Firstly, Attachments of Excitement and Fear
One spring a few years ago, I was contacted by a member of the Falun Dafa Association about if I could take the responsibility of coordinating some activities in London. I was overwhelmed by my eagerness and excitement. However, when I thought about it again, I felt something was not quite right.
After I cooled down from the excitement, I realised actually these “extra” responsibilities would put a lot of pressure on my cultivation. I had to balance my life in all aspects, a full-time day job, take care of my family, participate in Hong Fa activities on Saturdays and exercise class on Sundays. I started to wonder if I could possibly squeeze enough time to do the coordinating.
Then I remembered in “Zhuan Falun” Master says, “I’ll tell you a story from Buddhism. There was this person who put in a ton of effort and finally cultivated into an Arhat. He was about to achieve a True Fruition and become an Arhat—how could he not be happy? He was breaking out of the Three Realms! That happiness was an attachment, though, an attachment of excitement. An Arhat should always be in a state of nonaction, with a mind that’s unshakable. But he dropped, and he cultivated in vain. Since he cultivated in vain he had to cultivate all over again, so again he cultivated himself upward. After he put in a ton of effort, he again moved up by cultivating. But this time he got worried and said to him, "I’d better not get happy this time. If I get happy again I’ll drop all over again." When he got afraid he dropped again. Fear is an attachment.”
So in this process both attachments of excitement and fear surfaced, and I immediately became vigilant; I told the member of the Falun Dafa Association that I would be happy to give it a try. I understand now that it is my responsibility to save more people, and I should do this properly.
Secondly, Compassion and Tolerance,
I realised I have to further improve my character as soon as I started to coordinate my first big event, the New Year's Day parade in London.
On that morning, I was checking on the overall preparations of our group. Firstly I asked practitioner X about the dancers, I was told not to worry as somebody else was dealing with this. I was not very content with this but kept silent. Then I moved to the banner section to inquire. “Practitioner Y is taking care of this, you do not need to worry about this,” I was told by another practitioner.
“Is everything really ready to go? Or I am not very useful for the preparation?” I started to wonder. Just at that moment, another practitioner came up to ask where she could get her dancing costume. Stuck by not knowing the answer, I started to grumble at practitioner X.
A test would repeat itself if I could not pass it the first time. In our next parade on 25th April, I failed to guard my character and lost my temper again. When a practitioner preferred not to wear a Dafa T-shirt in the parade, with discontent I burst out saying, “Maybe you shouldn't attend the parade if you're not wearing Dafa T-shirt.” Immediately after I said this, I recalled Master’s poem “He is good to all beings” (A Righteous God) and Master’s lecture: “What this means is, a large portion of the Dafa disciples came with those cosmic bodies, and everybody formed karmic relationships. Once you've reached Consummation and returned it'll be almost impossible for you to see each other again, even if you want to. So, you should treasure this part of your karmic relationship. And what's more, those karmic relationships of yours have been intertwined with each other, and different karmic relationships were formed over every lifetime--it hasn't been easy. So, cooperate well when you do things. Each Dafa disciple's thing is everybody else's. Don't create distance and disharmony between each other over some little, trivial thing. You can't do that, and you should treasure all this. And also, you need to cooperate in Dafa things, and you should do a good job of cooperating.” (Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference -- April 20, 2003). I felt shamed of myself; I started to ask myself why I could not have more compassion and tolerance to our fellow practitioners - they all volunteered to attend the activities at the expense of their time and cost (added by translator) - furthermore, if everything was going smoothly, without any friction, maybe there was no need for me to be there to coordinate. So I calmed myself down and continued my coordinating.
Despite my fumbles and tumbles, I did gain and would like to share with you on my experiences in organising big events. For instance, it is crucial to make a detailed plan well ahead, and it is very helpful to keep everything under control to have individual practitioners taking charge of each section, whether the flower float, banners, dancing, or leaflets and so on.
Thirdly, Attachments of Showing Off
One of my biggest attachments is showing off. Master has arranged many occasions to expose it to me, so that I could concentrate more on improving myself.
In the 2007 New Year parade in London, we were eager to show some new design arrangements. After looking at the parade style in the States, we proposed to add one section of Falun Gong exercise demonstration in the parade group. Despite some supportive voices, other practitioners held a different opinion in that our exercises should be either standing or sitting posture as taught by Master. As for me, I felt the exercise demonstration a new and good idea and showed strong support. So I emailed the UK practitioners email group insisting on my plan, which was actually out of my showing off attachment.
About 9 o’clock on the morning of 1st Jan, the day of our parade, I was contacted by a member of the Dafa Association, asking me to remove the exercise demonstration section in the parade group. I was quite upset about this last minute change. As we were running out of time for preparation, I did not have time to share or exchange opinions further, so I just said “I will see” and continued the preparation.
I still felt in my mind that exercise demonstration was a good idea, and I had already arranged practitioners for this part of the parade. So I decided to carry on with the old plan and informed those practitioners about wearing exercise costumes. However, at the start point, more practitioners and members of the Dafa Association were not comfortable with this, and they insisted on removing this part. I was piqued, and started to look outward by complaining more. Then I thought, after so many years of cultivation, I should be able to look inward. I suddenly realised that this is due to my showing off, I was so reluctant to give up my idea only because of my sense of superiority. Master also said “We say that when you’re handling a disagreement, if you can take a step back you’ll see things in a whole new light. I guarantee things will look different.” On the other hand, it is also a matter of balancing the whole group's opinions. We are here to save sentient beings, if we started to argue, whether in our minds or actions, with each other, how could our field be harmonious, and how could we save more sentient beings if we could not improve ourselves and raise our character levels?
After I recognised this, we decided to have our practitioners in exercise costumes wave hands to the audience instead of performing the exercises. Later when I looked back, I understood that it is an opportunity to make me aware of my attachment of showing off.
It is not easy removing the attachment of showing off in one go, so this particular attachment gave me another lesson this year. It happened when the ShenYun Divine Performing Arts troupe was visiting London for a quick tour guided by my wife and me. In one park, those young dancers and artists started to do some acrobatic exercises in a field and took pictures of each other. At the sight of this, my showing off attachment got the better of me again. I joined them turning somersaults and was quite flattered when they joked that I could probably also be a member of the Divine Performing Arts troupe.
However, just before we were about to leave, I suddenly felt great pain in my waist and back…obviously I hurt myself. After a few attempts at deep breathing, I tried to catch up with the group ahead with great difficulty. Then it happened that one reporter from NTDTV was interviewing a member of Divine Performing Arts, and asked for help from me to carry their equipment. With physical pain and embarrassment, I failed to control my temper again. Though I explained and apologised to him later, I did understand clearly that my showing off taught me a serious lesson this time.
In the following days, because I was also responsible for the security for the Chinese Spectacular show, I felt massive pressure and pain accumulating on both my body and mind. I could hardly handle this and, repenting deeply, I begged master for help during the show period in London. Eventually we went through the difficulties and I recovered after six weeks.
My Hot Temper vs. Reputation
Stumbling in my cultivation during the past few years, I felt I also improved myself. It is almost a habit for me to look inward whenever an event has finished, and check what I should improve, and how to encourage more practitioners to participate in all different activities. After meeting more practitioners in Europe and the States, I noticed we still have a big gap behind North America. I learnt to make a detailed plan chart for our events, and arrange a conference call or teamspeak to double check with others. Thanks to our dear practitioners, we are making progress together. Sometimes I still feel compliments are easy to accept, especially when practitioners praise my improvements in organising, and may feel it is hard to guard my character when criticisms are raised, but I am trying to let go of this. Master pointed out in the 2004 Chicago Fa conference, “Have you noticed that a lot of our students can't take criticism from others? As soon as they are criticized they get mad and aren't able to take it.” And “If you have a bad temper then just change it. Practitioners have to endure.” (Zhuan Falun). I always ask myself, why have I still not changed myself on this issue, since Master already asked me to change, am I still a qualified practitioner? I also recognised that my bad temper is also associated with fame, if I could take fame lightly, I could also control my temper better.
Finally please allow me to share my understanding from my past experience on how to improve as a practitioner and coordinator.
1) Be compassionate, only when we show compassion and tolerance to other practitioners, can we improve ourselves and clear the barriers among us.
2)Take fame less seriously, do not think too high of oneself as a coordinator, do not imagine that everyone will listen to or follow your command or idea. When one shows more respect to others, more constructive ideas will come in and together we can make our events more successful and save more sentient beings.
3)Keep thoughts righteous. Just as Master’s poem says, “Disciples’ righteous thoughts are strong, Master has the power to turn the tide” (Master-Disciple Grace).
4)Study the Fa and remove attachments, make our actions more powerful and save more people.
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