The Self-contradictions in Li Hongzhi's Statements about Illness
Yan Cao [+]
Wuhan University, China
Li Hongzhi, leader of Falun Gong, asserts that medicine does not touch the source of illness, which is karma. All that medicine achieves is to drive bad karma back into the body, thus delaying the maturation of the “bitter fruits” of disease. With this in mind, Li recommends that his disciples relinquish medical therapy and simply bear the suffering of illness. Li also insists that alternative practices like Qigong cannot be used to eliminate illness and bad karma; it is only Li himself who has the divine power to rid his disciples of their ailments. Additionally, Li indicates that he has the power to reintroduce bad karma to his disciples’ bodies if they do not properly follow his doctrine. In “The Self-contradictions in Li Hongzhi’s Statements about Illness,” Cao Yan asks, how can the contradictions in Li’s claims be resolved? Can he uphold his contention that he can totally eliminate bad karma if he also asserts that he can cause it to return to people? Such a statement implies that this karma was never completely removed in the first place; if it has ceased to exist, then surely it cannot be returned. It is argued here that Li’s words are more than mere statements about illness; they are also used as a tool to facilitate control over his followers, as revealed in these contradictions.