Spiritual CULTivation

In China, Falun Gong practitioners are beaten and persecuted, so the U.S. is granting them asylum. But is this movement as harmless as it seems?

Despite China's crackdown, Lian isn't concerned for her mother's safety back home. After all, Master Li is supposed to protect his practitioners. Stories circulate among Falun Gong followers about people in China who have walked away from police beatings unharmed. And if someone does die, that might be a sign he or she wasn't a true cultivator of Master Li's teachings.

Granted Refuge in the U.S.: Jenny Lian.
Wild Don Lewis
Granted Refuge in the U.S.: Jenny Lian.

To avoid that fate, Falun Gong's adherents must focus on their xin-xing or virtues, shedding the attachments of everyday existence while preparing for the promised trip "home." Already, Lian's entire life in China has become a distant memory in the 10 months since she fled to the U.S. "It feels like a thousand years ago," she says. "I am cultivating myself at a totally different stage now. What I was proud of in the past is not worth being mentioned anymore. I'm not interested in thinking about or remembering what I used to be. I am just interested in what I should do in the future, so I can keep going to higher levels."

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