Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, states time and again that Falun Gong is not a religion and “doesn’t have anything to do with today’s religions.”
Li Hongzhi claims in his article, “Falun Dafa is not a religion, but future generations will regard it as one. It is taught to human beings for the purpose of cultivation practice, rather than to establish a religion.” (Dafa Will Forever be Pure Like Diamond)
“Ours is not an institutional religion, so don’t regard us as such.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Canada)
On July 26, 1999, interviewed with Netherlands TV in New York, Li said: “It (Falun Gong) has no difference with such things as the common Qigong, the Taiji and the morning exercise popular in the Western countries. People do morning exercise of Falun Gong for one or half an hour, and then go to work. They are all ordinary members in the society, not organized as a religion.”
Li Hongzhi emphasizes repeatedly that Falun Gong does not possess the basic elements to form a religion.
“Every Falun Gong practitioner is a member of society, and each has his own job or career. It’s only that they go to the park to do Falun Gong exercises for half an hour or an hour every morning, and then they go to work. We don’t have various provisions that people have to follow, as religions do, nor do we have any temples, churches, or religious rituals. People can come to learn or leave as they please, and we have no membership rosters. How is it a religion?” (Some Thoughts of Mine)
But Li Hongzhi instigates his followers to put on religious masks when he considers it would be more advantageous for them to do so.
“So in Western society, if the average person comments on whether you are a religion, you needn't reply, and you don't need to take it that seriously. If a government, social organization, administrative department, congressional representative, etc. says that you're a religion, you no longer need to tell them that we're not. If legal issues are involved, you can handle things as a religion and go by the related legal provisions. So under these circumstances you can say it is a religion, especially when it involves legal matters. Are you all clear on this?” (Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles)
The Chinese Buddhist circle has kept a watchful eye on and stood up to Falun Gong ever since it came into emergence.
Since 1996, a lot of Falun Gong practitioners suffered from mental disorders such as schizophrenia, some even died of practicing Falun Gong. As more and more cases were reported, the Buddhist circle began to keep a watchful eye on Falun Gong which willfully blasphemed the Buddhist doctrines under the camouflage of Buddhism. Periodicals such as Taizhou Buddhist Monthly, Shanghai Buddhist Bimonthly, Guangdong Buddhist and the Music Law etc all published articles to reveal the true colors of Falun Gong. In January 1998, China Buddhist Association held a special forum on the issue of Falun Gong. The attendants agreed unanimously that Falun Gong openly contradicted Buddhist doctrines and its teachings were absolute heretical fallacies.
China Buddhist Association issued An Open Letter to National Buddhist Circle on March 3, 2001，claimed that Li Hongzhi and his cult Falun Gong did what they were particularly good at to belittle, blaspheme and humiliate at Buddhism as well as other religions.
Falun Gong is universally acknowledged by international Buddhist circles as a cult.
On May 19, 2000, the United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters held a World Forum on Buddhism, Buddhist Studies and Buddha Dharma Uprightness in Taiwan. More than 2,000 Buddhists ranked Living Buddha, dignitary and lay Buddhist from 28 countries including USA, Canada, France, Japan, Thailand and Nepal took part in the forum. The participants had made a review and appraisal of Li Hongzhi and other disputed individuals. The Forum determined through voting that Li Hongzhi was a preacher of cult, indicating that Li Hongzhi and other Falun Gong members had garbled Buddha Dharma, and that their so-called universal Buddha Dharma was an utterly self-fabricated heresy. The attendees stated that the so-called universal Buddha Dharma advocated by Li Hongzhi was utterly against the Tripitaka doctrine of Buddha since it was nothing but a fabricated heresy used to bewitch the ordinary people. It out and out is a cult.
In March 2001, the Singapore Buddhist Federation declared solemnly that Falun Gong has absolutely nothing to do with Buddhism although Falun Dafa Association adopted terms of Buddhism in its registered name and Falun (or Wheel of Law) has always been the symbol of Buddhism. Falun Gong is not a religion, nor does it carry forward Buddhism. So it has nothing to do with Buddhism.
In April 2006, the 23rd Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) held in Taiwan passed “Ten Declarations” which clearly included the following “Stick to the upright religions. Oppose Falun Gong which damages Buddhism by pirating the term Falun (Wheel of Law).” The Conference also called on Buddhists around the world to “face up to and denounce the cult Falun Gong jointly.”
On May 10, 2006, the International Day of Vesak World Buddhist Conference held in Thailand reiterated in the joint communique: “The Conference confirms that Falun Gong contradicts the basic doctrine of Buddhism.”
In 2007, the monthly magazine Church and Heresy attached to South Korea Christian published consecutively three articles disclosing and denouncing Falun Gong. The articles pointed out: “Falun Gong is a cult because it deifies one person (Li Hongzhi) and claims his followers can also become immortals. This beyond-styled belief has sparked off disputes in the society…Falun Gong advertises that people who practice Falun Gong may become immortals and obtain the power to cure disease without taking any medicine. Falun Gong also deliberately deifies and dissimilates Li Hongzhi, wantonly spreads his fallacies, and causes evil consequences to society. In this sense, Falun Gong is a non-belief cult much more vicious than any other social crimes.”
Falun Gong belittles, blasphemes and despises existing religions.
Li Hongzhi said: “The current religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism, etc…are no longer capable of saving people…they are low-level things.”
“Right now I’m the only person in the world who is publicly spreading a true teaching.” “I can save all human beings to the bright world and I am Savior of the world standing higher than Sakyamuni, Lao Zi and Jesus Christ.”
“In today's human society, no religion can enable people's minds and humanity's moral standards to re-ascend. Those involved with religion know this too, yet there is nothing at all they can do about it...At present, none of the upright religions have gods overseeing them anymore, and the people in those religions are fighting for money, profit, and status.” (Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia)
“Many of the world’s true religions can no longer save people…Original religions can no longer save people, having entered the Age of Law's End.” (Zhuan Falun Vol.Ⅱ)
“Buddhism’s Law doesn’t cover the entire Buddha Law – it’s just a tiny little part of Buddha Law.” (Zhuan Falun)
“The Daoist school practices solitary cultivation; the Daoist religion should not exist.” (Zhuan Falun Vol.Ⅱ)
“It’s just that it is completely in the midst of kalpa’s end and the Dharma ending period, and people today now understand the doctrines incorrectly. It’s just that I don’t see any Asians in Jesus’ Heavenly Kingdom. Back in the times of Jesus and Jehovah, they didn’t allow their religion to be spread to the East.” (Teaching the Fa and Answering Questions in Yanji)
“Sakyamuni required his disciples to have their heads shaved and put on kasayas. The disciples of Jesus entered monasteries. I can tell you that the reason they did that was because the Fa they preached was lesser. They couldn’t save people without such requirements.” (Lecture at the First Conference in North America)
“Christianity takes the cross as the symbol of God, the sign of the heavenly kingdom, and the symbol of Christ. That’s the biggest disrespect to gods...The cross is placed on graves, it truly represents death – not a god...Christianity has used the image of Jesus suffering on the cross as its symbol. That is something gods cannot tolerate – they absolutely can’t tolerate it!” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe)
“A Christian's religious practice will be in vain.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Singapore)
Furthermore, Li Hongzhi feels great enmity towards existing religions. And he calls on his followers to disintegrate completely the traditional religions which obstruct the propagation of Falun Gong.
In February 2007, repeatedly criticized by the religious circles, Li Hongzhi flied into a rage and wrote a “lection” titled Disintegrate Completely All the Meddling Deities in the Three Realms that Have a Hand in Interfering with Fa-Rectification，stating: “Among them are so-called ‘gods’ who control the major religions of man...No matter what outward appearance their existence may assume, whether they assume a form or not, what level they may be, or whose appearance they may take on, completely disintegrate and eliminate them all...especially when it comes to those meddling gods that control religions and are hostile towards Fa-rectification and Dafa disciples’ saving of sentient beings: disintegrate them completely.”
In China, the freedom of religious belief is a basic legitimate right of all Chinese citizens, and protected by Constitution and laws. This is clearly documented in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
Article 36 of the Constitution states: “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organizations or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.” It continues: “The state protest normal religious activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state.” The Regulation on Religious Affairs promulgated by the State Council also stresses that, legitimate rights and interests of religious organizations, spots and citizens, as well as normal religious activities are protected by law.
Both words and deeds of Li Hongzhi and his cult infringe upon the legitimate right of Chinese citizens, and are utterly opposed to principles mentioned above and in violation of laws.
Falun Gong deprives its followers of their freedom of religious belief.
Falun Gong claims to be the only upright Fa and deprives its followers of their freedom of religious belief under the name of “no second discipline.”
Li Hongzhi said: “Right now I’m the only person in the world who is publicly spreading a true teaching.” (Zhuan Falun)
“If I can’t save you nobody can.” (Zhuan Falun)
“We teach that in cultivation you need to commit to one discipline. It doesn’t matter which cultivation you do, you shouldn’t mix in other things and cultivate thoughtlessly…Cultivation is a serious matter, and you have to commit to one discipline.” (Zhuan Falun)
“When spreading Dafa you should no longer mention at all what you learned previously, because you have already made a clean break with it. It doesn’t belong to you, and it’s not a part of what you want to attain.” (Lecture at the First Conference in North America)
Li Hongzhi inveigles his followers into giving up belief in other religions and concentrating on Falun Gong practice.
Li Hongzhi said: “Such as Buddhas, the Western God Jesus Christ, and even Yahweh,” “the Fa they preached was lesser.” “Regardless of which religion a person chooses and how well he cultivates…it’s only of 16 or 18-carat gold,” “no longer of solid gold.” (Lecture at the First Conference in North America)
“It won’t do if you have your feet in two boats at the same time,” “it’s damaging both cultivation systems.” “The master of neither side will look after you.” (Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa)
“When spreading Dafa to the public, all Falun Dafa disciples can only use the statement, ‘Shifu Li Hongzhi has taught that…’ or ‘Shifu Li Hongzhi says…’ You are strictly forbidden to use what you experience, see, or know, or to use things from other practices, as if they were Li Hongzhi’s Dafa. Otherwise, what would be promoted would not be Falun Dafa and it would amount to harming Falun Dafa.” (The Great Consummation Way of Falun Dafa)
Li Hongzhi emphasizes that Falun Gong followers may regard other religions as jobs, not beliefs; they have no other alternative but believe in Falun Gong.
“Let me tell you that your work in Christianity is only a job. You can work there, for sure. I don’t regard the current religions as cultivation anyway. I treat them as religious professions that are no longer capable of saving people. That’s because they truly have become professions, not cultivation. All the same, to make sure you can truly improve and that I can take you home, I ask you to concentrate on only one cultivation way. That is definitely beneficial for you. I have spelled out the subject of ‘no second discipline’ in Zhuan Falun. This Fa is immense, but even so, you’re still mixing things into it. Even mixing in low-level things is unacceptable, and doing so will mess up the body you cultivate with and everything you’ve developed by cultivating, and you won’t be able to return home. You would be sabotaging your own path of advancement.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe)
On May 3, 1999, a Falun Gong practitioner asked Li Hongzhi: “I have religious beliefs and don’t want to give them up. According to the requirement of Dafa, one must stick to a single cultivation. It’s hard for me to choose between Dafa and religion. Please tell me what I should do.”
Li answered: “At present, none of the upright religions have gods overseeing them anymore, and the people in those religions are fighting for money, profit, and status. Why people believe in religion is a big question. I have explained these principles very clearly. ”
Falun Gong advocates “further advancement,” and forbids its followers to believe in or read books on other religions. Li repeatedly asks Falun Gong practitioners to read, recite and even copy his scriptures and other teachings as much as possible. As a result, the minds of practitioners are full of Falun Gong fallacies, making them lose the ability to choose a religious belief.
Falun Gong threatens that those who dare to quit Falun Gong won’t be able to return home, they are “demons” and will be eliminated or destroyed “flesh and soul.”
Li Hongzhi said, those who “have had a negative effect on Dafa,” would “have been weeded out.” (Towards Consummation)
“During the Fa-Rectification, life and death depend on a flashing of idea about Dafa in the mind.” (The Solemn Instructions)
“I’ve discussed the matter of ‘no second cultivation way.’ If one can’t focus on cultivating Dafa exclusively, one cannot reach Consummation in our Dafa.” (Lecture at the First Conference in North America)
“This Fa is immense, but even so, you're still mixing things into it. Even mixing in low-level things is unacceptable, and doing so will mess up the body you cultivate with and everything you've developed by cultivating, and you won't be able to return home. You would be sabotaging your own path of advancement.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe)
“Being attached to anything outside the Fa will make you fail halfway through.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe)
“No matter who you are, if I can’t save you today, you will be a ghost in hell!” (Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York)
“The Fa itself would send our Fa-Safeguarding Gods or other high-level beings to destroy them.” (Teaching the Fa at the Assistants’ Fa Conference in Changchun)
“After this test, all bad beings will be destroyed by God.” (Eliminating the Evil)
“Once you are reduced to the level of an everyday person, no one will protect you and demons will also take your life. It’s even useless to seek protection from other Buddhas, Daos, and Gods, as they won’t protect someone who undermines the Fa. What’s more, your karma will also be returned to your body.” (Essentials for Further Advancement)