Archive | November, 2012

Removing Karma leaves me permanently crippled

19 Nov

I’m Miao Xiangtu, 46 years old, living in Zhangcun Town, Jiangshan City of Zhejiang Province. My dad is a retired teacher and mom a peasant. Though not rich, we lived a peaceful and comfortable life. At the age of 28, I suffered from ankylosing spondylitis. Thanks to prompt and appropriate treatment, the disease was brought under control and I was able to live a normal life by and large.
I had had a dream of living my life to the full. I had dreamt of making a fortune by growing and selling local specialties in my hometown, then marrying a nice woman and living a happy life with her. But all my hope was dashed by the sudden interruption of Falun Gong.
One day in July 2000, Ms. Liao, my dad’s former colleague came to visit him who happened to be out on business. Since I was the only one staying at home, we had a chat that day, and she mentioned Falun Gong to me. She said that Falun Gong was a cure-all free of charge that could cure all illnesses in the world, and suggested I have a try. She even brought me books like Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa, Zhuan Falun, and some CDs about it. “A cure-all?” It sounded ridiculous to any sane man! I turned her down with a smile.
However, she since came to visit me frequently and talked to me every time about the “miraculous functions” of practicing Falun Gong like curing all diseases, and the ideas of practicing it to reduce karma and become a God in the future. Maybe I was desperate to cure my disease that I started wavering under her persistent preaching, and her words seemed to make some sense to me. She had been my dad’s colleague for years, I told myself, there was no reason she could have tried to cheat me. Plus, trying to do me harm would do her no good. So why not just have a try since it’s helpful to my condition? With that in mind I started practicing with her by sitting in meditation.
Two weeks later, because of regular activities every day, I felt my waist and leg pains easing, and I seemed to be more energetic. And I also “discovered” the reason for my change in the books she brought me: The Master says that when you are in trial and tribulation, Compassion will help you pass through them; and my Law Bodies will guard and protect you, but you must go through the test. I was naive to think that fortune was so kind to let me find the secret remedy for my disease and pains, which made me more determined on doing cultivation.
To become a real Dafa disciple as soon as possible through intensive cultivation to reduce karma, every day I kept on learning Dafa from the books and practicing it by sitting in meditation to cultivate my spirit and body at the same time, as required by Li Hongzhi. I spent four hours in the day sitting in meditation and kept reading Dafa and reciting the scriptures all night long. Thus I stopped bothering about any family responsibilities.
At that time I was often tormented by severe pains from my illness. Every time the pangs became unbearable I encouraged myself with what Master said, “As you are a practitioner, you should be clear as to why this kind of incident takes place: It’s because that “thing” came, and it was asking you to pay for your karma. To resolve these sorts of incidents, you have to keep yourself under control during those moments and watch your xinxing. Be appreciative and thankful that your spouse has helped you pay for your karma.” So I was stupid enough to think that Master had eliminated the cause of all diseases and pains, and that I was sure to reach Consummation if steadfast in cultivating.
So by and by I fell into the abyss…To cure my disease as soon as possible, I followed the requirements for removing karma to the letter, no medicines, no doctors. I was filled with thoughts of removing karma to “”be elevated” and reach “Consummation”. So I stopped taking medicine and had been sitting in meditation for many hours to practice every day, which aggravated my condition. I became dull and emaciated from repeated tearing pains. But I persisted in the cultivation despite all the suffering, clinging to what Master said as my belief. He said that suffering came naturally from removing karma in the process of cultivation, that no one could “accumulate Gong Powers” without experiencing the pain, that how could anyone remove his “attachments” in ways other than this?
When my condition started to worsen more quickly since September 2000, all my family members who cared about me and our kind-hearted neighbors tried to persuade me to go to hospital for treatment. But I dismissed their persuasion and replied with full confidence: “What do you know about this? This situation is normal showing that Master is guiding me to purge my body. Should I take medicines, I would press the karma back into my body, which will lead to Heaven’s punishment. You are only doing me harm trying to persuade me. Leave me alone. I won’t go to the hospital even threatened by death!” As I argued with them I recited “when you can stay steadfast we can eliminate karma” again and again, wishing to ease my pain.
And it continued till early October 2000. That day I started sitting in meditation at home as usual. Only a few minutes later, I began to feel dizzy and sick. Things blurred before my eyes. Sweat poured down my pale face. Then I vomited, passed out and fell on the floor. Fortunately dad found what happened and with the help of a neighbor sent me to the county hospital for emergency aid. It was diagnoses as temporary stupor caused by low fever, asthenia, loss of weight and plus anemia induced by ankylosing spondylitis complications. The doctors reproached my parents:“Your son’s disease has been so serious! Why didn’t you make him take medicines?” I came back to life slowly after days of emergency treatment.
As I came around, I uttered the words unknowingly: “Master has summoned me. And he was beckoning me.” All my family sobbed at the scene. Dad touched my forehead, tears running down his weathered face, and said: “Poor son! You had barely escaped death! And you still believe that Master so much? Don’t you know what happened?!”
Taken good care of by my family, I had recovered a little. All my family members insisted that I should go to a bigger hospital to be examined. The doctor also advised me to go to a big hospital in Hangzhou for a thorough check. Finally, after several refusals, I took their advice and had a check in a big hospital. The doctors told me after consultation that I had missed the best opportunity for treatment, and that they regretted to tell me I might remain handicapped for the rest of my life. I burst into tears at the news and lost all hope of life. There were several times I wanted to end my life. It was only because of the caring company of my family that I managed to walk out of the darkest hour slowly.
Slowly I began to look back at what happened: “Didn’t Li Hongzhi say his Law Bodies would protect me? Why didn’t he appear when I was dying? Why had all my devoted cultivation only worsened my condition instead of curing it as my karma was being removed? Was it the cultivation aimed at my early departure from this life?”
Now the dream I had long cherished of going to the big world outside and making a fortune has turned into a luxurious illusion. Now I’m a useless man confined to bed all the time, unable to sit up and finish my meal by myself when the disease strikes. Even when it’s no so severe, the best thing I can do is walking a few steps with the help of crutches. As I grow old even faster, I feel unprecedented helplessness and pain with a lonely and miserable old age in store for me. It was Falung Gong that strangled my hope, and it is Li Hongzhi that wrecked my health and happiness.

Original text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Data/02/201108/t132133.htm

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Cult leader held

19 Nov

AN Australian national wanted for charges ranging from tax evasion and assault to illegal possession of firearms and explosives has been taken into the custody of Immigration authorities.
Agape Ministries pastor Rocco Leo Agape was caught on Sunday, June 19 after a combined raid by the police, Transitional Crime Unit and the Department of Immigration.
The leader of the controversial Agape Ministries, which Australian authorities have described as a doomsday-type cult, is also said to have tried to hide AUD$5million (FJ$9.3m) hours before his financial assets were frozen.
Arms and explosives were also found in containers linked to the group as well as on its properties with relatives of members with children expressing concerns over their wellbeing.
After more than a year on the run from Australian authorities, Mr Agape, who had also been sighted in Vanuatu, was caught at Tiri Villas in Deuba.
Mr Agape, whom director of immigration Major Nemani Vuniwaqa confirmed entered the country last month, was apprehended along with a female.

 

Major Vuniwaqa said: “The pair are being detained for overstaying their visitors’ permits along with a third male who arrived in the country with the pair last year.
“The third individual handed himself to the authorities at around midday on Tuesday.”
Investigations into the trio’s whereabouts and activities over the past 12 months continue.
Original text from:
http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/201107/t131924.htm

Qigong chop suey: my personal opinion of Falun Gong

19 Nov

In Li Hongzhi’s A Brief Statement of Mine, he says, “Falun Gong is simply a popular qigong activity.” (www.falundafa.org). The exercises and meditations he recommends are, in my opinion, good qigong. However, the philosophy of Falun Gong is a mish-mosh of bizarre beliefs about Buddhism, Taoism, and UFOs. However, the scholar in me cringes when I read the Falun Gong materials or when Western media assumes that Falun Gong is representative of Buddhist or Taoist philosophy. Falun Gong is neither Buddhist nor Taoist; it is the personal philosophy of Li Hongzhi blended with messianic and millennial beliefs. I have outlined below several of the most serious errors in Falun Gong philosophy by offering personal commentary.

Automatic Spirituality. Li claims “the falun is constantly rotating, putting the practitioner in the state of cultivation for 24 hours a day. Of all the qigong or cultivation systems known to the public, Falun Dafa is the first and only one that solves the conflicting time requirements for practicing and work or study.” (Brief Introduction of Falun Dafa http://www.falundafa.org) This is a grandiose claim sure to attract followers. Are the cures attributed to Falun Gong a massive placebo effect, the power of expectant trust? I would like to see how long-term followers react to a Beijing traffic jam or how American followers meditate on Tax Day.

Commentary: Spiritual cultivation is like cultivating a field; you must water and nurture it every day. Qigong requires patience and perseverance. There are no short-cuts.

Not An Earth-Friendly Religion. In Degeneration of Mankind and Appearance of Enlightened Beings (www.falundafa.org), Li explains a new theory of evolution, actually devolution. “Man did not come from the evolution of the ape as Darwin suggested.” Instead, “Man has fallen down from different spaces of the universe.” When he does not follow the cosmic laws of a space, he falls down to a lower plane. “To put it in another way, the Earth is a rubbish center of the universe…The bad people of the universe fall down until they have reached the very center of the universe–the Earth.” He continues that the high God does not care about people. He is too far removed from them, regarding human beings as “no better than micro-organisms.” If a high God found this “rotten place” (the earth), he would destroy it. Thus we must be saved by a being closer to our plane of existence, a Buddha, Jesus, or Lao Zi–or perhaps Li Hongzhi?

The fact that life is transient (impermanent, anicca, in Buddhist terms) is all the more reason to pay attention and not miss its passing beauty. The earth is a beautiful place. Wang Wei, Tao Yuan Ming, and other great poets of China would be ashamed of you, Mr. Li.

Delusions of Grandeur? Did Li Hongzhi change his birthday to coincide with the birthday of the Buddha? Li claims that during the Cultural Revolution, his birthday had been misprinted and he only corrected the mistake. The fact that the Buddha was born on the same day is allegedly a coincidence. However, I wonder about the implications of his essay The Buddha Fa and Buddhism. After discussing the common Buddhist belief in Maitreya, the future Buddha, Li states, “At present, I have once again come to this world to teach the Fa [Dharma], and to directly teach the fundamental law of the universe.”

We are all Bozos on the bus. Every person has strengths and weaknesses. All beings have the Buddha nature, that is all are products of the same natural forces of the universe and are equally capable of enlightening an observant student.

Alien Invasion. Li’s belief in other dimensions and “spaces” is evidently more than metaphorical. He told Time Magazine’s William Dowell that aliens arrived on earth around 1900. Some look like humans; others resemble ghosts. They intend to replace all humans with clones. “In terms of culture and spirit, they already control men.” Even the inspiration of scientists is “manipulated by aliens.”

I better not reply. If I am an alien, my words will be suspect. But how do I know that Li Hongzhi is not an alien? No mention of aliens in Buddhism, Taoism, or Qigong.

Gimme that old time religion. Li Hongzhi goes out of his way to criticize Zen Buddhism. He says that Zen “doesn’t qualify as a cultivation system.” (Zen Sect has gone to Extremes http://www.falundafa.org). He complains that the founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma, was “unable to save others.” An odd statement, since the Buddha was emphatic about his own inability to save others. His dying words were, “Work out your own salvation through diligent practice.” As an additional indication of the Zen heresy, Li claims that Zen Buddhists worship Bodhidharma. Praise and respect Bodhidharma, yes; I have yet to meet a Zen Buddhist who worships him. They don’t even worship the Buddha! Li seems especially frustrated by the Zen concept of nothingness or emptiness (kong, xu, or wu in Chinese, sunyata in Sanskrit): “they even deny the existence of man…They even dare not accept what they have seen.”

Zen is a system of meditation inspired by both Taoism and Buddhism. Instead of worshipping the Buddha, Zen Buddhists seek what the Buddha sought, enlightened awareness. The historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, taught that suffering, dukkha, is caused by grasping, tanha. We want what we don’t have and reject what we do have. Only by emptying the mind of self-centeredness can suffering cease. Emptiness also means that nothing exists in and of itself; subject and object exist in relationship (in Buddhist technical jargon this is called co-dependent origination). Emptiness is not the denial of the senses, it is rather ceasing to confuse our concepts about life with that which words describe. It means experiencing the world silently, quietly, without a filter of preconception or belief system.

Emptiness is considered the goal of qigong practice. According to a fundamental tenet of qigong, “Cultivate your bodily energy (jing), then your mind (qi), and finally your spirit (shen). When you cultivate your spirit you will reach emptiness (xu). In the empty state you realize the Tao.” The Taijiquan Classics begin, “Taiji is born of Emptiness.”

Conventional Medicine, Complementary Medicine, and ULTIMATE Medicine. In China Falun Gong, Li states, “If a practitioner takes medicine, it means that he does not believe his disease can be cured through practice…” A true practitioner is “supernormal” and “the diseases an ordinary person suffers from are not allowed to attack him.” (p. 138) Odd that the Buddha may have died from bad pork, esteemed Buddhist Master Suzuki Roshi from cancer, and so many other holy men and women from various human ailments. If only life were so simple, if only goodness and wisdom ensured physical health. But microbes just don’t obey the rules! As Lao Zi said, “Heaven and Earth are not benevolent.”

I am not denying that Falun Gong can be good medicine. Like other qigong systems, scientific studies suggest that it may have positive effects on cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and other ailments. However, one of the largest studies of Falun Gong also states “only when those practitioners upgraded their Xingxing (mind nature and moral level) unceasingly, could the effects be remarkable.” (The Effect of Falun Gong on Healing Illnesses and Keeping Fit…, October 18, 1998 http://www.ncsu.edu/stud_orgs/falun/ reports/Survey2new.html)

This suggests a strong placebo effect. The study is also suspect because it only surveyed practitioners–no non-believing “controls” for comparison–and was conducted by a Falun Gong association (FalunGong Zizhuyuan Assistance Center, Beijing). If an organization has a vested financial or personal interest in finding a positive result, it almost always will. This is why western scientific protocol requires that research be judged by independent and, hopefully, impartial referees.

Qigong is complementary medicine and is a powerful adjunct to necessary medical intervention. It is now taught in several U.S.medical schools. I have more physicians in my own teacher training program than people of any other profession. Physicians are willing to study qigong because qigong does not claim to cure all diseases. Qigong is an excellent system of patient education. The more a student practices, the more he or she gains control over those aspects of health that can be controlled. Sometimes genes are stronger than qigong. People get sick in spite of qigong or any other therapy, but qigong gives the patient a better fighting chance.

Kenneth S. Cohen, M.A., M.S.Th. is an internationally renowned health educator, Qigong instructor, and China scholar. He is the author of “The Way of Qigong: the Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing” (Ballantine Books), “Taoism: Essential Teachings” (Sounds True), and more than 150 journal articles. His lectures have been sponsored by the Association of Asian Research Scholars, Zen Mountain Monastery, the Canadian Ministry of Culture, and many universities. He is executive director of the Qigong Research and Practice Center

Original text from:
http://www.facts.org.cn/Views/201107/t131680.htm