Qigong History

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The Chinese practice of Falun Gong has a relatively short but already important history. Its specific history is a mere ten years old, however the ideas and practices it is based on have a history that stretch throughout the entire history of the Chinese civilization. The practice of different forms of qigong, the cultivation of qi or the energy that flows throughout the human body and the universe, has been a staple in many different practices of Chinese culture including being the basis for traditional Chinese medicine. In its ten-year history, Falun Gong has garnered millions of practitioners and followers and much attention from many others including the Chinese government, although this attention has been mostly negative. Falun Gong is…show more content…
(Beliefnet 1) The belief is that the performance of these exercises will stimulate the energy in the falun and in the body in general. It is also believed that this practice absorbs energy from the universe and will release negative elements from the body, which can remedy irregular conditions within the body such as pain, disease and the like. (Beliefnet 1) The Falun Gong practice/movement was founded by Li Hongzhi. In the 1980s, there was a resurgence of interest in qigong in China, with many different sects or forms being developed by numerous masters. (Madsen 244) Until 1992, Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong were members of the Qigong Research Association of China, which grew out of the boom in interest in qigong. (Beliefnet 1) Li Hongzhi withdrew himself and Falun Gong from this organization because of the more spiritual, rather than physical, emphasis that his practice took. (Beliefnet 1) According to Master Li, “There are different practices of qigong in China and in other countries, but they are primarily aimed at healing illnesses or keeping fit and maintaining good…show more content…
(Beliefnet 2) This is what separates Falun Gong from what could be considered a “religion” in many senses of the word. However, the spiritual aspects of the practice, the fact that it draws on concepts and beliefs from other Chinese religions such as Taoism and Buddhism, and that it “can be seen as part of the long tradition of Chinese folk Buddhism” provide support for it being seen as a religion. (Madsen 244) The problem the Chinese government has with Falun Gong is not so much that it is, or more precisely can be seen, as a religion but the degree to which the members are organized (even though there is no “official organization”). “The Communist Party has enough historical memory to know an effective organization when it sees one, and enough common sense to know that…it no longer has such a structure.” (Madsen 246) It is said that the Chinese government has become concerned with the popularity of Falun Gong, especially when the number of practitioners has begun to surpass the number of members in the Communist

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