Falun Gong group in Winnipeg

Cultivation Practice

 Falun Dafa is a cultivation practice for elevating the mind and enhancing physical health. Although the concept of “cultivation” may not be familiar to many Westerners, looking through the list of definitions of “cultivation” in the dictionary, we do find that it relates to a refinement or improvement of the self, about that just scratches the surface.

In China, there is a rich tradition of cultivation. The term in Chinese is XIU LIAN. XIU means to “repair” or “fix.” LIAN means to “smelt” or “refine,” and this character looks similar to and has the same pronunciation as the term “to practice [exercises].” This is only a direct translation of the characters that make up the term.

To get a complete understanding of the concept of cultivation, we can look to China's history. Around 2,500 years ago, the sage Lao Zi appeared in China. Around the same time, Shakyamuni appeared in India. Lao Zi wrote the book Dao De Jing, which was how most people learned about what he called the “Dao” or the “Way.” Shakyamuni spread Buddhism in India for 49 years, which then made its way to China. These two schools then formed the basis for many spiritual practices in China. 

Religions are also considered forms of cultivation. There is the religion of Buddhism, which has temples, monks, etc., and there are many different denominations of Buddhism. The cultivation way of the Buddha school does not end there though, as there are many practices from this school that 
are not considered part of the Buddhist religion. Often these practices are comprised of simply a teacher and students, but there are no religious formalities or places of worship. These are also considered cultivation ways. The same is true for the Daoist School. There is the religion of Daoism, but there are also many Daoist practices that are not religions. So in China, it is not considered necessary to be religious or be a member of a religion in order to achieve the goal of elevating one's spiritual level--but one does need a cultivation practice. Here in the West, since we don't really have the concept of cultivation, anything spiritual or that has to do with transcending the human world has traditionally fallen under the concept of religion.

Falun Dafa is such a cultivation way, encompassing the essence of all other cultivation ways in the form of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. Indeed, regardless of their religious affiliation or spiritual beliefs, people can universally identify with these three core principles of Falun Dafa.