Falun Gong practitioners have long been struggling between the fantasy of "completion" and "flying up to Heaven in the daytime" and rational thinking of normal human beings. These contradictory mentalities can lead to schizophrenia, which is one of the hazards of cults. It is also one of the main reasons for their obsession. As a volunteer, I have been exposed to a number of Falun Gong practitioners and helped them overcome their difficulties and restore their normal thinking, psychology and feelings. Here is an example to illustrate how to use both mental and psychological methods to help the practitioners transform their thinking.
Aunt Chen, in her 60s, is a native of Luogang District of Guangzhou. She practiced Falun Gong from 1998, but quit practicing after Falun Gong was banned in China. However, due to Chen Yi's merely superficial understanding of the cult, combined with repeated illness and family trouble, she picked up practicing Falun Gong again. As her neighbor, I was worried and talked to her.
Fickle thinking of Aunt Chen
Aunt Chen was very kind to me in the beginning, but when I talked about Falun Gong, her attitude became resistant. "I feel comfortable after practicing. Can you help me to get better?” I smiled and said: "Certainly, if you are not feeling good, it is necessary to go to the hospital to check, instead of just staying at home. Your own diagnosis might not be accurate and any delay in treatment of illnesses can cause trouble.” I registered her for a physical examination and accompanied her to the hospital. My compassion touched her a little.
After we returned, she talked to me about her three-year-old grandson, with a happy smile on her face. All of a sudden, she turned angry and said, “What does it have to do with me? I will die someday and never see him again. I’d be better off taking care of myself.” Then within less than a minute, she changed her mind, saying “What about the family?” Her eyes were filled with tears at the moment. I tried to talk about what I thought of Falun Gong. Hearing that, she rebuked me by ssaying, “You should go on a CCTV talk show. Why are you talking to me?” I realized I had gone too far and that she deliberately belittled me by being ironic. To avoid further confrontation, I changed the topic to something casual in the hope that she would not feel pressed and tell me her inner ideas.
Through several conversations, I found that the root cause of Aunt Chen’s obsession with Falun Gong was "believing in Falun Gong to achieve completeness", which is the same as the overwhelming majority of addicts. This is the commonality of Falun Gong followers. Due to a low level of education, shallow understanding and a moody personality, she was deceived by Falun Gong. She struggled between the spiritual control of the cult and rational thinking. The result was that sometimes she enjoyed her family's warmth, and at other times she only wanted to "successfully fly to the heavenly world" with a Falun Gong thinking. This contradiction of thinking caused her inner torment, which would eventually lead her personality to split and could cause schizophrenia. Knowing this, I decided to adopt a two-pronged approach of thinking and psychological rectification to solve the problem of her split personality. In terms of her thinking, I compared normal thinking with Falun Gong's erroneous thinking to make her realize the contradiction of the cult, prevent her from falling into its trap again and restore the rational thinking of a normal person. Psychologically, I tried to sooth her so that she felt her future life would be full of sunshine and hope, and find an outlet for her negative feelings to guide her to adjust her mentality.
I learned that Chen Yi had previously been a believer in Buddhism. Then I thought of using the compassion of Buddhism as an introduction and foundation of my persuasion. I asked her why she believed in Buddhism before, and then why did she no longer believed in Buddhism and turned to Falun Gong. She said that when she was young, to escape family conflicts, she often went to the temple to play. The quiet atmosphere attracted her and in 1987 she was converted to Buddhism. But at that time she only knew to read "Amitabha". Her reading of Buddhist scriptures also just remained at the level of oral chanting, without any in-depth understanding of Buddhism. Although she participated in a lot of Buddhist activities, and spent a certain amount of time and money, she still belonged to the superstitious type of Buddhists. In 1997, because of family misfortune, she thought her worship of Buddhism was useless, and she even threw away some figures of Buddha. After that, some buddies who were Buddhists came to her, but she was not willing to talk to them. In 1998, she came into contact with Falun Gong and felt that Falun Gong had two advantages: ① to get rid of illness and keep fit; ② to be safe and achieve completeness. So she started practicing it.
After talking for two days, she had a clear understanding of my intention. I introduced her to some of the basic concepts of Dharma to let her know that Falun Gong made a lot of distorted slander of Buddhism, and she was very interested. At this time, I let Aunt Chen log on to kaiwind.com. She looked surprised, saying "Li Hongzhi really lied to me!" I said: "You are being capricious now. Do you think it is good?” She thought to herself, “Well, I feel that I have been strange. My family also think I am not being normal. "I then asked:" Who caused it?” She was stunned. After a minute or two, she said, "Is it Li Hongzhi?" I realized it was the right time and answered "Yes. He let you fall into this kind of trap. Buddhism stresses the integration of being a man and self-cultivation, 'Man is Buddha!' Because Falun Gong is an evil law, a "practitioner of Falun Gong" will appear in this way, and this will be irreconcilable. Whether you want to be a normal person, or you want to follow the right belief, you can no longer practice Falun Gong.”
After hearing my explanation, she felt awakened. When I talked about the principles of Buddhism, she showed great interest and willingness to learn. I continued, “If you want to learn Buddhism, you have to get rid of Falun Gong. Otherwise you will never understand the true meaning of Buddhism.” She thought for a moment and told me that she agreed. Then I talked about the thought of Dependent Origination. To my surprise, she suddenly began to cry. I knew that she was in a dilemma, deciding on whether or not to say farewell to the past. She told me she had a headache and felt tortured. In fact, she was wavering between Falun Gong and reason. This kind of dramatic psychological change caused her headache. Rationally, she had to split with her faith in the cult which she had believed in for 10 years; emotionally, she still clung to it. It would take a couple of days for her to find some outlets of her strong emotions. Thus I decided to send her home first.
A few days later, the result of physical examination showed nothing wrong. She was in a good mood and took the initiative to tell me some of her doubts about Falun Gong:
1. In 2008, Li Hongzhi and most Falun Gong practitioners predicted that the Beijing Olympics would end in failure. Yet I watched the opening and closing ceremonies carefully as well as the events and found them to be very successful. Then I was told I lacked the ability to see the truth.
2. In 2000, when she was carrying out exchanges in a military region, she was told that she took the last ride. Yet now Falun Gong is still recruiting new followers. She was told that the 9.11 terrorist attack was a warning to the US, yet the US supports Falun Gong. Natural disasters are often mentioned on the websites of Falun Gong, yet they are common.
3. She saw a Falun Gong follower who cultivated herself well, yet underwent surgery to remove hysteroma. Thus practicing Falun Gong does not ensure good health.
4. As far as she knew, some Falun Gong practitioners slept around with each other and were not stopped by Dharmakaya. Thus, the Dharmakaya of Falun Gong is fake.
5. After so many years, she saw no one achieve immorality.
6. If Li Hongzhi is a Buddha, then why does he need to take a car instead of using magical power?
7. Many former practitioners quit and live a happy life now.
8. She thought I was telling the truth and was willing to listen to me. (She heard me talking about the thought of Dependent Origination and was willing to know more about it).
I talked with her about all her doubts patiently and she was satisfied with my answers, “I feel comfortable as never before in the past 10 years.”
In fact, through mental and psychological means, we can effectively help Falun Gong addicts to transform back into normal thinking, so that they resume logic and reason, and build up their confidence and hope for the future.