It was very joyful to be involved in the promotional activities of Shen Yun last year. At that time, there were many situations during which Master helped me understand the meaning of this joy.
After a somewhat tumultuous time, we signed a contract for the Shen Yun venue, just one day before a high-class touring trade exhibition was held at that location. Besides, we already had arranged to man our first Shen Yun promotional booth at that location. Out ticket sales began on the first day of that event. Practitioners that had been involved in prior years Shen Yun promotional events shared that his was an ideal place and that it would be instrumental in us meeting our Shen Yun ticket sales target.
It took us from April to October to finally get that location, which was a long time. We had finally reached our objective. I felt that we finally made a breakthrough and had reached our most desired outcome. However, when I finally manned the ticket sales booth at the fair, it was anything but pleasurable. In my opinion, I needed to convince people very fast of the importance to watch the Shen Yun. I did not want to miss a single person. However, it did not go my way at all. My fellow practitioner who manned the booth with me turned around and disappeared into a corner. Therefore, many people just ignored our booth and passed by. I was flabbergasted and thought how could she shirk her responsibility at such an important moment
Therefore, I actively tried to talk to people. However people walked around me or just ignored me. Practitioners who had manned a booth told me about the wonderful environment at the sales both and the great conversations they had. Of course, I did not doubt their words, but so far I could not attest to what they had said. Although in my opinion, my fellow practitioner was not active enough by far, she still had many good conversations. In my case, it was as if I was hidden behind a curtain and many simply passed by me. Only when I realized that did I look within. I found that my opinion of others and my pursuit to do well blocked me from accomplishing my task. These attachments stopped my joy of being involved in this task to come to the forefront. Although the strong desire reached the surface, but it was not pure, had little energy and stopped me from being compassionate. If I look back while writing this article I laugh at myself. I was involved with the Shen Yun promotion from the beginning and Master hinted at my attachments from the start.
Also, my fellow practitioners helped me experience and recognize the joy of saving sentient beings. Once I became aware that my egoism prevented me from allowing the joy and compassion to come to the surface, I tried to look daily inwards and let go of attachments. However, it was not as easy as I wished. At one time I agreed to man the booth for two hours after work. However, that day was an exhausting day at work, with many challenges that improved my xinxing. Actually, I did not cope very well with some of the situations and felt anxiety in my heart. I told myself that the turmoil in my heart would not prevent me from being involved in the Shen Yun ticket sales. When on my way to the booth location I recited Lunyu and sent righteous thoughts. However, I could not fully resolve the restlessness in my heart. On arrival at the booth I felt excitement in the air. The practitioner who manned the booth said enthusiastically that he was happy to have found some xinxing problems that day. This resulted in good discussions. When he talked I found his words to be like fresh water that cleansed me. The anxiety I had felt in my heart all day long disappeared immediately. I could feel a deep joy in my heart, and the desire to save sentient beings came to the surface. I felt at that moment the importance of the connection between fellow practitioners and how Master helps us through Shen Yun to strengthen this connection. The cultivation of every practitioner is instrumental in breaking any obstruction. After that, I could sell many tickets. The energy of fellow practitioners was with me, an energy that was formed with the guidance of Master.
Once, an exchange helped me understand the meaning of Shen Yun's profoundness from a different perspective. This helped me appreciate Shen Yun even more and I thus found a deeper joy within me. I drove with two fellow practitioners to our sales booth in Vienna. When we exchanged thoughts, one practitioner said that when compared to other cultivation ways our Master provides us with the opportunity to cultivate among the most beautiful things. These words opened my heart. Master told us that during our cultivation the persecution is not used to consummate. He has other methods that help us get rid of attachments. At that moment, I realized that Master had arranged with the Shen Yun the most beautiful method to cultivate and to negate the persecutions arrangements. I thought, “Wow, I can raise my cultivation level among the most beautiful things and at the same time I can give this beautiful things to sentient being. How awesome is that. I felt the deepest joy and highest gratitude towards our revered Master.
Once, I called a fellow practitioner who told me without any preamble that in her opinion I was fearful. I was afraid that fellow practitioners would not cooperate during the promotion of Shen Yun and thus we would not be successful. My first thought was why I should be afraid. I am confident and feel joy about the Shen Yun. I was not afraid. However I knew that nothing happened by chance. If she told me this, there must be some factors that caused it. After the phone call I looked within to find my fear.
Then, it came to me. While clarifying the facts about Falun Gong, selling Shen Yun tickets or during other situations I gave my all. But, I had to qualify my thought when it came to understanding or supporting fellow practitioners. Why? The reason was bad experiences in the past when I tried in my opinion hard to support others. The others did not appreciate my efforts and also criticized me. Therefore, over time an unconscious thought had formed in my mind – it is your choice. If you don't appreciate my efforts I will concentrate my efforts on saving sentient beings on my own. Yet, on further thought, I realized that my ego was bruised. Was this not the thought that the factors governing ordinary people are far simpler when compared to those of some fellow practitioners? Was it not the fear that I would get hurt? Didn't I hold fear of more so-called complex situations? Once I realized my wrong notion, I knew what hindered me to cooperate well with fellow practitioners and the joy of saving sentient beings. I needed to change.
In the final stage of the Shen Yun promotion practitioners exchanged thoughts about conflicts. In my opinion, the first meeting was rather depressing. Almost everyone who spoke criticized my understandings. This hurt me a lot. I told myself that if I let go of fear, everything would resolve itself. Fellow practitioners spoke up because they wanted the Shen Yun to be able to save sentient beings. Is it not that the hidden attachments began to crumble once they were addressed openly? I have to listen carefully and let go of the protection I have built around myself. During that time, many practitioners motivated me to actively exchange thoughts with practitioner who is of different opinion. It was not always easy. On the one hand there were many things to be done for Shen Yun, while on the other hand there were many discussions and many requests from practitioners because I was the main coordinator. Therefore, I should share actively with practitioners to resolve the conflicts. I felt a lot of pressure and there were times when I could hardly breathe. During an exchange in Vienna, I cried and spoke up: “When Master asks me what is going on, what I can tell him when fellow practitioners complain among each other and can't cooperate with each other.” Then, I thought, “Why am I so unhappy about fellow practitioners in this situation? Is this unconditional cooperation? Did I think about the affected practitioner and her difficulty in this particular situation? Did I give my Best to quietly improve the situation? No, I have not done so.”
Master said: “Yet when we run into problems, we often look outwards—“Why are you treating me like that?”—and feel that we’ve been treated unfairly, instead of examining ourselves. That’s the greatest and most fatal obstacle for all living beings. In the past, some people said that it was impossible to succeed in cultivation. How could one succeed in cultivation? [They couldn’t succeed] because that was the biggest obstacle, and nobody was willing to find faults in himself amidst problems. When a person feels hurt, or when he encounters misfortune, it’s really difficult for him to still examine himself and see if he’s done something wrong. If a person can do that, then I’d say that on this path, on this path of cultivation, and for the eternity of his existence, nothing can stop him. It’s truly the case. (“Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Singapore”)
Once I realized what blocked me, the burden lessened. I can see that it is not for me to change others, but to constantly correct myself based on the Fa. This is something I can do at any time. When I address any situation with the Fa, all situations can only be good, no matter how difficult they appear to be. They are only difficult because I do not want to let go. This situation also showed me another aspect of cultivation that I had already noticed in the beginning of my cultivation. At the beginning of my cultivation I decided that Dafa is good for me and that I wanted to align myself to the requirements of Dafa. This was regardless if others found it to be good or not. However, now I realized that I held from time-to-time the desire that others should recognize my efforts, as well as the thought that others treated me unfairly. Actually it is quite clear that such a thought has no place in my cultivation. Slowly I became clearer and slowly I again felt joy in my heart.
On the day of the show in Vienna, the Shen Yun touring company manager told me during an exchange that I should be more courageous when it comes to saving sentient beings with the Shen Yun. She said that the Chinese character in my name stands for courageous. I told her that the character in my name stood for swimming and not for brave. She responded this did not work, you have to change yourself to being brave. At that moment, I saw this as a hint from Master. When I was little, people mistook my name and wrote that character brave instead of swimming. Swimming is not a common given name. Then, during my cultivation I knew on some level that this given name means “the king of the original water” and it reminded me of my origin. When the tour manager talked about it, I took it as a hint. I should go another step, and not be limited by my past notions that I already had let go. Instead I should continue to move forwards rapidly and courageously based on the Fa. Once the Shen Yun had performed its closing show in Salzburg, I knew the result of the two shows were good and that was also the hope by the Shen Yun artists. The coordinator of the Shen Yun in Salzburg decided to have a second show on a Monday. This is an uncommon day for a theatre performance and moreover it was a different show time than on Tuesday. Therefore, practitioners were against this decision. I thought it needed to be explained better and I needed the courage for a decision. I was unsure that I could make that decision. Of course, not everything is absolute. This is just an example for where I saw an aspect of courage that could be addressed by the Fa. It was to motivate practitioners and give them courage, but not force them to agree and accept responsibility.
This year, the Shen Yun in one scene showed winter flowers, which symbolized courage. When I saw this scene in Salzburg, I was reminded of the remark made by the tour manager. This allowed me to view the scene in a different light – courage is gentle but radiant. Doesn't each of these winter flowers represent each and every practitioners? Isn't it true that every one of us has had the courage to descend with Master to this world? Why should I lack the courage during these final steps? When at the end of this scene the dancer who had made a mistake paused and then moved the leg into the correct position, was this not courage, a selfless courage? Tears welled up in my eyes. Our compassionate Master had shown me through so many different ways the meaning of courage. At that moment, I felt a deep joy and courage in my heart, and the joy to be courageous.
Master said: “You must be strict with yourself. In cultivation of the Buddha Fa, you should strive forward vigorously.” (Zhuan Falun)
The many months I worked on the promotion of Shen Yun were so precious. The hints from Master and the help of my fellow practitioners allowed me to find many of my attachments. Besides, I saw that the joy in cultivation and the joy of saving sentient beings are not just empty wishes that appear on the surface, but they develop when one constantly lets go of attachments of ones egoism on different levels.
Master said: “As you know, when a person reaches the Arhat level, in his heart he is not concerned about anything. He does not care at all in his heart for any ordinary human matter, and he will always be smiling and in good spirits. No matter how much loss he suffers, he will still be smiling and in good spirits without any concern. If you can really do this, you have already reached the entry-level Fruit Status of Arhatship.” (Zhuan Falun)
Is this joy not a phenomenon of the mighty Fa in the human world?
When I wrote this experience sharing article I read many of my old e-mails. I must say Wow, there were so many insights and cultivation processes that occurred in Austria. I do not know about the true manifestation in other dimensions, but I do know that they must be gigantic.
Dear fellow practitioners, cultivation is challenging, and yet it is filled with joy. Let us encourage each other, keep the joy, and go the final leg with confidence.
I want to end my sharing with one of Master's poems.
Heaven and Earth, so vast, look small to my eye,
For who created the limitless Firmament?
Beyond the Cosmos ‘tis yet more boundless,
To fulfil my grand hope I spread the Great Way. (Hong Yin)
Thank you esteemed Master and thank you dear fellow practitioners.
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