The Story of an Older Mountain-Dwelling Practitioner
(Clearwisdom.net) For a long time now I have had the thought to write down the story of an older practitioner, but was hard for me to get started. Every time I tried, I procrastinated until a fellow practitioner whom I called "aunt" ("aunt" is a common Chinese term of affection for an older woman) was sent to a forced labor camp. While I worried about her, I often recalled the time we spent together.
The aunt is close to sixty years old now. I first met her in a detention center. During the period of a hunger strike to protest illegal detention, several of us younger practitioners always sat around the buoyant aunt and listened to her cultivation stories. She was a typical rural woman who had spent most of her life in a mountainous region. Her harsh life made her susceptible to many diseases, from which she dramatically and completely recovered after practicing Falun Dafa. She was illiterate, but she could read the book Zhuan Falun and other books by Master.
In 1999, after the persecution of Falun Dafa began, this aunt went to construction sites to do manual labor in order to earn enough money to go to Beijing to appeal for Dafa and to contribute financially to making materials that explain the facts of the persecution against Dafa. On her lunch break she would read Master's lectures. To save more time for studying the Fa, she would prepare enough steamed buns for several days at one time and just eat the buns with vegetable pickles and no other cooked food. She kept this up for several months. At night, the aunt would go out to distribute the truth-clarification flyers, sometimes in heavy snow. She said, "There was a fellow practitioner who was 80 years old. We walked with steady steps in the snow and didn't encounter any slippery conditions at all." That winter, the aunt went to several villages within a range of many miles.
We talked with the aunt every day, and two weeks passed quickly, we hardly noticed. Both the aunt and I were released. Our homes were so far away that it was almost impossible to meet each other again. We lost contact, but we thought of each other in our hearts.
Two years passed. One day I was unfortunately arrested and sent to a brainwashing center. Surprisingly, there I met the aunt again. No words could describe our surprise and pleasure. We encouraged each other through eye contact. Later on, when we could study the Fa and share freely with each other, I got to know her story.
Several months before, the aunt lost contact with fellow practitioners and had no way to obtain the truth-clarifying materials. Police often went to her home to harass her. The aunt said to Master's picture, "Master, I don't have truth-clarifying materials. I can't just wait in vain. How many people would be kept from knowing the truth? I cannot acknowledge the old forces' arrangement. I will go out and clarify the truth with my own mouth." The aunt determinedly left home without a penny, because a member of her family took the money that she was going to take with her.
At the same time she begged for food to sustain her life, she started to clarify the truth. She said, "Never in my life did I think that I ever would beg for food. Even at the most difficult times of my life, it never came to that. But for the sentient beings to be saved, it's worth doing so. I didn't feel embarrassed and didn't find it difficult, either."
This time out, there was only one thing in her cloth bag - that was the book Zhuan Falun. The aunt directly traveled to the mountain region at the northwest of the city where I lived. Because it is very remote, almost no practitioners went there to distribute Dafa truth-clarifying materials. Every day, the aunt steadfastly walked along the road with a smile on her face and clarified the truth to many people she met. When darkness fell, she would ask the local peasants for an overnight stay. Sometimes she would ask three or four families before she could be allowed to stay for a night. Sometimes, in order to save time, after someone had given her a little food, she would eat while walking. She would drink the water from the canal or a puddle at the side of road if it looked like it was clean. If she could not arrive at a village before dark, she would spend the night out in the open at the slope of a hill.
At noon, the aunt would sit in the shade of a tree or at the side of mountain spring to study the Fa, send forth righteous thoughts and practice the exercises. All that summer, the ground seemed burned from the sun. It couldn't stop the aunt's steps. She had been through one village after another and talked to the farmers about the facts of Falun Dafa and the persecution. There were always many people gathered around her in the fields, at the riversides, in the streets or lanes, or even at farmer's houses, who were eager to hear the news she told. These honest and simple farmers, after knowing the truth, felt very angry when they discovered they had been deceived. They didn't want the aunt to leave their home but they would take care of her and said, "Eat well here. Hurry to tell others. There are many people here who don't know anything about what you are telling us.." Some would say, "So many people are practicing Falun Gong. Why are you the only one who came? Next time, tell more people to come. More people will spread these messages fast." The aunt kept saying, "Ok, Ok!"
Enduring wind and rain, the hot sun, the aunt had been through several townships and countless villages in the northwest mountain region and couldn't remember how many people had learned the facts about Falun Dafa. She kept walking until she came to the boundary of another city. Her shoes had been worn out. She decided to go home, so she selected a different route to go home while she kept clarifying the truth along the way.
Hearing her story, I was deeply moved by her sincere and pure heart, to try to save sentient beings. ... I spent unforgettable days with the aunt. Later, one by one, we left that evil den and lost contact with each other again.
A long time later, one day when I was binding truth-clarifying literature, a fellow practitioner told me a new practitioner who had recently contacted them would be coming to our site. That night, she came - it was the same person! We smiled at each other with tears in our eyes. Looking at Auntie's deeply tanned face, I couldn't wait to ask her "Where have you been lately?" Auntie smiled and said calmly, "In the mountains."
I learned that after leaving the brainwashing center, Auntie relocated to live in the remote mountains to escape the authorities. She begged for food or lived on wild plants and spring water from the mountain. Auntie kept studying the Fa and practicing the exercises in the mountains; she had a Zhuan Falun book with her. She did not have a watch, so she sent forth righteous thoughts based on the position of the sun. One night when she was practicing the exercises near a huge rock, she heard the noise of something walking by and rocks falling. She felt scared because her experiences told her it was a wolf or something like it. Soon she was not afraid any more, thinking Master was next to her and would protect her. Sometimes storms hit the mountain and it was windy and pouring rain. She just sat outside, freezing and soaked by the rain. Even during normal nights, the weather in mountains was freezing, and in daytime it was steamy hot. To avoid being found by the evil, whenever she went outside the mountain area to tell people facts of the persecution, she changed her methods and explained things to people more indirectly yet effectively and in this way let lots of people learn the truth about the persecution of Falun Dafa. Kind-hearted villagers always told her to please come back to their homes. Auntie remembered those kind-hearted people. She was so happy when seeing all the kinds of truth-clarifying materials at our site, said she would send the materials and Dafa books to those people. There was a lot more that she endured in the mountains, which is really hard for me to describe on paper.
I stayed with Auntie day and night during those days. She did well the three things that Teacher told us to do with a pure heart, was very diligent when doing Dafa work and had high standards for her own xinxing improvement. Auntie's conduct helped me to discover a lot of my own shortcomings and greatly encouraged me to improve myself. However, one day Auntie was arrested again.
Since then, we tried to find news about her through many channels. However, other than knowing that she firmly practiced Dafa, we don't know much else. The labor camp never allowed her family members to visit, so we don't know what kind of abuse she is suffering.
We hope with all our hearts that she will come back to us soon.