What is Cultivation Practice? 

When it comes to cultivation practice, many people believe that cultivation practice is only about doing some exercises, sitting in meditation, and learning some incantations that can then transform them into Gods or Buddhas, or allow them to attain the Dao. In fact, that’s not cultivation practice but merely practicing for worldly skills.

In religion, much attention is given to cultivation, and this is called “conduct cultivation.” Then it goes to the other extreme. A monk or a nun tries hard to chant the scriptures, and he or she regards a person’s knowledge of scripture as the means for reaching Consummation. In fact, when Buddha Sakyamuni, Jesus, and Lao Zi were in this world, there were no scriptures at all—there was only actual cultivation. What the venerable masters taught was to guide cultivation practice. Later, followers recalled their words, put them into books, and called them scriptures. They gradually began to study Buddhist philosophy or theories of Dharma. Unlike what went on in the days of those venerable masters—when people would actually practice cultivation and use their teachings as the guide for their cultivation—these people have instead taken the study of religious scriptures and scholarship as cultivation practice.

This is a lesson from history. The disciples who practice cultivation in Falun Dafa must remember that you absolutely should not take the Fa merely as ordinary human academic scholarship or as something for monks to study, rather than actually practicing cultivation. Why do I tell you to study, read, and memorize Zhuan Falun? To guide your cultivation! As to those who only do the exercises but don’t study the Fa, they are not disciples of Dafa whatsoever. Only when you are studying the Fa and cultivating your heart and mind in addition to the means of reaching Consummation—the exercises, and truly changing yourself fundamentally while improving your xinxing and elevating your level—can it be called true cultivation practice. 

Li Hongzhi

September 6, 1996