A leaden grief at the loss of my two arms

1 Sep

My name is Li Yongshun. And I am 59 years old, graduated from a secondary normal school and teach in a primary school run by a village. I live in the Yingshan County, Nanchong City of Sichuan Province. From August 1998 to April 2000, I was the director of Falun Gong Yingshan Assistance Substation.

Under the influence of my uncle, I learned the ABC of practicing geomancy at middle school and enjoyed some reputation around my home town. One day in the early 1998, a teacher named Liu Shiquan at Yingshan City lost his father, and people recommended me to select a tomb site for Mr. Liu’s father. After the funeral, Mr. Liu repeatedly urged me to stay at his home for a couple of days. It seemed to me that it would be ungracious to turn down such an invitation, so I resided at his home for three more days. One evening, Mr. Liu’s mother, by the name of Hu Xiaobi, was playing a tape recorder and sitting cross-legged for a meditation, over ten practitioners with unknown identities followed her. Giving in to Ms Hu’s persistent persuasion, I joined their practice. When I was about to leave one evening, Ms Hu told me she was the director of Falun Gong Yingshan Assistance Station; and she had helped her husband “reach Consummation and ascend to heavens.” Then she appointed me director of Falun Gong Mingde Assistance Substation at Yingshan. She also gave me some books and tapes such as Zhuan Falun and Falun Dafa etc, urging me to establish the substation as soon as possible.

When I returned home, I told my wife the whole story from beginning to end. My wife warned me: “Well, remember you’re a teacher. And it doesn’t pay if you lose your job for such nonsense.” Reckoning that my wife was right, I put aside the idea of setting up a substation temporarily.

One night in March 1999, it was raining cats and dogs; and the roof of my house leaked badly. Early in the morning the next day, I climbed up the house and tried to pinpoint the leakage. It happened that the roof beam was broken, so I fell down and fractured my right arm. My wife called in a country doctor who had a scanty knowledge of orthopaedics, and he put my broken arm in splints and tightened a bandage around it. The next day, Ms Hu telephoned us to see if the assistance substation was established. My wife told her: “The substation has not been set up yet; but my husband broke his right arm yesterday while repairing our house.” Muttering on the phone for a while, Ms Hu asked my wife in an earnest tone: “please tell your husband, come to my house by the morning bus tomorrow. I’ll give him a treatment myself… ”

The next day, my wife accompanied me to Ms Hu’s house, and we received a warm welcome from Ms Hu: well-brewed tea served, then food and spiced dishes prepared. My wife was deeply moved by Ms Hu’s hospitality and said: “I think elder sister Hu is reliable and she is really a good person.” In the evening, Ms Hu taught me how to sit cross-legged and meditate; and she also gave me treatment by “removing my Karma.” But still I was seized with sharp pain at the broken arm and my swelling was getting worse. So I begged: “elder sister Hu, my arm doesn’t feel well; isn’t it necessary that I consult a doctor at the hospital tomorrow?” Ms Hu answered: “Don’t worry. Master Li Hongzhi told us in the book Zhuan Falun that ‘illness is not in itself a disease. It arises from one’s karma’ and ‘karma resulting from past wrong doings one committed in his previous lives. ‘If you take medicine or have injections, you just press the illness back to your body, and in that case you can not remove the root cause of the disease.’ ‘In order to remove the root cause of your sickness, you have to practice Falun Gong because Falun (the wheel of law) rotates constantly and can eliminate the black substance (karma) from your body.'” Being ill means you have generated karma; and to remove the karma, you should not take meditation or have injections. Nor should you go to hospital. Just practice Falun Gong, then Master Li Hongzhi will remove your karma and cure the sickness for you. If you believe in Master Li Hongzhi, such an injury is just a peanut and won’t affect you a bit. Once your karma is eliminated, your arm would be fully recovered.”

I stayed at Ms Hu’s home for three days, sitting cross-legged to practice Falun Gong. The days dragged on like years. On the fourth day, I looked ashen; and I moaned and groaned with pain during the night, so my wife said to me secretly: “The neighbors told me today that Ms Hu’s husband suffered from a terminal gastric carcinoma, he couldn’t bear the pain and hanged himself. It’s terrible! I think we’d better go to the hospital and consult an orthopaedist.” Being partially convinced, I went secretly to the Yingshan People’s Hospital with my wife early in the morning the next day. The doctors were shocked by my wound after they removed the bandage: my broken arm was full of blisters; the muscle had turned purple; and the cut began to fester. A doctor told me firmly: “we must perform an amputation for you at once because your life is now at stake.” Right in the afternoon, the doctors did an amputation on my right arm. And I was in tearless grief after sobering up. Ms Hu called on me at the hospital when she learned my story. Besides complaints, she brought me a lot of fruits and other tonics, saying: “while you were hospitalized, I prayer at home to remove karma for you; and I also told your story to Master Li Hongzhi. Without Master Li’s protection, you would definitely have died of the operation.” The day when I was discharged from hospital, Ms Hu took me to her home and accorded me a cordial reception. While parting, Ms Hu again urged me to set up the substation. “Or you’ll be faced with imminent disasters,” she threatened. I was a chicken-hearted man, and her words reverberated in my ears like thunders. In order to gain mental sustenance and reach Consummation, and also to repay Ms Hu’s “kind treatment”, I made up mind to establish a Falun Gong assistance substation. My original suspicion against Falun Gong was totally driven away.

While staying at home and nursing the injury, I could hardly stand the sheer boredom. Driven by Ms Hu’s parting injunction and encouraged by her frequent phone calls, I began to watch Falun Gong VCD discs and read its books at home. In the book Zhuan Falun, Li Hongzhi makes new annotations with scientific terms on energy, universe, time and space etc, claiming “Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance” to be the ultimate morality of universe and the sole criteria to judge a person. In another word, those who submit to the criteria are good people, and people who refuse to accept such an idea are bad ones. And if you can always comply with “Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance,” then you are already a man who has attained the Tao. Li’s words stroke a sympathetic chord in my breast. Encouraged by Li’s teaching of “Cultivating away fame, material interest, and emotion, reach Consummation, ascending the firmament,” I abandoned the minimum requirements of my profession as a teacher, assuming that I was upholding the “ultimate morality” of universe.

Ever since then, I regarded Li Hongzhi as “the sovereign God of universe,” and set about to “past tests” and “get into higher levels.” Being a teacher at countryside, I understood local people’s psychologies pretty well: the villagers were reluctant to spend money on hospital; and the retired cadres who had high prestige among masses all dreamed of enjoying longevity. Taking advantage of people’s aspirations, I managed to recruit many local followers and established a Falun Gong assistance substation. The substation was located at the central room of my own home, with as many as 60 practitioners at the period of full bloom. And I served as their “master.” To advocate the “Fa”, I learned to write with my left hand on a blackboard, and produced many leaflets and slogans. I also asked followers to spread the “Fa” among their family members, friends and relatives. Ms Hu was so pleased to learn “my achievements” that she made a special trip to my house: granted me the “certificate of appointment” on behalf of Li Hongzhi, awarded me RMB 500, and bestowed high praise on me. From then on, I was “officially” appointed director of Falun Gong Mingde Assistance Substation and became a favorite with Falun Gong organization.

In July 1999, the Chinese government banned Falun Gong according to law. At that time, my son was studying at the financial mathematics department of Sichuan University. When my son returned home for summer vacation and found out that I was still organizing Falun Gong practice, he was very angry and told me that Falun Gong was a cult, and I should believe in science instead. To demonstrate his resolute attitude towards the cult, he smashed Flun Gong discs and burnt my books on Falun Gong. One day, while the family was having lunch, my son and I argued vehemently about the issue of Falun Gong. Realizing that I was not on a solid ground, I flied into a rage by turning the table upside down. Dishes and bowels on the table were smashed into pieces. Pointing at the tip of my son’s nose, I shouted: “You son of a gun! Being a university student for a couple of days and now you are swelling with pride before your own father. I’ll tell you what, since you dare to speak ill of our Falun Dafa, it means you are a reckless daredevil and ignorant. You are not my son and get out of my house right now!” Greatly angered, my son left home in tears although he had hardly stayed at home for half of the vacation. Later he found a temporary job at a hotel in Chengdu till the new semester started.

Bewitched by Li Hongzhi’s “Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance” and “Becoming a good person,” I did whatever Master Li asked, trying to “cultivate away fame, material interest, and emotion, reach Consummation, ascending the firmament.” In the daytime, I gave lectures in a perfunctory and listless manner; but during the night, I took the lead to scatter Falun Gong leaflets with boundless energy. In the evening of March 7, 2000, the moon had gone down very early. Under the curtain of darkness, I went out and scattered Falun Gong leaflets in streets and lanes. When I began to go back from the Mingde Street, it was already two o’clock the next morning. To make things worse, it was raining and blowing hard. When I reached the “double-dragon temple” bridge, I was so terrified that I fell down from the bridge, dashed on a millstone and went into a coma. When I came back to life, I found my left arm was broken. The next day, some pass-bys heard my groans and found me under the bridge, and they asked people to carry me home. My wife was afraid that people might find out what I had done that night, so she kept me at home for three days without any treatment. At night of the third day, she secretly invited a country doctor to come to our home. The doctor knew just a little about orthopaedics, and after check-up, he said: “it’s probably a comminuted fracture, and I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do about it. You must go to the People’s Hospital instead.” Reluctantly, my wife dialed the 120 Emergency Service. And I was taken to the Yingshan People’s Hospital by an ambulance. After X-ray examination, the doctor told me: “it’s a comminuted fracture, and the muscle and bone around it have become necrotic. So the whole arm has to be removed.” His words stabbed me to the heart, and my wife cried her eyes out. In the afternoon of March 13, I was wheeled into the operating theatre to have my left arm amputated.

Waking up from the operation, I stole a glance at one sleeve, then another, and suddenly realized that I had lost all my arms! My pillowcase was drenched with tears. My son asked for a leave and came to the hospital. He entered the sickroom and watched me in silence, then held my head in his arms, weeping. My wife and I joined in, the three of us cried in each other’s shoulders.

On April 19, with a heavy load in mind, and a debt amounting to 6,000 yuan, I went through the discharging procedures at hospital. Hobbling along without arms, I took the bus and returned Mingde in a fidget.

Staying at home, I asked myself again and again: was all this the repayment I got from practicing Falun Gong or the result of removing karma and trying to reach Consummation? The question lingered in my mind for days. With the help of anti-cult volunteers, I gradually came to realize through rational thinking that, it was the cult Falun Gong that destroyed my arms and family life, as well as my image as an honorable teacher.

I finally woke up from the Falun Gong nightmare. At the presence of school leaders, pupils and their parents, and under my demand, my son burnt the “appointment certificate,” Li Hongzhi’s scriptures, along with Falun Gong leaflets. He also smashed Falun Gong discs and the tape recorder I once used for practicing. Giving an oral account by myself, my son wrote for me a self-criticizm, asking school leaders to punish me. I wanted all Falun Gong followers to learn from my agony: I, the director of Falun Gong Mingde Assistance Substation, followed Master Li Hongzhi for one year, and lost two arms. I also wanted those who still believed in Falun Gong to know: my sufferings stemmed from the worship of Li Hongzhi, and their pursuit of Consummation would end up in self-destruction. Some times I asked myself: how come that I was bewitched by Li Hongzhi’s nonsense at the first place?

Ten years has passed. Whenever I recall the miserable experience of practicing Falun Gong or stare at my blank sleeves, a stabbing pain would rip through my entire body. But it was all too late for regrets.

Now I am retiring, and my son is working at a provincial bank; my daughter also finds a job and settles down at Fuzhou. I enjoy a happy and better-off family life. And I think my present life is the real perfection I once expected, the so-called Consummation is just a death trap of Li Hongzhi.


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