When our busy modern lifestyle has taken an unexpected pause in the face of an unavoidable event, it's almost as if time itself has somehow lengthened. Perhaps we no longer always have somewhere to be, and perhaps we don't always have to be there right this second.
And once our tempo of life slows, it allows us more time to pay more attention to our collective humanity, to let our minds wander, to ask – really, what is all of this hustle and bustle for? Why are we running, and what are we chasing? What does it all mean in the end? Is there any purpose to life at all?
It's an age-old question with many age-old attempts to answer it. In particular, the Chinese civilization, being one of the longest-lived cultures on the planet, has made its fair share of those attempts.
Since antiquity, Chinese people have been trying to figure out the universe, the human body, and life itself in a variety of ways, with many forays into the metaphysical and spiritual. They've been rewarded for their efforts by the many extraordinary phenomena that can be frequently found throughout the annals of Chinese history.
A Time-Honoured Tradition of Spirituality
Qigong (energy practice) has had a long history in China. From Hua Tuo's Wuqinxi (Frolics of the Five Animals) to Zhang Sanfeng's Taijiquan (Tai Chi Boxing) – from ancient Bagua (the Eight Trigrams), Zhouyi (The Book of Changes), and Huangdi Neijing (The Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor) to the various practices of Buddhism and Taoism, each time period in China's 5,000 years of civilization was immersed in spiritual exploration.
This all came to a halt after the Communist Party took power in the mid-20th century. Wary of any ideological opposition, the Party vilified all these spiritual artefacts as “feudal superstition” and summarily denounced them during the Cultural Revolution.
But old habits die hard – and thousands of years of tradition aren't so easily eradicated from people's hearts.
The Qigong Wave and the Founding of Falun Dafa
During the late 1970s, a surge of interest in the paranormal swept China when certain individuals with supernatural abilities came onto the scene. These people could read Chinese characters with their ears or use telekinesis to move objects, fascinating the general public. Spiritual exploration began once again, but this time under the banner of science as a branch of research: a group of Chinese scientists proposed a new field of science called the “science of the human body,” and qigong was studied in this field as a form of “frontier science.”
Many qigong practices came into being at this time, with one of the best-known being Falun Gong – or Falun Dafa.
Falun Dafa is a spiritual discipline in the Buddha School, founded by Mr. Li Hongzhi, which is guided by the universal characteristics of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”
The mental cultivation aspect of the practice is complemented by five sets of simple and graceful meditation exercises. Being a cultivation system of both mind and body, the practice enables practitioners to attain a state of physical and mental health within a short period of time.
Mr. Li Hongzhi started to teach Falun Gong to the general public in May of 1992, and the practice was soon acknowledged as a reputable school directly affiliated with the China Qigong Scientific Research Association in September of the same year.
Almost thirty years have gone by since the qigong wave and the dissemination of Falun Gong to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Despite all of the technological leaps and bounds we've achieved since then, the mysteries of life and the universe remain fundamental questions in some people’s hearts.
Perhaps some of these supernatural happenings can be of guidance to anyone who's looking for answers to their questions.
A Woman's Tumour Vanishes
Mr. Li Hongzhi took some of his disciples to participate in the Oriental Health Expo held in Beijing in 1992, at which he offered free treatment to people seeking help.
One day, a middle-aged woman came to the Falun Gong booth. She was very sickly and had to lean on her husband's arm. It turned out that she had a tumour in her abdomen; her belly had swollen to larger than that of a woman in her ninth month of pregnancy. As the hospitals couldn't help her any more, she and her husband came to the expo as a last resort.
Mr. Li Hongzhi made a gesture as if reaching somewhere and taking something out. Instantly, her belly deflated, returning to its normal size. The waistband of her pants could now hold two of her!
People at the scene were stunned into silence by what they just witnessed. When they finally came to their senses, there was a burst of thunderous applause. Spectators from other booths rushed over to see what the commotion was about.
The couple was completely overwhelmed by what had just happened. They were so excited and grateful that they immediately knelt down and kowtowed to thank Mr. Li, who helped them up with a kind smile.
The couple wrote a letter of gratitude straight away and handed it to the expo's organizing committee.
Li Rusong, general manager of the expo, even read the letter aloud through the broadcasting system.
“The first appreciation letter we received was in praise of Falun Gong, and Falun Gong has received the most appreciation letters!” he proclaimed.
Professor Jiang Xuegui, head advisor of the expo, was quoted as saying, “I have personally seen many miracles performed by Teacher Li Hongzhi for the expo, and I think Falun Gong is worthy of the title ‘Star Qigong.’ As the head advisor of the expo, I would recommend Falun Gong to everyone.”
A Falun Gong practitioner who learned about the practice at the expo recalled her experiences.
“Teacher Li could help a patient be free from pain with a wave of the hand, and so many people were healed,” she said.
As word got out of what happened at the expo, Falun Gong soon became a sensation in Beijing.
Master Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong were invited to attend the 1993 Oriental Health Expo the next year and were honoured with two awards – “The Award for Advancing Frontier Science” and “Qigong Master Most Acclaimed by the Masses” by the Committee of Evaluation of the expo.
|Awards to Mr. Li Hongzhi|
Appreciation and Awards from China's Ministry of Public Security
China's Ministry of Propaganda and the Ministry of Public Security held the 3rd National Conference in Recognition of Advanced Individuals Upholding Justice and Saving People in Danger in August 1993. For the event, they invited Mr. Li Hongzhi to provide free treatment to up to 100 representatives attending the conference. The treatments delivered remarkable results.
In appreciation of Mr. Li’s incredible contribution, the Ministry of Public Security wrote a letter of appreciation to the China Qigong Scientific Research Association on August 31, in which it said,
“Mr. Li Hongzhi was specially invited to the Ministry of Public Security on August 24 to provide treatment to Wang Fang (the former minister of the ministry). On August 30, Mr. Li Hongzhi also led a group of Falun Gong practitioners to the conference to offer treatment for up to 100 representatives, and the remarkable effectiveness of the treatment was widely acclaimed.
“Some who received treatment were suffering from ailments left over from knife and gunshot injuries. After the treatment, they were immediately relieved of all symptoms such as pain, numbness and chronic weakness. Those suffering from brain illnesses recovered and became clear-minded after the treatment. They were relieved from their symptoms, such as headaches and dizziness.
“Some people were relieved of tumours right on the spot. Some excreted gallstones within 24 hours after receiving the treatment. Some people suffered from stomach diseases, heart diseases or arthritis. After the treatment, all of them were freed of their symptoms on the spot. …... Therefore, our foundation would like to express our sincere gratitude to you (referring to the chairman of the board of directors), to the various leaders of your association, and to Mr. Li Hongzhi.”
|The People's Public Security Daily run by the Ministry of Public Security published a special report on September 21, 1993|
The Upholding Justice and Saving People in Danger Foundation affiliated with the Ministry of Public Security awarded their Certificate of Honour to Mr. Li Hongzhi on December 27, 1993.
A Survey by the Chinese State Sports Bureau
In May of 1998, the then director of the Chinese State Sports Bureau went to Changchun City in Jilin Province, where Falun Gong was first taught, to conduct an investigation into the practice. He watched a group of practitioners do the Falun Gong exercises on a square, which was broadcast on national news that same evening. The program lasted about ten minutes.
In September 1998, the State Sports Bureau surveyed 12,553 Falun Gong practitioners and found that the illness healing rate was 77.5%. This, along with the 20.4% of practitioners who reported experiencing improvement in their overall health, added up to a total of 97.9% of practitioners who reported beneficial results from Falun Gong.
Each person surveyed saved over 1,700 yuan in medical bills per year on average. The yearly saving of all respondents in aggregate totalled over 21 million yuan. Quite a number of those who were surveyed had been patients with terminal illnesses. They all were able to regain their health through practising Falun Gong.
Feedback from People from All Walks of Life
Since its dissemination in 1992, Falun Gong has demonstrated incredible effectiveness in healing people and keeping them fit. Some cancer patients beyond the help of hospitals have also recovered after they took up Falun Gong and conducted themselves according to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Renowned tenor Mr. Guan Guimin used to suffer from a variety of ailments.
“I was diagnosed with hepatitis B and with early stages of liver cirrhosis in 1983,” he said. “I took a lot of medicines and was treated in various hospitals, but nothing worked. Later, I tried different types of Qigong practices, but my condition didn't improve much either.”
“I felt I had come to a dead end. So I started searching for even better practices, and eventually I found Falun Gong. For me, the phrase 'good health' was only a distant dream in the past, but now I can truly experience what it means to be healthy in both mind and body.”
|Renowned tenor Mr. Guan Guimin|
Mr. Li Qihua is a veteran Communist Party member who joined the Red Army in 1931. Before his retirement, Mr. Li Qihua was the director of the Second Medical University of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the Health Department commissar of the PLA's General Logistics Department, and the chief of the General Hospital of the PLA.
Mr. Li’s wife had suffered serious illnesses for decades, but was fully recovered soon after she began practicing Falun Gong. He was so impressed by Falun Gong's miraculous healing power that he started to practice Falun Gong himself in 1993. Not long after, his own health problems also disappeared. His health became better and better; his way of thinking also elevated to a higher level.
He wrote the following in an article titled “Principles Are Not the Starting Point for Scientific Research and Science Needs Exploration and Practice Even More”:
“It was such a fortune, such a precious opportunity for us to obtain Master Li Hongzhi's Dafa in our old age. At the same time, we both have a wish. We wish that our old comrades, old colleagues and our superiors, as well as people in their middle age, the young generation, and even younger generations, can all let go of our ‘rigid,' ‘fixed’ notions and read the book Zhuan Falun and practice the Falun Gong exercises. And then, you can see for yourself if there is any truth in what we old people say.”
|Mr. Li Qihua, former chief of the General Hospital of the PLA (network image)|
Reports from Media Outlets
The China Economic Times published a long report on July 10, 1998, titled “I Can Stand Up Now!” It was a story about Xie Xiufen, a housewife in Handan, Hebei Province. She was paralyzed and bedridden for sixteen years before miraculously recovering and being able to walk again after practising Falun Gong.
The China Youth Daily used the title “Festival of Life” in their description of the exemplary conduct of 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners at the opening ceremony of the Asian Sports Festival held in Shenyang on August 28, 1998. The article also goes into detail about the miraculous healing effects of the practice.
|Falun Gong Procession at the Opening Ceremony of the Shenyang Asian Sports Festival in 1998|
|Yangcheng Evening News: Falun Gong for All Ages|
On November 10, 1998, China's “Yangcheng Evening News” reported on a large-scale morning practice of 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners at the Guangzhou Martyrs' Cemetery and other sites under the heading “Falun Gong for All Ages.”
It also reported that Lin Chanying, a statistician of Guangzhou Diwei Leather Co., Ltd., who suffered from paralysis with 70% numbness in her body and incontinence, had completely recovered after practising Falun Gong. By the time of the article, she looked very healthy with a rosy complexion, and could move her limbs freely.
The report incorporated photos of a 93-year-old and a 2-year-old practising Falun Gong and said that there were nearly 250,000 people practising Falun Gong in Guangdong at the time. The report also stressed that there was no cost for learning Falun Gong and the exercises were all taught by volunteer assistants.
China's Media Outlets Witnessed Lofty Character of Falun Gong practitioners
Since Falun Gong practitioners pay attention to the cultivation of their character and elevation of their morality, stories of them doing good deeds were told one after another. China's media outlets also bore witness to some individual cases.
On March 17, 1997, “Dalian Daily” ran a story titled: “An Anonymous Old Man Makes Contributions.” It was about an elderly man named Sheng Lijian who spent a whole year repairing four short roads – over a kilometer in total length – for the local villagers all by himself. When people asked him which work unit he was from and how much the repairs would cost, the old man said, “I'm a Falun Gong practitioner. I just want to do something good for everyone.”
There was a letter published in the “Letter to the Editor” section of Beijing Daily on February 16, 1998, in praise of an unknown person in Beijing. This person donated 80,000 yuan to the Chemical Research Institute of Lanzhou Chemical Company for research work in the Northwest region, and another 10,000 yuan to Langfang Branch of China Petroleum Exploration and Development Research Institute.
The donor said that he had gained new understandings on the meaning of life, about human pursuits, and about the cultivation of one's character after he began to practice Falun Gong, and that he decided to make such donations based on his new understandings. Beijing People's Radio Station also made an hour-long program on the story and Falun Gong in general.
On February 21, 1998, the Dalian Evening News reported that Yuan Hongcun, a student of the Dalian Naval Academy, rescued a child who had fallen into a river three meters deep through a hole in the ice on February 14. He was hailed as a hero by the local people and was awarded Merit Citation Class II by the academy. Yuan Hongcun had been practising Falun Gong for two years at the time.
In the second half of 1998, some retired cadres led by Qiao Shi, former chairman of the National People's Congress, conducted a detailed investigation into Falun Gong, which took several months. They came to this conclusion at the end of their investigation: “Falun Gong brings many benefits to the country and the people, and causes no harm at all.”
Proclamations from around the World
Falun Gong has now spread to more than 100 countries and regions in the world and has received more than 3,000 proclamations, resolutions and support letters from all over the world. Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times in a row. The book Zhuan Falun has been translated into over 40 languages and distributed around the world.
Besides mainland China, researchers in North America, Taiwan, Russia, and many other places have carried out extensive investigations and systematic studies on the physical and mental conditions of Falun Gong practitioners.
North American researchers have found several prominent phenomena in Falun Gong practitioners:
1) The defensive ability of the practitioners' neutrophils, a type of white blood cell protecting us from infection, is augmented, and their life cycle is also increased;
2) With the increased activity of these neutrophils, some practitioners only need 20% to 30% the normal amount of neutrophils to maintain the same level of immunity defence as a healthy non-practitioner, which also reduces the burden on the practitioners' bone marrow to produce neutrophils.
3) The human immune system functions as a double-edged sword. It can kill pathogens and protect the body, but if it’s too active, it can cause excessive inflammation or allergic reactions in the human body. However, Falun Gong practitioners' neutrophils survive longer in the absence of inflammation, and they also have a stronger bacterial ingestion function, which helps protect the body. When inflammation occurs, the neutrophils die rapidly, thereby preventing one’s immune system from attacking itself.
In terms of energy field research, North American researchers have found that Falun Gong practice sites can increase the contractile tension of isolated cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) by 35-111%, that is, the energy field of Falun Gong practice sites significantly enhances the contractile activity of cardiomyocytes.
Throughout the ages, human beings have always longed for a kind world. This desire transcends the boundaries of nations, regions, and cultures – and is reflected today in the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Thanks to its extraordinary effects, Falun Gong quickly stood out amidst over a thousand Qigong practices at the time. It spread rapidly, mainly by word of mouth from those who had benefited from the practice. As more people shared their experiences in practising Falun Gong, more and more joined the practice.
And as more people take up the practice, perhaps our world will become a kinder place, and our lives will find a higher meaning.
One can find the most up-to-date information about Falun Gong and first-hand accounts from the practitioners on Minghui.org.
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