What is your assessment of Falun Gong

Falun Gong / Falun Dafa

Falun Gong / Falun Dafa is a spiritual "path to perfection" that was founded by the Chinese Li Hongzhi and first presented to the public in 1992. It sees itself as "traditional Chinese teaching for body and mind" (Falun Dafa Newsletter, October 2010) and is part of the Buddhist Qi Gong. With a popular syncretistic mixture of Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian and Chinese folk religious elements, people and the whole universe are to be purified and refined with highly energetic substances.

The goal is the “redemption” of all beings. In China, the Falun Gong movement is an "illegal organization" and its "master" is an enemy of the state. It became known in the West when around 10,000 supporters demonstrated in 1999 for its recognition and against the oppression of the Chinese Communist Party.

About history

Li Hongzhi says he was born on May 13th, 1951 (and thus on Buddha's birthday; officially on July 7th, 1952) into an academic family in northeast China. As a child he was instructed by a Buddhist master and saw himself endowed with supernatural powers. This, as well as the further spiritual perfection of over 20 Buddhist and Daoist masters, takes up a lot of space in the legendary embellished biography. Initially employed in a state job, Li went public with Falun Gong in 1992 and founded the Falun Dafa Research Society in Beijing. In 1996 he was excluded from the official Qi Gong association, and in 1998 he moved to the USA. The Chinese security authorities classified the rapidly growing movement as an "evil and dangerous" sect in 1996, which was accompanied by massive reprisals including torture, convictions, psychiatric "treatments" and unexplained deaths, especially after the ban in July 1999. The persecution by the Chinese Communist Party fell, according to information from falungong.de well over 3,000 practitioners have been killed so far. Falun Gong followers go public with the subject of "Brutal Persecution - Peaceful Resistance". Corresponding pictures and reports of individual fates draw attention to the injustice suffered, but at the same time arouse dismay, which is instrumentalized for advertising the organization. The "German Falun Dafa Association e.V." (Gorxheimertal) has been registered in Germany since 1998.

Teaching and practice

The name Falun Gong is composed of falun "Wheel of Dharma" (i.e. the teachings of the Buddha) and (qi) gong "Power, Energy". According to Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong, which is sometimes translated as "command wheel cultivation path," is "the name of the cosmic law on earth" (2010 Fa Declaration). Falun Dafa is rendered as "Great Law of the Law Wheel" and is used almost synonymously. (Since moving to the US, Li has preferred to speak of Falun Dafa and describes his followers as Dafa disciples.) The central practice is five precisely defined standing and meditation exercises, which, with their slow, calmly flowing movements, are similar to other Qi Gong exercises expire. They can be learned and practiced in self-study (books, online instructions), but preferably together in local exercise groups, which often also practice outdoors.

Consistent daily practice, which explicitly includes constant reading of Li Hongzhi's teachings, which are laid out in his basic work "Zhuan Falun", serves to "cultivate" according to the three principles of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" (Zhen, Shan, Ren). These are considered the most fundamental properties of the cosmos and must be exposed and perfected in all things. Li therefore speaks of a cultivation method that differs from other (Qi Gong) cultivation paths in that it is much easier to practice and yet is supposed to be incomparably more efficient. The fact that this cultivation, which is thought in cosmic dimensions, starts at a “very high level” is due to the superhuman abilities of the “master”, who mediates the original Dafa and thus assumes a redeeming role, comparable to the eschatological Buddha Maitreya expected in Buddhism.

A specific effectiveness is thereby the Falun attributed (which is symbolized as an image of the universe in the colored Falun Gong emblem). The Falun "is a rotating intelligent being of high energetic substance", which under certain conditions is only used by the "master" in the lower abdomen of the cultivator and from now on collects energy from the cosmos in a non-stop rotating movement. When turned inwards, the Falun releases energy for purification, which ultimately serves for one's own salvation. When turned outwards, it “redeems the other people”. Li basically assumes the substantial nature of energy, including the good (de) or bad karmas (yeli) that one accumulates through one's actions. The bad black matter needs to be broken down and turned into white matter. However, demons hinder cultivation, they are associated with diseases and with all sorts of disturbing influences (sex demons).

Against these and other dangers, the Master surrounds his disciples with the Fashen, the “command body”. This is also presented in substance as a kind of living, intelligent protective screen with which the master effectively protects the practitioner "to perfection". In this context, protection from illness is promised as well as a happy life and ultimately the realization of earthly immortality by “cultivating oneself to become a god”.

Falun Gong works "Fa-rectification" in the universe that can be viewed in its cosmic proportions from a high level of cultivation. The emergence and passing of generations and their civilizations and religions comes into view, but also the entire world of gods and demons. Humanity has been wiped out 81 times, Li noted; only a few enlightened ones survived each time and have always brought forth new worlds. Even now it is a question of survival, insofar as the living beings on the lower levels, to which most people belong, are "sorted out" and thus face their annihilation. In an idiosyncratic, quasi-salvation-historical interpretation, Falun Gong practitioners play an essential role in the cosmic redemption drama thanks to the teaching of Dafa made possible by Master. Li can claim that all people are waiting "to be saved by you". “No matter how painful it may be, Dafa disciples are about to save people. All projects serve this purpose ”(2010 Fa Declaration).

Like the (previously) known Qi Gong practices, the religions belong to a lower level, while Li Hongzhi propagates and offers cultivation without detours "directly on the high level".

To the organization

There is no reliable information about the spread or membership of the Falun Gong movement. Practicing worldwide according to information from faluninfo.de Falun Gong over 100 million people in more than 80 countries. In China, the movement is said to have had around 70 million followers as early as 1999 - including the highest party and government offices - which has since been corrected down to around 2 million. In Germany, the movement has been organized as a club since 1998. The association states that in addition to the approximately 30 registered association members, there are around 400 active Falun Gong practitioners in Germany who also take part in joint activities, as well as an environment of around 2000 supporters. In Switzerland there are exercise groups at over 20 locations, in Austria the number is likely to be significantly lower.

Joint exercises are basically free of charge, and all necessary information is also available on the Internet free of charge. Only the "master" Li is allowed to take money for his courses. Li Hongzhi is at the forefront of the movement with Master's authority, and followers follow him with devotion and sacrifice. He demands that his instructions in the lectures are followed precisely and warns against deviations or against mixing with other teachings and methods.

Falun Gong ideals are spread in different ways. The cultural gala "Shen Yun" packs them into a colorful presentation of "traditional Chinese culture", exhibitions in public buildings (for example through the association "Ars Honesta - German Association for Art and Human Rights eV") draw attention to themselves with works of art or on the subject of human rights and repeatedly refer explicitly or implicitly to Falun Gong and its principles. At city festivals or other high-profile events, stands are set up and flyers are distributed. Fonts are displayed in universities and supermarkets. Established by Falun Gong followers, NTDTV (New Tang Dynasty Television) is one of a growing group of media organizations associated with the movement. This also includes radio stations and the “Epoch Times” newspaper, which appears in 17 languages, including German.

The movement sees itself neither as a religion nor as a political organization. However, the rapid and effective implementation of coordinated activities suggests that there is at least a well-organized hard core.


Falun Gong is a syncretistic salvation teaching and practice with a comprehensive and exclusive claim. It presents itself as a methodized way of salvation under the authority of Master Li Hongzhi. On the basis of Chinese religiosity and cosmology, the Buddhist-based idea of ​​salvation through (self-) cultivation mixes with animistic aspects and modern scientific elements.

Even the talk of the master and his disciples refers to a basic religious understanding. The claim to bring the disciples, unlike in other “cultivation schools”, to a high level and thus to happiness and success within a very short time, has an attractive effect. The elitist and at the same time uncritical attitude propagated in Li's main work "Zhuan Falun" can lead to problems in the family or in the social environment depending on the constellation (also Li himself with regard to consistent cultivation). The fact that Falun Gong is more than a (pure) spiritual meditation movement - so the self-image - also show the political activities of the followers. The official Chinese assessment as a dangerous sect is politically motivated, it is not covered by serious incidents in either China or Europe. The protest against - not only for Falun Gong followers precarious! - However, human rights violations in China should remain clearly distinguishable from advertising for Falun Gong. The propaganda mixing of politics and “spirituality” in concerted actions of the movement, for example in town halls and town halls, partly on the subject of art, partly on the subject of human rights, must be viewed critically.


Li Hongzhi, Zhuan Falun (German version), Bad Pyrmont 1998
Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong - The Way to Perfection, Munich 1998
Li Hongzhi, Fa-teaching at the 2010 New York Fa Conference on September 5, 2010 (updated October 27, 2010)

Falun Dafa Newsletter, October 2010 Issue, ed. from the Falun Dafa Information Center Germany, Gorxheimertal

www.falungong.de www.faluninfo.de
http://english.ntdtv.com (German)


Dehn, Ulrich, Ki movements and their background, in:MD3/1998, 66-76
Dehn, Ulrich, Falun Gong - a new dimension among the Ki movements ?, in:MD1/2000, 14-19
Dehn, Ulrich, Falun Gong, in: Reinhard Hempelmann et al. (Ed.), Panorama of the new religiosity, Gütersloh22005, 393-397
Lamprecht, Harald, Mission with Martyrs. Falun Gong makes excessive use of the persecution in China as a promotional argument in:Confessio4/2007, 5

Dr. Friedmann Eißler, January 2011