Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD
Translator’s Note: This article was penned around twenty years ago in 2001. This in itself is not an issue as the subject matter describes how the dogma of the Falun Gong Cult deviates away from (and contradicts) the authentic teachings of Buddhism, genuine Daoism and Masterful Qigong practice. Just as the Falun Gong Cult never changes its established dogma (or its methods) this critique is as relevant today as it was in 2001. The PRC tends to upload important documents about the conditions within Mainland China onto one or other of its websites representing a particular Embassy of the PRC – and in this case this text can be found at the link below on the web-page of the Embassy of the PRC situated in Finland. As for myself, I have had an extensive dialogue with the Falun Gong Cult around 2001 – involving its activities on the University campuses of the UK. Just as I exposed its criminal intent and illegal activities then – I continue to do so now in both the English and Chinese languages (you can find my published articles in the PRC on the Baidu internet search-engine). Just as more and more Westerners are suffering due to their entrapment within the Falun Gong Cult – it is important to contradict those Western governments who think that by encouraging a vicious cult such as the Falun Gong will cause any change in direct within China – as it most definitely will not. My point, however, is to save people from being mentally and physically enslaved by the Falun Gong Cult – and PROTECT all young people from getting involved in this dangerous group through the agency of better and more informative education. Structured self-empowerment is the only defence against the cultish nonsense that the Falun Gong Cult encourages! ACW (9.9.2021)
Xinhuanet, Beijing, March 19th. Buddhism –
Gao Jianxin (高建新) – Reporter from Xinhua News Agency
Generally speaking. Buddhism in referred to as representing an “Internal Dao” (内道 – Nei Dao), whilst other ideological beliefs outside of Buddhism are defined as “External Dao” (外道 – Wai Dao). The “Falungong” is an example of a crude and poorly thought-out “External Dao” that usurps the name of “Buddhism” to mislead those who fall for its cultish motivations and criminal practices. Mr. Chen Xingqiao, a famous Chinese Buddhist scholar, said that Li Hongzhi and his “Falungong” are typical examples false-teachings claiming to be “Buddhist” but which are really dangerous cults designed to hurt and manipulate innocent people. In otherwords, according to the expert opinion of Chen Xingqiao, the “Falungong” as fabricated by Li Hongzhi (李洪志) is NOT a form of Buddhism and shares NO developmental history with Buddhism!
Chen Xingqiao – whose Dharma names are Changzheng (常正) and Zhiyuan (智渊) – used to be the Secretary-General of the Harbin Buddhist Association and a lecturer at Hubei Yanshan Buddhist College. He is now the Director of the editorial department of the “Fayin” (法音) or (“Dharma Teaching”) magazine of the Chinese Buddhist Association. In recent years, he has published dozens of papers in newspapers such as “Fayin”, “Neiming” (内明) or (“Inner Brightness”) and “Wenshi zhishi” (文史知识) or (“Knowledge of Literature and History”), all exposing and refuting the false allegations of Li Hongzhi and his fabricated “Falungong.”
He pointed out that the false “combined” practices of pseudo-qigong and pseudo-religion under the banner of Buddhism – “Falungong” being a prime example – still confuses many genuine qigong enthusiasts. Not only have many of them suffered damage to their minds and bodies, but Buddhism has also suffered an injustice against its otherwise very good reputation. The disciples’ righteous beliefs were affected to a certain extent, and their religious feelings were greatly hurt. The most urgent task at the moment is to clarify right from wrong and draw a clear distinction between genuine Buddhism and false “Falungong”. We must work hard to eliminate its negative influence.
The social conditions for the emergence of “Falungong” in China were first introduced to reporters by Chen Xingqiao – when he compared the history of genuine qigong development (over thousands of years) in China – and simultaneously demonstrated how Li Hongzhi (the “fabricator of Falung Gong”) was not connected to this historical development of authentic qigong in any way and had no experience of genuine Buddhist practice. The “Falungong” ideology emerged from the uneducated “imagination” of Li Hongzhi premised upon a “Messiah” complex usually most prevalent in the West (as such a corrupt idea is found within the Judeo-Christian teachings). In other words, Li Hongzhi mistakenly believes that he “knows everything” without ever receiving a proper “Daoist” or “Buddhist” education. He is what the Western refer to as a “false Messiah”! This is not his only link with the West! Li Hongzhi has “slandered” the Chinese arts of genuine qigong and is attempting to establish himself as the single, world-wide leader of the Buddhist religion – a spiritual teaching he knows nothing about!
On the other hand, genuine qigong is an ancient Chinese health cultivation practice, divided into static and dynamic exercises. Static exercises include sitting exercises, relaxation exercises, mind-stilling exercises and inner alchemy exercises, etc.; kinetic exercises include Daoyin (导引), tapping massage (吐纳 – Tu Na), Taijiquan (太極拳) and external qigong (外氣功 – Wai Qi Gong), etc. According to its source and application, it can be divided into six major lineages: Daoist qigong, Buddhist philosophy qigong, Buddhist religious qigong, medical qigong, folk qigong and martial arts qigong. These six lineages have formed many other qigong schools in their long-term historical development.
Although the term “Qigong” is found in Daoist Classics as early as the Tang Dynasty, it was used extensively as a synonym for Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, medicine, martial arts, and folk health-preserving techniques only from the 1950s. Since the 1980s, qigong has gained further popularity. Over the past ten years, many qigong schools have been formed, and qigong upsurges have been set off again and again. As some of these are premised upon false knowledge or a lack of genuine knowledge – they cannot be considered authentic or even “good” for the practitioner. This is like a doctor prescribing medicine for an illness he has not yet diagnosed – obviously the consequences could be deadly for the individual and society! This is why only genuine and authentic teachers should be in-charge of these types of mind-body developmental techniques and methodologies. This is certainly not a matter of “faith” as is the Western religions – but a matter of possessing the correct “scientific” knowledge to start with!
The over-popularity of qigong has also produced many drawbacks and exposed many problems. On the one hand, pseudo-qigong is prevalent. Some qigong masters are greedy for fame and fortune. They gather money to gain wealth and yet possess no genuine knowledge or ability to help others. They are so mysterious and unconventional that this serves as a ‘hook’ that attracts the young and the easily-led. Although everyone is expected to contribute to society through their honest labour – charging money and abusing the mind and body of students is against all Chinese cultural norms – old or new! Such behaviour disguised as “qigong” only serves to disrupt the harmony of society and generates unnecessary pain and suffering! People should work hard at their job during the day – but at weekends and during the evenings – they should be able to relax and cultivate the health of their mind and body through their chosen art without being bothered by money or being forced to “serve” a mentally unstable teacher!
On the other hand, some qigong masters are of low educational and moral quality, lack genuine or deep knowledge, possess poor judgement, express lax conduct, talk about religion, talk about theology, cultivate non-existent mysteries, bluff and deceive, so that various feudal superstitions prevail, and allow the formation of reactionary sects – giving these fraudsters the opportunity to borrow the name “qigong” and to spread their evil laws! Li Hongzhi is a prime example of this process. This man was a low-level office-worker in China who possessed NO genuine Buddhist or Daoist knowledge and who had NEVER trained with any authentic qigong teacher! Where does his supposed knowledge originate? It originates straight from within his own imagination! It is a spectre, a myth and shadow – and nothing substantial and real. Unfortunately, the cult of the “falungong” is nothing more than the deluded ramblings of the non-purified mind of Li Hongzhi! As he has not trained with a genuine Buddhist Master to uproot greed, anger and delusion, we may logically conclude that his teachings are nothing more than the structured expression of greed, hatred and delusion. Through the popularity of his cult – Li Hongzhi is drawing many others into his developing mental illness – which will probably become more severe and extreme if the US Authorities do not act to curtail his activities! In the meantime, Li Hongzhi will continue to slander “religion” and qigong”!
Chen Xingqiao states that throughout history, qigong was closely related to religion, but in modern times, it is separated from the “fog of religion” as a kind of health cultivation practice. Generally speaking, the dynamic work (动功 – Dong Gong), stillness work (静功 – Jing Gong), tapping massage (吐纳 – Tu Na), stretching and loosening (导引 – Dao Yin), regulating qi (服气 – Fu Qi), refining qi ((炼气 – Lian Gong) and foetal breathing (胎息 – Tai Xi) as well as general health-preserving formulas related to “qi” (气) – are all collectively referred to as qigong. It uses the stilled, expanded and directed consciousness to regulate internal qi, so as to achieve the purpose of calming the mind, healing and strengthening the body. The various methods of practicing high-level qigong and pursuing enlightenment are collectively known as “Essential Life Self-Cultivation” (Xing Ming Gong), which belongs to the category of legitimate religion. It has special belief requirements, a certain theoretical system, strict rules and precepts, and practice rituals. It can be seen from this that “Falungong” misrepresents a large number of misunderstood and partially grasped religious paraphernalia as qigong – and it does this at a world-level – spreading it ignorance far and wide whilst it attacks genuine Buddhism and seeks to replace it as a distinctive teaching!
The Falungong’s “Zhuan Falun” begins by saying: “In the past few years, many qigong masters have taught the exercises. What they talked about was at the level of healing and fitness. Of course, it’s not that other people’s exercises are not good. I just said that ours are better. They are not taught at this advanced level. I also know the situation of qigong in the whole country. At present, at home and abroad, I am the only one doing qigong at higher levels. Why is no one doing qigong at higher levels? Because it involves a lot of problems, the historical origins are deep, the areas involved are also very wide, and the problems involved are also very acute. It is not something that ordinary people can pass on, because it involves many things that involve many schools of art.” Li Hongzhi likes to state falsehoods, but these words he said are quite straightforward. What he calls “transmitting qigong to higher levels” is actually the mimicry of purely religious work, to save people, and to “save all sentient beings” in society according to his bold and original “religion”. In this way, there are naturally many “problems” that are “involved” and are “very sharp”.
Chen Xingqiao said that because of this, Li Hongzhi tried his best to avoid being engaged in “religion” and being “exposed” for his lack of proper knowledge – instead emphasising his version of qigong. So, once this falsehood is exposed – what kind of qigong is his “qigong”? Li Hongzhi said: “According to cultivation, there are three levels of qi. But there are two levels of real cultivation (not counting qi): one is the cultivation of the worldly law; the other is the cultivation of the transcendental law. This worldly and transcendental law cultivation are two different techniques but they are practiced in the same body which becomes like a “temple”. The differences are difficult to fathom and the process requires a complete “submitting” to the “falungong” and its authority structures so as to prevent any difficult digressions or necessary expulsions. As I – Li Hongzhi – am the “new” Buddha, I know everything that happens inside and outside a student. I see directly their mind and body and “know” what they intend to do and not intend to do. Running or staying is all the same to me because of my “divine” visions! I can manipulate the qi-energy levels of the world by a flick of the wrist! However, to achieve my level of mastery requires time and money from you all! When you have paid enough, I will grant you full enlightenment! This is how I intend to purify the earth and attain supreme power over creation!” As you can see, these are the ramblings of a very sick individual who needs to be hospitalised and treated – and not allowed to destroy the lives of thousands of people! It is obvious that he has no real understanding of “religion” or “qigong” and is misusing the psychology of modern people to mislead them into a state of mind and body servitude! He makes-up history to justify his latest imagined “powers”. His notion of “religion” is very similar to Western notions and we can assume that this area remains for him a main theme of inspiration. This is why he conflates “religion” with “qigong” and does not seem to have any understanding of the two very different and unique histories that underlie each development.
It can be seen from this that “Falungong” is not qigong at all. In fact, Li Hongzhi himself has difficulties in having to play the game of pretending he actually knows qigong. He once said: “As you all know, when we started classes in Changchun, I spoke on a very high religious level. However, qigong was always on my mind. Today, I won’t talk about it because we are going to high-level exercises. This is also a process of gradual recognition.” After that, he suggested at the “Beijing Falun Dafa Counsellor Conference”: “We are at a high level as soon as we are here. Talking about the issue of cultivation, we will stop talking about it as we move toward qigong in the future.” It can be seen that Li Hongzhi is only using qigong to confuse the society and the government, but he found that he also confuses a lot of his own disciples, so he just used qigong.
Chen Xingqiao emphasized: The reason why we oppose “Falungong” and other “attacks upon Buddhism” is because it misappropriates the name of Buddhism and uses Buddhism for illicit ends, while distorting and slandering Buddhism, making people mistakenly believe that it is Buddhism when it is nothing of the kind! The evil people have seized the initiative and are hindering genuine people from understanding the real Buddhism. Li Hongzhi’s writings exhibit a superficial understanding of Buddhism throughout, so that people with a little Buddhist knowledge can point out common-sense errors throughout!
Original Chinese Language Sources: