God Is the Source of Life for All Things (IV) Part Four
2. 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; 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 all of you here today, and should be remembered by you, 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:
a. 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.
b. 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.
c. 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.
d. 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.
e. 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.
f. 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.
g. 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. And why is that? 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. That is because, 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 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? 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? On the contrary, because of their conceptions and imaginings, these 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 run 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? 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? (Loyalty, obedience.) What else, apart from loyalty and obedience? The other brothers and sisters can also speak. (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 He asked that we know His status and identity, and know our duty as creatures of God. He had clear words for what we should devote all our efforts to, what He requires of us, what kind of people He likes, and what kind He detests.) 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.) And so what kind of person must they be? (They must be a qualified creature of God.) (They must be honest.) Is there anything else? (They must be someone who submits to God’s orchestrations, who is able to truly worship and love God.) (They must possess a conscience and sense, and be able to truly obey God.) And what else? (After truly and correctly knowing God, we are able to behave toward God as God, we will forever know that God is God, that we are created beings, we should worship God, and stick to our position.) Very good! Let’s hear from some others. (God’s communions enable us to know God’s authority in ruling over all things, they allow us to acknowledge that He is the Ruler of all things, so that we can submit to the environments that God arranges for us each day, and can truly submit to the duty given to us by God.) (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. Without God’s utterances, or any expression of His disposition, deeds, or words, then knowing God would be extremely difficult for you, for people would have to infer God’s meaning and intentions, which is very hard for them. But with regard to 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. Is “loyal following” easy to achieve? (No, it isn’t.) What does this “loyal” refer to? (Not being half-hearted but wholehearted.) Yes, 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—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—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? (Yes.) What is your objective? Tell Me. (To pursue the truth, to pursue the knowledge of God within His words, and to ultimately achieve reverence and obedience toward God.) 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; people 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 for over ten years. Look back on these over ten years of belief: How much have you gained? And how many decades of this life do you have left? There’s not long; whatever you do, do not say that in His work God waits for you, and saves opportunities for you. God will absolutely not turn back and do the same work. Can you reverse your last ten years? With every day that passes and every step you take, the days that you have are shortened by a day, lessened by a day, yes? 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 always make do, and are at sixes and sevens, 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 omits “with which these people become human.”
b. The original text omits “before they are reincarnated.”