Cultivating with the Art of Zhen Shan Ren Exhibition
L Douglas (道格拉斯)
Greetings Benevolent Master.
Greetings cherished fellow practitioners.
Over the past two years, I have become more and more aware of the power of the Art of Zhen Shan Ren Exhibition on all sentient beings, including practitioners.
months ago, I put in an application to our local regional art gallery. I live
about 8 hours from the body of practitioners in
When I made the application, I had lots of notions about what the committee would think. For quite a while in my cultivation, I’d been very uptight about every thought, every notion, having a large negative effect. I came to realise being uptight like that is like being an “overcautious gentleman” that Master teaches us of in Zhuan Falun. Being worried about every thought and every notion, I had become attached to looking into every situation and seeing if something was “right or wrong”. It was an underlying state that seemed to encourage the attachment of judgment and wanting to be right.
taught us in Teaching the Fa at the Conference in
“It’s good that we are able to notice the attachments we have, but we shouldn’t be people that are overly concerned over every little thing.”
I have been shown a number of times over the course of coordinating this Exhibition that though our thoughts are powerful, if our thoughts are not righteous, they do not carry the power of the Fa and therefore don’t have as strong an impact. I have enlightened over the course of the Exhibition that when I truly cultivate myself, that’s what’s most powerful, and it’s Master’s great mercy.
The application was approved for a 6-week showing and as the date approached, I was actually not looking forward to it. I was nervous about how I would handle it. I have seen many times the power of the Art, how it dissolves so much and saves beings so thoroughly. I knew that a lot would be taken care of, but I was nervous about muddying things up with my notions, thoughts and attachments.
I realised I needed to take a step back with my analysing situations and thoughts, and making judgments. I needed to practise wuwei. Mostly, I needed to trust Master and trust the Fa. I decided to focus on my personal cultivation.
In the lead up to the Exhibition I had a meeting with the gallery committee member Anne, who I have social ties with. I knew there was a lot ahead for me, but I was determined to not let my humanness stand in the way.
As I sat in the car before our meeting, I went to FZN and realized there was so much intention in what I did. I thought I knew how it had to happen, what needed to be done, what I could see and needed to do. I realised how false this all could be. What I saw and understood, and any judgments I had, were all from the level I was at at that point and there would be things from my own mind mixed in, as I am a human being cultivating, not a God cultivating. I decided I had to let it all go. I needed to let it unfold naturally. Master has told us so many times what a magical tool looking within is. All I could take care of was my own cultivation.
Instead of my usual FZN, I literally looked within. I saw just to my left many attachments and uncultivated parts, and I could clearly trace their origin. But I didn’t go too far into it. I just thought, one thing at a time. I sat there, looking within and physically cultivating things away. It felt easy and natural and powerful. I knew strongly in my heart I needed to take things more naturally.
When Anne and I went through the album, initially I felt some tightness and notions come up regarding my social ties. More strongly though, I felt the wisdom of where I have cultivated to. As we went through every work in the album, I let Anne read and I explained only a little, and again physically looked within and let go of things. Not because I was uptight about the impact or outcome any more, but because I saw it was the purest thing I could do.
She was incredibly moved and supportive. We spoke of the persecution works. She said some were a bit gory. I suggested some partitions and she said: “No, let’s have the works there for people to see, we just won’t show the most graphic works.”
the truth to her, dissolving some of the common notions about politics and
reminded her of the 5000-year history of divinely inspired culture
During our meeting she said things like: “I think we need to make the persecution the focus. I don’t mind about the rest [of the layout], but I want the whole back wall to be one big statement on the persecution, what do you think?” and “It’s like, there is bad happening all over the world, lots of bad things happening to good people. But when I see this, it’s like somehow this is the focus of all of it. What’s happening over there affects everything.”
We went for lunch, and Anne told several people proudly: “We are working on the Falun Gong Exhibition. Falun Gong is not political you know. It’s a spirituality, it’s a way of living, it’s Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. You must come and see it.”
As I drove home that day, I continued to work on myself. Whilst listening to the Fa, I could feel massive changes within my being. I worked on letting go of notions, on purifying my own thoughts. That night, I got an email from Anne: “I have been thinking about it, and I don’t want anything held back. I want to show every strong persecution work. Roma needs to see the full story. I want all the gory ones in; they have to know.”
As Anne made these requests, it brought up a part of me that was worried that an everyday person was “running things”. I decided to trust Master and that I had cultivated well, and let her position herself.
Even though I felt like I was doing this on my own, I certainly wasn’t. When it came to transporting the Art, practitioners were so solemn in making sure it was transported with great care. There was always support from the body.
throughout the Exhibition, I remembered Master’s words in Teaching the Fa at the 2001 Canada Fa Conference (May 19, 2001 in
“I know that you’ve all worked so hard. You have to work and you have to study, you have your family life and social activities, and at the same time you have to take care of your family, do a good job at work, and you have to study the Fa well and do the exercises well, and what’s more, you have to clarify the truth. It is hard! It’s pretty hard both time-wise and financially. It’s hard, so your mighty virtue is displayed; it’s hard, and so it’s a good opportunity to establish your mighty virtue. Remarkable! Since you are cultivators, even though it’s hard you should do even better.”
The night we unpacked the Art, I left the gallery at 6:30pm to drive two hours home. My husband was waiting at our family’s other property, another 2 hours south-west. I had our 2 children with me. My husband is always trying to get us all down to the other property to spend time together. I usually put other things ahead of going down there – it often feels like such a “waste of time”. I realised the upcoming Exhibition was an important time for his positioning. He is always very supportive, but I needed to not make any assumptions on how he would handle things.
I called my husband and he discouraged me from coming down. He said it wasn’t important, it was important I took care of things, I’d had a big day, etc. Usually, I would listen and say OK, thank you, you are amazing. But this time, I said I was definitely coming. He said I wouldn’t get there until 11pm and I was crazy, but in his voice I heard that he was delighted I would choose to put in such an effort for our family. I realised that in the past, a lot of times he has felt like he comes last. He is supportive of Dafa and my work with the Art, but I realised I’m often complacent about that, lack compassion and don’t take enough care to validate well.
As I drove, I realised I had been worried about leaving the Art at the gallery unattended. I let that dissolve. Then I saw to my left in another dimension the largest imaginable and most beautiful blue Buddha’s face, smiling, and realised it was Master. I understood that everything was taken care of, and that I just had to take care of the rest of my world.
Ahead of the opening, I had some big enlightenments and really shifted a lot of things when I read Be Clearheaded (May 8, 2004):
“If you, as a student [of Dafa], do not follow Master's requirements, it is definitely no simple thing. The old forces have arranged for all Dafa disciples a set of their things, so if a Dafa disciple doesn't follow Master's requirements, he must be following the old forces' arrangements. The old forces are in essence gigantic trials and tribulations that accompany you at all times, focused on whether in Fa-rectification Dafa disciples are able to step forward.
If after going through this ordeal some students are still not clearheaded, then they will miss [the opportunities presented in] all of this. Only when you follow Master's requirements are you validating the Fa and cultivating yourself as a Dafa disciple, and only then are you a true Dafa disciple.”
I found it easier to let go of human attachments. When it came down to whether this is Master’s requirement, or am I following old forces’ arrangements, it made it simple.
to the opening I spent my time steadying my thoughts
and taking care of my realm and field, knowing that it was all so much
bigger than any surface manifestations, but that I had to take care of the
surface well too. I could feel the power of the Art strengthening me, and
Master’s compassion, and I felt the power of the Fa.
On the day of the opening, 3 practitioners journeyed from
Just before the opening, the Mayor contacted me to say he couldn’t make it and only 15 guests had arrived. When I walked past Anne, she said: “Laura, it’s a disaster! Only so few here, how terrible…” I didn’t feel moved and all; the words just came out of my mouth, though not from me: “Anne, it’s perfect for a group tour; we will do one big group tour.” All of a sudden, viewed from another perspective, it was perfect. With a group any larger, we would not have been able to tour everyone through in such detail. It was intimate and there was a real feeling of bonding among us. The effect was incredible. That night we screened Free China. Almost all stayed for dinner and the screening. The local newspaper had already run one article about the opening and the reporter came on the tour and wrote a very supportive article in the following week’s paper on “Art with a Conscience”.
People watched Free China in amazement. They gasped at parts and scoffed at the CCTV footage. Everyone was moved. It was commented to me by most there: “You have to see them both together. The movie shows the twisted mindset and the Art explains everything else.” I had the feeling while we were doing the tours that some were wondering why you wouldn’t just sign the three guarantees, but after Free China, they understood. I later tried to ensure when doing tours that I explained the three guarantees and conveyed the twisted CCP mindset.
To do well I knew that I had to be rational and keep things in balance. I told the newspapers, social media and had signs throughout the gallery that I would be there each Thursday giving tours. Lots of people came through on Thursdays. Each time, I would arrive feeling less than wonderful, but leave after touring all day to drive two hours home listening to the Fa and taking care of my cultivation. I would be abuzz with the energy of the Art, knowing that I had to walk well afterwards to truly give each being their best chance of being truly saved.
following six weeks, many amazing things happened. Through an interesting
arrangement just after the opening, a group with two retired fellows from
Our local federal member, who briefly saw the Exhibition in Parliament House earlier this year, took time to come after I made several phone calls and sent emails to his secretary letting her know I could stay late and come at any time to give him a chance to walk through. I made sure I didn’t pressure her, but sympathised with how busy their schedule was at election time and that I was trying to fit in with them. He came for 20 minutes and stayed for an hour. He was deeply moved, with quite high-level understandings. The local Mayor came through and spent an hour. He seemed to have strong notions about divinity, but I didn’t worry and when we got to the Organ Crimes work, he swore out loud, damning the CCP. He was supportive and quite moved.
There are many stories and many deep awakenings, too many to list. The council staff said many people came to them saying the Exhibition currently showing was shocking. Initially, the Council presumed they were complaining and went to calm them. Then the person would say: “It’s shocking that it can go on. How wonderful you are showing that Exhibition to make people think.” The gallery staff said this Exhibition has changed their whole approach. They want to show art that has a purpose now; it has awakened people and been a huge success. The local people are referring it to it as “The Exhibition everyone is talking about.” Earlier, I’d worried about the gallery or community not understanding or having a negative reaction. The power of the Art of Zhen Shan Ren is astounding. I have seen it before, but it still moves me each time.
6 weeks the Exhibition was on, each time I came across something, I was quite
aware that it was all tied in. I focused on taking care of things that I needed
to do more immediately. My coordination of the Art Exhibition nationally was
affected on the surface, not propelling things forward. On the other hand, my
cultivation has been so rich, that I feel this benefit is larger. Many things
have been learnt about leaving the Exhibition unmanned, the signage that
clarifies the truth and other important gallery signage has
been developed, and it feels like the Exhibition in
I have been working hard to make sure I don’t focus on the surface, but that I truly cultivate myself well, make sure I prioritise my Fa study and break through the longstanding laziness that sometimes stops me from practising diligently. A local friend writes for Queensland Country Life, the state-wide rural newspaper. I contacted her to come and see the Exhibition. As we toured through, I was telling her of the benefits Dafa and meditation had had on my wellbeing and the anxiety and insecurity I used to feel. She told me she is doing a special edition for the paper on suggestions for mental health and wellbeing. She asked if she could do a profile on the benefit of meditation and Falun Dafa. In the article, she focuses on the wellbeing and the change I experienced, and she tells of my organising the Art Exhibition in Roma, its effect and the persecution. It is another time Master has shown me the power of looking within. I’d delayed contacting her initially as I was worried about what she may think. Once I let it go, she just turned up.
I have been shown many things over the 6-week course of the Exhibition in Roma and done well in some areas, but I have also fallen short in many areas. There is a lot I did not balance well and much more I could have done. A big breakthrough for me, though, is to have remembered all the “other things” that come up are often simply to shift focus, to draw us away from what we should be doing. This time I feel like I have stepped forward more bravely to endure what I know is coming and wholeheartedly cultivate. While it was all a lot, and at times so difficult, it was also most easy and natural.
taught us in Teaching the Fa at the Conference in
“Question: Cultivation is accomplished by the body on the human side. I find the principles of the Fa have become clearer, and I am obtaining things naturally without pursuing them. Is this understanding and feeling correct?
Teacher: Yes! That’s a very good state. When you reach that state, you feel at ease and that your life is fulfilled. As you continue to make progress, as you become clearer and clearer about the principles of the Fa, you will find that cultivation becomes simpler and simpler. Many things won’t seem as complicated as when they were viewed from a human’s perspective. Everything will be clear at a glance.”
I am grateful for the opportunity to have the Art in this area. The change in the field is so large, with many situations harmonised and many beings positively positioned. I’m so thankful to Master for the large changes within my being and the opportunity to cultivate. To me, it feels like one of Master’s greatest gifts to be part of it.
Thank you Master!
Thank you fellow practitioners.