[Selected Submission] In the Midst of Heartache and Despair, a Woman Encounters Falun Dafa
(Minghui.org) I began practicing Falun Gong in 1996. I have long considered writing about my experiences with Falun Gong, but I did not bring myself to do so, as I had misgivings, feeling that I could barely be counted as a worthy Falun Gong practitioner. Today I saw some Udumbara flowers blossom in my home, which reminded me of the imperativeness of the time, and I made up my mind to write about my cultivation experiences. The following is my report to fellow practitioners and Master about my cultivation experiences in Dafa, anticipating that we can improve our cultivation with more diligence to secure our divine fulfillment. If there is anything improper, please kindly point it out. Thank you.
My Miserable Life Prior to Practicing Dafa
I was born in a poor family in a rural village in Hebei Province, when China was plagued with food shortages, and I was malnourished as a child because of the meager food supplies. To support the family I did all kinds of work in my childhood, including going with my father to the mountains to chop and collect wood for fuel for my family's use. When I was 14, my father died of a cerebral hemorrhage. My younger sister was only 11 at the time. From then on, all the burden of supporting my family fell on me, and I had to take on part-time jobs to make a living.
When I was old enough to be married, someone introduced me to an army man. I was very happy because I thought it would be honorable to be married to an army man, but my mother was not happy about it. My father's death had left us a large debt of more than 3000 yuan. My mother believed that an army man would not be able to support himself on his monthly income of 7 yuan, let alone support a family. Later I was introduced to a young man from a rural village in Beijing, whose family was labeled “filthy landlord” by the the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities, but I was not satisfied with his looks and did not want to marry him. The family of the young man paid my mother 300 yuan so he could marry me, which made my mother happy and she finally agreed on our marriage. On the day of our wedding I sat through the whole night sobbing. Our first baby was a girl, which frustrated me, and I sobbed even more. Because I didn't have any brothers, I was scorned by my neighbors, and was usually bullied by my fellow laborers in the commune. I aspired to have a baby boy. One year later my dream came true when my baby boy was born and I was very content. To celebrate the birth of our son, I made a feast and invited many relatives and friends to the celebration. From then on my previously frustrating life became a relatively satisfactory one.
My happy days did not last long, when my son was diagnosed with leukemia. It was a heavy blow to my family. We went to many hospitals to seek treatment but the doctors told us, “You should give up the treatment because it could cost you a huge amount of money that you cannot possibly afford. Even many rich people cannot afford it, let alone you. You just take him home and let him spend his last days in peace, otherwise you will lose him as well as your money.” But I did not give up and borrowed money from everywhere to pay for his treatment, but he did not get better.
One woe does tread upon another's heel. So fast they follow, as my husband was diagnosed with a bone cancer, another heavy blow to me. Alas, what should I do? I was so haunted by misfortune. I had to go into debt again before I could clear the old ones. I prayed to heaven and earth for help but there was no response. I sobbed until I had no tears left. My husband's ten-month-long hospitalization cost us 43,000 yuan, but he was beyond cure and passed away in December 1995. His death made our precarious financial situation desperate, and we could not even afford to buy salt for daily use. My son, stricken by leukemia, had to stay in bed all the time, and my daughter and I were left with no one to protect us. Every day I was haunted by a nameless fear, as if something spooky and dark were shadowing me all the time. I was driven by fear to lock my door early in the evening, even when it was still light out. We three went to bed early, only to pass the time and wait for dawn. My children could fall asleep but I could not. My heart was filled with misery and my eyes were filled with tears. I sobbed a lot but could not find a way out. I even thought of suicide.
When I was completely worn out by my weary life, a Falun Gong assistant from my village visited me and said, “What a miserable life you are leading! Why not practice Falun Gong with us?” I said, “How would it be possible for me to do cultivation practice?” She said, “If you do, Master will eliminate more than 50% of your karma and can rearrange your life's path.” I was quite moved by what she said but found her words hard to believe. At night I thought a lot in bed, wondering, “Is Master a man or a god? Gods live in heaven. Would they descend to the messy, mundane world?” The next day I went to the practice site to find an answer. When I was there I saw many people studying the Fa, including the practitioner who had talked to me. I left without interrupting her. When I went again she said, “Let me give you a Falun Gong book. You can read it before you come back to me to learn the exercises.” I agreed.
I brought the book Zhuan Falun home and noticed that my fear from before had completely disappeared. When it was dark, I even went into the backyard, an unthinkably brave thing for me to do before. My heart was delighted. It was truly miraculous. I thought, “Master, you are taking care of me even before I have decided to practice Falun Gong. I am so thankful to you!” With Zhuan Falun in hand, my heart was filled with a warm energy circulation and I began to cry, like I was meeting with a close relative that I had longed to see.
I read the part,
“Because there’s a truth in this universe: the things that happen to ordinary people, as Buddhists put it, all have underlying causes, and for ordinary people things like birth, aging, sickness, and death are just a fact of life. People only have health problems and suffering because they did bad things in the past and made karma. When they go through hard times they are paying off a karmic debt, so nobody can just go and change that at will. If it’s changed, that’s like letting somebody who’s in debt get off without paying it back, and you can’t just go and do that on a whim. That’s the same as doing something bad.” (Zhuan Falun)
This single paragraph answered all my questions that had bewildered me all my life, as it told me with unmistakable emphasis that all my misfortunes before were nothing more than karmic retribution for the bad things I had done in my previous lives. I didn't know what I had done in my previous lives, but I did know that I indeed had done many bad things in this life. I had a fighting spirit and was prone to quarrel with others until others feared me. Certainly I had to pay back all the debts. I thought, “I cannot die now. I will live to purge my karma and resolve all the debts that I owe. I will clear all my debts in this life. I do not want a life after this one, for I will return with Master to my genuine home in this life.”
My Son Saved and My Destiny Changed
A month after I began practicing Falun Gong all my diseases disappeared, including the gastric ulcer and the pain in my back that remained after a sterilization operation. It was truly remarkable! I was very excited and studied the Fa and did the Falun Gong exercises every day. I said to my son, “You have a big load of karma, so you are suffering with incurable leukemia. If you want to survive, practice Falun Gong with me. We cannot afford your medical treatment any longer because of the huge debt we borrowed for your treatment. I have no idea how we can clear our debts, but I am pretty sure that you can be cured by Falun Gong. Do you want to do it?” He said, “I'm afraid I can't learn the movements, but I will try.”
In the beginning he was too weak to stand up, so he sat on the bed to do the meditation exercise. Ten days later he did the standing exercises while leaning against the edge of the bed. Twenty days later he said, “Mother, I am going out to play.” I was so surprised! My son had regained his strength! I embraced him and was about to burst into laughter, but I didn't laugh, but cried out with excitement, “Thank you, my great and compassionate Master. Thank you so much!” I had much to say at that moment, but I could only repay Master through being diligent in cultivation.
About a year later my son had fully recovered and regained his health. Now he is married, has a son, and runs his own business.
All these come from Dafa. Without Dafa, neither my son nor I would be here today. We have devoted our new lease on life, bestowed by Dafa, to doing the three things, with no reservations. In assisting Master to validate the Fa and save sentient beings, we are diligent and our faith is constant. I thank Master for his compassionate salvation. Master has suffered so much for us that words cannot express my gratitude.
Master Helped Me Pay Back My Debts
One day after I finished doing the Falun Gong exercises I had a thought, “I will make cakes to sell. Perhaps by doing so I can clear some of my debts.” It so happened I had a small oven and some flour, but I did not know how to bake cakes. I consulted with two bakers, combined the best of what I learned from them, and made my cakes. No one else was selling cakes in my neighborhood, so I set up a booth in my village and began my business. I was somewhat timid on the first day and stayed far away from my booth. Someone passing by asked, “What are you doing here?” I replied, “Oh, nothing, nothing.” I turned red. Someone else asked, “You are here so early. What is this?” He uncovered my cakes and said, “Aha, cakes!” He picked one and took a bite. “It tastes good. I want two. How much are they?” I said, “I don't know how much I should charge—just eat it.” He said, “No, I can't do that. It truly is not easy for you. I will pay you one yuan. In the city a cake costs 50 cents, but theirs are smaller than yours. Yours are bigger. You can sell it for the same price as they do, 50 cents for one cake.” I said, “OK, that will be the price.” Some other people, seeing him eating my cakes, asked him, “Where did you buy the cake?” He pointed to me. More people came, and in less that 20 minutes I had sold out over 30 cakes. My heart was joyous, thinking that I should have made more. The next day I made 50 cakes, and they sold out very quickly. On the third day I made 80, which also quickly sold out. I was so happy. Then I found my single oven inadequate for my rapidly expanding business, so I bought another one, but the demand still exceeded my supply. Then I bought a big oven that could bake more than 700 cakes per day. I could sell them out before 9:00 a.m., which thus caused no delay in my practicing the Falun Gong exercises and studying the Fa. It was truly perfect!
One day after I finished doing the meditation an idea came to my mind, “Given that my cake sales finished at 9:00 a.m., I could make some cookies for sale during the daytime so that I might pay back my debts even sooner.” But how to make cookies? I suddenly thought of my niece, who was a professional cookie baker. The next day I went to her and told her my plan. She said, “I will not teach anyone else this technique, no matter how much they want to pay me. But for you, no problem. I will give you the authentic recipes and you will learn in less than 15 days.” In the next 15 days she showed me how to make many types of cookies, until I could make them by myself. After I returned home I immediately started my cookie business. I hired two people to assist me. Thus I made cakes in the morning, cookies during the daytime, and at festivals like the mid-autumn festival, moon cakes. When my husband was alive he had 30 acres of land to plant wheat, so I did not need to buy flour, I just exchanged my wheat for flour. In less than a year, I cleared all my debts of more than 40,000 yuan, including interest. With Dafa, my life had completely changed.
One autumn, the harvest season, my village hired two reapers to harvest our crops in turn. Due to the policy that fields for personal consumption had a higher priority than my contracted field in the order of harvesting, I would be last to get my wheat harvested. It was already 5:00 p.m., and it began raining when the reapers came to my field after they had finished working at other villagers' fields. Black clouds covered the sky over my head and it became so dark that I could not even see my hand in front of my face, while the gale blew down my wheat. Soon after, hailstones the size of corn began to rattle on our heads. The reaper driver said, “This is really bad. Your field will be damaged.” Anxious I thought of Master and said to Him in my mind, “Master, can the rain be postponed a little bit? I need the wheat to pay back my debts. Master, please help your student!” With that thought, a west wind blew away the black cloud over my head and the rain stopped right away. The drivers said, “Quick, go prepare the bags!” The reapers rushed into the wheat field and began to work. Afterwards they transported the wheat to my home, put it into bags, piled them into a stock area, and covered it with plastic bags. When all this was done, it was already 11:00 p.m. I prepared some food and invited the drivers and the four other people who had come to help for dinner. Before they began to eat, the black cloud came back and rain and hailstones poured down over us, pooling in my yard over 15 cm deep. The driver said, “How fortunate you are. I had thought your crops would be damaged, but you lost nothing.” I did not say anything, but tears ran down my cheeks.
With Master's help my economic condition improved. My workload became heavier, but I never delayed in my Fa study and in doing the exercises. To spare time for my work, I did the exercises early in the morning in case I could not join in our morning group practice, and at night I stayed up deep into the night to study the Fa when I missed the group Fa study. I wrote Master's verses from Hong Yin on the wall of my workshop and recited them, one each day or every several days. I did not stop reciting them until I memorized them.
One day at 4:00 a.m., the time for me to get up to work, I woke up with my eyes closed, and saw a big Falun rotating in my yard with ever-increasing angular velocity and changing color, from ashen to all beautiful colors. I was very happy and got up promptly, but found nothing in my yard, even with my eyes wide open. I understood that the Falun had come to inspire me to cultivate in Dafa with more diligence. It should not stir up my zealotry, which is a human attachment that I should let go of. Thank you Master, I will keep your hint in my mind forever.
Dafa Nourishes My Compassion and Benevolence
Before I began my cake business I knew a single 86-year-old man, who was covered by the official charity assurance but lived on gleanings and collecting scraps as a junk man. One day when he was riding his bicycle, he fell and broke one of his legs. The village chief asked people to take care of him, but they were deterred by his poor hygiene. Having found no one else, the chief came to me and asked me if I would go. Thinking that I was a cultivator in Dafa, I said, “I will go.” When I arrived at his accommodation I found the floor covered with excrement, and I could hardly find anywhere to step. The stench was awful. He was lying in his bed, showing no signs of life except for his blinking eyes. His whole body was covered in filth, so thick that I could not see his skin. Where should I begin? I then thought of my identity as a cultivator, a person who by far transcends worldly people. I first bathed his upper body. When this was done, he was unwilling to let me continue. I understood what he was thinking and said, “Elder Uncle, you are so old, even older than my father. So do not worry, I am like your daughter.” Then I bathed his lower body. After this was done, I put some warm water in a basin and put his feet in the water for warmth. The old man, moved to tears, said, “No one has ever taken care of me like the way you have, in all my life. What can I say to thank you?” I said, “You just say 'Falun Dafa is good' and 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” He nodded. I took care of him for 27 months, until when he passed away. Before he passed away he said to me, “In my next life I will by all means repay what you have done for me, even by reincarnating into a chicken to lay eggs for you.” I sobbed.
In January, I went to see my parents-in-law. When I was at the railway station, I saw many people crowding around something. I approached them and saw an old man in his seventies sitting still on the ground, trembling. I thought I should lend him a hand, which had higher priority than my going home. I went to him and helped him to stand up. I then called a taxi and brought him to my home. I let him sit on a bed and cooked some noodles to warm him up. After that I replaced his dirty clothes with ones that had been my husband's. My daughter and son were surprised by what I did and complained, “He is so dirty. Mother, why did you bring him home?” I said, “Let us save his life first of all. I am doing something good out of my good virtue. Is it not something that your mother should do as a Dafa practitioner? When he recovers I will send him home. If your mother is caught by the same trouble and is dying of hunger and cold, what would you do? He also has a wife and children, just like us. How can we leave him alone? This is a good thing, so do not complain.” I finally found out that he was from Houcheng Town, Chicheng County, Hebei Province, and that he was on his way to see his son, who is a boiler in the city. He was carrying only 20 yuan with him, but he did not find his son before he had spent all his money and gotten stuck. On the third day the old man recovered. I took him to the bus station, bought a bus ticket, and saw him get on the bus that went to his home and gave him 30 yuan for his travel expenses. He asked my name. I said, “Dafa Dizi.” (Dafa practitioner).
Tempered in Tempest
Although we Falun Gong practitioners only want to be good people according to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, the CCP still persecutes us. Practitioners all across China are being illegally arrested and imprisoned, at a scale worse than the Cultural Revolution. When it started, we didn't know what we had done wrong. Was it wrong to get ourselves healed by practicing Falun Gong when we could not afford medical treatment? Was it wrong to be a good person? I did know the reason but sobbed. To find a solution I went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong but was told that all appeals for Falun Gong would be rejected. We were not allowed to speak and were arranged to stand still facing a wall. I was stupefied by this and began asking myself, “Is this the 'People's government?' Why would they silence the people?” Not long after, all of us were sent back to our local police stations. When I got out of the police car the police beat me.
Barred from speaking out on behalf of Falun Gong by the regime, I went to Tiananmen Square and cried out, “Falun Dafa is good! It healed me and my son! My Master only teaches us to be good people. He has done nothing wrong. He is innocent. Falun Dafa is the righteous way.” Soon a group of police officers stuffed me into a police car and took me to a local police station, where the police tortured me like savages. They took off all my clothes and ordered inmates to pour water on the top of my head. They forced us to sit on the ground and poured water on the ground. In the hot summer they forced us to run in the yard with bare feet in the scorching sun. They forbid us from reciting the Fa and stuffed our mouths with filthy socks. They fed us rotten food and leftover vegetables, with no oil whatsoever. My family sent me some instant noodles but they were eaten by other inmates. At night we were forced to sit straight all through the night, while the criminal inmates fell fast asleep. They also ordered the inmates to watch us, inverting good with bad.
One day a police officer said to me, “You will be released if you write a statement giving up practicing Falun Gong. Your nephew has come to rescue you.” (My nephew is a policeman) I said, “I thank my nephew for his coming to rescue me, but I will not say insincere words against Falun Gong, because it is truly good. How can I give up practicing? I am now still alive because of my Master, who extended my life span. Three fortunetellers that I had consulted before asserted that I would live for only 55 years, but I am 60 now. From 1996, when I began practicing Falun Gong, I have never taken any medicine, but I am in perfect health. You are a young man, but can you say that you are as healthy as me?” The police, finding no words to answer, said, “You want to stay here.” I said, “I have an obedient daughter, a son, and a warm home. I don't want to stay here. I am here because you brought me here.”
During my detention something unforgettable happened in my cell. A female practitioner, in her thirties, refused to tell her name and address during her over three-month-long detention, so she was called “female No. 8.” To extort a “confession” from her, the police tried everything to torture her, including shocking her with electric batons, but got nothing from her. She treated saving sentient beings as the top priority wherever she went, for which the police frequently changed her cell. One day she was sent to my cell. When the door of the cell was closed behind her she commenced to clarify the facts about Falun Gong to the inmates. A senior inmate was moved by her and said, “I will do the Falun Gong exercises with you.” When “No. 8 ” taught her the meditation exercise I saw many things rotating all over her body. They were Falun. The inmate obtained a Falun right when she did the exercise, signifying her profound predestined relationship with Dafa. I also talked to the inmates about what Falun Gong was every day, but I had never seen such a remarkable thing happen. I felt very sorry for not having done as well as she.
After 22 days of detention, I and another 18 Dafa practitioners broke out of the detention center with Master's help.
Master Saved Me from the Clutches of Death
One day when I had just began practicing Falun Gong I was suddenly hit by an acute toothache, so painful that I could not work during the daytime nor sleep at night. The pain lasted for ten days but showed no signs of vanishing. It was so intolerable that I even seized my head with my hands and turned over on my bed. I went to the Falun Gong assistant of the local practice site and asked her, “Can a toothache be counted as eliminating karma?” She said, “Whatever makes you suffer physically is part of the process of eliminating karma.” Convinced by her words, I thought I would not take any medicine no matter how painful it was. With this thought, several days later, the pain disappeared, without my realizing exactly when it disappeared. I simply could not remember when I recovered.
One night in October 2011, at 3:00 a.m., I was suddenly hit by a feeling of suffocation and dizziness, as if the sky and the earth were turning around me. It felt like I was dying. I struggled to get up to go to the toilet but I simply could not move myself. I was out of breath and soaked with sweat but felt very cold. I realized that I was in critical condition and thought of calling my son. I tried to reach my mobile phone but I did not remember where it was. After painful efforts I found my phone, but I could not open my eyes to see it. It took me more than 30 minutes to connect to my son. He asked, “Mother, what is happening?” I could not speak a sentence, but I used all my might to say; “Quick, quick!” My son understood what I meant and came to me hastily in his car. Before he switched off his engine, he got out of his car, rushed into my room, and picked me up in his arms. I knew he was going to take me to a hospital. With a clear mind, I clutched the edge of my bed as hard as I could, crying out in my mind, “Master, I do not want to die in this way. All my neighbors know that I practice Falun Gong. If I die this way I will bring humiliation to Dafa. I don't want to die. I will not accept any arrangements from any other powers. The only path I walk is the path that is paved by Master Li Hongzhi. Master, please help me.” Immediately upon having that thought, I could open my eyes, but I still could not speak, even though my mind was clear. Soon my daughter and four fellow practitioners came to me. I heard them reciting Master's verse from Hong Yin three times,
“Having fully experienced thousands of kinds of hardships,
Two feet tread on a thousand demons;
Upright the palm, heaven and earth quakes,
In the air stands a giant Buddha.”
(“The Great Enlightened” from Hong Yin)
I then heard a fellow practitioner say loudly to me, “Auntie, get up, you will be fine!” She supported me to sit up. I suddenly regained my ability to speak.
That was the most severe test I have encountered since I began practicing Falun Gong. Thank you, almighty Master, for dragging me back to life from the deadly clutches of the old forces.
A healthy mind and body, a harmonious and happy family, an extension of a mundane life, and an ever existing spiritual life—these are all that I have acquired from Dafa. Thank you, Master, for your compassionate protection and care. I, your disciple, will do well the three things and walk well the path of Fa rectification with constant determination.
From the Call for Submissions to Commemorate the Twentieth Anniversary of Falun Dafa’s Introduction