RG writes: “I met a woman on a plane ride back from CA who told me about some ‘exercises’ her husband did 10 yrs ago which seemed to have cured his MS type debilitation [Guillian Barre]. It goes by two names- one is ‘falun gong’ another is ‘falun dafa’ and began in China. He had been unable to walk, could not work and was very depressed. After doing the exercises he regained movement and was healed. The doctors were stunned and said it was a complete recovery. There are meditation type practices as well. . . .”
RG goes on to ask:” Is this OK? The cover describes it as ‘A Traditional Self-Cultivation Practice to Improve Mind and Body’—Truthfulness, Compassion Forbearance. Their website is www.falundafa.org. It appears good but I am always doubtful because I have been duped in the past.”
First of all, it’s important to point out that persons suffering from Guillian Barre, an autoimmune disorder usually triggered by an acute infection, have been known to experience sudden and spontaneous healings. There is much about this syndrome that doctors do not understand and there is currently no known cure. However, spontaneous recovery is possible and most patients afflicted with this syndrome eventually experience nearly complete or complete recovery. So I must preface this blog by admitting that I am not convinced the exercises were responsible for this man’s healing.
It is my recommendation that you stay as far away from Falun Gong and Falun Dafa as you can manage. This movement is a cult and although the Chinese government is to be condemned for its vicious persecution of the millions of its followers in that country, its teachings are very bizarre and not at all compatible with Christianity.
Let me explain.
According to an extensive article on Falun Gong appearing in the February 2002 issue of Christianity Today (CT), Falun Dafa is a spiritual movement based on the great law of the wheel of Dharma (Buddhist teaching on the path to enlightenment) that has become better known in recent years by the name of its prescribed exercises – Falun Gong. Falun Dafa orginially grew out the Chinese practice of qi gong which consists of breathing exercises and meditation.
The founder of Falun Dafa is Li Hongzhi who claims that a superior power sent him to Earth to introduce this spirituality to the world. In an interview with Time Asia in 1999, this former grain store clerk and trumpet player, Hongzhi said: “You can think of me as a human being. I don’t wish to talk about myself at a higher level. People wouldn’t understand it.”
Hongzhi teaches that the Falun Gong symbol, called the law wheel which is supposedly a spinning mini-replica of the universe, is placed in each practitioner’s lower abdomen. (He is the only person who can put the wheel into a practitioner’s belly.) As the wheel spins inside them, it absorbs the universe’s energy. Access to one’s law wheel is gained by practicing Falun Gong.
There are five sets of Falun Gong movements which consist of lotus postures and hand movement exercises set to Chinese music. According to an article in the April 2001 International Religious Freedom Report, the purpose of Falun Gong is “to cultivate a person’s higher energy or ‘gong.’ This is done not only through physical exercise but more importantly through the development of a person’s xinxing (or mind nature). It is this emphasis … on a non-material energy that differentiates Falun Gong from other forms of qigong.”
Among his numerous outlandish claims, Hongzhi says he can heal diseases, fly, and even stop speeding cars just by using the powers of his teachings.
As if this is not problematic enough, Christians must also be aware that Hongzhi does not permit practitioners to practice other religions. He is the only acceptable teacher and his Zhaun Falun is the only acceptable text. He calls other spiritual leaders “deceitful masters” and warns follows that many of them are demons.
I could go on and on, but I think this should be enough to convince most Christians to avoid any involvement with Falun Gong – except to pray for its many practitioners who are currently languishing in prisons and labor camps in China after the government launched a widespread crackdown on the practice in 1999.
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