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Introduction to Falun Gong & Falun Dafa:

Part 1

Quotations, terms, symbol, & important texts:

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  • Adam Montanaro, Falun Gong practitioner in the U.S.): "The picture doesn't add up. What I see here with these people and what they're doing, they seem very normal people. They're from all walks of life; and then on the other side you've got this picture that the Chinese government is painting, and the two just don't match."

  • Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Gong:"Falun Gong [is ]the most powerful cultivation system based on the supreme truth of the cosmos "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance'."

  • Book review "by James A Fogarty, Jr. of the book: "Zhuan Falun: The Complete Teachings of Falun Gong" by Li Hongzhi: "I enjoyed this book very much. So much so, that I began practicing Falun Gong regularly. Originally, I was taken aback by the publicity and controversy surrounding this practice and its persecution in China. It seemed reasonable that there must be a sinister aspect to it - otherwise, why would the Chinese government persecute it? As I looked into the matter further, I realized that there was no justification for its' persecution. The practice teaches a whole new level of personal responsibility, and placing value on virtue and goodness - it has nothing to do with communist Chinese doctrine or regulation."

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The movement is named: Falun Dafa. Elements of the name mean:

bullet "Fa" means the law and principles of the universe.
bullet "Lun" means wheel.
bullet "Da" means great.

Falun Dafa may be translated as "the Great Law Wheel," or the "Great Law of the Wheel of Dharma."

"Gong" is an abbreviation of "Qigong" which means "cultivation and practice." So Falun Gong may be translated as "cultivation and practice of the great law wheel." 1

The practice of Falun Gong is composed of two components:

bullet A moral philosophy for self-improvement, and

Five sets of "qi" exercises, done to Chinese music and involving lotus postures and hand movements. Qi:

"... refers to the most fundamental concept of the Chinese cosmology and has been interpreted as 'steam' or 'breath,' the life-force, the fundamental element of the Creation and the energy of every form of existence, including human bodies."

Falun Dafa is the spiritual movement that practices Falun Gong. Increasingly, the movement itself is being called Falun Gong.

Some terms used by the Falun Dafa:


"Cultivation," as used in Falun Dafa, is an Eastern concept. It involves the development and transformation of one's entire being -- body, mind and spirit. According to the web site:

"One literally 'cultivates' their qualities like a garden, planting seeds of goodness and not letting that goodness be damaged by circumstances or events." 4

Dafa means "Great Law or universal principles."

bullet Dharma was originally a Sanskrit word. It is commonly used by Buddhists. It can refer to:
bullet "...the impermanent and interdependent nature of all life." 2
bullet The teachings of the Buddha. 3
bullet The workings of natural law -- the way that life works. 3 
bullet Fa: The law.
bullet Falun means law wheel
bullet Gong means the cultivation of energy and capabilities
bullet Qi: The body's vital energy
bullet Qigong: a set of Chinese breathing exercises.

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falun gong symbol

The Falun Dafa symbol is circular and is composed of a large counterclockwise-pointing srivatsa symbol at its center: . This a symbol of the Buddha School which means to be fortunate. It has also been used in Jainism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, the ancient Greeks, Germanic tribes, and Native Americans. 15

During the 1930's, the Nazi party in Germany adopted the symbol, rotated and distorted it, and called it a swastika; this was a German translation of the original sanskrit word "srivatsa." Falun Dafa has no connection with fascism or the German Nazi movement.

The srivatsa is surrounded by:

bullet four smaller srivatsas
bullet two red/blue Yin-Yang symbols
bullet two red/black Yin-Yang symbols.

It is viewed as a miniature model of the universe. Some advanced practitioners claim to see the symbol revolving. According to the website:

"When Falun rotates clockwise, it can automatically absorb energy from the universe. While rotating counter clockwise, it can give off energy. An internal clockwise rotation offers salvation to oneself while an external rotation offers salvation to others." 5  

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Important texts:

bullet Li Hongzhi, "Zhuan Falun (Revolving the Law Wheel)." (1994) An English translation is available online at:
bullet Li Hongzhi, "China Falun Gong." An English translation is available online at: 

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This introduction continues in the next essay

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References used:

  1. "What is Falun Gong / Falun Dafa: Frequently Asked Questions," Friends of Falun Gong Ontario," at:
  2. "The living Darmah: website of West Covina Buddhist temple," at: 
  3. "Dharma the cat," at 
  4. "Introduction of Falun Dafa," at:
  5. "The Falun (Law Wheel): The Falun Emblem," at:
  6. "Falun Dafa followers reject cult status," Agence france-Presse, 1999-MAY-3.
  7. Li Hongzhi, "Falun Dafa: Lecture in Sydney," at:
  8. Li Hongzhi, "Teaching the Fa in New York City," at:
  9. Li Hongzhi, "Falun Gong: Qigong Treatments and Hospital Treatments," at:
  10. Li Hongzhi, "Gong potency and supernormal abilities," at:
  11. The James Randi Educational Foundation has a home page at:
  12. Craig Smith, "China cracks down on mysticism," The New York Times, 2000-APR-30, at:
  13. Craig Smith, "Sect Clings to the Web in the Face of Beijing's Ban," The New York Times, 2001-JUL-5, at:
  14. "Introduction: 'Totally Expunge Evil, Pursue it to the End.' Explaining the Crackdown on the Falun Gong," Leiden University, at:
  15. "Historical note on the Swastika," Falun Dafa, at:

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Site navigation: Home page > Faith groups > Falun Gong > here

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Copyright © 1999 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1999-NOV-26
Latest update: 2015-OCT-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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