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Thread: Falun Dafa

  1. #1
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    Default Falun Dafa

    I know this is chinese but has anyone tried the movements or read the books? If so, what did you think of it?
    Chris Neville

    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    -Sun Tzu

  2. #2
    Alex Crofut Guest

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    Sorry, haven't tried it, but I do know current practitioners, and just attended one of their events commemorating the 10th anniversary of their founding.

    A few things:

    First, there is no way to justify the way the Chinese government can justify what they do to Falun Gong practitioners. Just check the stories out on any news organization. I've heard even worse than I've read on CNN.

    As for the movement itself, I've been trying to research it independently to decide wether or not it's a cult. I'm concerned that their founder claims superhuman powers for himself (including levitation and invisibility), claims aliens are among us and trying to replace us with clones (I have no idea why when they could just conquer us if they had that technology) and also claims that he is a buddha (his practitioners often call him this). I started to read his first book, but stopped after only 50 pages.

    I've heard reports from http://www.gospelcom.net/apologetics...html#falungong
    that their founder believes inter-racial marriage is bad and that inter-racial children will not be cared for in the after-life. I've tried to verify this, but I think it's a misquote.

    If anyone has any information regarding falun gong, please let me know. Since family members are involved . . .

    No better way than to check for yourself:

    http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/artic.../15/18785.html
    http://www.stanford.edu/group/falun/

  3. #3
    Alex Crofut Guest

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    For those interested,

    I just found a site by a professor at Leiden University (Sinological Institute) in the Netherlands.

    http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/bth/falun.htm

    This seems to me to be a good starting point if you're looking into Falun Gong as it provides a history and some key issues. more importantly, it gives a lot of references.

  4. #4
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    Hey Alex,

    Thanks for the response. I've been researching it myself, because I tried it with the local group, and I really liked the exercises. I kinda take anything negative that I hear about it with a grain of salt, because the chinese government is running a major smear campaign against it. So all I really use for discernment is what I read in the books and how the practitioner's act.

    The alien thing would have thrown me for a loop, except for I had just read a book by a native brit that ran along those lines. Its called Children of the Matrix by David Icke. He's pretty hard core into the alien's among us theory.

    He claims there are lots of buddas into today's society, so its no surprise that some think that he is. I personally haven't read where he says he is.

    The inter-racial children thing is funny, because from my understanding, he doesn't teach of an after life, but believes in reincarnation.

    This is what I have found from observing the local group. Most people do a whole lot of protesting what is going on in china, and do the physical exercises, but don't have a good understanding of the reading material. Some of these people go on to introduce others to the practice, and answer questions from their own flawed understanding. I don't think its a cult the way the chinese government tries to make it, but I believe the potential is there if they continue with this blind leading the blind mentality. No worse than some Christian sects in the US though. Of course this is just my outter observations. I can do the exercises and read on my own, and don't really see the need to do it with a group. therefore I don't know what goes on once you get deeper, and more trusted by a group, if anything.
    Chris Neville

    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    -Sun Tzu

  5. #5
    Alex Crofut Guest

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    Not only does the Chinese government run a smear campaign, so do some Christian groups. The link I provided above regarding the inter-racial children is I believe Scientologist. I've been searching through their reference, and they didn't show where the quote comes from either. I looks like they made it up, so I thought someone here might be able to help. This is actually an important issue for me as my son is half-Chinese.

    I have seen the exercises, and I believe they are quite helpful. In fact, I will be learning the five exercises this weekend (as much as you can learn in one weekend anyway). Even though my above posts present problems I have with Falun Gong, it's from the angle that I want to check it out thoroughly. That said, I'll add another problem to the list: Falun Gong practitioners aren't supposed to seek medical help. I think the rest of the problems (like pre-historic underwater civilizations) are actually not that big a deal. I never put much stock in the story of Noah, either. And all religions claim to be the only truth.

    So what's good? Like I said, I think the exercises, like other forms of qigong, are beneficial to people's health. One advantage Falun Dafa has over other forms of qigong is that it does stress helping others and spiritual enlightenment rather than personal gain.

    My personal observation of Falun Gong practitioners is that they are normal people. The celebration I attended was very enjoyable, and I would like to spend more time with the people who attended. Everyone I spoke with was very nice. As I left, they gave me a cd of music they use for meditation and a flyer.

    In summary, I think that Falun Gong is generally good, but I do have some issues with some of the claims made by their founder and some of the official doctrine.

    I'm hoping that more contact with more practitioners will assuage my concerns. If you like, I'll update here after I learn some of the exercises and talk to some more people. I hope that you'll do the same, it sounds like you're a lot further along in your research. I'm especially curious to know what specific questions you have about Falun Gong. I would like to be able to look at it from a different point of view. Being raised in the U.S. probably makes me a little biased, so I would like to see a different, independent point of view.

    BTW, are you in the SF area?

  6. #6
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    I've heard about the medical thing, and I can't find any basis for it. My understanding is that if you have medical problems, you shouldn't do the practice in order to get rid of them. This is an attachment, and is not good for cultivation. That's not to say that the practice won't help, but that should not be your aim. I have never read anything about not seeking medical attention if you need it.

    I really don't have many pressing questions now. One that I did have in the past was how a person could get a falun without being at a seminar, but that was answered as a read further. You can get it just by reading the book. It was pleasant to see that no one asked for any money, and that the books were available for free on the net. I'm always suspicious of any spiritual group that asks for a lot of money. Only thing that really bothers me now, is why the practioners seem to stray from what is being taught. For example, they are really hard core in the US about protesting against what is happening in china, but the teachings clearly are against political involvement. So I don't understand where all that comes from.

    I'm actually on the otherside of the country in NC. Not as big a movement over here, but it is around. Please let me know if you make any knew discoveries, and I shall do the same!
    Chris Neville

    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    -Sun Tzu

  7. #7
    Alex Crofut Guest

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    Having only read the first 50 pages, I can't provide a textual basis for refusing medical treatment either. However, I can tell you definitively that practitioners do refuse medicine (hey, I try to keep that at a minimum also). Once again, the justification for Falun Gong I hear most often <<from practitioners>> is the health benefits. This is the difference between official doctrine and practice. My first reading though, did spend a lot of time discussing Master Li's ability to heal others, although he said he wouldn't heal people because that is not the purpose of Falun Gong (that's part of the reason I stopped reading).

    I agree that it's great they offer the books and other things for free over the internet. That's one of the main reasons I am willing to look into it further.

    So, my opinion going in is the actual practice is good, but the doctrine as presented to me by practitioners, their websites, the first 50 pages of the first book, and my other research leaves a lot to be desired. I actually feel the same way about Catholicism. Fourteen years of Catholic school will do that.

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    I think a lot of practioners miss the point. It could be because of their cultural background. From my understanding, there are a lot of qigong masters in china that teach and heal for healings sake, or to make people feel better, or to display supernatural abilities. If you grow up in that kind of culture, I think it would be easy to key in on those things no matter who the qigong master is. All I have to go on, is what is written by this guy in his books, because my experience of chinese culture is limited. He warns of "ordinary people" that just want to heal and be healed, or develop supernatural abilities, for fame and fortune. He says that these are not true practioners. He says that the work of the practice is to cultivate ones moral character in line with truthfulness, benevolence, and forbearance. This is just my understanding though. I could be wrong. Which book did you start reading? I know Zhuan Falun is a bit wordy, and takes a while to go though. Try Falun Gong. It's less than half as big, and gives a good overview. It's 92 pages in my copy up to the exercises, then rest of the book is the movements, glossary, etc.
    Chris Neville

    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    -Sun Tzu

  9. #9
    Alex Crofut Guest

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    I agree 100%.

    To answer your question, I started reading zhuan falun. I wanted to keep them in order. I plan on re-reading it, the whole thing this time, but I'm going to finish the second book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy first

  10. #10
    eppo Guest

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    Hi, I am a Falun Gong practitioner and iíd like to comment on several postings I read on this forum. But before you read on, maybe you just like to ask me, as a practitioner, questions. I would gladly answer any questions about the practice of Falun Gong with the hope to clear out some misunderstandings.

    The topics Iíd like to address are politics, the issue of seeing a doctor and supernatural abilities.

    Politics
    A Falun Gong practitioner will always state that he doesnít get involved in politics. However most of them do untertake actions to tell about the unjustified persecution of Falun Gong in China to as many people as possible, and this includes politicians as well. The issue then is: is it politics if you ask (a politician) for human rights to be respected or inform people about the persecution? The people in China have no way to appeal if their human rights are violated, this would be answered with arrest or worse. Only people from outside of China can speak out for them and the way to do it is through human rights organizations and governments. I must admit that it looks like politics if a government exercises pressure on China to respect human rights, but this is still an act of the politicians themselves. The Falun Gong practitioners only informed them about the situation. Another question you could ask is, if Falun Dafa does have political goals what are they and how does this manifest?

    For a reference what Master Li (the founder of Falun Gong) states about politics, you could read his article ďNo PoliticsĒ at:
    http://clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2001/6/7/11235.html

    I must however mention that these articles are actually meant for practitioners only because a certain level of understanding of the teachings is required to understand these articles. But since the articles are free to download and Falun Gong has nothing to hide, you can read them as well.

    Seeing a doctor
    As you might have already read, the teachings do not mention that you cannot see a doctor. Master Li even mentions that hospitals can cure diseases, and that why else would people go there. It is however stated in the teachings that when you feel ill and you decide to see a doctor or use medicine you do not consider yourself a practitioner, which implies that you should not see a doctor. In my opinion this is a matter of levels. If you understand what is written in the books, about how diseases come about, what their fundamental cause is and what it means to be a practitioner, then you indeed should not see a doctor or use medicine once you feel ill. However if you just start the practice and donít have a deep understanding of Falun Gong, it is not advised to not see a doctor.

    Furthermore, Falun Dafa is indeed not meant for healing illnesses, which is also clearly stated in the books. If people who have severe illnesses come to practice Falun Gong in order to have their illnesses cured, they will not get cured, because they are attached to healing their illnesses. If they canít give up this attachment, nothing can be done. If you come to practice Falun Gong without this attachment and happen to have some illness, itís very well possible that this illness will get cured after practicing Falun Gong for a while.

    Finally itís interesting to investigate how many Falun Gong practitioners died because of not taking medicine. As far as I know there are only very few such cases and they are highly dubious as well. The Chinese government claims that there are 1600 (in 2000) deaths because of not taking medicine. Even if it is due to not taking medicine then this number is still lower than the average death rate in China considered that there are more than 70 million practitioners.

    Supernatural capabilities
    There is more to life than we can see. If people would reject a religious or spiritual practice because they talk about supernatural abilities, then in my opinion these people are very opinionated and shortsighted. The reason why supernatural abilities are discussed in the teachings of Falun Gong in my opinion is, that when a practitioner comes into contact with it, he understands what is happening and he doesnít have to get frightened. Master Li tries to give a scientific explanation about some unexplained phenomena. He himself never stated that he has supernatural abilities, though other people said he has some abilities. I think itís irrelevant if he has them or not. One thing is for sure he will not casually display them to ordinary people. If he did, all people would come to learn Falun Gong for this, wouldnít they? Just like healing illnesses, gaining supernatural abilities is not the goal of practicing Falun Gong, but it can be a side-effect.

    So far my comments, I hope they gave you some insights.

    Regards,
    Peter

  11. #11
    Alex Crofut Guest

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    Thank you Peter for your response. It is great to get input from a practitioner outside this area. Just a heads-up, the rules of e-budo require you to sign with your full name. You can do that by using the "user cp" button up top.

    As you might have already read, the teachings do not mention that you cannot see a doctor. Master Li even mentions that hospitals can cure diseases, and that why else would people go there. It is however stated in the teachings that when you feel ill and you decide to see a doctor or use medicine you do not consider yourself a practitioner, which implies that you should not see a doctor. In my opinion this is a matter of levels. If you understand what is written in the books, about how diseases come about, what their fundamental cause is and what it means to be a practitioner, then you indeed should not see a doctor or use medicine once you feel ill. However if you just start the practice and donít have a deep understanding of Falun Gong, it is not advised to not see a doctor.
    What is the Falun Gong understanding of illness and its origin? What is its fundamental cause?

    Is this a central issue to Falun Dafa? If not, what are the central issues? To be honest, I often hear "Falun Gong will cure this" or "Falun Gong will cure that." "Falun Gong cured this person." I can never get to the fundamentals of Falun Dafa. Please help!

  12. #12
    eppo Guest

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    Hello,

    Before I answer any questions I want to make clear that whatever I say or write about the teachings of Falun Dafa are just my interpretations of how I understand things at this moment. Please do not let anything I, or any other practitioner for that matter, say or write, restrict you in your understanding. What I say or write will have my interpretations infused into it, and it would not carry any deeper implications or meaning.

    Ok, then to your questions: first of all Iíd like to say that practitioners who go around telling people that Falun Dafa can heal this and that disease may not have understood what Falun Dafa is all about. On the other hand, they could have tried to arouse interest by saying that it can heal illnesses, which is not necessarily wrong. Usually a practitioner will tell about Falun Dafa only in superficial terms because for many people it is too complicated and they will be scared off if things get too profound. Thatís why some practitioners will only say things like ďitís good for your health and it can heal illnessesĒ and "it makes you a better person", in the hope that if people get interested and start to study the teachings they will naturally start to understand what Falun Dafa is really all about.

    The central issue, the essence of Falun Dafa in my opinion is cultivating oneself. In Falun Dafa this is assimilating oneself to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, which in practice means that one should work actively on giving up attachments in order to become a (morally) better person.

    The reason why diseases are discussed in the teachings is because it is strongly related to giving up attachments and also to the reason for starting a cultivation practice. But I could never explain it as thoroughly as it is done in Zhuan Falun. So if you really want to understand it, there is no other way then to read Zhuan Falun yourself. But to give a little direction, i can tell you that Falun Dafa believes in the principles of karma and reincarnation: one has to pay for the wrong deeds done in the past in order to attain a state free of suffering.

    By the way, about reading the book I want to make a remark: you will notice that it is very difficult to finish this book. You may finish Lord of the Rings or any other book easily in maybe a few days if you read quickly. But when reading Zhuan Falun (especially for the first time) lots of difficulties will occur in finishing it. Unknowingly you will Ďforgetí about it, there will be all kinds of things happening that prevent you from reading. If not from your own mind then from external factors. Why this is, is explained in the book. I hope to arouse your curiosity in this way and the advise Iíd like to give is to try finishing this book in a few consecutive days. Donít let too much time get in between.

    And finally: I didnít know about signing with my full name, sorry. I updated my profile.

    Regards,

  13. #13
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    Peter,

    Thanks for the clarification. I had a feeling that even though this was a japanese website, that practitioner's would still drift in if I posted the subject.
    Chris Neville

    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    -Sun Tzu

  14. #14
    Alex Crofut Guest

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    QUOTE]Usually a practitioner will tell about Falun Dafa only in superficial terms because for many people it is too complicated and they will be scared off if things get too profound.[/QUOTE]

    This is a bit of a shame, I like to think I can handle complicated concepts

    in the hope that if people get interested and start to study the teachings they will naturally start to understand what Falun Dafa is really all about
    In the words of Master Li (page 1 of Zhuan Falun downloaded as a word document from clearwisdom.net):

    If you hold various attachments and come to gain supernormal abilities, have illnesses cured, listen to some theories, or come with some ill intentions, that will not work at all
    i can tell you that Falun Dafa believes in the principles of karma and reincarnation: one has to pay for the wrong deeds done in the past in order to attain a state free of suffering.
    So, if I understand you correctly, the fundamental nature of illness is karmic. I'm curious if this is related to Master Li's study of Buddhism? He seems to dislike very strongly Zen Buddhism, giving as his reason that since so many generations have passed, they cannot possibly have it right. The discussion of Zen Buddhism begins on page 4 of the above version of Zhuan Falun, I'm refering to comments on the following page.

  15. #15
    eppo Guest

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    Hi,
    Ronin, your feeling was right. Maybe you like to know how I got here? I am the webmaster of a Dutch Falun Dafa site. I was interested to see who visited Dafa websites and I looked in the site statistics of the site of this Dutch professor at Leiden University who did some research on Falun Gong (see one of the first postings), thatís how I found this site. By the way, the same day, or maybe even a few hours later, I checked these statistics again to find some more links and the link to E-budo.com was already gone, a coincidenceÖ?

    Alex, it would indeed be a shame if a practitioner would always use the same approach in talking about Falun Dafa, like in the example where a practitioner talks about healing illnesses and ignores the fact that the person he addresses might have a very high understanding of certain issues. Every encounter or situation should be evaluated anew. But of course practitioners are all in a learning process, so donít blame them. In fact, you could point it out to them and tell them what you think of their approach. If they really understand Falun Dafa, they will be very happy with your comments and use it to look inward for their shortcomings and how to improve.

    The principle of karmic rewards and retribution is indeed the same as in Buddhism. In fact this is a universal principle, for instance Jesus Christ also said that good will be rewarded with good and evil will be met with evil. The principles are the same, only the explanations differ.

    About Zen Buddhism, Master Li does not dislike Zen Buddhism. He explains that Zen Buddhism can now no longer lead people to enlightenment as it did in the past (the first 6 generations). He speaks with respect of Boddhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. Maybe you should read it againÖ

    Iíd like to make another remark about reading the books of Falun Dafa: you should not read a part of the book with the intention of finding something, like an answer to your questions or this or that. That would be an attachment. Furthermore it is very likely that you take the text out of its context, which could cause a wrong understanding. Itís best to read from beginning to end in the right order, because there is a certain logic in the book. Master Li once said (not an exact quote): if you have read the book once, you will have many questions. If you read it again, many of these questions will be answered, but you will have new ones which are at a higher level than the ones you had before. Reading the book again will answer these questions and again leave you with new questions which are again at a higher level. In this way you naturally make improvement in your understanding. - of course all this applies to practitioners, but i thought it wouldn't hurt for a non-practitioner to follow this as well.

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