"What exactly is Falun Dafa?" As we clarify the truth to governments, media and society, we often hear people asking this question. Even many of those people who already know the truth about the persecution are inevitably puzzled by this question.

The following is a brief explanation of Falun Dafa from the concept of "cultivation."

Cultivation is one of the aspects of human civilization, and its origins date far back into history. Genuine cultivation methods usually include two components: a set of teachings or "the principles" and "the practice," and their scope far exceeds the domains of philosophy and fitness. The second component of cultivation, "the practice," usually refers to the part that is applied to cultivation of the physical body. The first component, the spiritual aspect, is the key that enables the elevation of one's spiritual level.

Throughout time, cultivation has never been popular or even public in society, but because of its broad and profound inner teachings, it has left various traces of its existence in both Eastern and Western civilizations. Taiji, Hetu, Luoshu and the Eight Trigrams, all from ancient China; Indian Yoga and some Western meditation methods, all have subtle references to the mysteries of various cultivation ways. Yet as history progressed, the principles of mind cultivation have gradually been lost, so it has become very difficult for today's people to understand the original meanings of those cultivation methods.

Falun Dafa is one of the high-level cultivation ways of the Buddha School (not to be confused with the Buddhist religion), based on the principle of the most basic characteristics of the universe: Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. It includes five sets of gentle, beautiful exercise movements, and was first made public to the Chinese society in 1992. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is the most fundamental nature of the universe, and it is also the sole criterion for determining what is good and bad in the universe. The cultivation of Falun Dafa includes studying the teachings in Zhuan Falun, with a calm mind. Also, a practitioner strives to improve his/her xinxing [mind or heart nature; moral character] by diligently following the standards of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance as addressed in the book. One also supplements this with the practice of the five sets of qigong exercises.

Falun Dafa follows Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance as its cultivation standard. It cultivates compassion; it is peaceful; all activities are free, open to the public and arranged by volunteers. Every practitioner is an active member of society. Practitioners come from all walks of life and include men, women and children of all ages. For an individual, the cultivation of Falun Dafa can purify the body and keeps one physically and mentally fit, enabling one to become honest, kind, tolerant and peaceful. Cultivation also expands one's consciousness and wisdom, so that one gradually reaches a clear-minded and aware state where one thoroughly understands the mysteries of life and the universe. For society, the cultivation of Falun Dafa can improve social stability, tolerance and harmony, and will improve the quality of the peoples' spiritual lives as a whole.

After Falun Dafa was first introduced in China, it spread mainly by word of mouth, from heart to heart, and the number of people practicing it has significantly increased. In ten years from 1992 to 2002, Falun Dafa spread throughout China and to fifty other countries around the world, receiving numerous awards and support from many governments, and from various groups within different countries. Currently, the number of practitioners all over the world, from different nations and various ethnic origins, is estimated to be over one hundred million.

Since July 20, 1999, to advance his own personal political ambitions, the Chinese dictator initiated the suppression against Falun Gong. He used his power to force the national propaganda machine to spread rumors and fabricate lies to defame Falun Dafa, and to create terror, disharmony and hatred. For the past three years, innocent Falun Dafa practitioners have been brutally persecuted. Over one hundred thousand practitioners have been sent to prisons, forced labor camps and mental hospitals, and more than one thousand people have been tortured to death. This kind of persecution still continues, targeting not only the Chinese Falun Dafa practitioners, but also impacting all people who voluntarily believe and follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. This persecution is a ruthless destruction of human justice, morality and conscience. Therefore, Falun Dafa practitioners from all over the world have all been trying their best to let the people and governments of the world know the truth about the degree of the evil nature of this persecution.

For the past three years, amidst this extremely cruel persecution, the large group of Falun Dafa students have not only steadfastly upheld their righteous belief, but they have also become more rational and mature in their cultivation, and in clarifying the truth to the people of the world. This large, but loosely organized body of individuals has displayed spectacular courage and peacefulness throughout this enormous tribulation. This has brought forth a positive effect of utmost importance in improving the global moral standard.

Falun Dafa created the true courage, tolerance and compassion of practitioners. With their own conduct, practitioners have been diligently validating Falun Dafa to the entire world, helping more people to understand Falun Dafa, and enabling people to seize this precious opportunity of cultivation, so they can begin their journey of returning to their true origin.