|Friday, March 24, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 118
of mind and body
By Tom Carpenter
"Location, location, location." That real estate mantra could easily describe the philosophy regarding where one can practice the five Falun Gong exercises.
The estimated 100 million practitioners in more than 30 countries can quite literally do the simple exercises anywhere, including where this traditional art form of self-refinement originated: mainland China.
Falun Dafa pioneer Master Li says that Falun Dafa is an advanced cultivation system of mind, body and spirit based on ancient wisdom.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, was first introduced to the world by its creator, Master Li Hongzhi, nearly 10 years ago.
The goal of Falun Dafa is not political, nor do its practitioners seek any financial gain. The very premise of Falun Dafa resists the concept of personal gain through the teachings of these exercises, except for the enrichment in the mental and physical health and well-being of its participants.
The tenets of Falun Dafa revolve around the concept that it is possible, through meditation and exercise, to enhance the traditional art of self-refinement of mind and body.
Falun Dafa "is an advanced cultivation system of mind, body and spirit, based on ancient wisdom," Li said.
The five sets of exercises are intended to complement the cultivation.
Three of the exercises involve physical movements, while the other two are peaceful exercises including a sitting meditation.
The movements are simple and easy to learn. They can be practiced alone or in a group anytime and anywhere. The simplicity of the training and its suitability for all ages are two of the attractive features of this exercise.
The potency of Falun Dafa rests on its intellectual teachings which promote "Zen" (truth, truthfulness), "Shan" (compassion, kindness, benevolence) and "Ren" (tolerance, forbearance).
Practitioners of Falun Dafa are to be virtuous individuals in every circumstance and environment. Exercise sessions are free, and everyone is welcome.
The Falun Gong teaches appropriate terminology and concepts of Buddhism and Taoism, but it doesn't incorporate the religious formalities, rituals or worship these philosophies promote.
The Falun Emblem is the symbol of the Falun Dafa.
"The Law Wheel of the Buddha School, the Yin-Yang of the Tao School and the 10-directional world are all reflected in the Falun, the Law Wheel," Li wrote in his instructional books China Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun (Revolving the Law Wheel).
Falun Dafa concentrates on the development of one's "Heart/Mind Nature," known as "Xinxing."
The cultivation of Xinxing includes abandoning negative behavior, dealing effectively with losses and gains and relinquishing unhealthy ties.
Falun Dafa utilizes the five sets of exercises to help people build stronger virtues and morals so their lives can be less stressful.
The eventual goal is to "assimilate to the supreme nature of the Universe," according to the teachings of the Zhuan Falun.
Zhuan Falun instructs what is essentially the Golden Rule: "You should always display compassion and kindness toward others and think of others before doing anything."
Falun Gong teaches its advocates to examine their innermost thoughts and seek areas that can be improved in one's self. It also encourages people to take responsibility for their decisions and actions.
So why is this exercise, which was once admired by the Communist rulers of China for saving millions of dollars in health care costs and improving the morality in China, under attack and out of favor?
One reason is sheer numbers. More Chinese citizens practice Falun Gong than there are members of the Communist Party. That fact alone makes Falun Gong a threat to the leaders of China.
Falun Dafa is, according to its promotional literature, "a traditional ‘Qigong' practice for healing and fitness. It's also a spiritual discipline that promotes truthfulness, compassion and tolerance; universal virtues that transcend cultural, racial and national boundaries."
These very principles are what the Chinese leaders fear. This fear forces the leaders of China to arrest, imprison and, in some cases, torture and kill practitioners of Falun Dafa.
Amnesty International has published eight pages of documented cases of practitioners of Falun Gong who were tortured and killed by the Chinese government.
First introduced to China in 1992, Falun Dafa was registered with the Qigong Research Association of China.
Its goal of "genuinely guiding people to higher dimensions" contrasted from other Qigong schools that concentrated on healing illnesses and staying physically fit.
Falun Gong advocates strive to abandon bad habits and emotions like anger, anxiety, jealousy and the quest for personal fame and fortune. In 1996, Master Li withdrew Falun Gong from the Qigong Society. China's leaders didn't allow Falun Gong to be registered under any other category, meaning that it no longer had legal protection or status in Chinese society.
Because the Falun Dafa was not under the Communist Party's control, it became a target of the Chinese government.
But for UH graduate Wu Zheng, Falun Gong was the solution for several problems.
Zheng suffered sleeplessness and an ulcer from stress. Modern medicine couldn't relieve the symptoms of his illness, and religion couldn't satisfactorily answer his questions about the universe.
"I've studied astrophysics. I went to several churches, but couldn't find the answers to the puzzles of life," Zheng said. "I read about Falun Gong one night and became totally absorbed. It answered all my questions on the cosmos."
Zheng said his physical and mental health have improved a great deal since he began practicing Falun Gong, and his ulcer is gone too.
It's interesting to note that, like the early Christians who were punished for their beliefs, advocates of Falun Gong offer no resistance to their persecution in China.
For more information about this advanced traditional Chinese Qigong
practice, call (877) Falun-99 or link to www.falundafa.org.