Supernormal Abilities Documented through Western History: The Jansenists in 18th-Century France

A London Practitioner

PureInsight | March 2, 2007

[] There have
been many spiritual groups in the course of history. Reading the Falun
Dafa websites and newspapers, we hear of countless miraculous healings
from serious illnesses taking place in Dafa. Historical events on earth
such as those described below are all an allegory for Dafa and each of
us as a disciple and each event is a microcosm for us to understand
True Self, Dafa and the Great Law at large.  Within the historical
events are the inner meanings of Dafa and nuances of our very being,
we, after all, have played all the parts in this theatre of the world
stage, as our beloved Teacher tells us.

Everything can be imaginatively connected to Dafa today. Dafa is a
culmination of everything everywhere on earth and is the basis on which
these events in the past took place in the first place also! Between
the lines of every sentence, deed uttered and written in history is a
metaphor for Dafa, Zhen Shan Ren.  Not only this, various
supernormal things have transpired in the course of Dafa cultivation
and the community as a whole knows this. Just like the countless
miracles within Dafa, miracles were seen in the Jansenist sect. In The Holographic Universe (HarpersCollins,1991), Michael Talbot writes:

"..One of the most remarkable displays of miraculous events ever
recorded, took place in Paris in the first half of the eighteenth
century. The events centered around a puritanical sect of
Dutch-influenced Catholics known as the Jansenists, and were
precipitated by the death of a saintly and revered Jansenist deacon
named Francois de Paris. Although few living today have even heard of
the Jansenist miracles, they were one of the most talked about events
in Europe for the better part of a century.

To understand fully the Jansenist miracles, it is necessary to know a
little about the historical events that preceded Francois de Paris's
death. Jansenism was founded in the early seventeenth century, and from
the start it was at odds with both the Roman Catholic Church and the
French Monarchy. Many of the beliefs diverged sharply from standard
church doctrine but it was a popular movement and quickly gained
followers among the French populace. Most damning of all, it was viewed
by both the papacy and King Lois XV, a devout Catholic, as
Protestantism only masquerading as Catholicism. As a result, both the
church and the king were constantly maneuvering to undermine the
movement's power.

One obstacle to these maneuverings, and one of the factors that
contributed to the movement's popularity, was that Jansenist leaders
seemed especially skilled at performing miraculous healings.
Nonetheless, the church and the monarchy persevered, causing fierce
debates to rage throughout France. It was on May 1st, 1727, at the
height of this power struggle, that Francois de Paris died and was
interred in the parish cemetery of Saint-Medard, Paris."  

My personal understanding is that the Jansenists resemble Falun Dafa in
the above paragraph in that Falun Dafa is also "popular" and "quickly
gained followers" among the populace. Falun Dafa has also been viewed
incorrectly by the government of the country where it originated and
faced the threat of being undermined as a "movement," though Dafa is
here to stay. Falun Dafa has been misunderstood as being a religion and
has been especially misunderstood by Buddhists who say Teacher has
taken things from here and there and from the Taoist school and other
places, when, in fact, deep down, it is actually most comprehensively
ordered. The CCPs constant denigration of Dafa has helped to popularize
it as Teacher has made clear to us. So one can see the parallels. The
book continues:

"Because of the abbe's saintly reputation, worshippers began to gather
at his tomb and, from the beginning, a host of miraculous healings were
reported. The ailments thus cured included cancerous tumors, paralysis,
deafness, arthritis, rheumatism, ulcerous sores, persistent fevers,
prolonged hemorrhaging, and blindness. But this was not all. The
mourners also started to experience strange involuntary spasms or
convulsions and to undergo the most amazing contortions of their limbs.
These seizures quickly proved contagious, spreading like a brush fire
until the streets were packed with men, women, and children, all
twisting and writhing as if caught up in a surreal enchantment."


The list of miraculous healings are the same kind of illnesses we have
read about on the PureInsight website, including cancerous tumors,
paralysis, and the like.

"'It was while they were in this fitful and trancelike state that the
"convulsionaires," as they come to be called, displayed the most
phenomenal of their talents. One was the ability to endure without harm
an almost unimaginable variety of physical tortures. These included
severe beatings, blows from both heavy and sharp objects, and
strangulation -- all with no signs of injury or even the slightest
trace of wounds or bruises.  (p.129)

This has a haunting resonance with the current persecution of
practitioners in China and how practitioners consciously endure an
"unimaginable variety of physical tortures." Indeed, the CCP has used
some of the worst torture methods taken from and a culmination of all
of history's worst moments, to persecute Goodness, our fellow Dafa
disciples. Teacher mentions how those with great inborn quality are
sometimes given a dose of True Insanity in which they suffer hardships
that one could not suffer with a conscious mind. The above paragraph is
like the instance of the old woman who could jump over the high wall
and unchain herself, this is very much like the Jansens here who
temporarily lose their conscious mind and go into trancelike states to
work their miracles.

"'What makes these miraculous events so unique is that they were
witnessed by thousands of observers. The frenzied gatherings around
Abbe Paris's tomb were by no means short-lived. The cemetery and the
streets surrounding it were crowded day and night for years, and even
two decades later, after miracles were still being reported (to give
some idea of the enormity of the phenomena, in 1733, it was noted in
the public records that over 3,000 volunteers needed simply to assist
the convulsionaires and make sure, for example, that the female
participants did not become immodestly exposed during their seizures.)
As a result, the supernormal abilities of the convulsionaires became an
international cause celebre, and thousands flocked to see them,
including individuals from all social strata and officials from every
educational, religious, and governmental institution imaginable;
numerous accounts, both official and unofficial, of the miracles
witnessed are recorded in the documents of the time."

"Invulnerability was not the only talent the Jansenists displayed
during their seizures. Some became clairvoyant and were able to
"discern hidden things." Others could read even when their eyes were
closed and tightly bandaged, and instances of levitation were reported.
One of the levitators, an Abbe named Bescherand from Montpellier, was
so "forcibly lifted into the air" during his convulsions that even the
witnesses tried to hold him down they could not succeed in keeping him
from raising up off the ground." (pp.129-131)

Here we can see many of these western cultivators reached the state of
"levitation in broad daylight" when the heavenly circuit has been
opened up and the level has been raised, as with many Dafa
practitioners today.

Voltaire quipped, "God was forbidden, by order of the King, to work any miracles there." (p.131)

This sounds really funny in its irony. It resembles how Falun Dafa is banned, at the moment, in China.

David Hume wrote, 'There surely never was so great a number of miracles
ascribed to one person as those which were lately said to have been
wrought in France upon the tomb of Abbe Paris. Many of the miracles
were immediately proved upon on the spot, before judges of unquestioned
credit and distinction, in a learned age, and in the most eminent
theatre that is now in the world." ( p.131)

Funnily enough, David Hume has been recognized as one of the fathers of
Empiricism in the world of philosophy. Some people hold that Empiricism
is based on the notion of "seeing is believing" in Western thought and
is part of the materialistic dogma that humankind must battle today.
Actually, it holds that one should be open to everything that can be
shown to have reality, including "miracles" that, by their very nature,
are unexplained. It was a movement in philosophy to oppose
authoritarian dogma, which, sadly, is all-too-lacking in these times.
Teacher is leaving behind the greatest miracle recorded in history for
all posterity now.  

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