God Himself, the Unique X
God Is the Source of Life for All Things (IV)
Today, we are communing a special topic. For each and every believer, there are only two main things that they need to know, experience and understand—and what are these two things? The first is people’s personal entry into life, and the second relates to knowing God. Do you think what we’ve recently been communing about knowing God is attainable? It’s fair to say that it is beyond most people’s reach. You might not be convinced by these words. Why do I say this? Because when you were listening to what I was saying before, regardless of how I said it, or with what words, literally and theoretically you were aware of what I was saying, but a very serious issue with you was, you didn’t understand why I said these things, why I spoke of these topics. This is the crux of the issue. And so, though hearing these things added to and enriched your understanding of God and His deeds, you are still having trouble knowing God. After hearing what I said, most of you don’t understand why I said this, and what connection it has to knowing God. The reason you’re unable to understand its connection to knowing God is because your life experience is too superficial. If people’s knowledge and experience of God’s words remain at a very shallow level, then most of their knowledge of God will be vague and abstract—it will be rudimental, doctrinal, and theoretical. In theory, it appears or sounds logical and reasonable, but the knowledge of God that comes out of most people’s mouths is empty. And why do I say that it is empty? Because, in fact, in your hearts you are not clear about whether the words about knowing God that come from your mouths are right or not, whether they are accurate or not. And so, even though most people have heard a lot of information and topics about knowing God, their knowledge of God has yet to go beyond theory and vague and abstract doctrine. So how can this problem be solved? Have you ever thought about that? If someone doesn’t pursue the truth, can they be possessed of reality? If someone doesn’t pursue the truth, then they are unquestionably without reality, and so they definitely have no knowledge or experience of God’s words. And can those who do not know God’s words know God? Absolutely not. The two are interconnected. Thus, most people say, “How could knowing God be so hard? When I speak of knowing myself I can go on for hours, but when it comes to knowing God I’m lost for words. Even when I can say a little, it is forced, and sounds dull—it even sounds awkward when I hear myself saying it.” This is the source. If you feel that knowing God is too difficult, that it’s very strenuous for you, that you have nothing to speak of—nothing real to commune and provide to others, and to provide to yourself—then this proves that you are not someone who has experienced God’s words. What are God’s words? Are God’s words not the expression of what God has and is? If you have not experienced God’s words, could you have any knowledge of what God has and is? Surely not. These things are all interconnected. If you have no experience of God’s words, then you cannot grasp God’s will, and won’t know what His disposition is, what He likes, what He loathes, what His requirements are for man, what His attitude toward those who are good is, and toward those who are evil—all of this will certainly be ambiguous and obscure to you. If you believe in God amid such obscurity, when you say you are one of those who pursues the truth and follows God, are these words realistic? They are not! So let us continue to commune about the knowledge of God.
You’re all eager to hear the topic we’ll be communing today, right? The topic we’re communing today also relates to the topic of “God is the source of life for all things” that we’ve been talking about recently. We’ve talked a lot about how “God is the source of life for all things,” using different means and perspectives to inform people how God rules over all things, by what means He rules over all things, and by what principles He manages all things, so that they might exist on this planet that God created. We also talked a lot about how God provides for mankind: by what means God provides to mankind, what kind of living environment He provides to mankind, and by what means and impetus He provides a stable living environment for man. Although I did not speak directly of the relationship between God’s dominion over all things, His administration of all things, and His management, I indirectly spoke of why He administers all things in this way, and why He provides to and nourishes mankind in this way—all of which relates to God’s management. The content we spoke of was very wide-ranging: from the macro environment to much smaller things like people’s basic necessities and diet; from how God rules over all things and makes them operate in an orderly fashion, to the right and proper living environment He created for the people of every race, and so on. This extensive content all relates to how man lives in the flesh. Which is to say, it all relates to things of the material world that are visible to the naked eye, and which people can feel, for example, mountains, rivers, oceans, plains…. These are all things that can be seen and touched. When I talk of air and temperature, you can use your breath to directly feel the existence of air, and your body to sense whether the temperature is high or low. The trees, grass, and the birds and beasts in the forests, the things that fly in the sky, and walk the land, and the various little animals that emerge from burrows, can all be seen with people’s own eyes and heard with their own ears. Though the scope of such things is vast, among all things they represent only the material world. Material things are what people can see and feel, which is to say, when you touch them, you will sense them, and when your eyes see them, your brain will present you with an image, a picture. They are things that are real and actual; to you they are not abstract, but have a shape; they may be square, or round, or tall or short; and each gives you a different impression. All these things represent that material part of all things. And so, what do the “all things” in “God’s dominion over all things” include to God? They don’t just include the things that people can see and touch, but, moreover, that which is invisible and impalpable. This is one of the true meanings of God’s dominion over all things. Even though these things are invisible and impalpable to people, to God, as long as they can be observed by His eyes and are within the scope of His sovereignty, they actually exist. Even though, to mankind, they are abstract and unimaginable—and even though, moreover, they are invisible and impalpable—to God they actually and really exist. Such is the other world of all the things that God rules over, and it is another part of the scope of all the things that He rules over. This is the topic that we’re communing today—how God rules and administers the spiritual world. Since this topic covers how God rules and manages all things, it relates to the world outside of the material world—the spiritual world—and thus it is of the utmost necessity for us to understand it. Only after this communion has been given and only when people have understood it will they be able to genuinely understand the true meaning of the words “God is the source of life for all things.” This is the reason why we are going to talk about this topic. And the aim of this topic is to complete the theme of “God rules over all things, and God manages all things.” Perhaps, when you hear this topic, it may feel strange or unbelievable to you—but regardless of how you feel, since the spiritual world is one part of all the things ruled by God, you must learn something of this topic. After you do, you will have a deeper appreciation, understanding and knowledge of the words “God is the source of life for all things.”
How God Rules and Administers the Spiritual World
For the material world, if people don’t understand certain things or phenomena, they can search for the relevant information, or else they can use various channels to find out their origins and the story behind them. But when it comes to the other world that we are talking about today—the spiritual world that exists outside of the material world—people have absolutely no means or channels of learning anything about it. Why do I say this? Because, in the world of mankind, everything of the material world is inseparable from the physical existence of man, and because people feel that everything in the material world is inseparable from their physical living and physical life, most people are only aware of, or see, the material things before their eyes, the things that are visible to them. Yet when it comes to the spiritual world—which is to say, everything that is of that other world—it is fair to say that most people do not believe. That is because it is invisible to them, and they believe there is no need to understand it, or to know anything about it, to say nothing of how the spiritual world is a completely different world to the material world. To God, it is open, but to mankind it is hidden and not open, and so people have difficulty in finding a channel through which to understand the various aspects of this world. The different aspects I am going to speak of about the spiritual world only concern God’s administration and sovereignty. I am not revealing mysteries, nor am I telling you any of the secrets that you wish to find out, for this concerns God’s sovereignty, God’s administration, and God’s provision, and as such I shall only speak of the part that it is necessary for you to know.
First, let Me ask you a question: In your mind, what is the spiritual world? Broadly speaking, it is a world outside the material world, one that is invisible and impalpable to people. But in your imagination, what kind of world ought the spiritual world to be? Perhaps, as a result of not being able to see it, you are incapable of imagining it. But when you hear legends about it, you’ll still think, you won’t be able to stop yourselves. And why do I say this? There is something that happens to a lot of people when they’re young: When someone tells them a frightening story—about ghosts, souls—they’re scared out of their wits. And why are they scared? Because they’re imagining those things; even though they can’t see them, they feel that they’re all around their room, in somewhere hidden, or somewhere dark, and they’re so scared that they don’t dare sleep. Especially at night, they don’t dare be alone in the room, or alone in the courtyard. That is the spiritual world of your imagination, and it’s a world that people think is frightening. In fact, everyone has some imagination, and everyone can feel something.
Let’s start with the spiritual world. What is the spiritual world? Let Me give you a short and simple explanation. The spiritual world is an important place, one that is different from the material world. And why do I say that it is important? We’re going to talk about this in detail. The existence of the spiritual world is inextricably linked to the material world of mankind. It plays a major role in the cycle of human life and death in God’s dominion over all things; this is its role, and one of the reasons why its existence is important. Because it is a place that is indiscernible to the five senses, no one can accurately judge whether it exists or not. The goings on of the spiritual world are intimately connected to the existence of mankind, as a result of which the way mankind lives is also hugely influenced by the spiritual world. Does this relate to God’s sovereignty? It does. When I say this, you understand why I am discussing this topic: Because it concerns God’s sovereignty, and His administration. In a world such as this—one which is invisible to people—its every heavenly edict, decree, and administrative system is far higher than the laws and systems of any country of the material world, and no being that lives in this world would dare to contravene or arrogate them. Does this relate to God’s sovereignty and administration? In this world, there are clear administrative decrees, clear heavenly edicts, and clear statutes. At different levels and in different areas, bailiffs strictly abide by their duty and observe rules and regulations, for they know what the consequence of violating a heavenly edict is, they are clearly aware of how God punishes evil and rewards good, and of how He administers all things, how He rules all things, and, moreover, they clearly see how God carries out His heavenly edicts and statutes. Are these different from the material world inhabited by mankind? They are hugely different. It is a world that is completely different to the material world. Since there are heavenly edicts, and statutes, it concerns God’s sovereignty, administration, and, moreover, God’s disposition and what He has and is. Having heard this, do you not feel that it is highly necessary for Me to speak of this topic? Do you not wish to learn the secrets within? (Yes, we do.) Such is the concept of the spiritual world. Although it coexists with the material world, and is simultaneously subject to God’s administration and sovereignty, God’s administration and sovereignty of this world are far stricter than that of the material world. When it comes to details, we should begin with how the spiritual world is responsible for the work of mankind’s cycle of life and death, for this work is a major part of the work of the beings of the spiritual world.
Among mankind, I categorize all people into three types. The first type is the unbelievers, who are those without religious beliefs. They are called unbelievers. The overwhelming majority of unbelievers only believe in money, they only pursue their own interests, they are materialistic, and they only believe in the material world, not the cycle of life and death, or any sayings about deities and ghosts. I categorize them as the unbelievers, and they are the first type. The second type is the various people of faith apart from the unbelievers. Among mankind, I divide these people of faith into several major types: The first are Jewish, the second are Catholic, the third are Christian, the fourth are Muslim, and the fifth are Buddhist—there are five types. These are the various types of people of faith. The third type is those who believe in God, which relates to you. Such believers are those who follow God today. These people are divided into two types: God’s chosen people and service-doers. These main types have been clearly differentiated. So now, in your minds you are able to clearly differentiate the types and rankings of humans, right? The first is the unbelievers—I’ve said what the unbelievers are. Do those who believe in the Old Man in the Sky count as unbelievers? Many unbelievers only believe in the Old Man in the Sky; they believe that the wind, rain, and thunder are all controlled by this Old Man in the Sky, whom they rely on for the planting of crops and the harvest—yet at the mention of the belief in God they become unwilling. Can this be called belief in God? Such people are included in the unbelievers. You understand this, right? Don’t mistake these categories. The second type is people of faith. The third type is those who follow God today. And why have I divided all humans into these types? (Because various types of people have a different end and destination.) That’s one aspect. Because, when these different races and types of people return to the spiritual world, they will each have a different place to go, they will be subject to different laws of the cycle of life and death, and this is the reason why I have categorized humans into these major types.
1. The Cycle of Life and Death of the Unbelievers
Let us begin with the cycle of life and death of the unbelievers. After a person dies, they are taken away by a bailiff from the spiritual world. And what of them is taken away? Not their flesh, but their soul. When their soul is taken away, they arrive at a place that is an agency of the spiritual world, one which specially receives the souls of people who have just died. (Note: The first place they go after anyone dies is strange to the soul.) When they are taken to this place, an official carries out the first checks, confirming their name, address, and age. What they did with their life, everything they did in their life is recorded in a book and verified for accuracy. After it has all been checked, the person’s behavior and actions throughout their life are used to determine whether they will be punished or continue being reincarnated as a person, which is the first stage. Is this first stage frightening? It’s not too frightening, because the only thing that has happened is the person has arrived at a dark and unfamiliar place.
In the second stage, if this person has done many bad things throughout their life, if they have committed many wicked deeds, then they will be taken to a place of punishment to be punished. That will be the place expressly for the punishment of people. The specifics of how they are punished depend on the sins they committed, and on how many wicked things they did before they died—which is the first situation that happens in the second stage. Because of the things they did and the evil they committed before they died, when they are reincarnated following their punishment—when they are once more born into the material world—some people will continue to be human, and some will become animals. Which is to say, after a person returns to the spiritual world, they are punished because of the evil they have committed; moreover, because of the wicked things they have done, in their next reincarnation they probably do not become human, but an animal. The scope of animals that they might become includes cows, horses, pigs, and dogs. Some people might become a bird in the sky, or a duck or goose…. After they have been reincarnated as an animal, when they die they return to the spiritual world, and, as before, based on their behavior before they die the spiritual world will decide whether or not they are reincarnated as a person. Most people commit too much evil, their sins are too grievous, and so when they are reincarnated they become an animal seven to twelve times. Seven to twelve times—is that frightful? (It’s frightful.) What’s frightening to you? A person becoming an animal, that’s frightening. And for a person, what’s most painful about becoming an animal? Having no language, having only simple thoughts, only being able to do the things that animals do and eat the things that animals eat, having the simple mindset and body language of an animal, not being able to walk upright, not being able to communicate with humans, and none of the behavior and activities of humans bearing any relation to animals. Which is to say, among all things, being an animal makes you the lowest of all living things, and is much more painful than being a human. This is one aspect of the spiritual world’s punishment of those who have done much evil and committed great sins. When it comes to the severity of the punishment, this is decided by the kind of animal that they become. For example, is being a pig better than being a dog? Does a pig live better or worse than a dog? Worse, right? If people become a cow or a horse, will they live better or worse than a pig? (Better.) Will it be more comfortable if someone becomes a cat? If you had a choice between animals, you’d choose becoming a cat, and that’s more comfortable than becoming a horse or cow, because you could laze away most of your time in sleep. Becoming a cow or horse is more laborious, and so if people are reincarnated as a cow or horse, they have to work hard—which seems like a harsh punishment. Becoming a dog is a little better than a cow or horse, because a dog has a closer relationship with its master. What’s more, today, a lot of people keep a dog and after three or five years it has learned to understand a lot of what they say! Because a dog can understand many of its master’s words, it has a good understanding of its master, and sometimes it can adapt to its master’s mood and requirements, therefore the master treats the dog better, and the dog eats better and drinks better, and when it is in pain it is looked after more—so does the dog not enjoy a happy life? Thus, being a dog is better than a cow or horse. In this, the severity of a person’s punishment determines how many times they are reincarnated as an animal, and as which type of animal they are reincarnated. You understand, yes?
Because they committed so many sins while they were alive, some people will be punished by being reincarnated as an animal seven to twelve times. Having been punished for enough number of times, when they return to the spiritual world they are taken somewhere else. The various souls in this place have already been punished, and are of the type who are preparing to be reincarnated as human. This place categorizes each soul into a type according to what kind of family they will be born into, what kind of role they will play once they have been reincarnated, and so on. For example, some people will become singers when they come to this world, and so they are placed among the singers; some will become businesspeople when they come to this world, and so they are placed among the businesspeople; and if someone is to become a scientific researcher when they become human, then they are placed among the scientific researchers. After they are classified, each is sent out according to a different time and appointed date, just like how people send e-mails today. In this will be completed one cycle of life and death. From the day that a person arrives at the spiritual world up until when their punishment ends, they may be reincarnated as an animal many times, and then they prepare to be reincarnated as a human; this is a complete process.
And will those who have finished being punished, and are not reincarnated as animals, be quickly sent to the material world to become human? Or how long will it be before they can come among man? What is the frequency with which these people become human?[a] There are temporal restrictions to this. Everything that happens in the spiritual world is subject to the appropriate temporal restrictions and rules—which, if I explain with numbers, you’ll understand. For those who are reincarnated within a short period of time, when they die their rebirth as a human will be prepared. The shortest time is three days. For some people, it is three months, for some it is three years, for some it is thirty years, for some it is three hundred years, for some it is even three thousand years, and so on. So what can be said about these temporal rules, and what are their specifics? They are based on what the material world, the world of man needs from a soul, and the role that this soul is to play in this world. When people are reincarnated as an ordinary person, most of them are reincarnated very soon, because the world of man has a pressing need for such ordinary people, and so three days later they are sent out again to a family that is completely different to the one they were in before they died. But there are some who play a special role in this world. “Special” means that there isn’t a great demand for these people in the world of man; not many people are needed to play such a role, and so it may be three hundred years before they are reincarnated.[b] Which is to say, this soul will only come once every three hundred years, or even once every three thousand years. And why is it so? Because for three hundred years or three thousand years, such a role is not required in the world of man, and so they are kept somewhere in the spiritual world. Take Confucius, for example. He had a profound impact on traditional Chinese culture. His arrival had a deep effect on the culture, knowledge, tradition, and thinking of the people of that time. But a person such as this is not needed in every era, and so he had to remain in the spiritual world, waiting there for three hundred or three thousand years before being reincarnated. Because the world of man was not in need of someone like this, he had to wait idly, for there were very few roles such as his, there was little for him to do, and so he had to be kept somewhere in the spiritual world for most of the time, idle, and to be sent out when the world of man had need of him. Such are the spiritual realm’s temporal rules for the frequency with which most people are reincarnated. Whether they are someone ordinary or special, the spiritual world has appropriate rules and correct practices for the processing of people’s reincarnation, and these rules and practices are sent down from God, and not decided or controlled by any bailiff or being in the spiritual world. Now you understand, yes?
For any soul, their reincarnation, what their role is in this life, what family they are born into, and what their life is like are closely related to their past life. All kinds of people come into the world of man, and the roles they play are different, as are the tasks they carry out. And what tasks are these? Some people come to repay a debt: If they owed others too much money in their previous life, they come to repay a debt in this life. Some people, meanwhile, have come to collect a debt: They were scammed out of too many things, and too much money in their previous life, and so after they arrive in the spiritual world, the spiritual world will give them justice and allow them to collect their debt in this life. Some people have come to pay a debt of gratitude: During their previous life—before they died—someone was kind to them, and in this life they have been given a great opportunity to be reincarnated and so they are reborn to repay this debt of gratitude. Others, meanwhile, have been reborn into this life to claim a life. And whose life do they claim? The person who killed them in their previous life. In sum, every person’s present life bears a strong relationship to their previous life, it is inseparably connected. Which is to say, every person’s present life is hugely affected by their previous life. For example, before he died Zhang cheated Li out of a large amount of money. So does Zhang owe Li a debt? Since he does, is it natural that Li should collect his debt from Zhang? And so, after they die, there is a debt to be settled between them. When they are reincarnated and Zhang becomes human, how does Li collect his debt from him? One means is that Li collects his debt by being reborn as Zhang’s son, Zhang earns lots of money, and it is squandered by Li. No matter how much money Zhang earns, his son Li “helps” him by spending it. No matter how much Zhang earns, it is never enough, and his son, meanwhile, for some reason always ends up spending his father’s money through different ways and means. Zhang is mystified: “Why has my son always been a hoodoo? Why is it that other people’s sons are so good? Why does my son have no ambition, why is he so useless and incapable of earning any money, why do I always have to support him? Since I have to support him I will, but why is it that no matter how much money I give him, he always needs more? Why can’t he do an honest day’s work, but will do anything—loafing around, eating, drinking, whoring, and betting? What on earth is going on?” Zhang then thinks for a while: “It could be that I had a debt to him in the past life. Well then, I’ll pay it off! This won’t end until I pay it in full!” The day may come when Li really has recouped his debt, and when he’s forty or fifty, there will be a day when he suddenly comes to his senses: “I haven’t done a single good thing during the first half of my life! I’ve squandered all the money my father earned—I should be a good person! I’ll steel myself: I’ll be someone who is honest, and lives properly, and I’ll never bring grief to my father again!” Why does he think this? Why does he suddenly change for the better? Is there a reason for this? What is the reason? (Because Li has collected his debt; Zhang has paid his debt.) In this, there is cause and effect. The story began long, long ago, before the two of them were born, and this story of their past life has been brought to their present life, and neither can blame the other. No matter what Zhang taught his son, his son never listened, and never did an honest day’s work—but on the day the debt was repaid, there was no need to teach him; his son naturally understood. This is a simple example. Are there many other such examples? (Yes.) And what does it tell people? (That they should be good and should not do evil.) That they should do no evil, and there will be retribution for their evildoings! Most unbelievers commit much evil, and their evildoings have been met with retribution, right? But is this retribution arbitrary? All that is met with retribution has a background and a reason. Do you think nothing will happen to you after you’ve cheated someone out of money? Do you think that, after having tricked them out of money, there will be no consequences for you after you’ve taken their money? That would be impossible, and there will be consequences! Regardless of who they are, or whether or not they believe that there is a God, every person must take responsibility for their behavior, and bear the consequences of their actions. With regard to this simple example—Zhang being punished, and Li being repaid—is this not fair? When people do things like that, there is that kind of result. It is inseparable from the administration of the spiritual world. Despite being unbelievers, those who do not believe in God, their existence is subject to such heavenly edicts and decrees, no one can escape from it and no one can avoid this reality.
Those who have no faith often believe that everything that can be seen exists, while everything that can’t be seen, or which is very far from people, doesn’t. They prefer to believe that there is no “cycle of life and death,” and there is no “punishment,” and so they sin and commit evil without compunction—after which they are punished, or reincarnated as an animal. Most of the various people among the unbelievers fall into this vicious circle. This is because they do not know that the spiritual world is strict in its administration of all living beings. Whether you believe or not, this fact exists, for not a single person or object can escape the scope of what is observed by God’s eyes, and not a single person or object can escape the rules and limitations of God’s heavenly edicts and decrees. And so this simple example tells everyone that regardless of whether or not you believe in God, it is unacceptable to sin and commit evil, and there are consequences. When someone who cheated another out of money is so punished, such punishment is fair. Commonly-seen behavior such as this is penalized by the spiritual world, is punished by the decrees and heavenly edicts of God, and so grievously criminal and wicked behavior—raping and looting, fraud and deception, theft and robbery, murder and arson, and so on—is even more subject to an array of punishments of varying severity. And what do these punishments of varying severity include? Some of them employ time to establish the level of severity, some do so through differing methodologies, and others do so through where people go when they are reincarnated. For example, some people are foul-mouthed. What does being “foul-mouthed” refer to? It means often swearing at others and using malicious language, language that curses people. What does malicious language signify? It signifies that someone has a foul heart. Malicious language that curses people often comes from the mouths of such people, and such malicious language is accompanied by severe consequences. After these people have died and received the appropriate punishment, they may be reborn as mutes. Some people are very calculating when they’re alive, they often take advantage of others, their little schemes are particularly well-planned, and they do much that harms others. When they’re reborn, it could be as a half-wit or someone who is mentally disabled. Some people often peep into the privacy of others; their eyes see much that they should not have been privy to, and they know much that they ought not to know, and so when they are reborn, they may be blind. Some people are very nimble when they’re alive, they often fight, and do much that is evil, and thus when they are reborn they may be disabled, lame or missing an arm, or else they might be a hunchback, or wryneck, they might walk with a limp, or have one leg shorter than the other, and so on. In this, they are subjected to different punishments based on the level of evil they committed while alive. And what say you, why are people skew-eyed? Are there many such people? There are a lot of them around today. Some people are skew-eyed because in their past life they made too much use of their eyes, they did too many bad things, and so when they are born into this life their eyes are skewed, and in serious cases they are even blind. Do you think people who are skew-eyed are nice to look at? Do they leave a good impression? See how they have good facial structure, their skin is clear and pale, they have big eyes and double eyelids—but unfortunately one of their eyes is skewed. What do they look like? Does this not have a total impact on the person’s demeanor? And with this impact, what kind of life do they have? When they meet others, they think to themselves: “I’m skew-eyed! I must speak with my head bowed and I can’t look at people face-to-face, so that they can’t see my eyes.” Their skewed eyes influence how they look at things, and their ability to look at people face-to-face. In this, have they not lost the use of their eyes? And so, have the excesses of their previous life not been redressed? Thus, in the next life, they won’t dare to do anything as bad. This is retribution! Some people get on well with others before they die, they do many good things for their loved ones, friends, colleagues, or the people connected to them. They give charity and care to others, or assist them financially, others think very highly of them, and when such people return to the spiritual world they are not punished. For an unbeliever to not be punished in any way means they were a very good person. Instead of believing in the existence of God, they only believe in the Old Man in the Sky. They only believe that there is a spirit above them watching everything they do—that’s all they believe in. And the result is that they’re much better-behaved. These people are kindhearted and charitable, and when they ultimately return to the spiritual world, the spiritual world will treat them very well and they will soon be reincarnated. When they’re reborn, what kind of family will they arrive in? Although this family won’t be rich, it will be peaceful, there will be harmony among its members, they will pass serene, happy days, everyone will be joyous, and they will have a good life. When the person reaches adulthood, they will have a large extended family, their children will be talented and enjoy success, and their family will enjoy good fortune—and such an outcome is hugely connected to the person’s past life. Which is to say, where a person goes after they die and are reincarnated, whether they are male or female, what their mission is, what they will go through in life, their setbacks, what blessings they enjoy, who they will meet, what will happen to them—no one can predict this, avoid it, or hide from it. Which is to say, after your life has been set, in what happens to you, however you try and avoid it, by whatever means you try and avoid it, you have no way of violating the life course set out for you by God in the spiritual world. For when you are reincarnated, your life’s fate has already been set. Whether it be good or bad, everyone should face up to this, and should keep going forward; this is an issue that no one who lives in this world can avoid, and no issue is more real. Right, you’ve understood all this, yes?
Having understood this, do you see that God has very exacting and rigorous checks and administration for the cycle of life and death of the unbelievers? Firstly, God has established various heavenly edicts, decrees, and systems in the spiritual realm, and after the declaration of these heavenly edicts, decrees, and systems, they are strictly carried out, as set by God, by beings in various official positions in the spiritual world, and no one dares violate them. And so, in the cycle of life and death of mankind in the world of man, whether someone is reincarnated as an animal or a person, there are laws for both. Because these laws come from God, no one dares break them, nor is anyone able to break them. It is only because of such sovereignty of God, and because there are such laws, that the material world that people see is regular and orderly; it is only because of such sovereignty of God that mankind is able to coexist peacefully with the other world that is completely invisible to mankind, and able to live in harmony with it—all of which is inextricable from God’s sovereignty. After a person’s fleshly life dies, the soul still has life, and so what would happen if it were without God’s administration? The soul would wander all over the place, intruding everywhere, and would even harm the living things in the world of mankind. Such harm would not only be toward mankind, but could also be toward plants and animals—but the first to be harmed would be people. Were this to happen—if such a soul were without administration, and really harmed people, and really did wicked things—then there would also be proper handling of this soul in the spiritual world: If things were serious, the soul would soon cease to exist, it would be destroyed; if possible, it would be placed somewhere and then reincarnated. Which is to say, the spiritual world’s administration of various souls is ordered, and carried out according to steps and rules. It is only because of such administration that the material world of man has not fallen into chaos, that the mankind of the material world is possessed of a normal mentality, normal rationality, and an ordered fleshly life. Only after mankind has such a normal life will those who live in the flesh be able to continue thriving and reproducing throughout the generations.
What do you think of the words you’ve just heard? Are they new to you? And what do you feel after I have communed these words today? Apart from that they’re novel, do you feel anything else? (People should be well-behaved, and I see God is great and fearful.) (Having just heard God’s communion about how God deals with the end of various types of people, in one regard I feel that God’s disposition does not allow any offense, and that I should revere Him; and in another regard, I’m aware of what kind of people God likes, and what kind He doesn’t, and so I want to be one of those that God likes.) Do you see that God is principled in His actions in this area? What are the principles by which He acts? (He sets people’s end according to all that they do.) This is about the various ends for the unbelievers that we just talked of. When it comes to the unbelievers, is the principle behind God’s actions that of rewarding the good and punishing the wicked? Are there any exceptions? (No.) Do you see that there is a principle to God’s actions? The unbelievers don’t actually believe in God, they do not obey God’s orchestrations, and they are unaware of God’s sovereignty, much less do they acknowledge God. More seriously, they profane against God, and curse Him, and are hostile toward those who believe in God. Though these people have such an attitude toward God, God’s administration of them still doesn’t deviate from His principles; He administers them in an orderly way in accordance with His principles and His disposition. How does God regard their hostility? As ignorance! And so He has caused these people—the majority of the unbelievers—to have once been reincarnated as animals. So what are the unbelievers in the eyes of God? They are livestock. God administers livestock, and He administers mankind, and He has the same principles for this kind of person. Even in God’s administration of these people and His actions toward them, there can still be seen God’s disposition and the laws for His dominion over all things. And so, do you see God’s sovereignty in the principles by which He administers the unbelievers that I just spoke of? Do you see God’s righteous disposition? (We do.) Which is to say, no matter which of all things He deals with, God acts according to His own principles and disposition. This is God’s substance. He wouldn’t casually break with the decrees or heavenly edicts that He set because He regards this kind of person as livestock. God acts according to principles, without the slightest disarray, His actions are totally unaffected by any factor, and no matter what He does, it is all in abidance with His own principles. This is because God has the substance of God Himself, which is an aspect of His substance not possessed by any created being. God is conscientious and responsible in His handling of, approach to, management of, administration of, and ruling of every object, person, and living thing among all the things He created, and He has never been careless in this. To those who are good, He is gracious and kind; to those who are wicked, He inflicts remorseless punishment; and for the various living beings, He makes appropriate arrangements in a timely and regular manner according to the different requirements of the world of mankind at different times, such that these various living beings are reincarnated according to the roles they play in an orderly manner, and move between the material world and spiritual world in an orderly way.
The death of a living being—the termination of a physical life—signifies that the living being has gone from the material world into the spiritual world, while the birth of a new physical life signifies that a living being has come from the spiritual world to the material world and begun to undertake its role, to play its role. Whether it be the departure or arrival of a being, both are inseparable from the work of the spiritual world. When someone comes into the material world, suitable arrangements and definitions have already been made by God in the spiritual world for the family they go to, the era they arrive in, the hour on which they arrive, and the role they play. And so this person’s entire life—the things they do, and the paths they take—proceeds according to the arrangements of the spiritual world, without the slightest fault. The time when a physical life terminates, meanwhile, and the manner and place in which it terminates, are clear and discernable to the spiritual world. God rules the material world, and He rules the spiritual world, and He will not delay a soul’s normal cycle of life and death, nor could He commit any errors in the arrangements of a soul’s cycle of life and death. Each of the bailiffs in the official posts of the spiritual world carries out their tasks, and does that which they ought to do, according to the instructions and rules of God. And so, in the world of mankind, every material phenomenon beheld by man is orderly, and contains no chaos. All of this is because of God’s orderly rule of all things, as well as because God’s authority rules over everything, and all that He rules over includes the material world that man lives in, and, moreover, the invisible spiritual world behind mankind. And so, if mankind wishes to have a good life, and wishes to live in nice surroundings, in addition to being provided with the entire visible material world, man must also be provided with the spiritual world, which no one can see, which governs every living being on behalf of mankind, and which is orderly. Thus, when it is said that God is the source of life for all things, have we not added to our awareness and understanding of “all things”? (Yes.)
2. The Cycle of Life and Death of the Various People of Faith
We just discussed the cycle of life and death of the first category, the unbelievers. Now, let us discuss that of the second category, the various people of faith. “The cycle of life and death of the various people of faith” is also a very important topic, and it is expedient that you have some understanding of it. First, let us speak of which faiths the “faith” in “people of faith” refers to: It means Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, and Buddhism, these five major religions. In addition to the unbelievers, the people who believe in these five religions occupy a large proportion of the world’s population. Among these five religions, those who have made a career out of their belief are few, yet these religions have many believers. Their believers go to a different place when they die. “Different” from who? From the unbelievers, the people of no faith, that we were just talking about. After they die, the believers of these five religions go somewhere else, somewhere different from the unbelievers. But it’s the same process. The spiritual world will also make a judgment about them based on all they did before they died, following which they will be processed accordingly. But why are these people placed somewhere else to be processed? There is an important reason for this. And what is this reason? I’ll tell you using an example. But before I do, you might be thinking to yourselves: “Maybe it’s because they have a little belief in God! They’re not complete unbelievers.” This is not the reason why. There is a very important reason why they are put somewhere else.
Take Buddhism: Let Me tell you a fact. A Buddhist is, firstly, someone who has converted to Buddhism, and they are someone who knows what their belief is. When a Buddhist cuts their hair and becomes a monk or a nun, this means that they have separated themselves from the secular world and left the clamor of the world of man far behind. Every day they chant the sutras and eat only vegetarian food, they live ascetic lives, and they pass their days accompanied by the cold, weak light of the butter lamp. They spend their whole lives in this way. When their physical life finishes, they make a summary of their life, but in their hearts they don’t know where they’ll go after they die, who they’ll meet, and what end they will have—in their hearts they are not clear about these things. They have done nothing more than blindly spend their whole life accompanied by a faith, after which they depart from the world accompanied by blind wishes and ideals. Such is the termination of their physical life when they leave the world of the living, and after that, they return to their original place in the spiritual world. Whether this person is reincarnated to return to earth and continue their self-cultivation depends on their behavior and self-cultivation prior to their death. If they did nothing wrong during their lifetime, they will quickly be reincarnated and sent back to earth again, where they will once again become a monk or nun. As per the first time’s procedure, their physical body self-cultivates, after which they die and return to the spiritual world, where they are examined, after which—if there are no problems—they can return once more to the world of man, and once more convert to Buddhism and continue their self-cultivation. After being reincarnated three to seven times, they will once more return to the spiritual world, to where they go each time their physical life finishes. If their various qualifications and behavior in the human world are in keeping with the heavenly edicts of the spiritual world, then from this point onward they will remain there; they will no longer be reincarnated as human, nor will there be any risk of them being punished for evildoing on earth. They will never again experience this process. Instead, as per their circumstances, they will take up a position in the spiritual realm. This is what Buddhists refer to as the achievement of immortality. The achievement of immortality chiefly means becoming an official of the spiritual world, and there being no further chance of reincarnation or punishment. More than that, it means no longer suffering the aggravation of being human after being reincarnated. So is there still any chance of them being reincarnated as an animal? (No.) This means that they remain to take up a role in the spiritual world, and will no longer be reincarnated. This is one example of achieving immortality in Buddhism. As for those who do not achieve immortality, upon their return to the spiritual world, they are examined and verified by the relevant bailiff, and found to have not diligently self-cultivated or been conscientious in chanting the sutras as prescribed by Buddhism; instead, they committed much evil, and did much that was wicked. In the spiritual world a judgment is then made about their evildoing, following which they are sure to be punished. In this, there are no exceptions. So, when will this kind of person achieve immortality? At the life when they do no evil—when, after returning to the spiritual world, it is seen that they did nothing wrong before they died. They continue being reincarnated, they carry on chanting the sutras, they pass their days with the cold, weak light of the butter lamp, they don’t kill any living thing, don’t eat meat, and don’t partake in the world of man, leaving its troubles far behind, and having no disputes with others. During this process, they do no evil, following which they return to the spiritual world, and after all of their actions and behavior have been examined, they are once more sent out into the world of man, in a cycle that goes on three to seven times. If there are no upsets during this, then their achievement of immortality will remain unaffected, and will not be delayed. This is a feature of the cycle of life and death of all people of faith: They are able to achieve immortality, and to take up a position in the spiritual world. This is what makes them different to the unbelievers. Firstly, when they are alive on earth, what is the conduct of those who are able to assume a position in the spiritual world? They must commit absolutely no evil: They must not commit murder, arson, rape, or loot; if they commit fraud, deception, theft, or robbery, then they cannot achieve immortality. Which is to say, if they have any connection or affiliation with evildoing, they will not be able to escape the punishment of the spiritual world. The spiritual world makes suitable arrangements for Buddhists who achieve immortality: They may be assigned to administer those who appear to believe in Buddhism, and the Old Man in the Sky, and the Buddhists will be given a jurisdiction, they may only administer the unbelievers, or else they may be a very minor bailiff. Such allocation is according to the nature of these souls. This is an example of Buddhism.
Among the five religions we have spoken of, Christianity is somewhat special. And what’s special about Christianity? These are people who believe in the true God. How can those who believe in the true God be listed here? Since Christianity is a kind of faith, then it is, without doubt, only related to faith—it is a kind of ceremony, a kind of religion, and something separate from the faith of those who truly follow God. The reason why I have listed it among the five major religions is because Christianity has been reduced to the same level as Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. Most Christians don’t believe there is a God, or that He rules over all things, much less do they believe in His existence. Instead, they merely employ the Scriptures to talk about theology, using theology to teach people to be kind, to endure suffering, and to do good things. That’s what kind of religion Christianity is: It only concentrates on theological theories, it bears absolutely no relation to God’s work of managing and saving man, it is a religion of those who follow God that is not acknowledged by God. But God also has a principle to His approach to them. He does not casually handle and deal with them at will, in the same way as with the unbelievers. His approach to them is the same as the Buddhists: If, while they’re alive, a Christian has self-discipline, is able to strictly abide by the Ten Commandments and abide by the laws and commandments in the demands they make of their own behavior—and if they can do this their whole life—then they will also have to spend the same amount of time going through the cycles of life and death before they can truly attain the so-called rapture. After achieving this rapture, they remain in the spiritual world, where they take up a position and become one of its bailiffs. Likewise, if they commit evil on earth, if they are sinful and commit too many sins, then it is unavoidable that they will be punished and disciplined with varying severity. In Buddhism, achieving immortality means entering Sukhavati, but what do they call it in Christianity? It is called “entering heaven” and being “raptured.” Those who are truly raptured also go through the cycle of life and death three to seven times, after which, having died, they come to the spiritual world, as if they had fallen asleep. If they are up to standard they can remain to take up a role, and, unlike the people on earth, will not be reincarnated in a simple way, or according to convention.
Among all these religions, the end that they speak of and strive for is the same as the attainment of immortality in Buddhism—it’s just that it is achieved by different means. They are all of a kind. For this portion of people of these religions who are able to strictly abide by religious precepts in their behavior, God gives them a suitable destination, a suitable place to go to, and handles them appropriately. All of this is reasonable, but it is not as people imagine, yes? Now, having heard what happens to Christians, how do you feel? Are you aggrieved for them? Do you sympathize with them? (A little.) There’s nothing that can be done—they have only themselves to blame. Why do I say this? God’s work is true, God is alive and real, and His work is aimed at all mankind and every person—so why don’t the Christians accept this? Why do they manically oppose and persecute God? They’re lucky even to have an end such as this, so why do you feel sorry for them? For them to be handled in this way shows great tolerance. Based on the extent to which they oppose God, they should be destroyed—yet God does not do this, and merely handles Christianity the same as an ordinary religion. So is there any need to go into detail about the other religions? The ethos of all these religions is for people to suffer more hardship, do no evil, say nice things, do good deeds, not swear at others, not jump to conclusions about others, distance themselves from disputes, do good things, be a good person—most religious teachings are like this. And so, if these people of faith—these people of various religions and denominations—are able to strictly abide by religious precepts, then they won’t commit great errors or sins during the time that they’re on earth, and after being reincarnated three to seven times, then by and large these people, the people who are able to strictly abide by religious precepts, will remain to take up a role in the spiritual world. And are there a lot of such people? (No, there aren’t many.) What is your answer based on? It’s not easy to do good, or to abide by religious rules and laws. Buddhism doesn’t let people eat meat—could you do that? If you had to wear gray robes and chant sutras in a Buddhist temple all day, could you do it? It wouldn’t be easy. Christianity has the Ten Commandments, the commandments and laws, are they easy to abide by? They are not! Take not swearing at others: People are incapable of abiding by this rule. Unable to stop themselves, they swear—and after swearing they can’t take it back, so what do they do? At night they confess their sins. Sometimes after they swear at others, there is still hate in their hearts, and they even go so far as to plan when they’re going to harm them. In sum, for those who live among this dead dogma, it is not easy to not sin or commit evil. And so, in every religion, only a few people are able to attain immortality. You think that because so many people follow these religions, many will be able to remain to take up a role in the spiritual realm. But there aren’t that many, only a few are able to achieve this. That’s generally it for the cycle of life and death of people of faith. What sets them apart is that they can achieve immortality, which is their difference to the unbelievers.
3. The Cycle of Life and Death of the People Who Follow God
Next, let us speak of the cycle of life and death of those who follow God. This concerns you, so pay attention. First, think about what categories the people who follow God can be divided into. (God’s chosen people and service-doers.) There are two: God’s chosen people and service-doers. First we’ll talk about God’s chosen people, of which there are but a few. What does “God’s chosen people” refer to? After God created all things and there was mankind, God selected a group of people who followed Him, and they are simply called “God’s chosen people.” There is a special scope and significance to God’s selection of these people. The scope is that each time God does important work they must come—which is the first of the things that make them special. And what is their significance? Their selection by God means that they hold great significance. Which is to say, God wishes to make these people complete, and make them perfect, and after His work of management has finished, He will gain these people. Is this significance not great? Thus, these chosen people are of great importance to God, for they are those whom God intends to gain. Whereas the service-doers—well, let’s depart from God’s predestination, and first talk of their origins. The literal meaning of “service-doer” is one who serves. Those who serve are transient; they do not do so long-term, or forever, but are hired or recruited temporarily. Most of them are chosen from among the unbelievers. When they come to earth is when it is decreed that they will assume the role of service-doers in God’s work. They may have been an animal in their previous life, but they may also have been one of the unbelievers. Such are the origins of the service-doers.
Let us return to God’s chosen people. When they die, God’s chosen people go somewhere completely different from the unbelievers and the various people of faith. It is a place where they are accompanied by angels and God’s messengers, and one which is personally administered by God. Although, in this place, God’s chosen people are not able to behold God with their own eyes, it is unlike anywhere else in the spiritual realm; it is a place where this portion of people go after they die. When they die, they too are subject to a stringent investigation by God’s messengers. And what is investigated? God’s messengers investigate the paths taken by these people throughout their lives in their belief in God, whether or not, during that time, they ever opposed God, or cursed Him, and whether or not they committed grievous sins or evil. This investigation settles the question of whether the person leaves or stays. What does “leave” refer to? And what does “stay” refer to? “Leave” refers to whether, based on their behavior, they remain among the ranks of God’s chosen ones. “Stay” refers that they can remain among the people who are made complete by God during the last days. For those who stay, God has special arrangements. During each period of His work, God will send such people to act as apostles or to do the work of reviving the churches, or tending to them. But the people who are capable of such work are not reincarnated as frequently as the unbelievers, who are reborn time and time again; instead, they are returned to earth according to the needs and steps of God’s work, and are not those who are reincarnated often. So are there any rules to when they are reincarnated? Do they come once every few years? Do they come with such frequency? They do not. This is based on God’s work, on the steps of His work, and His needs, and there are no rules. The only one rule is that when God does the final stage of His work during the last days, these chosen people will all come. When they all come, this will be the last time that they are reincarnated. And why is that? This is based on the outcome to be achieved during God’s last stage of work—for during this last stage of work, God will make these chosen people entirely complete. What does this mean? If, during this final phase, these people are made complete, and made perfect, then they will not be reincarnated as before; the process of being human will come to a complete finish, as will the process of reincarnation. This relates to those who will stay. So where do those who can’t stay go? Those who can’t stay have somewhere appropriate to go. Firstly, as a result of their evildoing, the mistakes they have made, and the sins they have committed, they too are punished. After they have been punished, God sends them out among the unbelievers; as befits the circumstances, He will arrange for them to be among the unbelievers, or else among the various people of faith. Which is to say, there are two possible circumstances for them: One is, after being punished, perhaps living among the people of a certain religion when they are reincarnated, and the other is to become an unbeliever. If they become an unbeliever, then they will lose all opportunity. Whereas if they become a person of faith—if, for example, they become a Christian—they still have the chance to return among the ranks of God’s chosen people; there are very complex relationships to this. In short, if one of God’s chosen people does something that offends God, they will be punished just like everybody else. Take Paul, for example, whom we previously talked about. Paul is an example of those who are punished. Are you getting an idea of what I’m talking about? Is the scope of God’s chosen people fixed? (Mostly it is.) Most of it is fixed, but a small part of it is not fixed. Why is that? Here, I have referred to the most obvious reason: committing evil. When they commit evil, God does not want them, and when God doesn’t want them, He throws them among various races and types of people, which leaves them without hope, and makes it difficult for them to return. This all relates to the cycle of life and death of God’s chosen people.
Next is the cycle of life and death of the service-doers. We just talked about the origins of the service-doers, that is, they were reincarnated from unbelievers and animals in their previous lives. With the arrival of the last stage of work, God has selected from the unbelievers a group of such people, and it is a group that is special. God’s aim in choosing such people is for them to serve His work. “Service” is not a very elegant-sounding word, nor is it something that anyone would be disposed to, but we should look at whom it is aimed at. There is a special significance to the existence of God’s service-doers. No one else could play their role, for they were chosen by God. And what is the role of these service-doers? To serve God’s chosen people. In the main, their role is to serve God’s work, to cooperate with God’s work, and to cooperate with God’s completion of His chosen people. Regardless of whether they are laboring, carrying out some work, or undertaking certain tasks, what is God’s requirement of these people? Is He very demanding in His requirements of them? (No, God asks that they be loyal.) Service-doers also have to be loyal. Regardless of your origins, or why God chose you, you must be loyal to God, to what God commissions of you, as well as to the work you are responsible for and the duty you perform. If service-doers are capable of being loyal, and satisfying God, then what will their end be? They will be able to remain. Is it a blessing to be a service-doer who remains? What does it mean to remain? What does this blessing mean? In status, they seem unlike God’s chosen people, they seem different. In fact, however, is what they enjoy in this life not the same as God’s chosen people? At the very least, in this life it is the same. You don’t deny this, yes? God’s utterances, God’s grace, God’s provision, God’s blessings—who does not enjoy these things? Everyone enjoys such abundance. The identity of a service-doer is service-doer, but to God, they are one among all the things that He created—it’s simply that their role is that of service-doer. As one of God’s creatures, is there a difference between a service-doer and God’s chosen people? In effect, there is not. Nominally speaking, there is a difference, in substance there is a difference, in terms of the role they play there is a difference, but God does not discriminate against these people. So why are these people defined as service-doers? You should understand this. The service-doers come from among the unbelievers. The mention of the unbelievers tells us that their past is bad: They are all atheists, in their past they were atheists, they did not believe in God, and they were hostile to God, the truth, and positive things. They did not believe in God and did not believe there is a God, so are they capable of understanding God’s words? It is fair to say that, to a large extent, they are not. Just as animals are incapable of understanding human words, the service-doers don’t understand what God is saying, what He requires, why He makes such requirements—they don’t understand, these things are incomprehensible to them, they remain unenlightened. And for this reason, these people are not possessed of the life that we talked of. Without life, can people understand the truth? Are they equipped with the truth? Are they equipped with the experience and knowledge of God’s words? (No.) Such are the origins of the service-doers. But since God makes these people service-doers, there are still standards to His requirements of them; He does not look down upon them, and He is not perfunctory toward them. Even though they don’t understand His words, and are without life, God is still kind to them, and there are still standards to His requirements of them. You just spoke of these standards: Being loyal to God, and doing what He says. In your service you must serve where needed, and must serve to the very end. If you can be a loyal service-doer, are able to serve right up to the very end, and are able to perfectly complete the commission given to you by God, then you will live a life of value, and so you will be able to remain. If you put in a bit more effort, if you try harder, are able to double your endeavors to know God, can speak a little of the knowledge of God, can bear testimony to God, and moreover, if you can understand something of God’s will, can cooperate in God’s work, and be somewhat mindful of God’s will, then you, this service-doer, will have a change in fortune. And what will this change in fortune be? You will no longer simply be able to remain. Based on your conduct and your personal aspirations and pursuit, God will make you one of the chosen ones. This will be your change in fortune. For service-doers, what is the best thing about this? It is that they can become one of God’s chosen people. If they become one of God’s chosen people, it means they are no longer reincarnated as an animal like an unbeliever. Is that good? It is, and it’s good news. Which is to say, service-doers can be molded. It is not that case that for a service-doer, when God destines him to serve, he will do so forever; that is not necessarily so. Based on his individual conduct, God will handle him differently, and reply to him differently.
But there are service-doers who are unable to serve until the very end; during their service, there are those who give up halfway and forsake God, there are those who do many bad things, and even those who cause tremendous harm and do tremendous damage to God’s work, there are even service-doers who curse God, and so on—and what do these irremediable consequences mean? Any such evil acts will mean the termination of their service. Because your conduct during your service has been too poor, because you have overstepped yourself, when God sees that your service is not up to snuff He will strip you of your eligibility to serve, He will not let you serve, He will remove you from before His eyes, and from the house of God. Is it not that you don’t want to serve? Do you not always wish to do evil? Are you not always unfaithful? Well then, there’s an easy solution: You’ll be stripped of your eligibility to serve. To God, stripping a service-doer of their eligibility to serve means that this service-doer’s end has been proclaimed, and they will no longer be eligible to serve God, God has no further need of their service, and no matter what nice things they say these words will be in vain. When things have gotten to this point, this situation will have become irremediable; service-doers such as this will have no way back. And how does God deal with service-doers such as this? Does He merely stop them from serving? No. Does He merely prevent them from remaining? Or does He put them to one side, and wait for them to turn around? He does not. God is not so loving of the service-doers, truly. If a person has this kind of attitude in their service to God, God will, as a result of this attitude, strip them of their eligibility to serve, and will once more throw them back among the unbelievers. And what is the fate of a service-doer who has been thrown back among the unbelievers? It is the same as that of the unbelievers: being reincarnated as an animal and receiving the unbelievers’ punishment in the spiritual world. And God won’t take a personal interest in their punishment, for they no longer have any relevance to God’s work. This is not only the end of their life of faith in God, but also the end of their own fate, the proclamation of their fate. So if service-doers serve poorly, they will have to bear the consequences themselves. If a service-doer is incapable of serving to the very end, or is stripped of their eligibility to serve midway, then they will be thrown among the unbelievers—and if they are thrown among the unbelievers they will be dealt with in the same way as livestock, in the same way as people without intellect or rationality. When I put it like that, you understand, yes?
The above is God’s handling of the cycle of life and death of His chosen people and the service-doers. How do you feel after having heard this? Have I ever spoken of the topic that I just talked about, the topic of God’s chosen people and the service-doers? I actually have, but you don’t remember. God is righteous toward His chosen people and the service-doers. In all regards He is righteous, yes? Is there anywhere you can find fault? Are there people who will say: “Why is God so tolerant toward the chosen ones? And why is He only a little forbearing toward the service-doers?” Does anyone wish to stand up for the service-doers? “Can God give the service-doers more time, and be more forbearing and tolerant toward them?” Are these words right? (No, they’re not.) And why aren’t they right? (Because we’ve actually been shown favor just by being made service-doers.) Service-doers have actually been shown favor just by being allowed to serve! Without the term “service-doers,” and without the work of service-doers, where would these service-doers be? Among the unbelievers, living and dying with the livestock. What great graces they enjoy today, being allowed to come before God, and come to the house of God! This is a tremendous grace! If God did not give you the opportunity to serve, you would never have the chance to come before God. To say the least, even if you are someone who is a Buddhist and has achieved immortality, at most you’re a gofer in the spiritual world; you will never meet God, or hear His voice, or hear His words, or feel His love and blessings for you, and you couldn’t possibly ever come face-to-face with Him. The only thing before Buddhists are simple tasks. They can’t possibly know God, and merely blindly comply and obey, whereas the service-doers gain so much during this stage of work! Firstly, they are able to come face-to-face with God, to hear His voice, to hear His words, and to experience the graces and blessings that He gives people. Moreover, they are able to enjoy the words and truths given by God. They really gain so much! So if, as a service-doer, you can’t even make the right effort, would God still keep you? He cannot keep you. He doesn’t ask much of you, but you do nothing that He asks properly, you haven’t adhered to your duty—and so, without doubt, God cannot keep you. Such is God’s righteous disposition. God doesn’t mollycoddle you, but neither does He discriminate against you. Such are the principles by which God acts. God acts like this toward all people and creatures.
When it comes to the spiritual world, if the various beings in it do something wrong, if they do not do their job correctly, God also has corresponding heavenly edicts and decrees to deal with them—this is absolute. So during God’s several-thousand-year management work, some bailiffs who did wrong have been exterminated, some, today, are still being detained and punished. This is what must be faced by every being in the spiritual world. If they do something wrong or commit evil, they are punished—which is the same as God’s approach to His chosen people and the service-doers. And so, whether it is in the spiritual world or the material world, the principles by which God acts do not change. Regardless of whether you can see God’s actions or not, their principles do not change. Throughout, God has had the same principles in His approach to all things and in His handling of all things. This is immutable. God will be kind toward those among the unbelievers who live relatively properly, and will save opportunities for those in each religion who behave well and do no evil, allowing them to play their role in all the things managed by God, and do that which they ought to do. Similarly, among those who follow God, among His chosen people, God does not discriminate against any person according to these principles of His. He is kind toward everyone who is able to sincerely follow Him, and loves everyone who sincerely follows Him. It’s just that for these several types of people—the unbelievers, the various people of faith, and God’s chosen people—what He bestows upon them is different. Take the unbelievers: Although they don’t believe in God, and God sees them as livestock, among all things each of them has food to eat, a place of their own, and a normal cycle of life and death. Those who do evil are punished, and those who do good are blessed and receive God’s kindness. Isn’t that how it is? For the people of faith, if they are able to strictly abide by the religious precepts rebirth after rebirth, then after all these rebirths God will ultimately make His proclamation to them. Similarly, for you today, whether you be one of God’s chosen people or a service-doer, God will also bring you into line and determine your end in accordance with the regulations and administrative decrees that He has set. Among these several types of people—the various types of people of faith, who belong to various religions—has God given them living space? Where is Judaism? Has God interfered in their faith? He has not, right? And what about Christianity? He has not interfered either. He allows them to abide by their own procedures, and does not talk to them, or give them any enlightenment, and, moreover, does not reveal anything to them: “If you think it’s right, then believe in this way.” The Catholics believe in Mary, and that it was through Mary that the news was passed on to the Lord Jesus; such is their form of belief. And has God ever corrected their faith? God gives them free rein, He pays them no heed, and He gives them a certain space in which to live. And toward the Muslims and Buddhists, is He also like that? He has set boundaries for them, too, and allows them to have their own living space, without interfering in their respective faiths. All is well-ordered. And what do you see in all this? That God is possessed of authority, but He does not abuse His authority. God arranges all things in perfect order, and is methodical, and in this lies His wisdom and omnipotence.
Today we talked of a new and special topic, one concerning matters of the spiritual world, which is one aspect of God’s administration of and dominion over the spiritual world. When you didn’t understand these things, you may have said: “Everything to do with this is a mystery, and has nothing to do with our entry into life; these things are divorced from how people actually live, and we don’t need to understand them, nor do we wish to hear of them. They have absolutely no connection to knowing God.” Now, do you think there is a problem with such thinking? Is it right? (No.) Such thinking is not right, and has serious problems. That is because, if you wish to understand how God rules over all things, you cannot simply and only understand what you can see and what is obtainable by your thinking. You must also understand some of the other world that is invisible to you, but which is inextricably linked to this world that you can see. This concerns God’s sovereignty, it concerns the topic of “God is the source of life for all things”; it is information about that. Without this information, there would be flaws and deficiencies in people’s knowledge of how God is the source of life for all things. Thus, what we have spoken of today can be said to have rounded off what we talked about before, as well as the content of “God is the source of life for all things.” Having understood this, are you now able to know God through this content? And what is more important is that today, I have passed on to you a very important piece of information concerning the service-doers. I know that you really like hearing about topics like this, that you really care about these things, so do you feel satisfied with what I talked about today? (Yes, we do.) You may not have a strong impression of other things, but you have a particularly strong impression of the sayings about the service-doers, for this topic touches the soul of every one of you.
God’s Requirements of Mankind
1. The Identity and Status of God Himself
We have come to the end of the topic of “God is the source of life for all things,” as well as that of “God is the unique God Himself.” Having done so, we need to make a summary. What kind of summary? One about God Himself. Since it is about God Himself, then it must relate to every aspect of God, as well as to people’s form of belief in God. And so, first I have to ask you: Having heard the preaching, who is the God in your mind’s eye? (The Creator.) The God in your mind’s eye is the Creator. Is there anything else? God is the Lord of all things. Are these words appropriate? (Appropriate.) God is the One who rules over all things, and who administers all things. He created all that there is, He administers all that there is, and He also rules over all that there is and provides to all that there is. This is the status of God, and the identity of God. For all things and all that there is, God’s true identity is the Creator, and the Ruler of all things. Such is the identity possessed by God, and He is unique among all things. None of God’s creatures—whether they be among mankind, or in the spiritual world—can use any means or excuse to impersonate or replace God’s identity and status, for there is only one among all things who is possessed of this identity, power, authority, and the ability to rule over all things: our unique God Himself. He lives and moves among all things; He can rise to the highest place, above all things; He can humble Himself by becoming a man, becoming one among those who are of flesh and blood, coming face-to-face with people and sharing weal and woe with them; at the same time, He commands all that there is, and decides the fate of all that there is, and what direction it moves in; moreover, He guides the fate of all mankind, and the direction of mankind. A God such as this should be worshiped, obeyed, and known by all living beings. And so, regardless of which group and type among mankind you belong to, believing in God, following God, revering God, accepting God’s rule, and accepting God’s arrangements for your fate is the only choice, and the necessary choice, for any person, for any living being. In God’s uniqueness, people see that His authority, His righteous disposition, His substance, and the means by which He provides to all things are all unique; His uniqueness determines the true identity of God Himself, and it determines His status. And so, among all creatures, if any living being in the spiritual world or among mankind wished to stand in God’s stead, it would be impossible, as would be trying to impersonate God. This is fact. What are the requirements of mankind of a Creator and Ruler such as this, who is possessed of the identity, the power, and the status of God Himself? This should be clear to everyone, and should be remembered by them, and it is very important to both God and man!
2. Mankind’s Various Attitudes Toward God
How people behave toward God decides their fate, and decides how God behaves toward and deals with them. At this point I’m going to give some examples of how people behave toward God. Let’s hear something of whether the manners and attitudes with which they behave toward God are correct or not. Let us consider the conduct of the following seven types of people:
1) There is one type of person whose attitude toward God is particularly absurd. They think God is like a Bodhisattva or holy being of human lore, and needs people to bow three times when they meet and light incense after they have eaten. And thus when, in their hearts, they are thankful to God for His grace, and grateful to God, they often have such an impulse. They so wish that the God they believe in today can, like the holy being they yearn for in their hearts, accept the behavior toward Him in which they bow three times when they meet, and light incense after eating.
2) Some people see God as a living Buddha capable of removing all the living from suffering, and saving them; they see God as a living Buddha capable of taking them away from the sea of affliction. These people’s belief in God is the worship of God as a Buddha. Although they do not light incense, kowtow, or give offerings, in their hearts their God is just such a Buddha, and only asks that they are kind and charitable, that they kill no living thing, don’t swear at others, live a life that appears honest, and do nothing bad—just these things. This is the God in their hearts.
3) Some people worship God as someone great or famous. For example, by whatever means this great person likes to speak, with whatever intonation he speaks, what words and vocabulary he uses, his tone, his hand gestures, his opinions and actions, his bearing—they copy all of them, and these are things that they must come to fully engender in the course of their belief in God.
4) Some people see God as a monarch, they feel He is above all else, and no one dares to offend Him—and if they do, they will be penalized. They worship such a monarch because monarchs hold a certain place in their hearts. The thoughts, manner, authority and nature of the monarchs—even their interests and personal life—all become something these people must understand, issues and matters that they are concerned about, and so they worship God as a monarch. Such a form of belief is ridiculous.
5) Some people have particular faith in the existence of God, one that is profound and unwavering. Because their knowledge of God is so superficial and they don’t have much experience of the words of God, they worship Him as an idol. This idol is the God in their hearts, it is something that they must fear and bow down to, and which they must follow and imitate. They see God as an idol, one that they must follow their whole life. They copy the tone with which God speaks, and externally they copy those whom God likes. They often do things that appear naive, pure, and honest, and they even follow this idol like a partner or companion that they can never part with. Such is their form of belief.
6) There are some people who, despite having read many of God’s words and heard much preaching, feel in their hearts that the only principle of their behavior toward God is that they should always be obsequious and fawning, or else should praise God and commend Him in a way that is unrealistic. They believe that God is a God who requires them to behave in such a way, and they believe that if they do not do so, then at any time they may provoke His anger or sin against Him, and that as a result of sinning God will punish them. Such is the God in their hearts.
7) And then there’s the majority of people, who find spiritual sustenance in God. Because they live in this world, they are without peace or happiness, and nowhere do they find comfort. After they find God, when they have seen and heard His words, in their hearts they are secretly joyful and elated. This is because they believe that they have finally found somewhere that will bring them happiness, that they have finally found a God who will give them spiritual sustenance. After they have accepted God and began following Him, they become happy, their lives are fulfilled, they are no longer like the unbelievers, who sleepwalk through life like animals, and they feel they have something to look forward to in life. Thus, they think that this God can satisfy their spiritual needs and bring great happiness in both mind and spirit. Without realizing it, they become unable to leave this God who gives them spiritual sustenance, who brings happiness to their spirit and whole family. They believe that the belief in God need do nothing more than bring them spiritual sustenance.
Do the attitudes toward God of these various types of people mentioned above exist among you? (They do.) If, in their belief in God, someone’s heart contains any of these attitudes, are they able to truly come before God? If someone has any of these attitudes in their heart, do they believe in God? Do they believe in the unique God Himself? (No.) Since you do not believe in the unique God Himself, who do you believe in? If what you believe in is not the unique God Himself, it is possible you believe in an idol, or a great man, or a Bodhisattva, that you worship the Buddha in your heart. Moreover, it’s possible that you believe in an ordinary person. In sum, because of people’s various forms of belief and attitudes toward God, people place the God of their own cognition in their hearts, they impose their imagination upon God, they place their attitudes and imaginings about God side-by-side with the unique God Himself, and then they hold them up to be feted. What does it mean when people have such improper attitudes toward God? It means that they have rejected the true God Himself and worship a false God, and it means that at the same time as believing in God, they reject God, and oppose Him, and that they deny the existence of the true God. If people keep holding onto such forms of belief, what will be the consequence for them? With such forms of belief, are they able to draw ever closer to fulfilling God’s requirements? (No, they aren’t.) On the contrary, because of their conceptions and imaginings, people will become ever further from God’s way, for the direction they seek is the opposite of the direction God requires of them. Have you ever heard of the story “going south by driving the chariot north”? This may well be a case of going south by driving the chariot north. If people believe in God in such a ludicrous way, then the harder you try, the further you will be away from God. And so I admonish you this: Before you get going, you must first discern whether you are going in the right direction. Be targeted in your efforts, and be sure to ask yourselves, “Is the God I believe in the Ruler of all things? Is this God I believe in merely someone that gives me spiritual sustenance? Is He my idol? What does this God I believe in ask of me? Does God approve of everything I do? Is everything I do and pursue in the pursuit of knowing God? Is it in line with God’s requirements of me? Is the path I walk recognized and approved of by God? Is God satisfied with my faith?” You should often and repeatedly ask yourselves these questions. If you wish to pursue the knowledge of God, then you must have a clear consciousness and clear objectives before you can satisfy God.
Is it possible that, as a result of His tolerance, God would grudgingly accept these improper attitudes that I have just spoken of? Could God commend these people’s attitudes? (No.) What are God’s requirements of mankind and those who follow Him? Are you clear about what attitude He requires of people? Today, I’ve said so much, I’ve spoken a lot about the topic of God Himself, as well as about God’s deeds and what He has and is. Now do you know what God wishes to gain from people? Do you know what God wants from you? Speak up. If your knowledge from experiences and practice is still lacking or very superficial, you can say something about your knowledge of these words. Do you have a summary knowledge? What does God ask of man? (During these several communions, God’s made a point of requiring that we know God, know His deeds, know that He is the source of life for all things, and know His status and identity.) And what is the final outcome when God asks that people know Him? (They know that God is the Creator, and that people are created beings.) When they achieve such a knowledge, what changes are there in people’s attitude toward God, their behavior and method of implementation, or their life disposition? Have you ever thought about this? Could it be said that, after knowing God and understanding Him, they become a good person? (Belief in God is not the pursuit of being a good person. Rather, it is the pursuit of becoming a creature of God who is up to standard, and of being an honest person.) Is there anything else? (After truly and correctly knowing God, we are able to behave toward God as God, we know that God is always God, that we are created beings, we should worship God, and stand in the right position.) Very good! Let’s hear from some others. (We know God, and are ultimately able to be people who truly obey God, revere God, and shun evil.) That’s right!
3. The Attitude God Requires That Mankind Should Have Toward Him
In fact, God is not very demanding of mankind—or at least, He is not as demanding as people imagine. If God had not uttered any words, if He had not expressed His disposition or any deeds, then knowing God would be extremely difficult for you, for people would have to infer God’s intention and His will, which is very hard for them. But in the final stage of His work, God has spoken many words, done a great amount of work, and made many requirements of man. In His words, and His great amount of work, He has informed people of what He likes, what He loathes, and what kind of people they should be. After understanding these things, in their hearts people should have an accurate definition of God’s requirements, for they do not believe in God amid vagueness and abstractness, and they no longer believe in the vague God, or follow God amid vagueness and abstractness, and nothingness; instead, people are able to hear God’s utterances, they are able to understand the standards of His requirements, and attain them, and God uses the language of mankind to tell people all that they should know and understand. Today, if people are still unaware of God’s requirements of them, what God is, why they believe in God, and how they should believe in God and behave toward Him, then in this there is a problem. Just now each of you spoke of one area; you are aware of some things, whether these things be specific or general—but I wish to tell you the correct, complete, and specific requirements of God toward mankind. They’re just a few words, and very simple. You may already know these words. God’s correct requirements of mankind and those who follow Him are as follows. God requires five things of those who follow Him: true belief, loyal following, absolute obedience, true knowledge, and heartfelt reverence.
In these five things, God requires that people no longer question Him, nor follow Him using their imagination or vague and abstract viewpoints; they must not follow God with any imaginings or conceptions. God requires that every one of those who follow Him do so loyally, not half-heartedly or noncommittally. When God makes any requirements of you, or tests you, judges you, deals with and prunes you, or disciplines and smites you, you should be absolutely obedient to Him. You should not ask the cause, or make conditions, much less should you speak of the reason. Your obedience must be absolute. Knowing God is the area in which people are most lacking. They often impose upon God sayings, utterances, and words that are unrelated to Him, believing that these words are the most accurate definition of the knowledge of God. Little do they know that these sayings, which come from people’s imagination, their own reasoning, and their own intellect, bear not the slightest relation to God’s substance. And so, I want to tell you that, in the knowledge in people desired by God, God does not merely ask that you recognize God and His words, but that your knowledge of God is correct. Even if you can only say one sentence, or are only aware of a little bit, this little bit of awareness is correct and true, and compatible with the substance of God Himself. For God detests people’s praise and commendation of Him that is unrealistic and ill-considered. More than that, He hates it when people treat Him like the air. He hates it when, during discussion of topics about God, people speak flippantly, talking at will and without hesitation, talking however they see fit; moreover, He hates those who believe they know God, and are boastful about the knowledge of God, discussing topics about God without constraint or reservation. The last of those five requirements was heartfelt reverence. This is God’s ultimate requirement of all those who follow Him. When someone has the correct and true knowledge of God, they are able to truly revere God and shun evil. This reverence comes from the depths of their heart, and it is willing, and not because God has pressed them. God does not ask that you make a gift of any nice attitude, or conduct, or outward behavior to Him; instead, He asks that you revere Him and fear Him from the depths of your heart. This reverence is attained as a result of changes in your life disposition, because you have knowledge of God, because you have an understanding of God’s deeds, because of your understanding of God’s substance, and because you have acknowledged the fact that you are one of God’s creatures. And so, My aim in using the word “heartfelt” to define reverence here is so that mankind understands that people’s reverence for God should come from the bottom of their hearts.
Now consider those five requirements: Are there any among you capable of attaining the first three? By which I mean true belief, loyal following, and absolute obedience. Are there any among you who are capable of these things? I know that if I said all five, then there would unquestionably be none among you who are—but I’ve reduced it to three. Have a think about whether you’ve achieved them or not. Is “true belief” easy to attain? (No, it isn’t.) It’s not easy, for people often question God. And how about “loyal following”? What does this “loyal” refer to? (Not being half-hearted but wholehearted.) Not being half-hearted, but wholehearted. You’ve hit the nail on the head! So are you capable of achieving this requirement? You’ve got to try harder, right? At the moment you’ve yet to achieve this requirement. What about “absolute obedience”—have you achieved that? (No.) You haven’t achieved that, either. You are often disobedient, and rebellious, you often don’t listen, or wish to obey, or want to hear. These are the three most fundamental requirements achieved by people following their entry into life, and they have yet to be achieved in you. So, at the moment, do you have great potential? Today, having heard Me say these words, do you feel anxious? (Yes.) It’s right that you feel anxious. Do not not be anxious. I feel anxious on your behalves. I won’t go into the other two requirements; without doubt, no one is capable of achieving them. You’re anxious. So have you determined your objectives? What objectives, toward what direction, should you pursue, and devote your efforts? Do you have an objective? Let Me speak plainly: When you achieve these five requirements, you will have satisfied God. Each of them is an indicator, an indicator of people’s entry into life having reached maturity, and the final objective of this. Even if I only picked a single one of these requirements to speak of in detail and require of you, it wouldn’t be easy to achieve; you must endure a degree of hardship and put in a certain amount of effort. And what kind of mentality should you have? It should be the same as a cancer patient waiting to go onto the operating table. And why do I say this? If you wish to believe in God, and wish to gain God and gain His satisfaction, then if you don’t endure a degree of pain or put in a certain amount of effort, you will not be able to achieve these things. You have heard much preaching, but having heard it does not mean this preaching is yours; you must absorb it and transform it into something that belongs to you, you must assimilate it into your life, and bring it into your existence, allowing these words and preaching to guide the way you live, and bring existential value and meaning to your life—and then it will have been worth you hearing these words. If the words I speak do not bring any upturn in your lives, or any value to your existence, then there is no point in you listening to them. You understand this, yes? Having understood that, then what is left is up to you. You must get to work! You must be earnest in all things! Don’t be at sixes and sevens—time is flying by! Most among you have already believed in God for over ten years. Look back on these ten years: How much have you gained? And how many decades of this life do you have left? There’s not long. Forget about whether God’s work awaits you, whether He has left you a chance, whether He will do the same work again; speak not of this. Can you reverse your last ten years? With every day that passes and every step you take, the days that you have are lessened by a day. Time waits for no man! You will only gain from the belief in God if you approach it as the greatest thing in your life, more important than food, clothes, or anything else! If you only believe when you have the time, and are incapable of devoting your entire attention to your belief, if you are always mired in confusion, then you will gain nothing. You understand this, yes? We’ll finish here for today. See you next time! (Thanks be to God!)
February 15, 2014
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “with which these people become human.”
b. The original text does not contain the phrase “before they are reincarnated.”