Getting Rid of the Attachment to Self amidst Tribulations
Thomas Yang, WA
Revered Master, fellow practitioners, Greetings!
My name is Thomas Yang.
The topic of my sharing today is “Getting Rid of the Attachment to Self amidst Tribulations”
I am the co-ordinator of the Sales Department for the Chinese Epoch Times in Western Australia. The newspaper was started in October last year and the Sales department had gone from not knowing anything about selling advertisements to knowing what to do, within within just a few months. In the beginning, we used the most primitive method – visiting the shops one by one. Although it wasn’t easy, we formed one body and so we were very happy inside. Gradually, we also realised the effect of having righteous thoughts in securing advertisements. As a result, our confidence increased and we improved .steadily.
However, the path of cultivation is never smooth-sailingsmooth sailing. In January, as our income had increased by 4 folds fold from the several tens of thousands of dollars we had made of the pastin fewthe first few months, tests also followed. In the 2nd week following the Chinese New Year, we first noticed that the local Chinese people were not taking as many newspapers as before. For example, in the city, the papers would normally be gone by Wednesday; but now there would still be some left on Friday (Saturday being the publishing day). In the suburban areas, in locations where the newspapers would normally have been taken quite readily, there were still some left. What followed next wasThen the sales of advertisements began to plummetfalling of the sales of advertisements. At the beginning of March, we had virtually no income. The Chinese market for advertising in which we recently had a breakthroughhad closed up. Even the Western market in which we had previously done quite well, in previously also closed up on us. Quite a few clients who had signed contracts with us asked to have the contracts withdrawn. Some distribution points for the papers also refused our putting the papers there anymoreus..
Faced with these adversities, we quickly tried to analyse what went wrong. Two different types of opinions emerged among our group: I and the sales team felt it was because we had increased the content of the paper by 8 pages, and there was substantial increase of negative information and news about China. We felt this might have irritated the local Chinese people; consequently the readers and our clients for advertisement had decided to distance themselves from us. Another group of practitioners had a different opinion. They thought the sales team did not have righteous thoughts on this issue, and the situation transformed with our minds and our negative thoughts and fear had made the situation worse. Both sides held on to their own opinions. As time went on, all kinds of human thoughts surfaced and this made our sharingssharing more difficult and the our situation more complicated.
As the sales team were in contact with everyday people on a daily basis, our negative thoughts towards our own newspaper reflected in our dealings with the clients in getting selling advertisements. We started tobegan to hear many times thatfrequently that the reason for their not wanting to do place advertisements with us was the negative contents ofcontent of our paper about China, some even saying bad things about our newspaper. We became even more resentfuldistressed . Although I didn’t say anything, I thought to myself: “Aren’t we saving people with this paper? How can we save our readers and clients when they had have distanced themselves from us? Aren’t we endeavouring to make the Epoch Times the largest, the best and the most influential paper in the world? Isn’t this going against what we want? We have had many past lessons about this, why haven’t some practitioners learned the lessons? Why can’t we take on the successful experiences in of the past?” With such strong attachments and human notions, we questioned about the contents content of the paper in our Epoch Times group sharing. We did not pay attention to the feelings of fellow practitioners in our speech. Consequently, not only was did the problem remained unresolved, it had separated us. That was exactly what the old forces wanted. It had made the test even harder to pass.
Because we did not pass this test, our selling of the newspaper ads remained standing stillat a stand- still. Sometimes after Even we when we managed to obtain some salessell ,advertisements, sometimes in the following week the contracts would be cancelled. The first 3 weeks of March had passed and our ad sales of the ads did not even reach $10,000 dollars. I was very anxious, but didn’t know what to do. At the same time, the Chinese consulates publiclyconsulate publicly met up with the editors of all other local Chinese language newspapers, to plan a course of action except of course,aimed at for the Epoch Times. The longest running Perth Chinese newspaper that had been in Perth the longest (our arch-rival) also increased their pages as well as their circulations. Seeing our achievements were being graduallybeing eroded by the evils and that we seemed powerless about the situation, and practitioners in the sales team wept.
As the selling of the ads had come to a standstill, some practitioners in the sales team suggested that we spendt more time on studying the Fa, as we were unable to sell any ads anyway. We took up the suggestion and increased the time for Fa study during the day. Not only did we study Master’s recent lectures but also the earlier lectures. I also memorised the article “Expounding on the Fa” as suggested by our chief editor. Apart from reading Zhuan Falun, we also studied some recent Fa teachings relevant to our situation before the staff meetings. The practitioners in the sales team found that much of the Fa taught by Master aimed directly at our attachments so we reviewed them again in our group study. Gradually practitioners who held negative opinions about the contents of the paper started to look inwards. We eliminated our bad thoughts and negative opinions about fellow practitioners. Despite our efforts many of those attachments were quite stubborn and not easily gotten rid ofeliminated. It seemed on the surface that we had gotten rid of them, but when faced with the reality of continuing poor sales, we could not help having negative thoughts :again, such as: “Before Christmas last year, the feedbacks forfeedback for our paper were was very good. Many Chinese people were taking our papers. Why couldn’t we continue with thaton that path? Why do we have to choose a more difficult path?” Some practitioners in the sales team felt very despondent and had even thought about giving up their job selling the ads. However, we then looked at the situation from another angle. Haven’t we come to cultivate ourselves? Aren’t we helping to saving save people with the our newspapers? Isn’t this a wonderful opportunity for ourto elevation inelevate in cultivation? After we changed the way we thought about the this situation, we felt better. We were no longer looked outwards, and started genuinely cultivating ourselves.
During one of the Epoch Times staff meetings, our chief editor said something like this, “nowNow is the final stage (of Fa-rectification), I am really very anxiouseager about to saving save people!” That was so true! Our chief editor had given up her everyday job to work for the Epoch Times full time. She also wanted the paper to prosper and become influential. Our goal is was the same. so We we shouldn’t have conflicts with each other. We should dissolve all the conflicts and become one body. So I made a pledge to myself: No matter what the issues were, I should resolved the problems within myself first, I should cultivate myself. It doesn’t matter how difficult the situation might get, we must do our best to elevate our abilities to increase the sales. Through continuously rectifying ourselves, we were rewarded with some good results. We had a breakthrough in the last week of March and we hadprocuring an income of $30,000 dollars in the one week for by selling ads.
In the beginningAt the start of April, the situation again seemed unchanged. reverted to a decrease in our sales and thereThere were still many papers left at the distribution points. Practitioners still held on to the two different opinions. The sales of ads returned to how it had been in the earlier part of March and we were not getting any income. However, we had by now increased our Fa-study as well as continuously continuing to looking inwards. We no longer focused our attention on others and we were not as attached to the rate at which the papers were taken. We sometimes could alsobegan to understand and think from the perspective of the practitioners who were in the editorial team. After I had gotten rid of the attachment of looking at others, the situation also changed with the editorial team. On a Monday in mid- April, the sales of advertisements had a breakthrough. We obtained $20,000 dollars worth of contracts in one day. That night, a practitioner from the editorial team joined our sales team Fa study of the sales team. After the Fa study, he informed us that the editorial team had decided to make some adjustments to the contents of the paper, in an effort to make it even more acceptable to everyday people. At that moment, I really felt our cultivation as a group had made a leap forward. by cooperating with each other.
I felt we needed to get gain momentum over thisand pass this test quickly, so I invited our chief editor to have a sharing with me on the next Saturday. She happily agreed. During the sharing, I told her that in the past 8 weeks, our sales of ads were only up to par for one week and one day. The one weekone-week was when practitioners in the sales team really let go of themselves, after looking inwards. The one dayone-day was when the editorial team decided to modify the contents of the paper. Although it seemed magical, it was also the a factrealistic fact. We shared for more than 2 hours and we were very honest and open with each other. We no longer had any conflicts. Later, I also invited practitioners had who had opinions about me to share with me. Gradually, we formed one body again. The sales team returned to its joyous state and the situation of selling ads improved. In the later weeks of April, we were doing much better. In the last week of April, our sales record returned to its usual normal state. In May, the situation continued to improve. Not only did we increase our sales dramatically again, there were also many more Chinese people taking the paper. From the sampling of my own distribution points, I can could see many readers had returned. with From my own distribution points only, the circulations had increaseding from 1,200 to 1,400 papers.
The Perth practitioners working for the Chinese Epoch Times in Perth had finally passed this test. In the future, when we look back at our cultivation, how we had performed improved would be shown clearly. During the 8 weeks of tribulation, we had experienced much and learned much. There were was both happiness and bitterness. Looking back at this piece of history, our tribulations were overcome by letting go of our selves at different levels. We really felt that when a tribulation comes, it is only through knowing the Fa well and looking inwards, can it be overcome.
Please allow me to finish my sharing by citing Master’s poem “Solid Cultivation”
Study the Fa and gain the Fa,
Focus on how you study and cultivate,
Let each and every thing
be measured against the Fa.
Only then, with that,
is it actually cultivation
Study Fa, obtain Fa,
Compare in studying, compare in cultivating,
Examine each and every deed,
Accomplishing is cultivating.
October 7, 1994
Please kindly point out anything that’s inappropriate.
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow cultivators.