I recently received a question from a visitor to the main Dao of Dragonball Book site. He asked “What of Falun Dafa is similar to Dragon Ball?” This post reveals the relationship between personal cultivation, Goku, and Falun Dafa.
As visitors to the site may know, Dragonball is what actually led me into the martial arts. I started with Shaolin Gong Fu, progressed into Tai Qi, and then Qi Gong, and eventually Falun Dafa.
As I practice Falun Dafa I am able to gain a higher understanding of the three universal principles of Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance. Looking through these three principles at Dragonball, and Goku especially, I see a lot to relate to in my own life.
If you look at Goku through this lense, for example, you can see all three principles.
He is a completely True person, and he is very honest and genuine. His mind is simple and straightforward and he does what he feels is right.
Goku is a very Compassionate person even when he fights his opponents, because he does not fight to win… He fights so that he does not lose. The only reason he fights at all is to protect those who cannot protect themselves, and to simultaneously raise his level and improve himself. Training and sparring allow both himself and his training partner to improve, and he places more of the emphasis on his partner, so that in time he will also rise up. He thinks of others first and is so sensitive and broad minded that he can fight for the salvation of the entire universe and all sentient beings.
He is also a very Forbearing and tolerant person who can go through the most extreme examples of pain and suffering and come out the other side a savior, and he always gives his opponents more chances to redeem themselves. This tolerance to allow their redemption even while enduring blows is what turns TenShinHan, Piccolo, Vegeta, Majin Buu, and others, into his allies. He looks past the character flaws and directly into their hearts, and gives them time to turn around and walk an upright path.
Throughout Goku’s life he always takes the road of personal cultivation. During this process he struggles with his inherent Saiya-jin emotion, compassionate human upbringing, balances his personal aspirations with responsibilities, and fights against external interference.
At each stage of his journey he faces greater and more challenging opponents and trials, and each one causes him to look inward and rise up to meet the challenge. Goku is able to quickly and consistently improve because he is always looking inward at how to better himself in response to the higher standards suddenly placed on him.
On the other hand, Vegeta is always looking outward. He constantly strives to defeat Goku, his rival.
When Vegeta pushed harder and harder to attain Super Saiya-jin, in a jealous and competitive response to Goku’s progress, it is noteworthy that no matter what he did he was not able to reach that level. It is only while on the asteroid, facing life and death, alone, that he gave up his attachment to this pursuit and finally focused inward. When Vegeta let go, enlightenment followed. The void within was filled with something greater. He lost the attachment, and he gained first level enlightenment.
Falun Dafa is a complete cultivation system that helps practitioners focus on looking inward, let go of attachments, correct incorrect notions, and eliminate karma. Practitioners do so in the midst of society and do not shy away from conflict. It is an extremely quick way to improve one’s character because it focuses directly on the mind.
As I walked the path of cultivation and watched Dragonball at the same time, I could not help but notice the similarities, and that is where the idea for The Dao of Dragonball originated.
The difference of course is that Falun Dafa is a cultivation system to be practiced by real people, and Dragonball is a cartoon show. Dragonball cannot be used as true spiritual guidance, only perhaps for reflection upon your own path. It’s simply that Falun Dafa was so powerful in helping me better understand the show.
Falun Dafa also helps a person better understand East Asian culture, which allowed me to see Goku’s beginning as Son WuKong, and his alterations from an Indian deity, to Buddhist hero, to Japanese pop culture icon. Furthermore it is a grand awareness of all spiritual cultivation paths, including those of the West.
The Dao of Dragonball is a vehicle for explaning higher level principles and the meaning of life, and it does so through the medium of Dragonball, a pop cultural phenomenon that millions can relate to.