Chapter III
Mechanics and Principles of the Exercise Movements

1. The First Exercise

The first exercise is called Buddha Stretching a Thousand Arms. Just as the name suggests, it’s as if a thousand-armed Buddha or a thousand-armed Bodhisattva is stretching his or her arms. Of course, it’s not possible for us to do a thousand movements—you wouldn’t be able to remember all of them, and performing them would wear you out. We use eight simple, basic movements in this exercise to represent that idea. Though simple, these eight movements enable the hundreds of meridians in our bodies to open. Let me explain something: Why do we say that from the outset our practice begins at a very high level? That’s because we don’t open just one or two meridians, the Ren and Du meridians, or the eight Extra Meridians. Instead, we open all of the meridians, and each of them moves in sync from the very beginning. We thus start practicing at a very high level right from the outset.

You have to stretch and relax the body when doing this exercise. The hands and legs need to be well coordinated. Through stretching and relaxing, the areas of congested energy in the body are unblocked. Of course, the movements would have no effect if I didn’t plant a set of mechanisms in your body. When you stretch, the whole body is stretched gradually to its limit—even to the extent that you feel as though you are splitting into two people. The body stretches as if it becomes very tall and large. No thought is used. After stretching out to the limit, the body is to relax abruptly—you should relax right away once you stretch to the limit. The effect of such movement is like that of a leather bag filled with air: when squeezed, its air gushes out; when a person lifts his hand off the bag, the air is drawn back in and new energy is taken in. With this mechanism at work, the blocked areas of the body are opened.

When the body is stretching, the heels are pressed down firmly and strength is used to push the head up. It’s as if all the meridians in your body are being stretched until open and then relaxed abruptly—you should relax abruptly after stretching. Your whole body is immediately opened through this type of motion. Of course, we also have to plant various mechanisms in your body. When the arms are stretching, they’re stretched gradually and forcefully until the limit is reached. The Daoist system teaches how to move energy along the three yin and three yang meridians. In fact, there aren’t just the three yin and three yang meridians, but also hundreds of crisscrossing meridians in the arms. They all have to be stretched open and unblocked. We open all the meridians right at the outset of our practice. Of the ordinary cultivation ways, the true ones—so this excludes those that harness qi63—use the method of bringing hundreds of meridians into motion via one energy channel. It takes these practices a long time—countless years—to open all of the meridians. Our practice aims directly at opening all meridians at the outset, and, by virtue of this, we begin by practicing at a very high level. Everyone should grasp this key point.

Next, I will talk about the standing posture. You need to stand naturally with the feet shoulder-width apart. The feet don’t have to be parallel, as we do not have things from the martial arts here. Many exercise practices’ standing stances originated from the Horse Stance of the martial arts. Since the Buddhist school believe in saving all beings, your feet shouldn’t always be turned inward. The knees and hips are relaxed, bending the knees slightly. When the knees are bent slightly the meridians there are open; when you stand straight up, the meridians there are rigid and blocked. The body is kept upright and relaxed. You need to completely relax from the inside out, but without becoming too loose. The head should remain upright.

The eyes are closed when performing the five sets of exercises. But when you’re learning the movements you have to keep your eyes open and watch to see if your movements are accurate. Later on, once you have learned the movements and are performing them on your own, the exercises ought to be done with the eyes closed. The tip of the tongue touches the hard palate, a space is maintained between the upper and lower teeth, and the lips are closed. Why does the tongue need to touch the hard palate? As you may know, in real practice it’s not only the superficial, skin-deep cosmic orbit that’s in motion, but also every meridian in the body that intersects vertically or horizontally. Besides there being superficial meridians, there are also meridians on the internal organs and in the gaps between the internal organs. The mouth is empty, so it relies on the raised tongue to form a bridge inside that strengthens the energy flow during the meridians’ circulation and allows the energy to form a circuit through the tongue. The closed lips serve as an external bridge that allows surface energy to circulate. Why do we leave a space between the upper and lower teeth? It’s because if your teeth are clenched during the exercise, the energy will make them clench tighter and tighter during its circulation. Whichever part of the body is tense can’t be fully transformed. So any part that’s not relaxed will end up being excluded and not transformed or evolved. The upper and lower teeth will relax if you leave a space between them. These are the basic requirements for the exercises. There are three transitional movements that will later be repeated in other exercises. I would like to explain them here.

Liangshou Heshi (Pressing Both Hands Together in Front of the Chest). When doing Heshi, the forearms form a straight line and the elbows are suspended so that the underarms are hollow. If the underarms are pressed tightly, the energy channels will be completely blocked there. The fingertips are not raised as high as the front of the face, but just to the front of the chest. Don’t lean them against the body. A hollow space is kept between the palms, and the heels of the palms should be pressed together as much as possible. All of you need to remember this position, as it’s repeated many times.

Diekou Xiaofu (Overlapping the Hands in Front of the Lower Abdomen). The elbows should be suspended. During the exercises you have to hold the elbows out. We emphasize this with good reason: If the underarms are not open, energy will be blocked and unable to flow through. When doing this position, the left hand is inside for males; the right hand is inside for females. The hands must not touch each other—a palm’s width is kept between them. A two-palms’ width is kept between the inner hand and the body, you don’t allow the hand to touch the body. Why is that? As we know, there are many internal and external channels. In our practice we rely on the Law Wheel to open them, especially to open the Laogong64 acupuncture point on each of your hands. In fact, the Laogong acupoint is a field that exists not only in the flesh, but also in all of our bodies’ forms of existence in other dimensions. Its field is very large, and even exceeds the surface of the flesh hands. All of its fields have to be opened, so we rely on the Law Wheel to do that. The hands are kept apart because there are Law Wheels rotating on them, on both hands. When the hands overlap in front of the lower abdomen at the end of the exercises, the energy carried on them is very strong. Another purpose of Diekou Xiaofu is to strengthen both the Law Wheel in the lower abdomen and the elixir field (dan-tian).65 There are many things—more than ten thousand of them—that will be evolved from that field.

There’s another position called Jie Dingyin. We call it Jieyin (Conjoining the Hands) for short. Take a look at the conjoined hands: it’s not done casually. The thumbs are raised, forming an oval shape. The fingers are joined together lightly with the fingers of the lower hand positioned against the grooves between the fingers of the upper hand. That’s how it should be. When conjoining the hands, the left hand is on top for males, while the right hand is on top for females. Why is that? It’s because the male body is one of pure yang and the female body is one of pure yin. In order to attain a balance of yin and yang, males should suppress the yang and give play to the yin, while females should suppress the yin and give play to the yang. So some of the movements are different for males and females. When conjoining the hands, the elbows are suspended—they need to be held out. As you may know, the center of the elixir field is two finger-widths below the navel. That is also the center of our Law Wheel. So the conjoined hands are to be placed a bit lower down to hold the Law Wheel. When relaxing the body, some people relax their hands but not their legs. The legs and hands have to be coordinated to simultaneously relax and stretch.

2. The Second Exercise

The second exercise is called Falun Standing Stance. Its movements are quite simple, as there are only four wheel-holding positions. They’re easy to learn, but this is a challenging and demanding exercise. How is it demanding? All standing-stance exercises require standing still for a long time. Your arms will ache when the hands are held up for a long time. So this exercise is demanding. The posture for Standing Stance is the same as that of the first exercise, but there’s no stretching and you simply stand with the body relaxed. All of the four basic positions involve wheel holding. Simple as they are—only four basic positions—this is cultivation of a Great Way, so it couldn’t be that each single movement is merely for cultivating one particular supernatural ability or one minor thing; each single movement involves many things. It wouldn’t do if each and every thing required one movement to evolve it. I can tell you that the things I place in your lower abdomen and the things evolved in our cultivation way number in the hundreds of thousands. If you had to use one movement to cultivate each one of them, just imagine: Hundreds of thousands of movements would be involved, and you couldn’t finish them in a day. You would exhaust yourself, and maybe you wouldn’t even remember them all.

There’s a saying, “A great way is extremely simple and easy.” The exercises control the transformation of all things as a whole. So it would be even better if there were no movement at all when doing still cultivation exercises. But simple movements can control on a large scale the simultaneous transformation of many things. The simpler the movements, the more complete the transformation is likely to be, as they control everything on a large scale. There are four wheel-holding positions in this exercise. When you are holding the wheels you will feel the rotation of a large Law Wheel between your arms. Almost every practitioner is able to feel it. When doing Falun Standing Stance, no one is allowed to sway or jump as with the practices where possessing spirits are in control. Swaying and jumping are no good—that’s not practicing. Have you ever seen a Buddha, Dao, or Deity jumping or swaying like that? None of them do that.

3. The Third Exercise 

The third exercise is called Penetrating the Cosmic Extremes. This exercise is also quite simple. As its name suggests, this exercise is for sending energy to the “two extremes.” How far are the two extremes of this boundless universe? This is beyond your imagination, so the exercise doesn’t involve directing with thought. We perform the exercises by following the mechanisms. Thus, your hands move along with the mechanisms that I’ve placed in your body. The first exercise also has these kinds of mechanisms. I didn’t mention this to you on the first day because you shouldn’t go seeking this sensation before becoming familiar with the movements. I was concerned that you wouldn’t remember all of them. You will actually find that when you stretch and relax your arms they automatically return, by themselves. This is caused by the mechanisms placed in your body, something known among Daoists as the Hand-Gliding Mechanisms. After finishing one movement, you will notice that your hands automatically glide out to do the next one. This sensation will gradually become more obvious as your exercise time lengthens. All of these mechanisms will revolve on their own after I’ve given them to you. In fact, when you’re not doing the exercises, the gong is cultivating you under the function of the Law Wheel’s mechanism. The subsequent exercises have mechanisms too. The posture for this exercise is the same as that of Falun Standing Stance. There’s no stretching, as you merely stand with the body relaxed. There are two kinds of hand movements. One is a one-handed gliding up and down movement, that is, one hand glides up while the other hand glides down—the hands switch positions. One up-and-down movement of each hand is counted as one time, and the movement is repeated for a total of nine times. After eight and a half times are performed, the lower hand is lifted, and the two-handed gliding up and down movement begins. It too is done nine times. Later on, should you wish to do more repetitions and increase the amount of exercise, you can perform it eighteen times—the number has to be a multiple of nine. That’s because the mechanism changes after the ninth time; it has been fixed at the ninth time. You can’t always count when doing the exercises in the future. When the mechanisms become very strong, they will end the movements on their own on the ninth time. Your hands will be drawn together, since the mechanisms change automatically. You won’t even have to count the number of times, as it’s guaranteed that your hands will be led to turn the Law Wheel upon finishing the ninth gliding movement. In the future you shouldn’t always count, for you need to perform the exercises in an intention-free state. Having intention is an attachment. No thought is used in high-level cultivation—it’s completely in a state free of intention. Of course, there are people who say that doing movements is itself full of intention. That understanding isn’t right. If they say the movements are full of intention, then what about the mudras done by Buddhas, or the conjoined hands and meditation done by Zen Buddhist monks and monks in temples? Does the argument for their “having intention” refer to how many movements and mudras are involved? Does the number of movements determine if a person is in a state free of intention or not? Are there attachments if there are more movements and no attachments if there are fewer movements? It’s not the movements that count, but rather, it’s whether a person’s mind has attachments and whether there are things he or she can’t let go of. It’s the mind that matters. We perform the exercises by following the mechanisms and gradually abandoning our intention-driven thinking, reaching a state free of thought.

Our bodies undergo a special kind of transformation during the upward and downward gliding of the hands. Meanwhile, the channels atop our heads will be opened, something known as “Opening the Top of the Head.” The passages at the bottoms of our feet will also be unblocked. These passages are more than just the Yongquan66 acupuncture point, which is itself actually a field. Because the human body has different forms of existence in other dimensions, your bodies will progressively expand as you practice and the volume of your gong will become larger and larger such that [your body in other dimensions] will exceed the size of your human body.

While you are doing the exercises, the Opening of the Top of the Head will occur at the head’s crown. This Opening the Top of the Head that we do isn’t the same as that in Tantrism. In Tantrism it’s about opening a person’s Baihui67 acupoint and then inserting a piece of “lucky straw” into it. It’s a cultivation technique taught in Tantrism. Our Opening the Top of the Head is different. Ours is about communication between the universe and our brain. You know, general Buddhist cultivation also has Opening the Top of the Head, but it’s seldom revealed. In some practices it’s considered an achievement if a fissure is opened at the top of the head. Actually, they still have a long way to go. What extent should genuine Opening the Top of the Head reach? A person’s crania have to be opened completely and then forever be in a state of automatic opening-and-closing. The brain will be in constant communication with the vast universe. Such a state will exist, and that’s real Opening the Top of the Head. Of course, we’re not talking about the cranium in this dimension—that would be frightening. It’s the crania in other dimensions.

This exercise, too, is easy to perform. The required standing posture is the same as with the previous two exercises, though there’s no stretching as with the first exercise. Nor is stretching called for in the exercises that follow. You just need to stand in a relaxed way and keep the posture unchanged. While performing the up and down hand gliding, everyone has to ensure that his or her hands follow the mechanisms. Your hands actually glide along with the mechanisms in the first exercise as well; your hands will automatically glide to Heshi when you finish stretching and relaxing your body. These kinds of mechanisms have been installed in your body. We perform the exercises along with the mechanisms so that these may be reinforced. There’s no need for you to cultivate gong by yourself, for the mechanisms assume that role. You just perform the exercises to reinforce the mechanisms. You will sense their existence once you grasp this essential point and perform the movements correctly. The distance between your hands and your body is no more than 10 centimeters (4 inches). Your hands need to stay within this range to feel the mechanisms’ existence. Some people can never sense the mechanisms since they don’t relax completely. They will slowly come to sense them after doing the exercise for a while. During the exercise you shouldn’t use intention to draw qi upward, and neither should you think of pouring qi or pressing qi inward. The hands should face the body at all times. There’s one thing that I wish to point out: Some people move their hands close to their body, but the moment their hands are in front of their face they slide their hands away for fear of touching the face. Things won’t work if the hands are too far away from the face. Your hands have to glide upward and downward close to your face and body, as long as they don’t get so close that they touch your clothes. Everyone has to follow this important point. If your movements are correct, your palm will always face inward when your hand is in the upward position during the one-handed up-and-down gliding movement.

Don’t just pay attention to the upper hand when doing the one-handed up-and-down gliding movement. The lower hand also has to reach its position since the upward and downward movements occur simultaneously. The hands glide up and down at the same time and reach their positions at the same time. The hands are not to overlap when moving along the chest, or the mechanisms will be damaged. The hands are to be kept separate, having each hand cover only one side of the body. The arms are straightened, but this does not mean they’re not relaxed. Both the arms and the body should be relaxed, but the arms need to be straightened. Because the hands move along with the mechanisms, you will feel that there are mechanisms and a force leading your fingers to glide upward. When doing the two-handed up-and-down gliding movement, the arms may open a little bit, but they shouldn’t be spaced too far apart since the energy moves upward. Pay special attention to this when doing the two-handed up-and-down gliding movement. Some people are accustomed to supposedly, “holding qi and pouring it into the top of the head.” They always move their hands downward with the palms facing down and lift their hands upward with the palms facing up. That’s no good—the palms must face the body. Although the movements are called upward and downward gliding, they are actually done by the mechanisms given to you—it’s the mechanisms that assume this function. There is no thought involved. None of the five exercises use any direction with thought. There’s one thing about the third exercise: Before doing the exercise, you imagine that you are an empty barrel or two empty barrels. That’s to give you the idea that the energy will flow smoothly. That’s the main purpose. The hands are to be in the lotus palm position.

Now I’m going to talk about turning the Law Wheel with your hands. How do you turn it? Why should we turn the Law Wheel? The energy released by our exercises travels inconceivably far, reaching the two extremes, but there is no thought used. This is unlike ordinary practices, in which what’s known as “collecting yang qi from heaven and yin qi from earth” is still limited to within Earth’s boundary. Our exercise enables energy to penetrate the Earth and to reach the extremes of the universe. Your mind is incapable of imagining how vast and distant those extremes are—it’s simply inconceivable. Even if you were given a whole day to imagine it, you still couldn’t grasp how large it is or where the boundary of the universe is. Even if you thought with your mind completely unrestrained, you still couldn’t know the answer by the time you were exhausted. Genuine cultivation is done in a state free of intention, so there’s no need for any directing with thought. You don’t need to be concerned with much in order to perform the exercises—just follow the mechanisms. My mechanisms will assume this function. Please note that since energy is emitted very far during the exercise, we have to turn our Law Wheel manually at the end of the exercise to give it a push and return the energy instantly. Turning the Law Wheel four times suffices. If you turn it more than four times your stomach will feel distended. The Law Wheel is turned clockwise. The hands shouldn’t move beyond the body when turning the Law Wheel, as that would be turning it too widely. The point two finger-widths below the navel should be used as the center of the axis. The elbows are raised and suspended, and both the hands and forearms are kept straight. It’s necessary to do the movements correctly when you first start to do the exercises, or the mechanisms will become distorted.

4. The Fourth Exercise 

The fourth exercise is called Falun Cosmic Orbit. Here we’ve used two Buddhist and Daoist terms68 so that everyone understands it. This exercise used to be called Turning the Great Falun. This exercise slightly resembles the Daoist system’s Great Cosmic Orbit, but our requirements are different. All of the meridians should have been opened during the first exercise, so while doing the fourth exercise all of them will move in sync. Meridians exist on the surface of the human body as well as in its depths, in each of its layers, and in the spaces between its interior organs. So how does the energy travel in our practice? We require all meridians of the human body to attain simultaneous motion, rather than having just one or two meridians circulating or the eight Extra Meridians revolving. That makes the energy flow quite powerful. If the front and the back of the human body are indeed divided into a yang and yin side, respectively, then the energy of each side is moving; that is, the energy of the entire side is in motion. As long as you’re going to practice Falun Dafa, from now on you have to let go of any thoughts you have used for guiding the cosmic orbit, since in our practice all the meridians are opened and put into simultaneous motion. The movements are quite simple and the standing posture is the same as that of the previous exercise, except for your having to bend at the waist somewhat. Your movements should follow the mechanisms here as well. These kinds of mechanisms also exist in each of the previous exercises, and the movements need to again follow the mechanisms. The mechanisms that I place outside of your body for this particular exercise aren’t common ones but a layer of mechanisms that can bring all of the meridians into motion. They will drive all of your body’s meridians into continuous rotation—rotation that continues even when you’re not doing the exercises. They will rotate in reverse at the appropriate time. The mechanisms rotate in both directions; there is no need for you to work for those things. You should simply follow what we’ve taught you and should be free of any directing thoughts. It’s that layer of large meridians that leads you to finish the exercise.

The energy of the entire body has to be in motion when doing Cosmic Orbit. In other words, if the human body is indeed divided into a yin and a yang side, then the energy circulates from the yang side to the yin side, from the body’s interior to its exterior, back and forth, while hundreds or thousands of meridians circulate simultaneously. Those of you who used to perform other cosmic orbits and used different kinds of directing thoughts or had different kinds of ideas about the cosmic orbit have to let go of all of them when practicing our Dafa. Those things you practiced were really minor. It’s simply ineffective to have just one or two meridians in motion—progress will be too slow. From observing the surface of the human body it’s known that meridians exist. The meridians actually intersect vertically and horizontally inside the body, just like blood vessels, and their density is even higher than that of blood vessels. They exist in the layers of the human body in different dimensions, that is, from the surface of your body to the bodies in deep dimensions, including in the spaces between the interior organs. If the human body is indeed divided into two sides, one yin and one yang, it must be that the whole side, either the front or the back, circulates at the same time when you perform the exercises—it is no longer one or two meridians. Those of you who used to do other cosmic orbits will ruin your practice if you perform our exercise using any directing thoughts. So you must not cling to any of the thoughts you used to use. Even if your previous cosmic orbit was opened, that still means nothing. We’ve already far exceeded that, as all the meridians of our practice are set in motion from the outset. The standing posture is no different from those in the previous exercises, with the exception of some bending at the waist. During the exercises the hands have to follow the mechanisms. It’s just like the third exercise, in which the hands float up and down with the mechanisms. You should follow the mechanisms during the entire circuit when performing this exercise.

The movements of this exercise need to be repeated nine times. If you’d like to do them more you can do them eighteen times, but you have to be sure that the number is a multiple of nine. Later on when you reach a certain level it won’t be necessary to count the number of times. Why is that? It’s because repeated performance of the movements nine times will set the mechanisms. After the ninth time, the mechanisms will make your hands naturally overlap in front of the lower abdomen. After you’ve been doing the exercise for some time, these mechanisms will automatically lead the hands to overlap in front of the lower abdomen after the ninth time, and you will no longer need to count. Of course, when you have just begun to do the exercises, the number of times still has to be counted, since the mechanisms aren’t strong enough.

5. The Fifth Exercise 

The fifth exercise is called Reinforcing Supernatural Powers. It’s something of high-level cultivation that I used to do on my own. I’m now making it public without any modifications. Because I don’t have any more time… it’s going to be hard for me to have another opportunity to teach you in person. I now teach you everything at once so that later on you will have a way to practice at high levels. The movements of this exercise aren’t complex, as a great way is extremely simple and easy—complicated movements are not necessarily good. Yet this exercise controls the transformation of many things on a large scale. It’s a very challenging and demanding exercise, as you need to sit in meditation for a long time to complete this exercise. This exercise is independent, so you don’t need to perform the previous four exercises before doing this one. Of course, all of our exercises are flexible. If you don’t have much time today and can only do the first exercise, then you may do just the first one. You may even perform the exercises in a different order. Say your schedule is tight today and you just want to do the second exercise, or the third exercise, or maybe the fourth exercise—that’s fine too. If you have more time you can do more, and if you have less time you can do less—the exercises are quite flexible. When you perform them you are reinforcing the mechanisms that I’ve placed in you, and you are strengthening your Law Wheel and elixir field.

Our fifth exercise is independent and consists of three parts. The first part is performing the mudras, or hand signs, which are for adjusting your body. The movements are quite simple and there are just a few of them. The second part reinforces your supernatural powers. There are several fixed positions that deliver your supernatural abilities and supernatural powers from the inside of your body to your hands for reinforcing during the exercise. That’s why the fifth exercise is called Reinforcing Supernatural Powers—it reinforces your supernatural abilities. The next part is sitting in meditation and entering into deep stillness. The exercise is comprised of these three parts.

I’ll first talk about the meditation. There are two kinds of leg crossing for meditation; in true practice there are just two ways to fold your legs. Some people claim that there are more than two ways, saying “Just take a look at the Tantric practices—aren’t there many ways to fold the legs?” Let me tell you that those are not leg-crossing methods but exercise positions and movements. There are only two kinds of real leg crossing: one is called the “half-lotus position” and the other is called the “full-lotus position.”

Let me explain the half-lotus position. This position can only be used as a transition, as a last resort, when you can’t manage to sit with both legs crossed. Half-lotus is done with one leg below and the other above. While sitting in the half-lotus position, many people hurt in their anklebones and can’t bear the pain for long. Even before their legs have begun hurting, the pain caused by their anklebones has become unbearable. The anklebones will shift backwards if you can turn your feet over so that their soles face upward. Of course, even though I’ve told you to do the exercise this way, you might not be able to achieve this at the very beginning. You can work on it gradually.

There are many different theories about the half-lotus position. Daoist practices teach “drawing in without releasing out,” which means that energy is always being drawn in and never released out. The Daoists try to avoid dispersing their energy. So how do they achieve that? They’re particular about sealing off their acupuncture points. Often when they cross their legs they close off the Yongquan acupoint of one foot by putting it underneath the other leg and tuck the Yongquan acupoint of the other foot under the upper part of the opposite thigh. The same is true with their Jieyin position. They use one thumb to press the opposite hand’s Laogong acupoint, and use the other hand’s Laogong acupoint to cover the opposite hand while both hands cover the lower abdomen.

The leg crossing in our Dafa doesn’t have any of those requirements. All Buddhist cultivation ways—regardless of which cultivation path—teach the providing of salvation to all beings. So they’re not afraid of giving off energy. As a matter of fact, even if your energy is released and consumed, you can later make it up in the course of your practice without losing anything. That is because your character will have reached a certain level—your energy won’t be lost. But you have to endure hardships if you want to raise your level further. In that case your energy won’t be lost whatsoever. We don’t have many requirements for the half-lotus position since we actually require the full-lotus position, not the half-lotus. But there are people who can’t cross both legs yet, so I will take this opportunity to speak a little bit about the half-lotus position. You may do half-lotus if you can’t yet sit in full-lotus, but you still need to work to gradually put both of your legs up. Our half-lotus position requires of males that the right leg be below and the left leg above; for females, the left leg is to be below and the right leg above. In fact, genuine half-lotus is very challenging since it requires the crossed legs to form one line; I don’t think that doing half-lotus is any easier than doing full-lotus. The lower part of the legs should be basically parallel—this has to be achieved—and there should be space between the legs and the pelvis. Half-lotus is hard to do. These are the general requirements for the single-leg crossing position, but we don’t ask this of people. Why is that? It’s because this exercise calls for you to sit with both legs crossed.

Now I’ll explain the full-lotus position. We require you to sit with both legs crossed, which means that from the single-leg crossing position you pull the leg from underneath to the top, pull it from the outside, not the inside. That’s the full-lotus position. Some people cross their legs fairly tightly. By doing so, the soles of both feet face up and they can achieve Five Centers Facing Heaven. That is how the true Five Centers Facing Heaven is done in Buddhist exercises in general—the top of the head, the two palms, and the soles of both feet face upward. If you want to cross your legs loosely, it’s all right to do it however you like; some people prefer a loose leg crossing. But all we require is sitting with both legs crossed; crossing the legs loosely is fine, and so is crossing them tightly.

The still meditation requires sitting in meditation for a long time. During the meditation there should be no mental activity—don’t think about anything. We’ve said that your main consciousness has to be aware, for this practice cultivates your own self. You should progress with an alert mind. How do we perform the meditation? We require that each of you must know that you are doing the exercise there, no matter how deeply you meditate. You absolutely should not enter into a state in which you’re aware of nothing. So what particular state will occur? As you sit there you will feel wonderful and very comfortable, as if you were sitting inside an eggshell. You will be aware of yourself doing the exercise, but will feel that your entire body can’t move. This definitely happens in our practice. And there’s another state. During the meditation you might find that your legs disappear and you can’t remember where they are. And you may find that your body, arms, and hands disappear, with only your head left. As you keep meditating, maybe you will find that even your head is gone, with only your mind—a trace of awareness—knowing that you are meditating there. You should maintain that slight awareness. It’s sufficient if we can reach that state. Why? When you do the exercise in that state, your body undergoes full transformation. That is the optimum state, so we require that you achieve it. But you shouldn’t fall asleep, get in a daze, or abandon that slight awareness. Your meditation will be in vain if you do those things, and it will be no better than sleeping and not meditating. After completing the exercise, your hands are put together in Heshi and you come out of stillness. Then you are done with the exercise.

[63] (“chee”) In Chinese thought, this substance/energy is said to assume many forms in the body and the environment. Usually translated as “vital energy,” qi is thought to determine a person’s health.

[64] (“laow-gong”) Located at the center of the palm.

[65] In Chinese thought, this usually refers to the region of the lower abdomen in which an energy “elixir” is formed through meditative practices.

[66] (“yong-chwen”) Located at the center of the sole of the foot.

[67] (“bye-hway”) Located at the crown of one’s head.

[68] Respectively, “Falun” and “Cosmic Orbit.”