Chapter 11. Resolving Nature and Practicing Truth
1. The Relationship Between Humanity and the Capacity for Practicing the Truth
People say that practicing the truth is extremely difficult. Then why is it that some people are able to practice truth? Some people say it is because they innately receive the work of the Holy Spirit acting upon them, and also because they are intrinsically good. This argument does have a certain degree of logic to it. Some people are inherently good; they are able to practice truth. Some people’s humanity is weaker, thus it is hard for them to practice truth; this means they will face some suffering. Would you say that he who does not practice truth has ever sought the truth? He absolutely has not sought it. His own thinking arises: “This way is good, it is to my advantage.” In the end, he still acts based on his own ideas. He does not seek the truth because there is something wrong with his heart, his heart is not right. He does not seek, does not examine, nor does he pray before God; he just stubbornly acts according to his own wishes. This type of person simply holds no fondness for the truth. To say that he harbors no love for the truth, but that he does certain things in keeping with principles and does not violate principles, such lack of violation does not mean that he intends to seek God. It may only be said to be purely coincidental. Some people do certain things in a confused and haphazard fashion without seeking; examining themselves only after the fact. If they discover that doing such things is incompatible with the truth, they will refrain from doing so the next time. This may be considered having some measure of love for the truth. This kind of individual is capable of undergoing a degree of change. Those without love for the truth will neither seek it in the moment, nor will they examine themselves afterward. They never scrutinize whether the act was carried out rightly or wrongly in the end, thus they always violate principles, violate the truth. Even if you do something that does not violate principles, it is incompatible with the truth, and this so-called non-violation of principles is simply a matter of approach. So what state is this type of person in when they act according to their own wishes? They are not acting in a dazed and muddleheaded state: Does this conform to the truth in the final analysis? This is not the circumstance under which they find themselves, rather they stubbornly persist in acting in such a manner; they have set their mind to doing it that way, with utterly no intention of seeking the truth. If they truly seek God’s intention, yet fail to fully comprehend God’s intention beforehand, then they may consider the following course of action: I will first go ahead and do it this way, if it complies with the truth then I will keep doing it this way, if it does not conform to the truth, I will hasten to remedy this and no longer act in such a manner. If they are able to seek truth in this manner, they will be able to change in the future. Without this intention, they will be unable to change. A person who has a heart is only able to make a mistake once when undertaking a course of action, twice at the very most—once or twice, not three or four times, this is normal sense. If they are able to commit the same mistake three or four times, this proves that they harbor no love for the truth, nor do they seek the truth. This kind of person is definitely not a humane individual. If after once or twice with no reaction in their heart, no stirring of their conscience, they are able to commit the same act three or four times, this kind of person is simply unable to change, they are just this sort of individual—completely irredeemable. If after acting once, they feel something is not right with the matter, very much despise themselves for it and feel guilt in their heart; if they have this kind of state, they will act in such a way to a lesser degree the next time and gradually this situation will no longer occur in the future. Even should they wish to in their heart, they will not act on it. This is one aspect of change. Perhaps you will say: “I cannot change this situation.” Unable to change? That is because you do not wish to change. If you are willing to practice truth, can you not change? People who say this lack the will. They are all contemptible wretches. They are unwilling to endure suffering. They do not wish to practice truth; instead they say that the truth cannot change them. Is not such a person highly deceitful? It is they who are unable to practice truth, their humanity is flawed, yet they never know their own nature. Instead they doubt whether or not the work of God can make man complete at every turn. I say that such a person never intends to give their heart to God, never plans to endure hardship. The only reason why they stay here is merely on the off-chance that they may gain good fortune in the future. We refer to this sort of person as bereft of humanity. If they are a humane person, even when the Holy Spirit is not powerfully acting upon them, and they have little understanding of the truth, can they engage in wrongful deeds? A humane person, regardless of whether or not the Holy Spirit is acting upon them, will be unable to undertake wrongful deeds. Some inhumane people can only perform certain good deeds under the condition that the Holy Spirit is working upon them. Without the Holy Spirit acting upon them, their nature is exposed. Who can always have the Holy Spirit acting on them? Some among the non-believers have good humanity, they also do not have the Holy Spirit acting upon them, yet they do not engage in any particularly wicked acts. If you believe in God, how can you engage in wicked acts? This demonstrates the problem of human nature. Without the Holy Spirit acting upon them, people’s nature is exposed. With the Holy Spirit working on them, the Holy Spirit will urge them, granting people enlightenment and illumination, furnishing them with a burst of strength, so they perform some good deeds, which is not a question of their good nature. Thus, many people commit wrongful deeds in the course of their actions, and at such times, reveal their nature.
2. Establishing Several Principles for Resolving Your Nature
How do you resolve your nature? Firstly, you must know your nature and you must also understand both the word and the will of God. How then can you ensure, to the greatest extent, that you avoid committing wrongful acts, only doing that which conforms to the truth? If you wish to make a change, then you must deliberate on this. In terms of your flawed nature, what sorts of corrupt dispositions you have and which manner of acts you are capable of, what approach can then be adopted and how it may be practiced in order to control it—this is the crucial question. You must carefully investigate how you can resolve this issue, how you can fulfill your duties properly during a time of darkness, how you can take the right path; you must establish a principle for yourself. This depends on the will of an individual and whether or not they want God. Lin Zexu was quick to anger. Based on his own weakness he wrote down the following motto in his room: Bridle Your Temper. This is man’s approach, however it truly does work. Each individual has his or her own principles to follow, so you should also set principles with respect to your own nature. These principles are necessary, not having them is out of the question. This should also be your motto for believing in God and your code of conduct.
Resolving one’s nature begins from forsaking the flesh. Forsaking the flesh also necessitates principles. Can one forsake the flesh in a muddleheaded fashion? When the time comes you will give in to the flesh. Some brothers may stop in their tracks at the sight of a beautiful woman. Then you must set a motto for yourself. What can you do when a beautiful woman appears? Should you leave or what should you do? What should you do if she holds your hand? If you have no principles, you will stumble when faced with such a situation. If you feel covetous at the sight of money and wealth, how can you deal with this? Study this question specifically, carefully practice solving it and slowly you will be able to forsake the flesh. There is a principle which is quite critical, that is to think twice before acting; examine it before God. Moreover, every evening you must examine your own situations, and scrutinize your own behavior: which acts were done in conformity to the truth and which acts were in violation of principles. This is another principle. These two points are the most crucial. One is to examine yourself at the time of action and one is to examine yourself afterward. The third principle is: Be perfectly clear on what is meant by practicing truth and what is referred to as handling affairs in a principled manner. Once you are crystal clear on this, you will handle matters correctly. By adhering to these three principles, you will then be able to restrain yourself. Your old nature will be unable to reveal itself, be unable to resurface. This is also the basic principle for handling human nature. By holding fast to these principles, even when the Holy Spirit is not working upon you, and after a long spell without communion from the above, by expending sufficient effort to reach higher you can still maintain yourself within a state of normalcy, then you are a person who cherishes truth, a person who forsakes the flesh. Those who always rely upon the above to deal with or prune them and communicate the truth are slaves, they can never be let go or grow up. A person who conducts affairs without principles, after a period of time without anyone to deal with or prune them, without someone to commune with them, shall act in a willful manner, lose control of themselves and run wild. Can such a person put God at ease? Therefore, in order to resolve the problem of one’s nature, one must adhere to these three principles. In this way, you will be able to guard against committing serious transgressions.