I Regard All Who Learn as My Students
Though many don’t realize it, I regard everyone who learns our practice as a student to guide, and this even applies to those who are sincere about it but are learning on their own. It would actually be irresponsible, and risky, for me to do anything less, since these are teachings that take people to greater spiritual heights. We give so much to you and disclose so many things that the average person isn’t suited to know. I am teaching you the Way, and much will be given to you. And I purify your bodies as well as deal with other matters. So it would really be a problem if I didn’t take you as my students; it would amount to freely revealing so many secrets to non-practitioners, which is forbidden. But with that said, times have changed and we needn’t use initiation rituals involving things like prostrating and bowing to me. We don’t perform those rites. They don’t serve any purpose for us and would look overly religious. And besides, they would be pointless if afterwards you lapsed into your old, worldly ways, vying for things like status and wealth. The ceremony wouldn’t have served any purpose, then. And you might even err further and hurt Dafa’s image by doing wrongful things while claiming to be associated with me.
In true spiritual practice everything comes down to how sincere you are about working on yourself. As long as you are able to practice, and do so with a sure footing and commitment, I will take you as my student; it wouldn’t be right to do otherwise. Yet some people won’t really see themselves as practitioners and keep up the practice—it’s just not possible for some. But many of you will, and I will regard those who can as my students and guide you in the practice.
Then what about those who just do our exercises each day—do they count as students of Falun Dafa? Not necessarily, because it’s not genuine practice unless someone strives to develop his or her character as we’ve taught, and does so in earnest. If you just do those exercises without working on your character, there won’t be powerful energy to strengthen everything, and it won’t amount to spiritual practice. So we can’t consider you a student of Falun Dafa in that case. And if you carried on like that, doing the exercises but not working on your character as Falun Dafa teaches, and stuck to your old ways with people, you might run into added trouble. Worse yet, you might even claim that Falun Dafa brought you those troubles. This could very well happen to you. You are a true practitioner only when you sincerely work on your character, as we’ve taught. Now that I have spelled this out, I hope that you won’t come looking for me anymore for student-initiation ceremonies. I will regard you as my student as long as you are practicing in earnest. And you can rest assured that you will be under my care, however many learners we have, since I have numerous spiritual bodies that can help.
Buddhist Energy Practices and Religious Buddhism
My remarks should make clear that Buddhist energy practices are not the same as religious Buddhism, and Daoist energy practices are not the same as religious Daoism. Some of our practitioners often conflate the two. Some Buddhist monks, or even lay Buddhists, consider themselves knowledgeable about Buddhism and have been busy promoting it among our community of learners. But I would advise against that, for these are different disciplines and should remain distinct. What I am now teaching is the part of our discipline related to one’s own, personal spiritual development, and so there are no religious trappings, as a formal religion might have. The only ones who should be engaging in any religious rites are the adherents of Falun Dafa who are monastics or have been religiously ordained. So our practice shouldn’t be mistaken for latter day Buddhism.
The teachings of Buddhism are but one small part of the greater Way of the universe. Many other profound teachings exist as well, with there being different truths and insights at each and every plane of existence. The Buddha, named Shakyamuni, indicated that there are eighty-four thousand avenues to enlightenment, yet only a handful are to be found in Buddhism, such as Tiantai, Flower Garland, Zen, Pure Land, and Tantric. The number hardly adds up to anything. So Buddhism’s teachings don’t encompass all of the Way and are but a small part of it. Our Falun Dafa is one path among the eighty-four thousand mentioned, but has never been connected to religious Buddhism at any point in time, from Buddhism’s earliest days on up to its latter days, and nor does ours have anything to do with today’s religions.
The Buddha began what’s known as Buddhism twenty-five hundred years ago in ancient India. Upon reaching enlightenment and having his powers freed, he recalled what he had practiced previously and made it public in order to save people. His practice can be summarized in just three words, even if there are thousands of Buddhist sutras: precept, concentration, wisdom. In Buddhism, precepts are meant to put an end to all the desires people normally experience, and it has prohibitions for monks that cut them off from all that is secular, and that are meant to end their selfish longings, among other things. The adherent’s mind thus becomes empty, and deep meditative concentration becomes possible. So precepts and concentration go hand in hand. The heart of the practice is carried out while immersed in deep concentration, meditating; progress is dependent on a still mind. So this is where the real spiritual labors take place in their practice. They don’t teach anything involving physical movements or techniques, or transform the person’s innate body; they just practice for the type of higher energy that is connected to one’s spiritual attainment. So they work solely on character, rather than the body, and don’t concern themselves with developing higher energy for the body. Through meditation the practitioner of Buddhism can increase his powers of concentration, and in the process work off his karma by suffering. The term wisdom, meanwhile, is about becoming enlightened and gaining a greater intelligence and spiritual insight. With enlightenment, the workings of the universe will be revealed to the believer and its many dimensions will be seen in full. Miraculous powers will also come about. This process of coming to a greater wisdom, or becoming enlightened, is also referred to as the freeing of one’s powers.
Back when the Buddha founded his discipline, there were eight religions active in India. One of them, called Brahmanism, was well established. Throughout his life the Buddha battled with these religions on doctrinal grounds. The dharma that he taught was a genuine embodiment of the Way, so it grew ever stronger and more prosperous over the course of his ministry. The other religions of his day steadily declined and weakened, by contrast, with even Brahmanism, despite its strong foothold in India, ending up on the verge of extinction. After the Buddha’s nirvana, however, the other religions enjoyed renewed popularity, especially Brahmanism. So what exactly happened to Buddhism, then? Certain monks experienced the freeing of their powers and enlightenment to differing degrees, but none were very advanced. Many monks never achieved the status of tathagata as the Buddha had.
The Way manifests itself differently at each plane of existence, with higher planes being progressively closer to its truest form and lower planes further from it. After the monks I described gained enlightenment and had powers freed, at lower stages of attainment, they went and interpreted the Buddha’s words in light of their own limited visions of the universe or realizations about it. And so there were widely ranging understandings of the Buddha’s teachings. Some monks preached their own interpretations to people while attributing them to the Buddha, rather than conveying what he originally had said. In this manner his teachings were altered beyond recognition, and became something altogether different from what the Buddha had once taught. This ultimately led to his teachings dying out in India. It is a serious lesson left to us from history, and explains why Buddhism later disappeared from the face of India. It also underwent multiple reforms before dying out, with it ultimately being mixed with doctrines from Brahmanism, becoming a new religious movement in India known as Hinduism. Faith is no longer placed in the Buddha there, or even any Buddha; other entities are now enshrined instead. This is what has taken place with Hinduism.
Buddhism has gone through several major reforms. One happened not long after the Buddha’s passing. This was the creation of Mahayana, or “Greater Vehicle,” Buddhism, which was based on the Buddha’s more advanced teachings. Its founders held that the dharma that the Buddha taught publicly was meant for merely the average listener and could lead only to self-liberation, i.e., attaining the heavenly rank known as arhat, since it didn’t advocate the salvation of all living things. They thus referred to this publicly taught dharma as Hinayana, or “Lesser Vehicle,” Buddhism. But that was the original practice from the Buddha’s days, and is in fact the form that southeast Asian monks still observe today. In China people have likewise referred to it as Hinayana Buddhism. Of course, southeast Asian monks don’t think of it that way—i.e., as being “Lesser”—since they believe that they’ve carried on the Buddha’s original practices. And they’re correct in thinking that. For the most part they have preserved the forms of practice from his days.
Mahayana’s reformed version of Buddhism assumed a set form after spreading to China, and it is the Buddhism seen there today. But it is nothing like the one from the Buddha’s day. Everything has changed, from the monastic garb to how people study for and gain enlightenment, to the means of spiritual practice. Buddhism originally enshrined and venerated only Shakyamuni as its founder, yet now it has come to have a plethora of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; it’s now a polytheistic faith. People place faith in many tathagata Buddhas, such as Amitabha, Medicine Buddha, and Vairochana, and there are many senior bodhisattvas in the pantheon as well. All of this makes for a Buddhism that’s radically different from what Shakyamuni began.
Along with those changes came another reformation. The bodhisattva known as Nagarjuna unveiled in India an esoteric practice, which was later transmitted to Afghanistan and eventually made its way to Xinjiang province, from which it spread to the interior of China. It was in the Tang Dynasty that this happened, so the practice has been known as Tang Esoteric Buddhism. The people of China have different values and concepts than most nations, owing to the legacy of Confucianism. Esoteric Buddhism involves the practice of men and women in Tantric union—something not acceptable to society at the time. And so it was eradicated during the Buddhist purges in the Tang Dynasty’s Hui Chang era, and vanished from the interior of China. There is still a school of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan, however, known as Shingon, but its founder, who learned the practice in China, never underwent ritual anointment. Yet Esoteric Buddhism holds that anyone who learns its dharma without first undergoing anointment is stealing its teachings, and won’t be recognized as a legitimate heir to the transmission. Another branch originated in India and passed through Nepal before being transmitted to Tibet. It’s referred to as Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, and has been passed down to this day. This is just to give you a very basic sketch of how Buddhism as we know it came to be. Other Buddhist disciplines have come about along the way, such as Zen Buddhism, which Bodhidharma founded, Pure Land Buddhism, and Flower Garland Buddhism. In each case it was begun by an individual who came to a certain understanding of something that the Buddha once taught, so all of these count as reformed Buddhism. Each of the dozen or so Buddhist denominations that exist has assumed a religious form, and should be considered religious Buddhism.
The new religions that came into being this century are by and large false, as are many that were begun around the world in recent centuries. A divine being who comes to save people will necessarily have a heavenly kingdom of his own, and this has been the case for each Buddha that has come offering deliverance, from Shakyamuni to other well-known ones such as Amitabha and Vairochana. In this Milky Way galaxy alone there are more than a hundred paradises such as these, and our Falun Dafa has a corresponding paradise known as the Falun Paradise.
Then where would the followers of false religions go to, if they were in fact saved? These religions haven’t the ability to save people in the first place, as it turns out, since what they teach is not the Way. Of course, when religions like these first began it wasn’t necessarily the founder’s intent to play the devil’s part and undermine true faiths. Rather, the person may have experienced some level of enlightenment and had his powers freed, and gained insights, though incomplete, into reality. Yet his spiritual attainment would have been quite limited, in fact, and he would be far from sufficiently divine to save people. He would merely have gained insight into certain facets of reality and have come to see some of the problems with this world. So he would counsel people to do good, and at least initially would not have been in opposition to established religions. Later, however, people would come to place faith in figures like this and venerate them, since people would find their teachings compelling. Their faith in the person would increase over time, such that eventually they came to place faith in him instead of a true religion. His desire for worldly influence would grow and lead him to adopt some spiritual title or other, with which he would establish his own, new faith. I can tell you that in all such cases it amounts to heresy. Even if those faiths don’t overtly harm people, they are still deviant beliefs since they lead people away from the true faiths. The true faiths offer salvation, whereas the false cannot. And over time the latter do underhanded things. Many of these have spread to China in recent times, such as the so-called “Quan Yin Method.” So be on guard, by all means. Reportedly one country in East Asia has over two thousand practices like these, and in Southeast Asia as well as the West there are all sorts of beliefs. In one country they have what is blatantly black magic. All of these are the devil’s doing in these latter days. The term “latter days” isn’t meant to apply to the circumstances of just one religion, but to the decline experienced by a great many realms spanning from high to low. It refers to the decline of the Way in true religions as well as the fact that humanity has lost its innate moral compass and the self-restraint that would normally come with it.
Staying True to One Practice
We say that you have to stay true to one practice. Regardless of which discipline you decide to do, you shouldn’t mix other things into your practice and foul it up. Some laypersons practice what’s taught in Buddhism, for example, right alongside our Falun Dafa. But doing so will ultimately cause them to gain nothing for their efforts; nobody will bestow anything upon them. Though both practices count as Buddhist, there is a problem with your thinking as well as the issue of not staying true to one practice. You have just one body to work with, so which of the two’s energy is your body supposed to develop? What kind of transformation would your energy go through? And where are you trying to go? The discipline that you practice will take you to its domain. Practicing Pure Land Buddhism leads to Buddha Amitabha’s Paradise of Ultimate Bliss, for example, just as following Medicine Buddha leads to the Lapis Lazuli Paradise. What we’re discussing is a common religious tenet, referred to as “only one way.”
With spiritual practice, all that’s involved in developing higher energy proceeds according to your specific discipline’s designs. So those who dabble in different practices, and haven’t figured out where they are headed, will end up with nothing to show for their efforts. Just as energy practices and religious practice shouldn’t be mixed, neither should two spiritual disciplines, two different energy practices, or even two religions. Even different denominations within the same religion shouldn’t be combined. You have to settle upon one. If you practice Pure Land, then it’s Pure Land and nothing else; and the same goes for if you choose Tantric Buddhism or Zen, for example. Those who dabble in multiple practices will attain little. So even religious devotional practices should be exclusive and avoid the mixing in of other doctrines or practices. Those faiths are a means of developing higher energy, too, and qualify as spiritual practice just the same, so how they form energy follows the designs specific to their own practices. The means by which higher energy comes about in other dimensions is extremely intricate, profound, and mysterious, and not something to be trifled with as when you freely mix foreign things into your practice.
When some people who are lay Buddhists hear that this is a Buddhist practice, they try to drag learners to a temple for conversion. If anyone here is doing that, you should not be. You would be violating our practice as well as the ordinances of Buddhism, disrupting our learners, and causing them to get nothing out of it. All of which are problems. Spiritual practice is a serious matter, and one must stay true to a single practice. Though the part of our practice that the general public* engages in isn’t religious, we do share in the same goals as religions have, for we all seek to experience awakening and be spiritually perfected.
The Buddha stated that in the latter days it would be hard even for temple monks to gain salvation, much less lay Buddhists, who would no longer be watched over by higher beings. You might have formally become a student of some teacher, but if that individual isn’t doing genuine spiritual practice, then he will be no different from an adherent himself; spiritual progress isn’t possible without working on the mind. The ceremonies of conversion are human affairs, and couldn’t possibly be all it takes for you to become, for instance, Buddhist, and enjoy the Buddha’s care and protection. That’s not how it works. And neither will praying and bowing to a statue so fervently that your body aches, nor lighting scores of devotional candles, change anything. What you have to do is really work on your heart and mind with all due sincerity. In the latter days the universe has changed dramatically, and even many places of worship are in a troubled state. Those with special powers (monastics included) have observed this. At present I am the only one anywhere publicly teaching what could actually be called the Way. Never before has anyone done what I am doing, let alone been as welcoming as this, and in these latter days. An opportunity like this is normally very, if not extremely, rare. But your deliverance from this world rests in your own hands, and comes down to whether you have what it takes for spiritual practice. What I teach covers an enormous scope of the universe.
My point isn’t that you have to learn Falun Dafa, but to convey a principle. Namely, that in spiritual practice you need to stay true to one practice. Otherwise it simply won’t work out. So naturally, if you aren’t interested in our spiritual practice, we won’t try to coerce you in any way; the teaching is meant for those who are sincere about practicing. So you must commit to one practice and not even mix in concepts from other ones. Nor should you incorporate any techniques related to the mind. Our Falun Dafa doesn’t make use of those, and they are not something I teach. This point really has to be heeded. There are basically no mental techniques used in our discipline. This is consistent with the Buddhist belief in “emptiness” and the Daoist idea of “nothingness.”
On one occasion I allowed my mind to be linked with the minds of four or five enlightened ones in extremely high realms. Their level of attainment was so great that non-practitioners would think I was exaggerating were I to describe it. They wanted to read my mind. Others have no way of doing that, given how many years I practiced for; their powers have no way to breach my space. Nobody is able to know me or what I am thinking. Yet in this case, I consented to their wish to know my thoughts, and linked my mind with theirs for a period of time. But once the connection was made I found it hard to take. That’s because regardless of my level of attainment, I am part of this mortal world and acting with a purpose—to save people—and my mind is on that. Whereas their minds were so still it was unsettling. Were it just one being who was that still, it wouldn’t have been that significant, but there were four or five sitting over there, with stillness like a pool of standing water, and I couldn’t sense anything from them. Those few days my mind really felt uneasy; the sensation that was lingering would be hard to describe. That kind of complete emptiness, free of all intention, is beyond what most people could imagine or ever experience.
In advanced practice, the mind is not in any way consciously directed. You were at the beginning stage when you started, as a regular person, and so foundational work was needed. The foundational work, however, has been done for you. Normally by the time more advanced stages are reached, all of the mechanisms related to one’s body or energy will have become fully automated, and our practice is a good example of this: you will keep developing higher energy, independent of the exercises, as long as you work on your character. Our exercises merely serve to strengthen the automated mechanisms, while the meditation, which is motionless, brings us to a state of complete inaction. While you might see Daoist practices teaching an array of physical regimens, mental exercises, and ways to guide energy with the mind, all of those, I can tell you, are dispensed with as soon as adherents progress past the stage of more basic chi; visualizations aren’t used past that point. Yet some of our practitioners have a hard time moving on from the breathing methods and ways of using the mind that they’re familiar with from previous energy exercises or practices. I am offering them university level instruction, so to speak, only to have them ask about elementary things like “guiding energy” and “directing awareness.” Those have become the norm for them. True energy exercises for spiritual development are different from what they imagine.
Supernormal Powers and Spiritual Power
There are many who don’t have a good command of spiritual terminology, and they get certain terms mixed up. One example is how people confuse the term “supernormal powers” with “spiritual power.” The higher energy that comes from working on your character is attuned to the qualities of the universe, and it is derived from virtue. This energy is crucial because it determines your level of spiritual attainment, as well as your spiritual prowess and divine standing. Supernormal powers are something that comes about in the course of practice, and we call them “powers” for short. The higher energy that I just mentioned, which determines your level of attainment, is what’s referred to as your “spiritual power.” The higher your level of attainment, the greater this will be, and the more potent your powers.
When supernormal or psychic powers appear they are but a byproduct of the spiritual journey. Experiencing them doesn’t say anything about your progress or degree of achievement, nor your spiritual power; they are simply more available to some people than others. Nor should these powers be treated as the main goal of practice; they are not something to be had by effort. They can only be developed through sincere spiritual practice. But they still shouldn’t be a motivating goal. If they are, you should ask yourself why. Do you plan to use them around people? They are forbidden from being used like that, and the more you want them, the less likely they will come about. That’s because you would be wanting them, and that would be an attachment. And attachments are precisely what spiritual practice aims to do away with.
Plenty of people have reached great spiritual heights without having any powers come to them. Their masters sealed off their powers for fear that they wouldn’t exercise self-restraint and would misuse them; their masters prevented them from using their powers along the way. This has been the case for many individuals. Your powers are governed by your thoughts, and so, were the situation otherwise, you could very well lose control over them while asleep in a dream, and awake the next morning to discover that everything around you was laid to waste. Which of course mustn’t happen. Since our practice is done in the secular world, whatever great powers someone has generally won’t be available to him. The vast majority will be sealed off. But this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Many individuals who make solid spiritual progress are allowed to experience some of their powers, since they have good self-control. These are people who would firmly refuse to show them off, if people wanted them to. They have self-control.
Reverse Practice and the Borrowing of Energy
There are people who have never done an energy practice or have maybe just learned a few techniques at a tai-chi or chi-gong class, for health reasons rather than spiritual growth, and yet overnight they unexpectedly get energy. I want to explore together how this kind of energy comes about. There are several means.
One way is what’s called reverse practice. This happens when someone who is older wishes to do spiritual practice, yet hasn’t enough time left to begin the journey from scratch. When chi-gong was in its heyday in China not long ago, there were older folks who wanted to practice it, like everyone else. They knew that it could not only lead to self-improvement, but also benefit others. So they were motivated to practice it and better themselves. But remember that when the surge of interest in these practices took place, the teachers involved were only serving to popularize them; none were offering true instruction of a more advanced sort. To this very day I remain the only person to be truly, publicly instructing in a higher practice. At that time the people who experienced reverse practice were over fifty. They were somewhat older but had excellent innate foundations, and what their bodies carried was excellent. They were almost good enough to be selected as apprentices or successors to a master. But these individuals were getting on in years, and it would have been really hard for them to practice. Simply finding a qualified teacher who would instruct them would have been difficult. Yet their wish to practice shined from their hearts like gold, and would echo throughout the universe. It would mean that their divine nature, to use an established term for it, had shone through.
A person’s life, as seen from higher realms, is not meant to be lived as a human being. His or her life was produced in a dimension in the universe, and so it was naturally attuned to the universe’s qualities of zhen, shan, ren and was originally good and kind. But as beings form relationships with one another and as their numbers increase, certain ones among the group turn selfish or bad. At that point they can no longer remain in the higher, heavenly realm where they began, and must drop to a lower one. If they become bad yet again in the lower realm, they must drop again, with the process repeating until finally they drop to this mortal world. Lives are supposed to be annihilated upon descending to this plane of existence. Yet higher beings decided, out of mercy, to give man one last chance by placing him in the most trying of settings. And that was how this dimension came to be.
In other dimensions people do not have bodies like those here, and they can float in the air and enlarge or shrink. In this dimension, by contrast, people are saddled with the physical bodies that we now have. With this kind of body, cold or heat will be unpleasant, and it’s difficult when you are tired or hungry. Pain is inevitable. There are the miseries that come with illness, and you are subject to the cycle of being born, aging, becoming infirm, and then dying. All of which is meant to pay off your karma, through suffering. You are being given one more chance to go back, and that is why you are in this beguiling place. After dropping here, you are furnished with eyes as you now have, which prevent you from seeing other dimensions or seeing the material world for what it is. Those who make it back, however, will find that the worst of their suffering here was in fact the most valuable. Practicing by relying on faith while in this confusing place is extremely trying, yet it is also what makes a swift return to heaven possible. But if instead you become still worse here, then your soul will be extinguished. So the point of human existence, as higher beings see it, is not to be human but to recover our original purity and go back to our heavenly home. The average person doesn’t realize this, however, for this secular world is all he knows, and what tends to occupy his mind is figuring out how to get ahead and live the good life. But the better off he is, the more selfish and greedy he may become, in which case he strays only further from the qualities of the universe and heads for destruction.
That is the view of things as seen from higher realms. What you think of as progress might in reality be heading backward. People think that they are progressing forward, with science advancing to new frontiers, when in fact things are merely unfolding according to cosmic patterns. Even few Chinese know why the Daoist figure known as Master Zhang Guo rode his donkey sitting backwards. He decided to ride it backwards upon realizing that forward progress was actually a regression. And this is why higher beings consider it so precious when a person has the wish to do spiritual practice, and will freely help him. And similarly, I will do all that I can to help the learners sitting here today who decide on practicing. But I can’t help you, and it won’t work out, if you are just like the average person who comes in order to get healed, or for other motives. The reason is, in that case you just want to be a regular person, and regular people are meant to experience the cycle of being born, aging, becoming ill, and dying. It is how it should be, and there are deeper workings behind these things that shouldn’t be disrupted. Previously, true spiritual practice may not have been a part of your life. But now that you have decided to take it up, the life ahead of you needs to be redesigned, and so we have grounds for rebalancing your body.
So when a person wants to do spiritual practice, higher beings see that intent and consider it simply precious. But [in recent times] it hasn’t been possible for these higher beings to support people by finding a teacher in this world to instruct them. What’s more, the people I’ve been describing would have been over fifty and getting on in years. Higher beings cannot come and teach people directly; to reveal themselves and teach the Way and exercises would amount to divulging higher secrets, and their divine standing would be lowered for doing that. Human beings fell into this maze on account of having done wrong, and so they must rely on faith and discernment as they practice here. And for this reason, higher beings cannot teach them. Were a divine being to appear in full glory and teach the Way and exercises, even those who are guilty of unpardonable evil would come to learn, and everyone would believe. Faith and discernment would no longer be involved. That would be a problem, since everyone fell into this maze of their own doing and was supposed to be destroyed—only they have been given a chance to work their way back out. Those who are able to, do so, while those who aren’t face continued reincarnation, and eventually, destruction.
The spiritual journey must always be one’s own. What could those higher beings do to help, then, if a person wanted to practice? They figured out an approach. As I mentioned, there was a surge of interest in energy practices at the time, which resulted from cosmic changes. So, in keeping with these cosmic tides, the higher beings supplied energy to such a person on the merits of his character. They would attach to his body a type of soft tubing that would act like a water faucet; energy would come forth whenever he turned it on. He would find that energy would come to him if he wished to project it, and wouldn’t if he did not. This then is what’s meant by “reverse” practice; i.e., the person works towards spiritual perfection in reverse, from what would normally be a higher stage of practice, towards a more foundational one.
Usually a person will progress in practice from a basic stage towards more advanced ones, all the way until his powers become available to him and he achieves spiritual perfection. But in cases of reverse practice, the person is older and there isn’t enough time for him to follow the standard progression from basic to advanced; quicker progress could be had by starting directly from the advanced stage. This phenomenon was a product of the times. The person would have to have excellent character, as this would determine how much energy he was given. But what, then, was the purpose of all this? For one thing, it was to support cosmic developments then occurring. Also, the person experiencing it would get to face ordeals while doing good deeds [with his newfound powers]. Since he would be dealing with worldly folk, he might have to interact with all sorts of people. For example, there might be some who misunderstand his healing of them. Though he removes many bad things from their bodies while treating them and cures them of their ailments, that might not be apparent at first. So they might be unhappy about it or might not show him any gratitude. And they might even accuse him of swindling them. Trying scenarios such as these would thus serve to temper the practitioner’s mind. So the second purpose of giving him energy was to enable practice and make it possible for him to grow spiritually. And while doing good works he could develop his powers and increase his energy. Not everyone experiencing this would realize it, however. But as I said, the Way couldn’t be taught to them and it was up to them to realize what was taking place. It was a question of discernment. And so nothing could be done to help those who were failing to realize what was happening.
When energy came to them, some individuals would suddenly feel unbearably hot as they slept one night, and would have to peel off their blankets. After rising the next morning they would find that they felt static electricity from whatever they touched. Realizing that they now had energy, they might use it to help someone in pain, such as by rubbing the ailing area with their hands, and it would seem to do the job. And they would know that this energy would be at their disposal going forward. So they would act like masters and start an energy healing practice, declaring themselves experts and making a business of it. At first, being good people, they would turn down the money or gifts offered to them for their healings. But the corrupting influence of this world would prove too much for them over time, and they would end up polluted by it. This owed to the fact that those who did reverse practice hadn’t gone through the process of working sincerely on their character, and it was hard for them to handle things well. They would gradually go from accepting small tokens of appreciation to accepting larger gifts, to at some point even taking offense at lesser gifts. And they might eventually reject gifts altogether, demanding money instead. And they would take issue if the money offered wasn’t enough. They would grow full of themselves from all the praise that they would hear, and no longer be respectful of true teachers. Criticism from anyone would upset them. Their attachments to worldly things like status and wealth would grow, and they would think that they outshined everyone else and were something special. They mistakenly believed that they were given energy so that they could become masters and strike it rich, when in fact, it was to make spiritual development possible for them. But as they became increasingly worldly by wanting status and wealth, their character only worsened.
Remember that your energy will only be as strong as your character. Not much energy can be provided to someone whose character has sunk, for it is given on the merit of character, and the two are proportionate. The stronger someone’s worldly desires are, the lower he sinks in this mundane world, and his energy will drop in kind. Energy will no longer be given if he eventually bottoms out, and he will be left without a trace of it. This has been the case for many in recent years, with a large number being women over fifty. A typical case would involve an older woman who does an energy practice but hasn’t ever received true instruction; at most she would have learned a few exercises for health at a class. But then out of the blue, energy comes to her one day. Her character isn’t solid, though, and she begins to crave status and wealth, and ends up falling, with nothing to show for her efforts—not even energy. Many who experienced reverse practice have fallen like this, and just a scant few remain who have energy. Their failing was that they didn’t realize that the energy given to them was for the purpose of spiritual development, and they mistook it as a means to worldly ends and to a distinguished career as a master, enjoying wealth and renown. But in reality it was meant as a means for spiritual practice.
Another phenomenon involves people borrowing energy. In this case age isn’t a factor, but for it to happen the individual involved must be of especially noble character. Typically the person will know that there is something spiritual about energy practice, and they are drawn to it by this. But despite their interest, where would they even begin to look for a good teacher? And even the reputable teachers who were around a few years ago would have only been offering instruction meant for health and wellness. There was nobody teaching the kind of practice that leads to higher spiritual realms; no one would do so.
There is something I want to discuss while on the topic of borrowing energy. Human beings have not only a true soul (a conscious mind), but also a secondary soul (a subconscious mind). An individual might have anywhere from one to as many as five of these secondary souls. Their gender isn’t necessarily the same as that of the person, as they might be either male or female, and it differs from person to person. And in fact, the true soul isn’t necessarily the same gender as the physical body, either. We have observed that there are now an unusually large number of men with female souls, and women with male souls. This is consistent with the Daoist belief that yin forces are dominant in these times, due to a cosmic reversal of yin and yang.
One’s secondary soul usually comes from a higher plane than the true soul, with some having come from realms of exceptional height. Secondary souls should never be confused with possessing entities. These souls are born with you at the same time from the womb, and have the same name as you, as they are physically part of you. Normally it is the true soul that decides what you think about or do. The main task of the secondary soul is to prevent the true soul from doing wrong. Yet when the true soul is headstrong about something, the secondary soul is powerless to help. The secondary soul isn’t misled by the secular world, while the true soul easily falls for it.
Some secondary souls hail from realms quite high, and it’s possible they are on the verge of attaining a divine standing. The secondary soul might wish to engage in spiritual practice, but it is powerless to do so if the true soul doesn’t want to. What used to happen during this time when interest in energy practices in China was at its height, was that the true soul of a certain individual might one day wish to do spiritual practice. The thought was simple and pure, of course, and not tainted by desires for worldly things. The secondary soul would be delighted by this, for it had long wanted to do spiritual practice but hadn’t any say, and now this person wanted to as well. But where would this person find a true guide? The secondary soul would be quite resourceful and take leave of the body to seek out the higher beings that it knew from a previous life; it might be possible for it to leave the body since it could be a soul that had come from realms quite high. Upon visiting the higher beings, it would convey its wish to practice and ask to borrow energy. Beings such as these would see that the person was quite good, and naturally be happy to help since it was for purposes of spiritual practice. So this would be how the secondary souls borrowed energy. Often the energy would be a dispersed type that was delivered to the individual via a tube-like conduit. In other cases what was borrowed would come in finished form, and it would typically bring with it supernormal powers.
That being the case, the person might gain powers along with energy, and experience something like what I described earlier, where he’s unbearably hot while sleeping at night and awakes the next day with energy. He would feel static electricity from whatever he touched and find that he could do healings for people. He would know that energy had come to him, though not where from. He would just have a sense that it came from somewhere in the universe, but without knowing exactly how. His secondary soul wouldn’t tell him, since it was the one engaging in practice, rather than the true soul. All that the individual would know is that energy had come to him.
Age usually wouldn’t be a factor in deciding who could borrow energy. The borrowers in recent years have tended to be younger, with people in their twenties, thirties, and forties experiencing it as well as older folks. Younger people find it harder to handle themselves well, however. They might be good people under normal circumstances, and take worldly things lightly when they’re nobody special. But after a taste of success they are apt to fall prey to the lure of things like status and wealth, and start becoming ambitious about life, and want to throw their hat in the ring and fight for their piece of the pie. So it’s quite possible that they would regard their powers and newfound abilities as a means of achieving selfish, worldly ends. That’s a problem, though. Those powers aren’t to be used in that way, and doing so will come at the cost of energy. So these individuals would end up devoid of any energy. Even more of this group have fallen; not one is left now, from what I’ve seen.
In both scenarios I just described, the individuals involved had excellent character initially. Their energy wasn’t the result of practicing, but rather, was provided by higher beings. So naturally the energy was good.
Many of you may have heard from various religious traditions about animal spirits such as those of foxes, weasels, hedgehogs, or snakes attaching to human bodies, and wonder what it’s about. People claim that energy practices can develop psychic powers, but that’s not how it works; what people are taking to be psychic powers are actually innate human abilities. It’s merely that as the world progresses, people are increasingly fixating on the tangible things of this physical dimension and growing more dependent on modern technology. This has led to a steady decline of our innate abilities to the point we are at now, where they are disappearing altogether.
To gain psychic powers you have to first recover your original state of purity through disciplined spiritual practice. Animals, on the other hand, haven’t the complicated thinking that man does. The qualities of the universe flow through them, as a result, and so their innate powers are available to them. Some people claim that snakes or other animals know how to practice or that foxes know how to amass energy. But that’s not the case; they too begin with no knowledge of it. It’s merely that their innate powers are available to them. That said, it is possible for animals to gain energy or even psychic powers with the right conditions, the right setting, and enough time.
In this manner animals can come to have certain abilities, which have previously been referred to as psychic energy or special powers. To ordinary people, animals like these might seem formidable and easily able to dominate man. But I would say they’re nothing of the sort. They pale in comparison with a true practitioner. It would take barely your little finger to crush them, even if they have practiced nearly a thousand years. So while we do believe that animals have certain innate powers and can gain abilities, there remains a law in this universe that animals may not practice, let alone succeed at it. That’s why in ancient texts you might read of disasters large and small wiping out animals every several centuries. If at some point an animal does manage to develop energy, it might be eliminated by a thunderbolt or the like. They are forbidden to practice since they don’t have human nature and cannot practice as man does. They lack the qualities that human beings have and would surely become fiends if they were to practice and succeed at it. So they aren’t allowed to and would incur divine wrath if they did. And they are aware of this. But the world has declined terribly, as I’ve indicated, and there are people who do all manner of evil. I think you would have to agree that humanity is in peril.
But the pendulum always swings back eventually. We have found that each time in prehistory when civilization was cyclically destroyed, it occurred when people’s moral values had been terribly corrupted. The dimension in which we now exist is in imminent danger, as are many others; the same is true for other dimensions at this plane. Animals want to quickly flee and climb to higher planes since they think that this would bring them safety. But it’s not that simple, since a human body is necessary for spiritual progress. So this is one reason why some spiritual practitioners have fallen prey to entity attachment.
Some people might wonder why no higher beings or powerful masters have put a stop to this. It’s because the way this universe works is that nobody is going to stop you if you’ve decided upon something. Here we simply teach you how to go about the practice correctly and explain the teachings in depth, while leaving it up to you what to make of them. You decide for yourself whether you want to learn the practice. As it’s said, “the master teaches the trade, but the apprentice’s skill reflects his own efforts.” Nobody will force you or coerce you to practice, for it is always your own personal decision. This means that nobody will try to dissuade you once you have decided upon a certain course, or try to change what you want or hope to gain. Others can only try to encourage you to do what’s best.
When some people do an energy practice, the benefits of it are all in fact reaped by attached entities. Then how common is this on a national scale, and how did those entities get on people in the first place? It’s so common that the number is alarming; many people would be scared away from these practices if I were to give figures. This begs the question of how the problem came about, then—something as serious as spirit entities disrupting the world. It turns out that it’s something people have brought upon themselves. Demons lurk everywhere now, due to people’s depravity. Those entities on the bodies of false teachers are a telling example, and those teachers in fact spread these when they teach. Yet never in history were animal spirits allowed to attach to human bodies. Any that tried to would be killed; no one who saw it would let it slide. But in today’s world people pray to them, ask for them, and even worship them. Now while you might be thinking that you’ve never done anything like that knowingly, you may have wanted to get extrasensory powers. The divinities who oversee the authentic spiritual traditions would never grant you such powers, since your yearning is a worldly attachment that should go. Only animals or demons from other realms would grant them to you. Those entities will come to you when you try to gain special powers, for it’s as good as inviting them.
You’d be surprised by how many people start practicing for the wrong reasons. In spiritual practice one needs to strive to be virtuous, do good works, and act with kindness at all times and in all places. Yet despite all the people doing energy practices out in the parks or at home, few are thinking in that way. In some cases, I don’t even know what they are doing. They will be swaying all about as they practice, and even complaining about things like how neglectful their daughter-in-law is or how bad their mother-in-law is. And some people go on about anything and everything, from issues at work to national affairs, even getting angry about the things that aren’t agreeable to them. But could that count as practicing? Another example might be someone who practices by holding a stance so long that his legs start to tremble, yet his mind isn’t at peace. He might be thinking about how expensive things are getting nowadays, and be worrying about whether his workplace can make the payroll, which gets him thinking about supernormal powers and how he could become a healer with them and get wealthy. And he will only get more anxious about it when he sees others gaining powers, and then try all the harder to get powers like higher vision or the ability to heal. Think about just how far that is from the qualities that underlie the universe—zhen, shan, ren. It’s completely counter to them. You could say that his practice has turned evil. But he wouldn’t be aware of this. And if his mind goes further down that road, the thoughts that he emits will grow only worse. But this is someone who hasn’t learned the Way or the importance of being virtuous. So he mistakenly thinks that powers will come to him by his own efforts in practicing, and that he can get whatever he wants through effort.
It is only because the person’s thoughts aren’t wholesome that he attracts bad things. Animal spirits can see when someone wants to gain renown, wealth, or powers from practicing. They’ll be delighted by this, since the person’s physical makeup might be pretty good and his body might have great things in it. And they will see that his thoughts are awful, since he seeks paranormal powers. But they won’t be scared off even if he in fact has a master. They know that the more someone wants those powers, the more determined his master will be not to grant them; particularly the master of a true practice, who would see it as an attachment to be broken. So the person’s strong attachments will only make it less likely that he’s granted special powers. But if he doesn’t come to realize it, he will keep at it and his thinking will grow only worse. Ultimately his master will have no choice but to sadly abandon him, since he seems hopeless. Some individuals who don’t have a master might have one in passing, who keeps an eye on them for a bit. This is common, given how many higher beings are present in other worlds. He will observe the person a bit after spotting him. But after only a day or so of following and observing the person, it will be apparent that he hasn’t got what it takes, and the master will depart. The next day the same scenario might play out with another master, only to have him, too, discover that this person isn’t suitable, and so he departs as well.
An animal knows that the person’s master, be it his own or one-in-passing, won’t grant him what he wants. Animals can’t see the realms of higher beings, and so they aren’t afraid of those beings and exploit one of the laws of the universe, namely, that normally nobody should try to stop someone from going after what he wants. So animals figure there is nothing wrong with giving the person what he wants, and they do just that. At first an animal won’t have the nerve to latch on. What it does instead is to give the person some energy as a test-run. So one day, unexpectedly, the person really does get energy like he’d hoped for and can even use it for healing. But that was just the opening act, so to speak. The animal will see that it’s going over well and that the person is receptive, and decide to get on his body under the guise of providing more energy, more directly. It will see that this person wants to have his inner eye opened, and it’s happy to give him everything. And so it affixes itself to his body.
So the person’s inner eye gets opened, just as he longed for, and what’s more, he gains the ability to project energy, along with other, lesser powers. He’s delighted by all of this and thinks that he has finally achieved what he has been practicing for. But the truth is, none of it has resulted from his efforts practicing. And nor has his inner eye actually been opened, even if it seems that he can see into people’s bodies and discover what ails them. Rather, it’s that the animal is manipulating his brain. What the animal does is to convey what it sees with its own eyes to the person’s brain, which leads him to believe that his inner eye has opened. And he’s sure to try to project energy. But what happens is that when he extends his hand to send out energy, the animal extends a paw out from behind his body; or perhaps, in some cases, it’s a snake that has attached to the person, which sticks out its forked tongue from its little reptilian head toward the person’s ailment or tumor, and licks at it. Many cases of entity attachment fall into this category, where it’s something the person brings upon himself.
So, as a result of his longing for worldly things, the person now has extrasensory powers, can do healings, and see with his inner eye, all to his great delight. The animal might see that he yearns for money and fulfill his wish. It’s incredibly easy to manipulate the minds of ordinary people. And so the animal might direct droves of people to come see the person for energy healing. Goodness, he’ll be giving treatments there while the animal is off directing the media to give him publicity. It can make ordinary people do things like that. And if those who come to him for treatments don’t pay him enough, the animal can make them have a headache or do whatever it takes to coax more money out of them. So status and wealth would both come to him; not only would he get a windfall, but also a dose of fame as some kind of master. The people this applies to aren’t typically attentive to their character, and make outlandish claims, as if they were second only to God. He might even say that he’s the Chosen One or the next Buddha. This reflects the fact that he never went through the process of earnestly working on his character, and that his practice is motivated by a longing for psychic powers. And so he ends up with an animal spirit affixed to his body.
Some of you might be thinking that it’s not a big issue, given all the prestige and income that would come from it. And no small number of people are thinking that way. But I can tell you that the animal has its own agenda, and it won’t give you something for nothing. The way the universe works is that everything comes at a cost. Something is in it for the animal, as I just touched on, which is a chance to obtain the limited bit of essence that your body has. This can then be used to develop a human form; they seek to take the essence of people’s bodies. But your body has just that limited bit of essence, and your spiritual progress is dependent upon it. If you let an animal take it away you might as well forget about practicing, for you wouldn’t have what it takes; the material needed simply wouldn’t be there. Progress just wouldn’t be possible. Now, some people might dismiss this concern since they’re not interested in spiritual practice to begin with and just have their sights set on money. But I think you’ll want to reconsider it after I explain a few things. Here’s why. Your limbs might be lame after the animal leaves your body, even if it doesn’t stay on you long. And that could be a lifelong condition, since it might have taken too much of your essence. Worse yet, if it leaves your body later than this, you could become a vegetable and be bedridden for the rest of your life, hanging by a thread. So even if you did get rich or famous, could you enjoy it? It’s a frightening prospect.
What I described is a significant problem among people who do energy practices today, and there are many cases of this. Those entities not only attach to the body but kill off the person’s soul; they burrow into the Niwan Palace and stay there. So while the person might seem to be human, he is not. It’s a telling reflection of the state of the world. There are people who won’t be convinced if you see them doing wrong and point it out, for humanity’s moral fabric has changed. They think that the endless pursuit of wealth is perfectly justified, and will trample on and hurt others and stop at nothing for it. But those spirit entities, which want to take from your body, won’t let you enjoy such wealth for free—everything comes at a cost. So these problems are of people’s own making; they stem from people’s thoughts not being right or virtuous.
Now let’s see how this applies to Falun Dafa. You won’t experience any of the problems we just discussed while doing our practice, as long as you can keep your thoughts in check, since good is a far greater force than evil. But if you can’t keep your thoughts pure, and you have other intentions mixed in, then you are asking for trouble. Some people just can’t let go of what they formerly practiced. We teach that you have to commit to one practice, as any legitimate discipline will tell you. You shouldn’t think so highly of teachers of practices who have been published. I can tell you that in some cases their books are plagued by the same sorts of things that their practices are, such as snakes, foxes, and weasels. If you read those books, the animals will leap out from behind the words at you. As I’ve indicated, charlatans outnumber the true masters many times over, and you can’t tell them apart. It’s vital that you realize this. My point here isn’t that you have to practice Falun Dafa. It’s fine for you to do whatever practice you’d like. But there used to be a saying: better to go a thousand years without learning a true doctrine than spend one day practicing a false one. It’s advice you definitely want to heed. With real practice of the true Way, you don’t want to mix anything in—not even mental techniques. Some people’s falun have become deformed. If you probe why, they will say that they didn’t practice anything else, and wonder what happened. But the fact is, when they do our exercises they add things in with their minds from their former practices. And naturally that’s going to bring foreign things in. I’ll just say this much on the topic of entity attachment.
There is a phenomenon that’s sometimes referred to as speaking in “cosmic tongues.” It happens when a person is spontaneously able to speak a kind of confusing babble, which even he or she can’t understand. Someone with telepathic abilities might have a general sense for it, but won’t be able to make out the specifics of what’s being said. And some people can speak multiple languages. Some who do this think it’s a special power or gift, and take pride in it. But it’s not the kind of power or gift that a practitioner would have, and it doesn’t indicate spiritual achievement. So what is it, then? It is a case of one’s mind having been taken over by an entity from another dimension. And yet people may think it’s a great thing, be pleased to experience it, and be happy about it. Yet the happier they are, the tighter that entity’s grip on them becomes. I think you would have to agree it’s not befitting a practitioner to let something like that control you. And besides, those entities come from awfully low realms. Since we are people engaged in true spiritual practice, we don’t want to invite that kind of trouble.
Man is the most precious life form and the highest of all creatures. So it’s terribly inappropriate to let those entities take over you. How sad that people would relinquish control over their own bodies! Some of those entities attach to a person’s body, while some don’t but instead keep a short distance and manage to direct you or control you all the same. These entities grant the ability to speak their languages to people who want it, and these individuals then find that they can speak a sort of gibberish. This ability can also be spread from one person to another. Maybe an onlooker wants to learn to do it, so he plucks up his courage, opens his mouth, and finds that he too can speak it. But in reality, what happens is that those things come in swarms, and if someone wants to speak in tongues, one of them will get on him and make it happen.
So why has this phenomenon come about? It’s similar to what I described earlier; i.e., that those entities want to go to higher realms, but since there is no suffering in their dimension, they have no way to practice or elevate. So they came up with the approach of trying to do good things for people. But they didn’t know how to go about it, though they did know that the energy they emit could have a soothing effect on the sick and temporarily alleviate pain, even if it couldn’t effect a cure; and they saw that they could accomplish this by using people’s mouths to emit their energy. So this is what it boils down to. People have referred to it as a “divine language” or “Buddha’s language.” But that’s blasphemous and downright absurd.
You should know that divine beings speak only with great discretion. If they spoke in this dimension they might trigger earthquakes in the world. It would be terrible, with such a thundering sound. So while some people may claim that they saw with their inner eye that a higher being spoke to them, that’s not what happened, in fact. And the same holds true in cases where people believe that my spiritual bodies spoke to them. What happens is that the thoughts they project are accompanied by stereo sound, and so to you it seems as if they have spoken. They are capable of speaking in their dimensions, but if people in our world were to hear them directly, it would be unintelligible. This owes to differences in space-time between the two dimensions: a two-hour block of time in this dimension might be a year in the large dimensions where they are. Time is slower in our world than over there.
Yet there is a saying that “a day in the heavens amounts to a thousand years on earth.” The saying refers to independent worlds where there is no such thing as space or time; namely, the worlds where divine ones reside, such as the Paradise of Ultimate Bliss, the Lapis Lazuli Paradise, the Falun Paradise, and the Lotus Paradise. The time in the large dimensions I mentioned, by contrast, is faster than ours here. If you have the ability to receive and hear what a being there says, as when your celestial ear has opened [and you have clairaudience], you will be able to hear those divinities speaking. But you won’t be able to make out what they say. Whatever you hear would sound like the twitter of birds or a turntable playing at a high speed. You wouldn’t be able to make out a single word. Of course, there are people who can hear music or speech from another dimension. But for that to be possible they must have a power that serves as a vehicle and fixes the discrepancy in time, and only then, when it’s transmitted to their ears, can they hear with clarity. So that is what’s at work. “Cosmic tongues” are most definitely not some kind of divine speech, contrary to what’s been claimed.
When two divine beings meet, they need only smile to one another to convey whatever they intend. They may use a type of silent telepathy that takes the form of stereo sound in the ears of the receiver. With but a smile they can exchange their thoughts. However, they don’t rely on one method alone, and sometimes use other means. You may know that the lamas of Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism hold mudras in high regard. They will tell you, if you inquire, that mudras are the supreme yoga. If you probe further you will find that they don’t know more beyond that. Mudras are hand movements that are actually a language of the divine. Divine ones use larger mudras in the presence of a larger audience, and they are both exquisite and diverse; in the presence of a smaller group they use smaller mudras, which are also pleasing to the eye and widely varying. Mudras are very sophisticated and rich, since they are a language after all. All of this used to be a guarded secret, but now I’ve disclosed it. Tibetan mudras represent just a few of the many that exist, having been drawn from them and systematized for use in Esoteric practice. They just amount to a language that’s been adopted for purposes of practice, and there are only a few, limited forms associated with this. Actual mudras are quite elaborate.
What I Do for Learners
When some people meet me they grab hold of my hand and shake it, and just don’t want to let go. And others, upon seeing this, want to shake my hand in a normal way. I know what thoughts are behind it in each case. For some learners it’s simply that they are happy to be able to shake hands with their teacher, but for others it’s about getting energy, and that is why they hold fast to my hand and won’t let go. But let me remind you that true practice is about you. We are not here to heal you or build up your health, so we aren’t about to give you energies or do healings. We don’t engage in those things. Any diseases that you have will be eliminated by me right here, while those who learn the practice at our exercise sites, or by studying the book on their own, will have theirs handled by my spiritual bodies. It’s humorous, isn’t it, to think that people could get higher energy just by touching my hand?
Higher energy comes only through working on your character. It won’t increase if you don’t sincerely work on yourself, for the quality of your character is the limiting factor. Beings in higher realms can see that higher energy develops when you remove your attachments and their material, and that atop your head a measuring stick materializes. The stick exists in the same way as your energy column, and its height will determine that of your energy. It signifies how much of it you have cultivated and it reflects your quality of character. It’s not something that anyone can boost for you. Even if just a tiny bit were added, it wouldn’t hold and would have to fall off. I could have you instantly reach the stage of practice known as “three flowers gathered at the crown,” but the energy involved would fall off as soon as you left here. It wouldn’t be yours since you hadn’t cultivated it, and so it couldn’t remain there. Nobody could put energy there for you since your character hadn’t reached that stage. It must be the fruits of your own spiritual efforts, of your own refinement of the mind. Spiritual progress is only possible if you work solidly on developing higher energy, constantly improve, and attune yourself to the qualities of the universe. And this is why I’m reluctant to accommodate autograph seekers. If I did, they would show off by telling others about it, and hope to get protection from the energy that the autographs have. But isn’t that again an attachment? You have to do your part in spiritual practice, so there’s no point in hoping for protective energies. Someone who is well advanced in practice would hardly concern himself with such things. They don’t amount to much and are only relevant to people who are into energy practices for health purposes.
The higher form of energy that you develop through spiritual practice is, on a deep, subatomic plane, composed of particles in your image. Once your practice has gone beyond the human realm, it will be a divine body you are developing. Your energy will then have the image of a divine being, and this being will sit atop a lotus flower and be exceptionally beautiful. And every tiny particle will be like this. The energy that animals have, by contrast, is always in the image of things like small foxes or snakes, and even their tiny particles at a deep, subatomic plane are like that. Another thing is that some people drink teas that supposedly have “psychic energies” mixed in, without giving thought to what kind of energy is involved. Most ordinary people are happy to just postpone and suppress their health problems, as long as they can get temporary relief. That’s only to be expected. But however much harm they might be doing to their bodies, it’s none of our business, still. I am only disclosing these things to you because you are practitioners. You shouldn’t be dabbling in psychic energies or going in for those things anymore. You should want no part in them. Some teachers of energy practices claim that they can transmit psychic energies to people around the country. But I don’t know what you could expect to get out of that. I can share that it won’t do much for you, and even if there is something positive to it, it’s just for health purposes. As people engaged in spiritual practice, we have to depend on our own efforts to develop energy; any psychic energies supposedly sent to you wouldn’t do anything for your spiritual growth. They only offer health benefits for regular people. It’s critical that you keep your thinking straight. Nobody can do spiritual practice on your behalf. Progress can only come from your own, sincere efforts.
You’d probably like to know what I do give you, then. Many among us here have never practiced before and have various ailments, as you might gather. There are also many who have done energy practices before, even for years, but who still linger at the basic stage of chi energy and who haven’t any higher energy. And of course there may be some among you who do healings, but don’t realize what’s involved. When I discussed the problem of entity attachment, I took off all such things from your bodies, regardless of what they were, inside or out. They are gone now from the bodies of all of you who are sincere in practicing Dafa. And similarly, I will cleanse the bodies of anyone who becomes sincere in the practice after learning it on their own. Your surroundings at home need to be cleaned up as well. You should get rid of any shrines to the spirits of what may have in fact been foxes or weasels; those spirits have now been cleaned out and are gone. We can do all of what I’ve described and make things as easy as possible for you because you have the desire to practice. But this only holds true for those who are sincere about it. Some people have no real interest in spiritual practice, of course, and even at this point still haven’t come around. So we can’t look after them. We can only take care of those who are sincere about the practice.
There are also people who at one time were told, or had sensed, that entities were attached to their bodies. I removed those for them, yet they still worry that the problem persists, that those things are still there. But this counts as an attachment, and it’s called doubt. And if they go on like this they might just bring those entities back again. So they should stop having doubts, and know that I eradicated those things for them during my classes. All of those things were removed.
Early stages of Daoist practice require certain foundations to be laid, which include forming a cosmic orbit and energy center along with other things. What we do here is to place in you a falun, energy mechanisms, and a wide array of things needed for spiritual development—thousands upon thousands. All of these must be given to you, and they are planted in you like seeds. Once your ailments are purged for you, all that should be done for you will be done, and all that should be given to you will be given in full. Only then will true spiritual achievement be possible for you in our practice. Were we to do anything less, and not provide much, the practice would only serve health purposes. And actually, anyone who isn’t serious about character would probably be better off just doing regular physical exercises.
We take responsibility for true practitioners. All that I’ve described will be done for you as long as you are sincere about spiritual development, even if you are doing our practice on your own. As I’ve said, we need to take all of you as students and guide you in earnest. Along with this, it’s a must that you learn the Way of higher realms thoroughly and know how to practice it. I will instruct you in our full program of exercises, all five, right from the start, and you will find that you can master them all. Eventually you might well attain spiritual heights beyond what you could imagine, and even a divine standing will be possible. As long as you keep at the practice you will find that the teachings always offer the guidance you need at different stages, since there are many dimensions to what I teach.
Now that you practice, the course of your life will be changed. My spiritual bodies will rework things for you. Let me explain. There are some people who only have limited time left to live, though they wouldn’t realize it; serious illness might strike in half a year or a year, and could go on for years; or it could be that a stroke will occur or some condition comes on, which leaves them immobile. But practice wouldn’t be possible if that were the life ahead of you. So we have to clear those things out for you and ensure that they don’t take place. But there’s one thing: this can only be done for those who are sincere about practice. It would be wrong for me to freely do such things for regular, worldly people. There are reasons for the ordeals of life that people are subject to, and they can’t be rashly undone.
We regard those who engage in spiritual discipline as the most valuable of all people, so their lives can be altered—but theirs alone. Here’s how it works. If a teacher has great spiritual power, i.e., if the strength of his energy is great, then he can dissolve karma for you. A teacher whose energy is great can dissolve much of it, while one whose isn’t can only dissolve a small amount. To give you a sense for it, let’s say that we gather together the various forms of karma that await you in your life, and dissolve a portion of it—say, a half. But if even just a half were to remain it would be too much for you, as it would still be larger than a mountain. Then how is it dealt with? Many people stand to benefit from your gaining enlightenment someday, and so they will be given a portion of the karma to bear for you. It normally doesn’t amount to anything for them, since the karma will be distributed among so many other entities, as well—from the many supernatural beings that you will have developed within your body, to the many other selves that you have, not to mention your true and secondary souls. This means that there will be relatively little left to bear when you go through ordeals. Little as it may be, though, it is still sizeable, and you still wouldn’t be able to bear it all at once. The solution, then, is to divide the karma up into many, many portions and distribute them throughout different stages of your practice so that you may perfect your character and develop your energy as you work through them.
It should be said that spiritual practice is not easy. It’s a very serious matter, as I see it. It is greater than anything of the mundane world and more challenging than anything known. It goes beyond this world, doesn’t it? And so the demands it places on you are greater than anything people know. This is partly because every person’s soul is immortal. So your soul is apt to have done wrongful things to people in previous incarnations. You might have killed people, become indebted, been abusive, or hurt people. Those whom you wronged will see clearly, in other dimensions, the progress you make as you practice here. If you were just practicing to heal your body, they wouldn’t think anything of it, since they would know that you were just deferring the payback on your debts, which would only be worse later on. And so they wouldn’t mind if you didn’t pay up for the time being.
But if you take up spiritual practice, they won’t stand for it. They will think, “You’re trying to do spiritual practice and leave here, but once you have higher energy I won’t be able to get you anymore, I won’t be able to touch you.” So they won’t go for it, and will try to block your practice and do anything and everything to get in your way. They will plague you in all kinds of ways, and may even try to kill you. Of course, they won’t be able do that and behead you, for example, right there as you meditate, since that would be out of place in this world. So it might happen that you are hit by a car when you go out, that you fall off a roof, or meet with some other form of danger—any of which would be quite perilous. True spiritual practice isn’t as easy as you might have imagined; progress doesn’t happen just by wishing for it. So you might face imminent, mortal danger once you really begin the spiritual journey. A large number of teachers won’t even attempt to bring their students to higher stages of practice, for this very reason. They haven’t the means to protect them.
Many past teachers could only mentor one student at a time, for that was all that they could protect. Most wouldn’t attempt to take on and protect as many as we have. But as I have indicated, I can do this due to the countless spiritual bodies I have, each of which is endowed with the same great powers of the Way that I have, and they can exercise these with the force of the Way. Also, there is more to what we are doing today than meets the eye; I didn’t undertake this on an impulse. I can share with you that there are many higher beings focusing their attention on this, for this is now, in the latter days, the last time we shall impart a true Way. So with something as great as what we’re doing, it’s imperative that we not veer from the right course. Nobody will dare to rashly do anything to you as long as your practice stays on track. And besides, you have the protection of my spiritual bodies. So no harm will come to you.
Accounts do have to be settled, though, so it’s possible some dangerous things will take place on your spiritual journey. But those events won’t be frightening to you nor result in any serious harm coming to you. I can give some examples. There was one person who was taking our class in Beijing. She was crossing the street on her bike when a car suddenly rammed into her while rounding a corner. This learner was a woman over fifty. The car hit her out of nowhere, and it was a terrible collision. Her head hit the roof of the car hard, with a loud bang. The impact was so sudden and hard that she was still astride her bike when her head hit the car, yet she didn’t feel any pain. And not only that, but there wasn’t any blood or even swelling. The driver was scared out of his wits, though. He sprang from the car and said, “Are you hurt? Let’s get you to the emergency room.” She responded by telling him that she was “just fine.” It goes without saying that this was someone of excellent character. She wasn’t about to give the driver a hard time. Though she was fine, as she indicated, the collision had left a big dent in the car.
Events like that are meant to take your life, but you won’t be at risk. To give another example, the last time we gave a class at Jilin University, there was a learner who had just left the campus and walked his bike through the front gate. When he was crossing the street, two cars came at him from out of nowhere and were about to sandwich him. Even at that instant, though, he wasn’t the least bit scared. And that’s common for our practitioners in these kinds of episodes. As it turned out, the cars came to a halt just before hitting him, and he was fine.
Another incident happened in Beijing. Nightfall comes early in the winter there and people retire for sleep somewhat early; the streets are usually deserted and still. Someone who was learning the practice was biking home swiftly, and the only thing ahead of him on the road was a jeep. The jeep was driving along when suddenly it hit the brakes. Our student didn’t notice it, and kept pedaling with his head down. But the jeep abruptly went into reverse, and was backing up at a fast speed and going to crash into him. The colliding of the two forces was meant to take his life. But just as they were about to collide, out of nowhere there came a power that pulled the student’s bike back more than half a yard, and the jeep came to a halt just as it touched his wheel. Maybe the driver realized that someone was behind him. This student wasn’t scared when it happened. And that’s true for all the others who have gone through things like these; at most they might have felt frightened after the fact. In this case, our student was merely surprised and his first thought was that he should thank whoever pulled him back. He turned around to thank them, only to discover that the street was quiet, without a soul in sight. Then it dawned on him that it was actually his teacher who had protected him!
There was another incident, this time in the city of Changchun. A building was going up near the home of someone who was learning the practice. Buildings are built really high nowadays, and the scaffolding used during the construction phase consists of steel poles two inches wide and four yards long. This practitioner hadn’t gone far from home when a steel pole fell vertically from the scaffolding of one such building, and was coming down right straight toward his head. The passersby froze with fear when they saw it. But the next instant, our student was asking who had patted him, as he thought that someone had patted him on the head. He turned around and noticed a large falun spinning overhead. Only then did he realize that a pole had fallen and just grazed his head, barely missing him. It fell with enough force that it stuck into the ground, straight up. You can just imagine what would have happened if it had struck him with all that force—it would have been like skewering fruit on a stick. It could have been disastrous.
There have been countless incidents like these, but no danger has ever really materialized. Yet you won’t necessarily go through anything like that, personally. Only a very few of us will. But either way, I can assure you that practitioners of ours won’t be in any true danger. There are some people, however, who act without regard to character, unlike what the teachings set forth. They only do the exercises and don’t work on their minds, in which case they can’t be considered practitioners.
So you now know what I give you as your teacher. My spiritual bodies will constantly protect you until the day comes when you can protect yourself, at which point you will be about to surpass the mundane world in your practice and gain enlightenment. You have to see yourself as a true practitioner, though, for that to ever be possible. If you are sincere in the practice you will never be like the person who once walked down the street waving my book, shouting about having “Master Li’s protection” and not being afraid of traffic. Doing that was harmful to Dafa, and someone like that won’t be protected.
The Field That Our Energy Has
A field forms around us when we do our exercises. As for what it is, exactly, people have given various descriptions, from its being a chi field, to a magnetic field, to an electric field. But none have been very fitting, for the field around us consists of extremely diverse types of matter. Virtually every kind of matter that makes up the universe’s dimensions is found in the kind of higher energy that we develop. So it’s more fitting to call it an energy field, and that’s how we usually refer to it.
Let’s talk about what exactly this field does. As you know, we are practicing a true Way that embraces compassion and that’s perfectly attuned to the universe’s qualities of zhen, shan, ren. And so, many of you know or have experienced that you don’t have any bad thoughts while attending our class; and those who have a history of smoking won’t even think of doing so. It feels very serene and pleasant in this space. And that is what the energy of practitioners of a true Way is like and how it feels in their presence. By the end of this class the vast majority of you will have really, truly developed higher energy, since I am giving you what’s needed for authentic practice, while you, on your part, are working on your character in light of our teachings. And as you continue to do so, and keep at the practice, your energy will grow only more powerful.
We subscribe to the belief in saving all living things, and not just achieving our own liberation. And so the falun benefits you as it turns inward, and others as it turns outward. When it turns outward it disperses energy, to the benefit of others. So whoever is within the range of your energy field will benefit, and might find it noticeably pleasant. And you might have this effect on people wherever you are, be it out on the street, at the workplace, or at home. You might be unwittingly rebalancing the bodies of whoever is in your presence, since it has the power to correct anything not right. And that includes the ailments of the body, since the human body is meant to be free of such things; illness is not the normal state of the body. Similarly, your field could have the power to alter any improper thoughts that might be going through the mind of someone immoral who is in your presence. Or it might cause someone who was about to use foul language to change his or her mind suddenly and not do so. But this is only possible with the field of energy that comes from doing true spiritual practice. You should now be able to understand a religious saying that goes, “Bathed in divine light, conduct and thought become right.”
How to Introduce the Practice to Others
Many people think highly of the practice after attending our classes, and want to share it with their family and friends. That’s fine to do. You can share it with anyone. But there is one thing I need to explain. There’s no way to put a price on all that we have done for you. It is done solely on grounds of practicing, and wouldn’t be possible otherwise. This means that when you share the practice with others, you shouldn’t try to gain from it personally. So you can’t collect fees the way we do for our classes. Fees are necessary for us to cover the costs of printing books and materials, as well as for all the travel involved when teaching this practice. The fees that we have are the lowest in the country, yet we offer more than anyone else does, as you know, since we are truly guiding people to greater spiritual heights. We have the following two rules for you, as students of Falun Dafa, for when you introduce the practice to people.
The first rule is that you must not charge a fee. All that we give you is to save you and prepare you for spiritual practice—not to benefit you in worldly ways. If you charge a fee, my spiritual bodies will recall everything that was given to you, and you will cease to be a practitioner of Falun Dafa. You wouldn’t be teaching people Falun Dafa in that case. You should introduce it to people without any thought of gaining from it personally. It should be a voluntary gesture in the service of others. Our students everywhere have taken this approach, and our volunteers in each locale have set a good example with this. Everyone who is interested is welcome to come and learn the practice, and we will always help them free of charge.
The second rule is that you mustn’t confuse Dafa proper with your own experiences or interpretations of it. For example, when you introduce the practice to someone you should simply explain Falun Dafa on its own terms, and not in terms of what you may have seen with your inner eye or come to know through special powers. Those limited insights you have gained at your current stage of practice really don’t amount to much, and cannot begin to compare to the actual teachings in profundity. So it’s crucial that you be careful about this when you introduce the practice from now on. By doing so we will be able to preserve the integrity of Falun Dafa’s teachings.
It’s also not permitted for you to teach the practice the way I do, addressing large audiences like when I give a teaching, for the Way is not something you yourself can teach. That is because what’s being taught is deep and far-reaching, and has many dimensions to it. You are still working your way through the various stages of practice, however, and will find that you keep making progress and arriving at new insights, with new rewards in store for you, as you keep listening to the recordings of our teachings. And that’s even more the case with reading the book. There are many layers to what I teach, and it’s not something you could instruct in. Nor should you use my words as your own, as that would amount to plagiarizing my teachings. What you should do is to say precisely what I have said and indicate that it’s what I have said or written. And that’s really the only way to go. The reason is, when you say it this way it will carry the power of Dafa. But if, instead, you tell people your own ideas as if they were Falun Dafa proper, then you are not in fact sharing our practice with them, and it amounts to undermining it. Your own ideas and opinions are not Dafa’s teachings, and haven’t the power to save people or do much of anything. None of you can teach the Way as I have.
You can introduce the practice to newcomers by playing the audio or video recordings for them at the practice site or wherever you offer instruction, and afterwards have a volunteer teach them the exercises. You can also have group discussions where you learn from each other and share your insights together. Those are the formats we use. Another thing is, you should refrain from calling any learner (or student) who introduces Falun Dafa to people things like “teacher” or “master.” There is only one teacher of this practice. Everyone else is a practitioner, regardless of how early on they may have begun the practice.
Some of you might be concerned that you won’t be able to give people a falun when you introduce the practice to them, or bring their bodies into balance, as I do. But there’s no need to worry. Each of you is accompanied by one or more of my spiritual bodies, as I have indicated, and they are the ones who handle these things. People will get a falun right then and there, while you instruct them, if it’s in their destiny. And if it’s not destined just yet, they may still come to have one, though gradually, as they do the practice and my spiritual bodies bring their bodies back into balance. It’s also possible for other people [who don’t come in person] to obtain all that they should, I can assure you. It’s possible as long as they really regard themselves as practitioners and manage to learn the teachings and exercises, even if on their own—whether it be from reading the books, watching the videos, or listening to the audio recordings that we have.
Healings are another thing that we don’t allow you to do. Anyone learning Falun Dafa is strictly prohibited from giving people treatments. We are teaching you how to progress to higher realms, and we don’t want you to form new attachments or harm your body. Joining our group exercise sessions is better than anything similar you could do, and you will find, if you practice at one, that it does more for your health than any therapy or form of treatment ever could. My spiritual bodies sit in a circle there, and above the practice site is a shield, with a massive falun on it, and a gigantic, spiritual body watching over the site from above the shield. This isn’t like most sites where regular people gather to do exercises, but a place for spiritual refinement. Many among us with extrasensory powers have seen that wherever we gather to practice Falun Dafa the spot is enveloped by a shield of red light, and all within is bathed in this light.
My spiritual bodies [that accompany you] can directly bestow a falun upon people, but you shouldn’t get attached to the idea. When you teach newcomers our exercises they might sense that they have received a falun and tell you about it in excitement. And you might think that it was your own doing, when it wasn’t. I’m sharing this with you to discourage you from letting this attachment form. The work is done by my spiritual bodies. You should now have a good sense for how practitioners of Falun Dafa are to share the practice.
Whoever tampers with the exercises of Falun Dafa is violating our practice and our discipline. An example would be the person who turned the instructions for our exercises into little rhymes. That was completely out of line. Any true means of spiritual practice will have been passed down from before recorded history and date back to a remote past. And it will have given rise to countless divine beings. Normally nobody would dare to alter something of this nature. Only in these latter days would something like that happen. Never at any point in the past would something like that occur. So you need to be careful about this.