Meditation & Health #5 – Savouring Happiness Finally
Savouring Happiness Finally
By Ru-Chang, New York
Pain and Illness Crippled My Life
Ever since I can recall, bronchitis has been my constant companion. At night, I would often suffer from severe bouts of coughing. Sometimes, I could not even lie down; I could only sit and wait for my suffering to cease. My helpless mother was heartbroken as she watched. Not only was my mum affected – my family was often kept awake by my loud coughs.
To treat my illness, my parents tried all kinds of remedies. My mother used to wake up at 4 a.m. in the morning to collect the morning dew and boil it for me. She even tried the method of ‘fighting fire with fire’. She stuffed toads with eggs, marinated them and let them oxidise for a week. After which she boiled the toxin-filled eggs and made me eat them. In short, we were so desperate that we tried every kind of method that we could ever think of.
Ever since junior high, I started having gastritis. Whenever I felt slightly hungry, I had to consume something immediately or else my stomach would start hurting immensely. The hungrier I was, the worse the pain was, and the more painful it was, the more I dared not eat. Additionally, I had to watch what I ate very closely; I could not consume foods that are sour, spicy and cooling in nature. To make matters worse, I was very sensitive. The slightest bit of pollen, dust or perfume would cause me to have severe allergic reactions. In order to relieve these symptoms, I took many different medications, underwent many different therapies, but all to no avail.
Eleven years ago, I met with a car accident and suffered an injury to my waist. Since then, the injury never fully recovered and I frequently suffered from bad pain and aches.
Ten years ago, a sudden opportunity led me to take up residence in New York, a place I was unfamiliar with.
Being alone in a new country, I was highly anxious, tired and frustrated. I was lonely and homesick. These miserable feelings coupled with the torment I felt from my illness, made me lose hope in life. I felt that the world was bleak and there was no meaning in living any more. Nothing moved or excited me; nothing made me happy. Maybe it was due to the stress and angst that I was feeling – I started balding.
At that point in time, I often wondered, “When will this helpless and hopeless life come to an end?”
A Sudden Miracle
One day, I chanced upon the Chinese radio programme Buddhist Robe. The more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed it. Subsequently, I began to follow the guidance from the radio and attempted the hand gestures. Amazingly, after a mere few days of practice, I no longer felt lethargic and weary. Instead, I was filled with vitality and energy, even during work. I learnt later that the practice I heard over the radio was actually Bodhi Meditation’s The Meditation of Greater Illumination.
The eighth of December 2011 marked my first time entering New York Bodhi Meditation Centre. Meeting warm and welcoming teachers and fellow practitioners, I suddenly felt a sense of belonging. It was as though I had returned home; I felt warm at heart. Seeing so many smiles on their faces, listening to their sharing of their meditation experiences and benefits, I was moved and I started having confidence in the meditation practice.
Thereafter, be it rain or shine, I would head down to Bodhi Meditation Centre to practise on every Thursday. Other than work, it has become a place I go to regularly.
Blessing in Disguise
During the eve of the Spring Festival this year (2012), my light bulbs at home suddenly blew. In an attempt to change them, I stacked up two stools, one on top of the other and climbed up. Alas, the stool suddenly overturned and I fell over, landing heavily on the ground. The fall knocked the wind out of me and the pain kept me paralysed on the ground. Worried, my landlord, who heard the ruckus, came knocking on my door. However, I could not move, I had no strength to even speak.
At that time, I thought: “It’s over. I am more than fifty years old and my waist is still suffering from old injuries. This time round I will definitely be paralysed!”
Time slowly ticked by. I was in so much pain that I started sweating; I was still immobile… Suddenly, I thought of Grandmaster JinBodhi and I begged, “Master, please help me!”
To my disbelief, the moment I thought of Master, I started being able to move my body. Even though the pain was still severe, I was able to stand up all by myself. Even more incredible was the fact that I somehow managed to withstand the pain for half an hour and managed to practise The Meditation of Greater Illumination once.
However, my waist was still hurting rather badly. I was afraid that I would not be able to sleep. Hence I placed the Buddhist Robe under my pillow. (I have heard from many fellow practitioners that in our time of need, the Buddhist Robe is able to help us greatly.) That night, I actually slept all the way till daybreak.
The following morning, I woke up to the realisation that I could not move my waist at all. However, due to my experience the night before, I was not afraid. I had faith that Master would be able to help me. I started praying sincerely to Master. Then, I endured the pain and practised The Meditation of Purity once. Gradually, I started being able to move and soon I was completely fine. I could still go to work that day.
How amazing that the sudden disaster did not affect me at all!
My Chronic Waist Injury Is Resolved
The chronic injury at my waist has bothered me for years. Even during meditation, I found it hard to sit at ease. This was especially so when I first started meditation; after sitting for a while, my back and waist would start aching tremendously.
Once, during the practice, our meditation teacher gave us healing while playing one of Master’s healing musical compositions. Suddenly, I felt an electric current pass through my entire back and there was a burning sensation. Then, my waist and back felt much more comfortable and the pain that I used to suffer from eased considerably. Thereafter, I could sit and meditate for a longer period of time.
The most surprising benefit that I have gained is that my once balding head has amazingly sprouted new strands of hair.
Relaxed and at Ease
After meditating, not only is my body filled with vitality and energy, but my mood has also improved; I am now very happy. My energy field has also improved significantly – my relationships with my colleagues are considerably better.
After experiencing so many benefits that meditation has brought, I decided to attend The Second Level Bodhi Meditation Retreat. However, I was unable to get my leave approved. In order to take part in the Retreat, I quit my job. But soon after the Retreat ended, I found a better job.
On the third day of the Retreat, I experienced spontaneous fasting. I did not consume any food and yet was not hungry. During this period, I felt really energetic and relaxed, and even experienced this ‘floating’ sensation. In those mere 11 days, I learnt how to accurately diagnose people’s illnesses and even relieve them of their discomfort. After giving my friends healing, many have given me feedback that they felt more comfortable. This amazing method that we were taught is really simple and effective!
Now, my chronic bronchitis and gastritis are completely cured. I even managed to eat fermented bean curd, something that I dared not eat for decades for fear of triggering an allergic reaction. Not just fermented bean curd, but I can eat anything I desire now. Regardless of what I eat, I no longer suffer from any allergic reactions. Even better still, I can now easily sit and meditate for more than one and a half hours.
Additionally, my right cheek used to have three or four small growths that would actually hurt when pressed. These growths have been there for over 30 years and in recent years, they have shown signs of increasing, making my left and right cheek look unbalanced. These last few days, I inadvertently touched them and to my delight I found that they no longer hurt when I press them.
I feel like a changed person now. I feel energetic and rejuvenated; I no longer feel tired or sleepy any more, and my feelings are now as calm as the autumn lake.
Having lived so many years, I’ve finally found true happiness and joy