How to Pursue the Truth (13)
For a while now we have been fellowshiping on the topic of “letting go” in “How to Pursue the Truth.” Have you given any thought to the various aspects involved in this topic? Regarding the things we fellowshiped on that people need to let go of, is it easy for people to let go of them? After listening to the fellowships, did you contemplate and reflect on yourselves based on their content? Did you draw any comparisons between this content and your outpourings and manifestations in daily life? (I usually give it some thought. The last time God fellowshiped about letting go of the conditioning effects that family exerts on us, I realized that in my life I usually adhere to these satanic philosophies for dealing with the world, such as the saying “People need their pride just as a tree needs its bark,” which my family instilled into me. After accepting these ideas, I attached importance to dignity and status in everything I did, afraid of losing face, and was unable to be an honest person.) All this content that we fellowshiped on regarding letting go of various things mainly addresses people’s thoughts and views on various matters. By exposing their incorrect thoughts and views on such matters, it enables people to discern them and have a clear knowledge of them, and then be able to let go of them in a positive way and not be constricted by them. The most important thing is not to be bound by these thoughts and views, but to be able to live and exist by correctly adopting God’s words and the truth as one’s criteria. If people want to enter into the reality of the various truths, they must have knowledge and experience from all perspectives. In particular, they must have a clear understanding of passive and negative ideas and views about various things. Only if they have discernment of them can they proactively let go of them and no longer be deceived and bound by them. Therefore, in order to enter into the reality of the various truths and achieve the result of pursuing the truth, people should often reflect on themselves and think about how they are bound and controlled in everyday life by various ideas and views, or often try to figure out what thoughts and views they hold about various things in everyday life, and discern whether or not these thoughts and views are correct and consistent with the truth, whether they are positive and come from God, or whether they come from human intentions or Satan. This is a very important lesson, and it is an aspect of reality that people must enter into every day in their daily lives. That is, in everyday life, no matter whether or not you encounter various people, matters and things you must always examine what thoughts and views you hold, and whether these thoughts and views are correct and consistent with the truth—this is a very important lesson. In your daily life, outside of the normal time you spend performing your duties, your entry in this aspect should occupy 80 to 90 percent of your life. Only in this way can you hope to get rid of all kinds of thoughts and views about negative things, and enter into the truth reality. It may also be said that you can only have hope when you view people and things, comport yourself, and act based on God’s words, and taking the truth as your criterion; only then can you hope to attain salvation in the end. If in your daily life, outside of the normal time spent performing your duties, your mind is blank for the remaining 80 to 90 percent of the time, or you just think and ponder about your physical life, status and reputation, then it will not be easy for you to enter into the truth reality, nor to achieve the result of pursuing the truth. If neither of these things is easy for you to achieve, the chances of you attaining salvation will be very slim. What, therefore, does attaining salvation depend on? In one sense, it depends on how God works and whether the Holy Spirit works in you; in another sense, it depends on your subjective diligence, how much of a price you pay, and how much energy and time you spend on pursuing the truth and achieving salvation. If what you think and do most of the time has nothing to do with pursuing the truth, then what you do has nothing to do with being saved—this is an inevitable fact and an inevitable result. So what should you do, going forward? One aspect is that you should closely follow every topic that is being fellowshiped on, and then afterward proactively try to contemplate and understand the topic, that is, once we have finished a topic, you should strike while the iron is hot by reflecting on yourself, in order to achieve a true and accurate knowledge and true repentance. The purpose of being able to know this aspect of the truth as soon as possible after we have finished fellowshiping on it, or after you have come to understand some part of what we fellowshiped on, is to allow you to have the most basic awareness in your own thoughts and views, so that later when you encounter related matters in daily life, your previous knowledge and understanding of the truth principles will become the basic ideas and views that guide your experience of this matter. At the very least, once you gain awareness and have an accurate and correct knowledge, your attitude and understanding with respect to this matter will be positive and proactive. That is to say, before this event happens, you will have already been vaccinated and have a certain degree of immunity, so that when it actually happens, your chances of failure will be reduced, as will the likelihood of you betraying God, and the probability of you entering into the truth reality will be greatly increased. It’s just like when a pandemic occurs: If you don’t get vaccinated, all you can do is stay shut indoors and not go out, which reduces the risk of infection to zero. But if you go out and circulate, and come into contact with the outside world, you must get vaccinated. Does this vaccine eliminate the possibility of infection? No, it doesn’t, but it does reduce the probability of infection. Suffice it to say that you will have antibodies. The process of pursuing truth begins with knowledge of the various truths. If you know correct and positive statements and principles from within the various truths, and at the same time, you also have a certain knowledge of the various negative and bad thoughts and views revealed by each truth, then whenever a similar event happens again, your choices will no longer be based on the criteria of the negative and bad ideas and opinions that Satan has inculcated in you, and you will no longer have an attitude that clings to such ideas and views. Although at this stage you have not yet entered into this aspect of the truth reality and your views may be neutral, nevertheless, after accepting these positive ideas and views, you will have a certain knowledge of negative ideas and views, so that when you face a similar matter in future, at the very least you will be able to distinguish between the positive and negative ideas and views that relate to this type of matter, and have certain criteria for dealing with it. On the basis of these criteria, people who love the truth and have humanity tend to be more inclined to practice the truth and to view people and things, and to comport themselves and act in accordance with the criterion of the truth. To a certain extent, this will greatly help you to enter into the truth reality and to practice according to the truth principles, obey God according to His requirements, and accept the people, matters, and things that God arranges for you. From this point of view, can it be said that the more truths a person understands, the greater the likelihood that they will enter into the truth reality, and that the more thoroughly they understand negative things, the greater the probability that they will turn their back on these negative things? (Yes, it can.) Therefore, no matter whether or not you are willing to pursue the truth, or whether or not you have made up your mind to pursue the truth, or whether or not you are on the path of pursuing the truth, and no matter your caliber or how you understand the truth, in short, if people want to pursue the truth, if they want to understand the criteria of the truth, and practice and enter into the truth, it is necessary to discern and understand all kinds of negative things. These are the prerequisites for pursuing the truth and entering into the truth reality.
Some people do not understand the truth, and when it comes to the various topics that we are fellowshiping on now, they always feel: “I have never thought about these topics, nor have I experienced them. I cannot see the correlation between what You are saying about these topics and my own various problems, corrupt dispositions, and outpourings of corruption, so what does Your talking about these topics have to do with my pursuit of the truth? It doesn’t seem to have much at all to do with me entering into the truth reality, does it? Why don’t You talk about some lofty and profound topics that concern people’s positive entry? Why always expose these negative trivial matters of everyday life?” Is this opinion right or wrong? (Wrong.) Whenever people who have these ideas hear about such trivial matters of everyday life, especially when some examples of these matters are given, they feel disgusted and don’t want to listen. They think, “This content is too commonplace and shallow. There’s nothing grand about this, it’s too simple. As soon as I’ve listened to it, I understand it immediately. It’s all too easy. The truth shouldn’t be like this, it should be more profound than this, and people need to listen to it several times before they are able to understand it and remember one or two sentences. What You are talking about now are trivial matters of everyday life, as well as some manifestations of normal humanity in everyday life. Is this not just a bit too shallow for us?” Do you think that people who hold these views are correct in their thinking? (No, they are wrong.) Why are they wrong? What’s wrong with them? First and foremost, are people’s thoughts and views disconnected from their everyday lives? (No, they are not.) Are their various manifestations and attitudes disconnected from their everyday lives? (No, they are not.) No, none of these things are disconnected. People’s corrupt dispositions, thoughts, and views, their ideas and intentions with respect to various matters, their specific ways of doing things, as well as the thoughts and ideas that emerge from their minds, are all inseparable from their various manifestations and outpourings in everyday life. Furthermore, these various manifestations and outpourings in everyday life, as well as people’s thoughts, views, and attitudes toward the various matters that befall them, are more specific things that concern people’s corrupt dispositions. The purpose of pursuing the truth is to change people’s erroneous thoughts and views and, by changing people’s thoughts and views, and by changing their attitudes toward all kinds of people, matters, and things, to cast off people’s corrupt dispositions, and cast off their disobedience and betrayal with respect to the truth and God, as well as their nature essence that is opposed to God. Thus, if you want to pursue the truth, isn’t it absolutely necessary to cast off and change your various erroneous thoughts and views in everyday life? Isn’t it the most important thing? (Yes, it is.) Therefore, no matter how shallow or quotidian the things I talk about may seem to be, don’t have a rebellious mentality about them. These things are definitely not of petty importance. They occupy your heart and mind, and they control your thoughts and views about every person, matter, and thing that you face. If you don’t change or cast off these erroneous thoughts and views in everyday life, then your claim that you accept the truth and have the truth reality will just be empty words. It’s like when you have cancer—it must be treated proactively. No matter which organ the cancer cells are present in, whether they are in your blood or on your skin, or whether they are on the surface or hidden deep down, suffice it to say that the first thing that must be dealt with is the cancer cells in your body. Only after the cancer cells are eliminated, can the various nutrients you take in be absorbed and work inside you. In this way, all the organs in your body can then function normally. Once the disease is eliminated, your body will become healthier and more normal. And people like this are completely cured of the disease. People’s pursuit of the truth is the process of casting off corrupt dispositions, and it is also the process of entering into the truth reality. The process of casting off corrupt dispositions is the process of people changing and ridding themselves of various erroneous and negative thoughts and views. It is also the process of people equipping themselves with various correct and positive ideas and views. What are positive ideas and views? They are things that involve the reality, principles, and criteria of the truth. In order to enter the truth reality, people must dissect and understand their various erroneous ideas and views about life, survival, and dealing with others one by one by seeking the truth, and then resolve them and cast them off one by one. In short, pursuing the truth is about making people cast off all their erroneous and incorrect thoughts and views, and having correct thoughts and views regarding all sorts of things, thoughts and views that are in line with the truth principles. Only in this way can people achieve the goal of viewing people and things, comporting themselves, and acting wholly based on God’s words and with the truth as their criterion. This is the final result that people achieve by pursuing the truth, and it is also the truth reality that people can finally live out after attaining salvation. Do you understand this? (Yes.)
At the last gathering, we fellowshiped on the topic of “letting go” with regard to family. What did we fellowship about last time on the topic of family? (We fellowshiped about the inconveniences and obstructions that family puts in the way of our pursuit of the truth, as well as what pursuits, ideals, and desires we should let go of when it comes to the issue of family. God mentioned two things, one being to let go of the identity that we inherit from our family, and the other being to let go of the conditioning effects that family has on us.) It was indeed those two things. The first is to let go of the identity that you inherit from your family. Do you know what the truth principles are that people should understand in this respect? After listening to My fellowships, if I don’t provide a specific summary, do you know how to summarize things yourselves? After I fellowshiped about these things and the specific details concerning them, did you summarize the principles involved that people should abide by when it comes to this aspect of the truth? If you know how to summarize them, then you will be able to put them into practice; if you don’t know how to summarize them, and linger on some scattered areas of light, and you do not know what the truth principles involved are, then you won’t be able to put them into practice. If you don’t know how to put them into practice, then you will never enter into this aspect of the truth reality. Even if you discover what your own problems are, you still won’t be able to correlate them to My words, and you won’t be able to find corresponding principles to put into practice. The main purpose of fellowshiping on letting go of issues to do with the identity that you inherit from your family is so that you can view people and things, and comport yourself and act without being affected by the various influences associated with that identity. If the identity you inherit from your family is distinguished, then you should approach this identity correctly. You should not feel that you are distinguished, or that you are more worthy than others, or that your identity is special. When amongst others, you should be able to interact correctly with them according to the principles by which God admonishes people, and treat everyone correctly, rather than using your distinguished family background as capital to show off in all circumstances, and make others think highly of you in every situation. Supposing that you cannot let go of the identity that you inherit from your family, and always use your family background as capital, and comport yourself as someone who is extremely conceited, willful, and high-sounding. And supposing you always show off and exhibit yourself around others, and constantly flaunt your family background and the special identity that you inherit from your family. And in addition, supposing that deep down you are also particularly haughty and overbearing, and especially domineering and insolent when talking to others, and you often use your identity as capital to chide people and suppress them—in other words, people think that you are devoid of normal reason—and you regard everyone as commoners, and especially when you come into contact and deal with people, you think nothing of people who are more humble or lowly than you, and when speaking with them you are particularly aggressive, high-handed, and really bare your fangs. And supposing you constantly want to chide others, and always treat others like slaves to be ordered around and shouted at, and always believe that your identity is distinguished, and you are unable to get along harmoniously with others, and unable to treat people of lower status than you in a correct manner—these are all corrupt dispositions, and they are all things that people should cast off. Such corrupt dispositions occur and are caused when a person has a distinguished family background and social status. Therefore, this type of person should reflect on their words and deeds, and reflect on their own thoughts and views, especially those regarding family identity. They should let go of such thoughts and views and backtrack on the various humanities they are living out as a result of their special social status. In other words, this type of person should let go of the identity they have inherited from their family. Most people think that their own social status is inferior. In particular, the type of people who are looked down upon, discriminated against, and bullied in society often feel that their identity is lowly, and the shame caused by their special family environment makes them feel particularly humble. This feeling makes them often feel inferior and unable to get along with others in a harmonious and equitable way. Of course, people of this type also manifest themselves in various ways. Some people particularly look up to those with distinguished status and identity, fawning over them, flattering them, sweet-talking them and licking their boots. They always blindly echo those people and have no principles or dignity, and are willing to be those people’s hangers-on and be ordered about and manipulated by them like slaves. Such people’s principles for doing things also do not accord with the truth, because deep down in their minds, they believe that their identity is lowly and that they were born to be wretches, and they are not worthy of standing on an equal footing with those who are rich or who have a noble social identity, and that instead they were born to be treated as those people’s slaves, and they must take their cue from those people and be ordered around by them. They do not feel servile. Rather, they think that this is normal, and that this is how things should be done. Just what kind of ideas and views are these? Are these thoughts and views not a kind of self-degradation? (Yes.) There is also a type of people who see rich people living in their conceited, willful, impudent, and domineering ways, and who even greatly envy and chase after such people, and who hope that if they had the chance to turn things around, they could live as willfully and conceitedly as these rich people. They think that there is nothing wrong with being willful and conceited; on the contrary, they regard these as charming and romantic traits. The thoughts and views of such people are also incorrect and should be let go of. No matter what your identity or status, it is all preordained by God. No matter what kind of family or family background God has preordained for you, the identity you inherit from it is neither shameful nor honorable. The principle for how you treat your identity should not be based on the principle of honor and shame. No matter what kind of family God puts you in, no matter what kind of family He allows you to come from, you have only one identity before God, and that is the identity of a created being. Before God, you are a created being, so in the eyes of God, you are equal to anyone in society who has a different identity and social status. You are all members of corrupt mankind, and you are all people whom God wants to save. And of course, before God, you all have the same opportunity to perform your duties as created beings, and you all have the same opportunity to pursue the truth and attain salvation. On this level, based on the identity of a created being as given to you by God, you should not think highly of your own identity, nor should you look down on it. Instead, you should treat your identity as a creature of God correctly, and be able to get along harmoniously with anyone on an equal footing, and according to the principles that God teaches to people and admonishes them with. No matter what other people’s social status or social identity is, and no matter what your own social status or social identity is, whoever comes into God’s house and comes before God has only one identity, which is that of a created being. Therefore, those with a lowly social status and identity should not feel inferior. No matter whether or not you have talent, no matter how high your caliber is, and no matter whether or not you have ability, you should let go of your social status. You should also let go of ideas or views about ranking and grading people or classifying them as distinguished or humble based on their family background and family history. You should not feel inferior because of your own lowly social identity and status. You should be glad that although your family background is not so powerful and spectacular, and the status you have inherited is lowly, God has not abandoned you. God raises humble people up from the dunghill and the dust, and gives you the same identity, that of a created being, as other people. In God’s house and before God, your identity and status are equal to those of all the other people who have been chosen by God. Once you realize this, you should let go of your inferiority complex and stop clinging to it. When faced with those who have a distinguished and great social status, or those who have a higher social status than you, you do not need to bow down to them or be all smiles around them, let alone have any admiration for them. Instead, you should regard them as equals, look them right in the eye, and treat them correctly. Even if they are often domineering or inflated with pride, and regard themselves as having a high social status, you must treat them correctly and refuse to be coerced by them or intimidated by any of their grandeur. No matter what their behavior or how they treat you, you should know that before God, you and they are the same, insofar as you are all created beings, you are all human beings chosen by God to be saved. There is nothing special about them compared with you. Their so-called special identity and status do not exist in God’s eyes, and are not recognized by Him. Therefore, there is no need for you to be constricted by the matter of the identity you inherit from your family, nor is there any need to feel inferior because of it. There is even less need to give up any opportunity to interact with other people on an equal footing just because of your lowly social status, or to give up any of the rights, responsibilities, and obligations that God has bestowed on you in God’s house and before God. And of course, you certainly should not give up your right to be saved or the hope of attaining salvation. In God’s house, before God, there is no distinction between rich and poor, no distinction between high and low social status, and no one with a special family background deserves special treatment or particular privileges. Before God, all people have only one identity, which is that of a created being. Also, before God, the nature essences of all people are the same. There is only one kind of human being that God wants to save, and that is corrupt human beings. Therefore, no matter whether your identity or social status is noble or humble, you are all human beings that God wants to save.
Imagine that someone said to you, “Look at your family, they are so poor that you don’t even have decent clothes; your family is so poor that you only went to elementary school and never went to high school; your family is so poor that you only ever get to eat soup and vegetables, and haven’t even tried chocolate, pizza, or cola.” How should you handle this situation? Would you feel inferior or despondent? Would you inwardly complain about God? Would you be intimidated by what the person said? (I wouldn’t now). You wouldn’t now, but you would before, right? In the past, whenever you noticed whose family was rich, or who was wealthy and distinguished, you would say, “Huh! They live in a villa and own a car. They’ve been abroad countless times. I’ve never even been out of my village, and I’ve never even seen a train before. They take high-speed rail journeys, travel in first-class, go on luxury cruises, and wear French designer brands and Italian jewelry. How come I haven’t heard of any of these things?” Whenever you’re around such people, you feel smaller than them. You’re somewhat confident when you’re fellowshiping on the truth and believing in God. But when you talk to those people about your family and family life, you want to run away and escape, you feel like you’re not as good as them, and that it would be better to die than to live. You think, “Why do I live in such a family? I haven’t seen anything of the world. Others use hand cream on their hands, whereas I still use Vaseline on mine; others don’t even apply any cream on their faces, but instead go straight to the beauty salon, whereas I don’t even know where the beauty salon is; others ride around in sedans, but that’s too good for me, I’m lucky if I get to ride a bicycle, and sometimes I have to ride on a cart driven by an ox or donkey.” So every time you talk with such people, you feel unsure of yourself and ashamed to bring up your identity and daren’t mention it. In your heart, you feel somewhat resentful and a little angry toward God, “They are all created beings like me,” you think. “So why does God allow them to enjoy life so much? Why has He preordained them to have that kind of family and social status? Why is my family so abjectly poor? Why are my parents at the bottom of society, with no abilities or skills? Just thinking about it makes me angry. Whenever I talk about this matter, I don’t want to mention my parents, they’re so incapable and incompetent! Never mind riding around in a sedan and living in a villa, I’d be content with being taken to the city to ride on the buses and high-speed trains, or to play in the city parks, but they haven’t taken me there, not even once! I have no life experience whatsoever. I haven’t eaten nice food, or ridden in nice cars, and I can only dream of flying.” Thinking about all this makes you feel inferior, and you are often constricted by this matter, so you regularly hang out with brothers and sisters whose identity and status are not significantly different from your own, thinking to yourself: “It’s true what they say, birds of a feather flock together. Look at that bunch of people, they are all rich folk, including senior government officials, millionaires, people with super-rich parents, business tycoons, and returnees from study abroad and postgraduates, as well as corporate executives and hotel managers. Compare them with us, this rabble. We are all either peasants or unemployed. Our families live in rural backwaters, we only have an elementary school education, and we’ve seen nothing of the world. We’ve herded cattle, set up street stalls, and repaired shoes. What kind of people are we? Are we not just a ragtag mob? Look at that band of people, they’re all classy and stylish. When I think about the rabble that we are, it makes me feel useless and aggrieved.” Even after believing in God for so many years, you have never let go of this matter, and often feel particularly inferior and depressed. These people’s ideas and views on things are obviously wrong, and seriously affect the correctness of their views regarding people and things, and the ways in which they comport themselves and act. These ideas and views are influenced by social trends and social mores. Of course, to be more exact, they are ideas and views that result from the conditioning effects of evil humans and traditional culture. Since they are corrupt and belong to evil trends, you should let go of them and not be troubled or constricted by such ideas and views. Some people say: “I was born into such a family, and this fact cannot be changed. These kinds of ideas and views constantly weigh on my mind, and are difficult to let go of.” It is indeed a fact that they are difficult to let go of, but if you constantly dwell on a mistaken idea and view, you will never let go of it. If you accept correct ideas and views, you will gradually let go of mistaken ones. What do I mean by this? I mean that it’s not possible for you to let go of them all at once, so that you can interact with rich people or those with high status and worth on an equal and normal basis. It’s impossible to do this in one go, but at the very least you can be liberated from this matter. Even if you still have an inferiority complex, even if you are still vaguely disturbed by it deep down in your heart, you have already gained some freedom from it to a certain extent. Of course, in your subsequent pursuit of the truth, you will gradually gain even more freedom and liberation. When all the various facts are exposed, you will see more and more clearly the essence of various people, matters, and things, and your understanding of the truth will become more and more profound. When you have more penetrating insight into such matters, your life experience and knowledge of such matters will increase. At the same time, your attitude toward the truth will become more proactive and positive, and you will be less and less constricted by negative things. Will you not then have changed? When you next meet someone with a vastly different identity and status from yours and talk to and associate with them, at the very least you will no longer be inwardly fearful, nor run away, but instead you will be able to treat them correctly, and you will no longer be subject to their restrictions, or think about how great and distinguished they are. Once you understand people’s corrupt essences, you will be able to handle all kinds of people precisely, and get along, interact and associate with all manner of people according to principles, without looking up to them or belittling them, and without discriminating against them or thinking highly of them. In this way, will you gradually achieve the result that comes from pursuing the truth? (Yes.) Achieving this result will make you love the truth more, more inclined toward positive things, more inclined toward the truth, and more inclined to admire God and the truth, instead of admiring anyone in society or in the world for their distinguished identity and status. The objects you admire and look up to, as well as the objects you follow and worship will be different, and will gradually change from negative things into positive things, and into the truth or—to be more precise—into God, God’s words, and God’s identity and status. In this way, you will gradually enter into the truth reality in this respect. That is to say, you will gradually cast off your corrupt disposition and the bonds of Satan in this regard, and gradually attain salvation—this is what the process involves. It’s not difficult; the road is laid out before you. As long as you pursue the truth, you can enter into the truth reality. And what reality will you ultimately enter into? No matter what kind of status you inherit from your family, you will no longer be preoccupied or troubled by whether it is noble or lowly. Instead, you will be able to perform your duty well as a created being, view people and things, and comport yourself and act as a created being, live before God as a created being, and live every day in the present, all with the identity of a created being—this is the result you will be pursuing. Is this a good result? (Yes, it is.) When people enter this aspect of reality, their hearts are liberated and freed. At the very least, you will no longer be troubled by the matter of the identity you inherit from your family, and you won’t care whether your status is high or low. If your identity is distinguished and some people look up to you, you will feel disgusted; if your identity is lowly and some people discriminate against you, you will not be constricted or troubled by it, nor will you be sad or negative about it. You will no longer have to feel worried, anguished, or inferior based on whether or not you have ever ridden in a high-speed train, been to a beauty salon, traveled abroad, eaten Western food, or enjoyed exclusive material comforts like rich people do. You will no longer be constricted and troubled by such matters, and you will be able to treat all kinds of people, things, and matters correctly and fulfill your duties normally. Will you not then be free and liberated? (Yes.) This way your heart will be liberated. When you have entered into the reality of this aspect of truth, and broken free from Satan’s bonds, you will truly have become a created being living before God, and a created being that God wants. By now, you should be clearer as regards the path of letting go of the identity and status that you inherit from family.
Last time we also discussed another topic—that of letting go of the conditioning effects that your family exerts on you. The conditioning effects of a person’s family begin right from when the person is young. As the person reaches adulthood, they gradually start applying these conditioned thoughts and views in their life. By the time they have gained a certain amount of life experience, they are freely putting into practice these various thoughts and views that have been conditioned into them by their family, and on this basis they have accumulated various principles, ways, and tricks for dealing with things that are even more sophisticated, more specific, and more beneficial to themselves. It could be said that the conditioning effects exerted by family serve as a person’s primer as they make the transition into society and into their communal groups, and which enables them to freely use various ways and tricks for dealing with things when living among others. Since these conditioning effects exerted by family are a primer, they are ingrained and deeply rooted in the heart of each person. These things influence people’s lives, the way they comport themselves and act, and also their outlook on life. But as these conditioning effects are not positive, they are also things that people should let go of in the process of pursuing the truth. It doesn’t matter whether or not the thoughts and views that such conditioning instills into you are formed in the innermost depths of your heart, or whether or not they occupy a dominant position deep within—and it certainly doesn’t matter whether such thoughts and views have already been confirmed to be true or practiced by you in the course of your existence—these conditioning effects will affect your life to varying degrees, both now and in the future, influencing your choice of life path, and affecting your attitude and principles by which you deal with things. It can be said that the vast majority of families provide people with the most basic tricks and philosophies for dealing with the world, so that they can live and survive in society. For example, we fellowshiped last time about things that parents always say, such as “People need their pride just as a tree needs its bark” and “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,” as well as “You have to endure great suffering in order to come out on top” and “The bird that sticks its neck out is the one that gets shot.” What else was there? “Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance,” and “He who talks a lot errs a lot.” These various ideas and views that are conditioned into you by your family, no matter whether you explicitly apply them or practice them in your life, are your primer. What do I mean by “primer”? I mean something that inspires and pushes you to accept Satan’s philosophies for dealing with the world. These sayings from your family have instilled into you a most basic way of dealing with the world and a most basic way of surviving, so that after entering this society, you will work hard to pursue fame, gain, and status, endeavor to disguise and package yourself better, and to protect yourself better, and strive to become preeminent among people, and to come out on top, and to stay at the top of the pile. For you, these things that your family conditions into you are rules and tricks for dealing with the world that push you to enter into society and assimilate into evil trends.
Last time we fellowshiped on the conditioning effects that family exerts on people. There are far more conditioning effects than these, so let us continue fellowshiping on them. For example, some parents tell their children, “Among any three people walking together, there is at least one who can be my teacher.” Who said this? (Confucius.) This is indeed what Confucius said. Some parents tell their children: “You must learn skills wherever you go. Once you learn them, you will have a skill in a specialized field, and you’ll never have to worry about not having a job, and you will be the go-to authority in any situation. One of the ancient sages said it well, ‘Among any three people walking together, there is at least one who can be my teacher.’ Whenever you are around others, look to see who has a skill in a specialized field. Learn it secretly without letting them find out, then once you have mastered it, it will become your skill, and you will be able to earn money to support yourself, and you will never want for life’s basic necessities.” What is your parents’ aim in making you learn skills when you are among others? (To get ahead in the world.) The aim of learning skills is to strengthen yourself, come out on top, learn to secretly pick up skills from others, and gradually bolster your own strength. If you have great strength among people, you will have a livelihood and also fame and fortune. And when you have both fame and fortune, people will think highly of you. If you don’t have real skills, no one will think highly of you, so you must learn to secretly pick up skills from others, learn other people’s strong points and skills, and gradually become stronger than them—only then can you come out on top. Some parents tell their children, “If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t,” still with the aim of making their children earn the appreciation and high regard of others. If you work hard and diligently and endure great hardships to learn skills when others aren’t looking, then once you have acquired them, you can impress everyone with your brilliance, and whenever people look down on you or bully you, you can show off your talents, and no one will dare to bully you anymore. Even though you might look ordinary and unremarkable, and don’t say much, you will have some skills, in the form of technical abilities that are beyond the grasp of ordinary people, so others will admire you for this and feel smaller in your presence, and look to you as someone who can help them. In this way, is your worth among people not increased? And as your worth increases, does it not make you appear dignified? If you want to strive to earn distinguished status among others, you have to endure hardship and suffering when they aren’t looking. No matter how much hardship you endure, just suck it up and keep going, and all of your suffering will prove worthwhile once people see how capable you are. What is your parents’ aim in telling you this saying, “If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t”? Their aim is for you to gain distinguished status among others and earn their high regard, rather than being discriminated against or bullied, so that not only will you be able to enjoy the nice things in life, but you will also win respect and support from others. Not only are people with this kind of status in society not bullied by others, but for them things go smoothly wherever they go. Whenever people see you coming, they will say, “Oh it’s you, to what do we owe the pleasure of your visit? It’s such an honor to see you! Do you have some business to take care of? I’ll sort it for you. Oh, you’ve come to buy tickets? Well, there’s no need to queue. I’ll get the best seat for you. We are buddies after all!” You take this on board and think, “Wow, this celebrity label I have really does work wonders. Elders are right when they say, ‘If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t.’ Society really is like that, it’s so reality-centered! If I didn’t have this reputation, who would pay me any attention? If you queue up like a normal person, others might look down on you and put the boot in, and might not even sell to you when you get to the front of the line.” When you are queuing up to see a doctor at the hospital, someone spots you from across the hall and says, “Aren’t you so-and-so? What are you waiting in line for? I’ll find you a specialist straight away so you don’t have to queue.” You reply: “I haven’t paid yet.” And they say, “No need to, I’ll foot the bill.” You ponder on this and think, “It’s good being a celebrity. Enduring all that suffering when no one was looking wasn’t in vain after all. I really can enjoy special treatment in society. This society is so reality-centered, you only have to be a celebrity to be well-received. It’s great!” Once again, you rejoice that your suffering wasn’t all in vain, and think that it was worth going through all that hardship and suffering when others weren’t looking! You constantly marvel at this: “I needn’t queue up to see a doctor at the hospital,” you think. “I can get good seats whenever I buy plane tickets, and special treatment wherever I go. My influence can even get me in through the backdoor. It’s great! This is how society should be, there’s no need for equality. People should get back as much as they put in. If you don’t suffer when others aren’t looking, can you appear dignified when they are? Look at me, for instance. I suffered when others weren’t looking, so that when they are I can get special treatment like this, because I deserve to.” This being the case, what do people depend on if they want to associate with others and get things done in society? They rely on their talents and skills to support their ability to do things. Whether or not someone succeeds in their endeavors or how good they are at getting things done in society is not based on that person’s talent or humanity, nor on whether they have the truth. There is no fairness or equality in society. And as long as you are diligent enough, can endure suffering when others aren’t looking, and are sufficiently tyrannical and fierce, you can earn high status among others. Just like in the past when people competed to become master of the martial arts world, they would endure great suffering and practice for days and nights on end, until finally they had mastered all the styles of the different martial arts schools and come up with a unique style of their own, which they practiced to perfection until they became invulnerable. And what happened in the end? In the martial arts tournament, they defeated fighters from all the major schools and earned the status of master of the martial arts world. In order to appear dignified in front of others, they were prepared to endure any kind of suffering, and would even practice some dark arts behind closed doors. After eight to ten years of practice, they became so expert that no one in the martial arts world could defeat them in the ring, or assassinate them outside of it, and even if they drank poison, they could expel it from their body. Thus they cemented their position as master of the martial arts world and no one could threaten their position—this is what appearing dignified to others is all about. In order to appear dignified in front of others, people in ancient times took imperial exams and won scholarly honors. Nowadays, people go to college, take postgraduate entrance exams, and study for a Ph.D.—they too persevere in their studies despite hardships, and slave away learning useless knowledge from dawn to late at night, year after year. Sometimes they are so tired that they don’t want to study any more, and long to take a break, but are scolded by their parents who say, “When are you ever going to show an ounce of promise? Do you still want to appear dignified in front of others? If that’s the case, how can you do it without suffering when they aren’t looking? It’s not like you’ll drop dead if you miss out on a short break, is it? Go study! Go do your homework!” They say, “I’ve finished my homework and reviewed today’s lessons. Can you let me relax a while?” But their parents reply: “Absolutely not! If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t!” They ponder on this and think, “My parents are doing all this for my own good, so why am I so headstrong and preoccupied with having fun? I must do as I’m told. It is said that you ignore your elders at your peril, so I must listen to my parents. They will be like this for the rest of their lives. If I don’t do them credit, I’ll be letting them down. Besides, I still have a long way to go in life, so what’s a little suffering in the long run?” At this thought, they put all their energy into studying, reviewing their lessons, and doing their homework. They stay up past midnight studying and no matter how tired they feel, they manage to overcome it. On their life’s path, people are constantly indoctrinated by the conditioning effects of their family, in the form of ideas and expressions such as “If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t,” which keep encouraging and motivating them. For the sake of their future and prospects and to appear dignified around others, they constantly learn skills and knowledge when people aren’t looking. They arm themselves with knowledge and various skills to make themselves stronger. They also look to the exploits of various ancient figures or successful people to give themselves a boost and rouse their fighting spirit. They do all this with the aim of casting off poverty, mediocrity, and lowliness in their future, and changing their destiny of being discriminated against, so that they become a superior person, a member of the elite, and someone that others look up to. These conditioning effects from their family keep running through their mind over and over again, until gradually, these remarks and sayings become their entrenched ideas and views, their set ways of dealing with the world, and also become their intrinsic outlook on existence and the goal they pursue.
Some parents tell their children, “You must learn to make friends with others. It’s like the saying goes, ‘Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people.’ Even the reviled Song dynasty politician Qin Hui[a] had three friends. Wherever you go, learn to get along with others and maintain good interpersonal relationships. At the very least, you must get yourself some close friends. Once you enter society, you will encounter all kinds of difficulties in life, work, and when going about your business. If you don’t have friends to help you, you will have to face all kinds of difficulties and awkward situations alone. If you know some tricks for making a few close friends, then when you come up against these awkward situations and difficulties, those friends will step forward to get you out of trouble and help you succeed in your endeavors. If you want to achieve great things, you should get off your high horse and make friends. You should be able to keep all sorts of powerful people on your side in order to support your endeavors and your future life and existence. You must be able to take advantage of various people to help you get things done and to serve you.” Parents generally won’t explicitly communicate this kind of idea or view, or tell their children directly that they need to learn to make friends, take advantage of people, and be able to find friends to help them succeed in their endeavors. However, there are some parents with status and standing in society, or who are particularly artful and scheming, and who influence their children through both their words and their conduct. Besides, whenever their children see and hear their ideas, views, and ways of dealing with the world through the things they say and do in everyday life, this exerts a conditioning effect on the children. Under the condition that you do not correctly judge and discern between positive things and negative things, you are inadvertently influenced by your parents’ words and actions and accept their ideas and views, or these ideas and views are inadvertently implanted deep within your heart, and become the most basic foundation and principle by which you do things. Your parents may not directly tell you to “make more friends, learn to get people to do things for you, and to leverage people’s strengths, and learn to take advantage of those around you.” Nevertheless, they infect and condition you by practicing through their actions the ideas and views that they preach. Thus your parents become your first teachers in this matter, initiating you as regards how to deal with things, how to get along with people, and how to make friends in this society, and also initiating you as regards the purpose behind making friends, why you should make friends, what kind of friends you should make, how to gain a foothold in society, the basics and methods for gaining a foothold, and so on. Thus, your parents condition you by practicing what they preach. Unwittingly, as you grow from childhood to adulthood, these ideas and views gradually take shape, from a simple consciousness to concrete thoughts, views, and actions so that, step by step, they become deeply implanted in your heart and soul and become your way of and philosophy for dealing with the world. What do you think of the saying “Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people” as a way of dealing with the world? (It’s bad.) Is there such a thing as a true friend in this world? (No.) Why then does a fence need the support of three stakes? What’s the point of having three stakes? Just to make it more stable. It wouldn’t be stable with two stakes, and one stake wouldn’t do at all. So what is the principle for dealing with the world involved here? Even an able man, no matter how capable he is, cannot clap with one hand, and will get nowhere. If you want to achieve something, you need people to help you. And if you want people to help you, you need to learn how to conduct yourself and deal with the world, and to make friends widely and assemble a force in order to get things done. In order to achieve anything, great or small, whether it be carving out a career, or gaining a foothold in society, or accomplishing something even greater, you must have people around you whom you trust or think highly of, and whom you can use to help you achieve the endeavors you want to undertake, otherwise it will be like trying to clap with one hand. Of course these are the rules for doing anything in this world, because there is no fairness in society, only scheming and struggle. If you walk the correct path and undertake just causes, no one will approve, it won’t work in this society. No matter what kind of endeavor you undertake, you must have some people to help you and to accumulate a force in society. Wherever you go, if there are people who yield to you and are afraid of you, then you will have a firm foothold in society, it will be much easier for you to undertake your endeavors, and there will be people who give you the green light. This is an attitude and a way of dealing with the world. No matter what you want to do, your parents will always tell you “Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people.” So, is this principle for dealing with the world right or wrong? (Wrong.) What’s wrong with it? (Whether a person can accomplish things depends not on their power or talent, but on God’s sovereignty and arrangements.) It depends on God’s sovereignty and arrangements, this is one aspect. In addition, what is people’s aim in wanting others to help them in society? (To enable themselves to rise above the rest.) That’s right. The aim behind having these three stakes to support you is to carve out a place for yourself and gain a firm foothold. That way, no one can kick you down, and even if one stake does get kicked over, the other two stakes will be there to support you. People who have a certain degree of power can do things with ease in this society, without worrying about the law, people’s feelings, or public opinion. Is this not people’s aim? (Yes.) That way, you can become someone who calls the shots and has a voice in society, and neither the law nor any public opinion can shake your footing or unsettle you. You will have the final say in the trends of this society and in any social group. You will be the go-to authority. So then, can you not do as you please? You can rise above the law, rise above people’s feelings, rise above public opinion, rise above morality, and rise above the condemnation of conscience. Is this the aim that people want to achieve? (Yes.) This is the aim that people want to achieve. This is a basic foundation for people’s actions that enables them to achieve their ambitions and desires. You see, some people become sworn brothers in society. Among them, an elder brother is the CEO of some corporation, a younger brother is the president of some group, and some others are politicians or underworld bosses. Some people have friends who are hospital directors or chief surgeons or head nurses, and some people make some good friends in their own line of work. Do people really make these friends because they share the same views and interests? Or because they truly want to uphold just causes together? (No.) Then why do they do it? They do it because they want to accumulate a kind of force, and expand and enhance this force, and ultimately rely on it to gain a foothold and survive in society, live at the top of the pile, and enjoy a life of luxury and indulgence; no one will dare to bully them, and even if they have committed crimes, the law will not dare to punish them. And if they do commit crimes, their buddies will step forward to help them. One friend will speak on their behalf, another friend will help smooth things over in court and lobby senior politicians for clemency, so they will be out of the police station in less than 24 hours. No matter how serious the crime they committed, nothing will come of it and they won’t even have to pay a fine. Eventually, common folk will say: “Dear me, that person is really something. How did they get themselves off the hook so quickly after committing such a serious crime? If that were us, we’d be done for, wouldn’t we? We’d end up in jail, wouldn’t we? Look at the friends they have. Why can’t we make friends like that? How come people like that are beyond our reach?” And people will be envious. These matters are all caused by social injustice and the continuous emergence of evil trends in society. People do not have any sense of security in this society. They always want to curry favor with certain forces and compare each other’s forces. Particularly for those living at the bottom of society, even if they have some means of making a living, they don’t know when they will encounter danger or difficulty, and are most afraid of meeting with some unexpected disaster, or encountering some mishap, especially when it comes to anything that involves the law, so they go through life never wanting to have anything to do with the police or the courts. Because people have no sense of security in this society, they constantly have to make friends and find powerful allies to rely on. You see, when young children are in school, they have to make two or three friends to play with. Otherwise, they always end up getting bullied when they’re on their own. And they daren’t tell the teacher about getting bullied, because once they do that, they will definitely be beaten up on their way home from school. Even if the teachers are nice to you and your academic performance is fairly good, if you don’t know how to make friends or gang up with the thugs around you, you’ll end up in hot water if you get on the wrong side of them. And sometimes, even if you don’t get on the wrong side of them, they will try to lead you astray when they see you studying well, and if you don’t listen to them, you will get beaten up or bullied. Even school environments make people feel insecure, so this world is really scary, don’t you think? Therefore, the conditioning effects of family on you in this respect come in one sense from the influence of your parents setting an example, and in another sense, also from people’s insecurities about society. Because there is no fairness in this society, nor any force or advantage that can protect your human rights and interests, people are often beset with dread and fear of this society. As a result, they naturally accept the conditioning effects of the idea that “Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people.” Because in the real environments in which people exist, ideas and views like this are needed to support their survival, enabling them to switch from a life of solitude and loneliness to one of reliance and a sense of security. Therefore, people regard reliance on a force and reliance on friends in this world as something very important.
Regarding the ways in which people are conditioned by their family, in addition to the saying we mentioned just now, which was “Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people,” there are some more specific ways in which people are educated by their family. For example, parents tend to educate their daughters by saying things like: “‘A lady will make herself beautiful for those who admire her, while a gentleman will sacrifice his life for those who understand him.’ Also, ‘There are no ugly women in the world, only lazy women.’ Women must learn to love themselves, and dress themselves up, and make themselves all pretty. That way, wherever you go, people will like you, and more people will do things for you and give you the green light. If people like you, then naturally they won’t give you a hard time or make things difficult for you.” Some parents tell their daughters: “Girls must learn to dress up well, put on makeup, and even more importantly, they must learn to be gentle.” What they are really saying is that you need to learn to show yourself off. They also say things like: “Don’t be a strong woman. What use is it for a woman to be so strong and independent? Such women never dress themselves up, but live like men, and hurriedly bustle around all day long, and they’re not gentle either. Women are born to be doted on by men. They don’t need to be independent or learn any skills. They just need to learn to dress themselves up, learn how to please men, and do what a woman should do well. A woman who is liked and cherished by men will be happy all her life.” Some women are conditioned by their parents in this respect. In one regard, they look at how their mothers behave as women. In another regard, after being conditioned by their parents they turn themselves into women who are truly pleasing to the eye, by constantly dressing up and beautifying themselves. Do people like this exist? (Yes.) Women who grow up in this kind of family environment attach great importance to their appearance, their clothing, and their feminine identity. They won’t leave the house without first putting on makeup and changing their clothes. Some women, no matter how busy they are with work, absolutely must wash their hair, take a shower, and spray on some perfume before leaving the house, otherwise, they just won’t go out, and when they have nothing to do, all they do is look in the mirror and fix their hair. Who knows how many times these women look in the mirror each day! They are profoundly conditioned by ideas and views such as “A lady will make herself beautiful for those who admire her, while a gentleman will sacrifice his life for those who understand him,” so they pay great attention to their figure and how their face looks. They won’t go out if their complexion looks even slightly the worse for wear, and they won’t show their face in public if there is acne on it. If one day they aren’t in the mood to put on makeup, they won’t go out. Or, if they’ve had a haircut but it doesn’t look that nice, and they don’t look so pleasing to the eye, they won’t go out to work, in case people think less of them. Such women spend all day long living for the sake of these things. If they have a mosquito bite on their hand, they’ll keep their hand hidden out of view, or if it’s on their leg they’ll keep their leg covered up because they won’t look pretty in a skirt, and also they won’t go out, and can’t perform their duty. Every little thing is liable to put them off and stop them in their tracks, so life then becomes extremely hard and tiring for them. In order to maintain the dignity of a lady and avoid becoming ugly women, they take great pains and effort to look after their face, figure, and hairstyle, and in order to avoid becoming ugly women, they cast off their previous bad habits and laziness. No matter how busy they are at work, they must dress up and adorn themselves meticulously and exquisitely. If their eyebrows aren’t drawn well, they redo them. If their blusher isn’t applied evenly, they reapply it. Unless they’ve spent at least an hour or two putting on makeup, they won’t go out the front door. Some women, as soon as they get up in the morning, start this whole charade of showering, dressing up, and changing clothes. They think and rethink, trying on this and that, until it gets to midday and they still haven’t left the house. It must be so difficult for them, having their limited time and energy taken up by these senseless things. They don’t get around to doing anything serious at all, and as soon as they open their eyes, all they think about is dressing themselves up and making themselves beautiful. Some of these people are influenced by their mother’s ideas and views, while others are explicitly told by their mother what they should be doing, and some learn from the example that their mother sets by her actions. In short, these are all ways in which people are conditioned by their family.
Some families hold the view that “Daughters should be raised like rich children, and sons like poor children.” Have you heard this saying? (Yes, I have.) What does this saying mean? They are all children, so why should girls be raised like rich kids, and boys like poor kids? Traditional culture generally values males and attaches less importance to females, so why does this saying seem to value girls over boys? If a daughter is raised like a rich kid, what kind of daughter will she become? What kind of thing will she become? (Someone who is rather spoiled, conceited, and domineering.) One who is willful, fragile, unable to bear any hardship, incapable of caring, irrational, unreasonable, and unable to differentiate between good and bad—what can such a person amount to? Is this the right way to educate someone? (No.) Raising someone this way will ruin them. If you raise your daughter like a rich kid, although she will grow up in a family environment that meets her every basic need, and she will have a modicum of sophistication, will she understand the real principles of comportment? If she doesn’t understand, then this kind of parenting approach is hurting her and harming her, rather than protecting her. What is parents’ motivation for raising their daughters based on this principle? A daughter raised this way will be sophisticated and won’t easily fall for men who buy her nice dresses, give her a bit of spending money, or ply her with paltry gifts and favors. Therefore, the average man won’t sweep her off her feet. He would have to be extremely rich, and a perfect gentleman, and extremely sophisticated, and extremely scheming and calculating, and extremely shrewd in order to win her heart, and to sweep her off her feet, and to earn her hand in marriage. Do you think it’s good or bad to marry off your daughter to someone like that? It’s surely not a good thing, is it? Besides, if you raise your daughter like a rich kid, then besides knowing how to enjoy herself, dress up, and eat nice food, will she be able to discern people for who they really are? Will she have any survival skills? Will she be able to live alongside others for a long time? Not necessarily. It may be that she will have trouble keeping her own life in order, in which case, people like this are useless. They are spoiled, imperious and domineering, willful and impudent, self-indulgent and overbearing, uncompromising and insistent, and they only know about eating, drinking, and having fun. Besides all that, she won’t even have the basic common sense needed to get by in life, which will imperceptibly cause trouble for her future survival and family life. It is not a good thing for her parents to educate their daughter in this way. They didn’t teach her principles of comportment, but only how to enjoy life. So if she can’t earn enough money in the future, won’t she have to endure hardship? Won’t she then find it difficult to get by? Will she be able to endure that? Won’t she be fragile whenever she encounters difficulties in the future? Will she have the perseverance needed to face all these hardships? Don’t bet on it. When it comes to people who enjoy the material life too much, and who are overly accustomed to a life of ease and luxury, and who have never suffered at all, what is the biggest problem with their humanity? It’s that they are fragile and don’t have the will to endure hardship, and people like this will come to ruin. So, the education that children receive from their family, whether via their parents or through social trends, essentially comes from among human beings. Whether these multifarious sayings form into an idea or viewpoint, or become a way of life or survival for people, they make people look at these issues from an extreme, prejudiced, and absurd perspective. In short, these sayings from family influence, to a greater or lesser degree, the way in which people view people and things, and the way in which they comport themselves and act. And since these things influence you, they will also influence your pursuit of the truth. Therefore, regardless of whether these sayings, ideas and views from one’s parents are noble and high-minded, or lowbrow and idiotic, everyone should re-examine them, reassess them, and learn to discern them for what they really are. If they come to exert a certain influence on you, or cause a disturbance in your life and in your pursuit of the truth, or make your life a total mess, or impede you from seeking the truth and accepting the truth whenever you face people, events, and things, then you should just let them go.
There are also claims circulating in society regarding the concepts of emotional quotient, or EQ, and intelligence quotient, or IQ. These claims suggest that people don’t need to have a high IQ, but only need to have a high EQ. IQ is more to do with a person’s caliber, whereas EQ is more to do with the tricks by which a person deals with the world. This is My basic understanding of these two terms. Maybe your intelligence quotient is quite high, and you are really academic, really knowledgeable, and a great communicator, and your ability to survive is quite strong, but your emotional intelligence is not high, and you have no tricks for dealing with the world, or even if you are a bit tricky, your means are not very sophisticated. In cases like this, your knowledge, skills, and proficiency in a specialized field only enable you to scrape by in society and earn a basic livelihood. People with high emotional intelligence are particularly good at being crafty. They will make use of various forces in society, advantageous geographical environments or favorable opportunities, and advantageous information to create hype and manipulate things, exaggerating something that is unremarkable into something with a certain impact in society or within a community, so that they themselves become famous, and ultimately stand out from the crowd and become a person of fame and status. This type of person has high emotional intelligence and tricks. Tricky people are essentially cunning demon kings. Today’s society advocates high emotional intelligence, and some families may often condition their children in this way, by saying: “It’s a good thing that you have a high IQ, but you also need to have a high emotional intelligence. You need it when interacting with your classmates, colleagues, relatives, and friends. What this society advocates most is not your strength, but being tricky, knowing how to package yourself, knowing how to promote yourself, and how to take advantage of all the various forces and advantageous conditions in society and make them work in your own favor and serve you—whether you do this in order to seize the opportunity to make a fortune, or to become famous. Such people are all people with high emotional intelligence.” Some particular families or some parents with fame and prestige in society often educate their children this way, by saying: “A man with emotional intelligence is liked by both men and women, whereas a man without emotional intelligence is disliked by everyone. A woman with emotional intelligence will be liked by a whole host of men and women, and many males will pursue her. Whereas, if a woman has no emotional intelligence, few will pursue her no matter how beautiful she is.” Living in today’s society, if people don’t have any discernment of these claims by their families, they will become unwittingly influenced by these ideas and views, and will often measure their own IQ, and more especially, often check themselves against certain standards to determine whether they have emotional intelligence, and how high their EQ actually is. Regardless of whether or not you have a strong or clear awareness of these things, suffice it to say that the conditioning effects from your family in this regard will have already begun to influence you. They might be imperceptible, and they might not occupy a prominent place in your thoughts. But when you hear these things and have no discernment of them, you will already have begun to be conditioned by them to a certain extent.
There are other conditioning effects that come from one’s family. For example, parents will often tell their children, “Whenever you’re around others, you don’t know how to keep your wits about you and you’re always stupid and clueless. As the saying goes, ‘When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice.’ So whenever people are talking to you, you must learn to listen to what they’re saying, otherwise you’ll end up being betrayed and paying for the privilege!” Do some parents often say this? What are they really trying to say? Don’t be an honest person, be more calculating. That is to say, always read between the lines of what the other person is saying, always listen out for the extra layer of meaning in their words that they aren’t saying, learn to guess what others actually mean, and then adopt corresponding measures or tricks based on this unspoken meaning. Don’t be passive, otherwise you’ll end up being betrayed and paying for the privilege. From your parents’ perspective, these words are all well-intentioned, and meant to protect you from doing stupid things, or from being sold down the river by others in this evil community, and to protect you from being taken for a ride or doing something foolish. But is this saying consistent with the truth? (No, it isn’t.) No, it isn’t. Sometimes people are able to listen out for the hidden meanings in what others say. Even if you don’t pay attention, you can still listen out for hidden meanings. So what should you do? According to this saying that your parents tell you—“When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice”—you should guard against others and be vigilant of them at all times, and at the same time as guarding against them, you should take protective measures before they harm you or trick you. Even more importantly, you should strike first and not put yourself in a passive situation or dilemma. Is this the ultimate goal that parents want to achieve by telling you this saying? (Yes.) It is that whenever you interact with others, no matter whether they harm you or not, you shouldn’t be passive. You should take the initiative in your own hands, and grasp the knife handle in your own hands, so that whenever someone wants to harm you, not only can you protect yourself, but you can also take the initiative by striking them and harming them, and being more formidable and ruthless than them. This is actually the aim and root meaning of your parents’ words. If analyzed in this way, it is obvious that this saying does not accord with the truth, and that it is completely inconsistent with what God meant when He told people “be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” The principles and wise ways that God tells people are to help them discern others’ cunning schemes, and protect themselves from falling into temptation and associating with wicked people, and refrain from using evil ways to deal with evil, and instead use the truth principles to deal with any evildoing and any wicked person. Whereas the method that parents tell their children—“When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice”—is about repaying evil with evil. So if the other person is evil, you should be even more evil than them. If their words harbor a hidden meaning, you are superior to them and can identify it, and at the same time, based on this hidden meaning, you can use corresponding methods and tricks to deal with them, counteract them, subdue them, and to make them fear you, submit to you, and to let them know that you are not to be bullied or messed with. This is what countering evil with evil means. Obviously, the path of practice and the criterion of practice that are communicated to you and the result that is achieved through this saying will lead you to do evil and to deviate from the true way. When your parents tell you to behave like this, they aren’t asking you to be someone with the truth or someone who obeys the truth, nor are they asking you to be a genuine created being. They are asking you to counteract and overpower evil using ways that are even more evil than those of the wicked person facing you. This is what your parents mean to say. Is there any parent who says the following? “If a wicked person attacks you, exercise restraint. You should ignore him and discern him for what he really is. Firstly, identify the essence of the wicked person within him, and discern him for what he is. Secondly, recognize the evil deeds and corrupt dispositions in yourself that are similar to or the same as his, and then seek the truth to resolve them.” Do any parents tell their children this? (No.) When your parents tell you, “When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice. You must beware, otherwise you’ll end up being betrayed by others and paying for the privilege, and you must learn to strike first,” no matter your parents’ original intention in saying this, or the ultimate effect that is achieved, it makes you even more formidable, more powerful, more imperious, more domineering, and more vicious, so that wicked people are afraid of you and they even avoid you when they see you, and dare not mess with you. Is this not the case? (Yes.) So, could it be said that your parents’ aim in telling you this saying is not to turn you into a person with a sense of righteousness, or someone who possesses the truth, and not to make you a wise person who is as “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”? Their aim is to tell you that you have to be a powerful person in society, to be even more evil than others, and to be someone who uses evil to protect yourself, right? (Yes.) When your parents tell you “When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice,” whether it is their original intention or the ultimate effect that is achieved, and whether your parents tell you the principles and methods of practice for doing such things, or instead tell you their thoughts and views on such things, obviously none of this is in line with the truth, and it runs counter to God’s words. Your parents make you become a wicked person, not an upright person, nor a wise person who fears God and shuns evil. Obviously, the teaching and conditioning given to you by your parents are not positive things, nor are they a correct path. Although your parents meant to protect you, and had the best of intentions in doing so, the effect they achieved is malignant. Not only did they fail to protect you, but they pointed you toward an incorrect path, causing you to do evil and become a wicked person. Not only did they fail to protect you, but they actually harmed you by causing you to fall into temptation and unrighteousness, and to stray from God’s care and protection. From this point of view, the conditioning effects exerted on you by your family are more likely to make you selfish, hypocritical, and greedy for fame, gain, and social status, and to better assimilate you into evil trends, and to give you more sophisticated ruses for interacting with others, and to make you slippery, vicious, imperious, and domineering around others, so that no one will dare to mess with you or lay a hand on you. From your parents’ point of view, they have used these methods to condition you so that you are protected in society, or, to a certain extent, so that you become a dignified person. But from the perspective of the truth, they don’t allow you to be a true created being. They make you stray from God’s teachings and the methods by which God admonishes you to comport yourself, and they also make you stray further and further away from the goal that God tells you to pursue. No matter your parents’ original intentions in conditioning and educating you, ultimately these ideas that they conditioned into you have only brought you fame, gain, and emptiness, as well as all the evil deeds that you have lived out and revealed, and they have also provided you with further confirmation of the practicality of these conditioning effects in society, and nothing else.
As regards these sayings that come from the conditioning which your family exerts on you—such as “When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice”—if considered in isolation, you would think nothing of them. You would feel that these sayings are common and widespread, and that there are no major issues with such sayings, ideas, and views. However, if you compare them with the truth and use the truth to dissect them in detail, it becomes apparent that there are indeed major issues with these sayings. For example, if your parents always tell you “When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice,” and you utilize this mode of existence skillfully, then whenever you meet people you will constantly and subconsciously speculate without realizing it, about things like “What does he mean by this? Why did he say that?” And you will naturally speculate on other people’s thoughts, constantly listening to what they say and interacting with them in this habitual mode of thinking, so you will not be contemplating the truth, or how to get along with others, or what the principles are for interacting with others, or what the principles are for communicating with others, or how to deal with the implications that you identify in people’s words, or what the way is that God teaches, or how to discern people of this type, or how to handle them, and other such principles of practice that your parents never communicated to you. What your parents told you was to learn how to second-guess other people’s thoughts, and you have carried out this way of practicing very well; you have already reached the point where you have mastered it and can no longer stop yourself from doing it. Therefore, these issues require people to regularly settle themselves down, think carefully, and invest effort into figuring things out. In one sense, you should dissect and discern these issues clearly. In another sense, whenever these things occur, you should make an effort to change your way of thinking and also your way of viewing people and things. That is to say, you should change your thoughts and views on dealing with such matters. The next time you listen to someone speaking, and try to speculate on what they really mean to say, let go of this way of thinking and this way of handling people, and think it through: “What does he mean by saying this? He doesn’t speak directly and always beats around the bush. This person is deceitful. What on earth was that thing he was talking about? What is the essence of this thing? Can I perceive it clearly? If I can perceive it clearly, I will fellowship with him using arguments and views that are consistent with the truth, explaining the matter clearly, and making him understand the truth of this aspect. I will help him and correct his wrong thoughts and views. In addition, the way he speaks is deceitful. I don’t want to know what he means by that, or why he talks in such a roundabout way. I don’t want to spend effort and energy trying to speculate on what he really means. I don’t want to pay that price, and I don’t want to do anything in this regard. I just need to recognize that he is a deceitful person. Though he is deceitful, I won’t engage in deception with him. No matter how much he beats around the bush, I will be straight up with him, say whatever should be said, and tell it like it is. As the Lord Jesus said, ‘But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no’ (Matthew 5:37). Addressing deceit with honesty is the highest criterion for practicing the truth.” If you practice in this way, you will let go of the ways your parents conditioned you and taught you, and your principles of practice will also change. Then you will be a person who pursues the truth. No matter which aspects of your parents’ conditioning you let go of, whenever related things happen again, you will change your wrong thoughts and views about them, by taking God’s words as the basis and using the truth as the criterion, and turning them into thoughts and views that are wholly correct and positive. That is to say, if you judge, view, and handle this matter with God’s words and the truth as your basis and as your criteria for practicing, then you are practicing the truth. On the contrary, if you still adopt the ways your parents taught you—or the ideas and views they instilled in you—as the criterion, basis, and practice principles for handling this matter, then this way of practicing is not practicing the truth, nor is it pursuing the truth. In the end, what people gain from pursuing the truth is appreciation and experience of the truth. If you don’t pursue the truth, you won’t gain an appreciation or experience of the truth. What you will gain is just an appreciation and experience of putting into practice this saying that your parents conditioned into you. So, while others talk about their experience and appreciation of God’s words, you can’t bring yourself to say anything, because you have nothing to say. All you have is a practical appreciation and experience of the ideas and views conditioned into you by your family. It’s just that you can’t bring yourself to say anything about them, and have no way to share them. Therefore, whatever you put into practice is what you will ultimately appreciate. If what you practice is the truth, then what you will gain is an appreciation and experience of God’s words and of the truth. If you put into practice the education and instructions given to you by your parents, then what you will appreciate is the experience of your family’s conditioning and traditional education, and what you will gain is only the ideas that Satan instills into you, and Satan’s corruption of you. The more profoundly you appreciate these things, the more you will feel that Satan’s corrupting ideas and views are useful and practical, and the more profoundly you will be corrupted by Satan. What if you practice the truth? You will have more and more of an appreciation and experience of the truth, and of the words and principles that God tells you, and you will feel that the truth is the most valuable thing, and that God is the source of human life, and that God’s words are people’s life.
In addition to raising you and providing you with food, clothing, and education, what has your family given you? All it has given you is trouble, right? (Yes.) If you were not born into such a family, all the various conditioning effects that your family has on you may not have existed. The conditioning of your family would not have existed, but the conditioning effects of society would still exist—you cannot escape them. No matter from which perspective you look at it, whether these conditioning effects come from family or from society, these ideas and views basically originate from Satan. It’s just that each family accepts these various sayings from society with different degrees of conviction and placing emphasis on different points. They then use corresponding methods to educate and condition the next generation of their family. Everyone receives all sorts of conditioning to varying degrees, depending on the family they come from. But in fact, these conditioning effects originate from society and from Satan. It’s just that these conditioning effects are instilled deep in people’s minds through the medium of parents’ more concrete words and actions, using more direct methods that make people more amenable to them, so that people accept this conditioning and it becomes their principles and ways of dealing with the world, and it also becomes the basis on which they view people and matters, and comport themselves and act. For example, the idea and view that we just talked about—“When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice”—is also a conditioning effect that comes from your family. No matter what kind of conditioning effect their family exerts on them, people view it from the perspective of family members and therefore accept it as a positive thing, and as their own personal talisman, which they use to protect themselves. This is because people think that everything that comes from their parents is the result of their parents’ practice and experience. Of everyone in the world, only their parents would never harm them, and only their parents want them to live a better life and to protect them. Therefore, people accept various ideas and views from their parents without any discernment. In this way, they naturally accept the conditioning of these various ideas and views. Once people have been conditioned by these various ideas and views, they never doubt them or discern them for what they really are, because they often hear their parents say such things. For example, “The parent is always right.” So what does this saying mean? It means that no matter whether your parents are right or wrong, basically because your parents gave birth to you and raised you, as far as you are concerned everything your parents do is right. You cannot judge whether they are right or wrong, nor can you reject them, let alone resist them. This is called filial piety. Even if your parents have done wrong, and even if some of their ideas and views are outdated or mistaken, or the way they educate you and their ideas and views they educate you with are not correct or positive, you mustn’t doubt or reject them, because there is a saying about that—“The parent is always right.” When it comes to parents, you should never discern or evaluate whether they are right or wrong, because as far as children are concerned, their lives and everything they possess come from their parents. No one stands above your parents, so if you have a conscience, you should not criticize them. No matter how wrong, incorrect, or imperfect your parents are, they are still your parents. They are the people who are closest to you, who raised you, the people who treat you best, and the people who gave you life. Does everyone not accept this saying? And precisely because this mentality exists, your parents think they can treat you unscrupulously, and use various methods to steer you toward doing all manner of things, and instill various ideas into you. From their point of view, they think, “My motives are correct, this is for your own good. Everything you have was given to you by me. You were born and raised by me, so however I treat you I cannot be in the wrong, because everything I do is for your own good and I wouldn’t hurt you or harm you.” From children’s perspective, is it right that their attitude toward their parents should be based on this saying, “The parent is always right”? (No, it’s wrong.) It certainly is wrong. So how should you discern this saying? From how many aspects can we dissect the incorrectness of this saying? If we look at it from the perspective of children, their lives and bodies come from their parents, who also have the kindness to raise and educate them, so children should obey their every word, fulfill their filial obligation, and not find fault with their parents. The hidden import of these words is that you should not discern your parents for who they really are. If we analyze it from this perspective, is this view correct? (No, it’s wrong.) How should we treat this matter according to the truth? What would be the correct way of putting it? Are children’s bodies and lives given to them by their parents? (No.) A person’s fleshly body is born of their parents, but where does the parents’ ability to have children come from? (It is given by God and comes from God.) What about a person’s soul? Where does it come from? It also comes from God. So at the root, people are created by God, and all of this was preordained by Him. It was God who preordained you to be born into this family. God sent a soul to this family, and then you were born of this family, and you have this predestined relationship with your parents—this was preordained by God. Because of God’s sovereignty and preordination, your parents were able to have you and you were born into this family. This is looking at it from the root. But what if God didn’t preordain things this way? Then your parents would never have had you, and you would never have had this parent-child relationship with them. There would have been no blood relationship, no family affection, and no connection whatsoever. Therefore, it is wrong to say that a person’s life is given to them by their parents. Another aspect is that, looking at it from the child’s perspective, their parents are one generation older than them. But as far as all human beings are concerned, parents are like everyone else, insofar as they are all members of the corrupt human race, and all have the corrupt dispositions of Satan. They are no different from anyone else, and no different from you. Although they physically gave birth to you, and in terms of your flesh-and-blood relationship, they are one generation older than you, nevertheless in terms of the essence of your human dispositions, you are all living under Satan’s power, and you have all been corrupted by Satan and possess corrupt, satanic dispositions. In view of the fact that people all have corrupt, satanic dispositions, the essences of all people are the same. Regardless of differences in seniority, or one’s age, or how early or late one came into this world, in terms of essence, people essentially have the same corrupt dispositions, they are all human beings who have been corrupted by Satan, and are no different in this respect. Regardless of whether their humanity is good or evil, because they have corrupt dispositions, they adopt the same perspectives and standpoints when it comes to viewing people and matters, and approaching the truth. In this sense, there is no difference between them. Also, everyone who lives among this evil human race accepts the various ideas and views that abound in this evil world, whether in terms of words or thoughts, or whether in form or ideology, and accepts all kinds of ideas from Satan, whether through state education or the conditioning of social mores. These things are not in line with the truth at all. There is no truth in them, and people certainly do not understand what the truth is. From this point of view, parents and their children are equal and have the same ideas and views. It’s just that your parents accepted these ideas and views 20 or 30 years previously, whereas you accepted them slightly later. That is to say, given the same social background, as long as you are a normal person, both you and your parents have accepted the same corruption from Satan, the conditioning of social mores, and the same ideas and views that stem from the various evil trends in society. From this point of view, children are the same type as their parents. From God’s point of view, leaving aside the premise that He preordains, predestines, and selects, in God’s eyes, both parents and their children are similar in that they are created beings, and whether they are created beings that worship God or not, they are all collectively known as created beings, and are all accepting of God’s sovereignty, orchestrations, and arrangements. From this point of view, parents and their children actually have equal status in the eyes of God, and they all accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements similarly and equally. This is an objective fact. If they are all chosen by God, they all have equal opportunities to pursue the truth. Of course, they also have equal opportunities to accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and equal opportunities to be saved. Apart from the above similarities, there is only one difference between parents and their children, which is that the parents’ ranking in the so-called family hierarchy is greater than that of their children. What does their ranking in the family hierarchy mean? It means that they are only a generation older, by 20 or 30 years—it’s nothing more than a big age difference. And because of parents’ special status, children must be filial and fulfill their obligations to their parents. This is the only responsibility a person has toward their parents. But because children and parents are all part of the same corrupt human race, parents are not moral exemplars for their children, nor are they a benchmark or role model for their children’s pursuit of the truth, nor are they a role model for their children in terms of worshiping and obeying God. Of course, parents are not the incarnation of truth. People have no obligation or responsibility to regard their parents as moral exemplars and figures who should be obeyed unconditionally. Children should not be afraid to discern their parents’ conduct, actions, and disposition essence. That is to say, when it comes to handling their own parents, people should not abide by such ideas and views as “The parent is always right.” This view is based on the fact that parents have a special status, in that they gave birth to you under God’s preordination, and are 20, 30 or even 40 or 50 years older than you. It is only from the perspective of this flesh-and-blood relationship, in terms of their status and their ranking in the family hierarchy, that they are different from their children. But because of this difference, people regard their parents as having no faults whatsoever. Is this right? This is wrong, irrational, and does not accord with the truth. Some people wonder how one should treat one’s parents, given that parents and children have this flesh-and-blood relationship. If parents believe in God, they should be treated accordingly as believers; if they do not believe in God, they should be treated accordingly as unbelievers. Whatever kind of people the parents are, they should be treated according to the corresponding truth principles. If they are devils, you should say that they are devils. If they have no humanity, you should say that they have no humanity. If the ideas and views they teach you are not in line with the truth, you don’t have to listen to these things or accept them, and you can even discern them for what they are and expose them. If your parents say, “I’m doing it for your own good,” and throw a tantrum and kick up a fuss, will you care? (No, I won’t care.) If your parents don’t believe, just don’t pay them any mind, and leave it at that. If they make such a big fuss, you will see that they are devils and nothing less. These truths concerning faith in God are the ideas and views that people most need to accept. They can’t accept them or take them on board, so just what kind of things are they? They don’t understand God’s words, so they’re subhuman, right? You have to think like this: “Although you are my parents, you have no humanity. Having been born to you, I truly feel ashamed! Now I can discern you for who you really are. You don’t have human spirit within you, you don’t understand the truth, you can’t even listen to such obvious and simple doctrines, and yet you still make thoughtless comments and say slanderous things. I understand that now, and I have made a clean break with you in my heart. But on the outside, I still have to humor you, and I still have to fulfill some of my responsibilities and obligations as your child. If I have the means to do so, I will buy you some healthcare products, but if I don’t have the means, I will come back to visit you, and that is all. I will not refute your opinions, whatever you say. You are absurd, and I’ll just let you be that way. What is there to say to devils such as you, who are impervious to reason? Out of consideration for the fact that you gave birth to me and all the years you spent raising me, I will keep coming to visit you and take care of you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t pay attention to you at all, and I wouldn’t want to see you for as long as I live.” Why don’t you want to see them again or have anything to do with them? Because you understand the truth, and you have seen through to their essence, and seen through all the various mistaken ideas and views that they have, and from these mistaken ideas and views you perceive their stupidity, intransigence, and wickedness, and see clearly that they are devils, and so you feel sick of them and disgusted by them, and don’t want to see them. It’s only because of that little bit of conscience inside you that you feel compelled to fulfill some of your responsibilities and filial duties as a son or daughter, so you visit them during the New Year and on bank holidays, and leave it at that. As long as they haven’t impeded you from believing in God or doing your duty, go visit them when you have time. If you really don’t want to see them, just call them to ask how they are, send them some money through the mail every now and then, and buy them a few useful things. Whether it be taking care of them, visiting them, buying them clothes, showing concern for their wellbeing, or looking after them when they are sick—all this is just fulfilling one’s filial obligations and satisfying one’s own needs in terms of one’s feelings and conscience. That’s all it is, and it does not count as practicing the truth. No matter how disgusted you are with them, or how well you can see through to their essence, as long as they are alive, you must fulfill your necessary obligations as a son or daughter and bear the necessary responsibilities. Your parents took care of you when you were young, and when they get old, you must take care of them as long as you have the means to. Let them nag you if they want to. As long as you don’t listen to the ideas and views they try to instill in you, and don’t accept what they say, and don’t let them disturb or constrain you, then it’s totally fine, and proves that you have grown in stature and that you are already standing firm in your testimony before God. He will not condemn you because you are caring for them and He will not say, “Why are you so sentimental? You have accepted the truth and are pursuing it, so how can you still take care of them?” This is the most basic responsibility and obligation by which you should comport yourself, which is to fulfill your obligations as long as conditions permit. This does not mean that you are being sentimental, and God will not condemn you for it. Of course, in this world, aside from your parents, who are the people to whom you should fulfill your obligations and responsibilities, you have no responsibilities and obligations to anyone else—not to your siblings, your buddies, or to your various aunts and uncles. You have no obligation or responsibility to do anything to please them, or cotton up to them, or help them. Is this not so? (Yes.)
Was I clear in what I said about the claim that “The parent is always right”? (Yes.) Who are parents? (Corrupt humans). That’s right, parents are corrupt humans. If you sometimes miss your parents, and think, “How have my parents been getting on these past two years? Have they missed me? Have they retired? Do they have any difficulties in life? Do they have anyone to take care of them when they are sick?” Let’s say you are thinking these things and you also ponder, “The parent is always right. My parents used to beat me and scold me because they were exasperated that I couldn’t live up to their expectations, and because they loved me with such zeal. My parents are better than anyone, they are the ones who love me the most in the world. Now that I think about my parents’ bad qualities, I no longer see them as bad qualities, because the parent is always right.” And the more you think about this, the more you want to see them. Is it good to think like this? (No, it isn’t.) No, it isn’t. How should you think? You ponder on it: “My parents beat me, scolded me, and hurt my self-esteem when I was a child. They never said a kind word or encouraged me. They forced me to study, and also forced me to learn dancing and singing, and to study for Math Olympiads—all things that I don’t like. My parents really were annoying. Now I believe in God and I am set free. I left home to perform my duty before I’d even finished college. It’s God who is good. I don’t miss my parents. They prevented me from believing in God. My parents are devils.” Then you ponder again, “That’s not right. The parent is always right. My parents are the people who are closest to me, so it’s only right to miss them.” Is it right to think this? (No, it’s wrong.) So what’s the right way to think? (We used to think that no matter what our parents do, they do it out of consideration for us, and that they are good to us in everything they do, and that they will never harm us. God’s fellowshiping just now has made me realize that my parents are also corrupt humans, who have accepted various ideas and views from Satan. Unwittingly, our parents have instilled many satanic views into us, causing us to deviate too far from the truth in our comportment and actions, and to live by satanic philosophies. Now that I have some discernment about what is in my parents’ hearts, I will miss them and think about them much less.) In dealing with your parents, you should first rationally step outside of this blood relationship and discern your parents using the truths you have already accepted and understood. Discern your parents based on their thoughts, views, and motives regarding conduct, and on their principles and methods of conduct, which will confirm that they too are people corrupted by Satan. View them and discern them from the perspective of truth, rather than always thinking that your parents are lofty, selfless, and kind to you, and if you look at them that way, you will never discover what issues they have. Don’t view your parents from the perspective of your family ties, or your role as a son or daughter. Step outside of this sphere and look at how they deal with the world, with the truth, and with people, matters, and things. Also, more specifically, look at the ideas and views that your parents have conditioned into you as regards how you should view people and things, and how you should comport yourself and act—this is how you should recognize and discern them. In this way, their human qualities and the fact that they have been corrupted by Satan will become clear little by little. What kind of people are they? If they aren’t believers, what is their attitude toward people who do believe in God? If they are believers, what is their attitude toward the truth? Are they people who pursue the truth? Do they love the truth? Do they like positive things? What is their outlook on life and the world? And so on. If you can discern your parents based on these things, you will have a clear idea. Once these matters are clear, the lofty, noble, and unshakable status of your parents in your mind will change. And when it changes, the motherly and fatherly love shown by your parents—along with their specific words and actions, and those lofty images you hold of them—will no longer be so deeply imprinted in your mind. The selflessness and greatness of your parents’ love for you, as well as their devotion in taking care of you, protecting you, and even doting on you, will imperceptibly cease to occupy an important position in your mind. People often say, “My parents love me so much. Whenever I’m away from home, my mom always asks me, ‘Have you eaten? Are you eating at regular times?’ Dad always asks, ‘Have you got enough money? If you don’t have any money, I’ll send you a bit more.’ And I say, ‘I have money, there’s no need,’ and Dad replies, ‘No, that won’t do, even though you say you have money, I will send you some anyway.’” The fact is that your parents live frugally and are reluctant to spend money on themselves. They use their money to support you, so that you have a bit more spending money when you are away from home. Your mom and dad always say, “Be frugal at home but carry some extra money while traveling. Take a bit more with you when you’re out and about. If you don’t have enough money, just tell me, and I’ll send you some or add it onto your card.” Your parents’ selfless concern, consideration, care, and even smothering and pampering will always be an indelible mark of their selfless dedication in your eyes. This selfless dedication has become a powerful, warm feeling deep in your heart that bonds the relationship between you and them. It makes you unable to let go of them, and it makes you worry about them, keep fretting about them, constantly miss them, and it even makes you constantly willing to be trapped in this sentiment and blackmailed by their affections. Just what kind of phenomenon is this? Your parents’ love is indeed selfless. No matter how much your parents care for you, or no matter whether they scrimp and save just to give you money to spend, or buy you all the things you need, it may be a blessing for you now, but it won’t be a good thing for you in the long run. The more selfless they are, and the better they treat you, and the more they care about you, the less able you are to detach yourself from this affection and to let it go or forget it, and the more you miss them. When you fail to do your filial duty or fulfill any obligations to them, you will feel even more sorry for them. Under these circumstances, you don’t have the heart to discern them, or to forget their love and dedication and everything they have done for you, or to deem all of that unworthy of mention—this is the effect of your conscience. Does your conscience represent the truth? (No, it does not.) Why are your parents like this toward you? Because they have affections for you. So can their kindness to you represent their humanity essence? Can it represent their attitude toward the truth? No, it cannot. It’s just like mothers who always say, “You are my own flesh and blood, I sweated and slaved to raise you. How can I not know what you are thinking in your heart?” They are good to you due to these close family ties and this flesh-and-blood relationship, but are they really being good to you? Is this really their true face? Is it a true expression of their humanity essence? Not necessarily. Because you are related to them by blood, they think that they should be good to you out of a sense of duty. But you, as their child, think that they are good to you out of kindness, and feel unable to ever repay them. If you cannot repay their kindness in full, or even the tiniest fraction of it, your conscience will condemn you. Does the feeling you get when your conscience condemns you accord with the truth? In other words, if they were not your parents, but were instead ordinary people interacting with you normally within a group, would they treat you this way? (No.) They most certainly would not. If they were not your parents and had no blood relationship with you, their manner and attitude toward you would be different in various ways. They would definitely not care for you, protect you, smother you, look after you, or selflessly dedicate anything to you. So how would they treat you? Maybe they would bully you because you are young and have no social experience, or discriminate against you because of your low standing and status, and always speak to you in a bureaucratic tone and try to educate you; or maybe they would think you are average-looking, and if you talked to them, they wouldn’t pay you any attention, and you couldn’t measure up to them; or maybe they wouldn’t see you as being of any use, and they wouldn’t socialize with you or have anything to do with you; or maybe they would think you are guileless, so if they wanted to know about some matter, they would always start by asking you and trying to get the answers out of you; or maybe they would want to take unfair advantage of you somehow, such as whenever you buy some bargain, they would always want you to share it with them, or want to take some of it; or maybe, when you fall over in the street and need their hand to help you up, they wouldn’t even look at you, and would instead kick out at you; or maybe when you get on the bus, if you don’t give up your seat to them, they would say, “I’m so old, why won’t you give up your seat for me? Why are you such an ignorant youngster? Didn’t your parents teach you any manners!” And they would even give you a telling-off. If this is the case, you need to explore whether the maternal love and fatherly love hidden deep in your heart are a true revelation of their humanity. You are often moved by their selfless devotion to you and by their great maternal love and fatherly love, and you are greatly attached to them, miss them, and constantly want to repay them with your own life. What is the reason for this? If it’s just born out of conscience, then the problem is not that deep and can be remedied. But if it’s born out of affection for them, then it’s very troublesome. You’ll get stuck deeper and deeper in it and won’t be able to pull yourself out. You will often be stuck in this affection and miss your parents, and sometimes you will even betray God in order to repay your parents’ kindness. For example, what would you do if you heard that your parents were severely ill in hospital, or that something serious had happened to them and they were in some difficulty that they couldn’t get out of and were anguished and brokenhearted, or if you heard news that your parents were about to pass away? At that time, there’s no way of knowing whether your affections would dominate your conscience, or whether the truth and God’s words that He has taught you would steer your conscience into making a decision of some sort. The outcome of these matters depends on how you tend to view the relationship between parents and children, how much you have entered into the truth of how to treat parents, how much you can see through them, how much of an understanding you have as regards the nature essence of humankind, and how much of an understanding you have as regards the quality and essence of your parents’ humanity, as well as their corrupt dispositions. Most importantly, the outcome of these matters depends on how you treat relationships at family level, and the correct views you should hold—these are the various truths you should equip yourself with before any of these matters befall you. Everyone else—relatives and friends, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and other outsiders—can be easily let go of, as they do not occupy an important position in one’s affections. These people can easily be let go of, but parents are the exception. Parents alone are one’s closest relatives in the world. They are the people who play an important role in one’s life and have a significant impact during one’s lifetime, so it’s not easy to let go of them. If today you have gained some clear understanding of the various thoughts that the conditioning of your family gives rise to, it may help you let go of your affections toward your parents, because the conditioning effects exerted on you by your family as a whole only amount to intangible claims, whereas the most specific conditioning actually comes from your parents. One sentence from your parents, or their attitude toward doing something, or the ways and means by which they handle something—these are the most accurate ways to describe how you are conditioned. Once you have variously discerned and recognized in a specific way the ideas, actions, and sayings that your parents have conditioned into you, you will have an accurate evaluation and knowledge of the essence of your parents’ role, character, outlook on life, and ways of doing things. Once you have this accurate evaluation and knowledge, imperceptibly your perception of your parents’ role will gradually change from positive to negative in your mind. Once you perceive your parents’ role to be wholly negative, then you can gradually let go of your sentimental crutches, spiritual attachment, and the various kinds of great love they have for you. By that time, you will feel that the image you had of your parents deep within your heart used to be so lofty, rather like that in the essay “My Father’s Back,” which you studied in your school textbook, as well as in that popular song from many years ago, “Mom Is the Best in the World,” which was a Taiwanese movie theme song and caught on throughout Chinese-speaking society—these are ways in which society and the world educate humankind. When you don’t realize the essence or the true face behind these things, you feel that these methods of education are positive. Based on your existing humanity, they give you a greater recognition of and belief in the greatness of your parents’ love for you, and consequently they leave you with an impression deep in your heart that your parents’ love is selfless, great, and sacrosanct. Therefore, no matter how bad your parents are, their love is still selfless and great. To you this is an indisputable fact that no one can deny, and no one can say a bad word about your parents. Consequently, you don’t want to discern or expose them, and at the same time, you also want to keep a certain place for them deep in your heart, because you believe that parental love is forever above all else, flawless, great, and sacrosanct, and that no one can deny that. This is the baseline of your conscience and comportment. If someone says that parental love is not great or flawless, you will put up a desperate fight against them—this is irrational. Before people understand the truth, the influence of their conscience will prompt them to hold on to some traditional ideas and views, or also give rise to some new ideas and views. However, looking at it from the perspective of truth, these ideas and views are often irrational. Once you understand the truth, you can deal with these things within the scope of normal rationality. Therefore, humanity is possessed of both conscience and reason. If conscience cannot reach or measure up to these things, or they are not regulated or positive under the effects of conscience, then people can use rationality to regulate and correct them. So how do people achieve rationality? People have to understand the truth. Once people understand the truth, they will treat everything, choose everything, and discern everything more precisely and accurately. Thus they will achieve true rationality, and reach the point where reason transcends conscience. This is a manifestation of what happens after a person has entered into the truth reality. You may not really understand these words now, but you will understand them once you have real experience and understand the truth. Does this saying “The parent is always right” come from rationality or conscience? It is not rational, it originates from one’s affections under the influence of conscience. So is this saying rational? No, it is irrational. Why is it irrational? Because it originates from one’s affections, and it is not in accordance with the truth. So, at what point are you able to view and treat parents rationally? When you understand the truth and you have seen through to the essence and root of this matter. Once you have done that, you will no longer treat your parents according to the influence of conscience, affections will no longer play a role, neither will conscience, and you will be able to view and treat your parents according to the truth—this is being rational.
Have I been clear in fellowshiping on the problem of how to treat parents? (Yes.) This is an important matter. Family members all say, “The parent is always right,” and you don’t know whether it’s right or not, so you just accept it. Then whenever your parents do something that is out of line, you ponder and think, “People say ‘The parent is always right,’ so how can I say that my parents are not right? What happens in the family stays in the family, don’t tell others about it, just put up with it.” In addition to the conditioning effects of this incorrect saying—“The parent is always right”—there is another saying: “What happens in the family stays in the family.” So you think, “Who is there to blame for my own parents? I can’t tell outsiders about this shameful thing. I must keep it under wraps. What’s the point in being serious with my parents?” These conditioning effects from family are ever-present in people’s daily lives, in their life path, and in the course of their existence. Before people understand the truth and gain the truth, they view people and things, and comport themselves and act based on these various ideas and views that are conditioned into them by their family. They are often swayed, disturbed, constrained, and bound hand and foot by these thoughts. They are even guided by these thoughts, and often misjudge people and do the wrong things, as well as frequently violating God’s words and the truth. Even if people have listened to many of God’s words, and even if they often pray-read God’s words and fellowship on them, because these views that their family has conditioned into them are deeply rooted in their thoughts and in their hearts, they have no discernment of these views, nor any ability to resist them. Even while they are receiving the teachings and provision of God’s words, they are still swayed by these thoughts, which also guide their words, deeds, and way of living. Therefore, under the unconscious guidance of these thoughts that are conditioned into them by their family, people often cannot stop themselves from violating God’s words and the truth principles. And yet, they still think that they are practicing the truth and pursuing the truth. Little do they know that these various sayings that are conditioned into them by their family simply do not accord with the truth. What is even more serious is that these sayings conditioned into people by their family lead them to the path of violating the truth over and over again, and yet they don’t even know it. Therefore, if you want to pursue the truth and enter into the truth reality, you should first clearly discern and recognize the various conditioning effects that come from your family, and then make an effort to rid yourself of these various thoughts that are conditioned into you by your family. Of course, it can definitely be said that you must break with your family’s conditioning. Don’t think that because you come from that family, you have to do this or live that way. You have no responsibility or obligation to inherit your family’s traditions or inherit its various ways and means of doing things and acting. Your life comes from God. Today you have been chosen by God, and the goal you want to pursue is that of salvation, so you cannot use the various ideas conditioned into you by your family as the basis for your views on people and things, your comportment, and your actions. Instead, you must view people and things, and comport yourself and act based on God’s words and His various teachings. Only in this way can you achieve salvation in the end. Of course, the conditioning effects exerted by family are not limited to the ones listed here. I have mentioned just a few of them. There are many different kinds of family education that come from different families, different clans, different societies, different races, and different religions, and which condition the thoughts of human beings in all sorts of ways. No matter what race or religious culture this various thought conditioning comes from, as long as it does not accord with the truth, and as long as it does not come from God but from people, then it should be let go of, and it is something that people should break away from. They should not adhere to it, let alone inherit it. These things are all things that people should abandon and cast off. Only this way can people truly embark on the path of pursuing the truth and enter into the truth reality.
These sayings we have fellowshiped on that come from the conditioning of one’s family are in one sense representative, and in another sense, they are often talked about among people. As for some special and non-representative sayings, we will not talk about those now. What do you think about our fellowshiping on the topic of family? Has it been beneficial in some way? (Yes, it has.) Is it necessary to fellowship on this topic? (Yes.) Everyone has a family and is conditioned by their family. The things that family instills into you are all poison and spiritual opium, and make you suffer quite bitterly. When your parents instilled these things into you, you felt really wonderful at the time, rather like taking opium. You felt comfortable all over, as if you had entered into a blissful world. But after a while the effects wore off, so you have to keep looking for this kind of stimulation. This spiritual opium brings you no end of trouble and disturbance. To this day, it is really difficult for you to get rid of, and is not something that can be cast off in a short time. If people want to let go of these conditioned ideas and views, they must spend some time and energy identifying them, peeling back the layers to recognize them clearly and see through them. Then, whenever related matters crop up, they must be able to let go of these things, forsake them, and not act according to the principles of such ideas and views, but rather, practice and do things according to the way that God teaches people. These few words sound simple, but they may take 20 or 30 years, or even a lifetime for people to put into practice. It may be that you will spend your whole lifetime fighting against the ideas and views produced by those sayings that are instilled into you by your family, and cutting yourself off from these ideas and views, and breaking away from them. To do this, you must expend your feelings and energy, and also undergo some physical hardships. You must also have a tremendous desire for God and a will that thirsts for and pursues the truth. Only by possessing these things can you gradually achieve change and gradually enter into the truth reality. This is how difficult it is to gain the truth and life. When people have listened to many sermons, they understand some doctrines regarding faith in God, but it is not easy for them to truly achieve understanding of the truth and be able to discern the conditioning effects of family and the ideas and views of unbelievers. Even if you can understand the truth after listening to sermons, entering into the truth reality is not something that happens overnight, right? (Right.) Okay, here ends our fellowship for today. Goodbye!
February 25, 2023
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “the reviled Song dynasty politician.”