Falun Dafa Enriches the Lives of Children Around the World 

Participants at the 2022 Minghui Summer Camp in Toronto do daily group exercises. (Source: Minghui)

Participants at the 2022 Minghui Summer Camp in Toronto do daily group exercises. (Source: Minghui)

Whether it’s in a specialized Minghui School, where students are fully immersed in curriculum dedicated to the traditional culture and values of ancient China, a Minghui School Summer Camp, or a Minghui Club at an elementary school, these disciplined children learn to live by the principles of Falun Dafa, a practice that has deeply enriched their lives. The three core characteristics of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong), an ancient mind-body spiritual practice with roots in the Buddhist tradition, are Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance (or, in Chinese, Zhen 真, Shan 善, Ren 忍). 

With digital entertainment and social media often used in excess, Minghui Schools, Summer Camps, and Clubs started by people who practice Falun Gong offer respite for young attendees. In these clean environments, the children study the profound spiritual texts of Dafa in fellowship with one another, without the interference of technology, and while immersing themselves in the gifts of the Chinese cultural inheritance. In this way, the conditions are set for the best of the innate potential goodness and purity of these children to emerge and flourish. 

Testimonials from Taiwan 

Wengting (third from left), her parents, and her grandmother attend an award ceremony hosted by Hsu Ming-tsai, the former mayor of Hsinchu. (Source: Minghui)

In 2010, Wengting, a sixth grader in Hsinchu, Taiwan, won the Moral Intelligence Exemplary Reward at a ceremony hosted by the former mayor of Hsinchu, Hsu Ming-tsai (who served from 2009 – 2014). According to her teachers, the sixth grader merited the recognition as she always maintained a positive attitude toward her classmates amidst changing circumstances. When confronted with challenges or difficulties, rather than casting blame on factors external to herself, Wengting assumed responsibility, acting with patience and poise. 

Wengting’s mother described how, as a young girl, her daughter had suffered from illness, but after practicing Falun Dafa, her illnesses disappeared and she learned how to be compassionate. Wengting herself ascribed her academic excellence to her faith in Falun Dafa, particularly the grounding and guiding tenets of Zhen 真, Shan 善, Ren 忍. 

Children at a Minghui club at an elementary school in Taiwan happily reading Hong Yin, a collection of poems written by Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa. (Source: Minghui) 

At a Minghui Club at an elementary school in Hualian, Taiwan, the student members study the teachings of Falun Dafa together, reading lectures aloud from Zhuan Falun and reciting verses from Hong Yin. The children say that the Club feels like a family, and that the teachings of Dafa have led them to improve their bodies and minds. 

Huang Guanquan said of the Hualian Minghui Club: “I joined the Minghui Club while attending Mingyi Elementary School. I learned many things from this club, and I learned how to get along with other people. The teachers are very kind and patient. They taught us to follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance every day. What I understand is that ‘Truthfulness’ means we should finish the task we started and should not do whatever we please, ‘Compassion’ means helping others and doing good things, and ‘Tolerance’ means enduring, even when the task is hard or exhausting.”

Hong Yujie, another young student, commented, “I think this is a great practice because it helps us improve our bodies and our minds. The teacher is wonderful. She tells stories that I’ve never heard before, stories with deep meaning.”

Canada’s Minghui Summer Camps 

Daily group exercises (Source: Minghui) 

Christine, the mother of a young girl who attended Minghui School Summer Camp in Toronto, said that the camp helped calm her daughter, who struggled with attention difficulties: “Hyperactive children like her sat quietly and listened in class. The teacher also showed them how to respect others while taking good care of their personal belongings.” The moral-philosophical aspect of Falun Dafa’s teachings, as well as the five gentle exercises, helped the children focus and concentrate on the tasks before them while also serving to facilitate connection among the children. 

Albert (right) displaying the truth-clarification newspaper he contributed to as an editor (Source: Minghui) 

Albert, a 12-year-old Canadian student, has been a long time attendee of the Minghui School Summer Camp in Toronto. The 2022 summer camp lasted for two months, with almost 50 participants in attendance. In addition to practicing the five exercises together and studying the teachings of Dafa, the children learned classical Chinese dance, music, painting, calligraphy, drawing, and traditional Chinese culture based on the classical works of literature Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Journey to the West

Aside from creating works of art themselves, the children visited the Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition at the Toronto City Hall to slowly and closely observe paintings created by skilled artists working within the traditional arts. 

Daily group exercises (Source: Minghui) 

At the summer camp, Albert internalized the significance of improving his xinxing (“mind nature,” “heart nature,” “moral character”), one of the moral teachings of Falun Dafa that allows for spiritual elevation. In the first few days of camp, he noticed himself becoming involved in arguments with teachers or fellow students. However, each time a conflict took place, he regretted his behavior, looked inward, and promised himself to act better next time: “I learned to improve myself instead of looking at others. When my friends pointed out where I should have done better, I knew they were helping me.” 

A Technology-Free Environment Free of Distraction

Eric (second from right) during group Fa study (Source: Minghui) 

Eric, a 12-year-old Falun Dafa practitioner, expressed that the Minghui Summer Camp helps him become a more dedicated cultivator. Before the camp, he wasn’t able to sit in the full lotus position during meditation, but after two weeks in the camp environment, he was able to meditate in full lotus. Additionally, Eric appreciated the smartphone-free environment of the camp after having spent lots of time previously watching videos or playing video games: “After being with other campers I realized this wasted time and the contents could be harmful. So I have completely stopped playing video games and rarely look at social media now.” 

The Antidote to a Phone-Based Childhood

In his book The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt articulates the detrimental effects of having a “phone-based childhood,” effects that Generation Z – children born after 1995 – still suffer with today. Overprotection in the real world, meaning deprivation of physical play and social interaction, combined with underprotection in the virtual world, meaning unfettered access to social media and inappropriate and disturbing content, are two trends that have exacerbated the mental health crisis among young people. 

The environment that Minghui Summer Camp seeks to cultivate is one that maximizes the potential for genuine connection and minimizes the risk of falling into destructive, compulsive, or addictive behaviors and habits. 

Michael Wang, who was, as a soon-to-be fifth grader, a participant in the 2018 Minghui Summer Camp in Toronto, like Eric, also commented on the restorative effects of sticking to the technology-free environment that the camp cultivates: “I just completely quit last year. Mom has been telling me not to play video games. I know it’s not good for me, and I know I became irritable each time I played the games. I couldn’t control myself and had to do bad things such as taking things without permission or fighting with others. I didn’t want to be controlled by demons, so I made up my mind to quit. It was difficult at the start. I sometimes took a run or walk outside when I really wanted to play video games. It took me 2 weeks like this to quit them. I feel so much lighter since I quit video games. My temper is much better too.”

Looking Inward, Conflicts Disappear

Annie Cheng practicing the fifth exercise of Falun Dafa (a seated meditation) (Source: Minghui) 

Annie Cheng, an eight-year-old from Minnesota, was disappointed when her mother came to pick her up and bring her back to the United States at the end of the summer. She expressed that the camp flew by, that seemingly only a week had passed since it began, and that she had made so many good friends that she didn’t want to leave: “I like it here a lot because we can all study the Fa and do the exercises together. Fellow students rarely argue or fight. We all search inward and say ‘it’s my fault.’ Conflicts disappear then.” 

Emma He (right) studying the Fa (Source: Minghui) 

For nine-year-old Emma He, the summer camp has taught her how to be more considerate of others. Emma has been learning how to play the Erhu (a traditional Chinese stringed instrument) and does Chinese classical dance. She has been listening to the Fa since birth, and the environment of the Minghui Summer Camp enables her to continue her cultivation and deepen her understanding of the Fa. Reflecting on the lessons of tolerance that she learned in camp, Emma said: “I also tolerate my mom when she is mad. I bear her lectures and don’t talk back. Otherwise, she will be more mad. Sometimes I remind her not to be upset or run away if she cannot cheer up. Once I was practicing the Erhu, she came to my side and started telling me that I made mistakes. I knew that she didn’t know how to play the Erhu, but I kept my mouth shut. She then stopped,” she smiled. “I know she cares about me.”

Lisa (right) studying the teachings of Falun Dafa (Source: Minghui) 

Twelve-year-old Lisa commented on the purity of the environment at the summer camp, expressing that it sets the conditions for her to reach a state of tranquility: “I feel so much inner peace because practitioners should study the Fa and do the exercises. In addition, we learn Chinese traditional culture and traditional Chinese characters here. We remind each other to look inward.” 

Lisa noticed many differences between the Minghui environment and the environment at her middle school. When having an interpersonal conflict with someone at an ordinary school, the norm is to create more conflict by complaining about the other person’s faults or shortcomings, in essence gossiping and inflaming the severity of the original disagreement. This then would lead to factions or cliques forming among the students. Conversely, in the Minghui environment, the students abide by the teachings of Dafa and thus naturally look for fault within themselves first when experiencing a conflict socially, apologizing and looking inward. 

At Lisa’s middle school, there was a girl who had scars on her wrists and had attempted suicide multiple times due to bullying. When Lisa told her to practice tolerance, one of Dafa’s characteristics, and to remind herself that the bullies were doing evil things and thus harming themselves, her friend’s situation improved and her confidence increased. Lisa introduced Falun Dafa to her and recommended reading Zhuan Falun. 

Falun Dafa in India

Students at Jyothi School practicing the Falun Gong exercises (Source: Minghui) 

In India, there are over 80 documented schools that have integrated Falun Dafa into their physical education curriculum, yielding significant results in the serenity and clarity of their students. One such school is Jyothi School in Bangalore, the third most populous city in India. The principal of Jyothi School, Father Varkey Valiadeth, is a Catholic priest whose personal experiences with the miraculous effects of Dafa inspired him to promote the spiritual practice at various meetings and conferences. In a society that lacks access to medical resources, the healing effects of Falun Gong’s exercises have been remarkable blessings. 

Interviews compiled from original Minghui articles: https://en.minghui.org/emh/articles/2008/10/3/101168p.html