Greetings fellow practitioners！
Time flies, and I have been working in the Epoch Times project for almost 20 years. Thank you Master for giving Dafa practitioners the opportunity to cultivate in this Fa-rectification project and participate in Fa-rectification to save sentient beings. Today, I’d like to take the opportunity of this Fa conference to share some of my experiences of cultivating in the project.
In 2001, German practitioners established the European Epoch Times Co., Ltd. in Hamburg, responsible for the production, printing and distribution of the Chinese Epoch Times in Europe. Although I was invited to participate in the project from the very beginning, I never really joined the team and took on the responsibility. The German Epoch Times started in Germany at the end of 2004. Perhaps it was my fate with the German Epoch Times and my oath. It can be said that I have devoted myself to the work of the German Epoch Times almost full-time from the very beginning until today. Looking back over the past 18 years, I have done almost all aspects of the Epoch Times work: reporter, editor, translator, proofreader, typesetting, finance, marketing, sales, acting president, president, cleaner, and many more. Each job has different challenges. I need to learn and research a lot of new things, and there are many, many different opportunities for cultivation as well. I can sometimes grasp these precious cultivation opportunities well, look inward in time and improve through cultivation, but there are also many, many opportunities that I failed to seize and lost the chance to improve.
In the past 18 years, I have experienced many ups and downs. If my cultivation status was good, I could remain optimistic and was full of courage to open up new paths. While encountering difficulties, internal conflicts, and external setbacks, because of the lack of Fa study and exercises, and failure to look inward in time, I sometimes had the idea of retreating, not willing to continue to take on such a heavy responsibility. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed, depressed and negative.
In 2009, Epoch Times Europe Ltd. moved from Hamburg to Berlin. I was appointed as the deputy president of The German Epoch Times, in charge of day-to-day business. From 2009 to July 2012, we have been publishing weekly newspapers.
After a few years, although we had been working very hard and overcame a lot of difficulties, the company's situation had not changed substantially. At that time I was under a lot of pressure and had no idea how to carry on. But one thing was clear in my heart: I cannot give up, because The Epoch Times is a project approved by Master that can save people. The operation of Chinese Epoch Times has always been very difficult, but with the selfless dedication, persistence and hard work from a large number of practitioners, it has also found its own path and gradually operating in a positive cycle.
At that time, I was very determined to run the Epoch Times. I began to think about new ideas. I think it was Master who gave me wisdom while seeing my determination. I found that only the website was slightly profitable among all of the company’s businesses. It was because of the even lower cost of running the website, and our partner in Internet service can pull in some good-priced website ads every month. I thought we should suspend the print version first and focus on the website using the very limited resources we had. Even though I had never built a website and had absolutely no idea how a website works, it was pretty much starting from scratch for me, but I just held my sober thoughts: if my starting point is righteous, it is for the development of the project, not for selfishness, and not for proving myself, then Master would definitely give the disciples the wisdom to open up a path, by facing difficulties I should move forward instead of backward.
The development of the website is inseparable from technology. I talked to my husband about my ideas and persuaded him to participate full-time as the technical director of the website. For the content of the website, I knew that we needed an editor-in-chief, so I found a professional journalist who was a fellow practitioner to participate full-time. I started to study the operations of the website and made a development plan. I hoped that the New York headquarters could support the basic salary of our three full-time staff for six months. After six months we had to take full responsibility for ourselves. I expressed my desire and confidence to get things done to the president and he promised us with 6-month support of the basic salary.
In July 2012 we started the development of the website. My husband and I are both full-time in this project, so we didn't have any other sources of income. For many years I had been a full-time volunteer at The Epoch Times, my husband was the only one working. We had almost no savings. Obviously the financial pressure and risk was huge for us, but our mindset was very stable. I had no worries at all, because I firmly believed that if a disciple does the right things, our Master will not let that disciple go without food. Yes, life may be tougher, but a comfortable life isn't what I'm after. My husband and I were working very hard and long hours every day. We wanted to understand the operation of the website and run it as quickly as possible.
I always felt that Master was by our side, watching over and helping us. I can understand the logic of many new things by just a brief glance, and then apply them to the operation of our website. Our readers and website traffic were gradually increasing, the income was also steadily increasing. At the same time, two or three new employees joined us. We sometimes did not have enough money to pay the wages to our employees on time, but we could always solve this problem within the same month. Oftentimes I wondered how some money came into the bank account all of a sudden, either from donations or special advertising revenue, anyway we managed to get through this difficult period. Under such circumstances, I sincerely asked other employees to understand that the company cannot pay them wages at the beginning of the month. The employees were all practitioners and could fully cooperate and understand the situation. Here, I would like to thank all the fellow practitioners for their support and dedication.
Cultivating with the heart you once had and experiencing the magic of Dafa
This April, we were fortunate to hear Master's compassionate reminder to The German Epoch Times. Master's words gave me great encouragement, because I understood that what Master taught is the Fa. Master has already opened a way for us in another dimension. At the human level, Master has also pointed out clear directions and methods for us. As a disciple, we must try our best to do as Master said, and the Epoch Times will definitely have a breakthrough. But how can we do it well? We organized everyone to learn and share Master's lectures at the media conference. I myself read Master's lectures on the media over and over again.
Master said in “2018 NTD and Epoch Times Fa Conference”:
“Of course, those of you who work in the media have to cultivate yourselves well if you’re to do well at what you are supposed to do. And so cultivation should be first and foremost for you—for every Dafa practitioner involved in the media. That’s because how well you cultivate yourselves determines your power to save people as well as the effectiveness of your work. This is for sure. You have learned this from your own experiences over all these years, whatever the line of work you’ve been involved in—including media work. It’s often the case that those who work hard on their own cultivation get much better results with less effort. So we mustn’t neglect our own spiritual practice. It is first and foremost.“
I realized that, as the person in charge of the project, I have worked very hard for many years. However, I have been very slack in my cultivation and treated my work as cultivation. I have not really done the three things well as a Dafa disciple. Fa doesn't get into my heart. I can't keep up with the exercises at all and my actual cultivation state is very poor. Superficially, other practitioners may think I'm very diligent. When encountering contradictions, I did not look inward in time, and I did not treat the difficulties I encountered from the perspective of a cultivator. Therefore, very often I felt enormous pressure, and sometimes even felt very negative and powerless, or even felt that I am not young anymore and no longer as energetic as when I first started doing The Epoch Times. Because of the lack of doing exercises for a long time, I often felt tired and wanted to sleep more. But the more I slept, the less time I had left to do the exercises and study the Fa in a day. I had a lot of things to do and I fell into a negative circle.
I was also very dissatisfied with my own state. I had always hoped for a breakthrough, but there was no breakthrough. My own cultivation state was not good, so I had never paid attention to establishing and maintaining a good cultivation environment in the company from the bottom of my heart. But Master's expectations for the German Epoch Times encouraged me to break through this predicament. The efforts of other practitioners to maintain a good cultivation environment also helped me a lot. I was gradually getting better, but the real change happened a few weeks ago.
I was very depressed one day a few weeks ago, because a seemingly powerful attachment to love/sentiment/qing had been manipulating my emotions. I knew very well that I didn’t want this attachment, and I can't let it control me. However, I didn’t have the strength to completely reject it and eliminate it. I still didn’t want to let it go completely and still wanted to hold on to it. When I joined the group fa-study in Berlin, I was always worried and I was completely lost in the Fa study. My mood was very low. During the sharing session, a fellow practitioner talked about how the poem “The Difficulties in Saving Others and Saving Oneself”in Master's "Hong Yin VI" helped her during the promotion of Shen Yun. All of a sudden I recalled that this poem also gave me a great help during the period of promotion of Shen Yun this year. Especially the sentence "The average person cannot remain calm in a tribulation" helped me to overcome the extremely nervous state at that time as the promotion of Shen Yun this year was very difficult. At that time I told myself not to be an average person. During the sharing, I wrote this poem silently in my notebook eight times. Master's words, "The inferior person can not get rid of the endless human heart" seemed to be directly speaking to me. I began to wake up and I asked myself, “Do you want to be the inferior person all the time? Do you hold on to the endless human heart?" - "No!" I reinforced this thought in my mind: I don't want to be an inferior person. I want to become divine, I want to cultivate myself to be a selfless divine.
These righteous thoughts became stronger and stronger and I became more and more awakened and relaxed. I felt like I could smile again. I was suddenly full of energy. When I got home, I shared my experience with a fellow practitioner. Together we were very focused on doing something that I always wanted to do during the day but didn't get it done. We worked until 3 o'clock and I didn't feel tired at all. The next day, after sleeping for 4 hours, I woke up automatically without an alarm clock. I participated in the group exercise that day.
Since that day I have been able to get up between 4:30am and 5:00am every morning. I don't have to force myself and it all comes naturally. I have magically broken through this trial which, for many years, I thought it was completely impossible. I really understood what was written in Zhuan Falun: "When one's Buddha nature emerges, it will shake the worlds of ten directions. Whoever sees it will come and give a hand to his person and help him out unconditionally. The Buddha school does not attach any condition or seek any returns, and it will help unconditionally. Accordingly, we can do many things for students.”
My cultivation state has undergone tremendous changes after this righteous thought came out. Every day when I wake up, I first practice the fifth exercise and then study Zhuan Falun. 7:30 to 8:30 join the group Fa study in the office, then do the first, third, and fourth exercises. I do the second exercise at noon, so that I can basically complete the five sets of exercises every day and at least read the Fa for 1.5 to 2.5 hours. I am able to have a calm mind most of the time while studying the Fa. If I could not take the Fa into my heart while studying on that day, I would immediately realize that I had to look inward. Although I sleep up to 4 or 4.5 hours a day, I am no longer sleepy during the day. If one day I feel sleepy, it’s likely because I have attachments to let go, therefore, the material in my body becomes heavier and I get tired.
I returned to the cultivation state that I once had. I can seize any time available to study the Fa or listen to Minghui's sharing or recite Hong Yin, either on the way home or doing housework at home. When I study the Fa, I can often gain new insights or see my own attachments. When there is a conflict, although sometimes I might not be able to look inward immediately, I can quickly realize that I am wrong and adjust my mentality accordingly.
During this process, I deeply realized Master's compassion and the miracles and greatness of Dafa. It is indeed that:
"When disciples have ample righteous thoughts, Master has the power to turn the tide."
"Cultivation depends on one's own efforts, while transformation of gong depends on one’s master."
As the project leader, I finally realize it is my inescapable responsibility to establish and maintain a good cultivation environment. Now our office in Berlin has established a stable environment for studying the Fa and doing the exercises and an environment for looking inward. I deeply feel that practicing Dafa makes us a whole body.
Thank you Master for taking care of me, giving me the precious opportunity to cultivate in the Epoch Times project.
Finally, I would like to share with you Master's poems "Harmonizing with Fa" ("Hong Yin") and " Master-Disciple Grace" ("Hong Yin II"):
“Harmonizing with Fa
Buddha’s light illuminates everywhere,
Propriety and justice are perfected and illuminated.
Together, wholeheartedly strive upward,
The path ahead is bright.
Violent evil has raged four years
With a steady helm, bearings are not lost
Fa disciples experience evil’s trials
Heavy pressure does not change their will
Master and disciples have no use for sentiment
Buddha’s grace transforms heaven and earth
Disciples’ righteous thoughts are strong
Master has the power to turn the tide
Thank you Master, thank you fellow practitioners.
(Selected to the European Fa-conference 2022 in Warsaw)
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