History & Culture > Falun Gong (parts 1-3)
I ALWAYS had the impression that Falun Gong was slightly kooky Chinese aerobics with some nickel-a-pop Indian mysticism thrown in. There’s a big sign for them on the side of a building on a corner in Shihlin just before you go through the tunnel to Neihu. I don’t know if seeing Caucasians sitting Indian-style (the other Indians, in this case) looking serene just before driving into a long, dark tube to eventually be squirted out into the sunshine has any meaning, but after reading some of the tripe on the leader of the “movement,” I’ll buy anything.
The debate on Falun Gong and whether the huckster master, Li Hongzhi, is a visionary or simply a slightly mentally disturbed person (is he even human?) has boiled down mainly to a tug-of-war between Tetsuo, the pragmatic, “According to who exactly? And where is the proof?” and Lizi1118, of the “You’ve known everything? No. You’ve looked through other dimensions? No,” school of thought.
Poor Lizi1118 (her real name, incidentally), she really just wanted to make a point about the persecution of practitioners in evil Communist China. “I am not asking [anyone] to believe in Falun Gong, but a person with conscience should oppose the persecution, respect others’ rights of belief whether he believes or not.”
Hear, hear!..and Tetsuo agrees, well, sort of: “For better or for worse, Falun Gong is outlawed in China. As such, while I don’t really agree with it being outlawed in the first place, I could see the logic in arresting people who persist in breaking this law.”
But alas, like spectators at a freak show, we are not interested in whether the bearded lady can do calculus or has a finely honed moral compass; we want to know how “Flipper-boy” takes a leak.
Lizi1118: “Master Li tells people the facts of aliens,…”
He sure does. Asked what they look like by Time Asia magazine, the master said: “One type looks like a human, but has a nose that is made of bone. Others look like ghosts.” But you knew that….
Certainly the problem in China is that anything that brings together an estimated 60 million people who claim they are just sort of hangin’ out and catchin’ vibes while being suspiciously benign is disturbing for a one-party political structure. As an old friend of mine once said, “50 of anything can kill you.”
Add to this a bunch of other whacked-out shit, like: different races have individual “biospheres” that should not be mixed, because mixed-race children are defective and heaven is segregated; there’s a two-billion-year-old nuclear reactor in Gabon, Africa; there have been 81 “calamities in the past, and each time there were only a few people who survived”; and that “illness came from a kind of ‘field of karma formed by black materials,'” whatever the hell that could possibly mean.
Oddly, Lizi1118 seems to have Master Li’s hook, line and sinker firmly imbedded in her gut. “Falun Dafa has unveiled many mysteries of the universe. Do not use [a] rigid way of thinking to judge the great law; otherwise, this is a being’s sorrow forever.”
Touching, but fawning over a lunatic, if you ask me.
Finally, even someone as chronically uninformed about Falun Gong as me has heard of the “levitation” claims. Time Asia asked Li if he knew anyone who could do this. “David Copperfield. He can levitate and he did it during performances,” says Li, apparently without bursting into hysterical giggles.
Lizi1118 replies: “To the miraculous powers of David, I have no attitude, it is just a phenomenon.” Yes, my dear…it’s called MAGIC!
One last thing, Li says, “He who practices attains Gong.”
Well, if it’s the Gong he wants, it’s the Gong he’ll get…problem is, will he leave the stage?
Wolf Reinhold is a moderator on Forumosa.com, a discussion forum for Taiwan’s online community.