The Buddha Fa and Buddhism 

Many people think of Buddhism whenever Buddha is mentioned. Actually, Buddhism is only one form of the Buddha Fa’s manifestations in the human world. The Buddha Fa also manifests itself in other ways in the human world. In other words, Buddhism cannot represent the entire Buddha Fa.

Not everything in Buddhism was taught by Buddha Sakyamuni. There are other forms of Buddhism in the world that do not revere Buddha Sakyamuni as their master. In fact, some have nothing to do with Buddha Sakyamuni. For example, what the Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism worships is the Great Sun Tathagata, and it regards Buddha Sakyamuni as a Buddha Law Body of the Great Sun Tathagata. With Milerepa[1] as its object of worship, the White Sect of Tibetan Buddhism has nothing to do with Buddha Sakyamuni, nor does it mention Sakyamuni’s Buddhism. Their believers during that time did not even know the name of Buddha Sakyamuni, let alone who Buddha Sakyamuni was. Other sects of Tibetan Buddhism have each understood Buddha Sakyamuni differently. Theravada has always regarded itself as the orthodox Buddhism taught by Buddha Sakyamuni, for it has indeed inherited, in terms of form, the cultivation method used in the era of Buddha Sakyamuni. It has kept the original precepts and dress, and it worships only Buddha Sakyamuni. Chinese Buddhism was altered before it was introduced in China. The cultivation method was altered drastically, with the worship of many Buddhas instead of Buddha Sakyamuni alone. In the meantime, the precepts have doubled in number and the rites of ancient China’s folk religions have been incorporated. During their religious ceremonies, Chinese musical instruments—such as wooden fish, bells, gongs and drums—have been used, and they have changed the style of their clothes to that of ancient Chinese folk dress. It was renamed “Mahayana,” and has become considerably different from Buddha Sakyamuni’s early Buddhism. Therefore, Theravada at that time did not recognize Mahayana as Sakyamuni’s Buddhism.

I mentioned the above in order to address the relationship between the Buddha Fa and Buddhism in the context of Buddhism. Now let me discuss it from a historical perspective. In Western society, among the unearthed relics of ancient Greek culture, the  symbol was also discovered. In fact, in the remote ages before Noah’s Flood, people also worshipped Buddha. At the time of the Flood, some people of ancient Greek ancestry living in western Asia and the region to the southwest of the Himalayas survived. They were then called “Brahmans,” and they became today’s White Indians. As a matter of fact, Brahmanism worshipped Buddha initially. It had inherited the tradition of revering Buddha from the ancient Greeks who, at that time, called Buddhas “gods.” About a thousand years later, Brahmanism began its transfiguration, just like the alterations of Buddhism in modern Mahayana, the alterations in Tibetan Buddhism, the alterations in Japanese Buddhism, and so on. Over a thousand years after that in ancient India, Brahmanism began its Dharma-Ending period. People started to worship crooked things rather than Buddha. At that time Brahman people no longer believed in Buddha. Instead, what they worshipped were all demons. Killing and sacrificing animals as ritual worship took place. By the time Buddha Sakyamuni was born, Brahmanism had already become a completely evil religion. This is not to say that Buddha had changed, but that the religion had become evil. Among the remaining cultural relics from ancient India, one can still find statues in the mountain caves from early Brahmanism. The carved statues of gods all resemble the images of Buddhas. They can also be found in Buddhism among the Buddha sculptures in China. For instance, in several major caves there are statues of two seated Buddhas facing each other, etc. Buddha was still Buddha—it was the religion that had become evil. Religion does not represent God(s) or Buddha. It was the depravity of the human heart that deformed the religion. 

All of this shows that the Buddha Fa is eternal and that the Buddha Fa is the nature of the universe. It is the mighty Buddha Fa that creates Buddhas, and not Buddha Sakyamuni that created the Buddha Fa. Buddha Sakyamuni enlightened to the Buddha Fa, enlightening up to the level of his Attainment Status. 

Let me make a few more remarks in terms of this cycle of human civilization. Did you know that Dao is one kind of god; Buddha is another kind of god; Yahweh, Jesus, and St. Mary are also one kind of god? Their Attainment Status and bodily forms vary as a result of differences in their cultivation objectives and in their understandings of the universe’s Dafa. It is the Buddha Fa that created the immense cosmic body, and not these Buddhas, Daos, and Gods. This much is known to human beings. How much more remains unknown to mankind is still enormous! Didn’t Buddha Sakyamuni once say that with respect to Tathagata Buddhas alone, they are as many as the grains of sand in the Ganges river? Could these Buddhas' teachings be the same as the Dharma taught by Buddha Sakyamuni? Could the teachings they would give, if and when they came to human society, match the Dharma taught by Buddha Sakyamuni word for word? Did the six Buddhas before Buddha Sakyamuni teach the Dharma Buddha Sakyamuni taught? It is mentioned in Buddhism that the future Buddha, Buddha Maitreya, will come to this human world to preach his teachings. Will he then repeat Buddha Sakyamuni’s words? I feel sad to find Buddhism today having reached this stage, being foolishly obsessed with religion itself, rather than actually practicing cultivation. Hypocrites and religious scoundrels are seriously corrupting both the cultivation places and monks. On second thought, this is not so surprising. Buddha Sakyamuni actually once talked about the situation in the Dharma-Ending period. How different is modern Buddhism from Brahmanism in its later period?

At present, I come to this world to teach the Fa once again—to directly teach the fundamental Fa of the universe. Some people do not dare to admit this fact—not because they are concerned about their own cultivation, but rather for the purpose of protecting religion itself or because they allow their ordinary human emotions to get in the way. They equate religion with Buddha. There are others who object, using their ordinary human thinking, because their prominence in Buddhism is challenged. Is this a small attachment? Those with ulterior motives who dare to even slander the Buddha Fa and Buddhas, they have already become ghosts in hell. It is just that their lives on earth are not over yet. They always consider themselves to be some sort of scholars of religion. Yet how much do they really know about the Buddha Fa! Oftentimes, as soon as Buddha is mentioned, they immediately relate it to Buddhism; as soon as the Buddha School is mentioned, they think that it is the Buddhism of their denomination; as soon as the Buddha Fa is mentioned, they regard it as what they know. There are many people around the world who practice cultivation deep in the mountains for a long time. Many of them practice cultivation by following different cultivation ways in the Buddha School, which have been passed down for hundreds of years. They have nothing to do with Sakyamuni’s religion. For those religious scoundrels who are not even clear about these concepts or terms, what kind of qualifications do they have to criticize Falun Dafa? In the past, Jesus’s appearance upset Judaism. Two thousand five hundred years ago, Sakyamuni’s appearance shook Brahmanism. It seems that people can never learn positive lessons from history. Instead, they always learn from negative lessons for the sake of their own self-interests. In the universe, there is the law of formation, stasis, and degeneration. Nothing is constant and without change. There are Buddhas in different historical periods who come to this world to save people. History develops in this way. Mankind in the future will also hear of the Buddha Fa.  

Li Hongzhi

December 17, 1998

[1] Milerepa—the founder of the White Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.