Living a long, happy life is a dream everyone shares, but achieving it is not so easy. Fortunately, we can learn a lot about this subject from those who have come before us.
Sun Simiao, a renowned Chinese sage in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 A.D.), lived more than 100 years. Known as the King of Medicine in Chinese history, he advocated for and lived a healthy lifestyle. He emphasised cherishing virtue and maintaining a calm mind. For example, he believed that it was important to forbid either arrogance or low self esteem from entering one’s mind, regardless of whether one was rich or poor.
In Fu Shou Lun (Discussion on Happiness and Longevity), Sun Simiao wrote, “Happiness comes from the accumulation of good deeds; mishaps are the result of bad deeds,” and, “Happiness can be obtained through kindness.” That is, if one has a kind heart and does good deeds, blessings of a healthy mind and body along with longevity will follow. If one has an ill mind and acts against the heavenly laws, even the best medicine will not extend one’s life. Therefore, the most important factor of human life is to cultivate virtue.
Since ancient times, across cultures, people have always believed in virtue (“you reap what you sow”). Particularly in China, the principle of harmony of heaven, earth, and mankind was generally accepted. Similarly, the strong connection between mind and body has been observed by modern science. That is, cherishing traditional values and being a good person will bring blessings, including health, longevity, and happiness.
Let us meet two modern women who have achieved what so many would like to.
Miracle in San Francisco
Ms. Chen Meihe, a resident of San Francisco, California, received a letter from President Trump and his wife Melania wishing her well on her 100th birthday. The first lady and Trump wrote in their letter that they were proud of Ms. Chen and were inspired by her life, and wished to join her in celebrating such a major milestone.
Ms. Chen, who is Chinese, was born in Vietnam in January 1920. She was a clothing designer and used to contribute to the design of Levi’s jeans. She also used to run a business teaching clothing design. She has four children and remembers believing in Buddhism from a young age.
After decades of hard work, Ms. Chen developed numerous illnesses, including heart disease and high blood pressure. Her oldest daughter introduced her to Falun Gong in 1996. By doing the Falun Gong exercises and following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, Ms. Chen’s illnesses disappeared and she became more openminded. Her younger brother, a doctor, used to bring her medicine whenever he visited her, but he was surprised to find that she no longer needed any medicine and was healthy again.
However, Ms. Chen’s daughter Zeng Guobao visited her in 2004 and found that her mother could not stand up straight because her back was curved. “At that time, I noticed that one position was not correct when Mother did the exercises. As I gently lifted her hand to correct that, her back miraculously straightened with a sound of ‘click.’ Since then she has been able to lie down and walk normally,” Ms. Zeng recalled.
This experience helped Ms. Chen become more determined in the practice. Although she was already in her 80s at the time, she frequently went to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to share her experience of overcoming health problems through practicing Falun Gong. She also talked to people about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) defamatory propaganda against Falun Gong.
“My mother is a good person. She really takes the Falun Gong teachings to heart,” Ms. Zeng said, adding, “She is always happy and never gets angry.”
The following is the story of Ms. Yin Yuzhi, a resident of Jilin City in Jilin Province, China. Ms. Yin used to have numerous illnesses, including severe heart disease, high blood pressure, and silicosis in her lungs. In addition to her health problems, a work-related injury when she was 38 shattered the bone in her right arm. After metal plates were implanted, she could not straighten her arm or put force on it for decades.
At the age of 73, Ms. Yin was diagnosed with cancer in her liver, uterus, and ovaries. Oncologists from three hospitals discussed her situation. One of the doctors said that even with only late-stage liver cancer, she could at the most only live another three months.
Ms. Yin’s children asked the doctors if Ms. Yin could undergo surgery to remove the cancer, but the doctors said it would be too risky given her age. Her children had her admitted to a military hospital, the best hospital they could find at the time, to get her the best treatments available. They spent more than 60,000 yuan (or $7,000) in two months, but her condition continued to deteriorate.
Ms. Yin’s daughter was a Falun Gong practitioner and recommended that her mother practice too. “Lots of miracles have happened to Falun Gong practitioners,” she said. “Maybe you can also give it a try?”
But Ms. Yin was stubborn. “If you like it, go ahead and do it,” she replied. “I am too late for that.” Despite saying this, Ms. Yin knew that her daughter would not lie to her and she had seen the positive changes her daughter had experienced after practicing Falun Gong.
That night in a dream, Ms. Yin was surprised to see Master Li ( the founder of Falun Gong) purifying her body. It was indeed a vivid dream. After she woke up, she was able to sit up normally – something she had not been able to do for a long time due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in her abdomen). “Come, come! I want to learn Falun Gong!” she called out.
Although she was unable to stand, Ms. Yin sat up in bed listening to Master Li’s audio lectures and began to practice the exercises as best she could. Her health started to improve. The ascites diminished and she was able to get out of bed and walk. She also regained her energy. All of this happened within seven days. “It was a true miracle and my gratitude to Master Li was beyond words,” Ms. Yin recalled.
But her other children were skeptical and thought that Ms. Yin was experiencing terminal lucidity (increased mental clarity just before death). After picking her up from the hospital on the seventh day, Ms. Yin’s children took turns taking her to the most renowned tourist destinations, including Mount Lu, Qingdao, Penglai, Mount Lao, and Baidaihe. They simply wanted to her to be happy in the final days of her life. To their surprise, however, Ms. Yin was actually recovering, and she has remained healthy ever since. “We did not know Falun Gong is so extraordinary!” one of her children exclaimed.
Then, in 1999, CCP head Jiang Zemin began to suppress Falun Gong. Massive slander campaigns were launched nationwide and a large number of practitioners were detained for their belief, including Ms. Yin’s daughter. This did not alter Ms. Yin’s faith. “I knew Falun Gong and Master Li had given me a second life,” she said. At the age of 86, she went to the city police department to request the release of her detained daughter. She had no fear in her mind.
Although she is almost 100, Ms. Yin has no illnesses at all. She does her own cooking, cleaning, and laundry, and doesn’t need help from her children.
Having lived through different periods of modern Chinese history and having gone through countless difficulties in her life, Ms. Yin felt so fortunate to come across Falun Gong in the last quarter of her life. People in ancient times always believed that good is rewarded with good and evil meets with evil. “If you believe in being good and follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, you will be blessed,” Ms. Yin says.
Background: Falun Gong
Falun Gong was introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992. The practice includes moral teachings based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, and five sets of gentle exercises. Because of its tremendous health and spiritual benefits, nearly 100 million people in China were practicing Falun Gong within a few short years.
Following a request from the General Administration of Sports, physicians and medical professors conducted a survey of 125,000 practitioners in Guangdong Province in September 1998. The survey found that 97.9 percent of respondents reported experiencing health benefits after practicing Falun Gong. The reports of the survey acknowledged the positive effects of Falun Gong. Some of the practitioners who responded to the survey reported that stubborn or even incurable illnesses went away after they started practicing Falun Gong.
In October the same year, the General Administration of Sports held a symposium with Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun City. Qiu Yucai, leader of the task force, said in a speech that Changchun City alone had more than 100,000 practitioners. They were from all walks of life including professors, Ph.D advisors, high officials, intellectuals, and ordinary citizens.
During late 1998, Qiao Shi, former chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, in conjunction with other retired cadres, conducted another survey about Falun Gong. He concluded that Falun Gong “brings all kinds of benefits and no harm” to society. He submitted a report of his findings to the Politburo.
In 1999, former head of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, both worried and jealous of the sheer numbers of Falun Gong practitioners, launched a brutal persecution against the practice. Over the nearly 22 years of ongoing persecution, hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been illegally arrested, imprisoned and tortured in efforts to force them to renounce there belief. More than 4,000 practitioners are documented to have lost their lives as a direct result of the persecution, but the number is likely to be much higher due to the CCP’s censorship of news and the difficulty in getting information out of China.
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