(1) Gong Potency is Developed Through Cultivating Xinxing17
The gong that truly determines the level of one's gong potency (gongli) isn't developed through performing qigong exercises. It is developed through the transformation of the substance called virtue (de), and through the cultivation of
15 qi (chee)— in Chinese thought, this substance/energy is said to assume many forms in the body and the environment. Usually translated as "vital energy," this qi is thought to determine a person's health.
16 This term uses a different Chinese character than qi, but is pronounced the same way.
17 xinxing (shin-shing)—"mind nature" or "heart nature"; "moral character."
xinxing. This transformation process isn't accomplished by "setting up a crucible and furnace to make an elixir from gathered chemicals,"18 as imagined by everyday people. The gong we refer to is generated outside the body, and it begins at the lower half of the body. Following the improvement of one's xinxing, it grows upward in a spiral shape and forms completely outside one's body. Upon reaching the crown of the head it then develops into a gong column. The height of this gong column determines the level of a person's gong. The gong column exists in a deeply hidden dimension, making it difficult for an average person to see it.
Supernormal abilities are strengthened by gong potency. The higher a person's gong potency and level, the greater his or her supernormal abilities are and the easier they are to use. People with lower gong potency have weaker supernormal abilities; they find it harder to use them, and some are completely unusable. Supernormal abilities themselves represent neither the level of one's gong potency nor the level of one's cultivation. What determines one's level is gong potency, rather than supernormal abilities. Some people cultivate in a "locked" mode, whereby their gong potency is rather high but they don't necessarily possess many supernormal abilities. Gong potency is the determining factor, is developed through xinxing cultivation, and is the most crucial thing.
(2) Supernormal Abilities are Not What Cultivators Pursue
All practitioners care about supernormal abilities. Supernatural abilities are attractive to the general public and many people want to acquire some. Yet without good xinxing one won't be able to acquire supernormal abilities.
Some supernormal abilities that might be possessed by everyday people include an open Third Eye19 (tianmu), clairaudience, telepathy, precognition, etc. But not all of these supernormal abilities will appear during the stages of Gradual Enlightenment, as they vary with each individual. It is impossible for everyday people to have certain supernormal abilities, such as that of transforming one kind of substance in this physical dimension into another kind of substance—this isn't something everyday people can have. Great supernormal abilities are only developed through cultivating after birth. Falun Gong was developed based on the principles of the universe, so all supernormal abilities that exist in the universe exist in Falun Gong. It all depends on how a practitioner cultivates. The thought of acquiring some supernormal abilities isn't considered wrong. Nevertheless, excessively intense pursuit is more than a normal thought and will produce negative results. It is of little use for someone at a low level to acquire supernormal abilities, save for trying to employ these to show off his or her abilities in front of everyday people and hoping to become the stronger one among them. If this is the case, it indicates precisely that the person's xinxing is not high and that it is right not to give him or her supernormal abilities. Some supernormal abilities can be used to commit wrongdoing if they are given to people with poor xinxing. Because those people's xinxing are not steady there is no guarantee that they won't do something bad.
On the other hand, any supernormal abilities that can be demonstrated or performed cannot change human society or alter normal social life. Real high-level supernormal abilities are not allowed to be brought out for show, because the impact
18 In the Daoist tradition, external alchemical processes have long served as metaphors to describe internal cultivation of the human body.
19 Third Eye—sometimes translated as "Celestial Eye," this term (tianmu) is used flexibly and can refer to the Third Eye system or a particular component of that system.
and danger would be too great; for example, one would never perform the pulling down of a large building. Great supernormal abilities are not allowed to be used except by people with special missions, and neither can these abilities be revealed; this is because high-level masters restrain them.
All the same, some everyday people insist on having qigong masters perform, forcing them to display their supernormal abilities. People with supernormal abilities are unwilling to use them for performance, since they are forbidden to reveal them; displaying them would impact the entire state of society. People who genuinely possess great virtue are not allowed to use their supernormal abilities in public. Some qigong masters feel awful during performances and want to cry afterward. Don't force them to perform! It is upsetting to them to reveal these things. A student brought a magazine to me. I felt disgusted the moment I read it. It mentioned that an international qigong conference was to be held. People with supernormal abilities could participate in a contest, and the conference was open to whoever had great supernormal abilities. After I read it I felt upset for days. Supernormal abilities are not something that can be publicly displayed for competition—demonstrating them in public is regrettable. Everyday people focus on practical things in the mundane world, but qigong masters need to have dignity.
What's the motive behind wanting supernormal abilities? Wanting them reflects a practitioner's realm of mind and pursuits. A person with impure pursuits and an unstable mind is unlikely to have great supernormal abilities. This is because before you are fully enlightened, what you perceive to be good or bad is only based on the standards of this world. You can see neither the true nature of things nor the karmic relationships among them. Fighting, cursing, and mistreatment among people are inherently caused by karmic relationships. You can only be more trouble than help if you can't perceive them. The gratitude and resentment, right and wrong of everyday people are governed by the laws of this world; practitioners shouldn't be concerned with these things. Before you achieve full Enlightenment, what you see with your eyes might not necessarily be the truth. When one person punches another, it might be that they are settling their karmic debts. Your involvement might hamper the settlement of the debt. Karma is a type of black substance that surrounds the human body. It has physical existence in another dimension and can transform into sickness or misfortune.
Supernormal abilities exist in everyone, and the idea is that they need to be developed and strengthened through continued cultivation. If, as a practitioner, a person only pursues supernormal abilities, he is shortsighted and impure in mind. No matter what he wants supernormal abilities for, his pursuit contains elements of selfishness that will definitely hinder cultivation. Consequently, he will never obtain supernormal abilities.
(3) Handling Gong Potency
Some practitioners haven't practiced for very long, yet they want to treat illnesses for others to see how effective they are. When those of you without high gong potency extend your hand and try, you absorb into your own body a great deal of black, unhealthy, filthy qi that exists in the patient's body. Since you don't have the ability to resist unhealthy qi and your body also lacks a protective shield, you form one shared field with the patient; you can't defend against unhealthy qi without high gong potency. As a result, you will experience a great deal of discomfort. If no one looks after you, over the course of time you will accumulate illness throughout your body.
So someone who lacks high gong potency shouldn't treat illnesses for others. Only a person who has already developed supernormal abilities and who possesses a certain level of gong potency can use qigong to treat illness. Even though some people have developed supernormal abilities and are able to treat illnesses, they are, when at a rather low level, in fact using their accumulated gong potency—their own energy—to treat the illnesses. Since gong is both energy and an intelligent entity that isn't easily accumulated, you are actually depleting yourself of gong when you emit it. Accompanying your release of gong, the gong column above your head shortens and depletes. That is not worth it at all. So I don't endorse treating illness for others when your gong potency is not high. No matter how great the methods you used, you would still consume your own energy.
All kinds of supernormal abilities will emerge when a person's gong potency reaches a certain level. You need to be very cautious when using these supernormal abilities. For instance, a person has to use his Third Eye once it has opened, as it will close if he never uses it. Yet he shouldn't look through it frequently. Too much energy will be discharged if he looks through it too often. So does this mean one should never use it? Of course not. If we were to never use it, then what would be the use of our practicing cultivation? The question is when to use it. You can use it only when you have cultivated to a certain stage and possess the ability to replenish yourself. When a cultivator of Falun Gong reaches a certain stage, the Falun can automatically transform and replenish however much gong he or she releases. The Falun automatically maintains a practitioner's gong potency level, and his or her gong won't decrease for even one moment. This is a characteristic of Falun Gong. Not until that point may supernormal abilities be used.
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