Cultivation Reflections of a New Practitioner
Greetings Master, greetings fellow practitioners:
My name is Chang Ning Wu. I am an over- eighty years of age and a new practitioner with only 7 months of cultivation experience. I’ve had a very tough and yet very blessed life. It seems that every time when I was confronted with pending difficulty, I was blessed by timely divine intervention to extricate myself from such difficulty. When Japan invaded China in 1937 and took its capital Nanking in December, I had already left that city in September on a Westward track by following the Yangtze River to Hankou with my mother and tens of thousands of refugees. Thus, I was able to escape being a victim in the blood bath that subsequently became known as the Nanking Massacre. I remembered taht my mother and I ran out of money when we reached the city of Wuhu in Anhui Province where we knew no one. Out of desperation, my mother took me to a Buddhist temple by the Yangtze to see a prayer in front of the statue of GuanYin Bodhisattva, commonly known as the Goddess of Compassion. Whatever she said in her prayer worked wonders because we met a colleague of my father shortly after we came out of the temple, and this man was able to save us from our plight. From that point on, my mother and I became devout believers of GuanYin Bodhisattva. Towards the end of the civil war in China in 1949, I went to Taiwan. In 1952, I came to this country for college study, and in 1963, I came to Massachusetts to teach at UMASS Dartmouth until my retirement in 2000.
I regret I had been lost in a maze in the first 81 and a-half years of my life. Through a chanced opportunity, I established a predestined relationship with Falun Gong in the middle of November, last year. Prior to that, I was diagnosed as a final-stage metastatic prostate cancer patient whose cancer had been spread to the bones causing bone pain symptoms 18 months ago. The PSA blood marker for normal persons should be in the range between 0 and 4. My PSA was at 468 at the time of diagnosis. But my doctors worked so effectively to keep my PSA below 0.3 that I had lived very comfortably as a person without the feeling of being a cancer patient. At the time, I had no inkling about the practice of Falun Gong had on improving health and curing illnesses.
The very first time I was introduced to the benefits of cultivation through Falun Gong was Saturday November 21, 2015. Four days later, my regularly scheduled blood test showed a 7 fold rise of PSA from 0.2 to 1.4, signaling the recurrence of cancer. My doctors ordered me to stop using the prescribed oral drug immediately. For the next 2 months, my PSA continued to rise until it reached 3.7 on January 29th of this year, causing my doctors planning to switch me to a different treatment if and when my PSA reached near 10. Even though I had already started self-study of Zhuan Falun and practiced the Falun Gong exercises at home infrequently in the previous month or two, the progress made was rather slow. The day after my PSA rose to 3.7, Jan. 30, 2016, turned out to be the day when I became a disciple of Falun Dafa. That day, I was invited to go to the practice site in Worcester to study Fa and do the exercises with fellow practitioners. It marked the very first time I had a chance to experience the magical influence of the energy field of a Falun Gong practice site. Soon after I was on my way home that day, I felt a strong urge to find a restroom to relieve myself. Later on, before reaching home, I was in urgent need again to find a restroom because of diarrhea. That trip was a highly embarrassing experience. Around 9 O’clock that evening, while I was watching and imitating the Master’s movements on an exercise DVD, I felt suddenly as if someone had plugged in a substantial amount of heat (possibly high energy matter?) into both of my two lower legs for some time. It was a very strange and weird experience. In the past, during cold wintry nights, I had a tendency to get cramps in my feet which caused me to wake up from sleeping. To prevent this type of interruption of my sleep in the winter, I used to put a hot water bag under the quilt when I go to bed. Strangely enough, I never felt the need to use the hot water bag again after this incident. Anyway, when I returned to the practice site the next time, my fellow practitioners were all happy for me and told me that similar incidents of fellow practitioners looking for restrooms after their first lesson were mentioned in the second lecture of Zhuan Falun. They felt that the Master must have accepted me as his student and his Fashen had already started to purify my body.
In summary, prior to Jan. 30th when I became a Falun Dafa disciple, my PSA had risen from 0.2 to 3.7, showing signs of cancer recurring. About a month later, a blood test showed my PSA did not rise, but dropped to 0.6. Subsequent blood test results in April, June, and August showed PSA values of <0.1, 0.1, and <0.1 respectively. It seems to me that my battle against prostate cancer has reached a state of tranquil stability. At the beginning of June, a compassionate fellow practitioner made me aware of a paper presented by a group of researchers of the Swiss Novartis Pharmaceutical Company at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology held in Chicago. The authors reported Falun Gong practice had positive impact on the survival time and symptom improvement of terminal cancer patients. It appears that my own situation could very well add another case history to their studies.
Another problem of mine that came around the same time as the onset of my cancer, but had no connection with cancer, is a lack of body balance upon standing that resulted in walking in an unsteady manner. Because of these handicaps, I was able to discover and appreciate the kind heartedness and compassion of my fellow practitioners. Every time when I went to the practice site in Worcester, I noticed that a fellow practitioner who usually arrived ahead of me would purposely park his car at a distance further away and leave an empty space close to the practice site for me to park my car. As I entered and got out of the practice site, he and other fellow practitioners would always put in an effort to assist me with arm support and attentiveness up and down the steps, as well as carrying a heavier load for me. Such behaviors had set a wonderful and exemplary role model for me, the new practitioner, to follow. For that, I wish to take this opportunity to offer them my sincere thanks.
Shortly after I became a disciple of Falun Dafa, I was informed that the activities of the next global celebration of the Falun Dafa Day will be held in New York City during the middle of May. Participation in this big event is a great and rare opportunity for a new practitioner like me. Even though I had put in an application in March to participate, I had second thoughts about that decision. For one thing, I had trouble performing qigong exercises properly at the practice site. A number of times I had trouble maintaining my balance in the 4th set of exercises after bending down towards the ground and rising up gain, often falling into the clothes rack behind me and knocking it down to the floor. This caused the leader of the practice site to place a chair between the clothes rack and my body before the start of the exercises each time, and instruct me to fall onto the chair on purpose in order to avoid knocking down the big clothes rack. The difficulty in bending my legs in the 5th set of exercises was another problem for me. In the earlier days, I was doing that set of exercises by doing only the hand movements while sitting on the chair. Furthermore, I had read very little of Master’s lectures outside of those in the Zhuan Falun and considered myself very lacking in my ability to exchange views and sharing experiences with fellow practitioners far more advanced than I. Even though I would like very much to go to New York to listen to our Master’s talk, I was also afraid to bring shame to our Worcester group or the Massachusetts group at large because of many of my own inadequacies as a new member. After much soul searching, I finally made the decision not to go to New York this year and informed our coordinator accordingly in early April. However, on April 9th, another Saturday when we did our group study, I entered the practice site by placing a note in front of Master Li’s picture explaining the reason why I backed out the trip to New York and asked for his forgiveness. Little did I anticipate that a fellow practitioner would seek me out after we finished exercising by saying: “You didn’t just make a small improvement today; you mad a big improvement!” Those words gave me tremendous encouragement, helped me to eliminate a big chunk of my own inferiority complex, and reenergized my will to go to New York in May. After checking with the president of our organization, I realized that there were 3 more days before the deadline for accepting applications to go to New York, and there was still enough time for me to reverse my decision not to go. Thus, I was finally able to make the trip to New York in May as I had originally planned.
For that trip, our kind hearted coordinator arranged a shared van capable of carrying a wheel chair to take me to New York, and made contingency plan to provide labor to push the chair with me in it when and if I developed trouble walking. However, some last minute changes, perhaps arranged by Master’s Fashen, caused the chair not making the trip. As a consequence, during the few days I was in New York, I endured much suffering by relying mainly on my two legs and a cane getting around on the streets and by climbing up and down stairs and making frequent stops to catch my breath in the subway. That experience allowed me to fully comprehend the principle frequently stated by our Master: “You must pay the debt you owed.”, and made me realize the effectiveness of such principle in reducing karma. After returning from New York, I discovered that I have made significant improvement in walking as I gradually lost my dependence in the use of a cane. There were also improvements made in exercise routines as my movements have become much steadier. I wish to take this opportunity to thank those fellow practitioners who accompanied me in various walking adventures in New York for their spirit of self-sacrificing, their compassion, and their patience from the bottom of my heart.
As a new and not too deeply rooted cultivator, I have one huge weakness in my effort to raise the level of my xinxing. That is: I frequently failed to take action reflecting I am a cultivator at the time of first encounter. Even though I could quickly realize that I had made the mistake of acting like an everyday person and wish to immediately correct the situation, it was already too late to do that in most instances. I had to rely on Master’s forgiveness and compassion to allow me to make the correction at another time. This summer I encountered a situation in which I was able to make the correction midway and I would like to share that experience with you now. One day, I hurt my lower back as I was carrying a very large and very heavy watermelon into the house. I had a slight pain on the left side and the body was bent over and became stuck in an awkward hunchbacked position. It was very difficult to fall into sleep that night. Thinking that I might have caused a dislocation of my bones in the back, I sought help to have that situation corrected. That was my first mistake. That move brought about increased pain in the back while the pain shifted to the middle and the right side of the back. I went ahead to put a pain-stopping plaster over the area that felt pain. That was another everyday person’s mistake! After a while, I was reading a passage from the lecture given by our Master at the 1997 Experience Sharing Conference in New York that was sent to me by a warm-hearted fellow practitioner. That passage reads as follows: “That’s why I’ve told you that when we cultivators felt uncomfortable somewhere in our bodies it isn’t sickness. Yet what everyday people consider a sick state, and the state that’s reflected in a cultivator’s body when his karma is being reduced, are the same. It’s hard for everyday people to tell the difference. That’s why cultivation practice stresses enlightening (Wu). If they weren’t the same, everyone would practice cultivation and the question of enlightening wouldn’t exist. If only wonderful things were happened in a person’s body and even a little discomfort felt like what immortals feel, tell me, who wouldn’t cultivate? Everyone would, but then it wouldn’t count—it wouldn’t count as cultivation. Besides, people aren’t allowed to cultivate that way, as there would be no enlightening involved. So in cultivation you are bound to be tested amidst the uncertainty of what’s true and what’s false to see how you deal with the matter at hand—to see whether you’ll regard yourself as a cultivator or as an average, everyday person.” It was at this point that I was awakened to the realization that I was a cultivator! I peeled off the plaster on my back immediately and never put another one back on again. After suffering through pain for three more days, the pain was gone and never returned. Hopefully I have become enlightened in time to have reduced my karma. In any event, this experience should serve as a valuable example for me to follow in my future actions and behaviors.
Finally, I want to mention that my trip to New York in May made me realize fully our Master’s sense of urgency on the shortage of time and the need for His disciples to study Fa with diligence and vigor. I also learned from the more experienced practitioners the devotion, zeal, and enthusiasm in their efforts to send out righteous thoughts frequently. In addition, the talk given by a fellow practitioner from S. Carolina at the conference gave me inspiration on how I wish to formulate my own path in clarifying the truth. As a new practitioner, the 3 areas I just mentioned happened to be the 3 directions in which I should be putting in my own maximum effort in the future. I sincerely wish each and every one of my fellow practitioners will provide me with support and encouragement in my journey.
Thank you, my Master!
Thank you, my fellow practitioners!
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/155039