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Buddhism and Falun Dafa

edited January 2010 in Faith & Religion
Hey all!
Just wanted to ask your opinions on Falun Dafa or more widely known as Falun Gong.
I have done some research of my own, and would love to hear some of your opinions. :)
How close to Buddhism do you think it really is it? Do you think it relates greatly? I know the leader and founder Mr. Li Hongzhi describes it as being one of the 84,000 ways of 'Buddha school', but not the religion of Buddhism which he says is also one of the many ways. I also understand that it is somewhat an amalgamation of Buddhist, Taoist and some indigenous chinese beliefs, But from what I can work out it is predomanity Buddhist. I'm not so interested in the Qi Gong (the Falun Gong) aspects of the group, but really in the teachings (Falun Dafa ie. The Falun Great Dhamma).
I know the topic of 'is it a cult?' and 'PRC's prosecution' will come up, but pesonally I'm not greatly interested in this aspect right this moment. But of course don't let that stop you, if you are.:)
So... That's it really I would just love to hear some of your opinions and some discussion on this topic.

Thanks, with metta,


  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran
    edited January 2010
    I tend to judge religions and movements by the quality of the people they produce. A worthy path is one that: helps the individual find an inner peace, increases their compassion and empathy, decreases concern over self and material things, and helps the person become less emotionally over-reactive ... all without the loss of reality or reason.

    I have only known one Falun joiner ... she was married to my partner's brother, so I knew her long before she joined FD and for some time after. I saw no improvement over time ... quite the opposite, in fact. (as opposed to Buddhism, where the observed "success rate" is very high).

    I fully understand that "one" is too small a sample size to be statistically significant .... but that's all I have, and I'm not impressed.
  • Regarding Foiblefull's comment above, my impression is that Falun Dafa (aka Falun Gong) does make its adherents better people, even though you may find exceptions. People are like fruit. Sometimes there is a bad apple in the bunch. Anytime you have a practice that is free and open to the public, all kinds of characters come in.

    I used to practice Falun Dafa on the beach in southern California (it is a qigong practice). A couple of homeless people would come to join us, one of whom was mental and the other was a druggie. We moved our practice elsewhere quickly, although we did try to help those people. Regarding the woman you knew...yes, I have known Falunists like that too. There are ample tools in the practice to help people change, but if someone does not want to change, it reflects on the person, not on the practice. Regardless of the bad apples though, the crazy propaganda from the Chinese government is just not true.

    I practiced Falun Dafa for six years and then I started to have profound revelations and experiences. Falun Dafa was really appropriate for me as I went through acupuncture and herbal college and began my practice of Chinese medicine.
    After I got a lot of revelations, I poured through a lot of buddhist sutras and texts from similar practices. Falun Dafa paved the way for me to understand buddhism, because I had no clue about it as a westerner before. Falun Dafa also helped me to finally grasp Christianity and other practices, as well (long story).

    Regarding Bjorn's question above, it is really tough to answer this because some buddhists have participated in the persecution of Falun Dafa, because they dislike that it shares some buddhist terms and they feel like it's hurting buddhism. So, I really don't want to make these comparisons, because it just adds fuel to the fire. Li Hongzhi (the teacher) made a big point to explain why Falun Dafa is not buddhism or a buddhist sect, however he does share stories of Shakyamuni. Some of these attacking buddhists think it is fine to kill these Falun Dafa practitioners in Chinese prisons and totally ban the practice, as this is protecting the true Dharma from any heresies.

    To help you understand, let me compare Falun Dafa to jainism. Falun Dafa believes that karma is a material substance, just as the Jains say that there are actual karma particles that are produced especially with bad thoughts and actions and that affect souls. Falun Dafa deals heavily with this karma. However, the teacher doesn't talk about jainism because he is talking to a mainly Chinese audience. (how many Chinese jains are there?) So, he talks about what they do know...buddhism. From what I can tell, Falun Dafa is a bit more similar to jainism in relation to the sentience of plants compared to buddhism (and how to avoid karma in unnecessarily hurting them.) Based on teachings in Zhuan Falun (the book), jainism would be considered one of the 84,000 ways of the Buddha school, as would buddhism be. Christianity is also one of the 84,000 ways of the Buddha school and so is Falun Dafa.

    Here, I want to leave everyone sympathetic to Falun Dafa. The teacher gave away Falun Dafa free to the public. This practice helped so many people in China, including dirt poor illiterate farmers who were plagued by disease that no one would help. Buddhists and Christians weren't coming to the rescue of these people. It is a powerful qigong practice that helped people overcome debilitating weakness and disease. The teacher stressed the importance in cultivating virtue, truthfulness, compassion and forbearance to improving oneself in qigong practice, as well as spiritually too. I personally have met some of the very poor Chinese that were cured by Falun Gong. Everyone is allowed in Falun Dafa to go to the doctor, despite what the Chinese government says. However, not everyone can afford to go to a doctor. I have a friend cured of spinal stenosis and now lives a normal life. I have another friend that was cured of breast cancer. I practiced with a man whose crippled leg healed after six months of practice. I have dozens of eyewitness stories to share. The teacher just wanted to help people. He wasn't trying to erode away buddhism, and he also explained how buddhism should remain pure and not to mix other systems with it. The teacher also really likes buddhism because it stresses moral virtue. Falun Dafa was designed to help the working class be healthy and grow spiritually, while being productive members of society.
  • I started to have profound revelations and experiences
    Dear Buddha, save us.
    I had a profound revelation to have nothing to do with anything that produced such arisings or experiences. Will you be discarding them? :eek2:
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    Hold on I missed something there... Someone claimed that Falun Dafa cured their breast cancer?

    I'm looking at a pamphlet I got a while back on a bus and it doesn't make any extra-ordinary claims.

    There is a lot of hate propaganda from the Chinese government (surprise, surprise) but it sounds like a healthy practice.

    The thing that makes it stand out is that it is free. Any and all instructions and exercises are free of charge either online or in a class.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    I can't say I'm with the idea that plants have sentience because they have no brains to distinguish.

  • edited December 2013
    Falun Dafa comes from China, but is not well regarded in the Chinese community. In the Dharma Ending age, there are many cults that claim to be Buddhism, or borrow the ideas of Buddhism, but lead a different path. It is hard to distinguish, since their followers are all nice people too. We can however distinguish from the action of the organization, from the manner of the leader, from the speech of the leader.... Falun Dafa is heavily involved in anti-government activities, the leader claims his level of accomplishment is higher than shakyamuni. He borrows the ideas from Buddhism and Taoism but then claims Buddhism is below him. Qigong is a form of exercise, and there are many genre of Qigong in China, FaLun Dafa is just one of them. Yes Qigong brings health benefit, but that doesn't make it right to spread hatred. It is hard to tell the karmic effect of an organization like this though, but if you are looking for a path for libation from reincarnation, Falun Dafa is not the path.
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