Ten Years Working with the Epoch Times
Zeng Jianling, Sydney
Greetings fellow practitioners!
It has been 15 years since I first came across the book Zhuan Falun in July 1996. I have been involved with the Epoch Times for the last 10 years since the Fa-rectification started in 1999. Reflecting on the path I have travelled everything seems so clear and connected. I would like to share some of my cultivation experiences with fellow practitioners on this occasion.
At the Fa conference in Taiwan at the end of 2000 a few of us from Sydney met a fellow practitioner from the US. This was first time I heard about The Epoch Times and that we would run our own newspaper. I felt very excited about that. I came back to Australia a little earlier than others and received a copy of The Epoch Times sent by a US practitioner. I could not wait and discussed it with other practitioners and went straight to the Office of Fair Trading with a fellow practitioner to register The Epoch Times as a business. What followed was that my wisdom and xinxing level at that time were not up to the standard to deal with many of the issues involved, including different opinions. Besides, I did not truly put my heart into it so I quit the project. I thought there were many things I could do, so why should I get involved in this? When I saw the first edition of the Epoch Times in Sydney in February 2001, I felt very regretful for having left. Fellow practitioners achieved what I had failed to do. I realized that I needed to look within. I could see my selfishness deep in my heart as I was worried about my job. I was worried that my free contribution and hard work for the newspaper would affect my everyday life.
In 2002 my job in everyday society came to an end, so I joined the Epoch Times to help sell advertising. I got a deal on the first day. I knew it was Master encouraging me to come back on my predestined path. Since graduation from university in China my main job was in sales. When I came to Australia my first job was also in sales for a Chinese newspaper in Sydney. Although I did not do it for long, I was familiar with selling newspaper advertisements. I felt all this had been arranged and I should involve myself in the sales team of the Epoch Times. I had made a mistake before, so this time when I was truly working for the sales department I felt very calm and inspired. For a while I felt I was really fortunate to be able to work for the Epoch Times. Firstly, my work is closely linked to my cultivation, and every cent we earn and every ad we get for the newspaper is establishing our own mighty virtue. At the same time it also helped me to make a good living. Secondly, I have a very flexible schedule and I can participate in various Dafa activities without having to ask for leave. Thirdly, I could get in touch with so many people and if I wish I could go to see new customers every day and make new friends. I would chat with people from different cultural backgrounds and tell them about the facts of Falun Dafa, establishing relationships with sentient beings. I enjoy sales work and meeting people. Some sales people might feel shy or lack confidence, but I do not have this problem. On the contrary, I can handle these things very easily. When I have time I would do more and when I have less time I would do less. Just let things happen naturally. In fact, at that time my performance was just average.
It is impossible to have a smooth journey all the way. In the early days I often came across people who wanted me to work for them. They asked me how much I was earning with the Epoch Times and that they would offer me a much higher salary. Usually, I would politely refuse the offer. On one occasion my previous boss in real estate called me, saying that he would open a branch in Queensland and wanted me to be the manager in charge of the office there. He also offered me a very good package including a very good salary, car and free accommodation. He even agreed to allow me to attend international Fa conferences twice a year (because he knew I often travelled overseas for Dafa activities). My heart was moved for a few minutes. Then I thought, “How could everyday people understand what is in my heart?” So I did not accept the offer.
I was really bothered by the conflicts among fellow practitioners. At that time I held a very different view from the main coordinator regarding whether we should sell the Epoch Times as a commercial newspaper or not. One day I had a big argument with her in the office. I felt really disappointed and could not see any hope for the future. I thought I should leave and started looking for another job quietly. I went to a real estate agency in Parramatta. The boss was very pleased with me and was very warm. He said his business partner had just left and was looking for a replacement. Even though I had no sales experience in real estate he believed that I would make an excellent sales person. He wanted to work with me and would offer me a base salary plus a car allowance and a very good commission. When I got home I calmly looked within. I could see my attachment to proving that I was right and she was wrong. My sharp words had made the conflict even worse. Was it true that if the coordinator did not do well then there would be no hope? What about Master? What about the power of the Fa? How should I deal with the relationship with the coordinator? Why do I allow the coordinator's cultivation state to affect me? For whom am I cultivating? Who would be happy if I leave the Epoch Times, Master or the evil? After I thought through these issues I refused the offer from the real estate agency and continued my work as a sales person for the Epoch Times.
I listened to Master's Fa Teaching given at the Epoch Times Meeting in September 2009. One sentence Master said really touched my heart at the time. "How many of you are truly putting your heart into the Epoch Times?" ( my words and memory) This sentence really hit the nail on the head. Am I truly putting my heart into the Epoch Times? All along I thought getting involved in the Epoch Times was the best choice for my cultivation. It was good for my cultivation and good for my personal life. I based everything on myself and did not give much thought about how to run the newspaper well thinking it had nothing to do with me. On the way back I remember talking with a fellow practitioner who was working with the Epoch Times. We agreed that no matter who the main coordinator is we must put our hearts into the success of the newspaper. We held that pure thought which was inspired by Master's benevolent compassion and the mighty power of the Fa. Then why did I have that thought after many years of working for the newspaper? This showed that my xinxing and understanding were far from Master's requirements and He had to say these words to wake us up.
Last year I took up the role as sales manager of the newspaper. At the beginning I was a little hesitant to take on this role. I could see that sometimes it could be very difficult to deal with relationships among practitioners as everyone thought that their idea was right. Secondly, as sales manager I have to spend a lot of time helping other sales staff and help with some administration work, this would affect my sales performance. However, I was really touched by the main coordinators in the US headquarters. They have such courage to take on the coordination work around the world. Why can't I share some of the load?
In fact, working in this role has helped me understand something that I had not understood earlier. I had the notion that I would do things my way and not care that much about others. When this reflected in my work, it showed that I am a bit careless and I would announce something before a final decision is made. This caused many complaints and division among practitioners. Also, I am a short tempered person and would talk loudly when I couldn’t hold my xinxing. Fellow practitioners found that hard to cope with. As a coordinator people expect me to do better than an ordinary practitioner. I realized how important it is for a coordinator to speak and act with more care. In the past I had the mentality that I would not listen to someone in authority, but when I became a manager I realized just how annoying that notion was to others. When people are working on a project and the coordinator has assigned you some work, then you should cooperate and do it well. However, there are always some people who do not agree and would do things their own way which is not really practical. Such attachments are really a headache to others. I don't know how many times in the past I had behaved this way, creating problems for others. Although I would spend time helping other sales staff, when there was a lot of administration work and the workload was heavy, fellow practitioners were not happy. At these times I would have negative thoughts and feel helpless. I realized that such a mentality is not good for our sales work and could be easily taken advantage of by the evil. I would try hard to control my negative thoughts as I understand that in Dafa, coordination work would not bring about any everyday people's feeling of satisfaction, but the elevation of xinxing and wisdom. Actually, although I have taken on more administration work recently, it has not affected my sales performance at all. On the contrary, I have achieved twice as much as before. One's elevation can only be hindered by narrow-mindedness and selfishness and only by elevating one's xinxing and applying the Fa’s principles can we truly validate the power of Dafa. The Epoch Times will become the number one media in the world. There are still many barriers that we need to break through now and in the future.
I would like to share one of my poems to finish today’s sharing.
Ten years with the Epoch Times in trials and hardships
You have come from the firmament with the wisdom of numerous gods
The Lord Buddha's compassion guides you to accomplish your mighty wish
With facts and courage you spread the truth throughout the world
With fine articles you have revived the divine culture
Like a clear spring you purify and warm people's hearts
Your wisdom and vision helps sentient beings reach the other side of the shore
I am so fortunate to have travelled with you for the last ten years,
fulfilling our vows in wind and rain
I am so fortunate to have travelled with you for the last ten years
In trials and hardships we walk giant steps towards a brilliant future!