(Minghui.org) Would you be willing to travel 1,000 miles, say from Washington, DC, to Miami? Probably.

What about on foot? Well, maybe not.

I did. I walked 1,000 miles from a city in the northwest province of Gansu to China's capital, Beijing. I suffered many hardships along the way, but I also experienced many joys and even miracles.

This is how and why I did it.

Once, when I was on the playground in the third grade, I saw a stick flying at me. It hit me on the head, but I didn’t feel anything. I looked around. What was that? The other students were playing as if nothing had happened. I soon realized from a young age that I could see and hear things in other dimensions that others couldn't.

This did not make life any easier for me. I had a serious physical problem with my pelvic and leg bones. It was so painful that I joked I was bad down to my bones. I had surgery to try to correct the problem, and I sought relief from Qigong, all to no avail.

Then, one day, I read a magazine article about the miraculous effects of Falun Dafa and how Falun Dafa improved one's character, or xinxing. So I started to cultivate. I soon felt dramatic changes inside, down to my very cells.

My joy didn’t last long. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned Falun Dafa in 1999, a few months after I started my cultivation. I felt tremendous pressure from the vicious propaganda that bombarded me.

In China, people go to the appeals office to ask for issues to be resolved. I decided to go to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Gong. The four-day trip by train was quite an experience for me. I saw many Dafa practitioners on their way to Beijing for the same reason.

As soon as I returned home, I wanted to go back, but I had now run out of money.

Even without money, I was determined. “Okay, so I have no money. Then I'll walk!”

Another practitioner encouraged me. “Be firm as you walk. Don’t give up even if your feet hurt.”

Two other practitioners said that they would go with me.

My parents didn’t want me to go. They were afraid that I might get into trouble with the government. I faced a dilemma. I didn’t want them to worry, but I also wanted to speak up for Dafa in the face of so much propaganda.

My sister, who did not practice Falun Dafa, bought me a new pair of shoes. “Your feet will not hurt if you wear them,” she said. This was a strong hint: It was time to go.

Seeing that I was ready to leave, my mother tearfully asked me to stay.

“I made a vow many, many years ago,” I said to her calmly. “I have suffered much in this life waiting for Dafa. Master saved me. I am not going to avoid difficulties. I want to fulfill my vow. I am even willing to give up my life for Dafa.”

Master said,

“You should know that once a person learns the truth and the real meaning of life, he will not regret giving up his life for it.” (“Some Thoughts of Mine,” Essentials for Further Advancement II)

The Journey Begins

I left early one morning in July of 2000. As I stepped out of the house, I felt that I had let go of everything.

I ran into a problem right away. The courtyard door was locked. “Master,” I asked in my heart, “please help me get out.”

With all my strength, I climbed the wall that surrounded the courtyard and jumped over. I was on the street. I heard my dad calling to me to come back. I kept walking. If I had turned back to him, I wouldn’t have continued.

I met my companions, one I called Auntie and the other Sister, and we took off.

The first day was a real challenge. It was hot. There were no places to stop for water or rest along the road. I was thirsty and kept sweating, and we had not eaten or drunk the whole day. At dusk, my legs felt like two wooden posts. My legs were not carrying me; I was dragging them.

“Please go ahead. I don’t want to slow you down. I will catch up with you later,” I said to them wearily.

“No,” Auntie said firmly. “We go on together.” She grabbed my arm and pulled me forward. We walked the whole night. My clothes were so wet that even the evening air couldn’t dry them. I could barely move. It seemed as though I had used up every ounce of my energy.

Morning light lit up the sky as we approached a small market. Auntie bought me two tomatoes. Biting into the juicy tomato, I thought, “I've come back to life!”

A few days later, we arrived at the village that Auntie and Sister were from. We stayed in their relatives’ homes. Auntie’s son and Sister’s husband met us the next day. They berated my companions for leaving and asked them to come home.

We decided to leave that night. I stayed with Auntie in one room. In a dream, I heard Sister calling me, “Binfen, hurry up!” She was about ten yards away. It was dark, and all I could see was her.

I looked at my watch. It was a little past 3 a.m. I woke up Auntie and we left the room quietly. We climbed the courtyard wall. I jumped down, but landed painfully on my back. I found a pole to help Auntie down. We found Sister, who came out of her host’s home. We began to run.

Sister’s husband discovered that we were leaving and chased us. He caught us and took us back. The pain in my back filled my whole body.

“Sister and I can’t go on,” Auntie said to me. “You can still go since your family is not here. But I do worry about you. Maybe we should all return home and find another time to go. What do you think?”

I now had a decision to make. “Please don't worry. I will go on alone.”

Sister and I Walk On

I walked along the railroad tracks that led to Beijing. I wanted to walk faster, but my back hurt so much that I had to walk hunched over. I don’t remember how long I walked. I finally stopped when I could no longer bear the pain and tried to sit. That was even more painful. I couldn’t breathe, so I stood.

I heard someone shouting, “Binfen, hurry up!” A car stopped. Sister was waving at me. I had seen this very scene in my dream the night before. Master was giving me a hint. I burst into tears. I ran to Sister, forgetting my back pain.

We sat in the car, and Sister told me that she was concerned about me continuing all by myself. She said she had sneaked away and hired a car to look for me. She had no idea where I could be. Miraculously, when she looked out the car window she saw me walking along the tracks.

What a coincidence. So many things had to happen. Had the railroad tracks not been close to the road, had Sister looked the other way, had I just sat down, had I walked a little faster or slower … No words can express Master’s enormous benevolence in taking care of us.

Neither of us had much money, so we paid the driver and continued on foot.

Sweat dripped from my hair, and salt residue stained my face. My clothes were soaked.

Stones the size of eggs covered the tracks. They tore my shoes and ripped my toenails. Sometimes my stomach felt full of stones.

Every morning, when I stood up, my feet hurt. I had to drag them forward for several minutes until they loosened up. My feet ached even when I sat. Sometimes my back hurt, forcing me to lie down, unable to move.

Our basic living conditions were dreadful. Fortunately, Master done away with my desire for comfort. I did not care much about neatness anymore. I could sleep anywhere. I put up with intense heat, consuming hunger, and foul smells. Ants, bugs, and rats climbed all over me when I slept, and I wasn't bothered. Trains thundered by, and I wasn't bothered.

When we were exhausted, Sister and I studied the Fa. When the pain came, I would think of the practitioner’s encouraging words: “Be firm as you walk. Don’t give up even if your feet hurt.”

I said to myself, “However great the pain is, I will ignore it.” Gradually, when I stopped feeling the pain, I walked faster and faster. My legs felt like they did not exist and I was flying.

Miracles Along the Way

One day we walked until it was dark and came to a round platform. In the darkness we couldn’t see much, so we just felt around. Sister touched a plastic bag. Inside were two warm loaves of bread. This was a rural area, and we hadn't seen a single person all day.

“It is from Master…” With tears of appreciation, we ate the bread.

We never worried about food. As we walked, we often found food on the roadside—a watermelon, bags of chips, or packaged bread. We didn’t eat much, but I never felt hungry.

One cold night, I dreamed that someone put a jacket over me that warmed me up.

The next day, I had a sudden urge for something with meat. I laughed at myself. “Was I dreaming?” We arrived at a village around noon.

A nice lady brought us a big plate of buns that had a pork filling. “My daughter is learning how to cook,” the lady said. “She cooked this. Please sit here to eat. You can take the leftovers with you on your trip.”

She also gave us several items of clothing. “It is getting cold. You don’t have enough clothes.” Master made my dream come true.

I would often feel a cloud-like substance fill my chest, and it felt wonderful. As for my back pain and the pain in my feet, I understood that Master was cleansing my body.

When we arrived at the train station in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, an employee asked us where we were from. We said that we had walked all the way from Gansu. She looked shocked. “Impossible!” she said. “If that's the case, your shoes would have already worn out.”

We met two men who appeared to be in their 20s. Intending to rob us, they followed us and stopped us under a bridge. We told them that we had no money and we were walking to Beijing. They searched our bag and found nothing except Zhuan Falun. They then walked with us.

As we walked with them, we told them about cultivation and the law of retribution, that is, you reap what you sow. We encouraged them to find a job and be good. They were happy and bought us soft drinks. At the next train station, they were exhausted and fell asleep on the benches. We continued on.

Arriving in Beijing

After more than 40 days on the road, we came to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. A policewoman asked us if we were Falun Dafa practitioners. We didn’t answer her and continued walking. She waved to a car parked on the side. Several police officers jumped out and dragged us into the car.

We were taken to a police station. Two police officers interrogated and cursed at us. They left after not getting anything out of us.

Another practitioner was brought in. When she heard that we had come all the way from Gansu, she handed us 500 yuan. “I know practitioners like you are coming to Beijing. I came looking for you to give you some money. Please take it.”

I didn’t want to take it because I wanted to walk back. She put it in Sister’s pocket just as the police came and took her out. Master arranged for us to have money to get home.

We were taken to the Shandong Province Liaison Office in Beijing. There we were detained separately. Two attendants were sent to talk to me to find out where I was from. I told them about how I started practicing Dafa, how Dafa changed my views, and how the CCP persecuted practitioners.

“We cultivators practice Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” I said. “I know what you want. If I tell you my address, you will help the authorities. That will do you great harm.”

They didn't speak for a while. Then one asked, “Are you a true practitioner?”

I nodded solemnly.

“I believe you,” she said. A practitioner told her that giving food to a true cultivator brings enormous virtue. Shortly after, she brought me a dish of food and some bread.

I was released a few hours later. When I asked for Sister, the guard refused to answer. Out on the street I wandered around, worrying about her.

Suddenly I heard a shout. “Binfen!” I looked around. She was right here on the other side of the street. In a city the size of Beijing, with so many people walking around, after so many hours of separation, I couldn’t believe that we could run into each other like this.

My Cultivation Journey

I once dreamed that I was walking down a mountain trail. I came to a small ditch and jumped over it. When I turned and looked back, I saw that the ditch was a gully so deep that I couldn’t see the bottom.

That was my journey. It may have appeared simple at the time, but there were actually big challenges and obstacles throughout. Master resolved all of them for me.

Through this journey, I have come to understand that Master arranges everything. Our cultivation path is truly laid out for us, and we just need to take it. At times it may seem impossible to go on, but once we get past the thorny part, we will find that

“After passing the shady willow trees, there will be bright flowers and another village ahead!” (Lecture 9, “People with Great Inborn Quality,” Zhuan Falun)