Austria: My Experiences Working for Shen Yun in 2022

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In 2016 I started practising cultivation in Falun Dafa. This is my third year working on stage construction with Shen Yun. Every time I work for Shen Yun, it brings me a lot of new understandings. Because the work is multi-faceted, I always learn a lot of new things, and accumulate new experiences. I am very honoured to be a member of this team. Apart from the Shen Yun dancers and musicians, there are many volunteers who have contributed to the success of Shen Yun. I am one of these volunteers.

This year I was fortunate to participate in services for several performances of Shen Yun in Germany and Austria. I was moved greatly by Master’s Jingwen entitled “Wake up” published on November 18th 2021. So that I could participate in the service team for the first performance in Cologne, Europe, I had prepared everything. My employer wanted me to tell him my plans for my holiday period this year. This was a totally new thing for me. How should I plan it? However I thought this was a very good sign. I saw the schedule for Shen Yun in my vicinity and arranged to the best of my ability to have my holiday period during this time. My holiday breaks allowed me to participate in working for Shen Yun’s performance in Salzburg, Ludwigsburg, Graz, Fussen, and Bregenz.

Coming to understand deeper layers of meaning to “Zhen, Shan, Ren”
One of the security personnel’s assignments during the performance was to make sure that no one took photos or videos. At the beginning of the performances the audience were reminded twice that they were not allowed to record any audio or video, because this would violate copyright. Part of the job of the indoor security was to monitor the audience to see if this situation had occurred. If it indeed happened, then we were to intervene, and to delete the audio or video recording together with the audience. During the previous two years, I was very “lucky”, or to say it more precisely, because of protection from our venerable Master, nothing ever occurred in the range that I was monitoring. Because, I had understood, I was not yet prepared to undertake this assignment or responsibility. I was very frightened of dealing with such a thing happening. However, this year it happened. I had to learn how to deal with it.

When I was in Cologne, I and an experienced fellow practitioner encountered this matter, and I sent righteous thoughts to support this fellow practitioner. At the time an audience member did the video recording all the time during the show without any concerns. Many audience members around this person were complaining, and he made many of those around him unsettled, and it was necessary to immediately stop this while the performance was happening. When I saw the fellow practitioner very directly and strictly deal with this audience member I was very shocked. Because according to my understanding, the practitioner’s action was not in line with Compassion and Tolerance. But was it really so? I thought about it a lot, and thought about how I would deal with this matter according to Zhen Shan Ren (Truthfulness Compassion Tolerance), but there was still no answer. In general I felt that this way of doing things was going against the Fa, however was my point of view and understanding on this wrong? I still hoped that such a thing would not happen to me.

Should I continue like this to take a roundabout way when meeting with troubles? All the way up to the performance in Ludwigsburg, I still held this wrong point of view. From the landing of the second floor I could see a woman was obviously recording the first programme of the performance. I was thinking that my other colleagues would see it. However I was the only one who noticed this. At the interval I went downstairs and told the colleagues there to pay attention to this woman, and then turned around and went back. I had shifted the responsibility on my fellow practitioners, and hadn’t taken my own responsibility.

After the intermission I saw right before my eyes an audience member who took a photo at the end of every programme as a souvenir. Actually when letting the audience into the theatre I was still thinking: this customer wouldn’t do that. He did so in a very concealed way and was not disturbing other people. Gradually I came to understand that Teacher was teaching me a lesson. There were no other practitioners there to help me, and this was the first time that I had to intervene personally. When the curtains closed I went to communicate with this audience member, and he stopped taking photographs after that. However after the performance finished, there was still the job of asking him to delete the photos. I very politely requested him to delete the photos. He admitted that he had taken some photos, but said that these photos were very important to him, no matter how I persuaded him there was no result. How come he wouldn’t be willing to delete these photos? Only until, with the help of another colleague with more experience who expressed an understanding, did he delete the photos at once. I felt very helpless. Was I still able to complete this task well? Was it possible that I was not cordial and friendly enough? Don’t Shan (Compassion) and Ren ( Tolerance) imply that one should be cordial and friendly?

In the evening when sharing experiences I spoke of this and enquired about how we can use compassion to settle such situations. This to me was like a mystery. I realised that my understanding of compassion was still very worldly and on the surface. I noticed that Master in his “Teachings at the Conference in Switzerland” spoke of “Compassion” thus:

“Since you’ve mentioned compassion, I need to correct your thinking. Let me tell you what compassion is. People in the society of ordinary people think that if they live quite comfortably with no disasters or hardships, if each day is pleasant and carefree, and if they’re not short of money and have everything they need, then God is compassionate toward them and is being really good to them. Let me tell you though, that God isn’t like that. If He were really that way, He would be being terrible to people. That’s because human reasoning is totally reversed.”

I clearly realized that all along I was treating the issue of compassion from the perspective of an ordinary person. Is it compassion by pretending not to be aware while an audience member takes photos? If, because he made an error and was guilty of wrongdoing he met with calamity on earth and in heaven above, was this a good thing for him? Up until now I had not thought of it like this. If I don’t go and stop him and redress this matter, does this mean I am being friendly to him? Even though the audience member may feel bad in the first place due to my intervention, the final result was good for everybody.

On the second day I helped my brother clip the grapes from the vineyard. On that day the sun was shining brightly, and it was the time to do this. I had never done such a thing before, so it was time for me to learn. To clip a grapevine is called pruning. This includes cutting off all the sprouts apart from one or two of the new buds from above the roots. Only in this way could you achieve a bumper harvest. Then the remaining branches and twigs would be bound up and bent in the necessary direction, and sometimes they would also snap. A lot of liquid would immediately discharge from the fresh incisions. It appeared as if the vines were “bleeding” and it looked very ruthless. From reading “Zhuan Falun” I came to realise that plants are lives with feelings too. I was very frightened of doing this work and was afraid of harming the grapevine. My brother explained to me and said, if he didn’t do it like this, the grapevine would starve to death, because it would not have the ability to supply enough water to this many branches. He would often speak to plants, and always quietly and softly deals with the tree so that he doesn’t harm it to the best of his ability.

This lesson from the vineyard seemingly was prepared for me. From it I learned, to have compassion doesn’t mean that one has to be friendly and cordial on the surface. Then how should I go about this? What did I learn from this lesson, and what did I enlighten to ?

At the performance of Shen Yun in Graz, Austria, I learned the next lesson. A friendly old lady who was about 75 years old recorded a lot of videos of the performance. This time it was the same, although she was not disturbing anyone else, it was also happening right before my eyes. My way of thinking changed. I now knew that this woman would create karma by doing this, and for her good I must stop her. I was very friendly, but pointed out to her directly that I and two other colleagues saw her recording. This was declared as prohibited at the beginning of the show, and this constitutes an infringement of copyright. At the same time, I told her that I had been instructed to ask her to delete the video recordings. Without beating about the bush, she immediately accepted this, and deleted the videos immediately without argument. This amazed me. This old lady deleted the videos in a few seconds and in a very skilful manner just like a teenager, as if she had always done this sort of thing. This was something I couldn’t imagine. I was aware that I was responsible for this. I had decided firmly that this was right for her. And she also did it. Her knowing side completed it in small steps and in a very short time corrected her mistake. At this moment I suddenly felt that I had finally enlightened to the inner meaning of compassion.

Amidst all of this wasn’t there also “Ren” (Tolerance)? After having my first experience of success, I was thinking about how I could do this even better. In the following days I again experienced two trials, enabling me to do this even better.

The first time this happened it was a young woman, and in my dialogue with her I emphasised the importance of deleting the photographs, and also told her, that if she would like a photo as a souvenir, that she could take a beautiful souvenir photo in front of the Shen Yun advertisement in the main hall of the theatre, and moreover that there were many mementos and keepsakes at the Shen Yun gift shop. Apart from this she could find many first-class photographs and videos at the Shen Yun webpage. In this way this woman could be touched by and could cherish my good intentions and my being conciliatory. She listened to my words, and I also thanked her for understanding.

Following that, a fellow practitioner informed me that an audience member was taking photos. Because I had not seen this for myself, I was unsure as to whether I should intervene or not. I directly asked this couple if they had taken photos or not, and they immediately admitted to it. They had not understood the prompt at the beginning of the performance in German and Chinese, that they were not allowed to take video recordings. I used English to explain to them that taking video recordings was an infringement of copyright and asked them to delete them. I also told them once again of the possibility of leaving behind beautiful memories of the show as above. I let them understand that I wasn’t only carrying out the policy, but that I understood them.

After the show ended something happened which shocked me. After the performance finished and when everyone was leaving, the couple who had been taking photos specially came to find me and apologised several times. I thanked them mutually and expressed that I was very pleased they had come to find me again.

After gradually coming to a deeper understanding of Zhen Shan Ren (Truthfulness Compassion Tolerance) and what this means for us practitioners, I am able to complete the task with a clear conscience. Before this I was not able to complete the task because of an attachment to fear. Moreover, with the strengthening of righteous thoughts, I was able to help those people who had come to see the performance to not make mistakes, and so that they would not regret it afterwards.

My process of learning Wuwei

As a stage security volunteer, I learned a lot this year with the help of Master and fellow practitioners. It was the first time for me to do a lot of these tasks. A very prominent point that I learned was to remain calm and collected when encountering something.

My hometown is only 30 kilometres away from Fussen. I was honoured that Shen Yun could perform so close to my hometown. Here I was responsible for security outside the theatre, and it required me to be deeply calm. To be on guard and watch a quiet space for three or six hours was a big test for my patience. How could I spend this time without being bored? From this I learned how every post and assignment that is assigned to us is very important. Sometimes when I would see that there was a task that was forgotten it would fill this gap. Sometimes this task that was beyond our plans required a lot of time to complete. Furthermore I was often worried whether I would be able to take on such extra load. This time I was finally able to renounce sleeping, and moreover make what seemed impossible possible.

When it was my turn to go on duty, the first task assigned to me was to be the security for the Shen Yun performers and the vehicle. I waited for several hours but the performers still didn’t arrive. Just when my time of duty was about to finish, the coordinator phoned me to say that the performers had made use of this time to visit the local area. The coordinator said that it was very much later that he came to know of this change of plan. I very anxiously caught up, and in the end found the coach and lorry. I finally could start my work. An hour later when I was making the payment at the entrance to the park, I came across some problems, and at that time the performance troupe once again left for dinner, and I once again lost contact with them. I was thinking that they must have gone to the hotel to register for their stay, however it was not like this. My other colleague had received correct instructions and hurried to the restaurant to be the security there. From the beginning my task was not ordinary, and this was very challenging for my patience. In this aspect I still had many attachments that still needed to go. This is an attachment that has already followed me to this day, so how could I do better at this in the future? Why was it so difficult for me to complete such a simple task? Nothing is accidental, so what was this telling me? Day by day has passed, and I have gradually let go of my edgy emotions, and in this way, I have gradually been able to face things that have happened and the tasks I have received with a peaceful mentality. But during this process, I was still lacking in good communication with the security team. Sometimes I communicated too much and too deeply, and used up their precious time. Sometimes also because of communicating too little, I made them unsure about whether everything was good or not; moreover, sometimes I couldn’t properly understand my own tasks. Now I still need to find a moderate means and method of collaborative communication. Sometimes some conflicts occurred. No matter whether it was a conflict that was unnecessary, or whether it had a specific cause, I would look inside myself, and try to do better.

On the last day of the performances, I had the job of being security staff for nine hours. I also needed to help for around two hours with packing up the stage, in the middle of which was a rest. I was a little worried about whether I could work for so long, and was afraid that I couldn’t be competent.

After waking up at six o'clock I did my first rota at the hotel where the Shen Yun artists were staying. Three hours later I went to the theatre. There I discovered that no one was there to guard the coach in front of the theatre. Actually it had already been arranged for me to have a rest, but I felt it was necessary for me to fill in this gap. I didn’t ask anyone and directly got to work. I stood there all the time until the performance finished and they needed my help to pack up the stage. Afterwards I planned to rest. But I couldn’t stop there and let this coach full of equipment stay there without anyone guarding it. So, I stood there again. I stood there until going to the hotel to guard it, and then stayed there until midnight. Following that I slept in my car for three hours. Most of the time I was sending righteous thoughts. In the end I guarded the coach with another practitioner until six o'clock in the morning when the sun came out. This was the most difficult part. But the good part was that we two could share experiences with each other. Altogether I worked for 18 hours but only rested for 3 hours. The impossible became possible. I myself also felt amazed. I came to know what I could achieve with Master’s help.

Master says, in The Ninth Talk of “Zhuan Falun”: “Back in my days of practice, more than once a teacher told me, “Nothing is truly unbearable or impossible.” And it really is so. It’s an outlook you only stand to benefit from. So the next time you are going through a real trial or tribulation, try to keep this in mind, and see if you can bear it. Or when faced with what seems impossible, and even if others say so, try to keep this in mind, and see if it might just be possible. I believe that if you can do that, you will always find that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

With this new understanding, several weeks later I was able to deal with the last day in Bregenz in a new way. I happily came to the theatre in advance, to clear away the dimensional field there. Also, on the road from the hotel to the theatre, I used this time to send righteous thoughts to clean up the entire city. After arriving earlier, I could play the role of doorkeeper for the performers’ entrance, and to greet the staff members of the theatre and the kitchen team staff, and to open the door for everybody. This small action of opening the door for others, to let them in, to bow, to pay one’s respects, and to give a smile to others: These are all old traditions, but they endowed me with a mystical meaning during the period of the Shen Yun performances, especially when opening the door for the Shen Yun artists. When I would open the door for the cleaning staff of the theatre, they would be astounded and say “no one here has ever done this for us before.” They were moved by this small action. We started discussing ancient traditions, as well as how I have been trying hard to study these traditions because they have become very important for me. We as practitioners can use these small details to display “Zhen Shan Ren” to the world's people, and it is exactly these traditions that give positive impressions to the people we meet. On that day I guarded many doors and passageways, and each door and passageway was very special, because of the many experiences associated with them.

On this day I was determined: I would not leave until there was no one who needed help. Up until now I always determined what the finishing time would be, and most of the time that would be when I was very tired. I wanted to do better after I had the experiences in Fussen. This time I didn’t help take down the stage or guard the coach to wait for them to drive away from the theatre to then resume my work, but instead I helped those in the kitchen team pack their things and, in this way, I spent several hours. I put aside my thoughts of already being very tired, and moreover I only left when everybody had left the theatre. I once again was astounded to discover that, with the help of Master, I was unexpectedly able to achieve this. This was the first time for me to achieve such a challenge. Sometimes I would think that, aren’t I older now, unlike how when I was young and could do anything? Is it truly like this? Is this how I want it? Is this illusory? I think that when it comes to Dafa one should rethink one’s boundaries. “Zhuan Falun” clearly points out how we can become younger. We must use this possibility. When my starting point is full of righteous thoughts, I can experience how to become younger.

I have always disliked wearing suits and clothing that is proper and suited to a festival atmosphere. I like more casual clothing and trainers, even at my workplace. A shirt, a tie or a suit hangs in my wardrobe for several months before I have a chance to wear it. After Master spoke of traditions, I noticed in many old photos, many ordinary and poor peasants and workers in our village used to always dress well for work, and this astounded me. They even wore hats to cover their heads. And even when the weather was blazing hot, they would wear long sleeves and long trousers. If they wore shorts, they would wear long stockings. People could tell from their clothing their profession. Every village had their own traditional clothing. Some traditions are still kept to this day. From the perspective of my security job outside the theatre I could observe how Shen Yun artists, on their journey from the hotel to the theatre and upon returning, were so peaceful and disciplined. Whether it be with their clothing or their behaviour they all gave me an excellent impression. Was I suited to doing security work? Did I have this disposition in my every action and move? Shen Yun Performing Arts is a first-class arts group, and as a security personnel even though I am just doing simple security work shouldn’t I also dress better like the performers, and according to old traditions and decorum restrain my own actions and consider my clothing more? For me, being able to use righteous thoughts at the car park which I was keeping watch over, to smile and politely give one’s respects and to welcome and bid farewell to the Shen Yun artists and those who have a predestined relationship with me was my honour. I pointed out the entrance to the theatre to many people and answered many questions and offered further help. Sometimes I would think about how I could do better. I immersed my mind and body in my tasks, and several hours passed by very quickly. I experienced more and more how us cultivators could form one body, and many visitors also merged into it. Perhaps I was one of the first practitioners that the visitors see on the way to the theatre, so I had to give them a good first impression. Even though this looks like a job that’s not worth mentioning it is also very important, and this brought me new understandings in my cultivation practice.

Wishing to fall ill

In order to take part in Shen Yun, for a long time, as volunteers we were not sure whether we should be vaccinated or not based on the new pandemic situation. After reading Master’s article “Wake up” I decided to be vaccinated, and in this way no matter what stipulations Austria and Germany had I would be prepared. Although I accepted to be vaccinated for Shen Yun, I still had, however, an attitude of preferring not to be. According to the Austrian stipulations in the law I had two options: One was to be vaccinated, and the other was to be regarded as immune after being restored to health for six months after catching the virus.

In 2022, I was supposed to get my second vaccination jab after the first performance of Shen Yun. I was wishing I could get ill myself and this way I would not need to be vaccinated. This wish came true. Two days later, on the way back from Cologne I lost my sense of taste. My PCR test showed that I was infected and needed to be isolated.

As a practitioner, going so far as wishing to get ill, was this right? Was this according to the Fa? And by doing so was I not also harming other practitioners?

Master said in Lecture Six of “Zhuan Falun”: “As a practitioner, if you always think that it is an illness, you are actually asking for it. If you ask for an illness, it will come inside your body. As a practitioner, your xinxing level should be high.” and “There is a principle in our universe: Nobody will intervene if you want something yourself. As long as it is what you want, nobody will intervene. My fashen will stop you and give you hints. If it finds out that you are always like that, it will no longer take care of you. How can one be forced to cultivate? You cannot be made or forced to cultivate. It is up to you to truly make progress.”

For the next several days I felt powerless from head to toe. Five days later after taking a PCR test I could decide whether to conclude my isolation period or not. But the test showed that I still had the virus. I had invited it but now it was unwilling to leave. Was my point of view correct? Wasn’t I giving the evil a loophole to take advantage of? Was this just an illusion? Very soon I was required to help out at Salzburg. On the day before setting up the stage in Salzburg my isolation concluded. However, I still had the symptoms of the new virus such as coughing and moreover was in poor health. So, at the time I decided not to go to Salzburg.

Didn’t I make a great mistake? My neighbours all knew that I had not become sick for six years, so after suddenly being infected with the virus, they were all shocked. I had once told them that I wouldn’t get sick, because the curative effects of Falun Dafa are very good. Wasn’t this a bad sign when I was infected with the virus? Looking back afterwards this really was a bad situation, with such a strong attachment to wanting to become sick, as a result I had no way of making good on my promise to help in Salzburg.

I carefully thought about it, and whether I had this attachment before. Actually, when I was still a child and whenever I had exams, I would always wish that I would get sick, so that I could postpone my exams. Sometimes my show of despondency was an excuse for me to shirk my responsibility. When the pressure was too great for me, I would always wish I would get sick. Because sick people could be sympathised with and be given attention. Wasn’t this also an addiction? Wasn’t there an attachment there for me to get rid of?

As for being a cultivator, I used to, when sitting in meditation in a group, always pay attention to when it would start hurting in my legs, and how long it would hurt for, and after this I could tell everybody else there. Did I always hope to be the one at the practice site for whom it hurt the most? Was this a competition for whom it hurts the most? Should I complain and then gain sympathy from others? After I got rid of this attachment I didn’t think about when the pain started whilst sitting in meditation or consider how long it was painful for. Whenever this thought came up or when my legs were in pain, I would immediately remind myself to get rid of this attachment. Now this no longer has any meaning for me.

Taking part in Shen Yun this year and taking part in group activities with other practitioners have been a great help in my cultivation and allowed me to be aware of the tribulations I needed to pass, and moreover to pass them well.

I would like to give thanks for being able to more deeply take part in a Shen Yun project. I was very curious about what I could learn or realise from it. I very much thank Master for the time and chances he has given us, and the experience sharing from other practitioners, and their pointing things out to me. I also regret that I didn't complete my tasks one hundred percent, but next time I will try to do them even better.

Because my level is limited, please compassionately point out my mistakes for correction.

Thank you great Master, thank you fellow practitioners!

(Selected to the European Fa-conference 2022 in Warsaw)

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