How Does Dragon Ball Relate to Falun Dafa?

Goku Faces Towards the Light

Goku Faces Towards the Light

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.



12 responses to “How Does Dragon Ball Relate to Falun Dafa?”

  1. YK says:

    I completely agree with you. Me too had obtain many cultivation values from the dao of dragonball. I wonder howmany people in this world has notice this wonderful creation of Toriyama san. But the values from it is only up to certain point. Beyond is much more.

  2. muay thai says:

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  3. MMA Gloves says:

    Right on !! Damn I’m getting addicted to your blog 🙂

  4. Luís says:

    Falun Dafa is real good! Goes over anything that we can imagine! True cultivation of oneself.

    Best

    Luís From Brazil!

  5. dodum says:

    The thing about Dragon Ball, it has still parts of the story of Journey to the West, and had altered the Sacredness of that Holy Stories: I mean the richness of spiritual meaning has been so deluded by the used of Dragon Ball… Anyway this is the modern end of Kalpa, turns upside down all sacredness of the past, very sad indeed.
    This is only my understanding.

    • Derek Padula says:

      I had not looked at it from that angle before. But even Journey to the West was a pop cultural creation stemmed from hundreds of years of folk tales mixed with different religions. It’s a hodge-podge of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and political satire.

      I think the main difference between Journey to the West and Dragon Ball is that Dragon Ball does not have a clear philosophical or spiritual message, while Journey to the West does. The meaning in Dragon Ball is one created by the individual reader or viewer, because the author does not clearly state one for you. For some people Dragon Ball means a lot, while for others it means nothing.

  6. Emmanuel Ra bey says:

    Thank you for answer and speaking on this subject. I am a falun dafa Practitioner as well and Recently became engulfed with the DBZ. It is wonder to seek and find others who are on the same path and find Truth within this series.

  7. LRA says:

    You mention that Goku started off as Sun Wukong and progressed from an "Indian deity" to a "buddhist hero", but I was under the impression that Wukong was originally a figure from Chinese folklore. It did get me wondering though, do you think it is possible that Sun Wukong was in anyway inspired by or related to Hanuman? They are both similar in that they are both monkeys, and both have phenominal strength along with a whole load of other supernatural powers. Then again, both characters have very different personalities, so maybe not.

    • Derek Padula says:

      Yes, Hanuman is exactly who I was talking about.

      Brief history of Chinese Buddhism. Buddhism is not natively Chinese, it was imported from India. It traveled north into Afghanistan and then into western China (now called Xinjiang) where it spread to the rest of China. And another sect, the esoteric Dual Cultivation method of Tantrism spread into Tibet during the Tang Dynasty. It flourished in Tibet, but was eliminated from China during the fall of the Tang Dynasty. And then there’s the [debatable] legend which says that Bodhidharma brought Chan [Zen] Buddhism along with him to the Shaolin temple. Over millenia it changed into something distinctively Chinese, where they now worship multiple Buddha’s and the cultivation system is completely different from the Buddhism of India. Daoism and folk shamanism were the largest native belief systems of China.

      Buddhism and all of its legends and culture were imported along with the beliefs. It’s my understanding that Hanuman was included in those. Then, over centuries, Buddhist and Daoist beliefs intermingled, creating folk tales and bar stories of a Monkey King that had mystical Daoist powers who helped a Buddhist monk travel to India and back to recover the sacred scriptures. Eventually this tale became more solidified, and finally in the 16th century, Wu Cheng’En wrote them down into an epic tale. He is attributed as the author, at least.

      So it’s true that Sun Wukong was a Chinese creation, but only because of the already existing Indian beliefs. That’s how I understand it. And then in the late 20th century Akira Toriyama built on top of that. What’s interesting is that with each variation of the character and story it has reached increasingly more people and become further embedded in pop culture. It has also become more simplified and attractive to the masses. Journey to the West is a somewhat difficult and repetitive read, but Dragon Ball is very simple.

      • LRA says:

        Yeah, that explaines it. Interesting information about Chinese Buddhism. I’m more familiar with the Indian religion and folklore. And I agree that dragonball is more attractive to people in general than the older stories that it was based on, but I think Hanuman is still very popular in India. I think it’s only priests and scholars that actuall read the Ramayan properly, but most people in India know the story. In fact, in India you can get comic book versions of just about every myth. The most popular comics are by the company called Amar Chitra Katha. In fact, that’s how I first came across the Ramayan, because my Dad would bring these comics back for me when he visited India. There was even a comic book version of the Gita!

        • Derek Padula says:

          That is very cool. I had no idea there were comics based on these ancient stories though. Makes perfect sense though. They’re amazing legends. The Chinese have recently done the same thing with the Four Great Classics, which includes Journey to the West, turning them into manga.

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