(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I joined the Tian Guo Marching Band in 2008 when I lived in Japan. I would like to share some of my cultivation experiences during these 14 years.
Joining the Tian Guo Marching Band
When I participated in a parade in 2008 in Tokyo, I saw the Tian Guo Marching Band for the first time. I was very excited and inspired. I called the local Falun Dafa coordinator when I got home and expressed my wish to join the band. I did not think much about the 500 km (about 310 miles) distance from my house to Tokyo in order to attend the band’s rehearsals. The band coordinator told me, “You can learn how to play the French horn since there aren’t many people in that section.” I agreed immediately. I had no musical background and thought that perhaps this was my cultivation path.
I decided to join the marching band’s group rehearsals two weeks after I purchased my French horn. After I spoke with the head of the band’s French horn section, I headed to the group rehearsal in Tokyo. I worked on the weekdays and on Friday nights I would ride the overnight bus to Tokyo and ride the overnight bus back on Sundays.
The head of the band’s French horn section suggested that I memorize one music score per week. I rehearsed with the entire marching band one day while practicing with other French horn members the next day during the two days that I was in Tokyo. I was able to memorize and play five music scores in a month and during that time, many of the band members helped me. No one was competing against each other for whose skills were better.
As a new band member, I had to eliminate the attachment to saving face whenever I met up with the head of the French horn section. At times when we did not do well in a music piece, he would ask us to redo it again. Everyone encouraged each other and practiced together with a heart of purity.
I was able to play a note higher each week and this gave me a lot of encouragement. I do not have a musical background and it is a miracle for me to be able to play new music each week.
Our cultivation needs to be in its best state in order for us to meet the standard and perform in parades. We read at least one of Master Li’s (Dafa’s founder) lectures, practiced the five sets of exercises for two hours, sent righteous thoughts, and practiced our band instruments. Since the French horn has a lot of overtones I usually had to use a tuner each time I practiced. With help from other practitioners, I was able to participate in parades after a month.
When I recall the process, this was truly a miracle. A section of Master’s Fa appeared in my mind each time I encountered tribulations. This made me very happy knowing that I was diligent in my cultivation. The diligence in my cultivation also benefited my work in the media.
Participating in a Taiwan Parade and Learning to Cultivate Compassion
I attended a Fa conference and a Chinese character formation in Taiwan in November 2009. I witnessed over 400 hundred Tian Guo Marching Band members from Taiwan and other Asian countries practicing together. Many of them were elderly. They were well-organized and played their instruments very well.
The parade was about three hours long and during the last leg of the parade, the band repeatedly performed “Falun Holy King.” This music piece in particular had many high notes and was challenging for me. A Taiwanese practitioner beside me lightened the atmosphere by making a friendly joke.
That practitioner’s compassion and positive attitude touched me. I realized the source of my negative thinking was not being compassionate enough. I would remind myself that in order to awaken people, I needed to be more compassionate.
“The greatest manifestation of shan is compassion, and it is an expression of tremendous energy. It can disintegrate all that is not right.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IX)
Joining the Western U.S. Tian Guo Marching Band and Eliminating Attachments
Overcoming a Negative Mentality
I joined the Western U.S. Tian Guo Marching Band after moving to San Francisco. I started to slack off in practice since I was already familiar with the music pieces. I did not enlighten to the fact that constantly improving my French horn skills was a way to awaken people.
Master said in “Solid Cultivation” (Hong Yin) that,
“...Accomplishing is cultivating.”
Although I understood the meaning behind Master’s Fa, I was still unable to plan my time accordingly and practice my French horn.
The marching band started to rehearse virtually during the pandemic. I was glad that we had the opportunity to practice virtually since we were required to practice one on one with our instructors. My instructor was able to clearly point out my mistakes and this helped me focus on practicing my basic skills. Not only did my skills improve, I was also able to read music notes better.
I needed to overcome my negative mentality. Some people asked, “Will there still be parades during the pandemic? Is it even worth it to keep practicing?” At times, I wavered and followed these negative thoughts. I eliminated this negative thinking with strong righteous thoughts. As the old Chinese saying goes, “An army is nurtured for a thousand days all for one day’s battle.” Hence, we need to be prepared for the next parade.
Eliminating My Attachment to Comfort
I was sharing my cultivation experiences with my husband, who was also a Falun Dafa practitioner, one day, and I asked him, “Why do I feel so exhausted after only parading for only an hour in San Francisco? I did not feel tired at all when we paraded for three hours in Taiwan.” My husband suggested that perhaps our training was not as intense as when I was in Japan.
That was true. When I lived in Japan, we would practice on sandy beaches walking for hours under the sun and wind. Perhaps it was also a physical workout. I started to slack off in attending group rehearsals after moving further away from the rehearsal site. I had to overcome my attachment to comfort.
This attachment was deeply hidden. I felt that with my poor driving skills and busy schedule, it was only fair that I was unable to attend the rehearsals. It was not until one Sunday morning, that all sorts of excuses surfaced in my mind telling me not to go to the rehearsals.
Master said in “Tempering the Will” (Hong Yin),
“...Let joy be found in hardship...”
I was able to recite this poem from Hong Yin quite well. How can I participate in the band if I keep finding excuses for myself not to attend rehearsals? From personal experience, I knew the best way for one to improve is to attend rehearsals. So, I decided to join the rehearsal and felt happy that I overcame my attachment to comfort.
I saw a practitioner practicing the five sets of exercises when I arrived at the rehearsal site. That practitioner also lived quite far away. Perhaps Master was enlightening me by letting me know that everyone has things to do. It all depends on how one plans their time so they can remain diligent. Nothing that happens in cultivation is trivial. Sometimes one thought can bring about many attachments. Cultivating diligently as if we were just starting is long-term persistence.
Cooperating as a Group
Participating in the band has high requirements for one to cooperate as a whole. The band’s performance is a group effort and does not focus on any individual. Every member in the band is a particle that spreads the wonders and beauty of Falun Dafa.
“That day during the Chinatown march, countless gods in every dimension of the heavens—gods filling the sky—were beating military drums. And many, many heavenly soldiers and generals were charging forward. And the energy emitted as Dafa disciples played the wind instruments was very powerful. You’ve seen in movies the enormity of the blast waves produced by the explosion of an atomic bomb, right? Well, [the energy emitted] was even more powerful than that. (Applause) That’s because the components of the energy emitted by the Dafa disciples were greater than atoms, and the particles at every level of it were all very powerful. In other words, at the time, whenever the sound came forth a large area was covered in bright light.” (Teachings at the Conference in Los Angeles)
“That’s why when the band proceeded down the streets in the march, the many people who were watching—and I was watching those ordinary people’s minds—they were basically numbed. (Audience laughs) And the Chinese people were just watching, expressionless. Their minds were blank. “What’s going on,” [they wondered]. Their bad thoughts were all cleaned out, and afterward they started to think again (applause) and said, “Wow, Falun Gong is so amazing!” (Teachings at the Conference in Los Angeles)
Isn’t all our effort worth it when Master tells us that peoples’ bad thoughts were cleaned out? San Francisco has one of the three largest Chinese populations in the United States and it is our responsibility to awaken them.
The requirement set by the marching band is to blend our musical instruments with others. This is actually easier said than done. Sometimes I drift off while playing my own instrument and I forget that we need to work well together. This is what I need to work on.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the Western US Tian Guo Marching Band Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)
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