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Falun Gong: A spiritual form of Qigong

by Peter Jauhal(more info)

listed in chi energy martial arts, originally published in issue 25 - February 1998

Origins of Qigong

Qigong originated in the remote past and has a long history in China. The Chinese people have, therefore, enjoyed exceptional advantages of practising it. As the cultivation of Orthodox Law, qigong of the two major cultivation systems, the Buddhas’ School and the Taoist School, has brought into the open many of the previous secretive ways of cultivation. The Taoist School has its unique cultivation ways while the Buddhas’ School also has its own modes of  practice. Falun Gong is the great cultivation Law of a high hierarchy of qigong in the Buddhas’ School.

What we now call qigong was not actually named qigong. It originally came from the cultivation way practised singly by ancient Chinese practitioners or religious cultivation. You would never find the term “qigong” in all the texts of Internal Alchemy, Tao Tsang or the Tripitaka. Qigong existed long before religions came into being. It has lived through a period when religions were in embryo at the stage of the development of this human civilisation. Only after the appearance of religions was it coloured with those religions to some extent. Qigong was initially called the Great Cultivation Way of Buddha Dharma or the Great Cultivation Way of Tao. And there were other names such as: Nine fold Internal Alchemy, the Way of Arhat and the Dhyana of Vajra. Now we call it “qigong” in order to fit the perception of contemporary people and make it easier to popularise. As a matter of fact, it is inherently the Chinese way of cultivating the human body.

Qi and Cultivation Energy

The “qi “ we now refer to refers to the cosmic energy, the formless and invisible substance in the universe. It does not refer to air. Through cultivation the human body can bring into play the energy of this substance, which can dispel diseases and improve physical conditions. However, qi is nothing more than qi after all. You have qi.  He also has qi. Your qi does not dictate his qi. Some people say that qi can be used to heal a disease; or you release some qi to somebody to treat his disease. All this is utterly unscientific because qi does not cure at all. If a practitioner has qi in his body it means his body has not yet become a “Milk-White-Body” thus he himself is not free from diseases.

For a well-accomplished cultivator, what he releases is not qi, but the high energy mass, a high energy substance in the form of light with very tiny particles in great density. This high energy mass is called cultivation energy. Only by now can it be used to condition non-cultivators and treat diseases. There is a saying: “The Buddhist lights illuminate everything in the universe and those bathed in them will be upright and consummate.” It means that a cultivator who practises the Orthodox Law carries such powerful energy that he can rectify all abnormal states and make them normal around him or within the reach of his energy. For instance, when one is ill, his body is in an abnormal state, and the illness will be gone if his abnormal state is put right. To put it in common terms, cultivation energy is energy, which is matter. A practitioner can perceive the objective existence of such energy through continued practice.

The Energy Potency Is Acquired through the Cultivation of  Xinxing

The cultivation energy, which actually decides a practitioner’s level of energy potency, is not acquired through exercises. Rather it is acquired through the cultivation of Xinxing and through the transformation of the kind of substance De (“virtue”). This process of transformation is not, as ordinary people may expect, like that of the internal alchemy practice of placing a “crucible” onto a “furnace” to make “the elixir of immortality” with the gathered “medicinal substances”. The cultivation energy we refer to appears outside one’s body. It grows upwards in the form of a spiral from the lower part of the body with the betterment of one’s Xinxing. Then it forms an energy pillar on the top of one’s head. The whole process takes place outside one’s body. The height of the energy pillar marks the attainments of one’s cultivation energy. The energy pillar exists in a well-concealed space and is difficult for ordinary people to perceive.

Qigong of the Buddhas’ School and Buddhism

When we mention qigong of the Buddhas’ School many people will associate it with such an issue: as the Buddhas’ School aims at cultivating the Buddhas, people will think of things in Buddhism. Master Li makes it clear that Falun Gong is the great Orthodox Law, qigong of the Buddhas’ School, and has nothing to do with Buddhism. Qigong of the Buddhas’ School is qigong of the Buddhas’ School, while Buddhism is Buddhism. Though their aim of cultivation is the same, they do not go the same way or belong to the same cultivation system. They have different requirements. Master Li uses the word “Buddha” here and mentions it again when he talks about high level cultivation. There is nothing superstitious about the word itself. Some people become very nervous when they hear the word  “Buddha”. They say that it is a form of superstition. This is not right. The word “Buddha” originated from Sanskrit, and was borrowed from India. It was transliterated into Chinese as Fo-Tuo, the sound of the two words. But people often say Fo and leave out Tuo. So, Buddha is translated into Chinese, which means “the enlightened”, i.e. a person who has attained enlightenment.

Function of Falun

The Falun of Falun Gong has the same characteristics as those of the cosmos. It is a miniature of the cosmos. Practitioners of this system can not only strengthen their supernormal capabilities and energy potency rapidly but also acquire a Falun with incomparable power in a very short time. Once formed, this Falun will exist as an intelligent entity and spin in the practitioner’s lower abdomen automatically and incessantly, collecting and evolving ethereal energy from the cosmos continuously. This energy will eventually be transformed into cultivation energy in the practitioner’s Benti  (True Being), thus achieving the effect of “Fa Lian Ren” (the Law refining the practitioner). That is to say, though the practitioner does not practise constantly, Falun never stops refining him. Internally, Falun can be used for self-salvation, for it will make the practitioner healthy and fit, intelligent and wise, protect him from getting into deviant trouble and help him resist the  harassing from evil-minded people. Externally, it can offer salvation to others by removing their diseases, doing away with the evil and rectifying all abnormal states. Falun spins incessantly in his lower abdomen, turning clockwise for nine times and then counter-clockwise for another nine times. When it is turning clockwise, it vigorously absorbs energy from the cosmos. The energy is rather powerful. As the energy potency grows, Falun is turning more and more forcefully. This cannot be achieved by artificially filling qi through the top of one’s head. When Falun turns counter-clockwise, it releases energy to offer salvation to all life and rectify abnormal states. This benefits all the people around the practitioner. Of all the qigong exercises practised in China, Falun Gong is the only one which can have the effect of “the Law refining the practitioner”.


Though Falun Gong belongs to the Buddhas’ School, it goes far beyond the latter. It cultivates the entire cosmos. Previously the Buddhas’ School cultivated by Buddhas’ doctrines, while the Taoist School by Taoist principles. Nobody, however, has ever fundamentally revealed what the cosmos really is. The cosmos, like a human being, has its fundamental qualities besides its physical composition. Its qualities can be summed up in three words: “Zhen-Shan-Ren”. Taoist Cultivation lays stress on the identification of “Zhen”, telling the truth, behaving honestly, returning to the truth and one’s true self and  eventually becoming an Immortal. Buddhist cultivation puts emphasis on “Shan”, growing great compassion and offering salvation to all sentient beings. Our school aims, cultivating directly in accordance with the fundamental qualities of the cosmos and ultimately becoming completely assimilated to the cosmos.

Falun Gong is a cultivation system aiming at cultivating both human life and nature. The practitioner is required to attain enlightenment (open his cultivation energy) and achieve bodily immortality in this mortal world when his energy potency and Xinxing have reached a certain level. Falun Gong is mainly composed of Shi Jian Fa (the In-Triple-World Law) and Chu Shi Jian Fa (the Beyond-Triple-World Law) with many levels of achievement in each. Practitioners are required to be diligent in cultivation, improve their Xinxing incessantly and ultimately attain perfection.

No Consideration of Time and Direction during Practice

Many cultivation systems are particular about the direction one should face during practice and what time is best for practice. All this, however, has never been a concern in our system. We practise Falun Gong according to cosmic qualities and the principle of cosmic evolution, so we pay no attention to direction and time. When practising, we are actually sitting on Falun, which spins all the time and faces all the directions. Our Falun synchronises with the cosmos. The cosmos is moving, so is the galaxy. The nine planets are moving round the sun and the earth itself is rotating. Which direction is North, South, East or West? The so-called North, South, East and West are divisions made by people on earth, therefore no matter which particular direction you face when you practise you are facing all the directions.

Some people say that the best time for practice is from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. or from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and so on. We do not think this is important at all. Because Falun keeps cultivating you even when you are not practising. It helps you cultivate yourself all the time.  This is what we mean by “the Law Refines the Practitioner”. In Qigong of Internal Alchemy, it is the practitioner who cultivates the inner elixir, whereas in Falun Gong it is Falun that cultivates the practitioner. If you have more time, you can have more practice. If you do not have much time, you may have less practice. It is all up to you to decide.

Integrated Cultivation of Both Human Life and Nature

Falun Gong aims at cultivating both human nature and human life. Through practice, we first change our Benti (True Being).  We do not give up our Benti. Rather we combine the Main Consciousness  with the physical body so as to achieve the perfection of integrated cultivation.

Change of Benti

The human body is made up of flesh, blood and bones, with different molecular structures and compositions. Through practice, the molecular components of one’s body are transformed into a substance of high energy. Thus the formation of the body no longer remains the same as the original physical composition but is fundamentally changed. However, the cultivator practises and lives among the ordinary people and can not go against the state of human society. This transformation does not affect his original molecular structure. That is to say, there is no change in the order of the molecular arrangement but only a change in the original molecular composition. The flesh in the human body is still soft, the bones are still hard, and the blood is still flowing. His body will still bleed when cut with a knife.

The most distinctive feature of the system which cultivates both human nature and life is the prolongation of one’s life and the delay of one’s physical decline. Our Falun Gong does possess such a distinctive feature. What Falun Gong does is as follows: to make a fundamental change of the molecular composition of the human body, store the collected substance of high energy in each cell and finally replace the composition of the cell with the substance of high energy. Then there is no more metabolism. When a practitioner has freed himself  from the control of the five elements and acquired a body composed of the substance from the other spaces, he will not be subject to the restriction of time of our planet and will stay young forever.

The Cultivation of Xinxing

Practitioners of Falun Gong must give first priority to cultivating Xinxing, firmly believing that Xinxing is the key to acquiring cultivation energy. This is the principle that governs high level cultivation. Strictly speaking, the energy potency which decides the level of cultivation is not obtained by external exercises but through the cultivation of Xinxing. It is easy to talk about the improvement of Xinxing, but it is extremely difficult to put it into practice. The cultivator is required to make tremendous sacrifices,  enhance his awareness, bear the greatest hardship and endure what is difficult for him to endure, etc. Why have some practitioners achieved little after many years’ practice? Its main reason is: first, they paid no attention to cultivating Xinxing; secondly, they are unable to obtain the Orthodox Law of a high hierarchy. This must be made clear. Many masters lay stress on the cultivation of Xinxing when they teach a cultivation way to their disciples. What they teach is true. Those who teach only movements and manoeuvres regardless of Xinxing are in fact teaching evil ways. Therefore, a practitioner must make a great effort to upgrade his Xinxing before he can cultivate himself at a higher level.

In Falun Gong Xinxing means more than what De (virtue) covers. It is used in a much broader sense than what “virtue” denotes. It covers various aspects including “virtue”. Virtue is merely one manifestation of a person’s Xinxing. It is not enough to understand the intention of Xinxing with “virtue” alone. Xinxing includes one’s attitude towards the two sides of the issue, “Gain & Loss”. “Gain” means gaining assimilation to the cosmic qualities. The cosmic qualities are “Zhen-Shan-Ren”.  A practitioner’s assimilation to the cosmic qualities finds its expression in his “virtues”.   “Loss” means giving up such evil thoughts and immoral conducts as greed, gains, lust, desires, killing, fighting, stealing, robbing, fraudulence and jealousy. If one wants to enter into high level cultivation, he also has to give up all his inherent obsessions with desires, i.e. give up all his attachments. That is to say, he should make light of and disregard such things as personal fame and gain.

Falun Gong’s Way of Practice

Falun Gong is composed of five sets of exercises, including Buddha Showing the Thousand Hands, Falun Standing Stance, Penetrating the Two Cosmic Extremes, Falun Heavenly Circulation and Way of Strengthening Supernormal Powers.

The Buddha Showing the Thousand Hands exercise is intended to stretch and open up all channels of the body. This exercise is usually done before the other sets of exercises.

The Falun Standing Stance is a tranquil standing exercise composed of four wheel embracing movements. Each movement lasts for quite a long time.The exercise is designed to increase the practitioner’s energy potency.

The third exercise “Penetrating the Two Cosmic Extremes” is intended to mix and exchange the qi from both the cosmos and the human body. In a very short time the practitioner can expel the pathogenic or black qi from his body and take in a great deal of qi from the cosmos so as to purify his body.

The fourth exercise, “Falun Heavenly Circulation”, exercise enables energy in the human body to circulate over a large area. The rotation of the Falun is used to rectify all the abnormal conditions of the human body.

The exercise of Strengthening Supernormal Powers is a tranquil cultivation way. The exercise should be practised in the Lotus position although a single leg crossing is acceptable at the beginning.

Further information

Everyone is welcome to learn Falun Gong.  No prior qigong training or experience of any kind is necessary.  Interested individuals may attend any of the free instruction classes organised by local Falun Gong groups. Individuals may also learn through Master Li’s books, audio tapes and video, which are available at the cost of production and shipping. According to Master Li, the effects and benefits one receives are the same whether one attends his lectures, reads his books, listens to the audio tapes or watches the video tapes. Comprehensive instructional materials are also available, free, on the Internet, including Master Li’s books translated into English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean.

Free Instruction Classes:

London YMCA, Great Russell St, every Sunday, 11am–12noon. (also in Nottingham, Portsmouth and other parts of the UK; 9-day video-classes available soon)


China Falun Gong
Zhuan Falun
(Both written by Master Li hongzhi)


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