Cultivation is like climbing a mountain
Greetings revered Master!
Greetings, fellow practitioners!
背《洪吟》時背到《登泰山》：“攀上高階千尺路 盤回立陡難起步 回首如看修正法 停於半天難得度 恒心舉足萬斤腿 忍苦精進去執著 大法弟子千百萬 功成圓滿在高處”
When reciting Hong Yin, I memorized Climbing Mount Tai:
“I climb the steep steps, stretching miles ahead,
Winding upward and steep, this road,
Even to set off is hard;
Glancing back, ‘tis just like cultivating True Fa,
Pausing half way makes salvation hard.
So steel the will, and lift thy leaden leg,
Endure the pain, diligent, and cast of attachments;
Dafa disciples, the tens of millions –
A place still higher awaits you at Consummation.”
I realized that cultivation is like climbing a mountain. You have to endure hardships, persevere and keep climbing upwards. You cannot remain stagnant and become someone who, “pausing half way makes salvation hard”. Therefore, my sharing is titled, “Cultivation is like climbing a mountain”.
I started practising Falun Gong in 1997. This is my fifth year working at The Epoch Times since I arrived from overseas. From initially doing advertising design for the Australian Epoch Times to working now in NTDTV doing post-production, I would like to talk about my cultivation journey while working on media projects.
Part1. Cultivation of oneself is the foundation of everything
Studying the Fa well is the most important thing as a cultivator. Since I came to work at The Epoch Times, I have participated in the morning Fa study sessions and studied one lecture of “Zhuan Falun” every day. With long-term persistence, my xinxing has gradually improved, and I have learned a lot. The position of studying the Fa in my heart has gradually become more important, and it has become my priority each day.
Later, I felt that studying one lecture a day was still not enough, so I decided to study Master’s earlier lectures in the Collected Teachings Given Around the World in the evening. I started with 15 minutes a day, then half an hour and then an hour. After 6 months, I have studied the collection of teachings twice. I felt that I shouldn’t confine myself to just studying the Fa, so I started copying the Fa, mainly “Hong Yin”. After I had finished copying Hong Yin Volume I to V, I started to study the Collected Teachings Given Around the World again.
It was not until during the pandemic lockdown that I felt I should be more diligent and improve myself, so I finally decided to start memorizing Zhuan Falun. When I first came to Australia, a fellow practitioner advised me to recite “Zhuan Falun”, saying that she had recited it several times and it was very helpful in improving cultivation. At that time, I felt that “Zhuan Falun” was too long and there was no way I could memorise it. But as my xinxing improves, I realize more and more that cultivation is like the process of “Endure the pain, diligent, and cast off attachments;” taught by Master in the poem, Climbing Mount Tai. Just like climbing a mountain, I just need to keep moving forward bit by bit, and I will inevitably reach the top. The same goes for memorizing the Fa. As long as you persist, you can memorize the whole book.
Memorizing the Fa is also a process of cultivating the mind. I am now memorizing the sixth lecture. If you want to persevere, you must overcome inertia and have perseverance and strong willpower. I started memorizing a few pages, but being lazy, I didn’t even pick up the book to memorize the Fa for over a week. Now, I insist on memorizing the Fa for three to four days a week. This was also a part of the cultivation process. During this period, it’s important to constantly overcome laziness, regularly recite the Fa, and tell ourselves that we need to persist. In this process of slow transformation, I eliminated many attachments, such as to comfort and laziness. At the same time, as I had to make time to recite the Fa, I became more organised with my time planning.
Secondly, I improved by doing the exercises. When I first came to work at The Epoch Times, I could only practice the exercises for half an hour to an hour every day. Later, I told myself that in Zhuan Falun, Master requested that we do “our full program of exercises, all five, right from the start”. I must be able to do this! So I started by persistently doing the exercises for an hour every day. After I formed a habit, I slowly transitioned to doing the exercises for an hour and a half every day. It took me a year to slowly overcome my laziness and persevere. Later I told myself, since I can persist for one and a half hours every day, what’s the difficulty in adding another half hour? I went from doing the exercises for two hours two days a week to now practicing for two hours every day and two and a half hours on the weekends. The whole process is like climbing a mountain. Little by little, I demand more of myself and climb higher.
I found that my willpower is also constantly improving. I meditate for an hour before going to bed every day. In the past, if it was very late and I felt lazy, I would go to bed directly, but when I woke up the next morning, I would find myself very tired. I would then regret not meditating the night before. Now, if I don’t meditate before going to bed at night, I cannot fall asleep for a long time. First, my body doesn’t feel right, and secondly, I feel very guilty for not meeting my daily standards for cultivation, so now I seldom go to bed without meditating.
Using more time to study the Fa and doing the exercises did not make me feel that I had less time or no time to do other things. On the contrary, I felt that I had more time. As I spend more time studying the Fa and doing the exercises, I have overcome various attachments such as preferring a state of comfort and laziness. Firstly, as all kinds of attachments have weakened, I am less and less interested in ordinary people’s things, I will no longer do things that waste time, my willpower has become stronger, and I can better control myself and not waste time doing things like playing on the phone.
Sometimes there may be a human notion and I pick up my phone, but there is a voice in my heart reminding me that I can’t do this anymore and I have to study the Fa and do the exercises. The voice was not that strong at first, but now it is getting stronger and stronger. Now I can control myself well and not waste time. Secondly, after studying the Fa and doing the exercises more, my mind is clearer and I am more efficient. Whether it is work or life matters, I can handle things quickly and well and have a stronger sense of planning and time. Now even if I go to bed late, as long as I meditate for an hour before going to bed, I can guarantee my efficiency the next day.
What do you do with the time that you’ve saved? This is what I want to talk about next:
Part2. Cultivation while improving work skills
In Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference, Master said, “I said to the TV station’s main coordinator that if a media company doesn’t take seriously the professional development of its staff, it won’t be able to improve the quality of its product, and the level of professionalism won’t be up to par, which is unacceptable. For any large-scale media operation, this is something that must be emphasized.”
I majored in finance for both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, which has nothing to do with the job I am currently engaged in. However, out of interest, I learned to use software for video editing and photoshopping. It may be useful for editing news videos or designs with relatively simple content. It is enough for basic advertising, but I feel that if I want to do this job well, I must work hard to improve my skills. I cannot be satisfied with the status quo, but must reach the level of ordinary people engaged in media careers, or achieve an even higher level ability.
The first thing I thought of was to systematically learn the software that I felt familiar with, so I bought a few online courses and set aside half an hour every night. The study time on weekends was longer. It took about a year to complete the course. After taking several software courses, I found that my work quality and efficiency has improved gradually. Sometimes after mastering a shortcut key, a step that might have taken ten seconds to complete before can now be solved in one second.
The process of improving my skills is also a process of cultivation. You need to give up your complacency and the attitude to just want to have fun, so that you have time to study and practice, and you have to endure the dull tasks as well. At the same time, you also need to strengthen your sense of time and plan your goals for every step. While studying, I also realized that if I have a selfless heart, and want to do a good job of clarifying the truth, my learning efficiency will be very high, and Master will help me overcome various difficulties.
As long as I have the desire to improve myself, Master will help me and pave the way for me. When I was learning related skills in video editing, I came across quite complex software. I wanted to learn this software, but given my current job content, I had few opportunities to use it. I thought at that time, can this software be used? But I feel that learning work skills is the same as cultivation. It is a process of continually climbing upward, so I persisted in learning. Just when I had finished a course, I needed to do a new program and put the skills I had just learnt to use. I felt at that time that there was nothing wrong with learning more things.
At the same time, I also found that every time I completed the scheduled courses, I would be exposed to areas that require higher skills. Post-production editing requires relatively high technical requirements. Due to the limitations of my skills, I encountered various problems and needed to find ways to solve them. During that time, apart from the time used to study the Fa, doing the exercises, sending forth righteous thoughts, eating and sleeping, I was almost always thinking of ways to advance my work progress and solve various problems. I was also feeling quite anxious, and the obvious symptom was that I experienced hair loss during that period. However, after overcoming this stage, I found that my work level had greatly improved in the process, and my temperament and ability to withstand stress had also improved. At the same time, I also understood my shortcomings and limitations and saw the direction in which I should work hard in the future. This kind of challenge is a rare opportunity.
Part3. Improve xinxing and cooperate with the whole
At work, you must cooperate with others to complete projects better. In cooperating with others, I realized that the most important thing is to let go of self.
Some time ago, I was responsible for making the cover for a self-media program. The person in charge of the program had very high requirements for the cover because he felt that the cover was the hook to attract people. It was common for a cover image to frequently change, up to seven or eight times, due to repeated feedback from the coordinator.
Once I made a cover that I was quite satisfied with, but he was dissatisfied with a small area, so he asked me to change it five or six times based on his suggestions. After that, he said: “I don’t think any of these are working. Let’s just use the first version.” When I read this sentence, I felt my head pounding and I felt furious. I think if I hadn’t been working remotely, I would probably have rushed over to him and pounded the table. I swallowed my anger and sent the first version over again. This time he said: “Thank you, you are patient.” When I saw the sentence this time, I suddenly felt ashamed, and my anger completely died. I am not as patient as he thought, it’s just that I couldn’t express it.
I started to look inward calmly and found that the small problem he mentioned did exist. I was not satisfied either, but I couldn’t find a suitable solution. He didn’t think of a suitable solution either, but I was the designer. It’s because I wasn’t good enough to solve that small problem. He only mentioned it so the project could be done better. I should have let go of myself and worked with him to improve it, instead of getting angry over trivial matters. I should expand the capacity of my mind and make myself more patient.
This happened several times after that, but when I encountered it, I would become calmer each time. Finally, when he was not satisfied, I would make several different covers for him to choose from, without any complaints. Of course, during this process, my skills have also been honed a lot. After we’d built good rapport, the other practitioner left all the cover work to me. He only made a few suggestions for revisions, and our cooperation at work was also getting smoother.
Things at work will become better and smoother, when we can let go of “the self”, and put the project above our personal goals. Accept humbly when others put forward their opinions, and don’t complain when your own opinions are not adopted.
Part4. Cherish the present and practice diligently
I’d like to read a question and answer from Teachings at the Conference in New Zealand:
Student: Sometimes I don’t know what’s the point of staying in this human world.
Master: You need to cherish your cultivation in this human world and make constant and diligent progress in understanding the Fa’s principles. The fact that nothing in ordinary society is attractive to cultivators is because a cultivator’s realm is higher than that of an ordinary person. You might feel that you don’t want to stay here in this human place and think that it’s meaningless—that might happen. If you realize that this time is such a precious opportunity for cultivation and for going back up, and give more weight to Dafa cultivation, then you won’t have that feeling.
I had the same feeling as the student who asked the question, but as my cultivation improved, I gradually understood what Master said, “cherish your cultivation in this human world”. I realized that this period is a precious time in the eternity of life.
I do cherish the environment I have here to freely cultivate. I started practising Falun Dafa with my family when I was two years old. However, the persecution has been happening for as long as I can remember. During the ups and downs of my cultivation journey for more than 20 years, my family members and other practitioners were persecuted. The nightmare experience of the persecution helps us value our freedom even more. When I was in China, I always envied the environment overseas. My biggest wish was to be able to practice Falun Gong freely, outdoors in the sunshine. I am lucky to be able to escape the persecution in China and come overseas. I have realized my wish. Now I must cherish this hard-won freedom even more. I must do the three things well to be worthy of Master’s mercy and suffering.
I remember that around 2003 when I was in year 3, my family bought a computer for the first time and installed an Internet connection. I used it mainly to browse the Minghui website and make truth-clarification materials. Apart from the Minghui website, the other websites I browsed the most were The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty. When I was in high school, we got a TV installed to watch NTDTV programs.
We downloaded various NTDTV programs from the Internet and played them repeatedly on TV. These programs also played an important role in my growth. Cultural programs such as “Chinese History Show” and “The Essence of Classical Chinese Poetry” made me love traditional Chinese culture. The programs “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party” and “Talking about the party culture” allowed me to distinguish right from wrong in a declining society and not be polluted by the party culture. The most important programs are Dafa-related programs such as “Legends Unfolding”, “Legends for People of the Future”, “Now and For the Future”, “The Stories of Life”, “Travelling in the Wind and Rain”, which were not only useful for clarifying the truth, but also moved and supported me, and helped me strengthen my confidence in cultivation in my darkest moments. In fact, for all Dafa disciples in mainland China, Dafa media such as The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty are the pride of their hearts. The articles, broadcasts and videos published by the media are like light that pierces the haze, bringing true information, hope and comfort.
But now, I, the child in front of the TV, have grown up in Dafa, and I have also changed from being the audience, to working to produce these video shows. Sometimes when I produced certain programs, I was very emotional because I grew up watching these programs. Before I went abroad, I told my family that if I went abroad, I might work in the media, and I succeeded. So, I should cherish every day working in the media.
Working in the media is also an important part of cultivation. We must constantly improve ourselves and make progress. We must also constantly look within and realize our shortcomings at work. As I improve my work skills, the more I realise that everything I have is prepared and given by Master. What I have to do is to keep a diligent mind that keeps climbing upwards.
The above is part of my experience in cultivating while participating in media projects in the past few years. Please correct me if anything I’ve said is wrong.
Thank you, Master!
Thank you, fellow practitioners!