Falun Dafa or Falun Gong is often described as a “high-level qigong practice.” However, “cultivation practice” or “spiritual self-cultivation” are perhaps more comprehensive descriptions. There is a broad range of cultivation practices in the world. Many of these focus on self improvement on a practical, social level. But not all of them enter the deeper realm of spirituality. This involves abandoning all one’s attachments and enduring hardships as karmic payback or retribution.
Falun Dafa includes 5 very simple but powerful qigong-like exercises. This constitutes the “practice” component of “cultivation practice.” Equally important is the “cultivation” component of cultivation practice. Whether you cultivate as a monastic, a religious believer or a master’s disciple in ordinary society, the process is anything but glamorous. Many cultivators will tell you it’s downright arduous.
The ultimate goal of a genuine cultivation practice, like Falun Dafa, is to reach enlightenment, or heaven. Falun Dafa adherents are guided by the cosmic principle of Truthfulness – Compassion – Forbearance in their daily lives. They also work on raising their xinxing. The Chinese word xinxing is defined as mind or heart nature; moral character. Since the goal of Falun Dafa cultivation practice is very lofty, so are the requirements.
Here are some encouraging words from Master Li Hongzhi, the founder and teacher of Falun Dafa: “It is not that the path of cultivation is agonizing. It is the karma from lifetime after lifetime obstructing you. Steeling your will, eliminate karma and cultivate xinxing. Obtaining an immortal human body, a Buddha.” He also says: “An ordinary person scarcely knows the hardship of cultivation. He mistakes fighting and competing for happiness. Cultivate yourself until not one attachment is omitted. Then the hardship is over and sweetness arrives, that is true happiness.” –Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa
You don’t have to spend many years meditating under a Bodhi tree (as in the illustration) to reach enlightenment. But your cultivation practice has to be done with all your heart and soul…as if the quality of your (eternal) life depended on it…because it does!