It has been 20 years since I started to cultivate in Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong. Before that, I used to look like I was 80 when I was 60. But now, at 80, I look like I am 60 years old.
Coming Across Falun Dafa
Buddha Shakyamuni said that there are eight kinds of suffering throughout one’s lifetime, such as the suffering because of love and loss, as well as the suffering of interacting with people one dislikes. I suffered all kinds of hardships prior to practicing Falun Dafa.
After my husband developed an incurable disease and died, I was exhausted mentally and physically. My son moved abroad, and I felt lonely and helpless. Over time, I developed a lot of illnesses, and for years didn’t sleep well.
I moved to Canada to live with my son in 1996. Although Canada had very good medical care, no doctor could restore my health. One day, I received a form letter that talked about euthanasia. I had thought about death a lot in those days and wondered if the letter meant that death was saying hello to me.
Some Christian and Buddhist friends persuaded me to become involved in a religion. I went to churches and tried Buddhism as well. However, I did not keep up with any religious practice because I couldn’t find peace of mind in them.
I was deeply drawn to an article about the book Zhuan Falun in a little-known Chinese language newspaper in 1997. As a scholar of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, I found the theories introduced in Zhuan Falun to be extremely profound and extraordinary, far exceeding the knowledge of the academic sector.
I began searching for the book and longed to find it. After many months I called a friend and mentioned the book to him. He said he knew a local Falun Gong practitioner and gave me the person’s phone number.
At the beginning of 1998, I went to a Falun Gong practice site and finally obtained Zhuan Falun and immediately read it.
Then, I recovered my health within one week after I read Zhuan Falun. I could live and sleep like a healthy person without having to take any medicine. I felt overwhelmingly lucky, yet I hadn’t even started doing the exercises.
During the first six months into the practice, I experienced much of what Master Li, the founder of Falun Dafa, talked about in the book. For example, one day, as I was reading Zhuan Falun, a refreshing current suddenly came down from the top of my head and passed through my body. All my pains were gone.
Prior to the practice, my body began going downhill before I was 60 years old. At that time I could only watch television until 10 p.m., because I fell asleep soon after that time. But now, at 80, I can work on pressing tasks until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. My physical condition is moving in the opposite direction of my age.
After July 20, 1999, when the evil Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began persecuting Falun Gong in China, practitioners have undergone many ordeals. Some kindhearted friends asked me: “You [practitioners] have suffered a lot of hardships for practicing Falun Gong. Would you regret it if you didn’t see the heavens or Buddhas in the end?”
I replied, “One foot of mine is already in heaven, what do I have to regret?”
When I saw my friends were unable to enjoy life because of illnesses, I felt very sorry for them, because I thought they had missed an opportunity.
The Roses and Thorns of Cultivation
Cultivation is difficult, but it has its rewards. For 20 years I have been practicing the exercises for two hours every day, without exception. If I missed doing the exercises during the day, I would do them at night, and typically stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. to do so.
I used to be quick-tempered and narrow-minded, often lost my temper over petty things, and took disagreements to heart. As a result I often had conflicts with my family and lost relationships with coworkers and friends. I was always surrounded by “enemies.”
Dafa Principles: Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance
It’s easy to agree with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, but not easy to live them. For example, when I first began working on a Dafa project, my mentor was very short-tempered. Having taught me a few times and seeing me not meeting her requirements, she would scold me. It came to the point that I became very uncomfortable as soon as I got a phone call from her.
I learned to tolerate her, and no matter how harshly she scolded me, I said, “Thank you.” At the same time, I put more heart in my work to do it well. A long time later, she apologized to me, “I’m sorry I was very harsh to you.” I said, “I am grateful to you for not only helping me improve my skills but also my tolerance.” We worked very well together after that.
It used to be that small things that happened at home upset me and I was preoccupied with personal gains and losses. I always expected my children to repay me because I raised them. When they got married and wanted my help, I felt I was being taken advantage of.
Things began to change as soon as I started practicing Falun Dafa. At that time, my son was leaving for a new job, which meant his wife and I were left to clean up and sell the house. His wife was pregnant, and I was the only one able to do the work.
I felt physically and mentally exhausted. I remember being physically and mentally exhausted because of my illnesses, but what was causing my exhaustion now? Master said, “They are all caused by your own karma.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
I remembered that suffering was removing karma and a good thing. So I continued working around the house with a light heart.
I was very busy every day taking care of my grandson and making meals for the family. Conflicts occurred sometimes, but I did not get upset. Instead, I took a step back and let the storm pass. This way our family was harmonious.
My biggest change, after practicing Falun Dafa, was becoming humble because I learned from Master’s teaching that a person would create a lot of karma throughout his/her lifetimes. Master said, “Whoever has more karma is a bad person.” (Lecture Two, Zhuan Falun)
As a person full of karma, what was there to be proud of? I needed to remove my karma through tribulations. No matter who blamed me, my response was always the same, “Thank you.” If I did not understand the reason why I was being blamed, I would look inside, and take time to find the cause.
Through years of cultivation, my temper has improved a lot. I became humble and tolerant and made a lot of new friends. I no longer had “enemies,” and my surroundings became calm and joyful.
Despite the moral decline of today’s human society in which people are unable to distinguish right from wrong, as practitioners, we adhere to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, are considerate of others, step back during conflicts, tolerate, and take personal interests lightly. Our minds become clean and calm and problems become fewer.
Tolerance may cause some loss of personal interests, but one gains happiness and health. Aren’t they the best rewards? This is my inspiration from practicing Falun Dafa, and perhaps the secret to looking 60 at age 80.