In China, the qigong1 arts have a long history that dates back to ancient times. Chinese people thus have a natural advantage in practicing qigong. The two upright systems of qigong cultivation, the Buddhist system and the Daoist system, have made public many great methods of cultivation that before were taught in private. The Daoist ways of cultivation are unique, while the Buddhist system has its cultivation methods. Falun Gong2 is an advanced cultivation method of the Buddhist system. During this series of teachings, I will first adjust your body to a state suitable for advanced cultivation and then install a Law Wheel (fa-lun) and energy mechanisms in your body, and I will teach you our exercises. What’s more, I have Law Bodies (fa-shen) who will protect you. But your having only these things isn’t enough, as they can’t achieve the goal of developing gong3—you also need to understand the principles for cultivation at high levels. That is what this book will address.
I am teaching the practice system at high levels, so I won’t discuss cultivation of this or that meridian,4 acupuncture point, or energy passage. I am teaching a great cultivation way, the Great Way for true cultivation to high levels. At first it might sound somewhat mysterious, but for dedicated qigong cultivators, if you can try to be attentive and learn from what you experience, you will discover all the wonders and intricacies it contains.
Qigong as we know it today was not, in fact, originally called qigong. It originated from the solitary cultivation ways of the ancient Chinese people and from cultivation in religions. The two-character term, qi gong, is nowhere to be found in texts such as The Book of Elixir, the Daoist Canon, or the Tripitaka. During the course of our present human civilization’s development, qigong went through the period when religions were in their infancy; it existed before religions came into being. After religions formed, qigong came to have something of a religious flavor to it. Qigong’s original names were Great Cultivation Way of Buddha, and Great Cultivation Way of Dao. It had other names too, such as Nine-Fold Internal Alchemy, Way of Arhat, Vajra Meditation, etc. People now call it qigong so that it better suits our modern thinking and can be more easily popularized. It’s in fact a means expressly for cultivating the human body that we have in China.
Qigong isn’t something invented by this civilization. It has quite a long history that dates back to ages ago. Then when did qigong come into being? Some say that qigong has a history of three thousand years, and became quite popular during the Tang Dynasty. Some say it has a history of five thousand years and is as old as Chinese civilization. Some say that, judging from archaeological findings, it has a history of seven thousand years. I don’t regard qigong as something invented by modern man—its heritage predates history. From what investigations by people with supernatural abilities have found, the universe we live in is an entity that was remade after being exploded nine times. The planet we dwell on has been destroyed many times. Each time the planet was remade, the human race again began to multiply. We have now discovered that there are many things on the earth that date beyond our present civilization. According to Darwin’s theory of evolution, humans evolved from apes, and civilization is no more than ten thousand years old. Yet archeological excavations of caves in the European Alps have yielded 250-thousand-year-old murals that exhibit a high degree of artistry—one better than what people are doing today. In the museum of the National University of Peru, there is a large rock on which a human figure is engraved who holds a telescope and is observing the stars. The engraving is more than thirty thousand years old. As we know, Galileo invented a 30X astronomical telescope in 1609, which was no more than three-hundred-some years ago. But how could there have been a telescope thirty thousand years ago? There is an iron pillar in India whose iron content is over ninety-nine percent. Even modern smelting technology can’t produce iron with such high purity; it had surpassed the level of modern technology. Then who created those civilizations? How could human beings—who might as well have been primitive creatures back then—have created these things? These discoveries have caught the attention of scientists worldwide. They are considered prehistoric since they prove inexplicable.
The level of scientific achievement was different in each past time period. In some time periods it was quite high, surpassing that of modern man. But those civilizations were destroyed. So I would say that qigong wasn’t invented or created by modern people, but discovered and perfected by modern people. It’s part of prehistoric culture.
Qigong is not exclusively a product of our country. It exists in foreign countries as well, but they don’t call it qigong. Western countries, such as the United States, Great Britain, and so on, call it magic. There is a magician in the U.S. who is a master of supernatural abilities, and he once performed the feat of walking through the Great Wall of China. When he was about to pass through the Wall, he used a white cloth as a cover, pressed himself against the Wall, and then proceeded to go through it. Why did he do that? Doing it that way would lead a lot of people to think of it as a magic show. It had to be done like that since he knew there are many people in China with great supernatural abilities. He was afraid they would interfere with him, so he covered himself before he went in. When coming out, he raised the cloth with one hand and walked out. As the saying goes, “Experts watch for tricks while laymen watch for excitement.” Doing it as he did the audience thought it was a show of magic. These abilities are called magic because they aren’t used for cultivating the human body, but instead for stage performances which showcase unusual things and entertain. From a low-level perspective, qigong can change the condition of the body, achieving the goals of healing and health. From a high-level perspective, qigong refers to the cultivation of a person’s innate body (ben-ti).
The qi we talk about nowadays was called chee5 by ancient people. They are essentially the same, as both refer to the qi of the universe—a shapeless, invisible kind of matter that permeates the universe. Qi does not refer to air. The energy of this matter is activated in the human body through cultivation. Its activation changes the body’s physical condition and can have the effect of producing healing and health. Yet qi is merely qi—you have qi, he has qi, and one person’s qi can’t do much to dominate another’s qi. Some say that qi can fix health problems, or that you can emit qi towards someone to heal him. Putting it that way isn’t very scientific, as qi can’t heal people in the least. When a practitioner’s body still contains qi, it means that his or her body is not yet a Milk-White Body. That is, the person is still sick or injured.
A person who has reached a higher level through cultivation does not emit qi. Instead, he or she emits a cluster of high energy. It’s a form of high-energy matter that manifests in the form of light, and its particles are fine and its density high. That is what gong is. Only it has the power to do things to an everyday person, and only with it can a person heal others. There’s a saying, “Broadly shines a Buddha’s light, setting everything right.” It means that people who truly cultivate carry immense energy in their bodies. Wherever those persons go, any abnormal condition within the area covered by their energy can be corrected and restored to normal. For instance, sickness in the body really is an abnormal bodily state, and the sickness will disappear after that state is corrected. More simply put, gong is energy. Gong has physical characteristics, and practitioners can experience and perceive its objective existence through cultivation.
(1) Gong Potency is Developed Through Character Cultivation
The gong that truly determines the level of a person’s gong potency (gong-li) isn’t developed through performing qigong exercises. It is developed through the transformation of the form of matter called virtue (de), and through cultivation of character (xin-xing). The transformation process isn’t accomplished by “setting up a crucible and furnace to make an elixir (dan) from gathered chemicals,”6 as ordinary people think. Gong as we mean it is generated outside the body, and it begins in the lower half of the body. As your character improves, it grows upward in a spiral shape, and all of this is formed outside of your body. Upon reaching the crown of the head it then develops into a gong pillar. The height of the gong pillar determines the level of your gong. The gong pillar exists in a deeply hidden dimension, making it hard for the average person to see it.
Supernatural abilities are strengthened by gong potency. The higher a person’s gong potency and level, the greater his or her abilities are and the easier to use. People with lower gong potency have weaker abilities; they find it harder to use them, and some are completely unusable. Supernatural abilities in and of themselves represent neither the level of your gong potency nor the level of your cultivation. What determines your level is gong potency, rather than abilities. Some people cultivate in a “locked” mode, wherein their gong potency is rather high but they might have few abilities. Gong potency is the determining factor [when it comes to levels], it is developed through character cultivation, and it is what’s most important.
(2) Supernatural Abilities are Not What Cultivators Pursue
All practitioners are interested in abilities. Supernatural abilities are attractive to the general public and lots of people want to get some. Yet a person whose character is poor won’t manage to.
Some abilities that everyday people might have include an open Third Eye (tian-mu), clairaudience, telepathy, precognition, etc. But not all of these abilities will appear during the stages of Gradual Enlightenment, as they vary with each individual. It’s not possible for everyday people to have certain abilities, such as the ability to transmute objects in this physical dimension—that isn’t something everyday people can have. Great abilities are developed only through cultivating after birth. Falun Gong was developed based on the laws of the universe, so all abilities that exist in the universe exist in Falun Gong. [How many of them a practitioner gets] depends on how well he does with his cultivation. The thought of gaining some abilities isn’t wrong, but, overly-intense pursuit is more than a normal thought, and it will have negative results. Someone at a low level would have little use for abilities, save for trying to use them to show them off to everyday people or hoping to become more powerful than others. If that is the case, it indicates precisely that the person’s character is not high and that it’s right not to give him or her abilities. Some abilities can be used to commit wrongdoing if they are given to people with poor character. Since the character of those people is not steady there’s no guarantee they won’t do something bad.
On the other hand, any abilities that can be demonstrated or performed can’t change human society or alter the ways of everyday life. Real high-level abilities are not allowed to be brought out for show, because the impact and danger would be too great; for example, you could never perform the pulling down of a large building. Great abilities aren’t allowed to be used except by people with special missions, and those abilities can’t be revealed; this is within high-level masters’ control.
All the same, some everyday people insist on having qigong masters perform, forcing them to display their abilities. People with abilities are reluctant to use them for show, since revealing them is off limits; displaying them would impact the way of society. People who really do have great virtue aren’t allowed to use their abilities in public. Some qigong masters feel awful during performances and want to cry afterward. Don’t force them to perform! Revealing those things is upsetting to them. A student brought a magazine to me. I felt disgusted the moment I read it. It said that an international qigong conference was to be held, and that people with supernatural abilities could participate in a contest; the conference was open to whoever had great abilities. After I read it I was upset for days. Abilities are not something that can be publicly displayed for competition. It’s a shame when people demonstrate them in public. Everyday people focus on practical things in the mundane world, but qigong masters need to maintain their dignity.
What’s the motive behind wanting abilities? Wanting them reflects a practitioner’s realm of mind and pursuits. A person with impure pursuits and an unsteady mind is unlikely to have great abilities. That’s because before you are fully enlightened, what you perceive to be good or bad is only based on the standards of this world. You can see neither the true nature of things nor the karmic connections among them. Fighting, yelling, and mistreatment among people are inherently caused by karmic connections. You can only cause more trouble than help if you can’t perceive these things. The laws of this world govern the gratitude and resentment, along with the right and wrong, of everyday people; practitioners shouldn’t concern themselves with those things. Before you achieve full Enlightenment, what you see with your eyes might not necessarily be the truth. When one person punches another, it might be that they are settling their karmic debts. Your involvement might hamper the resolution of those debts. Karma is a type of black matter that surrounds the human body. It has physical existence in another dimension and can transform into sickness or misfortune.
Supernatural abilities exist in everyone, and the idea is that they need to be developed and strengthened through continual cultivation. You want to be a practitioner, but if you only pursue abilities, you are shortsighted and your mind isn’t pure. No matter what it is you want abilities for, your pursuit of them has selfish things mixed in that will definitely hinder your cultivation. The consequence is that you will never get abilities.
(3) Handling Gong Potency
Some practitioners haven’t practiced for very long, yet they want to give people treatments to try out their skills. When those of you without high gong potency extend your hand and try, you absorb into your own body a great deal of black, unhealthy, filthy qi that exists in the patient’s body. Since you can’t repel unhealthy qi and your body lacks a protective shield, you form a joint field with the patient; you can’t defend against unhealthy qi without high gong potency. The result is that you experience a great deal of discomfort. If no one looks after you, over the course of time you will accumulate sickness throughout your body. So someone who lacks high gong potency shouldn’t try to heal others. Only a person who has developed supernatural abilities and who has a certain level of gong potency can use qigong to treat others. Even though some people have developed abilities and are able to do healing, they are, when at a rather low level, in fact using their accumulated gong potency—their own energy—to do the healing. Since gong is both energy and an intelligent entity that isn’t easily stored up, you are actually depleting yourself of gong when you send it out. And with your release of gong, the gong pillar above your head shortens and depletes. It’s just not worth it. So I don’t endorse giving others treatments when your gong potency is not high. No matter how great the methods you use, you will still consume your own energy.
All kinds of abilities will emerge when a person’s gong potency reaches a certain level. You need to be very cautious when using these abilities. For instance, a person has to use his Third Eye once it has opened, for it will close if he doesn’t ever use it. Yet he shouldn’t look through it frequently. Too much energy will be discharged if he looks through it too often. So does that mean you should never use it? Of course not. If we were never to use it, then what would be the use of our cultivating [it]? The question is when to use it. You can use it only when you have cultivated to a certain stage and are able to replenish yourself. When a cultivator of Falun Gong reaches a certain stage, the Law Wheel can automatically transform and replenish however much gong he or she releases. The Law Wheel automatically maintains a practitioner’s gong potency level, and the gong won’t decrease for even a moment. This is a characteristic of Falun Gong. Not until that point is reached may abilities be used.
(1) Opening the Third Eye
The Third Eye’s main passage is located between the middle of the forehead and the Shangen7 acupuncture point. The way everyday people see things with the naked eye works the same way as a camera does: The size of the lens, or pupil, is adjusted according to the distance of an object and the intensity of the light. Via the optic nerves, images then form on the pineal gland, which is located at the back of the brain. The ability of Penetrative Vision is simply the ability of the pineal gland to look directly out through the Third Eye. An average person’s Third Eye is closed, as his or her main passage is narrow and dark. There is no essential qi inside, no illumination. Some people cannot see, for their passages are blocked.
To open the Third Eye, in our cultivation we either depend on outside force or on ourselves to unblock the passage. The shape of the passage varies with each individual, ranging from oval to round, rhombic to triangular. The better you cultivate, the rounder the passage will become. Second, your shifu8 gives you an eye; if you cultivate on your own, then you have to cultivate it yourself. Third, you need to have essential qi at the location of your Third Eye.
We usually see things with our pair of eyes, and it is exactly this pair of eyes that blocks our channel to view other dimensions. Since they function as a shield, we can only see objects that exist in our physical dimension. Opening the Third Eye allows you to see without using this pair of eyes. You can also cultivate to have a True Eye after you reach a very high level. Then you can see with the True Eye of the Third Eye, or with the True Eye at the Shangen acupoint. According to the Buddhist system, every pore of the body is an eye—there are eyes all over the body. According to the Daoist system, every acupuncture point is an eye. The main passage is nonetheless located at the Third Eye, and it has to be opened first. In my classes, I plant in everyone things that can open the Third Eye. The results vary owing to differences in people’s physical qualities. Some people see a dark hole similar to a deep well. That means his or her Third Eye passage is dark. Others see a white tunnel. If objects can be seen in front of you, your Third Eye is about to open. Some see objects revolving, which are placed there by your shifu to open the Third Eye. You will be able to see once they drill the Third Eye open. Some people can see a large eye through their Third Eye, and they think it is a Buddha’s eye, but it’s actually their own eye. Those are usually people with a fairly good underlying base (gen-ji).
According to our statistics, the Third Eye is opened for more than half of the attendees each time we give classes. One problem that might come up after the Third Eye is opened is that a person whose character isn’t high could be prone to using the Third Eye to commit wrongdoing. To prevent this problem, I open your Third Eye directly to the level of Wisdom Eyesight. Or in other words, to an advanced level that allows you to directly see scenes from other dimensions and to see things that appear during cultivation, allowing you to believe in them. That strengthens your confidence in cultivation. The character of people who have just started practicing hasn’t yet reached the level of extraordinary people. They are inclined to do wrong once they have supernormal things. Let’s give a playful example: If you were to walk along the street and come upon a lottery stand, you might be able to walk away with first prize. That won’t be allowed to happen—it’s just to illustrate the point. Another reason is, we are opening the Third Eye for a large number of people, so suppose every person’s Third Eye was opened at a lower level: Just imagine if everyone could see through the human body or see objects behind walls—could we still call this a human society? Human society would be badly disrupted, so it’s not allowed and not achievable. Furthermore, it wouldn’t do practitioners any good and would only foster attachments. So we won’t open the Third Eye for you at a low level. We will instead open it directly at a high level.
(2) The Third Eye’s Levels
The Third Eye has many different levels; at different levels it sees different dimensions. According to Buddhism there are five levels: Flesh Eyesight, Celestial Eyesight, Wisdom Eyesight, Law Eyesight, and Buddha Eyesight. Each level is subdivided into upper, middle, and lower levels. When someone is at or below the level of Celestial Eyesight he can observe only our material world. Only when someone is at or above the level of Wisdom Eyesight will other dimensions be observable. Those who have the ability of Penetrative Vision can see things accurately, with clarity better than that of a CAT scan. But what they can see is just in this physical world and doesn’t go beyond the dimension in which we exist; it doesn’t count as having reached an advanced level of Third Eye.
The level of a person’s Third Eye is determined by the amount of his or her essential qi, as well as the width, brightness, and degree of blockage of the main passage. The internal, essential qi is critical in determining how thoroughly the Third Eye will open. It is particularly easy to open the Third Eye for children under the age of six. I needn’t even bother using my hand, as it opens once I start talking. That’s because children have not been influenced much by our physical world and they haven’t done many bad things in their lives. Their essential qi is well preserved. The Third Eye of a child over the age of six becomes increasingly difficult to open, owing to the increase of outside influences as they grow up. Specifically, unsound education, being spoiled, and turning immoral can make the essential qi dissipate. And all of it will disappear if a person reaches a certain point. A person whose essential qi is completely lost can recover it gradually through cultivation, but it takes a long period of time and arduous effort. So essential qi is extremely precious.
I don’t recommend that a person’s Third Eye be opened at the level of Celestial Eyesight, because a practitioner with low gong potency will lose more energy looking at objects than he has accumulated through cultivation. The Third Eye might close again if too much of the essential energy is lost. Once it closes it won’t be easy to open again. So I usually open people’s Third Eye at the level of Wisdom Eyesight. No matter how clear or unclear a cultivator’s vision is, he or she will be able to see objects in other dimensions. Since people are affected by their innate qualities, some see clearly, some see things intermittently, and others see unclearly. But at a minimum, you will be able to see light. That helps a cultivator progress toward high levels. Those who can’t see clearly can remedy it through cultivation.
People who have less essential qi see only images in black and white through the Third Eye. The Third Eye of a person who has more essential qi can see scenes in color and in clearer form. The more the essential qi, the better the clarity. But every individual is different. Some people are born with the Third Eye open, while for others it might be tightly clogged. When the Third Eye is opening, the image is similar to the blooming of a flower, opening layer after layer. During your meditation you will first discover that there is illumination in the area of your Third Eye. At the beginning the illumination isn’t so bright, while later it turns red. The Third Eye of some people is tightly closed, so their initial physical sensations might be quite strong. Those people will feel the muscles around the primary passage and the Shangen acupoint tightening, as if they were being pressed and squeezed inward. Their temples and foreheads will start to feel like they are swelling and aching. Those are symptoms of the Third Eye opening. A person whose Third Eye opens easily can occasionally see certain things. During my classes some people unwittingly see my Law Bodies. The image disappears though when they try to look, for those people are then in fact using their physical eyes. When you see some things with your eyes closed, try to remain in that state of seeing, and you will gradually see things more clearly. If you want to look more closely, you will actually switch to your own eyes and use the optic nerves. Then you won’t see anything.
The dimensions the Third Eye sees differ depending on the level of a person’s Third Eye. Some scientific research agencies fail to understand this principle, and it prevents some qigong experiments from reaching their expected outcomes. And from time to time experiments even yield the opposite results. For example, an institute designed a method to test supernatural abilities. They asked qigong masters to view the contents inside a sealed box. Because those masters’ Third Eye levels were different, their answers were different. The research staff then considered the Third Eye to be false and a bogus concept. Someone with a lower-level Third Eye usually achieves better results in that kind of experiment, because his Third Eye is opened at the level of Celestial Eyesight—a level suitable only for observing objects in this physical dimension. So people who don’t understand the Third Eye think that those people have the greatest abilities. All objects, organic and inorganic, appear in different shapes and forms in different dimensions. For example, as soon as a drinking glass is manufactured, in a different dimension an intelligent entity comes into existence. Moreover, prior to existing as that entity, it may well have been something else. When the Third Eye is at its lowest level, the person will see the glass. At a high level he or she will see the entity that exists in the other dimension. At an even higher level the person will see the material form that it had prior to the existence of that intelligent entity.
(3) Remote Viewing
After their Third Eye is opened, some people’s ability of Remote Viewing emerges, and they can see objects thousands of miles away. Each individual occupies dimensions of his own. In those dimensions he is as big as a universe. Within a certain particular dimension, he has a mirror in front of his forehead, though it’s invisible in our dimension. Everyone has a mirror, but the mirror of a non-practitioner faces inward. For practitioners the mirror flips slowly. Once it flips, the mirror can capture what the practitioner wants to see. In his particular dimension he is rather large. Since his body is fairly large, so too is his mirror. Whatever the cultivator wants to see can be reflected onto the mirror. Once the image has been captured, he still can’t see it, though, as the image needs to stay on the mirror for a second, and then the mirror turns over and allows him to see the objects it captured. Then it turns back, flipping back over quickly, and it flips back and forth nonstop. Cinematic film moves at twenty-four frames per second to produce fluid movement. The speed at which the mirror flips is much faster than that, and so the images appear continuous and clear. This is Remote Viewing, and the principles of Remote Viewing are that simple. This used to be very secret, but I’ve revealed it in just a few lines.
From our perspective, dimensions are quite complicated. Humankind knows only the dimension in which human beings currently exist, while other dimensions haven’t yet been found or explored. When it comes to other dimensions, we qigong masters have seen dozens of levels of dimensions. They can be explained theoretically, though they remain unproven by science. Even though some people don’t admit the existence of certain things, they have actually manifested in our dimension. For example, there is a place called the Bermuda Triangle (or “Devil’s Triangle”). Some ships and planes have disappeared in that area, only to reemerge years later. No one can explain why, as no one has gone beyond the confines of human thinking and theories. In fact, the Triangle is a gateway to another dimension. Unlike our doors here that have a regular entrance, that gateway works rather erratically. A ship is likely to enter it if the ship happens to pass through when the gateway has opened under some peculiar circumstance. Human beings cannot sense the difference in dimension when they instantly go into the other dimension. The differences in time and space between that dimension and our dimension can’t be expressed in miles; that place may be thousands of miles away but is accessible from one point right here. That is, they exist in the same place and at the same time. The ship swings in for a short while and then somehow comes back out again. Yet decades have passed in this world, since time is different in the two dimensions. There are also unitary worlds existing in each dimension. It’s similar to diagrams people make of atomic structures wherein there are balls that are each connected by a line, with balls connected by lines that crisscross all about. It is very complex.
A British pilot was carrying out a mission four years prior to World War II. In the middle of his flight he ran into a heavy thunderstorm. By drawing on past experience, he was able to find an abandoned airport. The moment the airport appeared before his eyes, a completely different picture came into view: All of a sudden it was sunny and cloudless, as if he had just emerged from another world. The airplanes at the airport were painted yellow, and people were busy doing things on the ground. He thought it was so odd! No one acknowledged him after he touched down; even the control tower didn’t contact him. The pilot then decided to leave since the sky had cleared up. He flew again, and when he was at the same distance at which he had seen the airport moments ago, he again found himself in a thunderstorm. He eventually managed to get back to his base. He reported the affair and even wrote it down in the flight record. But his superiors didn’t believe him. Four years later World War II broke out, and he was transferred to that same abandoned airport. He immediately recalled that it was exactly the same scene he had seen four years earlier. We qigong masters know how to explain it. He did in advance what he would do four years later. Before the event had begun, he had gone there and played his role in advance. Things then returned to the correct order.
On a theoretical level, qigong treatments are completely different from the treatments given at hospitals. Western treatments utilize methods of ordinary people’s society. Despite having means such as laboratory tests and X-ray examinations, they can only observe the source of illness in this dimension, not the fundamental cause that exists in other dimensions. So they fail to understand the cause of illness. Medication can remove or drive away the origin of a patient’s ailment (which is considered a pathogen by Western doctors, and karma in qigong) if he or she isn’t seriously ill. Medicine will be ineffective in the event that the illness is serious, for it’s possible the patient could not bear increased dosages. Not all illnesses are confined to the Triple World, for some are quite serious and go beyond the domain of the Triple World, and that’s why hospitals are not able to cure them.
Chinese Medicine is the traditional medical science in our country. It is inseparable from the supernatural abilities developed through cultivation of the human body. Ancient people paid special attention to cultivation of the human body. Confucians, Daoists, Buddhists—and even the students of Confucianism—have all attached importance to meditation. Meditation used to be considered a skill. Over the course of time they developed their gong and their abilities without even doing movements. Why was Chinese acupuncture able to detect so accurately the human body’s meridians? Why aren’t the acupuncture points connected horizontally? Why don’t they cross, and why are they connected vertically? How could they be mapped out with such accuracy? Modern people with supernatural abilities can see with their own eyes the same things those Chinese doctors portrayed. That’s because the famous doctors of ancient China generally had supernatural abilities. In Chinese history, medical doctors Li Shizhen, Sun Simiao, Bian Que, and Hua Tuo were all in fact great qigong masters with supernatural abilities. In being passed down to today, Chinese Medicine has lost its supernatural ability component and has only retained the treatment techniques. In the past, Chinese doctors used their eyes (with supernatural abilities) to diagnose illnesses. Later they also developed the special method of taking pulses. If abilities were added back into the Chinese methods of treatment, one could say that Western Medicine wouldn’t be able to catch up with Chinese Medicine for many years to come.
Qigong healing eliminates the root cause of illness. I regard illness as one type of karma, and to treat an illness is to help diminish that karma. Some qigong masters heal people by using the method of discharging and replenishing qi to help patients eliminate black qi. The masters who are at a rather low level discharge black qi, yet they don’t know the root cause of the black qi. So the black qi will return and the illness will relapse. The truth is that the black qi is not the cause of the illness—the existence of black qi only makes the patient feel discomfort. The root cause of the patient’s illness is an intelligent entity that exists in another dimension. Many qigong masters don’t know that. Since the intelligent entity is powerful, average people are not able to touch it, nor would they dare to. Falun Gong’s way of healing focuses on and starts with that intelligent entity, removing the root cause of the illness. Moreover, a shield is placed in that area so that the illness won’t be able to invade again.
Qigong can heal, but it can’t disrupt the conditions of human society. It would disrupt the conditions of everyday people’s society if it were applied on a large scale, and that’s not allowed; its healing effects wouldn’t be good. As you may know, some people have opened qigong diagnostic clinics, qigong hospitals, and qigong rehabilitation centers. Their treatments might have been quite effective before they opened those businesses. Once they open a business to do healing, the effectiveness drops sharply. This means that people are prohibited from using supernatural methods to fulfill the functions of everyday people’s society. Doing so will definitely reduce their effectiveness to a level as low as the methods of everyday people’s society.
A person can use abilities to observe the inside of a human body layer by layer, similar to how medical cross-sectioning is done. Soft tissue and any other part of the body can be seen. Though the current CAT scan is able to see clearly, the use of a machine is required; it is time consuming, uses a great deal of film, and is quite slow and costly. It’s not as convenient or as accurate as human supernatural abilities. By closing their eyes to do a quick scan, qigong masters can see any part of the patient directly and clearly. Isn’t that “high tech”? It’s even more advanced than what is considered high tech these days. Yet that kind of skill existed back in ancient China—it was ancient-style “high tech.” The physician Hua Tuo discovered a tumor in [the military ruler] Cao Cao’s brain and wanted to perform surgery on him. Cao Cao had Hua Tuo arrested, because he couldn’t believe it and mistook it as a plot to harm him. Cao Cao eventually died as a result of the brain tumor. Many great Chinese doctors in history really did have supernatural abilities. It’s just that people in this modern society zealously pursue practical things and have forgotten ancient ways.
Our high-level qigong cultivation should re-examine traditional things, carry them on and develop them through our practice, and use them to benefit society.
There’s something many people think of as soon as we mention Buddhist qigong: Since the goal of the Buddhist system is to cultivate Buddhahood, they start to relate it to the things of Buddhism the religion. I would like to formally clarify that Falun Gong is Buddhist qigong. It is an upright, great cultivation way, and it has nothing to do with the religion of Buddhism. Buddhist qigong is Buddhist qigong, while Buddhism is Buddhism. They take different approaches, even though they have the same goal in cultivation. They are different disciplines with different requirements. I mentioned the word “Buddha,” and I will mention it again later when I teach the practice at higher levels. There is nothing backward about the term. Some people can’t tolerate hearing the word Buddha, and claim that we propagate blind belief. But that’s not true. “Buddha” began as a Sanskrit term that originated in India. It was translated into Chinese based on pronunciation as Fo Tuo. People later omitted the word “Tuo” and kept the “Fo.” Translated into Chinese it means “Enlightened One”—a person who is enlightened. (To check [the Chinese term], look in the Ci Hai Dictionary.)
(1) Buddhist Qigong
At present there are two types of Buddhist qigong that have been taught. One of them branched off from Buddhism. Many highly accomplished monks emerged during the thousands of years over which it developed. In the process of their cultivation, when they reached an advanced level, high-level masters taught the monks certain things, so they received true instruction from even higher levels. Those things were passed down in lineage fashion within Buddhism the religion. Only when a highly accomplished monk was near the end of his life would he pass those things down to a disciple, who would cultivate himself according to Buddhism’s doctrines and improve himself holistically. That qigong very much had the markings of Buddhism. Its monks were driven out of the temples later on, such as during the Cultural Revolution. At that time those exercises spread to the general public and started to proliferate there.
There’s one other type of Buddhist qigong. This type has never in all its years been part of Buddhism. It has always been practiced quietly, either among the populace or deep in the mountains. These kinds of practices are unique in their own way. They need to choose a good disciple—someone with tremendous virtue who is truly capable of cultivating to an advanced level. That kind of person appears in this world only once in many, many years. These practices cannot be made public, as they require rather high character and their gong develops rapidly; there are quite a number of these sorts of practices. The same holds true for the Daoist system. Daoist qigong, while all belonging to the Daoist system, are further divided into Kunlun, Emei, Wudang, etc. There are different subdivisions within each group, and the subdivisions are quite different from one another. They cannot be mixed or practiced together.
Buddhism is a system of cultivation that Shakyamuni awakened to in India more than two thousand years ago when he was cultivating. It can be summarized in three words: precept, concentration, wisdom. Precepts are to help one achieve concentration in meditation. Buddhism does in fact have exercises, though it doesn’t explicitly talk about them. Buddhists are actually performing exercises when they sit in meditation and center their minds. That’s because energy from the universe will start to gather around a person’s body when he calms down and settles his mind, and that achieves the same effect as performing qigong exercises. The precepts in Buddhism are for abandoning all human desires and discarding everything to which an everyday person is attached so that one can reach a state of serenity and stillness, enabling him to enter into a state of concentration when meditating. A person constantly goes up in level while in that serene and centered state, until he eventually becomes enlightened, with his wisdom emerging. He will then know the universe and see its truth.
Shakyamuni did only three things daily when he was teaching: He taught Law (fa) (primarily Arhat Law) to his disciples, carried a bowl to collect alms (beg for food), and cultivated through sitting in meditation. After Shakyamuni left this world, Brahmanism and Buddhism battled. The two religions later merged into one, called Hinduism. Buddhism no longer exists in India today as a result of that. Mahayana Buddhism emerged through later developments and changes, and spread to inner China, where it has become today’s Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism doesn’t worship Shakyamuni as its sole founder—it is a multi-Buddha faith. It believes in many Tathagatas, such as Buddha Amitabha, Medicine Buddha, etc., and there are more precepts now, while the goal of cultivation has become higher. Back in his time, Shakyamuni taught Bodhisattva Law to a few disciples. Those teachings were later reorganized and developed into today’s Mahayana Buddhism, which is for cultivating to the realm of Bodhisattva. The tradition of Theravada Buddhism has been retained to this day in Southeast Asia, and ceremonies are performed using supernatural abilities. In Buddhism’s course of evolution, one cultivation way branched off to the Tibetan region of our country, and is called Tibetan Tantrism. Another cultivation way spread to the Han area via Xinjiang and was called Tang Tantrism (it disappeared after Buddhism was suppressed during the Huichang period). Another branch in India evolved into yoga.
Buddhism doesn’t speak explicitly about doing exercises, and they don’t practice qigong. That is to preserve the traditional method of Buddhist cultivation. It’s also an important reason Buddhism has lasted more than two thousand years without waning. It has naturally maintained its own tradition precisely because it hasn’t admitted into it anything foreign. In Buddhism there are different ways to cultivate. Theravada Buddhism focuses on self-salvation and self-cultivation; Mahayana Buddhism has evolved to offer salvation to both self and others, salvation of all sentient beings.
(1) The Side-Door Awkward Ways
The Side-Door Awkward Ways are also called the Unconventional (Qimen) Cultivation Ways. Various qigong cultivation ways existed prior to the establishment of religions. There are many practices outside of religions that have spread among the populace. Most of them lack systematic doctrines, and so they haven’t developed into complete cultivation systems. But the Unconventional Cultivation Ways, however, do have their own systematic, complete, and unusually intense cultivation methods, and they too have been spread among the populace. Those practice systems are usually called the Side-Door Awkward Ways. Why are they called that? Well, the first part [of the Chinese term] literally means “a door on the side”; and the second part means “a clumsy way.” People consider both the Buddhist and Daoist cultivation ways to be upright ways, with all others being side-door awkward ways or crooked cultivation ways. But that isn’t so. The Side-Door Awkward Ways have been practiced secretly throughout history, being taught to one disciple at a time. They weren’t allowed to be revealed to the public. Once made known, people would not understand them very well. Even their practitioners hold that they are neither Buddhist nor Daoist. The cultivation principles of the Unconventional Ways have strict character criteria. They cultivate according to the nature of the universe, advocating doing good and minding one’s character. The highly accomplished masters in those practices have unique skills, and some of their unique techniques are powerful. I came across three highly accomplished masters from the Unconventional Cultivation Ways who taught me some things that can’t be found in either the Buddhist or Daoist system. Those things were each fairly hard to practice in the process of cultivation, so the gong obtained was unique. In contrast, strict character criteria are lacking among some so-called Buddhist and Daoist cultivation methods, and as a result their practitioners can’t cultivate to an advanced level. So we should look at each cultivation method objectively.
(2) Martial Arts Qigong
Martial arts qigong comes out of a long history. Having its own complete system of theories and cultivation methods, it has formed an independent system. Yet strictly speaking, it only manifests supernatural abilities that are generated by internal cultivation at the lowest level. All of the abilities that appear in martial arts cultivation also appear in internal cultivation. Martial arts cultivation likewise begins with doing qi exercises. For instance, when striking a piece of rock, in the beginning the martial arts practitioner needs to swing his arms to move qi. Over time, his qi will change in nature and become an energy mass that appears in the form of light. At that point his gong will start to function. Gong has intelligence because it is an evolved matter. It exists in another dimension and is controlled by the thoughts coming from one’s brain. When attacked, the martial arts practitioner doesn’t need to move qi; gong will come merely with a thought. Over the course of cultivation his gong will continually be strengthened, with its particles becoming finer and its energy growing greater. The skills of Iron Palm and Cinnabar Palm will appear. As we can see from movies, magazines, and television shows, the skills of Golden Bell Cover and Iron Shirt have emerged in recent years. They stem from the simultaneous practice of internal cultivation and martial arts cultivation; they come from cultivating internally and externally at the same time. To cultivate internally, a person needs to value virtue and cultivate his or her character. Explained from a theoretical angle, when a person reaches a certain level, gong will emit from the body’s interior to its exterior. It will become a protective shield because of its high density. In terms of principles, the biggest difference between the martial arts and our internal cultivation lies in the fact that the martial arts are performed with vigorous movements and practitioners can’t still the mind. Not having a quiet, centered mind makes qi flow underneath the skin and pass through the muscles instead of flowing into a person’s elixir field (dan-tian).9 So they don’t cultivate longevity—they haven’t the ability to do so.
(3) Reverse Cultivation and Gong Borrowing
Some people have never practiced qigong. Then suddenly they acquire gong overnight and have quite strong energy, and they can even heal other people. People call them qigong masters and they go around teaching others. Some of them, even though they have never learned qigong or have only learned a few of its movements, are modifying things and teaching them to people. This kind of person isn’t qualified to be a qigong master. He or she doesn’t have anything to pass on to others. What he or she teaches certainly can’t be used to cultivate to a high level; the most it can do is help get rid of sickness and improve health. How does this kind of gong come about? Let’s first talk about the commonly-known “reverse cultivation.” Reverse cultivation happens to good people who have extremely high character, and who are usually older, such as over fifty years of age. There isn’t enough time for them to cultivate from the beginning, as it’s not easy to meet excellent masters who teach qigong exercises that cultivate both mind and body. The moment this type of person wants to cultivate, high-level masters will place a great amount of gong onto the person according to his or her character foundation. That enables cultivation in reverse, from the top down, and that way it is much faster. From another dimension, high-level masters perform the transformation and continually add gong to the person from the outside of his or her body; this is particularly the case when the person is giving treatments and forming an energy field. The gong given by the masters flows as if through a pipeline. Some people themselves don’t know where the gong comes from. That is reverse cultivation.
Another type is called “gong borrowing,” and it isn’t restricted in terms of age. A human being has an assistant consciousness along with a main consciousness, and it is generally at a higher level than the main consciousness. The assistant consciousnesses of some people have reached such high levels that they can communicate with enlightened beings. When these kinds of people want to cultivate, their assistant consciousnesses have a similar thought of wanting to climb in levels, and they will immediately get in touch with the enlightened beings to borrow gong from them. After the gong is loaned, the person will get it overnight. After obtaining the gong, he or she will be able to treat people to ease their pain. The person will usually adopt the method of forming an energy field. He or she will be able to give energy to people individually and to teach some techniques.
People like this usually start out being pretty good. Because they have gong, they become well known and gain both fame and wealth. Attachments to fame and wealth come to occupy much of their thinking—more than cultivation does. From that point on their gong starts to diminish, becoming smaller and smaller, until finally it is all gone.
(4) Cosmic Language
Some people are suddenly able to speak a certain type of language. It sounds fairly fluent when it’s uttered, yet it is not the language of any human society. What’s it called? It is referred to as cosmic language. This thing called “cosmic language” is in fact merely the language of entities that are not so high. This phenomenon is happening right now to quite a few qigong practitioners around China; some of them can even speak several different languages. Of course, the languages of our human race are sophisticated too and there are more than a thousand varieties. Is cosmic language considered a supernatural ability? I would say not. It isn’t an ability that comes from you, and neither is it the kind of ability that’s given to you from the outside. Rather, it occurs when someone is being controlled by foreign entities. The entities originate at a somewhat higher level—or at least, higher than that of humankind. It is one of them that is doing the talking, for the person who is speaking the cosmic language only serves as a medium. Most people don’t even know themselves what they are saying. Only those who have mind-reading abilities can get a general sense of what the words mean. It’s not an ability, but many people who have spoken these languages feel superior and get elated since they think it is. In fact, someone with a high-level Third Eye can definitely observe that a living entity is speaking from diagonally above the person, through the person’s mouth.
That entity teaches the person to speak a cosmic language while passing on to him or her some of its energy. Yet thereafter, the person will be under its control, so this is not an upright cultivation way. Even though that entity is in a slightly higher dimension it is not cultivating an upright way, so it doesn’t know how to teach cultivators a way to stay healthy or to heal. For this reason it uses the method of sending out energy through speech. Because it is dispersed, the energy has little power. It is effective in treating minor sicknesses and ailments but it fails with serious diseases. Buddhism speaks of how those above cannot cultivate since they lack suffering and discord; moreover, they can’t temper themselves and are unable to raise their levels. So they look for ways to help people gain better health and in turn elevate themselves. And that is what speaking cosmic language is about. It’s neither a supernatural ability nor qigong.
(5) Spirit Possession
The most harmful type of spirit possession is that by a low-level entity. Spirit possession is caused by cultivating in a crooked way. It is really harmful to people, and the consequences of being possessed are frightening. Not long after beginning to practice, some people become obsessed with giving treatments and becoming rich; they think about these things all the time. These people might have originally been pretty decent or had a master already looking after them. But things turn sour when they start to contemplate giving treatments and getting rich. They then attract these types of entities. Even though they aren’t in our physical dimension they really do exist.
This kind of practitioner suddenly feels that the Third Eye has opened and that he or she now has gong, but actually the possessing spirit has control of the person’s brain. It projects into the person’s brain the images that it sees, making him or her think that the Third Eye has opened. But the person’s Third Eye has not in fact opened at all. Why does the possessing spirit or animal want to give this person gong? Why does it want to help him or her? It’s because in our universe animals are forbidden to cultivate. Animals are not allowed to gain an upright cultivation way since they know nothing about character and can’t improve themselves. As a result, they want to attach themselves to human bodies and get the human essence. There’s another rule in this universe, namely: no loss, no gain. So they want to satisfy your desire for fame and wealth. They will make you rich and famous, but they don’t help you for nothing. They want to gain something: your essence. You will have nothing left by the time they leave you and you will have turned weak or become a vegetable! This is caused by poor character. “One right thought will subdue a hundred evils,” it is said. When you are upright you won’t attract evil. In other words, be a noble practitioner, turn away from all nonsense, and practice only an upright cultivation way.
(6) An Upright Cultivation Way, When Practiced Wrongly, Can Result in Something Crooked
Although the practice systems some people learn come from upright cultivation ways, people can actually practice in a crooked manner inadvertently due to their not being strict with themselves, to their failing to cultivate their character, and to their entertaining negative thoughts while performing their exercises. For example, when a person is performing the exercises, be it the standing stance or the meditation, his thoughts might actually be on money, becoming well known and well off, or “He wronged me, and I’ll fix him after I get supernatural abilities.” Or he’s thinking of this or that ability, thereby adding something bad to his practice and actually practicing in a crooked manner. This is dangerous since it might attract some negative things, like low-level entities. And maybe the person doesn’t realize what he has brought on. His attachments are so strong—it doesn’t work to seek the Way out of a desire to get certain things—and his intentions aren’t right, so his shifu can’t protect him. That’s why practitioners have to guard their character, keep right-minded, and desire nothing, lest they bring about problems.
1 (pronounced “chee-gong”) Explanation of the term follows in text. Note: This and all subsequent footnotes are the translators’ additions.
2 (“fah-lun gong”) “Falun” translates loosely as “Law Wheel,” and “Gong” as “practice,” “qigong,” or “energy.”
3 (“gong”) A special type of energy.
4 “Meridians” form a network of energy channels in the body said to be conduits of qi energy; they have an important place in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese thought.
5 This term uses a different Chinese character than qi, but is pronounced the same way.
6 In the Daoist tradition, external alchemical processes have long served as metaphors to describe internal cultivation of the human body.
7 (“shahn-gun”) Located at the root of the nose.
8 (“shrr-foo”) A common Chinese term for a meditation or martial arts teacher, similar to “sensei” in Japanese. The word is composed of two parts, one meaning “teacher” and the other “father.”
9 In Chinese thought, this usually refers to the region of the lower abdomen in which an energy “elixir” is formed through meditative practices.