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.
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 Lis 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."
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.
A: Tai Chi is a cultivation practice, which consists of improving ones 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."
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-restraintqualities 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.
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.
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 themall 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.
A: All practice sites offer free instruction, and everyone is welcome. To find a site near your home, please visit http://www.falundafa.ca 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 Lis 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.
A: The exercise movements
of Falun Dafa are smooth, gentle ,and easy to learn. They are good for
people of all ages.
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.
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
is the abbreviation of "Qigong". Qigong, means "cultivation
and practice". It originally came from the
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.