What is Falun Gong

In the year 2013, on May 13th, Falun Gong will be celebrating both the date that the teachings were first expounded in public, and, the birthday of founder Master Li Hongzhi.

If this blog was being written in the year 1996 (four years after the first public lecture), it would probably be along the lines of a celebration for the fact that Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) had swept the nation of China to become the most popular form of Qi Gong (to put it simplistically)  in a country basking in a revival of temporarily lost forms of thought (courtesy of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution) and expressions of spirituality.

If this blog were being written in 1998, with full knowledge of what was happening behind the scenes of Chinese Communist Party closed door meetings, it would probably include, in addition to the above, a more sinister twist to the tale whereby concerns about the practice being under surveillance and scrutiny would be addressed.

1999. May 13th. One month from this date the infamous 6-10 Office would be established to destroy Falun Gong by any means necessary – at home and abroad.

May 13th 2000. Protests for a peaceful resolution with the Chinese government would be a major part of the blog, alongside details of the spiritual group in terms of its teachings and methodology of practice.

2001. The Self-Immolation incident would take centre stage as an example of the propaganda campaign at its most brutal.

2007. The previous 5 years of blogs might focus on the incarceration, torture and murder of an unknown number of practitioners of Falun Gong. If written well, then such a blog may also divulge information on the efforts being made to attain freedom within China by those brave enough on the Mainland to not roll over (or should that be under) the well oiled machine that is CCP suppression. However, it undoubtedly would be, to the majority, about the recent discovery that practitioners were being kept in concentration camps so that their organs could be harvested to sell to the rich in China, and to medical tourists from abroad. It may have ended with a glimmer of hope being that the Olympic torch would shine a bright light over the darkness that is modern-day China, exposing crimes not just against Falun Gong, but many other suppressed and marginalised peoples across what was once a proudly spiritual nation.

Unfortunately, 21 years since the first lecture, any commentary about Falun Gong becomes incredibly complicated. With the group so poorly represented in Western media due to truly appalling journalism, corruption and complicity with the CCP, almost every piece of information requires a further explanation to counter the pervasive propaganda that has spread from the Mainland into Chinese communities around the world…..and into the minds of Westerners who have gotten used to thinking that they don’t have to think about what they are told – if it is in black and white, spoken about on the radio or shown on TV, it must be true!

62 years have gone by since Master Li was born in Jilin province [Insert: in 1994 Li changed his date of birth from the official date (which officially varies) of July 1952, to May 13th 1951. This was an auspicious date in history, as it was the birthday of Buddha Sakyamuni. The CCP claimed Li wanted to present himself as a reincarnation of the enlightened one. Li states himself to be an enlightened being, but not a reincarnation of Sakyamuni, and in his wisdom points out that many criminals would also have been born on May 13th so the date itself is not what is important…the truth, however, is always important. Insert within the Insert: The CCP counter-claimed that they have a sworn testimony of a midwife who assisted in his difficult birth, as it required the use of synthesised oxytocin – the counter claim being that oxytocin was not synthesised until 1953 [1].]

The inserts shall be dispensed with, for now, as you can see just how complicated even the most simple detail becomes when there are more than one account of events….wait…another thought…to the best of my knowledge it isn’t a requirement for a being to reincarnate over and over again on the same date.

Add several accounts of events in the form of propaganda, and the whole things just becomes a mess, with a reader (are you still there?) being left completely confused owing to the fact that a straightforward story just cannot be threaded together about Falun Gong.

So, as is the case with almost all blogs on the Project T610 website, this will be a work in progress. Over time each blog shall be added to and then cross-referenced with other existing commentaries to create a web effect of what is a very complex topic.

…….T61016T…….

Despite dozens of lectures on the practice of Falun Gong being presented by its founder, Master Li Hongzhi [Insert: the term ‘Master’ is merely a means to formally recognise a person who has achieved great prowess in a given field. Much like a Maestro in Western music. In Asia the term is very much used in a plethora of disciplines from arts, martial arts and spiritual practices. It does not dictate worship, as might be the connotations to a Westerner….but only if said Westerner were reading about a group which was accused of being a “cult” might that interpretation be applicable. This insert is required to clarify a simple word, as the context has been altered by both propaganda and the propagation of dross by poor journalism – ok ok I really will try and desist with the inserts], the cultivation practice can be summarised by the three core precepts:
Zhen – Truthfulness
Shan – Benevolence or Compassion
Ren – Forbearance or Tolerance

The following blog represents an understanding of Falun Gong by T610 (blimey…has this really only just started on the titled topic??!!). Out of respect for the Master of Falun Gong (and no…that is not said in a creepy worshipy way, it is in recognition that if there is a creator of something, no-one else can ever have as deep an understanding of it than whomever does the creating – that should be obvious…shouldn’t it?) the phrase “an understanding” really is appropriate. T610 has not reached the dizzy heights of enlightenment, nor plunged to the depths of true self-knowledge enough to claim even a hint of wisdom (well…maybe just a little bit of wisdom), so an understanding is all that can be presented as all those who study Falun Gong will acknowledge that their own comprehension changes over time.

You know what. I am just going to go ahead and write a blog titled “The controversies, claims and counter-claims about Falun Gong, its adherents and their struggle for freedom”. It can then be referred to without resorting to relentless inserts.

Where were we? Even I, in my finite proficiency at narrating this story, have managed to get lost already.
Counter-claim to the statement of my knowledge being finite…it is better that from here-on in you just trust me that I am not trying to deceive you in any way (i’ve done my research). What is presented is the truth to the best of my knowledge. There. A disclaimer….should you ever feel the need to counter what is claimed.

If you scan to the bottom of this page, you will realise that, in a simplistic manner, it is very easy to explain what Falun Gong is. The associated Missing Fragment of Transmission 6-10 can also be watched:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=c6PqTaL28B4

WHAT IS FALUN GONG?:

“Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong) is an advanced self-cultivation practice
of the Buddha School. ” [2].

It is a practice of both mind and body, in that alongside improved morality, exercises of both a meditative and Qi Gong method are practiced.

The aforementioned precepts form part of a concept known as Xinxing (virtue). Improvement in the state of this is pivotal to success.

“Xinxing encompasses how to deal with the two matters of gain and loss. “Gain” is to gain conformity to the nature of the universe. The nature that comprises the universe is Zhen-Shan-Ren. A cultivator’s degree of conformity to the nature of the universe is reflected in the amount of his or her virtue. “Loss” is to abandon negative thoughts and behaviors, such as greed, the pursuit of personal gain, lust, desire, killing, fighting, theft, robbery, deception, jealousy, etc.” [4]

The concept of abandoning attachments forms a part of Loss and Gain. It is a requirement of true practitioners to abandon the need (to provide my own explanation) for everything and anything – including any dependency for practicing Falun Gong itself – which may have brought them to study it in the first place…considered to be a fundamental attachment e.g. the relieving of physical ailments.

THE EXERCISES:
The four standing exercises and the meditation are incredibly easy to learn. The movements are simple and there is no focus on breathing techniques – with minimal demands on focusing attentions towards specific parts of the body. Mastering the exercises is more a function of the mind and controlling the myriad of thoughts that crop up when one tries to empty the mind for meditation.

“…a Great Way is, as a rule, simple and easy to learn.” [3]


1 – Fo Zhan Qianshou Fa (Buddha Stretching a Thousand Arms)

Designed to acquire energy and open up all the energy channels, thus removing blockages and facilitating circulation. The 8 movements are repeated 3 times in total to complete the exercise.

Movement 5

2 – Falun Zhuang Fa (Falun Standing Stance)
The challenge of this exercise is in the holding of positions (four in total) for prolonged periods of time. Fatigue is released when the exercises is completed. It also increases wisdom and strengthens supernatural powers. Each position is only held once, but for a minimum of 3 minutes each – with seasoned practitioners holding them for over 10 minutes.

3 – Guantong Liangji Fa (Coursing Between the Two Poles)
In this exercise the energy of the body is mixed with that of the Universe. Pathogenic black Qi is expelled. The top of the head and under the feet are opened up during the process of purification. The two sets of movements (done 9 times each) are repeated 3 times to complete the exercise.

4 – Falun Zhoutian Fa (Falun Cosmic Orbit)
The body’s energy is circulated over a large area, going through both the yin and yang sides repeatedly. All the meridians of the body are opened up, which are gradually connected – returning the body to its original state. The circulation is done in a composed manner and repeated 9 times and the entire process is done 3 times to complete the exercise.

5 – Shentong Jiachi Fa (Reinforcing Supernatural Powers)
As the name suggests, the meditation is to strengthen supernatural powers & abilities and Gong. Originally this method was kept a secret from everyday people. The mind is kept empty, but not going into a state of trance – maintaining consciousness. The longer the exercise is done for in terms of duration and repetition, the greater the results.

Exercises 1, 3 & 4 only last around 10 minutes. 2 & 3 can last 30 minutes and a lot longer when proficiency is attained. In an ideal world my exercise routine per day would be around 2 hours. This may sound like a long time to spend doing something, but the reality is it is just the length of a film – such as Transmission 6-10. There is a sense of purpose in doing the exercises. One is trying to achieve something rather than passively experiencing something external – which is very what many of us find ourselves doing in the modern world when faced with stresses and pressures. I find these exercises to be a more proactive approach that is also relaxing and invigorating.

EXPLAINING TERMS:
The term “cultivation” is perhaps a little unknown in the West. Most orthodox religions and spiritual practices embrace similar precepts to truth, compassion and tolerance, but with the singular aim of becoming worthy enough to enter a positive rather than negative afterlife. Religions and spiritualism in the East have a greater tendency to encourage people to transforms themselves into becoming higher-level beings. I suppose a very simple way to explain the difference would be for a Catholic to instead of living a life with the intention of entering heaven, to endeavour towards becoming an Angel – literally transform themselves into a higher level being.

This is the concept of nirvana (a term you may be more familiar with). To become enlightened. Buddhism and Taoism believes that higher levels of consciousness can be achieved if one lives a certain way and practices meditation and/or Qi Gong in a certain way – of which there are many variants. Moral conduct must be improved alongside the abandonment of all attachments to an earthly life (which does not mean a seeking for death, as suicide is forbidden), whilst tempering a desire for supernatural abilities.

Morality goes beyond merely being a good person, as it might be described today. The concept of what is a good person has changed over the millennia. In ancient times a good person certainly would not be the man or woman who would stop at nothing to provide for their family (which might be the case today e.g. trampling over colleagues to win a promotion, it would be more the man or woman who could forbear the suffering of not having, and yet still do the best that they could.)

Attachments can be anything. I might be attached right now to completing this blog before a deadline. If I were to fold my legs to meditate right now I can guarantee that the first thing on my mind would be this very piece. Beyond the mundane and obvious attachments (especially those deemed immoral) are ones which in the West could be considered absurd e.g. abandoning the attachment of love. This is certainly something that requires a great deal of explaining (perhaps personal experience of it) to truly comprehend. It is something that Western journalists have failed to acknowledge as being a spiritual endeavour and therefor find themselves questioning the very motives of the practice. This shall be tackled in more detail within a future blog, but, for now, if you imagine the number of broken hearts suffered in a lifetime: after many months of mourning the loss of a loved one (through the parting of ways or the passing of a life) and all the anguish it creates, it is inevitable that eventually we come to terms with our loss…now imagine being able to do that in an instant – and yet remain capable of love throughout the relationship and in readiness for the next. It is a very thin line to tread, to be able to walk this earth, living a full life, and yet not require anything to the left or right of your path to the extent where it become a distraction of the mind.

What are supernatural powers then? In the West we conjure up images of people flying through the air, or walking through walls….reading minds and disappearing in a mist. All of these powers, and more, are said to lay dormant in the human being – a remnant of an evolved state that has long since come to pass as man has become ever more dependent upon the material world for survival and, uhumn, progress.

In Eastern spiritual practices, the body is considered to be a small cosmos or universe. As such, it is a vastly more complex, diverse and complete state of being than Western science acknowledges to be the case (for it only examines a thing on the surface on its most physical plane of existence). If one acknowledges that there is more to a human being than meets the eye, then a new world of possibilities has to be taken onboard. This is too deep a subject to be explored in this blog, but for now it should be mentioned that Quantum Physics and Quantum Mechanics is slowly catching up with what Masters of many spiritual practices around the world, and throughout time, have been saying all along. Stating that is not enough to appease an atheist, but for now it will have to do. As for those who consider themselves to be religious, if one believes in an afterlife, then one acknowledge the above to be the case. If the above is the case, then one should also concede that there could be even more to that which you currently believe. Yes…all teachings claim to be an ultimate understanding of life, death and the Universe (there is an explanation for that too), but if suspension of the dogmatic view of “that which I already believe is everything there is to believe in” is achieved, then you can easily take accept the concepts of spiritual practices that come from differing cultures – with their own unique lineage of evolution and richness.

The Falun – Master Li Honzhi
“The rotating Falun has the same qualities as the universe, and is the universe’s miniature. The Buddhist Falun, the Daoist Yin-Yang, and everything of the Ten-Directional World are reflected in the Falun. The Falun provides salvation to the practitioner when it rotates inward (clockwise), since it absorbs a great amount of energy from the universe and transforms it into Gong energy. The Falun provides salvation to others when rotating outward (counter-clockwise), for it releases energy that can save any being and rectify any abnormal condition. Being in the presence of someone who practices thus benefits a person.” [2]

WHAT THIS MEANS TO ME:
Freedom.
It may seem, at first, that there are a lot of restrictions on a path towards enlightenment (give up this, don’t do that, abstain from this and go nowhere near that), but on a deeper level (a level that is only really explored when one begins to internalise thoughts and focus truly on the ‘self’) it can be extremely liberating – especially of negativity that holds us back in so many ways.

I do enjoy such things, like the board game Go (which only has one move that can be made… placing a piece on the board), that are so seemingly simplistic, yet mastery can take a lifetime of dedication.

It is, perhaps, in the meditation exercise where the profundity of Falun Gong is experienced in its entirety. As one quietens the mind in order to reduce thoughts to the minimum of being self-aware that one is practicing, an inevitability is that a myriad of thoughts flood the brain. Some may be pressing matters, whilst others might be that which is very important to a person, grievous or joyous memories…others are just simple daily matters. In my understanding, if we take Xinxing to simply mean virtue (an expression of truth, compassion and tolerance) which is necessary in mastery of loss and gain, it becomes the only way in which one can truly quieten the mind – as one takes total control over any thought patterns, for nothing is deemed so important to disturb the quietness. It is said that we only fall asleep when there is a moment of peace in the mind. Imagine the number of restless nights when the labours of the next day or a personal problem has kept you awake. Suddenly it is the next morning because for a fleeting moment you had let go of everything…now imagine having done that, and yet, remained awake and conscious of yourself. It isn’t an easy thing, but the benefits are well documented.

…….T61016T…….

Not to make light of the situation faced by practitioners of Falun Gong in China, but the opening of this blog was written in the manner with which it was, to help the reader realise that what could be something very simple, has been warped almost beyond recognition by the self-serving; be they the CCP or those in the West that choose profit over people.

“Someone who cultivated in a high-level Daoist practice once said: “I don’t want the things others want, and I don’t possess the things others possess; but I have things others don’t, and I want things others don’t.” An everyday person hardly has a moment when he or she feels satisfied.” [4] Master Li Hongzhi