The Shen Yun 2019 UK tour finished in early May this year. Shen Yun shows were held in 7 cities in the UK, including London and Birmingham, the first and second largest cities in this country. 32 shows, nearly 60,000 tickets were sold. Almost every show achieved full house. Tickets in some theatres were sold out even a month before the show, and some people purchased tickets from unofficial channels (not from official website) for even higher prices. This year’s ticket sales hit a historical record high since Shen Yun first appeared in the UK in 2008.
My job for the promotion was to work for and coordinate the Shen Yun ticket hotline. Last September, after being told that Shen Yun would visit 7 UK cities, I started to prepare. At the beginning of October, I organized a weekly Fa study for the hotline group and arranged for 2 members to be on duty, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm every day, to answer the hotline. The hotline had been in operation for 7 months, until May 4th 2019.
Reflecting on what we had been through, the various tests large or small, every test was an excellent opportunity to improve our xinxing. Now, I will present some of our cultivation experiences to Master and fellow practitioners.
When Shen Yun first came to the UK in 2008, I worked for the ticket hotline team. This year is the 11th year I have been in this team. During previous years, Shen Yun only went to 1 or 2 cities, with fewer numbers of shows.
Since 2018, Shen Yun made a historic breakthrough in the numbers of cities and shows in this country. This year, the number of cities Shen Yun has visited and the number of shows performed has been even better.
After so many years of experience, I was aware of the pressure and tests facing us. In order to do a good job in answering the ticket hotline and coordinating the hotline group, I must make my own breakthroughs in cultivation. In addition to paying full attention to Fa study, I repeatedly recited Master’s teaching:
“What is xinxing? It includes de (a type of matter), tolerance, enlightenment quality, sacrifice, giving up ordinary people’s different desires and attachments, being able to suffer hardships, and so on. It encompasses various things. Every aspect of xinxing must be upgraded for you to make real progress. This is a crucial factor in improving gong potency (gongli).”
(Lecture One from Zhuan Falun)
With the foundation laid by continuous Fa study, when I came across problems in my work, I was able to behave according to the Fa, to keep a good xinxing standard at all times, and to look inward unconditionally, rather than to judge what is right or wrong as ordinary people would.
This year the hotline team had 16 members. Many of them were new and lacked the experience in answering the hotline. Some even did not have much work experience in any area. However, because of their enthusiasm, availability and their native English language skills, they were all allowed to join the hotline team.
We spent lots of time on training, because working for the Shen Yun hotline is not as simple as just answering the phone. It’s a customer service and ticket selling job.
Sometimes, the same problem occurred many times amongst practitioners in the group. Some very simple lessons would have to be repeated again and again, and there were some practitioners who repeatedly made the same mistakes. All of these tested my patience.
No matter what happens, I just couldn't become angry, and could only correct the mistakes calmly and nicely. In addition, I must encourage everyone to work carefully and to improve our service all the time, so that we were able to provide the best service for sentient beings. In this way we were able to show the positive image of Dafa cultivators and to pass the beauty of Dafa to the sentient beings through the Shen Yun hotline.
Our hotline received a lot of feedback from our customers, praising our practitioners’ friendly manner. They were very enthusiastic and worked tirelessly to help the customers with their booking process, including finding the right price and the best seats, or assisting with payment. These seemingly simple tasks actually needed a lot of patience, as they repeatedly occurred for 7 months. Day by day, we faced different customers. Sometimes they chatted with you for over half an hour, asking various questions, and eventually nothing happened as they didn’t buy a ticket.
As a coordinator, I have been working full-time on the hotline for almost half a year. When I was on duty, I signed in to the hotline from 7:00am to 11:00pm, sometimes until midnight. Some customers might have thought that the hotline was a 24-hour service, so they might call us at any time. I didn't want to miss any sentient beings, either asking questions or buying tickets.
Perhaps it was due to Master’s encouragement that the phone calls I received early in the morning (before signing in on the hotline), and late at night before turning off the computer, were mostly calls for assisting with online booking. Once, at almost midnight when I was about to turn off the computer, a phone call came in. A customer wanted to book 10 tickets for their family and friends, and did not ask for any special offer. They were excitedly looking forward to watching Shen Yun. The phone call was really a surprise.
Although, every day was a long working day and we felt worn out, achieving a full house for 32 shows made all the hard work worthwhile.
I also experienced xinxing tests with other practitioners involved on the hotline and ticket sales. For example, I was once blamed by a fellow practitioner for a trivial thing. It was the strongest scolding with the harshest tone that I had ever received. I was astonished and almost cried. Luckily, I was able to stay calm, neither arguing nor refuting the accusations. But I couldn't sleep well that evening and woke up at 5:00 am with those nasty words still echoing in my mind. Later, when I mentioned it with other practitioners, I couldn’t help crying. It was not because of grief or my ego being hurt; I just felt the pressure was so huge that I must release it. After crying and wiping the tears away, I started to answer the hotline with a smile on my face. Although I felt very sad, thinking about Master’s teachings, I thought I must look inward unconditionally.
“As a cultivator
One always looks for one’s own faults
‘This the Way to get rid of attachments most effectively
There is no way to skip ordeals, big or small
[During a conflict, if you can remember:]
And I’m wrong,”
What's to dispute?”
(Who's Right, Who’s Wrong from Hong Yin III)
Later, the other practitioner sincerely apologized to me, but I had already forgiven him. There were also several times when practitioners who were scheduled to be on duty forgot to sign on to the hotline. Under such circumstances, I always covered for them, then kindly reminded them. For whatever reasons they were absent, I tried not to blame them but did their job for them quietly.
But one time, a relatively new practitioner didn't sign on to the hotline again, and didn’t inform anyone beforehand. I had an important arrangement that day, and was unable to cover his shift. I had to find others to do it, and was irritated by it.
How could a Dafa disciple be so unreliable? Another practitioner who was on duty that day was also unhappy with him. I realized that I shouldn't feel irritated. He must be very busy with his work, so I called this practitioner and he was indeed very busy and could only go back home that afternoon. He promised to sign on to the hotline as soon as he got back home.
Perhaps he realized that he should have given us notice. Perhaps Master encouraged him to do more work on the hotline. After getting back home he worked from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and answered every phone call wholeheartedly. The result was the team sold more than 300 tickets that day. This was the highest daily record for the Shen Yun ticket sales.
With such a supportive environment, other practitioners in the hotline team were able to understand, support and encourage each other. Gradually, our entire team formed a very good cultivation environment and the xinxing of the whole team was upgraded.
This year, the dates for Shen Yun in London changed twice, which put extra pressure on our team. One of the changes was due to technical problems in the theatre, and the cancellation of the evening show was only announced at lunch time. All the tickets for the evening show (over 2,000 tickets) were sold out.
On the day, we received over 180 phone calls from lunch time to 10:00 pm. And in the peak hours, four practitioners were on duty at the same time to answer the phone calls without rest. What a busy and intensive day!
In the following week, the amount of calls the hotline received was more than average several times, and everyone on duty felt that they were being tested. Despite such unexpected things, everyone in the team was able to keep calm and cooperate unconditionally, which made the ‘crisis’ experience go smoother.
Going through the whole promotion process made us really understand the importance and miracle of cultivating our xinxing, upgrading our xinxing and overall cooperation. I often recited Master’s poems to encourage myself and also shared with the team members:
“To consummate yourself, reaping Buddhahood,
Let joy be found in hardship.
Physical pains count little as suffering,
Indeed, cultivating mind is hardest.
Each and every barrier must be broken through,
And everywhere does evil lurk.
Abundant troubles rain down together,
All to see: Can you pull through?
The world’s miseries endured,
One departs the earth a Buddha.”
(“Tempering the Will” from Hong Yin)
Those 7 months of ticket sales covered the two most important festivals in the West - Christmas and Easter - as well as the Chinese New Year (the most important festival for Chinese). But our hotline team members were never on holiday for any of this period of time.
Since 2008 when I started to work for the hotline, I have always been on duty during Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year. Every year, we spend over half the year promoting Shen Yun and selling tickets.
During the promotion period, in other dimensions, there have always been intense battles between righteousness and evil. In the process of working for and coordinating the hotline team, no matter what difficulties and challenges, as long as we truly regarded ourselves as cultivators, as long as we could keep in mind our mission as Dafa disciples to assist Master in Fa Rectification and save sentient beings, as long as we trusted Master and the Fa and not let Master down, every problem could be solved smoothly. The numbers of examples of this is huge.
When Shen Yun lifted the veil, when I saw those full house theatres, when I heard the music starting, when I watched the wonderful performances on the stage, I felt all our hard work and our effort was worth it.
I was very lucky to watch Shen Yun in the last two cities, London and Plymouth. My heart was full of happiness. I was moved and felt shocked by the shows. Being able to participate in the Shen Yun project was really a great pride and glory. I thank our great and compassionate Master. As a disciple, I can only complete the mission by being diligent all the time. Finally, please allow me to quote Master’s article and share with everyone:
“Dafa disciples are the hope for humankind, and you are the only hope. Saving all beings is our mission, and the responsibility is tremendous. Only by cultivating yourselves well will you be able to do well the things that Dafa disciples must do.”
(“A Congratulatory Letter to the European Fa Conference in Paris”)
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
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