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Local speaks about Falun Gong

JULIE SUTOR/summit daily news
Summit Daily/Julie SutorJim Fogarty practices a Falun Gong meditation that refines mind and body and strengthens energy potency. Fogarty has practiced Falun Gong since 2002 and is raising awareness of practioners persecution in China.
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SUMMIT COUNTY – Leadville resident Jim Fogarty lives deep in the mountains of Colorado, but his passions lie in the heart of China.Fogarty, who works in Silverthorne, has dedicated himself to ending the persecution of followers of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) – a spiritual practice of slow-moving meditative exercises and teachings rooted in ancient Chinese culture.Worldwide, Falun Gong has an estimated 100 million followers in 60 countries. Fogarty has practiced the tradition since 2002.”I had experience in tai chi, which led me to read eastern philosophy, including Taoism,” Fogarty said. “I liked it, but I spent a lot of money going down to Boulder for workshops.”Two years ago, he came across Falun Gong on the Internet.

Zhen, Shan and RenFalun Gong practitioners honor Zhen, Shan and Ren – truth, compassion and tolerance, respectively – as the universe’s most fundamental principals. Followers seek to cultivate the three principals within themselves and to use them as the standards by which to judge right and wrong.”It gives a definite lightness to the body,” Fogarty said. “It starts from the inside, learning to let go of the attachments and desires that used to drive me through life.”I haven’t turned my back on society and headed to the woods. I just take things more lightly.”Fogarty said he has experienced significant health and fitness benefits from practicing Falun Gong.

“I used to go to the chiropractor all the time for an old back injury,” he said. “After a year of practicing, I was moving a heavy coffee machine, and my back was fine the next day. That’s when it occurred to me, ‘Hey, this is different.'”Since the late 1990s, Falun Gong practitioners in China have met with violent opposition from the Chinese government. The movement’s growing numbers spurred Chinese authorities to outlaw Falun Gong practices.Practitioners detainedAccording to the Falun Gong Human Rights working group, the Chinese government has detained more than 100,000 practitioners since 1999. Many have endured torture and been held in labor camps.

“My hope is that when people hear about this, something in them will awaken,” Fogarty said. “Officially, the death toll is 960, but those are only the ones whose stories have gotten out. I can see that it looks like a political movement, but it’s only because of the persecution by the Chinese government that it has become political.”Fogarty will host a workshop today at 6:30 p.m. at the Community and Senior Center in the County Commons. He will discuss the history, philosophy, practices and politics of the Falun Gong movement and will make arrangements to meet with those interested in Falun Gong exercises.For more information about Falun Gong or about upcoming conferences and workshops, contact Fogarty at (970) 389-1910.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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