Practices and Beliefs

Central teachings

Those practicing Falon Gong wish to progress spiritually by living within a clear set of morals and by practicing meditation and exercises. The three main principles of Falon Gong are compassion, truthfulness and forbearance. These principles together are believed to be of central importance in the Universe. Knowing right from wrong isbelieved to be the highest demonstration of the Tao or the Buddhist Dharma. Adhering to these beliefs and morals and virtues is seen as the most important element of the practice of Falun Gong. A text was published in 1995 called the Zhuan Falun, in which Li writes that the nature of the Universe never changes, even ifmankind’s moral compass does. Using the nature of the Universe is the only way to learn who is good and bad. Toimproves one’s mental, spiritual and physical beliefs one must use the cosmos as a guide for improvement.

There are two features to the practice of Falun Gong. One is practicing the exercises and refining your xinxing, which is a person’s moral character and temperament. Within the central text of Falun Gong, Li writes that xinxing encompasses a range of elements. These include virtue, forbearance, awakening, and giving up certain things such as desires and attachments that an ordinary person would have. It also includes endurance, to endure hardship as well as many other elements. To achieve a higher moral character one must follow the elements of the practice such as being truthful, compassionate, and being tolerant of others. One must live without desire, and have no negative thoughts or behaviours such as lust, greed, seeking profit, fighting, killing, deception or jealousy.

Two of the central concepts of the Falon Gong teachings werethat both ‘Virtue’ and ‘Karma’ exist. One aims for Virtue by performing good deeds and through suffering, whilst Karma may be accumulated through doing wrong. The ratio between Virtue and Karma is thought to determine the fortunes of a person in this life or in their next life. The generation of Virtue means that a person will have good fortune and a spiritual transformation, but having too much karma means that a person will suffer in life, illness and be unable to understand the nature of the cosmos. For further spiritual awakening one must eliminate negative karma and acquire virtue. The teachings of Falun Gong believe that humans are born good, but often get delusional and become selfish, therefore accruing Karma. Those wanting to go back to their ‘true’ selves must live a life of truthfulness, be compassionate to others and show tolerance. They need to get rid of any desires or attachments so that they can pay back the Karma. The main focus of the practice is to seek enlightenment or to reach spiritual perfection so that they are released from the cycle of reincarnation.

The main focus points in Li Hongzhi’s teachings looks back at the ancient Chinese culture of modernity and thought. He believes that, like ancient Chinese tradition, human are connected to the cosmos both physically and mentally. Li wants to show that the way people think about nature, the universe, space and the human body may infact be incorrect.Falun Gong is influenced by East Asian mysticism and Chinese medicine and disapproves of the constraints of modern science. It sees Chinese science very differently but with an equal system of ontology.