Comparing in Cultivation: The Experiences of a Steadfast Elderly Practitioner
(Minghui.org) An 86-year-old practitioner in our area had an accident and fell unconscious in late December 2019. I was astonished to hear what she experienced in another dimension and it caused me to seriously think about things. I wrote this article to share her experience and some of my thoughts with other practitioners. Below is the story as told by fellow practitioner Ms. Xu.
One day, on my way home from visiting the town hall, I stepped on a screw on the sidewalk. I staggered forward, then fell and rolled off the sidewalk. After hearing a loud thud, I felt extreme pain and passed out.
While I was unconscious I experienced being somewhere else. I saw a cluster of houses nearby and in the distance on a high hill, there was a palace that emitted brilliant golden lights. I walked towards the palace. When I passed the houses, I heard the familiar Dafa music Pudu and Jishi, as well as the meditation music.
Someone then started calling me, “Auntie Xu, Auntie Xu!” I saw a group of practitioners, two women and four men. I knew all of them.
When they saw me, they were very enthusiastic and asked me to stay with them to study the Fa and do the exercises. I said that the palace on the mountain was shining brightly, and I was going to go and see it.
A female practitioner called Chen said, “Don’t go, you can’t get there. It’s like the Great Wall of China, with levels upon levels. On each level, there are two monks holding up sticks and guarding the mountain gate, and you can’t go up. We only got past the first level, but not the second level.”
I said, “I’m going to check it out.” Chen said, “If you go, don’t leave after you come back. It’s good to practice with us here.” I promised her I would.
It really was like the Great Wall of China. The road to the top of the mountain was long, and there was one level after another. On each level, there were two monks holding wooden sticks, blocking the way up. Whenever I reached a new level, the monks removed the sticks. I went all the way to the gate of the Golden Temple.
There were two monks sitting just inside the gate of the Golden Temple. Stepping into the hall, I saw it was very spacious inside. Monks were sitting in neatly arranged rows on both sides wearing yellow kasayas. The crowd seemed endless, and they were solemnly listening to the Fa.
As soon as I looked up, I saw Master Li Hongzhi sitting in the middle dressed in a kasaya with blue hair curled up, looking at me and smiling. I was so happy that I quickly put my hands together in Heshi and said, “Greetings, Master! Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance is good!” Master smiled and nodded at me then raised his hand and waved, directing me to go back.
I burst into tears and said, “Master, I don’t want to leave. I want to stay with you. I want to be with you.” The two monks at the gate stood up and led me out. I cried, shouted, and struggled. I looked back at Master, and he was still looking at me with a smile. The monk said, “Master tells you to go back. You still have unfinished tasks.”
They carried me out of the main hall, down a few steps, and placed me on the ground. I looked back, the monks were gone, and the gate to the hall was shut. I then woke up.
My eyes did not open. I was still upset, my tears were flowing, and my collar was soaked. At this point, I heard someone shouting, “It is a sign! She just started kicking and rolling on the ground. Her nose, mouth, and hands are bleeding. Her life is in danger. Hurry and notify her son.”
My son came to pick me up, and I strongly refused to go to the hospital. When we returned home, it was six o’clock in the evening. It turned out that I had been lying on the ground for over four hours. However, it was a very short time in the other dimension. The several practitioners I saw during that time were actually those who had passed away.
The practitioner’s experience in another dimension ends there. On the way to the Golden Temple, the deceased fellow practitioners passed only the first level and could not go beyond the second level. Why did this elderly practitioner go all the way to the main hall and even see Master? Some practitioners said that it was a matter of cultivation levels. We are all practicing Dafa, so how can our levels be so far apart? We believe this elderly practitioner's experience can inspire us and enable us to find some of our gaps.
After Regaining Consciousness
Below is what happened to Ms. Xu afterwards.
After I awoke, my son wanted to take me to the hospital. I said, “I will never go. Have you forgotten the time you wanted me to be hospitalized? My sickness got even worse in the hospital, and they even wanted me to have surgery. I have Master; didn’t I get well on my own?”
After I returned home, my whole body was swollen. My hands and feet were swollen and numb. It was difficult to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. My son brought me some steamed dumplings and a bag of soy milk before he went to work in the morning. In the evening, he came and made dinner for me.
The next day, I made up my mind to do the exercises no matter how painful it was. However, I couldn’t stand still and I shook all over. During the second exercise of holding the wheel, I was unable to lift my hands. When double-crossing my legs for the fifth exercise, my legs hurt a lot.
I tied my legs with a long towel, and tried to stay in the lotus position. I did the exercises for as long as I could tolerate. I also studied Zhuan Falun and listened to Master’s lectures. As for sending forth righteous thoughts during the four global times, I did not miss even one. When sending forth righteous thoughts, I denied the arrangements of the old forces and eradicated the persecution of Dafa practitioners.
On the third day, fellow practitioners came to see me. I felt much better, and my swelling had gone down. My condition continued improving and the amount of time I could do the exercises for went from 10 minutes to 20, then to the normal 2 hours.
At this time, a new situation appeared. I suddenly had a lot of vaginal discharge and bled heavily as if I was menstruating. I became weaker. Looking inward, I realized that when I was unconscious, I didn’t recognize that those practitioners I saw had passed away. I had agreed to go back and do the exercises with them.
This thought was wrong; I had forgotten my mission to save sentient beings and that I had not yet finished my task. So I shouldn’t have had the desire to stay there for leisure. My thought was: if the old forces are using this excuse to persecute me, I deny it with righteous thoughts; however, if it is Master who is purifying my body for me, I will follow his arrangements and let it go!
I continued bleeding heavily, and it was worse on the ninth day. I was calm in my heart with no fear. After the ninth day, the blood flow slowly decreased, and my condition gradually improved.
This was during the pandemic period, and the villages were in lockdown. There was only one bus per day into town. I had arranged to pick up truth-clarification materials. The pandemic was very serious, and we could not delay in saving sentient beings. Fellow practitioners in other townships were also waiting for me to send them materials.
I had not yet fully recovered; I still had pain in my abdomen and staggered when I walked. But I was determined to go to the city to pick up the materials. The pandemic prevention personnel couldn’t stop me. I got back home in the morning, and by the afternoon the buses had completely stopped running because of the pandemic. I am grateful for Master’s arrangements to allow me to do what a Dafa practitioner should do.
On the way into the city, someone saw me staggering and came to help, saying, “At such an old age, don’t come out. Just ask your family to do it for you.”
I said, “No, thank you. My business is very important.” I took the opportunity to clarify the truth to her and helped her to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
A Segment of “Cancerous" Intestine Was Expelled
Two years earlier, Ms. Xu expelled a segment of “cancerous” intestine. This miracle occurred in December 2017, when she handled the symptoms of that disease with righteous thoughts. Below is what she dictated.
In August 2017, I had a health condition. At first, my stomach hurt. I then had a bowel movement and excreted something like pus and blood. Moreover, I couldn’t eat. If I had just a spoonful of food, I would vomit. During group Fa study, the other practitioners saw that I was dry heaving but couldn’t vomit. Later, I excreted increasing amounts of blood.
My son insisted on taking me to the hospital. After they began to infuse medicine, I had serious diarrhea. My son had to go to work, so the family members of other patients in the ward helped me go to the toilet. After a few days in the hospital, my condition got worse.
The doctor told my son, “We can’t seem to help her, and can’t do anything more. She has gotten even more seriously ill, and should go to a larger hospital for rectal cancer surgery.”
Cancer is a terrible illness for regular people, and it is a major barrier for practitioners. For Dafa practitioners facing such symptoms of life and death, whether one admits it is cancer or not and whether one chooses to have surgery or not is a severe test of faith in Master and Dafa.
My son planned to transfer me to another hospital. But I said I wouldn’t have the surgery, and that I had Master taking care of me.
In order to avoid my son forcing me to have the surgery, I went to stay with a fellow practitioner for a few days. We studied the Fa, did the exercises, and sent forth righteous thoughts every day. After returning home, the blood in my stool stopped, the illusion of cancer symptoms gradually disappeared, and I got better every day. I went from being unable to eat any food at all, to being able to have a bowl of porridge.
A month after I returned home, I went to the bathroom and excreted a four-inch segment of white intestine. Afterwards, all the symptoms of “rectal cancer” completely disappeared. I was as healthy as before.
Subsisting on Only Warm Water for Four Days
In August 2010, several local practitioners were taken to a remote mountainous area in a nearby county and detained in a brainwashing center. Practitioners in the city set up a schedule to send forth righteous thoughts continuously to shut down the brainwashing center and rescue the practitioners.
Ms. Xu went to other towns to inform the practitioners there to send forth righteous thoughts. After returning home, she went out to her backyard. As she was going down the steps, she suddenly fell. She landed in such a way that her feet had turned backwards as if they were broken. She was in severe pain. In just a short while, her feet swelled severely.
She managed to reach her bedroom and climbed onto her bed. While in pain, she straightened her feet, and then meditated in the cross-legged position. She thought that if evil entities were trying to interfere with her sending forth righteous thoughts to rescue fellow practitioners, she would send righteous thoughts to disintegrate that interference.
Ms. Xu lives in a room of less than 33 square feet, which includes her bed and kitchen. Her bed is close to the stove but because she could not stand, she couldn’t cook for herself. There was only a five-pound hot water bottle close to her bed. When she was hungry or thirsty, she just drank from the water bottle.
Ms. Xu said, “I studied the Fa day and night. In addition to sending forth righteous thoughts with practitioners during the four global times, I also cooperated with our effort to send strong righteous thoughts to rescue our imprisoned practitioners. At night, my feet hurt and I couldn’t fall asleep, so I just sent forth righteous thoughts. I drank warm water for four days. After the water ran out, I was barely able to walk. I then slowly walked to the shop on the roadside and ate a steamed bun and porridge; then I gained more strength to walk.”
Afterwards, she still staggered when she walked and did not have much feeling in her feet. However, Ms. Xu still went as planned to another town to get truth-clarification materials and send them to other practitioners.
Responding to Harassment With Righteousness
Ms. Xu’s righteous thoughts can be seen not only in how she dealt with illness symptoms, but also in how she handled ongoing harassment from the persecutors. She was not afraid and demonstrated wisdom and righteousness.
Over the past two decades, Ms. Xu was repeatedly detained and had her home ransacked. The police once kidnapped her and seized her cellphone, hat, backpack, flashlight, property certificate, and cash. These belongings were never returned.
Around October 1, 2019, the director of the town police station brought people from the municipal authorities to her home to harass her and videotape her. Ms. Xu proclaimed, “This is illegal, and I will report you. You are infringing on my human rights, and it is not in line with the Constitution and the law. Which department of the city are you with? What is your name? If you are a policeman, what is your badge number?”
The officers from the municipal authorities did not disclose their identities and avoided Ms. Xu's request by asking her if any Falun Dafa practitioners in the city visited her and dropped off brochures.
Ms. Xu told them, “Falun Dafa has spread all over the world and teaches people to practice Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun are your colleagues and superiors, and they both received retribution for persecuting Falun Dafa.” Upon hearing this, the officers left abruptly.
In 2015, during the tide of suing Jiang Zemin for initiating the persecution of Dafa, Ms. Xu submitted a lawsuit. Even though her lawsuit submission was in accordance with the law, she suffered harassment as a result.
One day a dozen officers came to Ms. Xu’s home and the director of the town police station said, “We came to ask why you want to sue Jiang Zemin? Who told you to sue him? How do you know the correspondence address of the Supreme Court and Supreme Prosecutor's Office?”
Ms. Xu replied, “I am over 80 years old. Through practicing Falun Dafa, I have good health and good moral values. For this, I was sent to jail and detained four times. In the detention center, I was forced to do slave labor and remove corn kernels by hand. There were no tools, and no protection. My fingers got bloody.
“Every meal was only a little bun and a few vegetables that weren't fully cooked. Moreover, they charged me 20 yuan a day for living expenses. I could not return home until I paid it; it was a fellow practitioner who went and paid it for me so I could go home. What crime did I commit? Why was I tortured?
“Jiang Zemin persecuted good people – thousands of practitioners – and it is righteous and lawful to sue him! The postal address of the Supreme Court and Supreme Prosecutor's Office can be found at the post office. People in more than 100 countries around the world are free to practice Falun Dafa. Only China is persecuting them.”
The group of officers quietly left.
Remaining Steadfast for the Past 20 Years
Ms. Xu leased a store for 300 yuan per month. All the income was used to print truth-clarification materials. She was also responsible for distributing the materials in several towns and villages. She did this for 20 years, except for when she had a very serious physical condition. And even then she immediately went back out when able to do what she should do. The truth-clarification money she spent was over 10,000 yuan every month. She never shirked her responsibility or delayed anything without good reason.
In recent years, Ms. Xu received a pension of more than 3,000 yuan every month. She helped her two sons in difficult times, leaving her only around 400 yuan. The monthly amount she used for distributing materials was over 200 yuan, and the remainder was all she had for her living expenses.
She never bought vegetables that cost over one yuan per pound. She planted some fresh coriander, patchouli, and perilla and ate them with a little bean paste. She also cooked pots of porridge with vegetables, adding a little oil, salt, and bean paste. She calculated that if she could get to where she was going for a fare of six yuan, she would not take a bus that cost eight yuan. It was important to save even two yuan. The money she saved was used to print materials.
Ms. Xu said she has only a few teeth left now, and can eat only porridge and noodles. Someone asked her what she would do if she was invited to a banquet. She said she wouldn’t eat anything and would mainly reach out to help people learn the truth.
Why could Ms. Xu proceed through all the checkpoints and reach the level where Master was? Of course, she had a rich cultivation path and persevered through many lessons and setbacks that we can’t fully appreciate. What we can see of her cultivation, however, is indeed inspiring and encouraging.
Ms. Xu was often alone, without anyone to depend on except her faith in Master and the power of Dafa. Yet she always had a clear mind, a strong main consciousness, and righteous thoughts. She passed one test after another.
In fact, Master uses the form of illness karma to purify a practitioner’s body, which can also improve their xinxing and test the firmness of their faith. Ms. Xu’s firm belief led to a miracle; the segment of cancerous intestine was expelled out of her body, thus validating the greatness of the Fa. This arduous process of tempering her human notions and improving her xinxing lasted almost half a year.
We can see that Ms. Xu possesses extraordinary willpower, a sense of responsibility to save people, fearlessness in the face of persecution, and wisdom in clarifying the truth.
Two years ago, one of our local practitioners suffered from skin cancer and died in the hospital. She was a retired teacher who had coordinated a group Fa study for several towns. Some practitioners said she was so good, while others said she was, in fact, not that good. She had done well in doing the exercises, reading, and sharing experiences, but she never helped with projects to clarify the truth.
When the police came to harass her, she went into hiding. Her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson all read Dafa books, but they also engaged in multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes. She knew what they were doing was wrong, but did not stop them. Her death affected practitioners in a large area.
The practitioners that Ms. Xu saw in that other dimension had passed away from “illnesses.” One such male practitioner was enthusiastic about spreading the Fa before the persecution, and was a coordinator who was good at speaking and writing. When the persecution started, due to fear, he just played cards every day to disguise his being a practitioner, while secretly studying the Fa and doing the exercises.
This situation went on for a long time. His wife, also a practitioner, shared her understandings with him but he refused to listen, admitted himself into a nursing home and hid there. He had a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair. He died in his 70s.
Think about it: If we were placed on that Great Wall-like road leading to the Golden Temple, could we pass through the various levels without difficulty? Which level could we reach? If we made it all the way to the end, walked into the golden temple, and bowed before Master with great honor, how happy would we be!
Master wants us to:
“Compare in studying, compare in cultivating,” (“Solid Cultivation” from Hong Yin)
Ms. Xu does have such a cultivation state and could reach such a level, and we should indeed compare ourselves with her. Those who passed away for various reasons have left us with profound lessons and dire warnings.
Cultivation is really very serious. Every step must be carried out in a steadfast manner, and we must meet the standards at every level. Therefore, at the last and most critical moments of cultivation, we must be more strict with ourselves to complete our mission.