Greetings Master, greetings fellow practitioners. I am a practitioner from Belgium.
Loss of face
I work at a University College. It is a college of higher education with several degree programmes. I am a lecturer in the professional bachelor subjects of Nursing and Midwifery.
Until a month ago I also worked at a university under the leadership of the head of the Specific Teacher Training Programme in Health Sciences. In this sharing I will refer to her as Prof.
In October 2017, my colleague at the university took the initiative to meet informally with the staff members. Our meetings under the leadership of our head, Prof., are usually quite tense and this hinders smooth, open cooperation. Our colleague wanted to talk about this and check whether we wanted to raise certain issues with Prof.
This young colleague, whom I trained myself, is the only one who works closely with Prof; the other staff members only see her at meetings. I knew that there had been a lot of tension between my colleague and Prof. I thought my colleague just wanted to vent some frustrations and could use our support. I could not guess what would follow.
At our informal meeting she said she was fed up with Prof. always talking to her about us behind our backs. The colleague wanted us to know this so that - in her own words - the burden fell from her shoulders and could never be used against her.
One of the first things she said was that Prof. was furious with me because I have committed plagiarism in a chapter that I wrote for her course text. It was a text that I had written a year before. This news hit me like a bomb.
I immediately felt a strong reaction in my body: trembling legs, tension, abdominal pain, etc. Thoughts came: "Me? Plagiarism? How is that possible? I taught students for several years about how to correctly refer to sources in a text and how to write a correct bibliography. There had to be some misunderstanding.”
According to my colleague, I should expect an unpleasant telephone call. I was able to keep calm on the outside. I remained friendly, asked a few questions and expressed my disbelief in a calm way. I acted according to Shan. Ren was harder for me: I felt humiliated. My other colleagues now assumed that I had committed plagiarism. That is a crime, which is punished accordingly. The situation felt like a loss of face.
It is as Master describes in Zhuan Falun, chapter 9:
“Perhaps in the future you may be slapped in the face a couple of times, and you will lose face in front of someone whom you least want to see it. It is to see how you will deal with this issue and whether you can endure it. If you can tolerate it and yet it preys on your mind, it is still not good enough. 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 Fruition Status of Arhatship.”
I was not in a good mood. I felt sad and angry. That evening I told my problems to my husband. I tried in vain to get rid of the strong emotions. I understood that it was a difficult ordeal. I still could not feel sincere gratitude in my heart for the opportunity I had for raising my xinxing. I listed what I wanted to discuss with Prof.
The next morning, on waking some tears ran down my cheeks. This was because of the psychological pain of feeling falsely accused and the humiliation that it happened in front of my colleagues. I understand that the feeling of humiliation comes from ego.
However, the confrontation with Prof. never came. I did not get an angry phone call, and at our next meeting nothing was said, nor was I asked to stay behind afterwards.
Since my colleague had asked for confidentiality and the so-called plagiarism happened a year ago, I had no opportunity to raise the issue myself.
I took into account the wish of my colleague and chose not to put her in trouble. By bringing it to light, I would harm her out of self-interest. Bringing the truth to light is good, but the pursuit to prove my innocence would come from ego.
Loss of job and status
At the beginning of May I received a phone call from Prof. I worked for her 20% of my working time and she asked me if I could exchange the 20% that I worked for her to work 100% of the time at my other workplace. She knew I had job security there. She mentioned some reasons why she had started a reorganization.
That came like a bolt from the blue. It felt like a dismissal at that moment. I was not asked what I thought of it. I also felt pressured. If I were to leave, she could save on student coaching and could recruit someone new with different expertise. If I stayed, that support would have to come from our team. The roles of the team members would change as well. I knew immediately that nobody would be happy with this plan, and that it would undermine the smooth cooperation within the team.
I could hardly put it out of my mind the rest of the day. Then I found out that my contract at the university ran for another year. This meant that I had the opportunity to claim my place in the team. Finally, I really liked the student coaching there. I realised that preferences in my job come from qing and sentimentality.
A second option was to take extra work at the college for higher education, as Prof. had asked me to do.
By leaving the team, I acted in the interest of our team. At the same time this felt like Wuwei (non-action, without intention). Ten years ago, Prof. contacted me to offer me a job and I agreed. Now she asked me to step aside and I accepted that. I followed the path that naturally unfolded.
Master says in Teaching the Fa in Washington D.C. in 2018 the following:
"When Gods tell you to move in a certain way, you'll have to move that way."
By relinquishing my job at the university I also give up a certain form of status. I have always wondered whether status plays a big role for me?
Presumably not, as the loss of status did not concern me. I have reflected on it. People often call me modest.
An example of this was when I was asked in the past what my profession was. I usually answered that I teach at the college of higher education. I often did not mention that I also worked at the university. Others sometimes pointed this out to me: "Why don’t you mention that?"
By reflecting on this I have found that I must guard against falling into the other extreme of 'modesty'. My trap is to become 'invisible'. I have discovered through this reflection that it is a challenge for me to profile myself more professionally based on healthy modesty. In this way I will also seize more opportunities to clarify the truth and save sentient beings.
When I decided to just take a step aside at the university without asking any further questions or arguing, let alone fighting for my job, I was told: "You are far too good. You let others walk all over you."
Master says the following about this in Zhuan Falun, Chapter 9:
"How can it be taken as being cowardly? I say that it is a reﬂection of great forbearance and an expression of strong will. Only a practitioner can have this heart of great forbearance."
Following the path that Master has arranged for me
I know that Master has arranged my path. Where I live or where I work, nothing is a coincidence. Master arranged that I moved to another province to obtain the Fa and to give me a solid cultivation environment.
Before I became a practitioner, I never understood why I was a lecturer, moreover, relatively far from where I live. Why am I a lecturer at a college of higher education? Is that something for me? I am naturally rather shy and teaching large groups sometimes causes me stress. Why do I spend an hour on average in my car to get there? I would like to work closer to home.
As a practitioner, I gradually understood that. I have the opportunity to clarify the truth to students and colleagues. I have a unique opportunity at my workplace to make the necessary contacts.
Working in higher education in nursing and more broadly, the health sciences, gives me contacts within and outside the institutions.
For the projects at ETAC - The International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China - I need contacts with universities and hospitals. For example, there is currently a committee at ETAC to educate, inspire and mentor university students. Another committee investigates the institutional connections between Chinese and foreign universities and hospitals with regard to organ transplantation.
When I realized that the job I did was arranged for me, the thoughts of looking for another job closer to home disappeared. My work experience with university students is an advantage. It is a target group that deserves our attention.
In Teaching the Fa in Washington D.C. In 2018, Master says the following about this:
“The group that they [the demons and ghosts reincarnated as humans] focus their utmost attention on is students, especially university students.”
So I asked for extra work at the college of higher education as Prof. asked me to.
Although my request came pretty late for the completion of the new academic year, I was very kindly welcomed.
The programme director of the professional bachelor in Nursing called me versatile. She indicated that I could not fully complete that extra day per week from the nursing program and advised me to apply for another degree program at our college. I went to the program director of the professional bachelor Nutrition and Dietetics.
I am now a Licentiate in Nutrition and Dietetics. There I was welcomed with open arms. The program director said: "You come as a gift from God. You have the profile that I am looking for and you know the 'ins and outs' of our college."
Here I will have the opportunity to make new contacts and to visit hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Undoubtedly there is a new way to clarify the truth.
I am grateful to Master for the opportunity I have been given to recognize some of my attachments and cultivate Ren (Tolerance) through the trials of loss of face and loss of job and status.
Master says in Zhuan Falun, Chapter 4:
"Why do you encounter these problems? They are all caused by your own karma. We have already eliminated for you many, countless portions of it, leaving only that tiny bit that is divided into tribulations at diﬀerent levels for improving your xinxing, tempering your mind, and removing your various attachments. These are all your own tribulations that we use to improve your xinxing, and you will be able to overcome them."
I am grateful to Master for the path He has arranged for me, and to show me the way to saving more sentient beings.
Finally, I want to thank Master for guiding me, and for his boundless patience and compassion.
I want to also thank my fellow practitioners for the sharings and conversations. To me, it is a rich source of inspiration to make progress in my personal cultivation.
This was my personal experience and understanding. Please let me know if I have said something that is wrong or inappropriate.
Thank you Master.
Thank you fellow practitioners.
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