The Doctrine of Li Hongzhi: Falun Gong - Between Sectarianism and Universal Salvation
David A. Palmer [+]
University of Hong Kong
This article proposes a brief analysis of the doctrine of Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Gong. Four main themes dominate the master’s writings: (1) an apocalyptic theme, stressing the moral decadence of humanity and the omnipresence of the forces of evil. Extra-terrestrials are infiltrating themselves in the body of humanity through modern science, the great enemy of virtue; the Buddhist prophecy of the imminent destruction of the world and inauguration of a new universal cycle, is close to being fulfilled. (2) An exhortation to rigorous spiritual discipline, calling on followers to purify their hearts of all attachment to the things of this world. The gods have abandoned the orthodox religions of the past, which have already completely lost the spirit of the true Dharma. (3) A messianic theme: Li Hongzhi is the omniscient and omnipotent savior of the entire universe. He has revealed, for the first time in history, the fundamental Law of the universe, which is the only protection against the apocalypse. (4) A sectarian practice: Li Hongzhi’s adepts must concentrate exclusively on Falun Gong; it is forbidden to read or even think about any other religion, philosophy, or school of thought or of Qigong. They must devote themselves heart and soul to Falun Gong’s psycho-physiological discipline; the perceptions and visions triggered by this practice are attributed to Li Hongzhi’s supernatural power.