Falun Gong - Modern Chinese Spirituality

Meditation is a major aspect of Falun Gong.
Meditation is a major aspect of Falun Gong.

Falun Gong is a modern Chinese Spiritual practice that involves both qigong movement and meditation that has a moral philosophy based on the doctrines of truthfulness, forbearance, and compassion. This is a practice by the Buddhist school that is centered on morality and virtue. Those who practice Falun Gong aspire to attain spiritual enlightenment.

5. History and Overview of Beliefs

The first public teachings on Falun Gong took place in Northeast China in 1992. The practice enjoyed support from the Chinese officialdom in the mid-1990. Falun Gong teachings were offered for free unlike the ones for qigong.

The aspiration of Falun Gong practitioners is to grow spiritually through moral righteousness and also by the practice of meditation and a set of exercise. The doctrines of Falun Gong are centered on truthfulness, forbearance, and compassion. The fundamental part of the practice is the cultivation of virtue that is believed to bring the good life to human beings as opposed to karma.

The two features of Falun Gong are exercise and the refinement of one’s moral character. To achieve the refined moral character, one has to surrender desires that are found in normal human beings. The main teachings of Falun Gong are the existence of virtue and karma. Virtue is gotten through good deeds and karma through wrong deeds.

4. Global Presence and Notable Practitioners

Falun Gong has practised b thousands of people outside China in countries like Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and the cities of North America like Toronto and New York. Li Hongzhi began the teaching of Falun Gong internationally in the year 1995. He gave lectures in Sweden, US, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, and Switzerland.The reasons for practicing of the spirituality by many are the desire to achieve physical fitness as well cultivation of value.

Among the famous practitioners are Chinese scientists that have doctorates who claim that modern physics is the main cause for the basis of their beliefs.A large percentage of practitioners inside China were women at 56%.

3. Development and Spread of the Faith

Li Hongzhi initiated the teaching of the practice in 1992 and he was later given the authority to teach the practice nationally. Li received praises from the Minister for Public Security 1993 for promoting crime-fighting virtues. In 1995, Li introduced the teaching internationally to a number of countries such as Sweden and the United States. The practice was soon gaining popularity with the non-Chinese because of the cultivation of virtue. By 1999 the practitioners of the faith were approximately 70 million people.

2. Challenges and Controversies

When Falun Gong departed from CQRS in 1996, the government changed its attitude towards the practice. A state-run newspaper published that year that the practice was a significance of superstition beliefs and the author went ahead and told publishers not to print books that were documenting the practice. This caused unrest among the practitioners who staged a protest against the ban.

In the late 1990s, the relationship between Falun Gong and the Communist Party was drifting because of the fear of the number of people practicing the spiritual. The government then put a lot of scrutiny and surveillance on the practice and this made the practitioners to organize frequent demonstration citing unfair treatment.

Falun Gong practitioners were arrested and detained and the practice illegalised in 1999. A lot of practitioners were arrested extra-judicially.

1. Future Prospects

Falun Gong practice has lacked the backing of the powerful American constituencies which often support religious practices. According to Richard Madsen, such reluctance could be because America does not want to disrupt political and commercial ties with China by pushing for human rights in China. Due to the persecution and lack of a body that agitates for their rights, Falun Gong will continue to be practiced behind the scenes and its popularity will eventually decrease.


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