CULTIVATION STORIES

 

People with Muscular and Skeletal Diseases

 

Case 26. Youzhi Ma

Youzhi Ma, Ph.D., 36, is a civil engineer in California. Falun Dafa not only nurtured his spiritual-seeking soul, but also helped him eliminate his physical illnesses and pain. He suffered greatly from heel spurs for more than two years before he started to learn Falun Dafa. The pain and suffering in his heels disappeared three months after he started the practice.

Although it seemed that I was content with my job, family, social relations, and other aspects of life, deep in my heart I was completely lost. I felt like I was falling into a hopeless abyss.

To get an advanced education, I came to America years ago and have lived here ever since. Deep in my heart, I always cared for and worried out my motherland and the people there. The continued moral degeneration in China upset me and made me feel helpless. I read one book after another, trying to find answers to these problems. Sometimes I knelt on the ground for a long time, crying by myself because of this feeling of helplessness. I went to Buddhist temples to pray for peace and well being for my motherland and its people. I also went to churches to search for my own salvation.

Before learning Falun Dafa, I struggled to balance "the four pillars" of my life: job, family, Qigong practice, and charity. I devoted lots of time and effort to helping unfortunate children in remote areas of China to get an education. I went to many places and worked late many nights for these kids. As an ordinary person, it was all I could do to make a tiny contribution from my conscience. But my hopelessness and numbness increased to the verge of despair.

In October 1998, I was fortunate enough to find Falun Dafa. After reading through Zhuan Falun, I followed teacher's instructions to strive on the path of cultivation. Since then, not only have the spiritual and ideological aspects of my life greatly improved, but so has my health. Chronic diarrhea was cured in a very short period. To my greatest surprise, the heel spurs also disappeared without treatment. I will discuss the bone spurs below.

I have practiced many types of physical exercise since school. About five years ago, partially because of always being on my feet during work, I started to feel pain in the heel area of my right foot. Later, it became so painful that walking, standing, and even sleeping became unbearable. I tried using medical plaster, submerging my feet in hot water, changing shoes, and walking less. None of them stopped the pain. I went to see a doctor as a last resort.

After hearing my description, the doctor immediately took X-rays of my right foot and said that my feet might be developing bone spurs because of fatigue. Sensing my distress, the doctor tried to reassure me, saying he could prescribe a set of plastic shoe inserts that would increase the bending capacity and reduce the tension and therefore curb further development of the spurs. However, he added, I must cooperate, and reduce or stop jogging, walking, tennis, dancing, and other physical activities. When the X-rays came back, my heart sank. Heel spurs were confirmed.

The voice of the doctor still rang in my ears after I left the hospital. The doctor said, "You probably need to adjust your life now. If the plastic inserts do not stop the pain, cortisone shots might be needed, and an operation may also be necessary."

After I used the inserts, the pain in my right foot decreased. However, the left foot started to feel pain, too. During these past few years, plastic inserts were indispensable. I had to carry them when traveling and always feared losing them. Many sets of hard-bottom slippers had to be prepared for various locations at home. The most important task for my wife upon our arrival at a friend's home was to look for slippers. If there were no good slippers, the pain in my feet would force me to sit down. The worst thing was to stand on hardwood floors. It felt like hot sand on a beach. I didn't dare stand on such floors without slippers.

Less than three months after practicing Falun Dafa, I discovered that I had felt no pain in my feet for many days. Now two years have passed, and the heel pain never came back. I no longer need plastic inserts in my shoes. I can stand on hardwood floors barefoot without any problem. I can walk and jump any way I wish. The joy from regaining these freedoms and the relief of getting rid of the pain are simply beyond words.

(Adapted from Dr. Ma's presentation at the 1999 Seattle Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference.)

 

Case 27. Zhiyuan Wang

Zhiyuan Wang, M.D., 47, is a researcher at Harvard Medical School. Since 1983, he has suffered from an incurable disease, progressive spinal muscular atrophy [Editor's note: This is a type of motor neuron disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease]. Two episodes of severe intestinal bleeding from duodenal ulcers in 1994 and 1997 further aggravated his general physical condition. He constantly experienced dizziness, fatigue, and loss of memory. He also suffered from enteritis, urethral stones, and other problems. After practicing Falun Dafa, all of his symptoms disappeared, one after another. His muscular strength significantly increased, and he no longer felt tired during or after work.

I began to learn Falun Dafa in February 1998. Falun Dafa is a genuine, orthodox cultivation way that can improve people's spirituality and help them become healthier, nobler people! Cultivating Falun Dafa is the sole wish in my life.

As early as 1983, I began to practice Qigong. I was suffering from a disease called "Progressive Spinal Muscular Atrophy." Neither Western nor Chinese medicine could cure it, and it is clearly considered an "incurable disease" in Western medicine. I am a doctor myself and really knew that there was nowhere to go, so I turned to Qigong to try my luck. I started with one kind of Qigong. At first the feeling was not bad, but soon some problems arose. My physical condition worsened. I suffered from duodenal ulcers, enteritis, urethral stones, and other problems. Massive intestinal hemorrhaging occurred twice, once in 1994 and again in 1997. In 1994, because of the shock from blood loss, my blood pressure could hardly be detected and I nearly died. Subsequently, I suffered from dizziness, fatigue, memory loss, and apparent aging for several years. I always felt exhausted after a whole day's work and even lost the strength to speak. Later, when my Qigong teacher died, I realized this Qigong was not what I sought. I decided to find a genuine master. Several friends and I searched everywhere. However, many popular Qigong methods in society are fake and cheat people out of their money. Where was the master of orthodox cultivation? Where should I go?

In 1995, my friends and I promised that each of us would search for a master and inform each other when we found him. One day in February 1998, the good news I had been longing for finally came. A friend in China wrote to me that Falun Gong is a genuine cultivation way, the best one! I was so excited when I read her letter. So, I couldn't help searching for it and soon made contact with an assistant in Cambridge. I was fortunate enough to attend the Nine-Day Seminar three days later and learned the five sets of exercises. Then, I began my journey of cultivation. On the first day of the seminar, my physical reaction was quite obvious. I always wanted to go to the bathroom and there were waves of warm currents in my back flowing through my whole body every so often. I didn't think about it and just listened to the lecture. Usually, I was very tired after a day's work and felt dizzy and sleepy. During the lecture, I sometimes slept. However, I found my eyes were very bright and my head was very clear on my way home after the lecture. I felt a lightness and comfort that I hadn't experienced for many years. I understood that the Master was purifying my body. The symptoms in my stomach disappeared on the fifth day, and the discomfort of having the urethral stones stopped after that. Muscular twitching, weakness, and the other symptoms all vanished one after another. Thus, my entire body recovered. My energy and physical condition reached a wonderful new state that I had not experienced in the last 20 years. Falun Dafa had given me a new life.

Several months after beginning my cultivation, I realized that Dafa is so good that I wanted to promote it. My first attempt was to persuade my mother to cultivate. After I came to the US, my sick mother became the person I worried about the most. I thought how great it would be if she could learn Dafa, at least to cure her illnesses. In the beginning, no matter what I tried, it didn't work. Later, I told her that Falun Dafa is not an ordinary Qigong practice. It is cultivation. Three months later, which was in early July 1999, I called home. My mother was happy to tell me, "I have been cultivating Falun Dafa. The third day of my listening to Master's lecture, my head was clear and my eyes were bright. I could see and hear everything. From then on, I started going to the park to do group practice at three o'clock every morning and came back at eight o'clock. I also practice for two hours every night. In just one month all my diseases have gone. Now I feel very energetic both mentally and physically. I can do all my housework. I cultivate and practice with all my heart." She sounded so strong, and her tone was so determined. I couldn't believe my ears. Is that my old, sick mother? Before cultivation, she was a patient at the late stage of lung cancer. After radiation therapy, her body was very weak. Various diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, gallstones, gastritis, arthritis, and other problems plagued her. She felt dizzy, flustered, and short of breath every day. She could not take care of herself, and the doctors completely lost hope for her. However, her health recovered after one month of cultivation practice. Now she can read and practice for seven hours and do housework every day. It is a miracle of Falun Dafa.

(Adapted from Dr. Wang's presentation at the 2000 Boston Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference.)

 

Case 28. Gonglu Shou

Gonglu Shou, 75, is a retired civil engineer now living in Toronto, Canada. He started to have severe health problems after he became 60 years old. Since 1985, he suffered from bone spurs of the vertebra. In 1990, his right leg and foot became swollen for unknown reasons. The problem caused severe pain in the back and leg. Doctors told him that there was no cure for his illness. He had to wear heavy clothes and use warming devices, trying to prevent the condition from getting worse. In 1993, he suffered a severe setback, and he was hospitalized for a month. He started to learn Falun Dafa in 1995. After practicing for two months, the pain in his leg and back were completely gone. He has enjoyed good health ever since.

I was an engineer in charge of construction projects in China before I retired. I used to have a strong physique. However, after I turned 60 years old, my physical condition began to deteriorate. I suffered severe pain and my illnesses were a huge burden to my family and myself. I am going to tell you about how I fought the illness and how I learned Falun Dafa.

It started in February 1985. I often felt severe pain in my back when getting up from sitting. It occurred most frequently at the construction site. Initially, it was diagnosed as low back muscle atrophy. Later, I was found to have bone spurs of the vertebra. The doctors told me that there was no effective treatment. Plasters could only temporarily alleviate the pain and suffering.

In the summer of 1990, my right foot and leg became swollen, and the pain in my lower back became more severe. I visited several of the best hospitals in Beijing and had my heart, blood, kidneys, liver, lymph nodes, and vertebrae examined, but no obvious cause was found. Physical therapy, electronic acupuncture, and massage did not help at all. Doctors suggested that I hold my foot up high while resting and wear an elastic sock at work to increase the blood flow. I tried the first approach for a couple of days, but the pain in my back was too severe when I held my foot high. The second approach did not work either because it was too hot to wear heavy socks in the summer. I followed these two suggestions whenever I could, hoping the problem would not get worse.

Unexpectedly, in the winter of 1993, the pain in my right leg worsened, and I could not stand or sit for long. Even when I was lying in bed, the pain did not cease for five days and nights. I could not sleep and could not go to the bathroom. I had to be completely taken care of by my family. The pain and suffering were unbearable. I was hospitalized for one month where acupuncture, massage, and medication were used. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was given a variety of medicines, including oral and topical applications, painkillers, and hot compress powder, which maintained heat for 24 hours. Doctors considered the pain incurable and advised me repeatedly to keep my leg warm and avoid the cold. Even at the temperature of 28C in the summer, I had to wear cotton pants meant for winter. In the winter I put on heavy woolen pants and cashmere pants when going out. In addition, I always put on a long, heavy cashmere overcoat, a woolen hat covering my ears, and a pad with the hot compress powder tied around my waist. With anti-frost boots on my feet, I was fully equipped from head to toe. Since the swelling in the right foot was not improving, I worried every day about its getting worse. Test results from the hospital showed that my blood viscosity and cholesterol level were much higher than normal, which could lead to hypertension and heart disease. My health condition became a heavy mental burden to both my family and myself.

At the Spring Festival in 1995, I returned to Beijing. A friend of my sister-in-law gave me the book China Falun Gong. I was impressed by the principles described in the book. The exercises looked serene and easy to learn. Therefore, I started learning the exercises, hoping they might help my illnesses. Several days later, I signed up for a 9-Day Workshop. Since I had not believed in Qigong in the past, I did not expect Falun Gong to heal my illness that could not be cured or even diagnosed in the hospitals. At the very beginning when I was doing the exercise of holding the wheel (the second set of the Falun Gong exercises), my right leg and waist became very painful. When I wanted to stop, I opened my eyes and saw that all the practitioners were holding their arms up. The atmosphere at the practice site moved me. I felt ashamed to stop doing the exercise, so I kept holding the wheel with the other practitioners. I gradually did the exercise of holding the wheel longer and longer. Meanwhile, subtle changes were happening to my body. I felt that the right leg pain was decreasing. Two months later, when I was doing the exercise of holding the wheel in front of my abdomen, I experienced an electrical shock at my third or fourth vertebrae. Then, the pain in my leg and lower back was gone. I could not believe that my pain disappeared in such a short period of practice time. I told the news to my wife, who was in the US at that time. She was very surprised by the miracle and decided to learn as well. Later on, she attended the Nine-Day Workshop in September 1995. After practicing Falun Dafa, wonderful changes occurred within her body, too.

After I started cultivating, my body was gradually purified. When I had a physical check-up after my immigration to Canada in 1996, my heart, liver, and blood examination did not show any abnormalities. The doctor asked me in surprise; "You really did not have any illness before?" The doctor doubted the test results and asked me to do more tests. Still no abnormality was found. Not only were my illnesses gone, but also my physique and ability to resist the cold increased. By the winter of 1997, I was able to go outdoors without wearing the thick cotton pants, the overcoat, and the cap I brought with me from China. I did not need any medication or the pad with hot compress powder. I look younger, have fewer wrinkles, feel healthy, and am full of energy.

My physical state had started to go downhill in 1983 when I had evidence of all kinds of disease. If I had not practiced Falun Dafa, I cannot imagine what my physical status would be now. After cultivation, my physical condition continued to improve. In the winters of 1998 and 1999, I kept doing the morning exercises outdoors in the park. At 28C below zero or in the cold wind, I do not need to wear gloves or a hat. I am a totally new person compared to what I was before.

(Adapted from Mr. Shou's presentation at the 2000 Washington D.C. Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference.)

 

Case 29. Emily Myers

Emily Myers, 22, is a student at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. She used to have severe lower back problems for three years, which kept her from doing sports and many other physical activities, including going on long walks. The Qigong practice she tried before helped somewhat, but one day the pain returned, worse than ever. Since beginning to practice Falun Gong, she has been able to play sports again, go on long walks, and lift heavy objects without concern.

I was first exposed to Falun Dafa in February 1999, and attended my first Nine-Day Seminar in early March 1999. From the beginning, I was taken with Falun Gong and its profound and beautiful principles of Zhen-Shan-Ren (Truthfu1ness-Compassion-Forbearance). I think I felt a connection to these principles because similar virtues had been instilled in me from a very young age, as I was raised in a very Christian household and my father is a minister. I feel that having grown up in such an environment improved my openness to the teachings and prepared me for Falun Dafa. What I felt was so unique about Falun Gong is the combination of mind, body, and spirit cultivation. This I had not found in such a comprehensive way in any practice before. I had never before found a complete system like Falun Dafa. Despite all of my initial doubts and questions, in these past few months I have discovered what a genuine, profound, sacred practice this is. During seven months of cultivation, I have slowly come to realize that Falun Dafa is indeed the most precious thing a person could find.

I first started practicing a low-level Qigong because of severe lower back problems that had been plaguing me for three years, keeping me from doing the sports I loved and many other physical activities, even including going on long walks. Before trying Qigong, I tried numerous things to help my back's condition, including physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, relaxation tapes, Qigong treatments, daily stretching routines, steroids, ultrasound treatment, painkillers, and chiropractic treatments, among others. The Qigong practice helped somewhat, but one day the pain returned, worse than ever, despite my daily practices. That day, I could barely sit down or bend over to tie my shoes, and it hurt even to take a step; this was at only 20 years of age. Needless to say, I felt somewhat dissatisfied with the Qigong practice. Upon discovering Falun Gong, I hoped that it would help my back even more. Since beginning to practice, I have been able to resume playing sports, going on long walks, and lifting heavy objects without concern. For this, I am deeply grateful; I live a much freer life now. Besides that, only three months after I started to practice, my spring allergies were mostly eliminated. Before practicing Falun Dafa, every spring I used to have to take prescription medication daily for allergies, and I was very uncomfortable. This past spring, I only had allergy symptoms for about five days and didn't need to take any medicine all spring. I've also experienced other physical benefits, such as losing about five pounds since beginning to practice, eliminating pain in my gums, and having my skin and hair become softer. My body has been, as Teacher Li says, "constantly purified." Remembering this has been helpful for me when experiencing discomfort.

I've oftentimes experienced bodily purification after a day of practice and reading. Many times, near the end of the exercises, or after finishing them, I had to hurry to a bathroom because of diarrhea. This happens especially often when I practice and read with the group, and my heart is happy because I know this discomfort signifies elimination of karma, and speaks to the power of practice and reading.

In a short seven months since beginning to practice Dafa, not only has my health greatly improved, but also has my peace of mind. Those around me have remarked about the change. During the always-stressful final exam period at the end of last semester, a friend noticed how calm I was and said, "Emily, you don't seem stressed out at all. What's your secret?" I guessed at the time that it was Dafa that had helped me; now, I am sure of it. I have found that Falun Dafa is the most precious thing a person could ever hope to find, and I am deeply grateful to Master Li, who, with his great compassion, brings this teaching to us all.

(Adapted from Ms. Myers's Presentation at the 1999 New Jersey Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference.)

 

Case 30. Tao-Wen Yeh

Tao-Wen Yeh, 73, is a retired teacher from Hsin Chu, Taiwan. She had experienced poor health since childhood, including problems with her digestive system. She was hunchbacked due to osteoporosis and had back pain. She sprained her back while watering the garden, which made her back hurt even more. Shots, oral medication, acupuncture, and massage didn't help much. In March 1998, a friend introduced her to Falun Dafa. After learning the exercises, she went through the bodily purification processes, which eventually gave her a much healthier body. She can sleep well again and is able to walk to the practice site by herself, which she never thought possible before practicing Falun Dafa.

I had a long history of health problems. Because of terrible intestinal and stomach problems, I could not digest food well. I have been weak ever since I was a child and often became ill. In addition, I suffered from neurasthenia [chronic fatigue syndrome] and found it very difficult to fall asleep. When I entered my fifties, my health became even worse, because my tracheitis led to pneumonia.

The most painful illness I had was from spinal problems. Three or four years ago, I suffered severe bone loss, and it became more severe daily. My lower abdomen stuck out and my back became hunched. I became shorter by five centimeters, and my whole body was out of shape. Friends who had not seen me for a long time could hardly recognize me. The problem caused pain in my back, and made my lower back vulnerable to sprain.

The most damaging sprain to my back happened one day in December 1997 when I was watering the vegetables in my garden. It was like a long nightmare after the sprain. I could not lie down in bed and could only sit in a chair to rest. I ended up sleeping in a chair for two weeks. My spine became deformed, possibly due to bad posture. Four of my vertebrae dislocated and pinched the nerves. As a result, my back hurt even more. I received shots, oral medications, acupuncture, and chiropractic adjustments, but none of these treatments could relieve the pain.

In March 1998, a friend introduced me to Falun Dafa. After learning and practicing the first set of exercises, I felt so energetic that I could not fall asleep for nearly a week. The next week my friend returned to teach me the second, third, and fourth sets of exercises. However, after I learned the fourth set of exercise, it seemed that all of my illnesses returned. It was so painful that I could hardly bear it. I couldn't sleep, turn over, or get out of bed. Every time I wanted to get out of bed, it took me half an hour to stand up. This situation continued for more than 10 days. At that time, Master's book Zhuan Falun was out of stock, and I had not yet read it. I lacked confidence and conviction, and so began to think of my physical discomfort as "being sick;" I got scared, and medications were not effective.

Later, my friend gave me Master's book, Lectures in the United States. It enlightened me with the following statement: "A human being keeps incurring karma life after life. His own karma brings difficulties, sufferings, hardships, lack of money, and many illnesses to him in this life and in his next life. Only after paying off karma can you get happiness and become better off." "You want to let go of this karma while you take medicine that presses it back; how do we cleanse your body?" From that moment on, I began to understand how precious is the Fa (Buddha Law). Not only did it purify my body, but it also eliminated some of my bad karma. How could I add things to my body? So I never went back to taking shots and medicine again.

In the following month, there was a Nine-Day Workshop in Zhu-Dong for the first time. During the first day of the class, I was able to climb stairs to the fifth floor without stopping. This would have been unimaginable when I was sick in bed. I never thought that my health could gradually improve after I stopped the medication, but it happened. I felt the power of Dafa deep in my heart. During those nine days, I continued to go through bodily purification. I forced myself to endure the pain, kept reading the books, and practiced the exercises before going to the class every evening. After the Nine-Day Workshop, I gained a deeper understanding of the Fa, and my desire to cultivate increased. Also, my neurasthenia was healed, and I have been able to sleep very well since.

Next, the challenge of folding my legs arrived. Being old, my legs were not flexible, and it was very difficult to do the sitting meditation in the crossed-leg position. My spine hurt a lot. The first time I tried to fold my legs I could only sit for two minutes. I continued to practice every day, and my endurance increased. Once, after sitting for more than 20 minutes, I felt that my back was no longer painful. I was so happy that I silently cried out in my heart, "I really found a treasure!"

Later on, we established a site in Zhu-Dong to study the Fa (Buddha Law) and practice together. I went there to practice and study the Fa every day. My health continued to improve. Studying the Fa in a group helped me to become enlightened to Dafa and to grow within it. In the past, my friend had to drive me to the group practice every day because my spine still could not support my body well, and I could not walk for very long. One day, I decided to try walking to the practice site by myself. Initially, I had to rest several times along the way. Now, I can finish the 20-minute walk without taking a break. In the past, I wouldn't have imagined this could be possible.

One night several months ago, I dreamed that a place on my spine close to the acupuncture point called Ming-Men was not straight enough and needed to be adjusted. The next day that place really began to hurt. The third day I could not bend over. Gradually, it became impossible to walk. If I took a walk, my spine would sway from side to side like a bamboo stick. During this period of time, I was full of confidence and still went to the practice site every day. After more than 10 days, my back became straight, and I could walk steadily again. Dafa has brought me a new life, and has given me answers to many previously unresolved questions.

Looking back at the path of my cultivation in Falun Dafa, every single step has been a test as well as an opportunity for enlightenment; everything has to do with getting rid of attachments. If I hadn't cultivated Dafa, it is possible that I would have become paralyzed by now, or I might still be searching for a good doctor to cure my illnesses while bearing the burden of my emotions. Now, I'm carefree and content. Being able to cultivate Dafa at such an old age makes me cherish the practice more. I am deeply grateful to Master Li for his great compassion.

(Adapted from Ms. Yeh's presentation at the 1999 Taiwan Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference.)

 

Case 31. Xiaomei Lan

Xiaomei Lan, 33, lives in Toronto, Canada. She developed severe rheumatoid disease after giving birth to her son in 1990. Over the years, her situation became progressively worse, despite medical treatment. She frequently experienced pain all over her body. It even kept her up at night. She kept increasing the dosage of painkiller, which only helped a little. The range of motion of her legs, arms, and joints decreased gradually to the point that she could not even open her mouth. Her hands were so badly swollen that she could not hold a cup. She had to take several breaks during a meal. The physical and psychological suffering was indescribable. After starting to practice Falun Gong in 1995, she improved greatly. Finally, her joint pain disappeared, and she could go out for walks again. She dared to touch cold water and eat ice cream. Her husband was really impressed by the improvement in her health and said, "It seems that your disease has really disappeared."

I came to Toronto from Beijing in 1997. While I was still in high school, I started to wonder about the meaning of life and the truth of the Universe. I never believed people have only one life to live and nothing will exist after one's death. If that were true, then what is the difference between being good and being evil? Why do some people have happy lives while others suffer a lot? I read a lot of books from different religions, including Buddhist, Taoist, and Christian books. I often went to churches and temples to discuss various questions with priests and monks. I could find no satisfactory answers. When Qigong became popular in 1989, I found there were some interesting theories in Qigong, but I did not start to practice Qigong until I fell ill.

After giving birth to my son in 1990, I contracted a severe illness called Still's disease, a type of arthritis. The doctor told me that it was incurable and the only intervention was to control its development to postpone my being totally paralyzed. I was told that I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life. I could not believe it! I borrowed some medical books. On studying them, I found it was true. Also, the medicines used to control the development of the disease were all hormones, which have severe side effects.

Feeling there was no hope with Western medicine, I started to try my luck with Traditional Chinese Medicine. I saw all the Traditional Chinese Medicine experts on rheumatoid disease in Beijing, but none of them could cure me. I then tried other alternative medicines, such as herbal remedies. Every day I took a big pot of herbal liquid, which made me so full that I could not eat. I heard that taking baths in warm spring water might be helpful, so I tried nearly all the famous spas in the country, but none seemed to be effective. My situation was getting worse. I suffered from a high fever for several years. The pain kept me awake at night. I kept increasing the dose of the painkiller, which only helped a little. The range of motion of my arms, legs, and joints decreased gradually to the point that I could not even open my mouth. If I wanted to eat an apple, I had to cut it into small pieces. My hands were so badly swollen that I could not even hold a cup, and had to take several breaks during a meal. I frequently had pain over my entire body. The physical and psychological suffering was indescribable. I could understand very well why a lot of rheumatoid patients committed suicide.

After all these efforts proved ineffective, I started to practice Qigong while still taking medicine. When one school failed, I tried another. When I became disappointed with Qigong, someone recommended Falun Gong to me in 1995. I was not very serious about it at the beginning because I felt that Qigong had fooled me so many times before. I asked them to bring the book to me first. I finished the book China Falun Gong without a break and felt the book was quite different from all other Qigong books. I needed to know more about Falun Gong, so I got a copy of Zhuan Falun. I felt that I finally found the truth that I had been pursuing for so long.

I then started to practice Falun Dafa. During the whole first year of practicing, I continued taking medicine because for years I had been relying on painkillers to sustain my limited mobility. Missing a single dose would cause a relapse, making me unable to move for a long time. My doctor warned me that I should control the recurrence as much as possible because the more relapses that occurred, the closer I would be to complete paralysis. I was using the maximum amount of painkiller even in my stable periods. Master Li said he would purify our bodies, but I was filling myself with these poisons and pushing all the disease karma back into my body. I understood the theory. On the other hand, I was afraid of the pain. Although the painkiller only helped a little, I dared not imagine not using it.

One day, my health suddenly collapsed without any reason. No matter how many painkillers I took, the pain still would not stop. It was getting worse daily. I could not even walk, and the pain was unbearable. I said to myself, "I have already learned such an excellent Qigong. If I cannot cultivate successfully, I would rather die." So I stopped all the medications. For the whole night I felt very nervous. However, the next morning I had no fever and even felt a little bit better. The following week, my situation became the best it had been in several years. I was very excited because I finally threw away the heavy burden of medication that I had carried for years! Once my whole family got food poisoning by eating contaminated food and suffered from vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Some were even hospitalized. I was the only one in the family who was cultivating Falun Dafa and had no problem at all. My younger brother was fully convinced and decided to cultivate Falun Dafa, too.

Now I do not feel pain in my joints anymore, and I can go on walks. When I was in Beijing, I needed to wear woolen pants to keep myself warm as early as October. Toronto has winter weather about half the year and also has more snow than Beijing. No matter how cold it is, I keep doing four sets of exercises outdoors with fellow cultivators, so I can eliminate more karma by enduring the hardship.

Patients with rheumatism are advised to avoid the cold. But after I stopped taking medicine about a year ago and started to treat myself as a genuine cultivator, I dared to touch cold water. It did not hurt at all, and my health continued to improve. My husband was surprised when he noticed I was drinking ice water and eating ice cream. He looks strong and healthy but always complains about the cold weather. I, on the other hand, do not feel that Toronto is cold. I need only two pairs of pants in the winter. My husband was really impressed by the improvement in my health and said to me, "It seems that your disease has really disappeared." He always encourages me to cultivate harder, even though he himself has not yet started.

(Adapted from Ms. Lan's presentation at the 1998 Toronto Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference.)