Falun Gong: An Ancient Meditation Revived for the Modern World
Divine Powers". (Jeff Nenarella/The Epoch Times)
ancient China, people believed in a greater power beyond the material world, says Frank Zhao, a Falun Gong practitioner
from mainland China. People lived in harmony with nature and believed that good
would be rewarded with good and bad would be punished.
Mr. Zhao said he
had always felt from an early age what the old Chinese people talked about was true, but he could not see
how one could meld the old values with the modern world.
“I just could
not believe that when people die that they just disappear, so I have a lot of
interest about Tao and Gods theory. So … I have this feeling, I want to gain
both of them—living in the modern society and modern life and at the same time
Falun Gong, he says, allowed him to bring those two
apparently divergent paths together. “You could live a normal life and at the
same time be a good person and cultivate yourself and improve yourself,” he
Falun Dafa (“Great Way of the
Law Wheel”), also known as Falun Gong (“Law Wheel Qigong”), has been described
in a number of ways, including as a “heart cultivation practice”. However, it is
described on the Falun Dafa website as “a high-level cultivation practice guided
by the characteristics of the universe—Truthfulness, Benevolence, and
Combining elements of the Buddha School (compassion) and
the Taoist School (truth), the Falun emblem accordingly carries ancient symbols of both—yin and yang symbols (also known as
Taichi symbols) from the Taoist School and srivatsas or swastikas (known as wan
in Chinese) from the Buddha School.
The “practice” involves four
standing exercises and a fifth sitting meditation, which look similar to other
qigong exercises. It is the “cultivation,” however, that sets Falun Dafa
“Cultivators of Falun Dafa strive to cultivate their xinxing
[mind-nature, or character]”, says the Web site, and harmonize with the three
“The higher one is able to elevate xinxing, the
deeper the understanding one has of the teachings presented in Zhuan Falun (Falun Dafa’s primary
John Deller, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association in New
South Wales, says it was the teachings that really attracted him to Falun Dafa
when he began practising around 10 years ago.
Having taught Tai Chi and
martial arts for over 20 years, Mr. Deller said he was familiar with qigong, but
says, “I just found the universality of the principles—truthfulness, compassion
and forbearance—very pure and it just drew me to want to know more about Falun
Having been diagnosed and treated for Hodgkinson’s disease, a virulent form of cancer, some years before, Mr.
Deller says that Falun Dafa has kept him healthy and in a positive frame of
“I am able to be calmer and to not react to things, and to look
within myself in a conflict rather than blaming others.”
According to the
Falun Dafa Web site, Falun Dafa has an ancient history and has been passed down
quietly through the ages from a single master to a single disciple.
was first taught publicly in 1992 by Mr Li Hongzhi (referred to by practitioners
as “Master” or “Teacher”) in the city of Changchun, China. As Mr. Li lectured
around the country, people began to share their individual experiences and the
practice spread rapidly.
By 1998, at least 70 million people were
estimated to have taken up the practice in China alone, the Web site
Thomas Dodson, now a resident of Australia, learned the practice
while living in Paris some 12 years ago. He visited China in early 1999, before
the July clampdown, and stayed in Changchun City, an experience he says he will
“It was incredible at that time because just about every
family had one, if not two, members practicing Falun Gong,” he said, noting that
Changchun then had a population of around seven million people.
second day I was there, a special event had been organized for the Ministry of
Sport and over 10,000 practitioners had come together to demonstrate the
exercises,” he said.
Mr. Dobson said there were “practice sites
everywhere,” with some of the sites having two sessions in the morning alone,
each with around 200 participants.
“If you said you were a Falun Gong
practitioner there would be a lot of respect,” he said.
“To have the
whole city working on personal cultivation—that was pretty
Jennifer Zeng is the author of Witnessing History, a
grueling account of the torture she endured in a labor camp because she
practiced Falun Gong.
Now a resident of Australia, Ms. Zeng says everyone
was talking about Falun Dafa in China before the persecution.
have to advertise for it; people are so eagerly relating it to their families
and friends, to everyone they meet, because they are so excited after
discovering such a good thing,” she said.
Ms. Zeng, like many of those
who took up the practice, experienced remarkable healing benefits, which allowed
her to lead a normal life after being bedridden for years with hepatitis C, something she had gained from bad blood
It is not, however, the main reason that she remains a
“I had always been searching for the ultimate truth of the
universe. Falun Dafa answered all my questions towards life.”