Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong, is a powerful mind and body cultivation system originating in prehistoric China. Mr. Li Hongzhi, the sole master and teacher of Falun Dafa, introduced this system publicly in 1992. Now, tens of millions of people worldwide practice the simple, graceful exercises while also striving to live their daily lives according to Falun Dafaís fundamental principles: Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.

Surveys strongly attest to Falun Dafaís efficacy as a way of healing those who practice it, in many cases resolving conditions that other forms of healing could not. Here we look at three major healing traditions, each with its own scientific paradigm.

A science of disease

500,000 people die of coronary artery disease. One million Western allopathic medicine is created and developed by people like you and me. It is based on what we can see and touch. Therefore, a patient has to be sick enough to be diagnosed and treated. If biochemical means, imaging techniques, or pathological methods cannot detect any abnormality, most Western doctors have little to suggest regarding treatment. They watch and wait.

Unfortunately, all fatal diseases develop long before we can detect them with current technology. Oftentimes, when we are able to detect a sign of abnormality, it is too late to treat the condition. Consequently, despite fancy medical technological development, the morbidity and mortality of many diseases have shown little improvement. The quality of medical care today is far below our expectations. For example, every year in the United States 400,000 to suffer an acute myocardial infarction and of these, 10-15% will die within several days while another 10-15% will die within one year.

There are 170,000 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed each year in the United States, with about 150,000 deaths occurring annually; 80-90% of all lung cancers occur among smokers.

We do not know the causes of most illnesses, but we can recognize that lifestyle (poor diet, drinking, smoking, sexual conduct, lack of exercise) and stress contribute to a significant number of health problems. We have embraced the new bio-socio-psychological model of medicine. We teach too little about harm reduction and prevention. Modern medicine is expensive. Many patients totally depend on external help: doctors, medical instruments, and drugs. Thus, we term modern medicine a "science of disease."

A science of health

Chinese medicine can do better in diagnosing and treating illnesses at their early stages if we follow the traditional principles. Chinese medicine is based on a system we cannot see, an energetic network connecting all parts of the body, called meridians. With knowledge of this system, any illness manifests itself as signs or symptoms and can be treated through points on the bodyís surface. We do not know who created or discovered this system. It was a complete and sophisticated system at the very beginning of its recorded existence and has not been changed in the last 3,000 years.

Chinese medicine emphasizes prevention. It believes that the best physicians are those who treat people when they are not ill. It tells you to follow seasonal changes in exercising, eating, drinking, and sleeping habits.

It can effectively treat many illnesses, particularly in their early stages or functional levels when there are no detectable pathological changes. Following traditional Chinese medicineís philosophy and using its treatment modalities, one can live a much healthier life.

The cost of treatment of traditional Chinese medicine is substantially lower than that of Western allopathic medicine, with fewer side effects and often greater effectiveness. But ultimately, patients have to take responsibility for a healthier lifestyle. So we call Chinese medicine a "science of health."

Chinese medicine particularly tells people that emotional distress is the key factor that causes internal dysfunction in the body and consequently makes the body vulnerable to external pathogens. Therefore, it says that the Heart (the organ that is believed to house the mind) is an emperor, and if the emperor is not wise, it jeopardizes the other 12 organs. And to live a long and healthy life, you have to have "a clean heart and few desires."

Before studying Falun Dafa, it was hard for me to understand this statement. I thought people were living only for the fulfillment of their desires at all levels--biological, psychological, and social. Even if we want to have "a clean heart and few desires," how do we do it?

Falun Dafa answered all these questions.


A science of life

First, Master Li explains to us that Chinese medicine is from a prehistoric culture, and the meridians are a system existing in another dimension of our body. My understanding is that many diseases start from deeper dimensions that can be naturally reflected through the meridian system. This is why acupuncture can treat early dysfunction of the body.

Second, Master Li tells us the ultimate purpose of our lives is to go back to our original, true selves. Therefore, getting rid of our attachments to this earthly world is the only way to upgrade our lives. Desires and wrongdoings against the nature of the universe (Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance) are not only attachments, but also are the causes of bad energy (karma) that can transform into all kinds of illnesses. It explains why today there are so many intractable diseases existing in this world, a world of indulgent desires. Modern technology is fighting diseases, but cannot address the true nature and quality of life. How can technology change a personís life if this person himself does not change?

Third, Master Li tells us how to cultivate ourselves in this ordinary human society. He points out that the cultivation of our Xinxing (mind nature and moral character) is the most important way to uplift our lives. He also points out that the spirit and body are a unified system. When Xinxing improves, energy potency increases and the body becomes healthier. I began to understand why people should have a "clean heart" to live a long and healthy life.

When a practitioner follows the right teaching, miracles can happen. This is the way I understand what happens to Falun Gong practitioners. They begin to be fully aware of their personal, ethical shortcomings and make improvements. They begin to understand how to live a truly meaningful life, and for this they are rewarded. It becomes very clear to them that, without the health of oneís spirit, oneís mind and body can never be healthy.

In the last eight years, more than 100 million people in China and abroad have become spiritually renewed through practicing Falun Gong. For them, it hasnít been simply faith that has led them in this direction, but incredible personal experiences. These include healing of chronic and sometimes so-called incurable illnesses, and enlightenment to the truth of the universe.

Every activity conducted by Falun Dafa is free of charge. Instructions, seminars, workshops, group practices, study groups--all are free. The complete text of every Falun Dafa book (including the main book, Zhuan Falun) and various audio and video clips can be viewed and downloaded from the Internet at no cost. Volunteers conduct all activities. It can truly be said that, in an every sense, Falun Dafa is priceless! By practicing Falun Dafa, you take full responsibility for your health and life.

As Master Li points out, Falun Dafa is not to be used for treating illnesses of others. It is to enlighten people to treasure their lives and to cultivate themselves. By practicing Falun Dafa, people are not approaching illness and death; they are approaching their original, Cosmic home. We call Falun Dafa a "science of life."

(Written by Dr. Jingduan Yang with John Nania)


Jingduan Yang, M.D., was formerly a teacher and practitioner of Chinese medicine at the Minnesota Institute of Acupuncture and Herbal Studies. Currently, he is a resident in psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

John Nania is a Minneapolis writer and technology consultant.