Greetings revered Master and fellow practitioners!
My name is Mary, I’m from the UK. I obtained the Fa in China in 1996.
In the past 10 years, I have been reporting on Shen Yun in some European countries. After the expansion of Shen Yun to 5 troupes by the end of 2016, I began to participate in reports from North America. After that, my workload increased year by year. I have been to many big cities in the United States as well as Canada, Mexico, Israel, and some countries in Europe.
From the first day of Shen Yun’s world tour on December 12 last year to the last show of the tour on May 12, it took me nearly half a year of participation to produce more than 100 reports, and the entire team to write more than 600 articles.
As a reporter with Shen Yun, I was on the spot to witness the precious moments of history especially in some international cities. I personally witnessed the gratitude of sentient beings after gaining salvation, seeing the honour of having their vows fulfilled, to listen and to convey their heartfelt words. It was a precious opportunity Master had given to all beings and disciples. Thank you Master.
2019 North American interview work
In March of this year, the coordinator arranged for me international cheap flights. Except for being able to fly, the plane was no different from a bus and was very simple. There was no connection transfer between any two low cost airlines. I needed to take the baggage from the first flight, go out of the customs zone still carrying my luggage, re-enter another custom security and board another cheap flight.
Finally, after more than a dozen hours of international travel, I got to the United States. When I got off the plane, I hadn't even figured out my direction or time difference. I was immediately taken to the theatre and started working, because the performance was about to begin.
After the end of the first city, on the way to the second city, I found that my computer was not working. After switching it on, it showed only a white screen. I sent forth-righteous thoughts whilst I was on the road. By the time I arrived at a city called Billings, the computer still didn’t work.
The place was in Montana, it was the first time it had hosted a Shen Yun performance. I wasn’t able to contact the organisers at all. I was the only Epoch Times reporter there. Now my computer had broken. I had no friends or family there, I didn’t know anyone, I had no car, and there was snow everywhere. What should I do?
The largest city in Montana was in fact like the countryside. There wasn't an Apple computer store. There were few people and public transport was scarce. I decided to take a taxi to buy a new computer.
Unexpectedly, because this place was small, the yellow taxi that picked me up also went to several other places to pick up other people too, it then took the others home first, and finally took me to the computer store.
I quickly bought a computer, being fearful I wouldn't make it back in time for the start of the show, and the new computer had to install related software too. Fortunately, this slow yellow taxi was nearby, it had already picked up other passengers and was en route to pick me up.
In this rural place where there were not many shops, sometimes it was hard to find food to eat. Fortunately, a fellow practitioner gave me some lunch boxes. That night at Billings I finished the main article at 2 o'clock in the morning. After sleeping for just an hour, I had to take the yellow taxi at 3 o'clock and rushed to the airport to fly to Orlando.
I went from cold snowy Billings, to warm Orlando the next day where I could wear shorts. Having had a sleepless night, I thought I could go to the hotel to take a break, and then do interviews at night, but because of communication problems, I was directly pulled to the theatre, where I had to wait in the theatre until the interviews and performance came to an end. I had only slept for one hour over the course of two days and one night.
I don't know why, the trip in March reminded me of the eighth lecture in Zhuan Falun, “If you’re all set, you can go back and pack up to leave. If you have anything left to do, then finish up those ordinary people’s things.”
Why do I say that? Because during this trip in March, I unexpectedly, or inadvertently, encountered a lot of people from the past who I didn’t want to see; for example, there were people I was on a project with where things didn’t end happily, and there were people I had conflicts with in the past. All these things manifested one after another, and even past karmic relationships with people from Canada showed up.
I personally felt, in fact, all Dafa disciples have had opportunities arranged for resolution and reconciliation from past, unresolved matters, but only if they could grasp the idea; thus this is dependent on their understanding.
After meeting these predestined people, I felt the issues of those previous grudges no longer existed. If this was an improvement, then indeed there was a little improvement.
I always felt I am not very compassionate, but this time I saw many people, including fellow practitioners, and sometimes I felt there was a kind of sympathy that "all beings were suffering.”
Working the body, tempering the will
Over the years, the evil has produced various kinds of interference preventing me from reporting such as bad weather, transport chaos, customs interception, being stuck in a lift, and even an aircraft having to return due to engine problems after taking off.
My travels in the Western Hemisphere were laborious. In order to avoid traffic jams, sometimes it was necessary to drive to the theatre in the morning, and when the performance ended, and by the time I reached where I was staying, it was already the end of the night. This was when I started writing up the articles, all the interviews needed to be polished and published, the back-office team and the headquarter editors would need to be contacted. Most of the time, the main headline article would need to be written too.
The above-mentioned hardships, coupled with the tension of a reporter's work, and other requirements and pressures, made this work seem challenging.
However, the above problems did not seem to be the most important issue for me in these years. The most important issues were the various Xinxing tests encountered in the work. Because, "Tempering your will is the key to truly raising your level." ("Zhuan Falun", The Fourth Talk).
Someone asked me if going out for months to do reporting was very tiring for me? To be honest, staying up late and working, making those bumpy journeys is not too tiring, rather it was all those attachments and the human heart that I had not removed, those were the things I found very tiring. This persistent and uncorrected human heart were indeed very real substances in other dimensions. It mentally placed a lot of pressure upon practitioners that made them exhausted, inefficient, and incapable of making progress.
When Shen Yun began its tour last year, I was hesitant because of all kinds of inconveniences I would encounter whilst I was out. If I worked at home, I would be more comfortable. Whilst studying the Fa, Master woke me up and I thought of the passage from The Eighth Talk of Zhuan Falun: "You have a lot of attachments that have to go. You’d better go off for a period of wandering."
This year's trip to Paris was very fruitful for me, fellow practitioners once again bluntly pointed out that I was very competitive. This had plagued me for many years. I understood it very well, that all this came from jealousy and the attachment to self, it was a deep-rooted corruption of the old forces still operating in my dimension, and from this arose the various dissatisfaction and obstacles in my life and work.
I have known about these attachments before, and I was trying to overcome them, but I have never had such a deep understanding like I had in Paris, so I decided to truly get rid of this attachment. On the same day, I felt the symptom of diarrhoea, but I never had stomachache before it. I know this was Master purifying my body.
Changing my outlook, breaking through interference
There were many high-end people in the international cities who came to watch the show; many of them have economic or political relationships with the Chinese Communists. I personally understood the interview with them was enabled by Master to give them a chance, to be merciful to them, so they could validate Dafa and validate themselves at a critical moment in history. As a frontline reporter, I can really feel the difficulty of saving people whilst the old forces are "grabbing at people."
During an interview in an American city, the evil was causing disruption outside the theatre. Some patrons in the venue did not give interviews or their names. At that time, we could really feel the battle of righteousness and evil. A backstage practitioner said that she also felt the tension in the atmosphere when she was in the UK. When she was transcribing, her fingers were stiff and did not function well. The pain affected her whole forearm, the interference was huge. The two writers were also interfered with by sickness karma. One person had a bad backache and the other could only write an article at a very slow pace.
It is worth mentioning that Italy's 2018 Shen Yun promotion made a big breakthrough. Moreover, the organisers attached great importance to the reporting and invited many VIPs. There was some interference during the performance, either the reporter had problems at the hotel, or he got on the wrong train. It was obvious the evil was still causing some so-called obstacles in Europe in its dying struggle. On the day before I went to Rome, the UK had a rare heavy snowfall. I was stuck among ice and snow for a long time, and there was no airport bus, and taxis didn’t dare take the fare. Finally, I did get to the airport. Later, our reporting in Rome was said to have been praised by Master.
Because our interviews were very different from other ordinary media, some interviewees may have been affected by the evil, and other situations may have occurred on the spot. In the past years, the CCP also took photos of our reporters, so it was always in my subconscious to protect my personal information. I always tried to ask the audience about themselves, and rarely told the other person anything about myself. As practitioners pointed out, I sometimes did not have real communication with the audience to build up a rapport. I just wanted to get the "correct answers" from their mouths and then end the interview.
This year in the UK, compassionate Master said that this Dafa was the most righteous (not exact words). I suddenly felt relieved, thinking, if I was to worry that the audience was disturbed by the evil, wasn't it following the arrangement of the old forces? What we were doing was the most righteous. How could we not have a dignified approach? I felt Master had taken a lot of things upon himself for me. A lot of self-protective stuff had already been removed. My heart felt immediately brighter with more righteous confidence; my whole body felt light.
This year, for some reason, the UK performances only had one Epoch Times reporter to report on the shows. Faced with reporting by one person to complete twenty to thirty performances, a practitioner said to me, "How much pressure you must have!" But to be honest, I didn't feel too much pressure at the time, because Master said, "Fear is also a kind of attachment." ("Zhuan Falun", Lecture Six).
Reciting the Fa
In the spring of 2017, I decided to try reciting “Zhuan Falun”. For a long time, I spent at least 5 hours a day on reciting it, and sometimes even 7 or 8 hours a day. After a year and a half, around 2018 in October, I could reach the speed of 10 pages per day. When my state was good, I could recite the whole book in one month.
In the process of reciting, I enlightened to many principles of the Fa and benefited a lot. For example, the story of Shakyamuni Buddha letting his disciples clean the bathtub, I deeply realised I must believe in the Fa and believe in Master.
When I was reciting "people only pay attention to the ‘exercises’ part but not to ‘cultivation.’” ("Zhuan Falun", First Lecture). I always turned it into "people only pay attention to the ‘cultivation’ part but not to ‘exercises.’” I immediately realised and understood Master was pointing out I was not doing the practice enough.
During the process of reporting in one country, I had a conflict with another fellow practitioner. On the surface, it was as though the other party created obstacles for me, which led to some difficulties in my work, (which I finally overcame). After returning home, I was still indignant and told my husband how the other party was this and that. Master borrowed his mouth to remind me, "Hey, you went there to practice and cultivate, not simply to do things."
I still hadn't let go of the attachment. Whilst reading the Fa that day, Master said, “As soon as he falls asleep, somebody comes to him for a match or a fight, and this keeps him from getting a good night’s rest.” ("Zhuan Falun", The Sixth Talk). Indeed, on the surface others find you at fault, in fact, it’s because you still hold a heart of conflict.
My personal realisation was that reciting the Fa is also a process of cultivation. At the beginning of sitting down to recite the Fa, there occurred countless disturbances gushing in. At this time, I needed to break my attachment to being impatient, too eager in what I was doing, feeling I was busy and had no time to spare, and these various interferences.
When I recited several times over and over, I felt the Fa I managed to recite before had already been forgotten, and I even fell into a kind of despair. When will I be able to recite it all? But when I started reciting the passage "Some people slap their hands against slabs of stone, ‘Whack…Whack….’” In "Zhuan Falun", The Sixth Talk, I suddenly realised that reciting was like suffering hardships in the human world. After toiling my brain cells to remember it all, I can make more and more parts of my body fully assimilate to the Fa, and eventually assimilate my whole self.
During reporting in the United States in January this year, I needed to deal with all kinds of things every day, often shuttling in between theatres, hotels, and airports. My heart was not settled, my time was divided everywhere, I rarely had a block of time to myself, thus reciting became difficult and I couldn't concentrate, so I changed to reading the Fa. But when I got home in February, I immediately realised this was a new challenge. In the past, the environment at home was very quiet so I could recite the Fa, yet in a complicated environment I should still persist to recite the Fa, I should overcome these barriers.
During my March trip, a fellow backstage practitioner helping with transcription joined me to recite the Fa. The two of us reported to each other our progress on reciting on a daily basis. One day, the practitioner said she had encountered a long passage and spent a lot of time unable to recite it well, with each recital missing out or adding words, jumbling sentences. In short, she could not recite it fully.
She said if she hadn’t needed to report to me at night, she would almost have given up. In the end, she broke through to recite that passage and even recited a total of two pages. I told her she had also encouraged me. If I hadn’t needed to report to her at night, I would have given up. At this time, we realised the principle of Master's words "Compare in studying, compare in cultivating" (“Solid Cultivation”, Hong Yin Version B).
"A strong team"
Some city reporters said they heard Mary had a "strong team", because the transcription team practitioners reported on time and their work attitude was very serious. The writing practitioners were quick and wrote well.
Who made up this "team"? It included one essential transcribing practitioner, and two or three write up practitioners. Of course, there were other practitioners who occasionally came to help, but from the beginning to the end of more than 100 reports, it was basically these 4-5 practitioners who completed more than 600 reports. Some of them have full-time jobs, some have families or have children to take care of, but they were always ready online on time, so the front-line reporters were assured.
During the reporting period, back office practitioners (helping to transcribe, translate, and write up) often started working at 2 or 3 in the morning in the UK, when others were fast asleep at night. I was moved by their dedication and their high respect for Shen Yun.
The fellow transcribing practitioner took on a lot of the work load. On many occasions she worked alone, and this goes for the write up practitioners too who did the same. Sometimes only one or two people were writing up.
We often did sharing on the Internet platform, sometimes we shared about the content of each interview, or discussed the different cities we would attend, the various situations that appear from the performances, or the problems that arose during the interviews. Practitioners also often pointed out the problems in my interviews, such as some language use was not suitable, or I was too eager to get to an answer, too goal orientated, and where some areas needed improvement.
Last year, there was a dance "Xuanjia Army" in the Shen Yun program. This famous Tang Dynasty army was led by Taizong (the most prestigious Tang Emperor) personally. Although the number was very small, it was extremely brave and invincible. Whenever I saw this dance, I felt very good, as if our small team seemed to be part of the Xuanjia Army on the stage.
Master's Smile Is My Only Wish
I had slacked off in my reporting and even had doubts about this work before. In fact, I found many journalists were struggling in their respective situations. Those who came out had overcome their difficulties.
For example, a journalist should be a person who is very curious and is able to talk, but my character was not like this. I usually liked to be quiet or stay in a corner where others didn’t notice me.
When interviewing in the theatre, the surrounding audience may be watching the reporters. The reporters were standing under the spotlights, so it took a long time for me to overcome this psychological obstacle during the interviews in the theatre.
For example, the click rate of our Shen Yun report was relatively low. I usually edit international news in the editorial department. The click rate means earning money for the media, so I have been paying more attention to the click rate for a long time.
One day, a fellow practitioner from our transcribing team reminded me “there may be a high click-through rate in a higher dimension!”. Indeed. I suddenly realized this was my lacking in enlightenment quality! The sentient beings of the world of the interviewees may be competing to read it. If their Lord and their King had a good attitude towards Dafa, how delighted these sentient beings would be!
More importantly, the reports were requested by Master. Even if within the whole universe only Master alone was reading this, it was necessary to do it with the utmost effort! Just like the song “Master's Smile Is My Only Wish”, I felt my own enlightenment quality was really bad.
On that day, I read an article on the Minghui website. It recalled when Master taught the Fa in mainland China, he asked each student to write a sharing, and then Master looked at them one by one. I suddenly thought, Master said, (not exact words), watching Shen Yun was like attending the nine-day lectures in that year. Weren’t the interviews we were doing the same experience sharing for those audiences?
Because the media reporters would go to the theatre before the start of a performance, we often encountered the Shen Yun dancers practising hard. I used to think they were already so skilled. In fact, so skilled they needn’t work so hard, yet, the moment before the opening, we sometimes saw dancers continue to make final refinements.
Master asked us to learn from Shen Yun, then what attitude do I use to treat Dafa projects? Sometimes I didn’t treat it seriously; there were a lot of typos in the article. How dedicated the dancers were, and there was seamless cooperation between them, and yet we had gaps in our project... We were too far away.
This is all I can think of at the moment and I am sharing with all of you as an encouragement.
Thank you Master, thank you fellow practitioners!
You are welcome to print and circulate all articles published on Clearharmony and their content, but please quote the source.