May 21, 2008 > Falun Gong, a peaceful practice
Falun Gong, a peaceful practice
By Maureen Garrett
According to Google and Yahoo, there are more than ten million articles on the Internet about Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. Many Americans have never heard of it but if they have, most are unaware that this movement, which began peacefully in China in 1992 has, according to Falun Gong practitioners, become such a threat to the Chinese Communist Party that the organization was initially savagely repressed and eventually totally banished from China in 1999.
According to official statistics at the end of 1999, when the group was banned from China, more than 50 million copies of "Zhuan Falun," the main text of Falun Dafa, had been sold in China. According to the organization's website, www.falundafa.org., the number of practitioners now exceeds 100 million in over 80 countries.
Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual practice that includes exercise and meditation with core principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. Reportedly, persons who practice regularly find it brings better health, reduced stress, inner peace and deepened morals. It is now practiced in over 80 countries worldwide as a peaceful self-improvement spiritual practice without any formal organization, property, membership, hierarchy or worship. It is neither a religion nor a sect.
Li Hongzhi, also known as The Master, introduced the Falun Gong (literally: Buddha Law Wheel exercise) to the Chinese public in May 1992 and it quickly spread through word of mouth. He taught that Falun Gong motions are done to rotate the falun, a spinning body of energy said to be located at the lower abdomen. Followers believe that performing the exercises stimulates energy within the body and absorbs energy from the universe. Negative elements are released and this remedies abnormal conditions within the body.
Falun Gong stems from the Chinese tradition of Qigong, an ancient tradition of exercise and meditation. The Falun Gong movement was formerly affiliated with the Qigong Research Association of China, but Hongzhi withdrew from the movement in 1992. His Falun Gong practice had a more spiritual focus than other groups which focused primarily on physical well-being.
At the recent city council meetings of Newark, Union City and Fremont, practitioners of Falun Gong made statements about atrocities practitioners are suffering in China by the Chinese government. Each of the speakers invited council members to join the Global Human Rights Torch Relay which took place in San Francisco on April 5, 2008. One of these practitioners, Ying Qian, said she has been practicing Falun Gong since 2003 but was familiar with the group years earlier because of her mother who still lives in China. Qian, who has a doctorate degree in science, said her mother experienced a miraculous recovery from a lifelong illness after practicing the Falun Gong principles. Looking for a cure for her own chronic pain, the result of a car accident, Qian also experienced a total recovery from the back pain and headaches that had plagued her since the accident.
Falun Gong is not without controversy. Questions have been raised as to the legitimacy of Li Hongzhi and some of his statements have raised eyebrows. In Zlhuan Falun Turning the Law Wheel, it is stated, "In this universe, human life as we see it, isn't generated in the ordinary world. A person's true life is generated in the space of the universe. The reason being, there are many types of matter in this universe that produce life, and these types of matter in this universe that produce life, and these types of matter can generate life through motion and interaction."
The swastika in the center of the Falun Gong Law Wheel is explained by Hongzhi as a symbol of good fortune in China and many other cultures. This ancient symbol, used for over two centuries, has only since the rise of Adolph Hitler and World War II been associated with Nazi oppression. Qian said it is unfortunate that Hitler stole the sign of the Buddha School. She points out, however, that Hitler's version shows the symbol with an altered direction and the color was changed to black.
For more information on the practice of Falun Gong, visit their website at: www.falundafa.org.