Learning the Principles

Practitioners study the central text of Falun Gong, Zhuan Falun, which outlines its moral philosophy and principles. 

The simplest expression of Falun Gong’s moral tenets is the phrase “Zhen, Shan, Ren,” or Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. As explained in the central text of Falun Gong, Zhuan Falun, these principles are believed by practitioners to be the fundamental characteristic of our universe. Practitioners of Falun Gong seek to align themselves with these principles in their daily lives. In so doing, one gradually learns to think of others first and abandon thoughts of selfishness, jealousy, and anger.


Stretching and Opening Up 

A practitioner stretches skyward as she performs the first exercise of Falun Gong, “Buddha showing a thousand hands.”

For thousands of years, Chinese civilization has been imbued with a belief that a human being can, through spiritual practice, transcend this ordinary existence. A higher state of being is envisioned, one having its own privileged joys and knowledge. It is a state attained through disciplined moral cultivation and the pursuit of altruism, and it is the central goal of the practice of Falun Gong. 



Children in Harmony

Children practice Falun Gong meditation in China circa 1996.

Although its teachings are profound, the essence of Falun Gong's beliefs are simple enough to be understood and applied by persons of all ages and backgrounds. Many children learn the exercises quickly and enjoy the sensations of energy and calm they bring; some parents relay that Falun Gong is the first thing that got their child to sit still. 


Standing Tall

Practitioners of Falun Gong practice the second set of exercises in New York's Central Park.

In addition to its moral philosophy, Falun Gong involves five sets of relaxing, meditative exercises that can relieve stress, increase energy, and improve health.  These include four standing exercises as well as a seated meditation.


 Profound Exercises

Two sisters from Germany turn their palms as if holding a ball, part of the fourth exercise, "Falun heavenly circuit"

Falun Dafa is an ancient form of qigong--a practice of refining the body and mind through special exercises and meditation. Tai chi and other forms of qigong are a vital part of many people's lives in Asia. Since the Cultural Revolution, various qigong masters began publicly introducing their disciplines,  including some that had previously been transmitted to only a select few disciples every generation.  Some were rooted in Daoism, and others – including Falun Gong – in Buddhist tradition.


Calm, Like a Lake of Still Water

Sitting in a state of deep tranquility is part of Falun Gong's sitting meditation, "Strengthening divine powers."

An important principle in Falun Gong’s meditative exercises is that the practitioner does not enter into a state of trance. Instead, one seeks a state referred to as “an empty, yet conscious mind.” This principle relates to the overall philosophy of Falun Gong, which is practiced amidst the tribulations and worries of everyday life; one does not run away from his or her problems, because it is precisely through dealing with those problems in a positive manner that one makes true progress in his or her practice. 


Learning the exercises

The founder of Falun Dafa, Mr. Li Hongzhi, correcting exercise movements of a student in Chicago. 

Though Falun Gong may seem exotic to those unfamiliar with Eastern traditions, its values are universal.  Since its introduction in 1992, Falun Dafa has been embraced by peoples in over 75 countries worldwide, and its central text, Zhuan Falun, has been translated into over 30 languages. 

Morning practice in Chengdu

Falun Gong practitioners in Chengdu, China, practice the first exercise, “Buddha showing a thousand hands.” 

Following its introduction to the public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong quickly grew to become the most popular form of qigong China had ever known.  By the late 1990s, tens of millions had been drawn to the practice by the simplicity and effectiveness of its exercises, and the profound resonance of its spiritual message.