What’s the standard for pursuing the truth? Do you count as people who pursue the truth? (I feel that I don’t count as someone who pursues the truth, just someone who is willing to strive for the truth.) So you’ve weighed it pretty well? Have you weighed it accurately? (I don’t understand.) You don’t understand this—do you take it seriously? Have you held yourself up to it? Hold yourself up to it and do some introspection. Do you know what the standard is for pursuing the truth? That is, what do you use to weigh whether or not you are someone who pursues the truth? (Looking at whether or not I’m willing to put the truth into practice when I encounter issues, and I’m able to maintain principles in how I handle all matters, and I can act according to God’s will.) This is a general direction. How about the details? (Having a proper spiritual life every day, and having a genuine fellowship with God, eating and drinking more of His words.) This is the aspect of practice. Is there anything else? (Learning to seek the truth, and ponder God’s will and what His requirements of mankind are when encountering an issue.) This is more detailed. What else is there? (When something befalls me, I focus on looking into my own thoughts and ideas, and learn to recognize what the nature of my words and actions is, and what kind of nature is controlling me.) You all know these basic truths, and you know them doctrinally. You understand these. If people always focus on these things, which they hear frequently and which are spoken of often, if people are always putting effort into these things, then will any result come from it? Will there be any harvest? Can these things have a positive effect on people? (They can.) So do you think that if someone always does that, and always practices that way, in the end results will be seen in them? (Yes.) Right now, do you know how to weigh if a person is someone who pursues the truth? How is that weighed? People frequently accept the truth and know themselves, so what is the end result that is achieved in them? Is it that they are able to understand the truth and God’s will? You don’t know how it’s related, right? Your acceptance of the truth and how you hear sermons is always floating on the surface of some doctrines. You don’t know what outcomes there actually are from these sermons, or what they actually do for people. You don’t know that. If a person always pursues the truth, if they frequently live within that state, and every aspect of their spiritual life is proper, are they able to continuously change? (Yes.) They are able to continuously progress. Look at a child that has just been born. If he can’t nurse for three days, he’ll likely die; but if he can be fed every day, even if conditions don’t allow for him to nurse, he can have some porridge or some formula, won’t he grow bigger every day? He’ll grow every single day, and three years later, or five years later, he’s running all over the place. So did you watch him grow? (No.) You didn’t watch him grow, but after three or five years he was running all over the place, and when you think back to when he was just born, what was he like? He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t run—he couldn’t do anything. Everything he ate had to be fed to him and someone always had to be holding him. His mother had to help him relieve himself, right? If you are always eating and accepting things, in the end it will bear fruit. There’s someone who has been a believer for three years, or five years, but there isn’t much change in them; everything that comes out of their mouth is spiritual vocabulary, spiritual talk, and they do really well in fellowship. They seem really enthusiastic and they have great energy for seeking. It’s just that they haven’t had any change; they haven’t had any progress in the aspect of change in disposition. So what have they done in those three to five years? Have they been pursuing the truth? (No.) That’s exactly it. So now can you take stock of it? (It’s seeing what kind of outcome has been achieved in a person.) You’ve learned the words, but can you take stock of things? (I can’t yet, not really.)
Whether you are within the church living the church life, or you go out to perform your duty, if you are someone who pursues the truth, then you will have some progress within a period of time, and the state of your life will proceed in a positive direction and undergo change. Your spiritual state, faith in God, knowledge of your own corrupt disposition, your own nature, and the truths that God speaks of will all gradually improve. At first you’re enthusiastic, you don’t know anything, and you think that believing in God is being a good person, being a kind person, and then you gradually come to feel that people have corrupt dispositions and should be saved by God, that that is what believing in God is. You slowly gain more understanding of God’s work and God’s will in saving mankind; these things gradually accumulate. The understanding, experience, and feelings of the reality of the truth will gradually be improved. They won’t always just stop at the literal meanings or at the letters and doctrines. But maybe after believing for a number of years, you’re still saying the same slogans and the same letters and doctrines. You are still sounding off, and your faith has not yet undergone much genuine change, nor has your understanding of yourself progressed much. Your understanding of God has not advanced much either, and you are even less capable of discernment of other people. If so, what have you been doing all those years? Was it pursuing the truth? That’s not it. Very obviously it’s a symbol.
Someone says: “I haven’t seen you for years. Let’s have fellowship.” As soon as you begin fellowship, it all sounds very fresh. When you’ve just heard a sermon you are able to speak of some new light, but once it’s been two or three days, all the old words come out again. The minor experiences from the past, the small witness you bore, how God saved you, how He bestowed grace upon you, how He blessed you—all those little things come out again. Less than a week later, you are repeating those experiences and understandings. Have you grown? (No.) One can see that you haven’t. Are you able to have discernment regarding people? It’s the same—you can’t. You can talk a lot more about doctrines—you’ve equipped yourself with a lot of the doctrines—but when something befalls you you’re still perplexed and ignorant, and you don’t know how to have discernment regarding people. When you encounter an issue you can’t handle it, you are lacking principles, and you cannot find the principles of the truth. What is this about? Is there any progress? (No.) You’ve been fulfilling your duty for a number of years, but have you achieved devotedness in fulfilling it? You don’t know, but in any case, you do it every day, on time. Has there been any transformation in your state? Has your state shifted—at first you had the perspective of a non-believer doing work, and then it became fulfilling your responsibilities as a believer in God, shouldering your duty, being devoted to God, and fulfilling your duty in accordance with the truth? Can you weigh that? That’s not really possible. So how has your duty been carried out? Has your state undergone transformation? (No.) If it hasn’t, is that progress? Is there any progress? (There isn’t.) That is not progressing. Isn’t not progressing a problem? How do you treat being dealt with and pruned while performing your duty? With obedience, listening, and without resistance. You had that principle several years ago, and how about now? You still have that principle; it hasn’t changed. You just lend an ear, and after listening you do whatever someone has you do. Do you gain any understanding from being dealt with and pruned? Do you discover any rebellious states of mankind? Do you discover mankind’s corrupt nature? Do you deepen your understanding of yourself? You don’t know; you can’t figure it out. In any case you uphold one principle. When being dealt with and pruned you are obedient, you adjust your mentality, you don’t rebel or make excuses. You bear it and endure it, and the more years you’ve been enduring it, the greater your ability is. You have that kind of perspective. You had that kind of perspective before and you have it even more so now. Isn’t that a demonstration of having gained the truth? (It’s not.) In your process of believing in God, you have not entered into the reality of the truth in any aspect of the truth, nor have you grasped the principles. You just have the general principle and direction, and you say: “When I encounter issues I put the truth into practice, get a good grasp on the principles of the truth and do not step outside of those bounds.” However, when you encounter something you don’t seek, you don’t take it seriously. You just get through it in confusion. Have you held to the general direction? It seems so—you listen and obey, and you complete the tasks you have on hand well. You don’t muddle through things; you uphold the interests of the house of God, but have you reached understanding of the details of the various truths, and have you put them into practice? This depends on whether you have genuine understanding and experience of the various truths. You don’t know what the relationship between different truths is, exactly what aspect of the truth is involved when you encounter an issue, what state is involved, or what aspect of your disposition that state involves. When two people say the same words, you don’t know what is different in their natures, how they are dissimilar, or how you should treat it. Is that understanding the truth? (No.) None of that is understanding the truth. You’ve believed for three to five years and you don’t know the practical side of these truths; once you’ve believed for eight to ten years you still don’t know. Have you gained the truth? (No.) You haven’t gained the truth.
What would you say you are currently lacking? What is most people’s belief in God like? Someone tells you to hold a certain frontline position and you hold it. So do you make an active attack? No. If you launch an attack you can occupy another city, gain a little more, reap a little more, but you don’t do it. That’s the difference. You fall into this kind of state, that is, every day you just coast through things, you hold to some rules and within that scope you don’t offend God’s administrative decrees. You do your work well. Others see that as ideal—weighing that based on the truth, you haven’t made any major errors. How is that way of believing? (God doesn’t like it.) The truth cannot be gained with that kind of belief. God liking it or not liking it—those are just high-sounding words. As for you, you cannot gain the truth and you will never progress. Over a period of time, when someone preaches about knowing God, you focus on knowing God. When they talk about a change in disposition, you focus on a change in disposition. When they talk about understanding incarnation, you focus on that, and then they talk about the vision of God’s work and you focus on that. If they talk about preaching the gospel, and talk about the wisdom and truths related to spreading the gospel, then you put some emphasis on that. Whatever they talk about, you follow along and listen, you gain some understanding, and then when they’re done talking about it, do you have your own path? Are you able to continue forward? What do you do to continue forward? When obedience is discussed, everyone talks about that. Someone asks: “Have you gained any understanding recently? Have you gained any experience? Talk about it.” “I haven’t had any really deep experience, but right now I feel that obeying God is critical.” “How do you obey Him?” “When I encounter an issue, I have to think of what God has said, and not put myself forward.” “Let’s have more fellowship on the details. What about when you encounter an issue and you’re unable to obey? What do you do when it has to do with your personal interests? Have you thought about these things?” You say: “I haven’t experienced that yet; I don’t know.” You don’t have any details, right? At another time, knowing God is being discussed. Someone says: “How has your faith in God been recently? Has there been any progress?” “There has been.” “Fellowship about it.” “I feel that understanding God is the most critical thing.” “Why do you say that?” “Well, if you don’t understand God, then you will always offend His disposition, and if you’re always offending His disposition then you fall into darkness, and then you won’t be able to understand any of the truth. Then it’s easy to become just like the unbelievers, always doing things that are resistant to God.” “So then how do you understand God? In your experience of God’s work, His rule, and His leadership in your daily life, in what things have you recognized God’s leadership of you, in which can you clearly feel His rule? What’s your understanding of God’s rule? In your practical life you feel God’s rule over you, and from this what aspect of God’s disposition have you seen? Tell me about the details.” As soon as it comes to the details you have nothing to say—you falter. You say: “The other day I encountered an issue, and I felt it was God’s leadership. It was His leadership, but I felt that … I’m not really certain exactly how He was leading, I just prayed, I prayed for ages, and it seemed I could feel a bit of God’s intention. Then I ate and drank God’s words, and from that I got a bit of a sense of His intention. God had me wait, and I waited for a few days and saw, ‘Oh, this is what God is doing.’” You just went through the process. The other person says: “So what aspect of God’s disposition did you come to understand from that? What aspect of His disposition did you associate it with, were you able to match it up? Which aspect of God’s leadership of you this time matches up to what you know and what you’ve heard regarding God’s disposition? Bring these together and have fellowship.” “There wasn’t anything.” Isn’t this not gaining the truth? (Yes.)
On the path of pursuing the truth, people always believe and seek by following along with some spiritual terms and sayings, or trends. How is this kind of pursuit? (They won’t gain anything.) That’s not true. Haven’t these people, including those of you who are sitting here, gained some practical things? Whether you believe that you are seeking or not, have you gained anything practical? (Some things.) Some of what things? Are you able to weigh that? (I have some understanding and insight into how people are corrupted by Satan and into this evil world.) This is some understanding. When you take that understanding into your life, can it change the direction of your life, your life goals, and your principles of how to be a person? When you’re doing something bad or you’re living like an unbeliever or wanting to live like an unbeliever, does this understanding or do these experiences that you’ve gained impact your life, and your life goals? Do they? (Yes.) They probably can’t impact these things from the root, but they at least provide a surface-level restraint, right? For most of you, hasn’t your stature remained at this level? (It has.) So if it’s always at this level, is that a good thing or a bad thing? (It’s a bad thing.) How is it a bad thing? Having a bit of a restraint isn’t bad, so how is it a bad thing? (Because we can’t gain the truth. The truth hasn’t become our lives, and we’re still living based on our corrupt satanic dispositions.) This is the surface—this just speaks to the surface level. How about the practical side? Can you say something substantive? The truths that you understand, the sermons that you hear, the realities of the truth or spiritual sayings that you have already accepted in your heart, are able to impact your life and change your direction and goals as a human being, and they can also change your principles for being a person living in this world. Isn’t that more proactive, more practical than just being a kind of restraint? Have you reached this point yet? Have you remained at just being restrained, or has the transition to being impacted and changed begun? Talk about it, talk about the fact. Say what your actual changes are. After you’ve listened to God’s sermons and you’ve understood the truth, you feel that being a person like that isn’t being a person at all, but it’s being a demon. You feel that if people live like that then they’re done for, if they seek in that way they will go to hell, or “If I live that way it will be too painful.” Some people always say: “If I do that God won’t be pleased.” Are these practical words? (No.) They’re empty words. What’s so great about you? How can a person be so lofty, to please God? People have to first achieve personal satisfaction and personal pleasure. You are not so lofty—you can’t understand this. On top of that, are you able to experience God’s pleasure or lack thereof? You can’t.
What’s your personal feeling from what you are most able to experience? A personal experience: for example, you’re in a crowd of people, and they all smoke, drink, play cards, bet, and some even do drugs. You don’t like these things, and when you live in this crowd you feel tired and that their lives are too painful. They rely on those things to sustain their lives and they also rely on them to gain happiness, comfort, and peace. They use them to numb themselves. What is your personal experience when you see these things? You say: “I can never live that way. If I lived like they do, I would suffer the way they do. I must escape from that kind of lifestyle.” Isn’t that your personal experience? (It is.) This is your own experience. When you experience that for yourself, you deeply feel that if you lived that way, if you lived among those people, aside from destroying your flesh, if you engaged in their infighting, their conflict, their disputes, intrigues, their competitions and struggles with each other, their undermining of each other in secret, and drawing blood for just the tiniest bit of personal interest, with no one relying on actual skills to get things done, just tricks, what would your personal experience be? What would you learn from that kind of environment? In this world, there is no justice, no fairness, and no righteousness. If you want to live as a person instead of a demon, that’s not an easy thing to do. You can’t do it—it absolutely must turn you into a demon. If you want to adapt to them, if you want to live among them, you must turn yourself into a demon and then consort with that pack of demons. At that time, what do you experience? Helplessness and suffering, right? In order to snatch a bite of food, for the sake of your own plate and your own survival, you fight with them, you say and do things that are contrary to your own convictions. Living that way every day is exhausting. But if you don’t live that way, people will ostracize you, and then your life will be even more exhausting. What do you experience in that kind of environment for survival? Suffering, torment, and what else? (Helplessness and a desire to escape.) Helplessness, and you experience the evil and cruelty of the human world. What else? (Darkness.) Darkness, and what else? (Suffering.) You experience these kinds of suffering. And then when you read God’s words, what is your experience? (My heart is comforted.) Living in the house of God is wonderful, no one bullies you and you can’t bully others either. You don’t need to go against your convictions and do evil, right? (Yes.) In God’s house the truth wields power and God wields power. Whoever bullies others, does evil, or subjugates their brothers and sisters will be expelled or be removed. If you have the opportunity to bully someone, do you take it? (No.) Why not? Why wouldn’t you subjugate someone? You say that God isn’t pleased when you subjugate others—do you have that experience? (Yes.) Is that where it starts from? Or some people say, “Here no one needs to subjugate anyone else. No one bothers to do that—everyone gets along well and can discuss things. Why would you live such an exhausting life? If you don’t need to subjugate others, don’t do it—it’s too tiring, too mentally exhausting, and God doesn’t like it.” Is that the starting point? Now people say that subjugating others isn’t good, so how did they achieve that understanding? Was it because they always listened to the truth that there was a change in their behavior? (Yes.) Is that change in their behavior because they are restrained? That they’ve been restrained by the truth? (It is.) So are you currently remaining in this state, in this phase? (Yes.) That is the case with most people. Right now this is a really good environment, everyone is really amicable, and among you there aren’t any people who are evil or mischievous, and there isn’t anyone you’ve taken a dislike to. On top of that, you haven’t been bullied and you have no need to bully others. You don’t need to defend yourself, and you don’t need to protect yourself by pricking other people with your quills like a porcupine. This environment is very good for people, and living like that is very free, very liberating. It’s great. If a person thinks that way and does things in that way, could it be that their disposition has changed? (No.) This is a certainty. This is because this kind of expression from people is a mentality that is positive and upbeat or aspiring to positive things, or this kind of thinking brings people a kind of restraint. On top of that, the living environment of the brothers and sisters together in the house of God brings a kind of benefit, and that kind of environment has a certain impact on you. But if the environment is changed and you encounter someone you don’t like, or someone you think you can bully, or you’re given a position, will you subjugate others? (Yes.) You’re that sure? (Yes. Ordinarily I always have some thoughts and ideas, but they are constrained. I wouldn’t do those things.) So, when someone gains the truth, it is not being constrained—it’s not just constraining their behavior. If someone has gained the truth, there is a clear sign of it. You will no longer need to restrain yourself and the truth will influence you from the inside. It will guide your every move, your behaviors, as well as the way you live and your direction in life. You will develop a heart of reverence for God. That heart of reverence for God inside of you will direct you to do that, and it will be entirely different in essence from you doing that only because of being subjected to a constraint and undergoing a change. When it’s entirely different, if a position is given to you and you have the opportunity and the conditions to subjugate others, will you do that? (No.) And why not? Is it that you don’t plan to do it, you don’t want to, or that you don’t have greater capability than others? (The internal disposition has changed.) Such a person has a heart of reverence for God. They have criteria and they have principles when they do things. It is only at that time that they are able to say, “If I do this, God wouldn’t like, I can’t do things that would offend God.” They will very naturally get to that point and will think that way. What about you currently? Can you achieve this point very naturally? (Not yet.) You can’t yet. This shows that the truth has not yet become effective within you. It has just restrained your behavior, but it has not restrained your heart or changed the direction of your life, your principles for being a person, or your goals as a person. What is your current basis for being a person? It’s based on your conscience, the bottom line of being a person, and morals. It’s these things. How far are these things from the truth? Are most of them related to the truth? They can’t really be said to be related to the truth. Do you understand? (Yes.) Say a person could ascend to the following level: “I’m doing this thing and no one is restraining me. No one is watching or monitoring me, and if I did it wrong no one would deal with me. What will I do? I’ll do this according to the truth, and I’ll practice according to God’s words. I’ll do things in a principled way and with standards, with limits. I won’t do anything that will offend God’s disposition, or anything that will sin against Him. Even though there is no one to monitor me, if doing that would offend God’s disposition, if it would show that I don’t have reverence for God, and if it would be a sin against Him, then I absolutely will not do that.” When they feel that in their heart, and they don’t do it, that shows they are in a positive, proactive state.
If you ask some people, “Do you like nice things? Do you like money?” they say, “Who doesn’t like money?” If you ask, “If you had an opportunity to get some money, would you take it or not?” they say, “That would depend on the opportunity.” Say the money was just put somewhere and no one has claimed it. It doesn’t currently have an owner, and no one knows there is money there. Everyone likes money, and no one else knows that there is money hidden there. The person who hid the money is probably dead anyway and they’re probably missing. That is, there is no owner of the money, you don’t know who it should belong to. You’re the only one that knows. Under these circumstances, would you take it? Would you steal it? (I would.) You would steal it. What kind of problem is this? (Exposing my nature.) Your nature comes out—you are still capable of stealing. Ordinarily someone is always on guard or you don’t have enough skills to steal money so you never steal it. Is it correct to say you aren’t a pickpocket or a thief? (It’s not.) It’s not correct. But as soon as you have the chance, under the circumstances that no one else knows, you would take that money. And after taking it you would still be perfectly at ease, and have no weight on your conscience. What are you thinking? “No one knows. Even if I asked around no one would claim it or say who it belonged to. Nobody knows about it.” But you’ve forgotten one thing. No other people know, but does God know? (He knows.) God knows and you still steal it—you are still capable of taking it. You are able to appropriate it. What kind of thing is this that you have done? (It’s not having reverence for God and not accepting His watch.) It’s not having reverence for God. So when you steal it, are you a thief? Someone says: “It’s so strange. That person never stole before—how could you say they’re a thief?” Then they discuss it with everyone, and they all say that person was wronged: “This person isn’t a thief; they couldn’t be a thief.” God says that person has done something, something that no one knows about. As God sees it, since they have done this, it is what their nature is, and that is who they are. They have the nature of a thief, and the reality of being a thief. They’ve done something that a thief would do, so if they’re not a thief, what are they? You are capable of theft, so this shows that your disposition has not changed. Do you understand?
For example, the house of God has you keep a valuable item safe. Hardly anyone knows, and you are familiar with everyone who does know. All of those people trust you and say that you’re a good person, that you’re not greedy, and you wouldn’t appropriate anything. At any time that item has been left with you, they are not worried. When someone who is familiar with the situation is around, you’ll take good care of it. You’ll keep it wrapped up nicely and keep it in mind. You say: “I must take good care of this and not allow it to be lost or broken. I can’t let anyone else steal it, and I particularly can’t let anyone ruin it.” This is fulfilling your responsibilities, right? You must also realize that you can’t have greediness for that item or the desire to own it. You can’t think that way, but you must thoroughly keep it as holy. Do you think that thinking about it this way is proper? (Yes.) You think that you’ve already reached a point of having no greediness at all. You don’t have any greed for other people’s things. Even if something were placed in your hands you wouldn’t extort it or take it out of greed. Is that a good person? (Yes.) From the current situation, it could be said that that is a good person, because they don’t yet have the ideas or thoughts of taking it out of greed, and further, they are able to take good care of it faithfully, not allow it to be broken, lost, or coveted by others and they also won’t allow others to discover it. It could be said that they are fulfilling their responsibilities to the best of their ability. But the day comes when there’s a turn in the situation, there’s a change. Some of the few who are familiar with the situation are in prison, some have been transferred to other locations, and in the end there’s only one person left who knows—themselves. No one else knows about that item. Under these circumstances, has the environment changed? As soon as that environment changes it’s a test for people—the test comes upon them. The environment changes, and after one or two months their heart still hasn’t changed, and they still take care of that thing carefully. They haven’t had any other ideas. However, they look into it and find out that they don’t know where others who are in the know have gone. Some are in prison, and some were transferred to other areas. They aren’t there, so what are they to do with that item? That person prays. After praying there’s still no outcome, and without an outcome they still feel they can’t consider taking that thing. So what do they do? “I must still take good care of it. People don’t know, but God knows!” Is this a good person? (Currently it looks like this is still a good person.) This is still a good person. Why is that? When you measure this person based on the standard of a good person, their doing this to that level is great. But there’s one day that there’s a major incident in their home and they are short of money—they have to borrow some. Is it easy to borrow money now? (No.) It’s not easy to borrow money, and they don’t have any collateral for a loan. What can they do? The situation changed again; the environment changed again. Once the environment changes, a time of testing once again arrives for this person. Their family needs money but they don’t have enough. What can they do? They start to consider borrowing money, and they try with some people but aren’t successful and they start to get ideas—their heart starts to change. How does it change? “Ah, aren’t I caring for a treasure? Hmm! I’m holding onto money but I’m trying to borrow some. Aren’t I an idiot? No one knows about it, can’t I just use this? After using it no one will know; I should just use it, and besides, it’s just sitting here idle, isn’t this a proper use for it?” And then they have an even better idea that logically follows: “Isn’t this set up by God? It’s God’s grace—it would be a waste if I didn’t put it to use!” The more they think about it the more right, the more reasonable it seems, and their heart starts to change. “That’s right—I must use it this way. It’s God’s grace; it was prepared by Him. Thanks to God. It is His good will, in whatever befalls me there is always God’s good will. Hasn’t this been set up by God?” So that’s that. They consider it for two or three days and they feel at peace in their heart and free of any pangs of conscience. “I’ll use it! I’ll just use this money!” What about this? (Their thinking has started to change.) How did that change occur? (It was created by their environment.) It was created by the environment, so was it the environment that had a problem? Was it the environment that tempted them? Did the environment change them? (No.) Then what would be the correct thing to say? (A suitable environment drew out the person’s nature.) Yes, it exposed their nature. Then why didn’t their heart change the first two times their environment changed? (It didn’t touch on their own personal interests; they hadn’t become impoverished.) Before it reached that point their true thinking and their true disposition had not yet been laid bare, right? At that time do you think that that person was someone who is devoted to God? Was it someone who loves the truth? You could say it was, because they did their utmost to take care of that item without any wayward thoughts or other ideas. They never had the intention of touching that item, they never considered taking it—that’s a really good person. But as soon as the environment changed, once it changed to that degree, other thoughts popped into their mind and their thinking changed. It’s at that time that their thinking reaches that point, so why didn’t they have those thoughts before? (That environment hadn’t befallen them before that.) It’s the environment that exposed them. In fact, it’s not that they didn’t have those things, those thoughts in them, but it’s that they were hidden inside of them, deep inside before the time had come. So when they encounter that environment those thoughts come out very naturally. It’s just like water bubbling up—it gurgles out as if it were a bubbling spring. They just keep on coming out, and that’s perfectly natural. They come and they come, and then the person finds a “basis in the truth.” Once they’ve found their basis in the truth, then hasn’t their evil nature been revealed? Where did their devotion, kindness, and justice go? (It’s gone.) It’s gone. So were those things a mask before? (No, they weren’t.) They weren’t a mask. At the time it was their natural expression, but it wasn’t from a deep place. It was the most superficial, most shallow part of the person and appearance of their humanity, right? There are some illusions in appearance of humanity. For example, you have a pretty good relationship with another person, and they entrust you with their child for a day. Would you refuse to watch their child? Watching the child for a day is fine, two days is fine, and even a week is fine. But if the child’s parents had died and you were to take care of them for a lifetime, could you do that? (No.) You don’t have that level of affection. That proves that you’re not such a good person, right?
So what really are the things that God wants to change in people? What kinds of human problems does the truth resolve? (Things deep in human nature.) It is internal things of people that it resolves. When no issues have befallen a person, they have a moral baseline. They don’t greedily take advantage of others, and particularly older people often say: “We don’t covet others’ belongings and we don’t give ours away.” That is, they don’t just randomly give their own things away to other people, and they aren’t greedy for others’ belongings, and they shouldn’t be greedy. Is that a truth? (It’s not.) Can you achieve this? (No.) In fact, you can’t even achieve that. How can you not be greedy? You nab things even before you have any greedy thoughts. This is really direct, it’s really straightforward and doesn’t require thinking. If there’s the opportunity you just snatch something, so what need is there for greed? There’s no need for any greed; you just snatch it. This is vicious! As soon as that kind of environment comes upon them, their evil nature and their greedy and ferocious disposition come out. There’s ferocity and avarice. What else is there? Deceitfulness. What is this deceitfulness? What kinds of thoughts are deceitful? What kinds of behaviors are deceitful? (They said it was prepared by God, that God had opened up a path for them.) Yes, this is called deceitfulness. They are just deceiving themselves. At the same time as deceiving themselves, they are trying to deceive God. They use these nice-sounding words to just appease their own heart, to assuage their conscience and not have it be accused. Besides, they try to fool God, and say: “This is what I believed, which is why I touched Your belongings. God, please don’t blame me. It was probably just a moment of foolishness for me.” They even present a facade to God. While they are fooling themselves and spinning a beautiful lie for themselves, they also want to use it to fool God, to deceive God. Isn’t this deceitfulness? (It is.) So when this kind of environment comes upon you, that is, when the deepest things come out from within you, when you are going to do things, the truth can be effective upon you and tell you that thinking that way is not viable, that it’s despicable and evil. It can tell you that what you are thinking and what you believe are not the truth, and although you are exposed for a moment that you are going to do that thing, you pray: “That’s not okay—I can’t do that. That would offend God; it’s evil! I can’t do that—it wouldn’t be in line with the truth. Isn’t that deceiving God? I can’t ever do that, and I cannot touch that thing because it belongs to the church. It is God’s, so I can’t touch it. I’ll hold to that to the death. This thing can’t be touched. It has been distinguished as holy, and it’s something that belongs to Him, so I absolutely cannot touch it. No one knows, only God does, and because it is only God that knows, I absolutely cannot touch it.” Is that your real stature? People are capable of thinking that way, and no matter what the circumstances, they are capable of doing that. Can they restrain themselves by relying on human goodness, and the traditional culture and moral baseline that they’ve grasped? Could they achieve that outcome? (No.) So what’s the only thing that can allow people to reach this point? (They must have a heart of reverence for God.) It is only the truth that you understand, your understanding of God, and your heart of reverence for God that can constrain you, that can guide your actions and what kind of path you choose, what you choose to do. Otherwise, if it weren’t for the truth and God’s words, could another thing or another kind of theory achieve those results? They couldn’t. This is the only path that can allow you to fear God and shun evil. No matter what kind of environment you encounter, whether it’s a trial or temptation, it cannot alter your original intention—that’s what you thought and did at first, and when a major circumstance befalls you that holds great temptation for you, your thinking and your actions do not change. That will be fine. You will gain this and God will no longer test you in that aspect. You will be victorious, and you will stand firm. Is this something that most people can achieve now? (They can’t.) They still can’t achieve that! They still can’t—the truth still has not become people’s lives. The truth still has not become their lives, so what is it that is currently acting as their lives? Satan’s life philosophy and its poison along with some spiritual doctrines. What else is there? Some human faculties, that is holding to the moral baseline, the baseline of being a person, and their moral standards, as well as some spiritual doctrines and sayings that they’ve grasped since believing in God. It’s those things, right? (Yes.) When people have gained a grasp of these things they always think, “I’ve gained the truth; I’ve understood a lot since believing in God. I’ve really changed since believing in God; I’ve really reaped a harvest.” What is this harvest? In fact, it’s just the surface. It’s just some behavioral restraint, some comparatively standard things about their behavior. And in their thoughts and in their hearts, they also consider and think in more proactive aspects, and think about more positive things, right? Because of the impact of their environment and frequently listening to sermons as well as carrying out their duty, they encounter positive things more frequently in their thinking and their mentality. They are impacted to some degree—this is the benefit and change the environment brings to them. How great is the change that the truth brings to people? How much? Add it up—is it a lot or not? This lies in people’s pursuit. If you are truly someone who pursues the truth, then you will always reap a harvest in practical aspects of the truth. You will reap a harvest and gain a bit of understanding in each phase. You know whether or not you have gained anything in your heart—you have a sense of it.
What is the sense that most people currently have? They often rely upon their own kindness and do some things with effort and intention, some things that are relatively passable to human eyes. They do some good things that don’t cause them to be scolded or rebuked by others, but it can’t be called putting the truth into practice. Isn’t that the way it is? (Yes.) Most people do things with the most basic of principles: “I have to rely on my conscience in doing this. I don’t understand the truth—it’s too profound and abstract. It seems too remote from mankind. I don’t really understand it and I can’t clearly say what it is. I’ll rely on my conscience!” The majority of people rely on their conscience in what they do. They go through every day mechanically and perfunctorily. There are some terrible people who don’t even have any sense of a conscience. They don’t rely on the standards of their conscience. Someone says: “You eat three meals a day—have you done three meals’ worth of work?” “No.” “You haven’t—have you had any self-blame?” “Sometimes I’ve had a bit of self-blame and sometimes not, but after a while it doesn’t happen anymore.” How terrible is that! “How well has your work been done?” “Fine.” “Can it satisfy God’s will?” “That’s too lofty of a height; I can’t reach it. Anyway, I feel like it’s fine.” This is never pursuing the truth, but their hands are never idle and neither is their mind. They are always doing something, and it looks to others like they are briskly busy, never idle, that they never slack off and are paying their price. Isn’t this basically a standard of their conscience? (Yes.) Having a standard for their conscience doesn’t mean that they pursue the truth. You must think of ways, you must ponder and contemplate. When you’re not busy contemplate it—take a topic and have fellowship on it together. You say, “What should we do? We cannot just rest at this standard for our consciences, at the standard of being a nice person on the outside. We can’t stop at this level, but we have to seek toward and enter into the loftiness of the truth. Only this way will we be able to meet God’s will, and only this way will we be able to enter into the reality of the truth.” If you always pursue just satisfying your conscience, never breaking through the moral baseline, then in the things you do, what you gain in your heart will always be within this range and will never go outside of it. The truth will never have any relation to you. When you do things and speak, if it never has anything to do with the truth, will you be able to gain the truth? That way it’s very difficult to gain the truth.
Look at those scholars, teachers, Xiucais,[a] and Jurens[b] from the past, from ancient times; they usually read aloud from the Tao Te Ching, the Analects of Confucius, and the Three Character Classic. They were always wagging their heads, speaking of all that archaic literary jargon. They didn’t do any major terrible things, but small terrible things were constant. They didn’t do a single righteous thing in their entire lives and they were constantly fearing there were wolves ahead and tigers behind them.[c] However, in their hearts they were very pleased, very self-satisfied and always boasted that they were good people. At the drop of a hat they would say “Confucius said this or that,” or what is said in Confucianism or Taoism. It was always that sort of thing—they were just wagging their heads with smugness. They never accomplished a single thing in their lives or lived with clarity. They just relied on the Three Character Classic and those works of the sages to conduct themselves, but they didn’t understand or gain anything. They lived in confusion, and did things in confusion, but in their hearts they were self-satisfied and felt that they had it, that they had gained it, thinking, “No one else matches up to me.” What’s that word that unbelievers use? “Holier” something? (Holier-than-thou.) Holier-than-thou—do not live within this state. You say, “I’m a person who has a conscience, is kind, amiable and just, understands others, is always benevolent toward others and is very willing to take care of others and be attentive to them.” Are these the truth? (No.) What is it called when someone is always measuring others from the highest point of morality and boasting about themselves? It’s called being holier-than-thou. You always feel that you’ve already got it: “I’m a very charitable person and a kind-hearted person. I’m a good person. I have a great conscience. A friend helped me once and I’ll remember them for the rest of my life. That old saying is well said, ‘Repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring.’ I have to do this and I must measure myself based on this.” Is this pursuing the truth? And there are others who say: “You have to be willing to sacrifice yourself for a friend. Guan Gong placed importance on personal loyalty, and there was the Oath of the Peach Garden. They are so classic stories about personal loyalty, and we also need to be those kinds of people.” They educate themselves as well as others, and feel: “That’s the kind of person I want to be; that’s the way I’ll always live. I believe in God so I should uphold them even more.” Isn’t that a nitwit? If you are always satisfied with those things, you will never gain the truth. Those things are not the truth. The books of the sages, the Tao Te Ching—how could they be the truth? These are just fallacies, the logic of Satan, and the doctrine of the mean. All of these are the poisons of Satan. If you look upon these things as the truth, are you still a believer in God? You believe in God and listen to the truth every day, but you still use these morals, these things from the Tao Te Ching as your principles of practice, to act as your goal and direction for your behavior, and to conduct yourself. So when will you be able to gain the truth? Aren’t you rigid? (Yes.) I see quite a few people are like this—I lose My temper as soon as I look at them. Why do I lose My temper? How could they only hear and not understand? Are they not animals? They just hear, they don’t understand. No matter what kind of truths and sermons they hear, once they’ve heard it what do they still believe? It’s still that saying: “‘Repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring.’ My personal loyalty won’t ever change. People must have a conscience at all times—they must place importance on it and never lose it!” Someone says: “You’ve only gained these things from believing in God? Isn’t there anything else? Do you understand anything else?” There isn’t anything else. If you have them give a sermon, they just talk about these things—is that angering? When that person who always preaches hears those who listen to sermons always talk about these things, and use things from the Tao Te Ching to explain and preach the truth the preacher has talked about, how could the preacher not be angry? Isn’t it nauseating? (It’s nauseating.) And there is this kind of person; someone says to them: “You must be devoted in performing your duty, understand many truths, and achieve loyalty to God,” and they explain it with one saying. How do they do it? “That’s right! Isn’t there an old saying that if you don’t do what your boss wants, it is futile even if you work yourself to death?” They use that saying to explain those words to you, saying: “That’s the meaning of this truth that you mentioned. I understand.” Is this understanding the truth? (No.) Then what is it? Would you say that the person who said this has spiritual understanding? (They don’t.) Does their explanation show understanding of the truth, or a lack of understanding of the truth? (A lack of understanding.) Why do you say that? (They are using the logic of Satan to explain the truth.)
There are some proverbs or sayings in the world, which are the ways of life and practices that have been summarized by people in their lives, or they are the self-protective logic of Satan and life philosophies. The ways of demons are within these, and they are not the truth. People always combine these life philosophies, demonic ways, and poisons of Satan with the truth. No matter how you get a taste of them, they always have a nauseating flavor, don’t they? That kind of person does not understand the truth. What other things can you think of? Generally, don’t you also have quite a few of those things? Anyone who has lived for forty or fifty years has quite a few, and at twenty or thirty people also have some. People have some from the time they begin to have some sensibleness; then they start to have ways. What kind of ways are those? (Demonic ways.) They’re demonic ways, aren’t they? They say you shouldn’t let anything slip—you shouldn’t allow others to know. And what is it that some other people say? “Wherever you are, don’t speak carelessly.” There’s a saying: “Wherever you go, be a receiver, not a loudspeaker.” Have you heard this? Why do they say to be a receiver? (Listen more and speak less.) What’s the goal of listening more and speaking less? Aren’t there demonic ways in this? (Yes.) What are they? (It’s to not reveal yourself, and also not to offend others.) This is called a demonic way and a satanic philosophy. “Don’t speak carelessly, don’t lightly reveal your weaknesses or strengths allowing others to get a sense of who you really are.” That’s what it means. “You always listen, observe, watch, and see who is in the same group as who, who is capable, who has what strengths, who will be a high-up official, and then you get close to those people.” This is being a receiver. And how about not being a loudspeaker? “If you’re always speaking carelessly so that everyone can see right through you, they’ll bully you.” Is that true? There is a person whose father always told him: “When you go out you must be a receiver!” He told him that from the time he was small, and after always telling him that, what happened? That person never talks. Someone says: “Why don’t you ever say anything?” “I don’t have anything to say. It’s been a habit since I was little. I’m not a big talker, I’m an introvert.” He doesn’t speak, and he doesn’t tell the truth. Someone says: “What did you think of this thing that happened today? How do you plan to handle it?” “Wait and see, just wait and see.” In fact, he does have an opinion but he doesn’t say what it is—he doesn’t want to be a loudspeaker, so he holds tightly to those words. He has a very good grasp on that principle and is just a receiver under any circumstances, never a loudspeaker. There’s only one kind of circumstance that could break through that tight grasp—what is it? As soon as he goes to prison and is beaten and tortured, he confesses anything and everything and he is no longer a receiver, he is only a loudspeaker. He can’t withstand the torture, right? He is always deceitful and does not put any truth into practice. He is not an honest person, does not practice the truth, so he cannot gain the truth. He cannot gain the truth and he is a deceitful person, so the Holy Spirit does not work in him; since the Holy Spirit does not work in him, he could be handed over to Satan at any moment. Once he has been handed over to Satan and he is beaten, and he doesn’t truly believe, hasn’t gained the truth and doesn’t have any true faith, can he withstand the torture? As soon as he is hit just a little bit, as soon as he is scared, he wets his pants. Then isn’t it all over? He has been exposed and his destination is gone. His life of belief in God stops there—it’s over. Who told you to be a receiver; who told you not to be a loudspeaker?
In fact, it doesn’t matter what you are. What does the truth say, what do God’s words say, and what do God’s words require people to do? Do God’s words require man to be a loudspeaker, or a receiver? (Neither one.) (It requires us to be honest people.) So which one is the truth? (Being an honest person.) Out of being a receiver and being a loudspeaker, which one is the truth? (Neither one of them is the truth.) Neither one of them is—neither is the truth. Being a receiver is a fallacy, and being a loudspeaker is also a fallacy. All of that is just nonsense. That’s not the truth. What is the truth? (Being an honest person.) Being an honest person—that is the truth. If you are a receiver and you never make a peep, does it mean that you have the truth? If you have a bellyful of demonic ways, does it mean that you have the truth? “I don’t make a sound, so you can’t say that I lie, so I’m an honest person.” Is this a correct thing to say? (No.) “If I love to talk and I say everything, but my words are full of schemes, am I an honest person?” (No.) Some people are very extroverted and they are big talkers, and when someone first meets them, they give the impression: “This person is really open—they talk about everything. Nothing goes unsaid; they let everything slip. What they think, how they believe in God, how many people are in their family, how much money they earn, what bad things they’ve done—they talk about everything.” But there’s just one thing: They do things surreptitiously, and no one knows the true state deep in their heart. How is this kind of loudspeaker? (Deceitful.) This is a deceitful thing. So is it any use to be a loudspeaker? It’s useless, and being a loudspeaker is useless. Being a loudspeaker doesn’t necessarily mean you are an honest person. What does that person think? “You don’t want me to be a receiver, so I’ll be a loudspeaker. If I do that, won’t I be an honest person? Won’t that be in line with the truth?” Isn’t that absurd? It’s too absurd! Doesn’t that kind of person have a demonic nature? (Yes.) What kind of disposition do people who have a demonic nature have? (The disposition of Satan.) It’s generally referred to as a satanic disposition. Which aspect of a satanic disposition? (Deceitfulness.) Evil! The deceitfulness you mentioned is lighter—this is evil! No matter how many right and true ways you speak of, and how much truth you speak of, they will utilize their evil ways and sayings to explain them, substitute for them, and replace them. This is evil! “Evil” is a noun—what is it called colloquially? “Wicked” or “vile,” right? This is vile!
What is the truth? Do you understand a bit of that? First, life philosophies definitely are not the truth. Are maxims from famous and great personages the truth? (They aren’t.) Are the words in the Tao Te Ching the truth? And the so-called positive parts of humanity, the good behavior and actions that everyone agrees, and those things and theories that guide people’s thinking—are they the truth? (They’re not.) You come up with an example. Do you have any examples? (Human kindness, warm-heartedness, and taking pleasure in helping others.) Taking pleasure in helping others—is that the truth? (No.) Taking pleasure in helping others is a good thing, and a warm-hearted person is kind at the very least and can empathize with others, so how is this not the truth? (There aren’t any principles.) There aren’t any principles. It’s an indiscriminate good person, right? Would you say that being filial to one’s parents is the truth? (It’s not.) It’s right for one to be filial to their parents—it’s a positive thing, so why do you say it’s not the truth? (Because there aren’t any principles in it either. It depends on what kind of people one’s parents are.) This touches on some truth. If your parents are believers and are good to you, should you be filial to them? (Yes.) How should you be filial? Treat them differently from brothers and sisters, respect them as parents, and absolutely obey them. Say your parents are old, they don’t have any children with them, and you need to go out fulfilling your duty for several years; what if they were dead at home? There’s no one to bury them. You have to be filial to your parents and you can’t leave. You have to uphold this principle—this is the truth, right? (No.) What do you do in that situation? This is based on the circumstances—if you’re close to home, if you can take care of them, if your parents are believers or if they aren’t believers but don’t oppose you, you may fulfill the responsibilities of a child. You serve tea or water, and when they’re in their sickbed you wait on them. You console them when they’re going through something difficult. You console them with whatever things you understand as an adult of that age. If you have the financial means, buy them some suitable tonics or supplements. But when you’re busy performing your duty, there’s no one taking care of them, and they still believe, what should you do? Then what should you put into practice? What choice should you make? What is the truth that you should put into practice at that time? Since being filial to your parents isn’t the truth, it is just the responsibility, the obligation of a person, and at that time when your obligations and your duty are in conflict, then what should you do? (Duty takes priority.) (Put duty first.) Yes, obligations are not your duty. Performing your duty is practicing the truth. Do you understand? Fulfilling obligations is not the truth. Why do I say that it’s not the truth? If you have the conditions and you have that responsibility, that obligation, you should do that. But now your environment doesn’t allow for it, and you don’t have the environment. You think: “I don’t have the environment, so what should I do? I have to fulfill my duty, which is the truth I should practice. That is not what I should do.” If right now you don’t have any duties, you think: “I don’t have any duties and I’m not working in another place. I’m with them, so I have to think of a way to take care of them and do everything I can so that they can live better and suffer less.” Even if that is the case, it depends on what kind of people your parents are. If your parents are not that good and are always an encumbrance to your belief in God and you fulfilling your duty, if they obstruct your belief in God, what should you do? What is the truth you should put into practice? (Abandon them.) At that time you have to abandon them. Your obligation has been fully fulfilled. They don’t believe; you don’t have any obligation to care for them. If they believe, they are your family, your parents; if they don’t believe, they are on another path, and you are different kinds of people. They believe in and enshrine Satan, walk Satan’s path, the path they walk is that of worshiping Satan, that is a different path than your belief in God and you are different kinds of people. Then they absolutely are enemies and you are no longer a family. When you are no longer a family, you no longer have that obligation to take care of them. When conditions are present, do it according to the situation; if you’re on two different paths, then you should thoroughly break it off. Which one is the truth? Fulfilling your duty is the truth. What is the duty that is fulfilled? That’s not just simply fulfilling some obligations, doing what you should do. It is fulfilling the duty that a creature living between heaven and earth should fulfill. This is your obligation and your responsibility, and this responsibility is your true responsibility. That is the obligation and the responsibility that you fulfill before the Creator. So fulfilling that duty compared with being filial to your parents—which is the truth? (Fulfilling the duty of a creature.) Fulfilling the duty of a creature is your bounden duty. This is the truth. Being filial to your parents is not putting the truth into practice. When you are filial to a person, and you are being filial to a Satan living in the flesh, that is not practicing the truth. You understand this now, right? (I understand.)
Through chatting this way, through speaking, you are able to differentiate these things, and you can differentiate them on your own. Then you’ll know what is the truth, and what is not the truth. What else is there? Give it more thought yourselves. (What unbelievers say about positive energy.) What is it about positive energy? (That’s also a negative thing.) Is it a negative thing? How did you figure that out? (Currently in society, things like positive energy are brought up frequently. In fact the things they’re doing are just some superficial good things, but they don’t talk about the things they do behind the scenes that people don’t know about, and they don’t reveal them. They’re to protect their own fame and fortune.) Most of those things that unbelievers say are just fallacies, right? Positive energy, a healthy atmosphere—what kind of background do these terms come out of? There’s a background to the development of these terms. There are some sayings, some absurd arguments, or popular terms that appear in society, and there’s a background to them. Do you know what gives rise to these popular terms? (There are too many unhealthy practices or negative things in society, that is, the things they think are negative. For example, an old woman falls down and no one helps her up, that kind of thing. Those kinds of practices aren’t good, so they say they have to put out positive energy and do more of those good things, fulfill those kinds of obligations, and do some things that maintain morality.) In society, in a country, those evil practices cannot be eradicated or checked through education or traditional theories. They believe that they cannot be checked or prevented. Educators, those Confucianists or Taoists, or others from various realms try to collectively stop them or think of solutions, but they’re unable to adequately achieve restraint of these evil practices, this evil tide. They believe that this society is morally degenerate and there is no better way to stop it. They think of solutions and use some programs, or find some so-called moral celebrities or educators—they find those people to come out and make appeals. Or the government tries to find solutions, to find some model workers or moral models, or even some model daughters-in-law from rural families with multiple generations living under the same roof, as well as model soldiers from the army—they take those kinds of people to promote, saying that they’ve done some good things which are positive energy. This is the background of how it develops. What would you say the positive energy that they talk about means? The healthy atmosphere that unbelievers talk about, or some good behaviors—these things are referred to as positive energy. Can this positive energy really be useful in society? It’s not very useful. Can it resolve these evil trends or the deluge of these evil trends? Can it resolve this trend? (It can’t.) It can’t resolve it. Bringing out those few people in society who do some good things, the few who have good intentions or the few who can do some superficial work as models, as models and examples of positive energy to impact and spur others on—what can this change? It can’t change a single thing. Why can’t it change anything? That term that they mention, “positive energy,” when you hear it, it really has some power, so why can’t it change any issue? Why can’t it resolve any problem? It can’t even change the kids who lose themselves online all day—it can’t resolve that. And currently in society, there’s great tension in interpersonal relationships, and neighbors don’t interact with each other. The neighbor across the hall has been there for 20 years, but you’ve never known what their surname is, what their name is, or where they work. If they had been dead for several days, you’d only know when they started to smell. “Oh, there was someone living there!” Relationships between neighbors are tense, interpersonal relationships are tense. People don’t have real friends, family relationships are tense, and children have tense relationships with their parents. It has always been the case that the relationship between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law is tense. This is a very real aspect of normal humanity. Why is it that relationships are so strained in modern society? Are they only that strained because modern people have become corrupt, and they don’t have any positive energy? Could it be that before this “positive energy” was advocated for, in the old days, people didn’t have tense relationships? Were people all good? The people of which eras have been good, and the people of which eras have been bad? Can that be seen clearly? At that time, if there was an elder in a village or a clan, and that elder took charge of matters, large or small issues in people’s homes, such as having a child, conflicts, or holding weddings—those various kinds of issues—for weddings and funerals there was always someone to manage them, so a big clan seemed like a big household with harmony and warmth. Right now, this kind of thing is very rare. It exists, but it’s rare. Take cities for example—at that time in cities, people had friends and they had confidants. They placed importance on personal loyalty and relationships. How about now? (Now everyone is a stranger.) At that time between neighbors, when they were in contact with the people across the way, one could give the others a bunch of vegetables and the others would give them a basket of carrots in return. Their relationships were quite good, but before two years were up, they had a quarrel and they wouldn’t contact each other anymore. Now people don’t give each other things. It doesn’t happen anymore that they both visit each other, that there is reciprocity. That doesn’t exist anymore, but they don’t argue anymore, either. The family across the hall has been there for a number of years. You don’t know them. And when you fight with your spouse and there are even head injuries, the family across the hall can hear it but no one says a word, and they don’t even go out their doors. No one even thinks to sneak a glance. They think: “I can’t be bothered to take a look; it’s none of my business if they live or die.” What is that about? Do people now live with understanding, or did people then? Are people today terrible, or were people then? (People today are terrible.) On what basis are you measuring that? If you’re saying that people today are terrible, then that opinion is that they’re cold and devoid of affection and that they don’t have real friends. For no one talks about personal loyalty or a conscience. People always say: “How much money is a conscience worth?” Everyone has lost their conscience: “What conscience? Making money comes first!” No one says anything when someone skimps a bit on the weight when selling something—it’s normal. Earning money through dishonest means is normal, and no one mentions it. So, people today are terrible through and through. People from back then, from ancient times had a principle when they sold something. It says, “Everything is fixed price and neither young nor old are cheated.” Merchants at that time were great—they didn’t cheat anyone, but merchants today are awful. As for not cheating the young or the old, well, there’s no one they won’t cheat. They swindle all of them, they cheat and defraud all of them, even their parents. In the past people had standards in what they did. People of that time were much better than people today. What does this “better” refer to? In fact, it’s based on their conscience and the behaviors that they live out, right? If you measure based on these things, people then were better and simpler than people today. They conducted business lawfully and had a conscience, standards, and there was a bottom line for being a person. At the very least they didn’t do conscienceless things; they didn’t do things that would be denounced by others, or give them a bad name. People today don’t pay any mind to that. Everything’s fine as long as they earn money. They are completely shameless and say: “Who cares what others say? It’s fine as long as I earn money and make a name for myself.” That’s their perspective, so people nowadays are terrible through and through. How did they become that way? Where did they develop from? Do these people only exist now? Did they just emerge from the cracks in the earth? Haven’t people developed from the past? Haven’t people continued to multiply generation by generation since ancient times? People’s DNA hasn’t changed, and their appearances haven’t changed. People are a little taller than in ancient times. People’s lives are better now, so they’re a little fatter; most people are overweight, they’re fat. In addition, the things they learn are more complex. There’s dancing, music, painting, computer skills, all sorts of skills. They learn more skills in all aspects than people in the past, like math, physics, and chemistry, astronomy and geography, everyone can use a computer and quite a few people can even drive a car or a train, pilot an airplane or a boat—they have more abilities than ancient people did. But abilities are not a person’s nature—they do not represent their nature. So if you look at it from this aspect, people today are worse than people from before because they have more capabilities, and they have a capital for being arrogant, right? Is that really a correct thing to say about it or not? How do you ascertain if saying that is accurate, and in line with the truth?
There are some issues that people will understand after fellowship, and chatting. This is what we’re demonstrating here. When you watch historical dramas about ancient times, whether they’re about the imperial court, the Jianghu,[d] or the common people, and whether the main story line of the show is a battle between justice and evil, a struggle over authority, or the struggles of the Jianghu, what is the general plot full of? What kind of thing does it expose? (Intrigue and fighting.) Whether it’s about a regular family, a small household, or about the Jianghu, or the larger affairs of the imperial courts, their plots are chock-full of conflict. This is human nature, a genuine side of human nature—it is full of conflict. If you watch a show about conflict in the imperial courts, if you watch one episode your brain is unbearably exhausted, not to mention if you would get involved in that conflict. You watch one episode which is 30 to 40 minutes long and you’re so exhausted you can’t sleep. That conflict is so terrible! In that episode perhaps you never saw a flash of a blade or a hint of blood, but the characters were constantly thinking and scheming, and it’s exhausting. The people who watch it are exhausted, the actors are also probably exhausted—this is human nature. For the sake of power and their own desires, people thoroughly expose their own natures in a vivid and lifelike way, not holding back anything. And maybe what we see in each show or each episode is just the tip of the iceberg. Whether it’s about an imperial court, the Jianghu or a regular person’s family, are the things that you see events from just one time period? Or is it that in one area of the world, the feng shui isn’t good, so filthy demons congregate and people stir up a lot of trouble? What is it? Or is it that there is a portion of people who have bad genes, perhaps they were reincarnated from something like fighting dogs or bulls, and they have a propensity toward fighting? Is it that they have that kind of humanity? (No.) Then where does that fighting come from? People are capable of intense fighting for great authority, such as contending for the power of a king, a prime minister, authority over a territory, or the power to rule. People are capable of moderate fighting for the position of a martial arts overlord or alliance leader. And in the home of a common person, for one single thing said, some tiny little thing, or a small matter in the division of family property, some miniscule little gain, they’ll fight and crack each other’s heads open. They can’t get along anymore, brothers and sisters fight with each other—they tear each other apart, pull their hair, wring their necks, kick their butts, and some even cause their parents to die from anger. Why is that? What can you see in these matters, in these phenomena? It isn’t everyone who experiences these kinds of struggles for political power or fights in the Jianghu, or those kinds of family struggles for their own interest, it’s likely that not every single person fights like that, and not everyone has seen or experienced these things. But you can see it from these microcosms of the entire history of human development—you can see it from historical facts. Everyone now has seen some movies, right? Most of these movies are largely the same. Why are they all largely the same? This is because people’s natures have never changed. As long as their natures don’t change, as long as they are living under Satan’s domain and living on this earth, the lives that they play out in every time period, in each episode are all the same in content, and their essences are all the same, because the goals, the reasons, and the roots of their fights are all the same. Their tactics all come from one root, one source. So the goals of these fights are for the sake of what? (Their interests and their fame and fortune.) For power, for benefit—overall it’s for their own interests. What is the source of those tactics? Where does the source of those tactics originate? What is their method for fighting? Isn’t it human nature? (It is.) It’s human nature. People rack their brains, they try everything they can, they utilize fighting, doing harm, defrauding each other, cheating each other, deceiving each other, and swindling and bluffing. Whether it’s great political struggles or struggles in the small household of a regular person, it is all for their benefit. This is the true face of human nature, mankind’s true colors. At that time when the environment was good, when the population was sparse, people fought that way. And now there are a lot of people, many times more than before, so how could people not fight? In a small company there are four people—a boss, a manager, a supervisor, and an employee for various tasks. Even those few people will fight! What do they fight over? The manager is after the boss’ job, the supervisor wants to be the manager, and the employee wants to be the supervisor. That’s what happens—they struggle, they fight. The boss doesn’t want the manager to get that position, and the manager doesn’t want the supervisor to surpass him. The supervisor is always thinking about managing the employee below him and wants to manage even more, so they struggle and fight. Aren’t there a lot of stories because of this kind of constant fighting? Maybe this show is about Smith and Johnson, and the next show is about Jones and Brown—the names are different, the time periods are different, and the tactics are different. In ancient times the stories took place in the old bureaucratic offices or in the Jianghu, so where is it now? (In the government.) Now it’s in the government. Where else? (In companies.) (Workplaces.) In workplaces, in big and small companies. In companies with over 10,000 people, with hundreds of thousands of people, they are struggling, and in small companies with just two people one boss and one assistant to the boss, who are husband and wife, they are still struggling, still fighting with each other.
There’s a false impression that people today are much worse than the people of that time, that they are much less moral. What do people believe based on this false impression? People now are terrible, more so than before—they are bad to the core. Why is this said? It is because there’s no affection between people now. There’s no feeling, there’s no fondness. Neighbors don’t develop relationships with each other; people are much colder than before and there’s no interpersonal contact. There’s a reason for this, and there’s a background to what gave rise to this phenomenon. What’s the background? In society, information is very developed and it circulates. People are able to get all sorts of information, from abroad, from the earth, from the moon, and from all sorts of major cities and about all types of people. The sources of information have diversified—it comes from computers, TVs, newspapers, radios, magazines—people get information in all sorts of different ways, and a lot of people even go abroad. Where do they go? To Europe, or to Singapore, Malaysia, or Thailand for a trip. Some people go to the North or the South Pole for a look, go for a whirl, get cold, and come back. Where do others go? They even leave the earth! What does this mean? People’s vision has broadened. As their vision is broadened, what happens to their thinking? It is also broadened. People can get all sorts of information and are able to experience all kinds of environments, and encounter various people and things. This way their knowledge increases, and they see and hear more, so along with that their personal experience changes—it’s different. As someone’s personal experience changes and their knowledge increases, it brings them a certain way of living. Do you know what that is? If there’s a yokel who has never seen a train, the first time he sees one, as soon as he gets a glimpse of it, he thinks: “Wow, how is it going so fast? And it’s so long—how many people is it carrying? Why does it look like a snake?” He’ll just stand there staring at it for ages. The first time, he stares at it for ages, but the second day, he looks for two or three hours. The third day, he takes another glance at it and then doesn’t look at it anymore. By the fourth day, he’s pretty familiar with the sound of the train. Once some time has passed, when someone says: “I’m going to look at the train.” He says: “What is there to look at? Isn’t it just a train?” They say: “The train is great!” “What’s so great about it? I’ve seen it for this long—isn’t it just what it is?” Does he still care about the train? (No.) Why not? (Because it’s a familiar sight.) Yes, he’s used to seeing it. When people from the countryside have just arrived in Beijing, they just stand there gawking, thinking: “Wow! Look at that person! And that one looks different! That one has yellow hair! That one has a red nose! That person is wearing glasses without any lenses!” Everything they see is new; their eyes are always bulging. Do they stare that way after staying in Beijing for a year or two? They don’t stare anymore, they just do what they need to. They’re in a hurry every day. Other people rush about in a hurry and so do they. No one looks at anyone else, no one considers anyone else or pays any mind to them. So people seem very cold, don’t they? How is this determined? It’s called experience. It’s determined by experience. When you have experience, whatever you see isn’t unusual, and nothing is strange. Your curiosity has been sated. This is called experience. People now have gained experience, and when they speak they have insight, and they have thoughts, independent thoughts and independent opinions, and they won’t start yelling when speaking with others. But what about when something touches upon their personal interests? They glare just the same and their nature is revealed. Isn’t that so? When people gain experience they seem a little different from the outside. They may seem indifferent, or it may seem that they don’t really get involved in other people’s business—they don’t reach out to others and they’re lacking kindness, but that doesn’t mean that people are worse than before. Why is that? In any group, people tend to take note of others’ affairs and extend some kindness; when they undergo some things and suffer some losses, their experience grows. Or maybe you’ve seen some things happen, or you’ve done some good things; for example, you help an old lady up and then she blackmails you, and you go bankrupt. Would you help someone up a second time? You certainly wouldn’t dare to. Why is that? There was no reward for your kindness, just retribution. So you wouldn’t dare to extend that kindness a second time, and you retract it. So is that kindness of yours still there? It is. Where is it? It’s hidden—you don’t dare make use of it. What’s the reason for that? If people are always blackmailing you, you won’t dare to use it, right? (Yes.) So, are people today worse than before? How do you see it? (They’re the same.) Why do you say they’re the same? (Their natures are the same.) (Their corrupt satanic dispositions are the same.) Mankind has developed until now, and it’s the same mankind, and there is the same Satan. The environment has gradually changed. It has developed into modern society where people use computers, take airplanes, and wear glasses, but just because the external environment has changed doesn’t mean that people’s natures have changed, that they have improved, or have become worse. It doesn’t represent that. How can we see that it doesn’t represent that? Some people have said that people in the past always struggled and fought for the sake of their own interests. The people in the past would resort to violence, raise a hand at the drop of a hat, and they were so barbaric. And now people don’t fight that way anymore. Now society is civilized, so there isn’t that kind of fighting. People fight with their words, and inform on others behind their backs. They fight through civilized means, and after they’re done, the other person doesn’t know about it and doesn’t know who the enemy is, but they gain an advantage. See how harmonious this society is! A civilized society produces harmonious groups—that’s so wonderful! As for people today, their combative nature has not changed. The methods, the tactics have probably changed somewhat, but their combative nature and their starting points have not changed one bit. That nature, the root of it is the same; their aims in fighting are the same and they haven’t changed, not at all. If you say that people in the past were better, how is that so? They were bound by traditional culture. For example, if a child or a daughter-in-law didn’t care for their elderly family members, everyone in the village or in their clan would rebuke them and denounce them behind their back. No one would associate with them. There was a consequence, so people didn’t dare to violate that tradition. But people now don’t need to bear the brunt of that consequence, so they don’t need to worry about that. They don’t have to be filial to their parents—they don’t have to take care of them in their old age. It’s not that the government takes care of them so there’s no need for them to take care of them. What’s the reason? Nowadays, no one cares about their reputation. Others aren’t concerned about it, so you don’t need to be concerned about it either. You can just not support your parents in their old age as a matter of course. Could it be that this is people becoming worse? It’s not, right? People in the past all did that, because if you didn’t you would be rebuked by others and you wouldn’t be able to bear it, or there would be some greater consequences. So you had to do that, but in fact, you didn’t want to. It wasn’t that you truly had that filial piety, right? And now no one takes care of their elderly parents; they’re not filial to them. People have just gone along with this trend, and it’s become very normal for people to do that. So what do you think of it? People have developed until now, and no matter how great their quality of life currently is or how much education and knowledge they have, how vast their experience is, human nature has never changed. It is just that as society develops, people’s nature, their innate predispositions become more and more flagrant—they are untamed and unrestrained. So, the next time you hear someone say: “People today are so much worse than people were before,” how will you regard it? (They’re the same, but the way they express it is different.) People today have more experience; they’re cunning. In the past, people were stuck in one place. They couldn’t wander around or travel the world. They didn’t have that much experience. Without a lot of experience, people seemed more simple-minded. Since they were simple-minded, they were considered honest. But in fact, being simple-minded just meant that they hadn’t learned, and they hadn’t seen to the heart of things. They were lacking experience, so when they went somewhere and they had no idea what was going on, or it was unfamiliar to them, and they didn’t dare to act. Not daring to act isn’t the same as not being able to, nor is it the same as not having that nature, right? (Yes.) That’s what it’s about.
Are there people who are good Samaritans in the current society? (There are, but fewer.) Yes, there still are. There still are some—could you say that they are good people, that they are at the level of being something hard to come by, that they haven’t become bad? (No.) Then are they living in a vacuum? What are those good things that they do? It’s just good behavior, kindness. As soon as you say anything about believing in God, believing in Him and being a good person, worshiping Him, how do they react? When it comes to belief in God, some say: “The Chinese government persecutes belief in God. The government doesn’t allow it, doesn’t permit it.” What kind of attitude do they have? Once some say that the government doesn’t allow it, they see you as an enemy and sneer at you. This is the way someone who can be a good person, who can help an old lady across the road treats believers in God. Is this a good person? If you say: “I’m going to hide out at your home for a little while,” they’ll report you to the police, hand you over to “110,” to the government. This is a “good person.” That person will send a person who was in a car accident to the hospital to be rescued, but they are also capable of delivering someone who is perfectly alright into the hands of the devil, allowing them to be ravaged, to be persecuted to death. Which one is their true face? (The last one.) The last one is their nature! They are the one who will save you, yet they are also the one who will place you in a deathtrap. Human nature, this satanic nature, as long as there is one day they can’t throw it off, they are capable of doing evil, of resisting God. As long as you are capable of resisting God, you are not a good person. Are these words accurate? (Yes.) Then what would you say is accurate about them? (What they’re practicing is not the truth. No matter how good their actions and behaviors are in people’s views, as far as their nature is concerned, they are hostile to God.) They’re hostile to God—that is correct. So how would you explain that? Why would you say that one who is hostile to God is not a good person? (God is the emblem of all things that are positive, but all of these things in people are negative.) That’s what it is in theory—that’s correct. No matter how good a person is, how pious, how much they appear to take joy in helping others and to show kindness, as soon as they hear some positive thing they find it distasteful, they don’t like it. As soon as they hear the truth, they can’t accept it and become irritated. What kind of person is that? It’s not a good person. What kind of person is someone who is an enemy to positive things, to the truth? Is it a good person, or a bad person? (A bad person.) Such people are not good people. Generally speaking, to lump it all together, it can be put this way, but of course there are a lot of details in this. Once I give an example you’ll understand why this is the truth. For example, you are fulfilling your duty, and because you believe in God and need to perform your duty as one of creation, you leave home. What does leaving home mean? When an unbeliever sees it, they think: “This guy is selfish, self-interested. All he thinks about is his own belief in God and not his parents. His parents raised him until now. He doesn’t have a conscience and he has forgotten about his roots. He’s not filial to his parents. His parents took care of him until this age, but he hasn’t cared for his parents for a single day.” That’s how they see it, right? That’s how non-believing good people, decent people see it. That’s what their perspective is. They say: “This guy doesn’t have a conscience. He’s not taking care of his parents in old age, he’s not filial to them. He doesn’t care if they live or die, or if they become ill. He’s just going off to believe in his God but his belief in God creates an adverse environment for his parents, and a search by the government. It has caused a disturbance—the government is always going to his house to look for him and harass his parents. See, not only is he not filial to his parents, but he’s brought so much adversity upon them. He is not filial!” Is there a single sentence in this that is the truth? (No.) But in the eyes of unbelievers, are these things true? (Yes.) Since you are not walking the “right path,” and your parents brought you up until now but you are not caring for them in their old age, you are not fulfilling your filial duty and on top of that cause trouble for them, making them anxious, worried, and unsettled. They could not possibly be more concerned, and in the end you just run away and leave those troubles for them to deal with. You are not at all filial! Unbelievers, adults as well as those who are not yet mature, have probably all had these thoughts. Whether or not their thoughts are developed, they’ve all had these thoughts. Looking from the perspective of unbelievers, they see that as the most correct, the most reasonable thing as well as in line with common ethics. They think that what they say is in line with the standard for how a person should behave. No matter how much is contained within this standard, how to be filial, how to attend their parents when they are dying, how to take care of them in their old age, or how much they should repay their parents, everyone sees that standard as a positive thing. This is positive energy, it is correct, and everyone sees it as something irreproachable, as correct. Among unbelievers, what people see as the standard for how a person should behave is what I’ve just spoken of. You have to do those things to be a passably good person in others’ eyes. Before you believed in God, didn’t you also believe that? Before you understood the truth, didn’t you also believe with such certainty that that was being a good person? And you also took those things to measure yourself, to restrain yourself, and require yourself to be that kind of person, right? If you wanted to be a good person, that was certainly included as a part of that. There was all that about being filial to your parents, all that about not letting them worry too much, about doing credit to them, trying to excel for their sake, and bringing honor to your ancestors. These things were a standard you held in your heart for being a person, as well as a direction. Isn’t that right? But once you heard God’s words and His sermons, your perspective started to shift. How did it shift? You had a think: “It seems that being that kind of person is right, but the thing is, that’s not what God requires. What God requires is being this kind of person.” You listened and you listened and you got it—you must give up everything to fulfill your duty as one of creation. Before you fully ascertained that fulfilling your duty as one of creation is the truth, you simultaneously believed that you should be filial to your parents while also believing that you should fulfill your duty as a part of creation. While on this seesaw, you were constantly watered and shepherded by God’s words. You gradually accepted these words “performing the duty of a creature” as your guide. As of now, there are some people who have thoroughly let go of the original standard they held in their hearts for being a person, right? (Yes.) When you completely let go of that standard, what do you believe in your heart? Do you still believe that that standard for being a person is the truth? (Not anymore.) Right, you don’t believe that anymore. Now, your friends, your family, or your relatives may criticize you, saying: “This guy isn’t filial, he’s disobedient and causes his parents to worry and brings them trouble. His parents raised him to this age, but he doesn’t give them peace of mind; he’s made such a huge mess of things. On top of not being filial, he’s worried his parents to death, he has worried them to pieces. What kind of thing is he? He’s nothing good.” Then are you still a good person in their eyes? You are no good—you certainly aren’t a good person. If at the time you agreed that that was the standard for the principle of being a person, when you heard those words would you feel upset? (Upset, really upset.) Why was that? (I would feel that I had done something wrong.) Your conscience was condemned, and your conscience was activated. When you didn’t have the truth and your conscience was activated, was the effect your conscience had correct or mistaken? (Mistaken.) At that time, what was weighed by your conscience was actually mistaken, but when you didn’t understand the truth you didn’t know that it’s wrong. You just thought that it was right, and as soon as someone mentioned it, you really felt you were in the wrong and your conscience was accused. You thought: “In the future I have to do better, I have to make up for this. I must be obedient and bring honor to my ancestors, excel for the sake of my parents and not let my mother worry so much and have my father see me do better in the future.” Right? (Yes.) So why don’t you think that way anymore? Could it be that you have become bad? Could it be that your heart has hardened? (No.) Why is that? Since you haven’t become bad, why is it that when people say things like that, you don’t take it to heart? You don’t feel upset, so does that mean you’re now devoid of a conscience? (That’s not it.) Then what is it? (There’s a standard for measuring it—now I know what is really right.) The unbelievers have a saying. People from Shanghai say: “Your conscience is rotten! That person’s conscience is totally rotten!” They say that your conscience is rotten, but in fact it hasn’t changed. You are still the same person. Your personality, your preferences, your standards for your conscience and standards of morality haven’t actually changed. Your conscience is still your conscience, so why is it that when other people say those things you are unmoved? You’re not upset and you don’t feel reproached, right? (Yes.) This is a great transformation. Why is it that you were able to change in this way? (After understanding some truths, I’m able to discern that their words are nothing but fallacies.) Unbelievers fabricate things about us—what do they say? They say: “After believing in God those people are so cold. They don’t have any familial affection and don’t care for their families. They’re so cold. It’s as if they’ve become cold-blooded animals.” From the outside, it really looks like that is the case, but the truth is that the essential issue is not that way. Could it be that after believing in God, the truth made these people cold and unfeeling? (No.) Then what is it really? (Now they know what’s right.) (They can distinguish between good and evil.) (People look at things differently.) This is the result that is achieved. How has this result been achieved in you? You look at things differently. What has changed your perspective? And when did that start?
There are some criminals in society who are always committing crimes and never take the right path. Everything they do is opportunistic and profiteering and so they are constantly getting arrested by the police. His mother cries out: “My only son has gone to jail again—my child is suffering.” After he gets out, his mother says: “My son, you have to be a good person. Listen to me—I’ll give you a bit of money so you can run a little business in a conscientious, down-to-earth way. Later on get married and have a good life, and then give me a grandchild. I’m still young; I’ll watch the kid for you. Have a good life, listen to what I say and don’t worry me so much. Let me have some peaceful days.” When he hears that, he thinks: It’s true. I’m not a good person. I always worry my mother and I’ve angered my father to death. What can I do? I have to be a good person. His mother puts down a little money for him to do business. After less than two years of business, as soon as someone gangs up with him he starts doing bad things again. Word always gets around, so he ends up being arrested again. After his arrest his mom is angry to the point that she says: “This thing that causes me so much worry! He’s done something bad again. No matter what I say, he doesn’t listen. What a terrible fate I have! Why do I always worry about him—what have I given birth to? There’s nothing I can do; I’ll just wait.” He gets out again after a few years. After getting out, once again he doesn’t take the right path, but this time he isn’t arrested. He escapes. After this escape, someone says: “When you run, you have to sneak into another country. You’re wanted in China and they’ll arrest you—you can’t stay here. You have to run, and if you go farther away there will be a way for you to live.” But as soon as he’s about to leave his homeland, he’s upset. Why is that? He won’t be able to see his mother anymore, right? When he’s about to go he cries. Why is that? He’s upset! What is he upset about? He says: “My mom really loves me—she raised me, but I haven’t given her a single day of peace. I’ve worried her greatly and brought her a lot of trouble. I got out of jail and then went in again, and now I’m in trouble again. She doesn’t know about it, but if she did she’d be angry and she’d really suffer. If I just take off now, I don’t know when I’ll be able to come back. I won’t be able to fulfill my filial duty to my mom in this lifetime; I won’t have the chance.” He bursts into tears, and finds a place to be alone to cry his heart out. There’s nothing that can be done—he’s taken this path, so he has to go. Even a hooligan, a scoundrel has a conscience, and he knows he’s not on the right path, that he’s saddened his mother. Doesn’t he know that in his heart? (Yes.) That kind of person does bad things, he is a troublemaker, and he’s incorrigible; when he does bad things he can’t help himself. He always does those things and he does them time after time. After suffering so many losses he still does them, and he doesn’t listen to his mother’s advice. When he really takes it to that point, he knows that he makes his parents sad and that making them worry isn’t good, and he knows that being filial to his parents is the right thing to do. He has a standard of conscience—that is to say, even someone like that has a standard. Even that kind of person has that sort of sense, feeling in their conscience, so would normal people in general also have that? Would they understand that? (Yes.) They all understand it. This is a human instinct. If someone has a heart, they have a sense of conscience. All of this is innate—they all know that. But could it be that corrupt people all think that way, that they all have that consciousness, so that is correct? Could it be that this is positive? (No.) Now you believe in God and understand the truth, so you know that. Why is it that now, when someone reproaches you again, you are unmoved in your conscience, that it doesn’t affect you at all? Why is it that it doesn’t disturb you at all, that you feel others can say whatever they want to, and it won’t upset you? What kind of outlook is that? When someone has changed to that degree, when someone has that kind of state of mind, where does it come from? How does it get to that point? (When encountering some emotional situations, for example, when receiving a letter from my family, the first time they wrote I was really worried that there was something happening with my mom or dad. My brothers and sisters communicated with me, and I ate and drank God’s words regarding emotions, and then I felt a bit better. But this will happen the second time, and the third time…. Through continuing to go deeper into God’s words this way, it seemed that I was able to have some understanding of emotions, that I had some discernment. Through this kind of gradual experience, I tried to truly enter into God’s words and had a requirement of myself and turned my own way of seeing things around according to His words. In this way, I can have some transformation in my perspectives on emotions.) Very good. Overall, no matter what, it is the truth that changes people’s perspectives, that makes their views of people, events, and things as well as their views of some actions different from before, right? (Yes.)
People used to think about what to do, how they weigh a matter in their conscience. It always had to go through their conscience, they were afraid of what other people would say, afraid of being laughed at or that they wouldn’t have a good reputation, or that people would say “He’s no good,” or “That guy has no conscience.” People were always afraid of these words, so they would do some things reluctantly. And now, how are things weighed? (Using the principles of the truth.) When things were weighed that way before, and when they were weighed with those things, what kind of state did people live in? For example, your parents are instilling these things into you from a young age: “Child, when you grow up you have to bring honor to your mother, you have to make a good showing, and you have to do honor to the Zhang (or Li) family!” What are these words to you? Are they a kind of motivation, or a kind of constraint? (A constraint.) (It’s a burden.) Furthermore, are these words a kind of positive influence on you, or a negative control? (Negative control.) The truth is that it’s a type of control. They utilize a sort of theory, a way of saying things that are correct, a way of living that people believe to be good to set a goal for you and make you live working toward that goal. Then, you lose your freedom. Why is it that you lose your freedom and are controlled by that? That is because everyone thinks that bringing honor to their ancestors is a good thing and that it’s the right path. If you don’t think so or if you don’t work hard for that, then you’re an idiot, a waste, a good-for-nothing, and you’re hopeless. If you’re hopeless and you are unable to bring honor to your ancestors or cause curls of smoke to rise up from your ancestors’ graves,[e] then you really are a bastard, a good-for-nothing, and others will look down on you. You have to exert effort for these things, thinking: “Study more, be obedient, gain more skills, and then people won’t pick on me. I have to bring glory to my ancestors.” Aren’t all of the things you do for that a sort of invisible shackle that binds you? Because your parents said so and they have your best interests at heart, and it’s so that you can have a good life in the future and bring honor to the family, you are pushed into that kind of lifestyle as a matter of course. Not only are these things a subtle bother for you, but they are also a kind of shackle, aren’t they? (Yes.) Before people understand the truth, they think that these are positive things, and that they are the truth and the right path, so people should naturally just uphold or follow them, that they should absolutely obey these things that their parents say and their requirements of them. Suppose you live according to those words and you work hard on honoring your family, you offer up your youth, your lifetime, and you have a good life, bring honor to your ancestors, live based on the path your parents designed for you, you have higher status than others and you have honor in front of others. Your heart, however, becomes more and more empty, you don’t know why people are alive, what people’s future destination is, or what kind of path they should take in life. You have absolutely no understanding of the mysteries of human life that you yearn for in your heart, that you want to know and understand. You don’t comprehend them. Isn’t this a subtle way of your parents’ good intentions ruining you? (It is.) Then haven’t your youth and your life been ruined by what your parents say “for your own good”? (Yes.) This thing your parent say, “for your own good”—is it actually right or mistaken? (Mistaken.) It’s possible that your parents’ starting point really is for your own good, but are they people who understand the truth? Are your parents the truth? (No.) There are a lot of people who live their whole lives for the sake of that thing their parents say—that is their earliest teaching, and they are influenced by it for their entire lives. That “for your own good” of their parents is the starting point for their lives, and it is the direction and goal of their hard work in life. As a result, no matter how brilliant their lives are, how much dignity and success they have in their lives, their lives have actually been ruined. Is that the way it is? (Yes.) That is the way it is. Then could it be that someone who doesn’t live by those words of their parents won’t be ruined? That’s not the case—that person also has a goal. What goal is that? It’s still that thing that’s said: “Live a good life, thus bring honor to the ancestors.” It’s still the same saying—it hasn’t changed. Your parents didn’t tell you that, and you got it from somewhere yourself, or it was passed on to you from someplace, and you accepted it from somewhere. You are still living for that; you still want to bring glory to your ancestors, live like a real person, become someone above others, a person who is refined and dignified. It’s still that same goal—it hasn’t changed. You are still offering up your life for that, living out your entire life that way. It’s no different. Therefore, when people don’t understand the truth and when they have accepted a number of doctrines, sayings, and views that are called correct among society and humans, they turn these “correct” things into the direction, the driving force, and the foundation of their hard work in life. In the end, people fully live for these human goals without any reservations—they struggle for an entire lifetime until they die. There are some people who still haven’t resigned themselves even when they die—this is how pitifully people live. But after understanding the truth, these so-called correct things, correct education and sayings as well as your parents’ expectations of you—haven’t you gradually let go of these? (Yes.) You’ve gradually let go of these so-called correct things; your standard for weighing things and events is no longer done through these simple words or through your conscience. So you are no longer bound by these things, aren’t you? You’re no longer subject to the bounds of these things, so aren’t you living freely now? (Yes.) It’s not necessarily free, but at the least the shackles are gone, the shackles have been mitigated, right? In their belief in God people still have a lot of notions, human intentions and imaginations, many of these things, and even people’s life philosophies, deceitful thoughts, and corrupt natures. When these things are resolved, and people can live entirely relying on the truth, people are living in front of God.
What is currently the most important matter in pursuing and gaining the truth? Isn’t it all of those things that were just mentioned? It is first dissecting all of those correct things, the statements and theories that you believe to be correct, casting them off, and ridding yourselves of the first layer of shackles. How many of these things do you still hold in your hearts? Have you completely cast them off? (No.) Is it as simple as getting rid of emotions? (It’s not.) If you just blindly think: “I’ll deal with my emotions, I’ll get rid of them. I won’t think about my parents, my siblings, or my grandparents. I won’t think about anyone, just God. I’ll think of Him all the time.” You think and you think, but you still end up crying. What are you crying about? You’re upset: “I haven’t seen my mom in so long—I miss her so much.” This can’t resolve anything from its root. If you want to resolve this problem, you must dissect some things in yourself that you believe to be true, or sayings and knowledge that were imparted to you by your parents. You have to dissect these things. In addition, as for your parents, your family, whether you have a duty to take care of them or not, what is this based on? It’s based on your personal ability and conditions, and it’s based on God’s designs. Doesn’t this hit home? (Yes.) It does hit home. In fact, there are some people who can’t do anything for their parents when they’re with them, but as soon as they leave their parents they feel that they really owe them, that they haven’t done anything for them. But when their parents live with them, they don’t do anything. They’re not at all filial to their parents and they don’t fulfill any of their duties. Is that really a filial person? (No.) They’re all talk, right? Therefore, whatever you do, whatever you think, or whatever you plan in your heart—that’s not important. So what is important? What’s important is that whether or not you are able to understand or genuinely believe that all creatures are in the hands of God. There are some parents who are blessed or who have the destiny to be able to enjoy the blessing of domestic bliss with their children and grandchildren. This is God’s rule; it is a blessing He has bestowed upon them. And there are some parents who don’t have that destiny; it’s not in their fate. God didn’t arrange that for them—they aren’t blessed to enjoy their children staying by their side, the joy of a happy family. They are not blessed with that and they don’t have that destiny. This is God’s design and it can’t be forced. No matter what, when it comes down to it, at the least people should have an attitude of obedience regarding this matter. It’s not that we won’t do something that we can, that we have the environment for, but if the environment, if the conditions don’t exist, we don’t force it. What is that called? (Obedience.) That’s called obedience. Where does that obedience come from? What is the basis of that obedience? Isn’t the basis of that obedience that all of this is from God’s arrangement and His rule? People cannot choose, that is, they do not have the right to choose. When they don’t have that right, they should obey. When you feel that you should obey, that all of this is God’s arrangement, don’t you feel much more at ease in your heart? (Yes.) Then is your conscience still of any use? (It’s not.) Will your conscience still be uneasy? (No.) Your conscience won’t always be reproached: “Ah, I wasn’t filial to my parents.” You won’t feel that way—that won’t take precedence. At times you’ll think about it—in humanity there are some normal thoughts or instincts, and no one can avoid that. For example, when a normal person sees that their mother is sick, no matter how hard-hearted they are, won’t they feel upset? (Yes.) Any normal person will feel upset. As soon as they see that their mother is sick, they can’t help but wish they could take her place, and there are some who say: “Make my mother better even if it shortens my life several years.” Anyone would suffer and be upset, right? This is one positive aspect of humanity, this is human instinct. Animals don’t feel that way. So if you want to cast your emotions off, you don’t need to cast that off. You say: “I still have some emotions—the moment I see that my mom is sick I feel really upset.” Does that need to be cast off? (It doesn’t.) You don’t need to pay attention to that—don’t pay any mind to it. Being upset is a good thing. It proves that you have humanity. Your mother who gave birth to you is ill—she’s the person who is closest to you, and your mother is the person God arranged for you who is closest to you in the world. If you were unmoved, indifferent when she’s sick, when she’s having a hard time, would you still be human? If you say, “I don’t have any emotions for her. I don’t feel anything when she suffers, I feel upset only when God suffers,” that would not be true. Your mother gave birth to you and raised you and she is the person closest to you who loves you the most, and when she’s suffering, when she’s ill, you’re not moved in the slightest—how hard is your heart! That’s not normal. Don’t pursue being that kind of person. Being upset is normal, but failing to perform your duty when you’re upset—is that normal? (No.) As soon as you’re upset you complain to God, “Ah, my mom is such a good believer in God; she really pursues Him and pays a price, how could He allow her to get sick like that?” Is that normal? (No.) That’s not normal. Why is that? Their thinking is not in line with the truth, right? It’s not in line with the truth, which is why I say it’s not normal. I just said that it’s normal, and it’s humane, so why do I say now that it’s not normal? (Because it’s incompatible with the truth.) People have corrupt dispositions, and sometimes they suddenly get crazy. Where does that come from? It’s because people have corrupt natures, and at any time or any place they are able to resist God. People have a nature of rebelling against God and at any time or any place something can suddenly occur to them or they can come up with a thought that isn’t in line with the truth, that is rebellious to God. That’s how it is.
As for the matter of getting rid of your emotions, what counts as having emotions and what counts as not having emotions? Do you know? What do you think is normal, and what do you think is not normal? For example, you have a seven or eight year-old child who’s bullied. You want to protect your child, so you will seek out the family of the person who hits your kid and reason with them. Is that normal? (Yes.) That’s normal. As a mother, if you don’t protect your child, who will? Will outsiders protect your child? That’s your kid, so who will protect them if you don’t? That’s proper; it’s normal. But then when your child is playing with someone else’s kid, he is too rough and hits the other kid. He bullies whoever is well-behaved, and he snatches whatever nice thing or tasty snack they have. When you see that you don’t say a word. You see that your child is bad and bullies others, but you don’t say anything. What is that called? (Coddling.) Coddling? That’s called emotionality. Do you understand? Is that normal? (No.) That’s not normal, it’s bad. That is a corrupt nature. Do you understand? (Uh-huh.) “Uh-huh,” so you just now understand, right? You didn’t understand that before? (That’s right.) When your child has been beat up or bullied, as a mother you speak out on behalf of him to seek justice and reason with the other person. This is the responsibility of a mother. It’s positive, and something you should do. But suppose your child is the rough one, he’s bad, toxic, hits other kids really meanly, he hits other kids when he sees that they’re well-behaved and makes them cry out “Ow,” and he always takes their things—you see that but pay no mind to it, and think: “Oh, look at my child! He’s really capable—he’ll certainly be great when he grows up,” and then behind the scenes you teach him, “If anyone doesn’t listen to you, give them a beating!” Your child always bullies others but when you hear about it you don’t do anything and when you see it you don’t say anything, your child hits other kids and their family come talk to you but you have words with them—what is this called? It’s called emotionality. What’s inside of emotionality? Why is it called that? Why isn’t that normal? (There aren’t any principles.) There aren’t any principles? Does this have to do with principles? What is called colloquially? Being an “overprotective parent.” Isn’t there a word for this, “unjust”? It’s not okay if other people bully your child, so why don’t you take care of it when your child just bullies other children? When your kid is at a disadvantage you see to it; you resolve it right away, you demand justice. When your own child is so terrible and bullies others, why don’t you see to it? You even encourage him, saying: “Hit him, that’s great—my son is powerful!” What kind of mother is this? Is this vicious? (Yes.) That’s a vicious disposition, so how about speaking from the aspect of emotions, explaining it that way? What’s the hallmark of emotionality? When emotion is mentioned, it’s certain that it’s entirely separate from the responsibilities that parents should generally take care of. It’s certain that it’s not positive—that’s called unjust, right? Being unjust, overprotective, and showing favoritism—this is called emotionality. As for the attitude a mother has toward her child’s treatment of others, which of these ways of handling it is proper? (The first one.) The first one is proper. What about the second one? The second one is revealing a corrupt disposition, isn’t it? Even though she saw it and didn’t do anything about it, what was she really thinking? She had a kind of internal thinking that made her not say a word and do nothing to intervene. What was she thinking? “Anyway, my son wasn’t at a disadvantage, so he can hit whoever he likes. Whoever gets hit is hurt—as long as my son isn’t hurt that’s fine. My son isn’t at a disadvantage and he’s not being bullied, so that’s fine. Whoever he bullies isn’t important as long as he’s not being bullied.” Isn’t that emotionality? (Yes.) If she didn’t have that kind of emotionality, if she handled things properly and justly, as soon as she saw that her child was being bullied she would have to go seek justice, and when her child was bullying others, she would think: “That’s not right. I have to take care of it—I have to educate him.” She would say to her child, “You’re already this big, as an older brother you can’t bully your little brothers and sisters. Doing that is bad; bullying people isn’t being a good person or a good child. Mom and dad don’t like you. If you do this again, if you don’t listen, we’ll withhold your meals, we’ll have to punish you.” How about this? (That’s good.) If he doesn’t listen he’ll be hit—he’ll be disciplined. How is that? Is it fair? (It’s fair.) When what you do is fair people approve of it, right? What is emotionality, primarily? (A corrupt disposition.) It’s true that emotionality is a corrupt disposition, so use a few words to describe the practical aspects of emotionality. (It’s not being able to treat people fairly. It’s favoritism and unfairly protecting people.) That is exactly it—favoritism and unfairly protecting people, maintaining fleshly relationships without any fairness. That is emotionality. So, if you want to cast off emotionality, could it be that you just get rid of it and then you no longer think about your family? You don’t think of them at all, ordinarily you don’t think of them at all, but as soon as someone criticizes your family or your hometown, or someone related to you, you blow up and you absolutely have to go to bat for them. You absolutely have to turn around what has been said about them—you can’t allow them to be subject to a wrong that isn’t redressed. You have to do your best to uphold their reputation, correct anything that’s incorrect and make anything that’s right seem wrong, and do not allow others to criticize them, not at all. This is injustice, and it’s called emotionality. Do you understand? Does emotionality only apply to family? (No.) It’s broad—it’s a kind of disposition. It’s not a kind of fleshly relationship between two people; it’s not that kind of scope. It may be your boss or someone who has shown you kindness. It may also be someone who has helped you out or the person closest to you, or the person you get along with the best. It could also be someone from your hometown, your friend, or someone you admire. Those are all possibilities. Is casting off emotionality as simple as not missing your parents or not being homesick? If that were it, it would be too easy to cast off. In your thirties you can be independent, completely independent, by your forties you miss them even less. Usually people in their teens or twenties really miss their mothers, their grandparents, and so on. They miss them in their sleep and when they’re eating. They are young and have just become independent in life, and their ability to survive on their own hasn’t been entirely established, so they’re prone to missing those people. Missing people isn’t emotionality—only the attitude and opinions in doing things have to do with emotionality. Since you have had that level of a relationship with them in the flesh and you have lived together all those years, your missing them is normal. Some people say, “I don’t miss them at all.” They probably just left home, and after having just left everything is new for them. It was no easy thing to get away from their nagging, so you don’t miss them. No one is nagging you, no one watches over you, so you’re happy, right? But does being happy mean that you’re not emotional? It doesn’t. Some people say, “Look at them. They’re so happy to have left home. They perform their duty and aren’t remotely constrained by their emotions. They don’t have any emotions.” Isn’t that something an amateur says? This is something that a person says who doesn’t understand the truth. There’re many things you frequently talk about and you think, “I’ve understood the truth; I’ve gained the truth.” In fact, these things come up frequently, and people apply the truth blindly to them and speak randomly. After a while, they are able to speak spiritual language fluently and accurately use spiritual terms, so what do they believe? “I’ve understood the truth and my stature has grown, and I’ve understood quite a bit of the truth. If I were arrested I wouldn’t be a Judas. At the least I have this faith and this determination. Isn’t this stature? I’ve had progress.” They think back to the enthusiasm they had when they first believed in God, that they were willing to offer up their entire life to God. Now that enthusiasm and that pledge haven’t changed, haven’t faded a bit, isn’t that progress? Isn’t that superficial phenomenon? (Yes.) All of that is superficial phenomenon. If people want to achieve true progress, what do they have to possess? Do you know? Can these doctrines and this spiritual vocabulary change people? (They can’t.)
Today I’ve fellowshiped with you on what the truth is and what the correct words are and I’ve made some differentiations. So has there been anything that you’ve come to understand in your hearts? (How to tell if a statement is correct or incorrect.) (Also not to look at things on the surface, but to look at them based on the principles of the truth, and not to take some daily behaviors that are good on the surface or some spiritual doctrines as the truth.) Good behavior and correct sayings cannot change a person. Those are not the truth; no matter how correct they are, they are not the truth. Not only are they not the truth, but they have nothing to do with the truth. If you always uphold those things as the truth, you will never be able to understand or gain the truth. This is one aspect. And there’s another aspect—can spiritual doctrines make people understand the truth? (No.) Why is that? Spiritual doctrines are all correct words—they can all be classified as correct, but they cannot achieve the result of changing someone’s corrupt disposition. So then what does changing a person’s corrupt disposition really depend on? Some people say, “It depends on the truth.” What are these words? These are correct words, correct doctrine, right? There are also people who say, “It depends on understanding the truth.” Is that true? And some people say, “It depends on accepting the truth.” Is that true? (They are true.) Some others say, “It depends on putting the truth into practice.” The more you say the closer you get. Is this one true? (It’s true.) These are all true, and in a literal sense they have a correct side, but these are all the most simplistic doctrines. These doctrines can’t save you. When you encounter a problem, others say: “Accept the truth.” You say: “How do I do that? I have a difficulty and I can’t let go of it.” Can these words become a path for you to put the truth into practice? They can’t, right? (They can’t.) They’re useless. There are some who say, “Eat and drink more of God’s words.” When you encounter a problem, they say, “Eat and drink His words more.” You’ve heard these words quite a bit, but which of your difficulties has been resolved? It’s true that you should eat and drink more of His words, but what aspect of His words? How do you match them up? And if you do match them up, how do you resolve it? What is the path for practice? What aspect of the truth should you use to resolve your difficulty? Isn’t this a practical question? (Yes.) This is a practical question. So, correct doctrines cannot resolve people’s actual difficulties, and they cannot resolve people’s corrupt dispositions. What can actually resolve people’s corrupt dispositions? This is a problem, isn’t it? This is the most difficult problem—think about it.
If people don’t understand what the truth is, will they be able to accept it? (No.) You don’t know if that thing you’ve accepted is the truth or not, but you accept it as if it were the truth. Can that resolve your corrupt disposition? (No.) What else is there? If you don’t understand the truth, when you encounter an issue, will you be able to accurately identify what kind of truth it is related to? (No.) You certainly won’t be able to. You’ll probably just blindly apply something: “Oh, so this is arrogance?” “Oh, this is conceit?” You can’t identify it. If a person doesn’t believe that that truth is the truth, will they be able to accept it? (No.) They can’t. What is most important, then? What is most important is that people must understand the truth. Right now the majority of people take doctrines as the truth, and they don’t understand what the truth is. We just raised the example of emotionality. What was the first kind of practice? As you see it, “Ah, that’s emotionality, I can’t be like that. This kind of practice must be criticized and condemned—it’s emotionality.” You take this as the truth, which is unrelated to it, is human instinct, and can be done or not done, and then you control it and uphold it as the principle, believing that you’re practicing the truth. The second practice is that, when a corrupt disposition really is revealed, when it does have to do with practicing the truth, what do you believe? “I don’t need to pay attention to that—it’s nothing.” Why do you have that kind of thinking, that kind of understanding? What’s the reason? (Not understanding the truth.) Yes, that’s what it is! So there are a lot of times when, because they don’t understand the truth, people select a correct action and believe that they are putting the truth into practice. There are many times that they don’t understand the truth, so when they encounter an issue they don’t know how to handle it and they freeze up. Then they speak some letters and doctrines and the issue passes. There are many times that, because of a lack of understanding of the truth, people reveal a corrupt disposition but they think that they love God and are being loyal. Often because of not understanding the truth, people have some good intentions and offer up their good intentions, but in fact they’re interrupting and disturbing God’s work. They still believe that they are upholding God’s interests and the interests of the house of God. What issue is all of this? What comes out of not understanding the truth, of not having a practical understanding of the truth? What it brings about is that the things you do are always contrary to the truth, but all the while you believe you are upholding the truth, putting it into practice, and satisfying the will of God. Isn’t that so? (Yes.) This is people’s greatest difficulty. Difficulties are what they are, and there is always a way to resolve them. The only solution is that whenever you encounter an issue, you must gain clarity on it whether it’s about a single term or a set phrase. As long as it exists in humans, any issue will have many states, and in different environments and in different states, people will reveal certain thoughts, opinions, and motives. At those times you can look at what a person’s state is, and that determines what disposition it is. Once you know that, aren’t you able to gain an accurate understanding of this? If you can gain an accurate understanding and you can match them up, then don’t you also know how to put God’s words into practice? It’s kind of complicated, isn’t it? Speak up—chat about this. Now, you must focus on understanding the truth. Give it a little thought. (When encountering an issue, the issue of holding on to my own opinion when my point of view is different from my sister’s, I wonder why I’m revealing hot-bloodedness and why I stick to my guns. I dig into my own nature. I don’t think about that issue or consider what my own viewpoint is. I unearth my own nature of being arrogant and conceited, sticking to what is my own, and then I come to know that from my own nature. This is my path to resolving my corrupt disposition.) This is the correct path; to resolve human nature it must be dug out from the roots, from people’s dispositions. It’s not digging it out from the practice, and objective reasoning or conditions shouldn’t be emphasized. Then you can match it up with the truth.
The truth, what the truth says and what it focuses on all targets the various states of humans’ corrupt dispositions. Let’s take the emotion we just talked about for instance. People believe that it’s being emotional to miss their parents or be homesick at times—is this the same thing as the emotionality that God talks about? (It’s not.) So is what you understand about the emotionality the truth? (No.) It definitely isn’t, so there’s an issue here of misunderstanding the truth. When you take being a little homesick or doing something nice for your parents as emotionality, when you accept that as emotionality, isn’t that misunderstanding the truth? In fact, what you have understood is not the truth, and it’s not in line with the truth. It’s just the surface. What is the emotionality that God refers to? It’s the second example that we talked about; it’s that state. It’s the revealing of the essential nature of emotionality that God has exposed—it’s that aspect of a disposition. Aren’t these entirely different things? (Yes.) As for the first kind, that is a normal phenomenon and doesn’t need to be dealt with or dug out. It particularly doesn’t need to be dissected, or to be identified with in order to carry out some aspect of the truth, or to let go of this or that. So,would you say that that is proper? That it is what should be done? That it is what must be done? It’s not necessary. This isn’t fixed—there isn’t any right or wrong. As for the second kind, that has to do with a disposition. Since that is related to a disposition, that must be matched up to God’s words and wherever the word “emotionality” comes up in God’s words, then it has to do with that kind of disposition. What disposition is that? What aspect of a disposition is revealed by the emotionality that we just talked about? (Favoritism, overprotectiveness, maintaining fleshly relationships, and being unfair.) Yes, it is the revealing of those aspects of a disposition. That is exactly what is included in the term “emotionality” that God has spoken about. If you achieve understanding of this, if your understanding reaches this level, you will realize, “Oh, so this is emotionality.” You will have matched it up. When you put effort into these aspects of a disposition in order to resolve this disposition, this issue, these states, only then will your behaviors be putting the truth into practice. Then the states you understand to be included in this emotionality will be completely in line with the term “emotionality” as God spoke of it. This is the truth that you know. When someone says: “Share in fellowship what emotionality is,” if you communicate the first state, the first example, some people will say, “You don’t understand the truth.” Is that true? (Yes.) It is true. They’re saying that this is an expression of you not understanding the truth. If you raise the second example and dissect that disposition, then is that understanding the truth or is it understanding doctrine? (It’s understanding the truth.) Yes, only that is understanding the truth. That is, the things, the content of what you say, what you fellowship, what you experience, and what you understand are the same as God’s original intention in His words—the essence of the truth. They are what God refers to. Since you have seen through this, experienced and understood it, you have gained the truth. Gaining it implies that you have already understood that aspect of the truth. Do you understand? (Yes.) Once you understand this aspect of the truth, when you see someone do something, you think, “Oh, that’s emotionality.” When you see that person do another thing, you think, “Ah, that’s normal. It doesn’t need to be dealt with or paid any mind to.” You need to have fellowship with them on the first issue, and why is that? It has to do with a disposition. So aren’t you doing things correctly? (Yes.) You are doing things correctly. Under the circumstances that you understand the truth, then aren’t the things that you say and the understanding and experiences that you share in fellowship helpful to others? And can’t they resolve others’ difficulties? This is the practical side of the truth. Don’t you understand as soon as I bring up an example? (Yes.)
Many times, people are unable to do something because their caliber is lacking, and then they always say, “I don’t have a conscience.” Which one is accurate? (That their caliber is lacking.) There are some times, for example, when performing a kind of duty, they only grasp that much knowledge, and they can’t get any further than that; they haven’t learned more, so they can’t do it. When they can’t do it, someone says, “You really need to get this. You haven’t performed this duty well—it’s really lacking.” The leader pins a label on them, saying: “You are muddling through—you are opportunistic and just skating through.” In fact, they can’t do it because they are lacking knowledge and haven’t learned that. Yet others pin a label on them, saying that they’re muddling through, that they’re opportunistic and just skating through, but the reality is that they have done their best from their own heart. What would you say about pinning that label on them? (It’s not appropriate.) This is out of line, saying things carelessly, pinning a label carelessly. Aren’t situations when people say things carelessly all created by not understanding the truth? How do most of the time people pin labels carelessly? “What’s the reason for this?” “They’re lacking the truth.” Isn’t this pinning a label carelessly? “Dissect this matter. What’s going on?” “They’re lacking humanity.” “What’s going on with this? What is that person like?” “They don’t love or pursue the truth.” There is actually a problem with their humanity, but what do people say? “They’re lacking caliber.” Aren’t all of these things people say that are inconsistent with the actual situation created from not understanding the truth? (Yes.) Because they don’t understand the truth, they pin a situation with the wrong label and believe that that’s what is going on. When pinning a situation with the wrong label, that practice of theirs is already mistaken, so can they use the right truth to resolve the issue? (No.) To put it simply, not understanding the truth is like insisting on treating the head when the person has a stomachache. The right medicine can’t be prescribed; the root of the problem hasn’t been found. They don’t understand where its root is, which is not understanding what God’s words refer to. This is called not understanding the truth. Can you understand that? (Yes.) So do you understand a lot or a little of it now? In larger aspects, for example, people often say: “Why can’t they be obedient in this? Why is that?” “Because they don’t know God.” Are these words correct? Sometimes they are, sometimes they’re not. Most of the time they’re not correct—it’s carelessly pinning a label. People grasp a bit of spiritual vocabulary and do that carelessly: “They don’t know God.” It’s not much of the time that it has to do with that problem, people still say that carelessly. That’s what it is.
Now count for yourselves—of the ones you understand, of the truths you believe, how many of them are doctrines, and how many truly are truths that you really understand? Let’s keep it close to home, say, being an honest person. What is an honest person? Do you understand this aspect of the truth? What counts as truly understanding this aspect of the truth? Do you know that? Some people say, “Where did you just go?” “To the restroom.” “To do what?” “To fart.” “This guy is honest, he even tells others when he farts.” “Were they loud?” “Sure.” “Did they smell?” “A bit.” “Ah, he’s so honest. He’ll tell whatever he’s asked. This is the standard for an honest person.” “He doesn’t cover up or avoid even a little thing like farting. This is an honest person.” Is that understanding the truth? (No.) What is understanding the truth? What is understanding the truth of being an honest person? When people speak doctrines they just blather on; they have many things to say, they’re long-winded. They can say some things about the doctrines, but when it comes to something practical, the details of something practical, they’re tongue-tied. This is called not understanding the truth. People don’t understand the truth, but they still always feel, “I really understand, I really do, it’s just that God doesn’t use me. If He did, if I were a church leader, then everyone in the church would certainly understand the truth. I would make them all understand the truth.” Are people who don’t understand the truth pathetic? (They’re pathetic.) You’ve heard a lot of sermons now. If you never understand the truth, then sooner or later the day will come when you will take the same path as the Pharisees—you will be modern Pharisees. Is that possible? (Yes.) It’s very possible. Human beings have deeply entrenched corrupt natures. When they learn some things, have a bit of education, can talk about some correct theories and higher doctrines, it’s very easy for them to become Pharisees. The only solution is to turn those doctrines that are understood into the reality of the truth, and then you won’t become a Pharisee—you won’t take the path of the Pharisees. Give it some thought yourselves. For the next few days have some fellowship when you’re free: What truly is an honest person, how many standards that God requires for being an honest person are there in God’s words, and which of the standards required in God’s words can people carry out in their own practice? What is it that God refers to? What aspect of corrupt human nature does being an honest person target? Isn’t all this worth digging out? (Yes.) These words of God, these truths that He requires people to put into practice, all target corrupt human nature. That’s not a method of practice, a kind of eye expression or behavior. They all target a corrupt nature, which is why it’s said that these words are the truth. Ponder these words. If it’s only to change people’s behavior and guide people’s thoughts, then that isn’t the truth but a kind of theory. It can be said that the Ten Commandments can regulate people’s behavior, and any educator can change people’s behavior. There’s so much of this. But none of these things are the truth—only God’s words are the truth. What the true significance is of the truth in God’s words is worth pondering, worth considering, and worth frequently having fellowship on. Don’t ever forget that whatever can change your behavior is not the truth, and it’s not the original meaning of God’s words. Whatever can truly change your disposition and impact your thoughts—only this is the truth. Whatever provides standards for your behavior or allows you to live respectably on the outside is not the truth. All of those are doctrines. Whatever makes your external behavior nobler and nobler, more and more dignified, elegant, and refined but inside you become darker and darker, more and more sinister and evil—those are Satan’s toxins, its assertions. They come from Satan, and they are not the truth. They do not come from God. Only the things that can make people become honest, liberated, free, able to know the Creator, to live with a heart of reverence for God, and able to obey His designs are the truth. No matter what kind of opinions you’ve accepted or what path you’re taking, if you’re becoming farther and farther from God, and even though your behavior and relations with other people have improved, your heart of reverence for God has not grown, then the things you uphold are not positive and they definitely aren’t the truth. Say you’ve selected a kind of path, a kind of lifestyle, that you’ve accepted some things and that they can make you become authentic and honest, love positive things and hate evil things, hate negative things, make you have a heart of reverence for God and be willing to accept the arrangements and rule of the Creator—then only these things are the truth, and only these things truly come from God. Base your measurement on these things. Say there are some words that have been spoken for many years, that they have passed through many people’s mouths. They are talked and talked about, but people’s internal dispositions haven’t changed, and their states haven’t had the slightest transformation; their opinions, ways of thinking, starting points and motivations in their actions haven’t undergone any changes. In that case, just hurry up and throw all of this away. Don’t do it anymore, don’t hold on to it anymore. This certainly is not the truth. Say there is something that seems to be somewhat taxing to practice. When you first start to practice it, it’s a little difficult and it’s not easy to do it. However, after you do put it into practice, you feel that your internal state improves, you get closer to God, and you feel that you have a heart of reverence for God and that you know to fear Him. You are able to obey, when you encounter issues you are no longer so rigid or so rebellious, and your individual motivations and desires aren’t so intense. Then these are good things. They are positive, and this is the right path. Make discernment based on these principles.
If one were to try defining what the truth is in one sentence, would that be possible? It’s not easy to define, and if it were defined, after you heard it perhaps it would become a rule, a doctrine. So you are given some principles and based on them, you can see, experience, and gain recognition, and then you can match those things up. Look at the people around you while also experiencing things yourselves. Match things up this way, and after some experience you will know what the truth really is. If people don’t understand what the truth is, if they don’t understand the truth in what God says, then they will never achieve transformation. Although the requirements of mankind in God’s words are not high on the surface and they all seem to be very simple, if you don’t understand the truth that God has spoken, that is, what these words spoken by God refer to, what their connotation really is, then you will never be able to enter into the truth in what God has spoken. Do you get that? There are many things that have to do with the truth that can be spoken of for days without exhausting the topic. Why do I say that the topic isn’t exhausted? Could it be that there’s that much to say? There’s an issue here, and it’s because you understand too little. If I speak little and only bring up a topic, you all become flummoxed—it would be better to never bring it up. If it’s put simply, then you listen casually and superficially and accept it as a doctrine. It’s better to not say anything. This way it’s necessary to expound upon it at length, to say it over and over. So, very often when it comes to the truth, it’s not a matter of saying one or two things. That’s how it is. That’s why non-believers never understand. They think, “These people get together to talk about the same thing all day long, but it all sounds the same to me; I didn’t hear anything that sounded different. They’re always talking about the same thing—it’s interminable. They’re always having gatherings—being around these people is really boring.” Do you think it’s interesting? (It is.) What’s interesting about it? (I feel like I seem to have a path now in the things I couldn’t put my finger on, that I have a little bit of illumination.) You’ve found some light, right? Finding some light is much better than fumbling through the fog. It’s good to always seek out the light in your belief in God. If you always try to seek out the light, it means you know that you are living in darkness. If you never seek out the light, then you have not discovered where you are living and you probably still feel that you are living in a vacuum and have not been corrupted. This is pathetic and impoverished. Have these words been helpful to you? (Yes.) It’s good that they’ve been helpful, so that’s all for today’s fellowship. (Okay, thank God!)
a. Xiucai (lit. “distinguished talent”) one who passed the imperial examination at the county level in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
b. Juren (lit. “recommended man”), a qualified graduate who passed the triennial provincial exam. a successful candidate in the imperial examinations at the provincial level in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
c. Fearing there were wolves ahead and tigers behind them: a Chinese idiom, meaning “full of fears.”
d. The Jianghu refers to the world where people of martial arts fought and struggled in the past.
e. Cause curls of smoke to rise up from one’s ancestors’ graves: a Chinese saying, meaning “bring honor to one’s ancestors.”