My Cultivation Path

Shared at the 2009 US West Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference
 

I obtained the Fa in the year 2004 in L.A. through my new room mate. Two weeks before I moved into the new apartment, I went to a temple with my schoolmate and prayed. I remember in my prayer to Buddha, I said, "Buddha, it's not that I don't believe you, it's just that I can't understand the modern day Jing Wen (scriptures). I feel that I'm going downhill as my morals slide down. If Sakyamuni can cultivate and achieve consummation after his prayer, then I only wish for a book that can teach me how to cultivate and stay upright in front of losses and gains. I'm not asking too much, right?"

A few weeks later, my cousin picked up a copy of the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times to search for housing rental information, as we both were seeking places to live. Right away, we spotted an ad by a USC student seeking new female room mates. The next thing I knew, I was reading Zhuan Falun at my new room mate's house.

During the first two years of my cultivation in LA, I basically followed my room mate wherever she went and enjoyed taking part in truth clarification activities (explaining about the illegal persecution of Flun Gong in China). I only knew that the messages in Zhuan Falun are very good but I didn't understand why we have to read the same book repeatedly. I only read it once in a while when I was free from exams. When veteran practitioners told me how they enlightened to different meanings through reading every time, I felt clueless. Zhuan Falun is good, but I wasn't able to pick up different messages every time. However I still tried to read the book as much as I could.

One time I was reading Lecture 8, where Teacher mentions the conditions during meditation. Teacher said,
"What will happen is that when you go sit there you'll feel wonderful, like you're sitting in an eggshell, and you'll feel really good, you'll know that you are cultivating, but you'll feel like your whole body can't move." (Zhuan Falun, Lecture 8)

I wondered in my mind, what is that about? The next day in my meditation, I felt it. It was such a pleasant feeling that I didn't want to get up from meditation. I felt like I was walking on clouds that afternoon.
In the year 2006, I graduated from pharmacy school and moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area. At that time, I only felt that I no longer had a room mate who could tell me what truth clarification activities were out there. When veteran practitioners mentioned that we have to maintain righteous thoughts at all time, I asked myself, what are righteous thoughts? Why did I have no clue what it was? I asked Teacher to guide me on the path to cultivation and contribute to Dafa, and show me what exactly I should be doing as soon as possible.

Soon after, I heard that our media needed practitioners to sell ads. Since I was unafraid of talking to people, Dafa practitioners' media needed money, and I could work with other veteran practitioners, then why not? Let me try and see how it goes. It'll be a good environment because I would be committed to something and not just be floating around without goals.

I remember when I was first participating in the sales team, the original idea was to accommodate practitioners' busy schedules, and we would call one prospective advertiser and let the next practitioner in the team do the follow-up. I was clueless about sales and I didn't know how to send righteous thoughts, but other practitioners told me to send righteous thoughts first and then pick up the phone. One day after my hospital shift, I got home around 3:30 p.m. I did what I was told, sent righteous thoughts and called. I briefly described our media and the other party showed interest. Instead of passing it on to the next practitioner, I was asked to follow up and try my best to close the deal. So I sent righteous thoughts more the next week and I started to use more talking points. And not too long after, this prospect signed the contract. The entire process took about three weeks and I only spent a few minutes on the phone each week to ask how he was doing and whether he was ready to move on to the next stage. It was my first sale and I felt that it wasn't too hard. I could do it because Teacher was guiding me.

After signing the first two contracts easily, I had no sales in the following two months, though I tried very hard. Whenever I wasn't working at the hospital, I went to fellow practitioners' homes to learn how to make sales calls. One time, when I picked up the phone, I started to throw up. I threw up everything I ate and I just couldn't function that whole day. I was disappointed about my sales record and had no idea what was going on. I knew there was a lot about cultivation that I needed to understand and catch up on.

My work schedule at the hospital fluctuated, which made it hard to schedule appointments with clients or focus on sales. So I asked the hospital to transition me from a full time pharmacist to a part time position. My hospital rejected that idea and told me that they didn't have part time positions, but if I could stay full time for another four years with them, they would pay back my $100,000 tuition loan. It took me two months to make the decision to abandon the bonus. I thought that if I couldn't give up this money, then how could I eliminate other attachments that I had. Plus, yes I could earn money to donate to our media, but life always has so many uncertainties, how could I guarantee that what I earned would be fully used for Dafa projects? In my experience, when I saved enough money, there were always other bills to pay in life, such as buying a house. So it did not sound like a good idea to accept the offer and my heart was not at peace with that. I turned down the offer.

On the afternoon that I decided to leave the hospital, another pharmacy called me and said, "I don't know where I got your resume, but your resume just fell to my hands. I'm wondering if you are still interested in working for us?" In my heart, I thought, I need a job that can cover my basic expenses so that I can go learn what it takes to be good in sales. I replied that, yes, I'm interested, but I can only work three days a week, preferably two weekend days and one weekday. They said, "Yes, that's what we are looking for, someone who can commit to three days a week." Benevolent Teacher arranged this opportunity for me.
But my sales volume did not really increase. Even though I tried very hard, there was not much improvement in either my sales or cultivation. On December 31, 2007, I was pulled over by the police for speeding. I asked the police to let me go since I was only trying to be on time for work. The police said, "No, I can't let you go because I have to guarantee the safety of everyone in this critical period." I asked, "What critical period?" He said, "Tomorrow is the New Year."

Afterwards, I read a few practitioners' sharing on Minghui and Teacher's regional lectures. They emphasized the importance of saving sentient beings and clarifying the truth. I came to understand that I need to take every opportunity to clarify the truth. In my heart, I should not pursue ad results and I need to focus on saving sentient beings. Advertisement sales is only one of the many ways for us to save sentient beings because it gives us opportunities to meet with different business owners, and build a deep, trusting relationship between our media and the people. That way, they can understand Dafa at a deeper level through their interaction with us.

I discovered many attachments in the process of doing sales, for example, the attachment to comfort (volunteer mentality), attachment to results and self achievement, etc. When I first started sales work, I would be late to the sales office or change my work hours whenever I wanted to, thinking that it was no big deal because there was no boss like in my ordinary pharmacy work. There was no clocking in and clocking out. I had all the flexibility I wanted. It was my attachment to comfort and what we later called a "volunteer mentality" of not taking responsibility seriously.

When I think about it, why do we have to report to fellow practitioners and keep them informed? On the surface, it shows how much we care about the feelings of fellow practitioners. But on a deeper level, it shows actually how seriously we take our responsibility as sales people. We can do everything as we like, without structure or commitment to schedule, but saving sentient beings is not a "voluntary service." Regardless of the position we are in, we have to be truly responsible to it from our hearts.

When practitioners in Divine Performing Arts train for dance, their professionalism demonstrated in the shows truly has a very positive impact in saving sentient beings. Not only do they study Fa together, they share together, train together from morning to night and send righteous thoughts together. They form one body and improve together.

In terms of sales, I also need to demonstrate the same degree of professionalism by going to work on time and setting goals so that I can direct myself and keep looking inward whenever I'm not performing well. Saving sentient beings is a serious matter and the cultivation path is very narrow. Through sales, I am pushed to constantly look inside and be strict about my cultivation. If I encounter this interference or that interference, that means I still have attachments. Through sales work, it shows right away in the result so it pushes me to improve faster.

As soon as I enlighten to different principles and improve, it is reflected in my sales volume. Every thought of ours matters. One time I was servicing a big client, and I was told to contact their competitor to advertise also. In my mind, I thought it would not be loyal and I would not be happy if I were the big client. Sure enough, after I started working with their competitor, this big client discontinued the contract due to some minor issue. Afterwards, I realized that my thinking was wrong. The thought of making the client unhappy is a thought that I picked up from another sales practitioner based on her experience with one of her clients. Since I respected her a lot, unknowingly I applied her scenario or thinking into my situation and it became part of my thinking. But after looking inward, I realized that my mistake was not a small one. It showed that I follow other practitioners' thinking without understanding the Fa. Our media on the surface services different advertisers, and everyone needs to have the opportunities to be saved. If I don't feel comfortable with contacting the competitor and no one else is available for doing the job, I need to clear out all my negative thoughts and just do my job as a sales practitioner. No negative notions should be allowed to interfere with saving sentient beings.

I am really grateful for everything that Teacher has arranged for me. I feel very bad about the mistakes that I've made and the time that I've wasted by not being diligent or strict about my cultivation. I hope that I can conduct myself with more self-restraint and continue to let go of self more and more. I understand that I need to be truly responsible for saving sentient beings and do the three things (study the Fa [the teachings of Falun Dafa], send forth righteous thoughts and clarify the truth about Falun Dafa and about the persecution to the world's people) well.

Thank you, Teacher!
Thank you, my fellow practitioners!

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