Zhuan Falun (pronounced jwahn fah-lun) is the central text of Falun Dafa, and read by millions around the world every day; it has been translated into 40 languages and counting. The book was born out of a series of teachings given by Mr. Li Hongzhi, the practice’s founder, throughout China shortly after making Falun Dafa public, in 1992.
The book thus began as an oral teaching, and retains many of the qualities of the spoken word. To Chinese readers the language of the text has a very familiar and accessible feel. While timeless in its message, it is written in the idiom of our day—clear and direct, as well as highly memorable. Its language connects with one’s world and life experiences.
In a word, there is no language barrier between the text and the reader.
This dynamic is hard to reproduce in a translation, especially when dealing with material as profound and many-layered as in Zhuan Falun, and two languages that are vastly different. But this is, ultimately, the translator’s role. One can readily imagine that were Mr. Li to give the same teachings in English, they would share in the qualities just described, and be every bit as immediate to this audience.
It is hoped that with this edition the message of the teachings may shine through for you, the English reader, and be something readily applicable to your own life, in your own culture and setting, with as few barriers as possible. In this vein, the text mostly uses standard English terms and draws upon the resources of the culture where fitting. One is struck, while translating Zhuan Falun, by the universality of its teachings. It speaks deeply to the human condition.
Several terms which defy the powers of translation have been preserved in the original tongue, and are rendered in the text in Chinese (Mandarin) romanization. These and other terms appear in endnotes to the text.
For those new to the practice, it is strongly suggested that the book be read sequentially, without skipping or omitting any sections, as each works with the rest to form an organic whole. Each and every line of the teachings serves a purpose.
Falun Dafa features several exercises and a meditation, as mentioned in the book. These are best learned in person, if possible, from volunteers in your locale. There are also video instructions available online, for free, and detailed explanations in the books Falun Gong and The Great Way of Perfection.
As no single translation can capture all of the depth, nuances, and intricacies of a spiritual text like Zhuan Falun, this translation is complemented by several others. These and the above-named books can be found at FalunDafa.org and in bookstores.
New York, August 2018