Venerable Master, dear fellow cultivators,
In Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference Master says: “No matter what hardships or ups and downs Dafa disciples have gone through along the way, in retrospect, those were but a means of tempering you. It has made you more mature and helped you to remove your human attachments in the process, culminating in your progression towards Consummation. That is the path you have traveled. When you look back, you will find that to be the case.”
Towards the end of 2019, after nine years of working full-time for projects run by practitioners in the United States, I asked for an unpaid leave to come to a conclusion whether to continue the Green Card application process or leave the United States. I left San Francisco in January 2020, applied for a job at an everyday people’s school in Switzerland to see what my chances would be, and then traveled to India in order to once again help a local practitioner introduce Falun Dafa to schools and clarify the truth to locals and tourists along the way.
After only a few weeks into my stay in India, schools and tourist sites were closing down, more and more flights were canceled, and governments, including the Swiss government, were calling their citizens to return to their home countries. As I didn’t want to get stuck in India, and as I was no longer permitted to enter the United States without a Green Card, I returned to Switzerland. The question of whether to return to the United States was thus answered by Corona - the virus.
Back in Switzerland I noticed various feelings of resentment, yet couldn’t find the root of them or remove them. Once, when asked to send righteous thoughts for a fellow practitioner who went through difficult times, my righteous thoughts were very clear and strong. In the process I started to look inside more thoroughly. I asked myself what her situation might have to do with mine. I found my self-pity and realized that this self-pity was actually the root of my feelings of resentment. During the process of frequently sending righteous thoughts for this fellow practitioner, I tried to dig deeper. Finally I found the root of my self-pity. It sounds simple but for me it was a major break-through in my cultivation. I realized that the root of my self-pity is the attachment to self.
Master says in A Strong and Urgent Warning, 2021:
“It’s about time you woke up, isn’t it?! Let your discontentment and resentment go; it’s just an attachment.”
To contemplate the path I have traveled during the past three years, I am sitting in a quiet corner of a nearly-empty restaurant high above a valley and below a top range in the Swiss mountains. The landscape reminds me of my cultivation path: Despair and break-through-experiences during ten days of isolation due to Corona symptoms, pains and highlights during three months of intense Shen Yun promotion, as well as stress and inspiring experiences at my workplace.
Oftentimes I sense that Master encourages me after a break-through by means of inspiring encounters and conversations, and at the same time pointing out additional shortcomings.
While looking at the high mountains above me and the toy-like buildings down in the valley where some six practitioners had distributed a lot of Falun Dafa materials during a week in spring 2021, I am remembering my experiences and thoughts during that week. It was at times snowing and freezing cold. Sometimes I wondered how many people can be saved through our materials. Sometimes I was even anxious whether enough people could be saved through our efforts. Later that year I received a phone call from an elderly couple, saying that they would like to learn the exercises. I was touched and offered to visit them and show them the exercises. They were both in their eighties. It turned out that they had a holiday apartment in the mountain village I can now see from the restaurant’s window. They had found our brochure in their mailbox shortly before selling their apartment. While this was encouraging, I also had to realize that I shouldn’t be anxious, but have faith in Master.
Leaving a huge US city to settle down in a small Swiss village in the hills was quite a shock for me. After some time I started to notice that frequently I wasn’t present with my heart when distributing Falun Dafa materials. It was as if something was holding me back. Although I tried many times to figure out what it was, I wasn’t able to detect any attachment or reason. Finally I asked Master for help. I then forgot about it, yet not too much later, Master appeared in one of my dreams. I felt not worthy of seeing Master. In my dream, Master talked to some people individually. I don’t remember the details, yet when it was my turn, I was told “Don’t fall into despair due to all the persecution in the world.” This “dream“ revealed to me the root of my blockage: despair.
In 2018, in To the Fa Conference of Europe, and on many other occasions, Master said: “Dafa disciples are humankind's only hope for salvation.”
How can we be “humankind’s only hope for salvation” if we are in despair? Since then I keep telling myself how fortunate we are to be Dafa disciples and that we should be full of trust and gratitude and have faith in Master. Also, I felt more energetic again and noticed that my truth-clarification was again whole-hearted.
Soon afterwards, during another week of distributing materials in remote Swiss mountainous areas, I felt Master was encouraging me through a group of tourists. I had just distributed materials to some mailboxes, when a group of tourists from Austria approached me. I started talking to one or two of the hikers and handed out flyers. Soon nearly the whole group crowded around me. One woman said that just some ten days earlier in Vienna some people had shown the Falun Dafa exercises and distributed flyers. Such comments from people are always so inspiring to me! They remind me that we practitioners are one body. The work done in Vienna could now be continued. And such comments from one member of a group also have a miraculous effect on all the others of the group. If someone in their own group validates Dafa, then immediately the others have more trust in us. I sensed a strong increase of strength in the energy field, and suddenly nearly all wanted a flyer. One lady even said: “Das isch jetzt an Sege!” What a blessing!
In November 2021, fellow practitioners started reasoning that all practitioners should take the so-called vaccination, in order for Shen Yun to be able to come to Switzerland. In the beginning, I was hesitant, because most everybody around me – family, neighbors, friends, and people at the workplace – knew that I had decided not to take the shot. When we were sending forth righteous thoughts that night at the home of a fellow practitioner, however, I accepted the option and told Master that I would take it if I really had to.
Ten days later, Master’s new jingwen Wake Up came out: “Some people are afraid to get infected whereas some insist on not getting vaccinated—at this point, are you still worthy of being called a Dafa disciple?”
I was shocked by Master’s stern words, yet glad that I hadn’t been absolutely against the shot anymore. Another two weeks later, a Swiss Fa conference was held. I had been under high pressure at my workplace and had no free minute to even consider traveling to the next city for a vaccination, so I was still without it.
The day after the Swiss Fa conference, I was extremely tired. At night I had a severe headache, which is completely unusual for me. I felt as if I had food poisoning. Two days later I had strong diarrhea and was so exhausted that I couldn’t complete half an hour of the second exercise. The thought came: What if I had to die now? I wasn’t afraid. I was just very sad about all the beings I would not have been able to reach out to. In the evening, I was at least able to complete the second exercise, yet the following day, I didn’t feel much better and even started coughing. First I thought that this wasn’t unusual—after all, it’s not unusual to feel weak after several days of body purification! Hesitantly I started to look inside. On that day, a colleague of mine asked me whether I had Corona.
The following day, I practiced the exercises together with one of the new practitioners in my region. She is a medical doctor and has been one of the most dedicated new practitioners of a small local group that has been expanding since last summer. I had warned her that I wasn’t well but she wasn’t worried and didn’t hesitate to practice the exercises with me. She was the one who encouraged me to take a test in order to take a leave from work during the week before the winter break and in order to receive a certificate.
The test was indeed positive and I was somehow relieved. It automatically allowed me to stay at home, and it would give me a certificate without taking the so-called vaccination—rejected by many in my home and my work environment. I welcomed the time of isolation as a wonderful arrangement by Master. But after some more days and despite strong and frequent righteous thoughts the symptoms didn’t fade, I became anxious. I looked inside more thoroughly. I was shocked by the many attachments I found. I found self-overestimation, arrogance, lack of humility, lack of gratitude, looking down on others, demands, taking Dafa as a protective shield, lack of willingness to save sentient beings, attachment to comfort, longing for a break, hopelessness, despair, impatience, resentment, longing for the United States, lack of being rooted in Switzerland, lack of belonging, self-pity, and more despair.
I am not exaggerating. That’s what I wrote down at that time.
Eventually I again had to ask Master for help. I closed my eyes and noticed that there was a core inside me that was untouched by all these attachments. I came to realize that I AM NOT these attachments. I am only this pure core. The despair is not my true self.
With strong righteous thoughts and the clear understanding that I am not this despair, after some eight days of Corona symptoms, my state slowly started to improve. A practitioner recommended me not just to read Master’s lectures but also to listen to Master’s lectures, which also helped a lot in gradually gaining back strength and recovering from these dark and desperate days.
While being grateful to Master for helping me deny the arrangement of the old forces, I set new higher standards for myself:
More truth clarification
Be more alert during the sitting meditation
Eat less sweets
Let go of all resentments and despair
Let go of the attachment to read and watch the news
Not much later a huge parade against the Corona measures took place in Zurich. I felt full of energy, and, together with a fellow practitioner, I distributed a lot of end ccp flyers, and tried to collect as many signatures as possible. The best experience was when I discovered one of my teacher colleagues was participating in the parade. He was at least as delighted to see me as I was amazed to see him. He nearly hugged me, and immediately signed the petition. In the evening I found that 39 signatures had come together. Once again, I sensed Master was encouraging me.
Soon afterwards, Shen Yun promotion started. My start was relatively good. I was able to go out twice a week for a day to distribute Shen Yun brochures and talk to people in my neighborhood and work environment. For example, at a teacher training workshop on a geometry software, there was a retired math teacher with severe back problems who couldn’t sit or stand straight. When her computer prevented her from accessing the training materials online, I helped her install Brave as a different browser, and she was then able to access the materials. At the end of the training she thanked me once more, and I gave her a Shen Yun flyer. Immediately, when looking at the flyer, her back straightened by about 20°. I was shocked. I had just witnessed what positive effect looking at a Shen Yun flyer can have on a human being. She later found my email address from my school’s website, and wrote that she had bought a ticket for Basel. I wished her the best, and expressed my hope that she would later let me know if she liked it. After the performance I received her extensive, detailed, and very positive feedback. I was really happy for her and wouldn’t have been surprised if her back had straightened even more since then!
Yet after some time, the distribution of Shen Yun materials to mailboxes turned out to be more demanding than I had expected. On the second day of two weeks of vacation I planned to spend time distributing materials on a daily basis - I could hardly walk anymore. Only after sending righteous thoughts for half an hour, did I genuinely look inside and realize that I still hadn’t given up my attachment to sweets. From then on I reduced my consumption of sweets and was grateful to Master that I could soon walk again with hardly any pain.
The encouragement by Master came on the day the performances started in Basel. The day before I still had two high piles of Shen Yun flyers left. I thought it would be such a shame if they had to be disposed of. So I took one pile with me to Basel. The first evening I wasn’t on the security team, as I still had to work till lunch. When arriving in Basel, I sensed that the environment of the theater was energetically somehow empty. I couldn’t sense the “Shen Yun energy” as I used to sense in San Francisco as soon as Shen Yun promotion started. So I decided to give it a try and go from one place—be it restaurant, hotel, or store—to another to distribute flyers.
Near the theater, at a restaurant selling dumplings, the waiter became very excited when I asked him about laying out Shen Yun flyers. He started to tell me how the artists were here the day before, and that they are very good people. He then showed me a flyer with many signatures of the artists. All I had to do was to reinforce his excitement and encourage him to go watch the performance himself.
Many places didn’t have the flyers. Miraculously, in less than an hour the whole pile was gone. Most people were very happy to take the flyers. The other pile, I distributed shortly before the Bregenz show in St. Gallen, and I was grateful to Master that I didn’t have to throw any flyers away.
Another big challenge of the past two years was my work environment. Although I was allowed to give a small Falun Dafa workshop for interested teachers at the school where I work, the challenges were piling up on top of each other. Many attachments were exposed, such as getting upset, feeling proud of some achievements, more self-pity, and even thinking and talking badly about others. I will turn in an experience sharing article for an upcoming Swiss Fa conference on how I cultivate myself during these daily challenges. So I won’t go into details right now.
I want to mention only how I hit the lowest point of all these challenges. I was somehow upset and offended that the school principal had hired an under-qualified teacher against the will of my department head. Although I am probably right in my judgment, it was not right to be upset. One day I genuinely asked myself why I was so upset. Looking inside, I asked myself what Master may want to point out to me. Suddenly the thought came whether I qualify as a Dafa disciple if I can’t get over the employment of an under-qualified teacher. This humbling thought finally helped me let it go.
According to the principle of “no loss, no gain”, my work environment is on the one hand very demanding, but on the other hand offers me opportunities to reach out to people I might not necessarily be able to reach otherwise. When dealing with everyday people, I try to keep Master’s words in mind that now many people in this world have special backgrounds and, in a sense, are cultivating. I quote from the 2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C., Translation by Team Yellow:
“Don’t underestimate this world and its people. Dafa disciples aren’t the only ones ‘cultivating’ or working on themselves; others are doing the same, in a sense. They are being tempered as well. As people lead their lives and go about their jobs, wherever they may be, and deal with things, think about things, and act in this world, they are all making choices—in the contest between good and evil—that will impact their future.”
A music teacher and talented Jazz pianist, for example, lived in China for two years. He even climbed Mount Tai Shan. For years he’s kept up learning Chinese and, when I told him about Falun Dafa, he was somehow reserved. Yet one evening, after a glass of wine, he sincerely asked me why Falun Gong is persecuted. So I finally had the chance to clarify the truth to him in depth. Later he wanted to go watch Shen Yun. In the end he wasn’t able to make it this year but when he met me next time, he kind of apologized that he wasn’t able to see it.
A German teacher I had given a Shen Yun flyer was somehow reluctant to watch Shen Yun because she is a dedicated ballet dancer and doesn’t think too highly of other dance forms. At least, she was willing to drop some flyers at her ballet studio. Later she came to my classroom to tell me full of excitement that her ballet teacher had watched Shen Yun and was really impressed not just with the entire performance but with the extremely high level of achievement of each individual dancer. Each could be a lead dancer according to the judgment of my fellow teacher’s ballet teacher.
With these examples of Master’s encouragement I’d like to conclude my report, although much more could be said. Again I look out of the restaurant’s window, and again the white mountain tops and the green valleys remind me of the heights and depths of these past years’ cultivation, and how my experiences were “a means of tempering” me.
Please, point out anything inappropriate or not in accordance with the Fa.
Thank you, venerable Master! Thank you, fellow cultivators.
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