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Why do we say that Falun Gong usurps the name of qigong?

2007-08-23 Author:Li Jie

Falun Gong is a cult developed by Li Hongzhi in the guise of a Qigong organization. It is not Qigong at all, as it runs counter to the aims and practices of Qigong, which is a method purely for promoting physical health and mental serenity.

If we review the career of Li Hongzhi, we can clearly see that Li Hongzhi takes a pragmatist attitude: Now he claims to be promoting Qigong; now he savagely slanders Qigong. In the early 1990s, Li Hongzhi, unemployed, started to learn Qigong. After two months' practice, he fabricated his background, called himself a master of Qigong, defrauded people of their money in the name of Qigong, and developed his organization and expanded his influence by exploiting people's longing to improve their health and cure diseases. After the Falun Gong organization gained a certain influence and strength, Li Hongzhi, whose political ambition began to grow, tried every means to exalt himself, wildly declaring that "at present, only I, alone in the world, teach people to practice 'gong' (merit or energy) at a higher level." At the same time, he poured scorn on Qigong, saying, "All Qigong is false."

Li Hongzhi's essential purpose is to unify the world under himself, using "Falun Dafa," and become the patriarch, or the supreme ruler of the universe. Therefore, after he built his organization and amassed a large amount of money in the name of Qigong, Li "removed the bridge after crossing the river" as the popular saying goes, and declared that Falun Gong was not Qigong.

As everyone knows, Qigong is a system for improving health based on traditional Chinese culture. It follows the principle of traditional Chinese medicine and carries out overall self-regulation through bodily movements and the application of "yinian" (will, idea, or mind concentration), aiming at improving people's physical and mental health, and promoting self-cultivation and recovery. Falun Gong and normal health-enhancing Qigong are different in essence.

Different Purposes Qigong aims at improving people's physical and mental health through exercises. But Falun Gong is a tool used by Li Hongzhi to develop his cult organization, control its practitioners' thinking and amass money. Li Hongzhi declares that the "Falun world" is a world at a higher level in space, and that he will take all Falun Gong practitioners to that world. This fictitious "Falun world" does not exist at all. His purpose is to lead all practitioners to the cult world under his "rule."

Different Theoretical Bases Proceeding from traditional Chinese medicine and drawing sustenance from China's excellent health-building theories, Qigong improves the human body's Qi (internal circulation of the life force) and blood structure through mental disciplines, while stressing Qigong's material base. Health-building Qigong takes scientific theories as guidance in terms of theories, and practice methods and movements, and is generally related to the ideas of "qi" and "yinian," including various forms, such as inhaling, exhaling and guiding. Li Hongzhi's "Falun Dafa" is actually a collection of heretical ideas fabricated by plagiarizing a large number of terms from Buddhism and Qigong.

Different Means and Methods After practitioners have been taught the theory of Qigong and how to practice it, they then practice by themselves, without any supernatural factors intervening. But Li Hongzhi has said that Falun Gong is neither Qigong, nor Buddhism, but cultivation. The "cultivation" advocated by Li Hongzhi refers to reciting the cult's "scripture books" and "scripture texts." Falun Gong denies the benefit of physical exercises, because Li Hongzhi has said that "those who only do exercises, but do not study 'fa' (law) are not true disciples of 'Buddhist law."' Falun Gong also denies the benefit of the practice of Qi. Li Hongzhi says, "We don't practice Qi. We don't need to do exercises at a lower level." As a matter of fact, he does not want people to study true health-enhancing techniques. Moreover, Falun Gong denies the use of "yinian." "Here I don't say anything about 'yinian' activities; and 'Falun Dafa' does not include any 'yinian' activities." Fundamentally, Falun Gong has nothing to do with Qigong, which aims at improving people's health through scientific ways.

Different Methods of Activity Health-building Qigong is a normal activity started by practitioners in an orderly way under the administration of the relevant state department and in accordance with the relevant laws. Falun Gong started its activities with the founding of a cult organization from top to bottom. Li Hongzhi controls the organization personally, allowing no one to deviate from his control even slightly. He has threatened to dismiss any instruction center chief from his or her post instantly in case of any deviation whatsoever from his instructions --"Otherwise there will be no end of trouble in the future." Before he went abroad, Li Hongzhi, fearing that the Falun Gong organization might slip out of his control, gathered the heads of instruction centers and told them: "When I am away, all matters will be decided by the Research Society of 'Falun Gong' in a unified way. It will lead all practitioners in the practice of 'Falun Gong."' In addition, Falun Gong refuses to be administered and led by the relevant government department, on the excuse that Falun Gong is neither Qigong nor Buddhism. Li Hongzhi ordered all the cult's instruction centers: "In principle, local Qigong research societies, research societies of human body sciences and Qigong associations cannot participate in our leading work."

Different Results Qigong can help practitioners improve their health, but it is made clear that Qigong's effects are limited. So Qigong never tries to stop practitioners from consulting doctors when they are ill. Though Falun Gong stresses again and again that it will lead people to a higher level, and help them "dispel karma," the results show that, because Falun Gong has no scientific basis, a large number of practitioners have become mentally deranged. As Li Hongzhi claims that illness is "karma," and that practitioners can get rid of "karma" through reading his books, saying "through reading my books, you will acquire 'gong' and 'fa' to help you get rid of 'karma,' many practitioners who suffered from illnesses and believed what Li Hongzhi had said died because they delayed seeking medical treatment. What is even more outrageous is the fact that Li Hongzhi, rather than show any sympathy for such unfortunate people, used their tragic deaths to intimidate other practitioners, saying that they died because they had not followed his instructions. "In recent years, some practitioners have died. The reason why they died was that they had not acted according to my words." Does Li Hongzhi have normal human feelings?

(Compiled by New Star Publishers, Dec., 1999)