Cultivation experience whilst playing in the Celestial Band
Respected Master, fellow practitioners.
I have been in the Celestial band for over 5 years now and this is the first time I have put pen to paper about this topic. I would like to use this opportunity to share with everyone my cultivation experience.
Overcoming myself and joining the Celestial Band
The Sydney Celestial band was established at the beginning of 2006. Although Master has not yet spoken any Fa on the Celestial Band, all practitioners knew that the band was established by Master and hence everyone was enthusiastic about joining.
At the time, seeing everyone’s enthusiasm, I also wanted to try. However, I was hesitant after considering my current projects and responsibilities in other Fa-rectification activities. Further I did not have much in depth understanding about the Celestial band. I used to be in the brass band at Uni, however, from an ordinary person’s point of view, my mouth shape is not suitable at all for playing brass musical instruments. I quitted before I made any instrument sounded.
Due to this past experience, I was even less enthusiastic about joining the Celestial band, although I knew that Dafa practitioners cannot be compared to everyday people. I thought to myself that I participate quite a bit in other projects, have many responsibilities, hence I was satisfied with watching on the sidelines. However, I naturally enjoy music and have quite good musical sense and knowledge of music theory. There are many pieces that I can hear once and never forget. However, I have never underwent any proper professional training, therefore I always feel regret for what natural “gift” I have been given. But I never realized there is a reason for this natural “gift” I have.
However our compassionate Master will not let any practitioner “bury” their “gift” and miss the opportunity to complete their duty. At that time there was constantly practitioners commenting: why not try an instrument? Or come and join the Celestial band! I would just smile. My wife and daughter would often try to persuade me. The practitioner responsible for sourcing the instruments would also say: buy an instrument!
So many people were encouraging me. If I still fail to enlighten to this, I would have failed Master. Hence 3 weeks later, after sending forth righteous thoughts at the Sydney Chinese consulate, I approached the practitioner responsible and asked to buy a trumpet. However, that practitioner said, “forget about the trumpet. We’ve already sold 18 of those. Why don’t you try to Baritone? No one has bought one yet. We’ve got the stock here.”
I felt a bit uneasy at the time, and didn’t really want to. I thought to myself that I have such good basic skills for the trumpet and felt I had the talent for it. Master plays the trumpet so I really wanted to as well. However, after seeing this practitioner’s awkward expression and the need for someone to play the Baritone, I bought it, although I still felt it was a pity. I accepted my fate on the thought that practitioners must put Dafa at the fore front and think of the entire picture. Now come to think of it, my own little “skill” was nothing. Everything was given to me by Master and Dafa.
After these few years cultivating whilst participating in the Celestial band and verifying Dafa, I look back and realized that I should play the Baritone. Apart from the shape of my mouth, it is also to do with cultivating my body. Playing the Baritone helped to rectify issues with my left arm and shoulder. I only enlightened to this later on. Therefore, I further felt that Master arranges the best thing for each practitioner, as long as we don’t become attached to ourselves and believe in Master and Dafa, our paths will become wider as we go. Otherwise, we could add many unnecessary twists and hardships to our cultivation paths.
After I purchased the Baritone, my wife and daughter also chose their own instrument and joined the Celestial Band. This is how our whole family started down the path of verifying the Fa in the Celestial band.
Improving my performing skills
When an everyday person practices, he/she will follow the teacher’s guide and also practice very hard by themselves. Cultivators are different. Apart from practicing to improve my playing skills, I felt that my improvement was closely connected to my own cultivation. From the point of view of the entire band, our playing level is connected to the entire group’s cultivation level. Improving myself on a cultivation level will double the improvement on a skill set level. This is the power of Dafa.
When I first picked up the Baritone, I could not get a sound out of it, only sounds of air were coming out when I blow into it. This would normally cause my daughter to laugh at me. Yet when my daughter tried it, the sound came out. I thought to myself, in all aspects, I can’t be worse than my daughter right? Then why can’t I get a sound out of it? Then I realized it was my everyday notion playing up. I had the notion that Baritone is hard to play so I put too much strength into blowing into it hence all that came out was sounds of air and not musical notes. If it does not make a sound, I would feel embarrassed. These are all human notions. When I let all this go and followed my daughter’s instructions, the sounds came out. I also found that the less notions I held, the more smooth it went. I am a Dafa practitioner, my cultivation was playing a great part in it.
Although I am able to make a sound out of the Baritone, reaching the stage of expanding and toning the sound is not something that can be done in one day. I had many Dafa projects, hence not much time to practice. I would only play 5 or 10mins in between each project and plus restrictions in the environment, I can only practice a few times a week. At first, I could not play the high notes or the low notes. After playing low notes, I can’t get the right high note sounds. It is like mountains and steel blockades in front of me. I could not imagine where the high notes are, how can I play it? When I finally played a high note, it was like a breakthrough levels of cosmos. However, I then could not come down and play a lower note. I often received criticism and mock from my family members. Despite this, I have a strong belief that I am a Dafa disciple, I will learn and practice well. I am a Dafa disciple, I will not relax my cultivation or cause delays to any other Fa verification activities.
Although I could only spend a short period of time to practice each time, I found that my skills have improved rapidly. I understand that this is because I have not relaxed myself in my cultivation and Fa-rectification. For ten years, on a daily basis (apart on rare occasions) I persisted with Fa study and the exercises, sending forth righteous thoughts and doing Dafa projects. “Cultivation depends on one’s own efforts, while the transformation of gong is done by one’s master.” This is Master helping the disciple.
On May 13, 2006 when the Sydney Celestial band paraded for the first time on the street, I was moved to tears and moved by the greatness of Dafa and Dafa disciples. At that time, the band has only been established for less than 3 months and all up I have practiced no more than 10 hours. This is impossible for an everyday person but Dafa disciples did it. The power of Dafa manifested. After that, every time Celestial band performs, passersby would be moved by the performances, bow and clap and some call out: Falun Dafa is good. I feel extremely encouraged and was determined to continue to improve myself.
Therefore, no matter how busy I am, whenever there is Celestial band rehearsal I will be there. I have never missed one session. If I run out of time, I would squeeze out the time from my sleep and try to participate in the Celestial band group Fa study. For the group Fa study, we started off reading at different pace at the beginning of the Celetial Band establishment, some people were faster and others were slower, to later we adjusted to one consistent speed in a steady rhythm. I felt everyone’s improvement as a group. During Fa study, every cell of my being was submerged in Dafa.
The Celestial band usually rehearses every Sunday but I have to do proofreading and polishing for Epoch Times local news translations. Usually polishing 10 or so articles need more than 10 hours. Often the articles would come after midnight. I would do these after midnight or during the early hours of the morning and after Sunday’s rehearsal. So sometimes, my sleep hours Saturday is only 4 hours and sometimes I continue the whole night without sleeping. As long as I maintain my righteous thoughts, I don’t feel the lack of sleep nor the need to sleep extra like an everyday person. If I have any human notion, then it will not work. I have fully enlightened to this fact after all these years.
After cultivating for 3 years in the Celestial band, I am able to play most of the notes in the Baritone scales. However, due to lack of practicing time, I can barely reach two of the highest notes. I am still unable to play these with ease. For the higher notes, I cannot play them for a long time, otherwise I feel very tired and cannot reach the performance level.
Continue to cultivate diligently, there are no boundaries
The Celestial Band uses music to disintegrate evil beings and save sentient beings. The quality of performance will impact on the effectiveness of saving sentient beings. The meaning and effect of the band has been explained by Master in his lectures. As a member of the Celestial band, I must continue to cultivate diligently and improve in order to reach the levels required by Fa-rectification. Further when my performing skills improve, my cultivation level is also improving. Master has taught us this Fa.
During the recent years of practicing and performing with the Celestial band, I felt that each note was like reaching another level. The 7 notes in a musical scale is like the 7 colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue-green, blue and purple which represent different levels. At first the most I can play was Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, which all sounded quite bad. Later Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So started to sound more and more smooth. This shows the elevation in cultivation levels. At the same time, the different sounds have different levels, hence different molecule make up. The more smooth and elegant the sound, the more fine the molecules are. This sound will have more strength to transpire and move people’s hearts and save sentient beings. This will repeat in a cycle and continue to breakthrough each level, without any limits.
Although music only has 7 notes in the scale, it manifests into an extremely wonderful cosmos.
The above are some of my experiences in cultivating in the Celestial band and using music to cultivate and save sentient beings. Please point out anything inappropriate.
I wrote this experience sharing article with a tentative mind set. Before starting, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. Whilst writing, I felt my body was warm and wrapped by layers and layers of energy. This time when I picked up my Baritone, I was able to play many continuous high notes easily. I also played one extra low note outside of the Baritone normal set of scales. Thank you Master for giving me another chance to improve.
Thank you Master!
Thank you fellow practitioners