Greetings to our great, benevolent master and greetings to fellow practitioners.
I’d like to share with you my personal cultivation experiences during the preparation of Shen Yun and after the show.
With the support of my family, from last October I started to work on Shen Yun full time. During this process, I identified many of my attachments and shortcomings. I also learnt more about what cultivation really is from different perspectives.
Shen Yun is Master rectifying the Fa. I participated in the project with a sacred attitude. I understood that we must do well and reach the standard that Master requires. I realised that Master had perfectly arranged everything for us and the only restrictions are our own human thinking and attachments.
Like what’s been mentioned in Zhuan Falun, when some people are meditating their master souls can leave the body and shoot right up to high levels. They got there by riding on their gong pillars, they cannot go up any higher and they don’t dare to. Sometimes we are restricted by our own level and our own understanding of the Fa at that level. Even when Master shows us something higher, and more magnificent, we still cannot understand, and are surprised, ‘Oh, is that so?!’
At the end of last year, I helped in seeking hotel sponsorship. As London hotels usually have a very high occupancy rate, many of the hotels were not interested in sponsorship. We found a new hotel that’s very good and close to the venue. As the hotel was having a grand opening, the management was very interested in working with us. This hotel seemed to be purpose built for Shen Yun; it was such a perfect arrangement.
We clarified the facts to the sales director and the deal went very well. He introduced us to the other two branches which later joined forces with the promotion efforts. These three hotels agreed to display our flyers in their lobbies, as well as to put flyers in their guest rooms. Within a few weeks, we were able to reach a potential audience of more than 10,000. The hotel also publicised a joint promotion in a few female magazines through its PR firm, so even more people could get information about Shen Yun.
At that time, I felt a bit surprised that things went so smoothly. Then I became overly happy and excited about it. As soon as my thoughts were not righteous, our negotiation on some detailed matters went bumpy. As the sales director was tied up with other projects, he assigned a revenue manager to arrange the details for us. The manager was quite fussy about many trivial things. I clarified the facts to him and tried to be accommodating so things went okay eventually.
On the day Divine Performing Arts (DPA) members arrived, we settled the check-in schedule and process. But right after that, a practitioner called saying that DPA would arrive two hours earlier than scheduled. The revenue manager was quite upset that we did not follow the schedule and thought it was impossible to get all 50 rooms ready earlier than what we had agreed. He insisted that if DPA members arrived earlier, over 100 members would have to wait in the coach. I proposed some alternative solutions but all were refused. He was a bit rough.
I thought, “It’s been quite a long, tiring journey for DPA members, we really cannot ask them to do this. Besides, they have such an important mission so they should be the most important guests in the hotel. I explained to the manager that we are sponsorship partners, and asked the manager to try his best to help us.
After I put down the phone, I started to send forth righteous thoughts and look inward. I realised I had been thinking with an ordinary person’s mindset… I was thinking it’s quite difficult to get sponsorship; it’s good enough that ordinary people are able to sponsor us; the money we save from the hotel sponsorship can make up half of the revenue from one performance. All these factors, plus the fact that they were so enthusiastic in promoting our show, meant that I became grateful to them in my heart. I had forgotten that we are saving sentient beings, and that we lead the way.
In fact, everything in this Three Realms has come for the Fa and nothing is coincidental. Sponsoring Shen Yun would bring such great virtue to all the managers, employees, shareholders and even the guests at the hotel. What they gain far exceeds what they have provided—those hotel rooms. I felt they should have provided more benefits in this sponsorship deal. As soon as my mind shifted, the manager called, saying everything would be fine and all the rooms would be ready before the DPA troupe arrived. I felt huge relief.
But then something interesting happened. When I rushed to the hotel, I realised that DPA did not come early, quite the opposite, they were late. So there was a misunderstanding. And even more interestingly, all the guest rooms were being upgraded from standard double rooms to deluxe rooms with sitting rooms. I asked around among the hotel staff, but no one was able to provide a good explanation on how it was arranged. The sales director was stunned himself that the deal he diligently negotiated had suddenly changed without any reason.
I could only think that it was a miracle. I knew this must be another perfect arrangement by Master. Master said in the 2008 New York Fa Conference: “As long as you are doing things out of a wish to validate the Fa and save sentient beings, I will affirm all that you do. And when you go do those things, there will be my Law Bodies or gods there to amplify it and make what you do yet more magnificent and extraordinary.”
During the promotion period, practitioners had contributed selflessly. Whether it was making phone calls, selling group tickets or handing out flyers, or posting messages on-line, everyone was walking his own cultivation path. While using our own innate abilities, we also form a whole body. I have heard many times from friends, sponsors and professional advisers saying, “I received your flyers, your team effort is really impressive!” A marketer from the venue told me after her holiday: “Guess what? I received your flyer when transferring between flights in Japan… and it’s in Japanese. I already put it on the front of my desk as a souvenir.”
Master said in the 2007 New York Fa Conference: “Master came to do Fa-rectification. That is why once I decided to do this, everything changed--the audience members before us, the people I wanted to save, and the affair itself that was to be carried out.” As long as we go out and do things, those predestined people will be brought to us. I have met a few ordinary people who have great predestined relations. They have been very supportive and helped a lot to promote Shen Yun. I am really happy for them, and grateful for Master’s arrangement.
The Gala preparation work went smoothly. When watching the show, I couldn’t help crying. Every single act touched my heart so deeply—whether it was the galloping across grassy plains, or the lightness and grace of the beauty of a bygone era. There was a deep longing rising from the bottom of my heart. I was so grateful for everything Master had brought us. I thought, if performing arts in this human realm can present such beauty, then how magnificent would it be when we return to our divine world? My determination to cultivate had strengthened.
We had four Shen Yun performances and all of them were sold out. Ninety-eight per cent of the surveyed audience rated the show positively. However, for myself, the real test and tribulation came after the Shen Yun show. Only when facing ordeals can I see clearly my own attachments and shortcomings.
Having been working on Shen Yun relentlessly for about half a year, I could not keep up with Fa study and doing the exercises on a regular basis. After a while, it was like bigu fasting, I have to had use energy to sustain my body. Now that I think about it, if it was not for Master helping me and strengthening me, I could not have continued. However, even if Master’s gong helps us suddenly reach the state of “Three Flowers Gathering Atop the Head”, it is not from our own xinxing (charachter) level. Right after the show, my energy dropped like a deflating balloon.
I started to pace myself better again, and discipline myself in doing regular Fa study and the exercises. Perhaps I had not been able to study the Fa with a still mind; one day when I was reading Zhuan Falun it felt like I had never read it before. I felt like an elementary school student, or a new practitioner. There was a feeling of cultivating from scratch.
One time when I was doing exercises, I felt some great impact in my body when I heard the verse of “Join the Mind and Body Together”. It reminded me of my experiences at backstage during the Shen Yun show. I was so impressed to see all the artists were so calm and peaceful and everything went so orderly with very tranquil energy. That was completely different from the anxiety and jittery of ordinary people’s backstage areas. When they went onto the stage, they completely immersed themselves in the act, which, for me, was like a state of “join the mind and body together”. I could almost feel the gentle breezes coming from the dancers’ long silk sleeves as if they were high energy matter from other dimensions. One movement, and the gong was already there. I realised that only when a cultivator lets go of the ego, lets go of all thoughts, then the purity coming from the state of joint mind and body can really touch others, and thus save sentient beings more effectively.
I realised that I sometimes become very busy when doing things. I use four limbs to do things. But cultivation is not like that at all. As I have some ordinary skills in the commercial world, sometimes I tend to rely on the knowledge and concepts that were formed in this world, thinking we need to do such and such things this way and that way so it’s professional. But we are cultivators before we are experts, and some of the concepts or notions might be exactly things we need to let go of in our cultivation.
It has been shared that sometimes we overly rely on our ordinary skills. We think we are advanced in using sophisticated instruments, and we forget about that chemical solution with the strong yellow vapours. “We shouldn’t be looking at how the tools look, but at how effective they actually are.” Indeed, for cultivators, what really takes effect is gong. However high our xinxing is, that’s how high the gong is. This is the most fundamental thing.
Every time I watched Shen Yun, I felt I was being purified once again. And every time I would realise that I did not understand how profound Shen Yun really is. When the London shows ended, some of the mainstream media had some negative reviews and this brought us great tribulations. The situation reminds me of the time when the persecution first began in 1999, all practitioners went through some very serious thought processes.
I re-examined my own understanding of the Fa, and thought over what Shen Yun is all about and its role in the Fa-rectification. Like having the most fundamental test in cultivation, I re-examined why I work on the Shen Yen project. Do I do it to help Master rectify the Fa and save sentient beings? Or do I do it for myself or to validate myself? Or do I do it because others do it? When I dug deeper, I identified some selfishness and impurities. I have not done well in many areas. Sometimes I still have fears and cannot fully clarify the facts to others with dignity. No matter what excuses I have, this does not keep up with the progress of Master’s Fa rectification. Only when the factors of selfishness have been removed, can we be free from the constraints of the old universe, be a real Dafa disciple with dignity and follow Master to the new universe.
On the other hand, the old forces are trying hard to exploit our loopholes to persecute us on all levels—physical, mental and to slander us. No matter what, the old forces cannot persecute disciples even if disciples have loopholes. We have to completely deny all arrangements by the old forces.
A few audience members could not understand the show at the time, and wrote negative letters to the venue. Having read some of the letters, my mind was haunted by those negative views and I could not get rid of them. I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate any deviated factors behind them. There was one time I caught myself debating unconsciously with these negative views. Just when I was about to debate using my human thinking and logic, a very beautiful piece of music suddenly played in my ears. It was the song ‘Auspicious Words’: “…when dark clouds gather, remember 'Good is the Great Way'; when a storm arrives, remember, 'Good is the Great Way'…” All of sudden, all the thoughts in my head disappeared. I was surrounded by a kind of peaceful, benevolent energy field. The only thing I could think was, “What a wonderful piece of music!”
Tears welled up in my eyes. I know it was Master helping me, purifying me, and dropping me a hint. Shen Yun is like Master lecturing in person. I felt the wonderful energies of Shen Yun work just like the mechanisms Master places in us, making a positive impact in my dimension. In Zhuan Falun it says, “when you are cultivating at high levels, it’s all done with nonaction, so the movements should follow along effortlessly, and there’s no thought guidance.” I noticed when I tried to debate with my human mindset and logic, my heart was actually moved by those negative views. While in a state of really believing in Master and the Fa, our hearts should be still and unmovable.
Master explained in Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art, “The purpose of mankind's arts is to depict Gods. …Another purpose of Gods' passing on this aspect of culture to human beings was to let humans see the magnificence of Gods, and believe in goodness and evil receiving their due--evildoers will receive retribution, good people will receive blessings, and cultivators will go up to Heaven.
…Gods are glorious, magnificent, and emit merciful, benevolent energy that benefits people… After others look at that kind of artwork they'll benefit, they'll become broad-minded, they'll have good thoughts in their minds, and it will make their character nobler. And when Gods see humans having upright thoughts, they'll remove dangers and calamities for humans….”
Shen Yun is the best show, a first-class show. It is of pure benevolence and pure beauty. It is about “upright Chinese culture, ancient culture, and true culture bestowed by gods.” It is about the real upright culture for mankind. If we do not understand Shen Yun based on the Fa, how can ordinary people understand it? Ordinary people have all kinds of opinions, and the principles in the Three Realms are in the inverse. If we are swayed by ordinary people’s opinions, then we can only be ordinary people. Perhaps there's such a thin line separating a god from a human.
Although these very a few people may have been blocked by some notions and could not yet understand Shen Yun, they may have similar experiences to me. At the critical moment, “Good is the Great Way” will pop into their minds and they will be able to enter the new universe.
I have come across a few cases like this. I invited a few Taiwanese community leaders to the VIP reception and to watch Shen Yun. They have been very supportive of Dafa in the past and yet three of them could not understand some of the contents of the show at the time and made some negative comments. Later on, I met with one of them for business reasons. During our conversation, I asked, “Would you be interested in doing the Falun Gong exercises with me?” She said “yes!” without any hesitation. I showed her the exercises and she learned all five exercises very quickly. Then she told me with joy, “I have heard about Falun Gong for such a long time, now I finally got the chance to practice it.” One day, I went to the office of the other two people. While I was chatting with the guy, a thought came into my mind, “I have clarified the facts to him many times, but I have not asked him the most important thing.” I said, “You should practice the exercises with us.” Again, he said “yes” immediately. His colleagues were happy to learn too so the four of us ended up doing the first exercise on the spot in their office.
Zhuan Falun mentioned: “in every class there are people like that who lag behind”. I trust they must have been purified a lot when watching Shen Yun. At first there might be some thought karma that needs to be removed. “When something reaches the extreme it reverses”. Once they have been purified, it becomes much easier for them to obtain the Fa.
This May, I went to the New York Fa Conference and watched the short video about the young Dafa disciples in Divine Performing Arts and Fei Tian Academy of the Arts. I came to a greater realisation of how much Master has done for us, and the importance of having a successful Shen Yun. I then think of myself… when under pressure, or having tribulations and difficulties passing xinxing tests, I sometimes feel bitter, and want to give up, thinking “I cannot do it any longer”. But in this world, the ordeals that Master faces, as with the accompanying pressure, are so great that we can not even imagine. Compared to this, my little ordeal is really nothing!
I seem to slowly come to an understanding of what it means to be “Dafa disciples of the Fa-rectification period”. Not because we are so lucky that we randomly happen to be here at this momentous time, but because we shoulder such great, magnificent responsibilities to help Master rectify the Fa and save sentient beings. We also need to demonstrate our righteous thoughts and righteous actions in our daily cultivation.
I really appreciate all the practitioners around me. We all come from somewhere pure and magnificent. Some of us followed Master to reincarnate one level after another; some came from distant universes to assimilate to the Fa. No mater where we come from and where we go, it is such a precious predestination that we gather here together. I especially thank those who have supported and trusted me, who have helped me and harmonised my shortcomings, who have pinpointed my attachments and those who gave me difficult xinxing tests. I truly cherish this cultivation environment.
Lastly, I would like to end my sharing with Master’s poem:
Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions:
A Great Enlightened Being does not fear hardship
Having forged an adamantine will
And with no attachment to living or dying
He walks his path of Fa-rectification openly and nobly
This is my personal understanding. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.
Thanks you master, thank you all.
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