What It Means to Pursue the Truth (6) Part Two

“Don’t pocket the money you pick up” is the most superficial of traditional culture’s demands about moral conduct. Although all human societies have promoted and taught this sort of idea, because people have corrupt dispositions, and due to the prevalence of mankind’s evil trends, even if people can practice “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” or possess this kind of good moral conduct for some period of time, it does not change the fact that people’s corrupt dispositions are constantly dominating their thoughts and behaviors, while also dominating and controlling their comportment and pursuits. Transient instances of good moral conduct have no bearing on a person’s pursuit, and they certainly cannot change a person’s adulation, admiration, and following of evil trends. Is this not the case? (It is.) So, the song that people sang in the past, “On the side of the road, I picked up one cent off the ground,” is now nothing more than a nursery rhyme. It has become a memory. People cannot even abide by the basic good behavior of not pocketing the money they pick up. People wish to change mankind’s pursuits and corrupt dispositions by promoting good moral conduct, and they try to stop mankind’s degradation, and the day-by-day degeneration of society, but they have ultimately failed to accomplish these objectives. The moral of “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” can only exist in man’s ideal world. People treat this moral as a kind of ideal, as an aspiration for a better world. This moral exists within man’s spiritual world. It is a kind of hope that man places upon the world of the future, but it is incompatible with the reality of human life and with people’s actual humanity. It is at odds with man’s principles of comportment and the paths that people walk, as well as what they pursue, and what they ought to possess and achieve. It is incompatible with the manifestations and outpourings of normal humanity, and with the principles of interpersonal relationships and of handling affairs. Thus, this standard for judging mankind’s moral conduct has always been invalid, from ancient times to present day. This idea and viewpoint of “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” that man promotes is particularly meaningless, and most people ignore it, because it cannot change the direction of their comportment, or their pursuits, and it certainly cannot change people’s depravity, selfishness, self-interest, or their growing tendency to rush toward evil. This most superficial demand of “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” has become an amusing, satirical joke. Now, even children do not want to sing, “On the side of the road, I picked up one cent off the ground”—it is not even remotely meaningful. In a world filled with corrupt politicians, this song has become very ironic. The reality, which people are well aware of, is that a person may hand over a lost cent to the police, but if they pick up a million yuan, or ten million yuan, it would go right in their pocket. From this phenomenon, we can see that people’s attempts to promote this demand about moral conduct to mankind have failed. This means that people are incapable of practicing even basic good behaviors. What does it mean to be incapable of practicing even basic good behaviors? It means that people are incapable of practicing even the basic things that they ought to do—like not taking something that they pick up if it belongs to someone else. Moreover, when people do something wrong, they will not speak one honest word about it, they would rather die than admit to their wrongdoing. They cannot even abide by something as basic as not telling lies, so they certainly are not fit to talk about morality. They do not even wish to possess conscience and reason, so how can they talk about morality? Officials and those with authority rack their brains thinking of ways to squeeze and wrest more profit from other people, and to seize things that are not theirs. Even the law cannot hold them back—why is this? How has man come to this point? This is all due to people’s corrupt satanic dispositions, and the control and domination that their satanic nature has over them, which gives rise to all manner of deceitful, harmful behaviors. These hypocrites do many despicable and shameless things under the guise of “serving the people.” Have they not lost all sense of shame? Nowadays, there are so many hypocritical people. In a world where evil people run rampant and good people are oppressed, a doctrine like “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” is simply incapable of restraining people’s corrupt dispositions, and it simply cannot transform their nature essence, or the path that they walk.

Have you understood the things that I have said in this fellowship on the topic of “Don’t pocket the money you pick up”? What meaning does the saying hold for corrupt humans? Just how should one comprehend this moral? (“Don’t pocket the money you pick up” has no relation to people’s comportment or to the path that they walk. It cannot change the path that man walks.) That is right, it is not suitable for people to evaluate someone’s humanity based on the saying “Don’t pocket the money you pick up.” This saying cannot be used to measure a person’s humanity, and it is also wrong to use it to measure someone’s morals. It is nothing more than a transient behavior of man. It simply cannot be used to evaluate a person’s essence. The people who proposed the saying about moral conduct, “Don’t pocket the money you pick up”—these so-called thinkers and educators—are idealists. They do not understand man’s humanity or essence, and they do not comprehend the degree to which man has become depraved and corrupted. As such, this saying about moral conduct that they put forward is very empty, it is simply impractical, and it does not suit man’s real circumstances. This saying about moral conduct does not have even the slightest relation to man’s essence or to the different corrupt dispositions that people pour forth, or to the notions, views, and behaviors that people may give rise to while dominated by corrupt dispositions. This is one point. Another point is that not pocketing the money one picks up is just something that a normal person ought to do. For instance, your parents gave birth to you and raised you, but when you were still ignorant and immature, all you would do is ask your parents for food and clothes. However, once you matured and had a better understanding of things, you naturally knew to love your parents dearly, to avoid making them worried or angry, to try not to add to their workloads or suffering, and to do everything you were capable of on your own. You naturally came to understand these things and did not need anyone to teach you. You are a person, you have a conscience and reason, so you are able to and ought to do these things—none of this is even worth mentioning. By elevating “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” to the level of noble moral character, people are making something out of nothing and taking things a bit too far; this behavior should not be defined in that way, is that not the case? (It is.) What can be learned from this? Doing what one ought to do and is able to do within the scope of normal humanity is a marker of a person having normal humanity. This means that if a person has normal reason, they can do those things that people with normal humanity would think to and realize they ought to do—is this not a very normal phenomenon? If you do something that anyone with normal humanity is capable of doing, can it really be called good moral conduct? Is it necessary to encourage it? (No, it is not.) Does this really count as noble humanity? Does it count as possessing humanity? (No, it doesn’t.) Displaying such behaviors does not elevate one to the level of possessing humanity. If you say that a person has humanity, it means that the perspective and stance from which they view problems is relatively positive and active, as are their ways and methods of handling problems. What is a marker of positivity and activeness? That person will have a conscience and a sense of shame. Another marker of positivity and activeness is a sense of righteousness. It may be that this person has some bad habits like going to bed and waking up late, being a picky eater, or preferring foods with a strong flavor, but apart from these bad habits, they will have certain good qualities. They will have principles and limits when it comes to their comportment and actions; they will have a sense of shame and righteousness; and they will have more positive traits and fewer negative ones. If they could accept and practice the truth, that would be even better and it would be easy for them to embark on the path of pursuing the truth. Conversely, if a person loves evil; seeks fame, profit, and status; adores money; likes living a life of luxury; and enjoys idling away their time seeking pleasure, then the perspective from which they view people and things, and their outlook on life and value system will all be negative and dark, and they will lack a sense of shame and righteousness. This kind of person will not possess humanity, and it certainly will not be easy for them to accept the truth or to attain God’s salvation. This is a simple principle for evaluating people. An evaluation of a person’s moral conduct is not a standard by which to measure whether they possess humanity. In order to evaluate if a person is good or bad, you must judge them based upon their humanity, not their moral conduct. Moral conduct tends to be superficial, and it is influenced by one’s social climate, background, and environment. Some approaches and manifestations change constantly, so it is hard to determine the quality of a person’s humanity based solely on their moral conduct. For example, a person may be very respectful of social morals, and follow the rules wherever they go. They may show restraint in everything they do, hold to the government’s laws, and refrain from making a ruckus in public or from infringing upon other people’s interests. They may also be respectful and helpful, and care for the young and elderly. Does the fact that this person has so many good traits mean that they are living out normal humanity and that they are a good person? (It does not.) A person may practice “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” very well, they might consistently abide by this moral that mankind promotes and advocates for, but how is their humanity? The fact that they practice not pocketing the money they pick up does not say anything about their humanity—this moral conduct cannot be used to evaluate whether their humanity is good or bad. Now how should their humanity be measured? You must strip them of the packaging of this moral conduct, and take away the behaviors and moral conduct that man views as good, and that are the bare minimum that any person with normal humanity is capable of achieving. After that, look at their most important manifestations, such as the principles of their comportment, and the lines that they will not cross in their comportment, as well as their attitude toward the truth and God. This is the only way to see their humanity essence, and their inner nature. Viewing people in this way is relatively objective and accurate. That will be all for our discussion on the moral: “Don’t pocket the money you pick up.” Have you all understood this fellowship? (Yes.) I often worry that you have not really understood what I have said, that you only comprehend a bit of doctrine regarding it, but still do not understand the parts relating to its essence. So, all I can do is elaborate a bit further on the idea. I will only feel at ease when I get the sense that you have understood. How can I tell that you have understood? When I see a look of joy on your faces, you have probably understood what I am saying. If I can achieve that, then speaking a little bit more on this topic is worthwhile.

I have more or less completed My fellowship on “Don’t pocket the money you pick up.” Though I have not told you directly how this moral conflicts with the truth, or why it cannot be elevated to the level of the truth, or what demands God places on people’s behavior and moral conduct, have I not covered all these things? (You have.) Does God’s house promote morals like “Don’t pocket the money you pick up”? (No.) Then how does God’s house view this saying? You may share your understanding. (“Don’t pocket the money you pick up” is just something that anyone with normal humanity ought to abide by and do, so it does not need to be promoted. Also, “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” is just a manifestation of man’s morality, it is not related to the principles of people’s comportment, to the views that they have about their pursuits, to the paths that they walk, or to the quality of their humanity.) Is moral conduct a sign of humanity? (It is not a sign of humanity. Some aspects of moral conduct are just things that people with normal humanity ought to possess.) When God’s house talks about humanity and discerning people, it does so within the major context of the pursuit of the truth. Generally speaking, God’s house will not evaluate how a person’s moral conduct is—at the very least, God’s house will not evaluate whether a person is able to abide by the saying: “Don’t pocket the money you pick up.” God’s house will not examine this. Instead, God’s house will examine the quality of that person’s humanity, whether they love positive things and the truth, and what kind of attitude they have toward the truth and God. A person may not pocket the money they pick up while they are in secular society, but if they do not protect the interests of God’s house at all after becoming a believer—if they are capable of stealing, squandering, or even selling out offerings when they are given the chance to manage them—if they are capable of doing all manner of bad things, what are they? (An evil person.) They never take a stand to protect the interests of God’s house when issues arise. Are there not people such as these? (There are.) So, would it be suitable to use the saying, “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” to evaluate their humanity? It would not be suitable. Some people say: “They used to be a good person. They had noble moral character and everyone approved of them. So why did they change after coming to God’s house?” Did they really change? The truth is, they did not change. They possessed a little bit of moral conduct and good behavior, but aside from that, this was always their humanity essence—that has not changed at all. Wherever they go, they always comport themselves like this. It is just that previously people evaluated them using the criterion of moral conduct, instead of using the truth to judge their humanity. People think that they underwent some kind of change, but in reality, they did not. Some say, “They weren’t like that before.” They were not like that before because they were not faced with these situations before and they did not find themselves in this kind of environment before. Furthermore, people did not understand the truth, and were unable to discern them. What is the ultimate consequence of people viewing and judging others based on one good behavior instead of on their humanity essence? Not only will people be unable to see others clearly, they will also be blinded and misled by the external good moral conduct of others. When people cannot see others clearly, they will put their trust in, promote, and assign the wrong people, and they will be misled and cheated by other people. Some leaders and workers frequently make this mistake when choosing and assigning people. They are blinded by people who outwardly possess some good behaviors and good moral conduct, and arrange for them to take on important work or to keep some important items. As a result, something goes wrong, and it causes God’s house to suffer some losses. Why did something go wrong? It went wrong because the leaders and workers could not see through to the nature essence of these people. Why were they unable to see through to their nature essence? Because these leaders and workers do not understand the truth, and they are not able to evaluate and discern people. They cannot see through to people’s nature essence, and they do not know what kind of attitude people have toward God, the truth, and the interests of God’s house. Why is that? Because these leaders and workers view people and things from the wrong perspective. They only view people based on human notions and imaginings, they do not view their essence according to God’s words and the truth principles—instead, they view people based on their moral conduct and external behaviors and manifestations. It is because their views on people lack principles that they put their trust in the wrong people, assigned the wrong people, and consequently they were blinded, cheated, and used by those people, and ultimately the interests of God’s house suffered. These are the consequences of being unable to perceive people or see through to them. So, when someone wants to pursue the truth, the first lesson they must learn is how to discern and view people—this lesson takes a long time to learn, and it is one of the most fundamental lessons that people must learn. If you want to see a person clearly and to learn to identify them, you must first understand what standards God uses to evaluate people, what warped thoughts and views control and dominate the way that people view and evaluate others, and whether they conflict with the standards that God uses to evaluate people, and how they conflict. Are the methods and criteria by which you evaluate people based in God’s demands? Are they based in God’s words? Do they have a basis in the truth? If not, and you rely entirely on your experiences and imaginings to evaluate others, or if you even go so far as to base your evaluations on the social morals that are promoted within society, or on what you observe with your own two eyes, then the person that you are trying to discern will remain unclear to you. You will not be able to see through to them. If you put your trust in them and assign duties to them, you will be taking on a certain level of risk, and inevitably, there is a possibility that this will cause damage to God’s offerings, the church’s work, and the life entry of God’s chosen. Discerning people is the first lesson you must learn if you want to pursue the truth. Of course, it is also one of the most basic aspects of the truth that people ought to possess. Learning to discern people is inseparable from the subject of today’s fellowship. You must be able to discern between man’s good moral conduct and qualities, and the things that a person with normal humanity ought to possess. Being able to discern between these two things is very important. Only then will you be able to recognize and accurately perceive a person’s essence, and ultimately determine who has humanity and who does not. What must one first be equipped with in order to discern these things? One must understand God’s words, as well as this aspect of the truth, and reach the point where they view people according to God’s words, with the truth as their criterion. Is this not a truth principle that one ought to practice and possess while pursuing the truth? (Yes.) So, it is imperative for us to fellowship on these topics.

I just fellowshiped on the first saying, “Don’t pocket the money you pick up,” which is clearly a kind of human moral conduct. It is a kind of moral character and transient behavior that leaves a good impression on people, but, unfortunately, it cannot serve as a standard by which to evaluate whether someone possesses humanity or not. The second saying, “Derive pleasure from helping others,” is the same. Based on the wording of the statement, it is clear that this is also something that people like and regard as a good behavior. Those who display this good behavior are held in high esteem as people who possess good moral conduct and noble character—in sum, they are taken to be people that derive pleasure from helping others and have excellent moral character. “Derive pleasure from helping others” has some similarities to “Don’t pocket the money you pick up.” It is also a good behavior that arises in people within certain social climates. The literal meaning of “Derive pleasure from helping others” is to find pleasure in assisting other people. It does not mean that it is one’s duty to help people—the saying is not “It is your responsibility to help others”—it is “Derive pleasure from helping others.” From this, we can see what motivates people to help others. They do not do it for the sake of other people, but rather for themselves. People are filled with worry and pain, so they find others that need help and provide them with charity and assistance; they lend a helping hand, and do whatever good things they are capable of doing in order to make themselves feel happy, pleased, at peace, and joyous, and to fill their days with meaning, so that they do not feel so empty and anguished—they improve their moral conduct in order to achieve their goal of purifying and elevating the realm of their hearts and minds. What kind of behavior is this? If you view people who derive pleasure from helping others from the perspective of this explanation, then they are not good people. At the very least, they are not motivated by their morality, conscience, or humanity to do what they ought to do, or to fulfill their social and familial responsibilities; rather, they help people in order to attain pleasure, spiritual consolation, emotional comfort, and to live happily. What should be made of this kind of moral conduct? If you look at the nature of it, it is even worse than “Don’t pocket the money you pick up.” At least “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” does not have a selfish aspect to it. Then what about: “Derive pleasure from helping others”? The word “pleasure” signifies that this behavior contains elements of selfishness and base intents. It is not about helping people for their sake or as a selfless offering, it is done for the sake of one’s own pleasure. This is simply not worth encouraging. For example, say you see an elderly person fall down on a main road and you think to yourself: “I’ve been feeling down these days. This elderly person falling down is a great opportunity—I’m going to derive pleasure from helping others!” You go over and help the elderly person up, and when they get to their feet, they praise you, saying: “You’re really a good person, kiddo. May you be safe and happy and live to a great old age!” They shower you with these pleasant words, and after hearing them, all of your worries vanish and you feel pleased. You think that it is good to help people, and resolve to walk the streets in your spare time and help anyone that falls over back to their feet. People display some good behaviors under the influence of this kind of thinking, and human society has classified this as the fine tradition of deriving pleasure from helping others, and as a kind of noble moral character that passes on this great tradition. The sub-context of deriving pleasure from helping others is that those who do the helping usually consider themselves to be the pinnacle of morality. They fashion themselves as great philanthropists, and the more people praise them, the more willing they are to help, to provide charity, and to do more for others. This satisfies their desire to be a hero and the savior of humanity, as well as their desire to derive a kind of gratification from being needed by others. Do humans not all want to feel needed? When people feel needed by others, they think that they are particularly useful and that their lives have meaning. Is this not just a kind of attention seeking? Seeking attention is the only thing that brings people pleasure—it is their way of life. In fact, no matter what perspective we view the matter of deriving pleasure from helping others from, it is not a standard for evaluating man’s morals. Oftentimes, the act of deriving pleasure from helping others really only requires the slightest effort. If you are willing to do it, then you will have fulfilled your social responsibility; if you are not willing to do it, no one will hold you responsible, and you will not become the subject of public condemnation. When it comes to the good behaviors that man commends, one can choose to practice them or refrain from doing so, either is fine. There is no need to constrain people with this saying, or to make them learn how to derive pleasure from helping others, because it is, in and of itself, just a transient good behavior. Regardless of whether someone is motivated by a desire to fulfill their social responsibility or if they practice this good behavior out of a sense of civic virtue, what will the ultimate outcome be? They will just be satisfying their desire to be a good person and to embody the spirit of Lei Feng in this one instance; they will derive some pleasure and comfort from doing so, and thereby elevate the realm of their thinking to a higher level. That is all. This is the essence of what they are doing. So, what was your understanding of the saying “Derive pleasure from helping others” prior to this fellowship? (I didn’t recognize the selfish and despicable intents behind it before.) Take a scenario in which you have a duty to do something, a responsibility that you must not shirk, something quite difficult, and you must endure a little suffering, renounce some things, and pay a price in order to accomplish it, but you are able to fulfill this responsibility anyway. You will not feel so pleased while you are doing it, and after paying a price and fulfilling this responsibility, the results of your labor will not bring you any pleasure or comfort, but because it was your responsibility and duty, you did it anyway. If we compare this to deriving pleasure from helping others, which displays more humanity? (People who fulfill their responsibilities and duties have more humanity.) Deriving pleasure from helping others is not about fulfilling a responsibility—it is just a requirement about people’s moral conduct and social responsibilities that exists within certain social contexts; it comes from popular opinion, social morals, or even the laws of a country, and it serves to evaluate whether a person has morals and the quality of their humanity. In other words, “Derive pleasure from helping others” is just a saying that limits people’s behavior, which human society has put forward in order to elevate the realm of man’s thinking. This kind of saying is just used to make people practice a few good behaviors, and the standards for evaluating those good behaviors are social morals, public opinion, or even the law. For instance, if you see someone that needs help in a public space and you are the first person that ought to go help them, but you do not, what will others think of you? They will scold you for your lack of manners—is that not what we mean by public opinion? (Yes.) Then what are social morals? They are positive and upward-facing things and habits that society promotes and encourages. Naturally, they include a lot of specific requirements, for instance: supporting vulnerable people, lending a helping hand when others encounter hardships, and not just standing idly by. People are supposed to practice this kind of moral conduct, that is what it means to possess social morals. If you see someone suffering and you turn a blind eye to it, ignore them, and do nothing, then you lack social morals. So, what demands does the law place on man’s moral conduct? China is a special case in this regard: Chinese law does not have any express stipulations concerning social responsibilities and social morals. People just learn a bit about these things through their family upbringing, school education, and what they hear and observe from society. By contrast, in western countries these things are enshrined in law. For instance, if you see that someone has fallen on the road, at the very least you should go up to them and ask, “Are you OK? Do you need help?” If that person replies, “I’m OK, thank you,” then you do not need to help them, you are not required to fulfill that responsibility. If they say, “I need help, please,” then you have to help them. If you do not help them, you will be held legally responsible. This is a special requirement that certain countries put forward regarding people’s moral conduct; they place this demand on people through express stipulation in their laws. These demands placed on people’s moral conduct by public opinion, social morals, and even the law are limited only to people’s behavior, and these basic behavioral criteria are the standards by which a person’s moral conduct is evaluated. On the surface, these moral standards appear to be evaluating people’s behavior—in other words, whether or not people have fulfilled their social responsibilities—but at their essence, they are evaluating people’s inner quality. Be it public opinion, social morals, or the law, these things only measure or make demands about the things that people do, and these measurements and demands are limited to people’s behavior. They judge a person’s quality and moral conduct based on that person’s behavior—that is the scope of their assessment. That is the nature of the statement: “Derive pleasure from helping others.” When it comes to deriving pleasure from helping others, western countries place demands on people through the stipulations of the law, whereas in China, traditional culture is used to educate and condition people with these ideas. While there is this difference between the East and the West, they are the same in nature—both use sayings to restrict and regulate people’s behavior and morality. However, be it the laws of western countries or traditional culture in the East, these are all just demands and regulations placed on man’s behavior and moral conduct, and these criteria only regulate people’s behavior and moral conduct—but do any of them target man’s humanity? Can regulations that only stipulate what behaviors a person ought to practice be used as standards for evaluating their humanity? (No.) If we look at the saying “Derive pleasure from helping others,” some evil people are able to derive pleasure from helping others, but they are motivated by their own intents and goals. When devils do some small good deed, they are even more likely to have their own intents and goals for doing so. Do you think that everyone who derives pleasure from helping others is a righteous lover of the truth? Take those who supposedly derive pleasure from helping others in China, like those chivalrous figures, or people who rob from the rich and give to the poor, or those who frequently come to the aid of vulnerable groups and the disabled, and so on—do they all have humanity? Do they all love positive things and have a sense of righteousness? (No.) At most, they are just people who have relatively better character. Because they are governed by this spirit of deriving pleasure from helping others, they perform many good deeds that bring them pleasure, comfort, and allow them to thoroughly enjoy a feeling of happiness, but practicing such behaviors does not mean that they have humanity, because both their faith and what they pursue at a spiritual level are unclear, they are unknown variables. So, can they be regarded as people with humanity and conscience based on this good moral conduct? (No.) Some institutions like foundations and welfare agencies that supposedly derive pleasure from helping others, who assist vulnerable groups and the disabled, are, at the very most, fulfilling a bit of their social responsibility. They do these things in order to improve their image in the public eye, to increase their visibility, and to satisfy the mentality of deriving pleasure from helping others—this absolutely does not rise to the level of signifying that they “possess humanity.” Furthermore, are the people that they derive pleasure from helping really in need of assistance? Is deriving pleasure from helping others in and of itself righteous? Not necessarily. If you survey all of the various major and minor events that occur throughout society for long enough, you will see that some of them are purely a matter of people deriving pleasure from helping others, whereas, in many other cases, more untold secrets and dark aspects of society are wrapped up in instances where people derive pleasure from helping others. In any case, there are intents and goals behind deriving pleasure from helping others, whether these be to become famous and to rise above the rest, or to abide by social morals and not break the law, or to gain a more positive appraisal from society at large. No matter how one views it, deriving pleasure from helping others is just one of man’s external behaviors, and, at the very most, it amounts to a kind of good moral conduct. It has nothing at all to do with the normal humanity that God demands. Those who are capable of deriving pleasure from helping others may well be average people without any real ambitions, or they might be major figures in society; they could be relatively kindhearted people, but they also might be malicious at heart. They could be any kind of person, and everyone is capable of practicing this behavior in a passing moment. So, the statement about moral conduct, “Derive pleasure from helping others,” certainly does not qualify as a standard for evaluating people’s humanity.

“Derive pleasure from helping others”—this saying about moral conduct does not, in fact, represent the essence of people’s humanity, and it has little relation to people’s nature essence. Therefore, it is inappropriate to use it to evaluate the quality of somebody’s humanity. So, what is an appropriate way to evaluate someone’s humanity? At the very least, a person who has humanity should not decide whether to help someone or to fulfill their responsibilities based on whether or not doing so will make them feel happy; instead, their decision should be based on their conscience and reason, and they should not consider what they have to gain, or what consequences helping that person will have on them, or what effect it might have on them in the future. They should not consider any of these things, and they should fulfill their responsibilities, help others, and prevent others from experiencing suffering. They should help people in a pure way, without any selfish aims—that is what a person who truly possesses humanity would do. If a person’s goal in helping others is to please themselves or to build a good reputation for themselves, then there is a selfish and base quality to this—those who truly possess conscience and reason would not act in this way. People who have true love for others do not act solely in order to fulfill their desire to feel a certain way, instead, they do so in order to fulfill their responsibilities, and to do everything in their power to help others. They do not help people in order to get a reward, and they do not have any other intents or motives. Even though acting in this way can be difficult, and though they may be judged by others or even face a bit of danger, they recognize that this is a duty that people ought to fulfill, that it is people’s responsibility, and that if they do not act in this way, they will have fallen short of what they owe to others and to God, and they will be left with a lifelong regret. As such, they proceed without hesitation, they do their utmost, they obey the will of Heaven, and they fulfill their responsibility. No matter how others judge them, or whether or not others show them gratitude and esteem them, so long as they are able to help that person to do whatever it is that they need to do, and can do so with all their heart, they will feel satisfied. Those who are able to act in this way have conscience and reason, they possess the manifestations of humanity, and not just a kind of behavior that is limited to the scope of moral character and moral conduct. Deriving pleasure from helping others is just a kind of behavior, and sometimes it is just a behavior that arises in certain specific contexts; a person’s decision to engage in this kind of transient behavior is made based on their mood, emotions, social environment, as well as the immediate context, and what benefits or drawbacks may come from acting in that way. Those with humanity do not consider these things when they help people—they make their decision based on a standard of judgment that is more positive, and more in keeping with the conscience and reason of normal humanity. Sometimes, they are even able to persevere in helping people when doing so contradicts and conflicts with the standards of morality. The criteria, ideas, and views of morality can only restrain people’s transient behaviors. And whether these behaviors are good or bad will change depending on the person’s mood, emotions, the good and evil within them, and their passing good or bad intentions; naturally, the social climate and environment will also have an impact on this. There are many impurities within these behaviors; they are all superficial behaviors, and people cannot judge whether someone has humanity or not using them. By contrast, it is much more accurate and practical to judge whether someone has humanity or not based on their humanity essence, what they pursue, their outlook on life and their value system, the path that they walk, and the basis for their comportment and actions. Tell Me, which accords with the truth: the bases for evaluating humanity or the bases for evaluating moral conduct? Is it the standards for evaluating moral conduct that accord with the truth, or the standards for evaluating whether someone has humanity? Which of these standards accord with the truth? In actuality, it is the standards for evaluating whether someone possesses humanity that accord with the truth. This is an unquestionable certainty. The reason why the things used to evaluate people’s moral conduct cannot serve as criteria is because they are inconstant. They are filled with many impurities, like people’s transactions, interests, preferences, pursuits, emotions, evil thoughts, corrupt dispositions, and so on. There are just too many mistakes and impurities within them—they are not straightforward. Therefore, they cannot serve as criteria for judging people. They are full of all kinds of things which Satan instills in man and additional conditions that arise due to man’s corrupt satanic disposition, and as such, they are not the truth. In summary, no matter whether people consider these criteria of moral conduct easy or difficult to meet, or whether people estimate them to be of high, low, or average value, in any case, they are all just sayings that restrict and regulate people’s behavior. They only rise to the level of man’s moral quality; they do not have the slightest relation to God’s demand that the truth be used to judge a person’s humanity. They do not even include the most basic standards that those with humanity ought to possess and fulfill; they fall short of all those things. When viewing others, people only focus on evaluating their displays of moral conduct; they view and evaluate other people entirely according to the demands of traditional culture. God does not view people merely based on their displays of moral conduct—He focuses on their humanity essence. What is included in a person’s humanity essence? Their preferences, their views on things, their outlook on life and value system, what they pursue, whether they have a sense of righteousness, whether they love the truth and positive things, their ability to accept and submit to the truth, the path that they choose, and so on. It is accurate to judge a person’s humanity essence according to these things. This more or less concludes My fellowship on deriving pleasure from helping others. Through this fellowship on these two demands about moral conduct, do you now have an understanding of the basic principles of discernment regarding both how to evaluate moral conduct, as well as the difference between God’s standards for evaluating people and the moral conduct that man speaks of? (Yes.)

I have just fellowshiped about two of the demands placed on man’s moral conduct by traditional culture, “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” and “Derive pleasure from helping others.” What have you learned from My fellowship on these two sayings? (I learned that people’s moral conduct is unrelated to their humanity essence. At most, people who display these kinds of moral conduct possess some good behaviors and manifestations in terms of the quality of their morality. This does not mean, however, that they have humanity or that they live out human likeness. I have gained a somewhat clearer understanding of this issue.) People who display good moral conduct do not necessarily have humanity—everyone can recognize this, and it is, indeed, the way that things are. People all follow society’s evil trends and they have all gradually lost their conscience and reason—few are able to live out human likeness. Has every person who once handed over one cent that they found on the sidewalk to the police turned out to be a good person? Not necessarily. What outcome did those who were once praised as heroes meet with later on? In their hearts, people all know the answers to these questions. What became of those paragons of social morality and grand philanthropists who often derived pleasure from helping others, who were adorned with red flowers, and lauded by man? Most of them turned out to not be good people. They just purposefully did a few good deeds in order to become famous. In truth, most of their actual behavior, lives, and character are not that good at all. The only thing they are really good at is flattery and sycophancy. When they take off their red flowers and that superficial veneer of being a paragon of social morality, they do not even know how to comport themselves or how they should go about their life. What is the problem here? Have they not been trapped by the crown of “moral paragon” that society bestowed upon them? They do not really know what they are—they have been flattered so excessively that they have begun to think themselves too great, and they can no longer be normal people. In the end, they do not even know how to live, their day-to-day existence becomes a complete mess, and some even end up abusing alcohol, becoming depressed, and killing themselves. There are certainly people that fall into this category. They are always chasing a feeling, wishing to be heroes and exemplars, to become famous, or to be the pinnacle of moral excellence. They can never return to the real world; the quotidian necessities of real life are a constant source of vexation and suffering for them. They do not know how to rid themselves of this pain or how to choose the right path in life. In search of a thrill, some turn to drugs, while others choose to end their lives to escape feelings of emptiness. Some of those that do not kill themselves often end up dying of depression. Are there not many examples of this? (Yes.) This is the kind of damage that traditional culture inflicts upon people. Not only does it not allow people to gain an accurate understanding of humanity or guide them onto the path that they should follow—that is not all—it actually leads them astray, steering them toward a realm of delusion and fancy. This damages people, and it does so in quite a deep way. Some might say: “That’s not true in all cases! We’re doing just fine, aren’t we?” Is the fact that you are doing well now not just the result of God’s protection? It is only because God chose you and you have His protection that you were lucky enough to accept His work, and can read His words, attend gatherings, exchange fellowship, and fulfill your duty here; it is only because of His protection that you can live the life of a normal human, and possess the normal reason to deal with all aspects of your daily life. However, it is undeniable that in the deep reaches of your mind, there are still ideas and views like: “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” and “Derive pleasure from helping others.” And at the same time, you are still imprisoned by these ideological and moral criteria that come from mankind. Why do I say that you are imprisoned by these things? Because the path that you choose to take in life; the principles and direction of your actions and comportment; and the principles, methods, and criteria by which you view people and things; and so on are all still influenced, or even fettered and controlled, by these ideological and moral criteria, to differing extents. Whereas, God’s words and the truth have yet to become the basis and criteria for your views on people and things, and your comportment and actions. As of now, you have only chosen the right direction in life, and you have the will, aspiration, and hope to embark on the path of pursuing the truth. Yet, in reality, most of you have not made your way onto this path at all—in other words, you have not so much as set foot on the right path that God has prepared for man. Some will say: “If we have not set foot on the right path, then why are we still able to fulfill our duties?” This is a result of man’s choice, cooperation, conscience, and will. Right now, you are cooperating with God’s demands and trying your best to improve, but just because you are trying to improve, it does not mean that you have already set foot on the path of pursuing the truth. One reason for this is that you are still influenced by the ideas that traditional culture has inculcated in you. For instance, you might have a good understanding of the essence of the statements, “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” and “Derive pleasure from helping others,” after hearing Me fellowship about them and expose them, but in a few days, you may change your mind. You might come to think: “What is so bad about ‘Don’t pocket the money you pick up’? I happen to like people that don’t pocket the money they pick up. At least they aren’t greedy. What’s wrong with ‘Derive pleasure from helping others’? At the very least, when you’re in need, you can count on somebody lending you a helping hand. This is a good thing and it is something everyone needs! Besides, no matter how you look at it, people finding pleasure in helping others is just a good, positive thing. It is our incumbent duty and it should not be criticized!” You see, only a few days after being awoken, one night’s sleep will be enough to change you; it will send you back to where you were before, and return you once more to the imprisonment of traditional culture. In other words, these things lodged in the depths of your mind influence your thoughts and views from time to time, as well as the paths you choose. And inevitably, while they are influencing you, they are also constantly holding you back, stopping you from fulfilling your desire to set foot on the correct path in life, to embark on the path of pursuing the truth, and to take the path in life where God’s words are your basis, and the truth is your criterion. Even if you are very willing to walk this path, even if you long to do so, and feel agitated about it, and you spend your days thinking and planning, making resolutions, and praying for this, things will still not go as you wish them to. The reason for this is that these aspects of traditional culture are too profoundly rooted in the depths of your heart. Some may say: “That’s not right! You say that traditional culture is too deeply rooted in people’s hearts, but I don’t think that’s true. I’m only in my twenties, I’m not in my seventies or eighties, so how could these things have already taken deep root in my heart?” Why do I say that these ideas are already deeply rooted in your heart? Think about it: From the time of your earliest memories have you not always aspired to be a noble person, even if your parents did not instill such ideas in you? For instance, most people like to watch movies and read novels about heroes, and they deeply sympathize with the victims in these stories, while despising the villains, and the cruel characters who hurt other people. When you grow up against this kind of background, you unconsciously accept the things that general society has collectively agreed upon. So, why did you accept those things? Because people are not born possessing the truth and they do not have an innate ability to discern things. You do not possess this instinct—the instinct that humans possess is an inherent tendency to like some good, positive, and active things. These active and positive things make you aspire to do better, to become a good, heroic, and great person. These things gradually begin to take form in your heart when you come into contact with sayings that stem from public opinion and social morals. Once statements that come from the morality of traditional culture infiltrate you, and enter your inner world, they take root in your heart, and they begin to dominate your life. When this occurs, you do not discern, resist, or reject these things, and instead you feel deeply that you need them. Your first move is to pander to these sayings. Why is that? Because these sayings are so well-suited to people’s tastes and notions, they conform to the needs of people’s spiritual worlds. As a result, you accept these statements as a matter of course and without guarding against them at all. Gradually, through your family upbringing, school education, and the conditioning and indoctrination of society, along with your own imaginings, you end up becoming deeply convinced that these sayings are positive things. Through the refinement of time, and as you gradually grow older, you strive to follow these sayings in all sorts of contexts and situations, and follow these things that humans innately prefer and believe to be good. They increasingly take form within you, and become more and more entrenched within you. At the same time, these things dominate your outlook on life and the goals that you pursue, and they become the standards by which you judge people and things. Once these sayings from traditional culture take shape within people, the basic conditions that lead them to resist God and the truth are all in place; it is as if people find their own reasons and their own basis for doing so. And so, when God exposes people’s corrupt dispositions and essence, and showers them with chastisement and judgment, people form all kinds of notions about Him. They think: “People often say, ‘If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings,’ and ‘Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,’ so how could God speak like that? Was that really God? God wouldn’t speak that way—He ought to take the highest ground, and talk to people with a gentle tone, the tone of Buddha who delivers all human beings from suffering, the tone of a Bodhisattva. That’s what God is like—an incredibly gentle and grand figure.” This series of ideas, views, and notions continue to gush from your heart in ever-increasing volume, and, ultimately, you just cannot bear it any longer and you do something to rebel against and resist God in spite of yourself. In this way, you are ruined by your notions and imaginings. From this we can see that no matter how old you are, as long as you have received the education of traditional culture, and possess the mental capacity of an adult, your heart will be filled by these aspects of traditional culture’s morality, and they will gradually become entrenched within you. They have already dominated you, and you have already lived by these things for many years. Your life and your very nature have long been occupied by these aspects of traditional culture’s morality. For instance, from five or six years of age, you learned to derive pleasure from helping others, and not to pocket the money you pick up. These things influenced you and they completely dictated the way that you behaved. Now, as a middle-aged person, you have already lived by these things for many years; this means that you are far way off from the standards that God demands of man. Ever since you accepted these sayings about moral conduct that traditional culture promotes, you have strayed further and further from God’s demands. The gap between your own standards of humanity and the standards of humanity that God demands has grown bigger and bigger. As a result, you have strayed further and further from God. Is this not the case? Take your time to ponder these words.

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