By Callum/The Chronicle
Toowoomba resident Yan Zhao says she has become a much more relaxed and worry-free person ever since she took up the Chinese spiritual discipline Falun Dafa in 1996.
But when you've been given the difficult task of gathering more than 100 Falun Dafa members from around Australia to march in the Carnival of Flowers Grand Central Floral Parade, a little inner peace never hurts.
"We had people saving up their money and flying in from Sydney and Melbourne just to march for an hour-and-a-half," Ms Zhao said.
"While Falun Dafa is an individual practice, it really does have a wonderful community."
The Falan Dafa practitioners were one of the biggest groups involved in the parade in terms of numbers and while plenty of onlookers might have seen them march, many were left wondering just what exactly Falun Dafa was.
Ms Zhao said Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, was a form of meditation and inner reflection through a serious of slow-moving exercises and a drive to improve yourself as a person.
"The main tenants of Falun Dafa are truthfulness, compassion and tolerance or forbearance," she said.
"Whatever you do, you consult yourself through those principals.
"It's not a religion; it's for anyone ... teachers, lawyers, business people."
The University of Southern Queensland Chinese Studies lecturer said her mother taught her the discipline years ago.
"My mother was very sick when I left China," Ms Zhao said.
"When I visited her next she was looking healthy and told me she had taken up Falun Dafa and wasn't taking any medication.
"She lent me a book on it to read on the plane ride home and I was hooked."
The practice had become so popular in China, growing from a few hundred to 80 million members in just seven years, that the Communist Party of China deemed it a serious threat
China residents found practising Falun Dafa could face jail sentences, torture and sometimes death.
"Some Chinese people I meet are still brainwashed about what it's really about," she said.
"It's not political or religious; it's about becoming a better, healthier person.
"Falun Dafa now has over 100 million practitioners across 114 countries and it's great to be able to share something so beautiful."
Posting date: 5/Oct/2011
Original article date: 28/Sept/2011
Category: Media Report