On April 25, 1999, the gathering of over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners outside Zhongnanhai shocked the world. It aroused the attention of all walks of life in the society, and particularly that of the Party Central Committee and the government. In July, the nature of Falun Gong was finally determined by the Central Government as an illegal organization, and relevant government departments took firm measures in cracking down Falun Gong organizations. Since July 22, people from all trades and the medias started a high-powered movement of exposing and criticizing Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong. All these were to the great satisfaction of the people. And our Buddhist circle is resolutely support the wise decision of the Central Government on cracking down the illegal organization Falun Gong.
Actually, as early as in 1996, the Buddhist circle in China took the lead in the in-depth and firm exposure and criticism of Falun Gong. Since its establishment in 1992, Falun Gong developed rapidly. By holding up the "highest Buddhadharma", Li Hongzhi taught his "Gong" through training sessions, boasting about mysteries and immortality and trumpeting feudal superstitions. His willful distortion, defamation and utilization of Buddhism caused the attention as well as great dissatisfaction of the Buddhist circle long before.
In 1996, several articles criticizing Falun Gong were first published in "Taizhou Buddhism", a monthly publication sponsored by the Buddhist Association of Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, such as "Turning the Falun - an Evil Scripture destroying People's Life of Wisdom" by Zhi Jue (5th issue 1996), "What Kind of Book is Turning Falun(the wheel of law) - Commenting on Li Hongzhi as well" by Liu Jihan (6th issue 1996), "Turning Falun is a Bad Book Slandering Buddhadharma" by Zhang Bingquan and "Turning Falun in the Proper Way" by Lu Shouzhong (7th issue 1996), "Falun Gong is an Evil Cult in the Disguise of Buddhism" by Jin Gangjian, "How did Falun Turn on the head of Lei Feng" by the Buddhist College of Tianning Temple of Changzhou, and "Falun Gong is no Buddhism" by Wu Xin etc. of Changchun (8th issue 1996), and "On the Double faces of Li Hongzhi" by Wang Wenhui (12th issue 1996), etc. At the same time, some people in the Buddhist circle, including Master Miao Hua, Kulapati Zheng Songying, and Kulapati Chen Xingqiao, also reported the Falun Gong issue to relevant government departments through various ways, expressing the rage in the Buddhist circle toward the distortion and utilization of Buddhism by Falun Gong.
Kulapati Chen Xingqiao, vice secretary-general of the Buddhist Association of Harbin at the time, once listened to the preaching of Li Hongzhi about the fallacies and absurdities of "Falun Dafa" at the ice hockey stadium of Harbin in 1994. He discovered that, while declaring that Falun Gong was the highest Buddhadharma and indicating that his power was superior to Sakyamuni and all other sages, Li Hongzhi was totally ignorant of Buddhadharma and made mistakes about the basic knowledge of Buddhism. For instance, Li took Buddha and Tathagata as two different levels of enlightenment; he interpreted the three realms in Buddhism (the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm) as the heavenly realm, the earthly realm, and the humanly realm (which is a theory of Shamanism); he arrogated to have innumerable dharmakayas (according to Buddhism dharmakaya is not differentiated by number); he gave color to ridiculous arguments such as the "explosion of the earth"; and he claimed that those who believed in Falun Gong would never become ill. However, just at that time, a practitioner over 50, who specially came from Jinzhou, Liaoning Province to listen to his preach, was taken in and attended his class while being sick, and later died just outside the meeting place. Before his death, his daughter pleaded to Li Hongzhi to save him, but Li Hongzhi said he usually did not treat patients, and in any case, the man was there too late. Li Hongzhi charged 53 Yuan for each ticket of his speech in Harbin. With an audience of about 4000, he earned over 200,000 Yuan. Kulapati Chen Xingqiao was very angry with the irresponsible and deceptive acts of Li Hongzhi intended to fool the public. He specially bought a set of books of Li Hongzhi, studied them thoroughly, and wrote a lengthy criticizing article, "Discovering the True Colors of Falun Gong - a New Folk Religion" in 1996. This article, by analyzing the relationship between Falun Gong and Qigong, Buddhism, science, and folk religions, revealed in depth the double trick of Li Hongzhi in destroying Qigong and practicing crooked means in the disguise of Qigong, distorting and defaming Buddhism in the disguise of Buddhadharma, and opposing science in the disguise of science, and concluded that Falun Gong was in fact a new type of folk religion, and was a cult as against Buddhism. The article thoroughly analyzed the causes of the formation of Falun Gong and its harms, with the hope that the relevant state departments would pay more attention to the Falun Gong cult and take firm actions.
Zhao Puchu, president of the Buddhist Association of China, agreed to publish this article after reading it, and asked to publish another article about true Buddhist "Qigong". So the article was published in the 2nd issue of 1997 of "Research Update" of the Buddhist Association of China, causing the attention of the Buddhist circle and relevant parties. At the same time, Kulapati Chen Xingqiao also wrote another article entitled "Introduction to Buddhist Qigong", explaining the true nature of "Buddhist Qigong" from a positive aspect. It was serialized on the "Voice of Dharma" from the fourth to seventh issues in 1997 and was welcomed by the readers.
Since 1997, articles criticizing Falun Gong were published on local Buddhist publications including Shanghai Buddhism and Guangdong Buddhism etc. Moreover, among the Buddhist circle of Shanghai, articles positively introducing Buddhist "Qigong" and those revealing and criticizing Falun Gong were compiled into "A Collection of Destroying Evil and Exhibiting Orthodoxy" to be circulated within the Buddhist circle. In January 1998, a special forum was held by the Buddhist Association of China on the Falun Gong issue. After making rather in-depth analysis and revelation, leaders of the Buddhist Association and experts and scholars attending the forum concluded that Falun Gong was imitating Buddhism in some way and was a heathendom attaching itself to Buddhadharma. It was a pure cult from the point of view of Buddhism. The minutes of the forum was sorted out and published on "News and Information" of the Buddhist Association of China. At the same time, the Association submitted the materials exposing Falun Gong to relevant government departments, thus both stabilizing the Buddhists and helping the government understand the truth of Falun Gong.
In 1998, in the 3rd and 4th issues of the "Voice of Dharma", an article written by Kulapati Chen Xingqiao, "Falun Gong-- a Heathendom attaching to Buddhism with the characteristics of folk religion", was published, which received great feedback in and outside the Buddhist circle. The article was re-published on many local Buddhist publications. After that, Kulapati Chen Xingqiao compiled the articles that positively introducing Buddhist "Qigong" as well as those revealing and criticizing Falun Gong into a book, "Buddhist Qigong and Falun Gong". The book was published by Religion and Culture Publishing House, and Wu Limin, head of China Research Institute of Buddhist Culture, prefaced the book. This was the only openly published book that revealed and criticized Falun Gong before Falun Gong was cracked down by the government. Since its publication in June 1998, it was welcomed by the Buddhist circle as well as by other relevant parties. In order to break through the domination of Falun Gong" on the Internet, some Kulapatis uploaded the book onto the Internet, and, particularly, articles in the book were republished by websites at home and abroad after the gathering of Falun Gong practitioners outside Zhongnanhai. The book played a very positive role in helping people see through the evil nature of Falun Gong and inhibiting its evil development. However, Falun Gong organization was panicked. On the one hand, they conveyed secret messages that there appeared a book "slandering" Falun Gong, and no one was allowed to buy it or read it; a Falun Gong station in certain place even tried to raise fund among the practitioners for mass purchase of the books and burn them. On the other hand, they arranged people to write to Li Ruihuan, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Zhao Puchu, president of the Buddhist Association of China, and other departments, asking to punish people responsible in the Buddhist Association of China and the Voice of Dharma Press, and also organized some people to report problems with Religion and Culture Publishing House and the Voice of Dharma Press. Statistics showed that Religion and Culture Publishing House and the Buddhist Association of China received about 300 letters of accusation respectively. The publishing of articles criticizing Falun Gong in the Voice of Dharma and the publishing of the book "Buddhist Qigong and Falun Gong" proved to have played a positive role when Falun Gong was most rampant in the country in revealing the evil nature of Falun Gong, reflecting the aspirations of the religious circle and honest people, and inhibiting the evil development of Falun Gong.
Now the Central Government has defined Falun Gong" as an illegal organization and cracked it down. Such is very necessary and just in time. It is to the great satisfaction of the people and the Buddhist circle cannot be more ready to support and uphold this decision. On July 22, people in charge of different religious groups in China held a forum in Beijing, expressing their rage and thoroughly exposing the evil acts of Falun Gong in distorting, slandering, and utilizing religions, cheating and fooling the public, and illegal gathering and attacking news media and party and government organizations. They also expressed their unanimous support for the wise decision concerning the Falun Gong issue made by the Central Government.
Zhao Puchu, president of the Buddhist Association of China, has always been supportive of the revelation and criticism of Falun Gong in the Buddhist circle. He was very pleased to hear that the Central Government defined Falun Gong as an illegal organization and decided to crack it down. Though diseased, he still made a speech about Falun Gong issue at hospital on August 1, declaring his definite support for the decision of the Central Government to deal with Falun Gong the illegal organization. He said that this decision is very necessary, very timely, and definitely correct. This is a great deed that satisfies the people, eliminating a big disaster for the people, erasing a big trouble for the country, cutting off a big cancer for the society, cleaning off a big obstacle for science, and clearing off the biggest and most harmful attaching heathendom for Buddhism. This is a great success in the front of politics and ideology of our party and our country.
According to Master Zhao, the Buddhist Association of China had become aware of the problem of Falun Gong long ago, for in the disguise of Buddhadharma, it cheated the society and fooled the public by stealing Buddhist terms. To Buddhism, it is a cult, or an evil practice. Falun Gong is no Buddhadharma. It is completely adverse to Buddhism, to the religious circle, and to the state policy of freedom in religious belief. We the religious circle should be specifically vigilant to this kind of fallacies and absurdities, leaving it no opportunity to stirring up troubles.
On August 2, a forum for exposing and criticizing Falun Gong by the Buddhist circle was held in Beijing. The meeting was chaired by Master Jing Hui, vice president of the Buddhist Association of China, and Master Sheng Hui, member of the Standing Committee of CPPCC and vice president of the Buddhist Association of China, Master Jue Xing, vice president of the Buddhist Association of Shanghai, Master Chuan Yin, president of the Buddhist Association of Beijing, Lama Jamyang Nyngyai, majordomo of Beijing Yonghegong Lamasery, Master Yan Jue, supervisor of Guang Ji Temple, and Kulapati Chen Xingqiao, director of the editorial office of the Voice of Dharma, made speeches one after another, firmly supporting the decision of the Central Government and the Party Central Committee to crack down the illegal organization Falun Gong while thoroughly exposing the absurdity and harms of the fallacies of Li Hongzhi, regarding it as an illegal organization with the characteristics of a cult. They said that the development of the Buddhist circle itself should be strengthened and the general makings of the Buddhists should be improved to consciously fighting cults and illegal organizations such as Falun Gong, thus firmly taking a road that is adapted to the socialist society. Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of National People's Congress, and Jamyang Lobsang Gyurme Tubdain Qoggyi Nyima, vice president of the Buddhist Association of China, made written speeches.
From the above introduction, it is not difficult to see that the Buddhist circle was the most seriously distorted, utilized, and undermined field by Falun Gong. Therefore, with regard to the question of Falun Gong, the Buddhist circle had always taken a clear-cut stand and was the earliest and most powerful in revealing and criticizing it.
(World of Buddhism, May 29, 2008)