perform with the Tian Guo Marching Band. It was the first time I had been around so many practitioners, especially Western practitioners. I have never felt close to Caucasians, but everyone in the band felt like family. I realized that predestined relationships brought Dafa practitioners together. I enjoyed and cherished doing the exercises, studying the Fa, and playing in the band with my fellow practitioners.
I tried my best to practice the French horn and play well after that. However, seven months later, I still couldn't play even one entire piece. As a brass instrument player, if you don’t have confidence when playing, you will not play the right notes. I tried to practice at least one hour every day and treated this time as a test of my patience.
Last October, I had been traveling with the band for ten days through Europe but still hadn't performed with the band. Since there were no other new members, there was no training for me. The other French horn players in the band encouraged me to listen to their practice sessions to become familiar with the selections. The French horn coordinator told me that I would be able to officially join the band in about a year. I figured that if I let go of my attachment to self and focused on how to save more sentient beings, I would be able to join the band one day.
“The more you think that it is difficult, the larger it actually becomes, and the smaller you become. If you pay it no heed and don’t take it to heart, thinking, “As long as the green mountains remain, I’ll always have enough firewood. With Master and the Way by my side, what is there to fear? I’ll just forget about it!” As soon as you let things go you’ll find that the hardship shrinks and you grow, and you will be able to cross it in one step.” (Fa-Teaching Given at the Conference in Sydney)
The ten-day trip was an unforgettable experience. Through sharing with fellow cultivators, I was able to let go of my ordinary notions and attachment of laziness. I learned to look within and thereby manage my own thoughts. On the last day of the trip, we shared our cultivation experiences and how we had elevated our levels. I hadn't participated in such sharing in the past.
My character was tested during the trip. I had been unable to contact my wife by phone the day before the Fa conference in Europe, which was also the day of the parade. At around midnight, I was even more worried because she still hadn't picked up the phone. I tried to eliminate the interference and reassured myself that she was also a practitioner, that Master would look after her. After calling several times, I contacted a nearby practitioner to check on my wife. He said that the lights were on in the house, but no one answered the door when he rang the doorbell.
I couldn’t calm down and decided I would book a flight back home the next morning. I told the band coordinator about my situation. He reminded me that I should send righteous thoughts. While sending righteous thoughts, I knew that I still wanted to attend the Fa conference and walk in the parade with the band. I asked the neighbor practitioner to check on my wife again. He threw some stones at a window to get her attention and she finally looked out. I was really relieved to hear that she was alright.
Thinking back on what happened, I recognized the deeply-rooted emotions and fear I had. I realized that when our thoughts are righteous and we are determined to save more people, nothing can interfere with Dafa cultivators.
“As I've said, everything that happens today in the ordinary society is the result of Dafa disciples' thoughts. Even though the old forces do exist, if you don't have those thoughts they can't do anything. When your righteous thoughts are strong enough the old forces can't do a thing.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. II)
I was able to play three selections by myself a month after the trip. I realized that when my character reached the standards of the Fa at my level, Master and Dafa would give me the strength and wisdom I needed.
I finally passed the horn-playing ability test this year. The Tian Guo Marching Band members are constantly improving their skills. For us newcomers, it is very important to catch up. I practiced my horn while watching videos of last year’s parade in order to harmonize with the band. The videos helped me understand the pitch and pauses and how to harmonize the French horn into the piece.
I was asked to help train the adherents who joined the band this year. However, I instantly thought that I was not good enough and that I needed to practice with the others in order to improve. I soon realized that this was a selfish thought.
“As a matter of fact, for cultivators in the past to say, “I’m doing such and such,” “I want to do such and such,” “I want to obtain such and such,” “I’m cultivating,” “I want to become a Buddha,” or “I wish to attain such and such,” none of that was outside of selfishness. But what I want you to do is to truly, purely, and unselfishly Consummate with the real righteous Fa and righteous Enlightenment—only then can you achieve eternal non-extinction. So I’m telling you that you have to consider others first in everything you do.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland)
I realized that it was very important to incorporate more band members and to make them feel welcome. As more practitioners joined, I translated Chinese to English for them and practiced with them. They improved significantly, and I was very happy for them.
During my journey with the Tian Guo Marching Band, I was able to meet many people with whom I have predestined relationships. I remember when we were in Bielefeld, Germany, the local people were so happy to see us, as if they had been waiting a long time for us to arrive. Throughout the parade, I didn’t feel tired. It was an amazing experience.
I looked at Europe’s Tian Guo Marching Band roster and saw approximately 200 people on it, but only 60 to 70 members showed up for the parades. I know that traveling with the band requires sacrifices, and practitioners may also be involved in other Dafa projects. The Tian Guo Marching Band has the ability to save many people and to disintegrate evil at the same time. We should assume the responsibility and the honor that comes with being a part of the band.
I would like to conclude this article with a quote from one of Master’s lectures:
“For what was it that your life journeyed through history to this day? For just one, brief moment. In the long river of time, this stretch is really but a moment. Don’t be so passive and down—get going! You are a cultivator. Sentient beings are waiting for you to save them!” (“Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day”)
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners.