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What is Falun Gong / Falun Dafa

Frequestly Asked Questions



What is Falun Gong / Falun Dafa?

Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa) is an ancient form of qigong, the practice of refining the body and mind through special exercises and meditation. Like tai chi, qigong is a vital part of many people's lives in Asia; almost every Chinese park is brimming by the break of dawn with people practicing these arts.

In just eight years since its public introduction, Falun Dafa has grown to become the most popular form of qigong ever in Chinese history. The major reason for this is that Falun Dafa distinguishes itself from other qigong practices by emphasizing not only physical cultivation, but also cultivation of one's moral character in daily life according to higher principles taught by Mr. Li Hongzhi, Falun Dafa's founder.

Falun Dafa's effectiveness in improving health and its profound principles have quickly made the practice immensely popular throughout the entire world. Since being introduced to the general public in 1992 by Mr. Li, Falun Dafa has attracted tens of millions of people in over 40 countries. Most major cities and universities in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe have English-speaking Falun Dafa practice groups.

The people who practice Falun Dafa come from every imaginable walk of life, as Falun Dafa transcends cultural, social, economic, and national boundaries. The practice has spread largely by word of mouth, as those who learn it usually find the benefits simply too good to keep to themselves.

1. The Books and the Exercises

The practice of Falun Dafa is simple, yet profound and effective. It consists primarily of two components: self-improvement through studying Mr. Li's teachings, and performing Falun Dafa's five gentle exercises. The exercises, which include a meditation, are easy to learn, enjoyable, and at the same time both relaxing and energizing. Many students of Falun Dafa enjoy doing them together as a group outdoors. The teachings are articulated in two books, Falun Gong (Law Wheel Qigong) and Zhuan Falun (Turning the Law Wheel), which are available in over a dozen languages, including English.

2. The Principles of the Practice

The benefits of practicing Falun Dafa are numerous and varied, ranging from improved health and newfound energy to mental clarity, stress relief, and peace of mind. Yet Falun Dafa is different from most other qigong practices in that it goes beyond the pursuit of health and fitness to the goal of wisdom and enlightenment. At the heart of the practice are the supreme principles of the universe: Truthfulness, Benevolence, and Forbearance. Through a combination of studying the books and performing the exercises, practitioners strive to become better people by embodying these principles in everything they do.

3. Is This for Me?

Millions of people all over the world have chosen to make the practice of Falun Dafa a part of their daily lives. Simply put, they find it a worthy and enjoyable investment of their time towards health, happiness, and meaningful living. All that's required is an open mind and a willing heart. Everyone is welcome, as Falun Dafa is apolitical, informal, and completely free of charge, obligation, and membership. All books are even available for free download. We invite you to give this wonderful practice a try and discover it for yourself.


Frequestly Asked Questions

1. Is Falun Gong a religion?
2. Is Falun Gong related to Buddhism or Taoism?
3. What's the difference between Falun Gong and Taichi?
4. Does Falun Dafa have any political affiliation or intent?
5. Are practitioners forbidden to take medication?
6. Why did China ban Falun Gong?
7. How can I learn Falun Dafa?
8. Is this exercise suitable for seniors?
9. What does "Falun Dafa" mean?
10. What does the Falun emblem represent?
11. What is the meaning of "Gong" in "Falun Gong"?
12. Are there any fees charged?

Q1: Is Falun Gong a religion?

A: Falun Gong is not a religion.

Although the teachings of Falun Dafa contain some phrases similar to those used in Buddhism and Taoism, it is not a branch of either the Buddhist or Taoist religion, just as Taichi is not a branch of the Taoist religion and Hatha Yoga is not a branch of Hinduism.

A religion has a rigid organizational structure, a collection plate where donations are accepted at every service, and fundraising activities. Falun Dafa has just a light association or loose network of volunteers. There is no membership fee or registration. People of different backgrounds and skills naturally form a flexible, coordinating structure for group activities. However, all are regarded as students and everyone is equal, no matter how long they have practiced. In Zhuan Falun, Master Li made it very clear, "When you promote it, you should not seek fame or profit. You should serve others voluntarily." Otherwise, "what you promote is not Falun Dafa." Master Li does not allow any donations, fundraising activities, or money to be accumulated in the name of Falun Dafa. If a person is inspired to show Master Li’s lectures, demonstrate the exercises, or print an information package such as this, then they find the money to pay for it themselves. These are spontaneous, individual actions rather than an organizational decision or requirement. The emphasis is on personal development, not organizing events.

There is no religious ritual or worship in this cultivation system. It does not convert people to blind faith. Instead, it explains that the universal law of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance (Zhen-Shan-Ren) has different manifestations, and therefore different requirements for each level. To reach higher levels, people must assimilate to the requirements of those different levels. Although practitioners respect Master Li Hongzhi very much, he does not want anyone to worship him. He has always told us that he simply teaches the Law (principles) of the universe and we should "take the Law as the teacher". For example, in Zhuan Falun he says: "There is another principle in our universe that if you want or pursue something, others will not stop you. Here we teach you to take the right way and explain the Law (principles) thoroughly to you at the same time. You will have to understand it on your own. It is your business whether you want to learn it or not. The master shows you the entrance, and it is up to yourself to practice cultivation or not. Namely, no one will intervene in which path you will take, what you want, and what you try to attain, except offer a word of kind advice."

Q2: Is Falun Gong related to Buddhism or Taoism?

A: Falun Gong is not related to Buddhism or Taoism. In addition, the Buddha school and Buddhism, the Tao School and Taoism are totally different concepts. Buddhism, which has less than 20 cultivation ways, is only a tiny bit in the Buddha school, which has thousands of cultivation ways. The same is true of the Tao School and Taoism. However there are terms from the Buddhist and Taoist schools in the teachings of Falun Gong. However, the terms in Falun Dafa teachings do not have exactly the same meaning as those used in Buddhism. Some terms in Buddhism of the Han region are Chinese vocabulary, and they are not exclusively terms from Buddhism.

Q3: What's the difference between Falun Gong and Taichi? (revised)

A: Tai Chi is a cultivation practice, which consists of improving one’s heart and mind nature (cultivation) as well as practising the Tai Chi movements. Falun Gong is a complete cultivation practice of the body, mind, and spirit. Practitioners of Falun Dafa cultivate their hearts in accordance with the principle of "Truth-Compassion-Tolerance" as explained in Zhuan Falun. Practitioners also do five sets of simple and gentle exercises, including a sitting meditation, to balance and improve the well being of their bodies and minds."

Q4: Does Falun Dafa have any political affiliation or intent?

A: Although there may be some professional politicians who practice Falun Dafa, the system itself has no affiliation to any political party or government. Practitioners are encouraged to conduct themselves with "Truth-Compassion-Tolerance" in all situations. The goal is to become enlightened to the truth of human life and to cultivate to higher levels. The focus is on an individual's self-examination and self-improvement rather than the development of an organization or a group.

Last years’ peaceful demonstration by about 10,000 practitioners in Beijing was a perfect example of self-discipline and self-restraint—qualities developed through the cultivation practice. It took place because the police in the nearby city of Tianjin used force to drive practitioners away from the offices of a youth magazine when they were calmly asking that an article containing false information be corrected. A number of people were arrested without any legal reason. The spontaneous, peaceful, and voluntary gathering in Beijing was to ask for a less-restricted environment in which to safely practice the virtuous and beneficial cultivation system of their choice, and to request the release of those who were arrested. It was not a criticism of the Chinese government and there were no signs, slogans, or political intentions. It had nothing to do with the Tiananmen Square incident 10 years ago, nor with any political party.

Q5: Are practitioners forbidden to take medication?

A: As Falun Gong practitioners, we do not know of any instance in which Mr. Li Hongzhi has forbidden anyone from taking medication. What Master did was simply to explain the relationship between cultivation practice and taking medication. In fact, he states time and again in his books and during his lectures that if one feels ill, one should go to the hospital. Of course, we practitioners all know from our own experiences that by practicing the exercises of Falun Gong and improving our moral character, we become physically and spiritually very healthy. This is also the reason why it is said that with the millions of people practicing Falun Gong in China, the Chinese central and local governments, as well as businesses, have saved a tremendous amount of money on health care. Falun Gong can only benefit human society.

Q6: Why did China ban Falun Gong?

A: Its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi first introduced Falun Gong to the public in China, in 1992. The people who initially tried the practice not only found powerful healing effects, but also found answers to their deepest questions in life. As they continued to practice, their friends and family started to notice how they became healthier and better people overall. Thus, almost entirely by word-of-mouth, the numbers of enthusiasts just kept growing. Far and wide, it spread into over 30 countries and attracted people from all walks of life and all cultural backgrounds to learn and practice.

However, back in the land where it was introduced, the Chinese Communist Party deems all matters of the soul, spirit, or faith as superstitions because they lie outside of the Marxist ideologies of materialism and atheism. Three years ago, the Chinese government chose to ban Zhuan Falun, because of its "superstitious" content.

Despite their efforts against it however, the practice continued to gain in popularity. After an official investigation into the practice, the Chinese leadership was shocked to discover that by early 1999, an estimated 70 to 100 million people all over China were practicing Falun Dafa. Orders were immediately given to the police to start harassing practitioners, prevent them from practicing together, or threaten to lock people in jail if they didn't pay large sums of money. In one incident in Tianjin, police even took to beating and detaining practitioners who dared to come forward to express their views.

Practitioners around the country responded by asking their local government agencies to assist them—all to no avail. They were simply told that the orders had come from the central government. Thus, on April 25, about 10,000 people showed up outside the main government buildings in Beijing to present a request for a legal and non-hostile environment in which to practice. The gathering was peaceful, orderly, and lawful. After a few practitioners were able to meet with certain high-level government officials, everyone quietly went home.

What the Falun Dafa practitioners did not know at the time was that the Communist Party and the government were beginning to consider the practice a serious threat to their power. In July, the government branded Falun Gong a cult and outlawed the practice. Police started ransacking people's homes, confiscating books, and arresting hundreds of people whom they considered to be Falun Dafa "organizers". Since then, tens of thousands of practitioners have been arbitrarily detained and mistreated, some even tortured to death, simply because they are not willing to denounce their beliefs. Many of these people, ordinary citizens with ordinary jobs, are now awaiting trials while their access to lawyers is denied. Recently, the persecution escalated to such an extent that the Chinese government has denounced Falun Dafa as an "evil religion" and new laws were legislated to "punish without mercy" those who were labeled "cult". In addition to launching an intensive defamation campaign against the founder and force such propaganda into every community and workplace throughout the country, the Chinese government has also issued an arrest warrant and extradition request for Mr. Li, and also sent smear materials internationally.

For those of us in North America who practice Falun Dafa, the crackdown in China seems like a terrible misunderstanding. We look at the teachings of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance and we see nothing that any government wouldn't be overjoyed to have its citizens practice. The practice is peaceful and has no political agenda. We hope that people outside of China will come to understand why so many people in the world feel blessed to have found Falun Dafa as their true spiritual path.

Q7: How can I learn Falun Dafa?

A: All practice sites offer free instruction, and everyone is welcome. To find a site near your home, please visit on the Internet. There are also instructional books and a video available from bookstores. All materials can also be downloaded for free from the Internet.

Attending the 9-day session of Master Li’s video lectures is a good way to systematically learn Falun Dafa, about 2 hours every day including the 5 sets of exercise teaching. The local practitioners hold these 9-day seminars regularly.

Q8: Is this exercise suitable for seniors?

A: The exercise movements of Falun Dafa are smooth, gentle ,and easy to learn. They are good for people of all ages.

Q9: What does "Falun Dafa" mean?

A: "Fa" means the law and principles of the universe. "Lun" means wheel. So "Falun" can be translated as "The Law Wheel". The Falun emblem of Falun Dafa represents the Law Wheel. "Da" means great. So "Dafa" means the Great Law.

Q10: What does the Falun emblem represent?

Falun is a miniature of the universe. It has Yin-Yang from the Dao School and everything in the ten directions from the Buddha school are all reflected in this Falun. You can find a detailed explanation <here> or in Chapter 5 of Zhuan Falun .

Q11: What is the meaning of "Gong" in "Falun Gong"?

A: "Gong" is the abbreviation of "Qigong". Qigong, means "cultivation and practice". It originally came from the
cultivation ways passed from great Qigong Masters to individual students or religious cultivators.

Q12: Are there any fees charged?

A: All Falun Gong activities are free of charge. Just as Master Li said, "When you promote it, you should not seek fame or profit. You should serve others voluntarily." The teaching of the exercises and 9-day video lectures are done voluntarily at all times.

Source: Falun Canada

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Last Updated June 4, 2003 8:54 am

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