Daily Words of God: Knowing God | Excerpt 199
Mankind’s Various Attitudes Toward God
How people behave toward God decides their fate, and decides how God behaves toward and deals with them. At this point I’m going to give some examples of how people behave toward God. Let’s hear something of whether the manners and attitudes with which they behave toward God are correct or not. Let us consider the conduct of the following seven types of people:
a. There is one type of person whose attitude toward God is particularly absurd. They think God is like a Bodhisattva or holy being of human lore, and needs people to bow three times when they meet and light incense after they have eaten. And thus when, in their hearts, they are thankful to God for His grace, and grateful to God, they often have such an impulse. They so wish that the God they believe in today can, like the holy being they yearn for in their hearts, accept the behavior toward Him in which they bow three times when they meet, and light incense after eating.
b. Some people see God as a living Buddha capable of removing all the living from suffering, and saving them; they see God as a living Buddha capable of taking them away from the sea of affliction. These people’s belief in God is the worship of God as a Buddha. Although they do not light incense, kowtow, or give offerings, in their hearts their God is just such a Buddha, and only asks that they are kind and charitable, that they kill no living thing, don’t swear at others, live a life that appears honest, and do nothing bad—just these things. This is the God in their hearts.
c. Some peopleas someone great or famous. For example, by whatever means this great person likes to speak, with whatever intonation he speaks, what words and vocabulary he uses, his tone, his hand gestures, his opinions and actions, his bearing—they copy all of them, and these are things that they must come to fully engender in the course of their belief in God.
d. Some people see God as a monarch, they feel He is above all else, and no one dares to offend Him—and if they do, they will be penalized. They worship such a monarch because monarchs hold a certain place in their hearts. The thoughts, manner, authority and nature of the monarchs—even their interests and personal life—all become something these people must understand, issues and matters that they are concerned about, and so they worship God as a monarch. Such a form of belief is ridiculous.
e. Some people have particular faith in the existence of God, one that is profound and unwavering. Because their knowledge of God is so superficial and they don’t have much experience of the words of God, they worship Him as an idol. This idol is the God in their hearts, it is something that they must fear and bow down to, and which they must follow and imitate. They see God as an idol, one that they must follow their whole life. They copy the tone with which God speaks, and externally they copy those whom God likes. They often do things that appear naive, pure, and honest, and they even follow this idol like a partner or companion that they can never part with. Such is their form of belief.
f. There are some people who, despite having read many ofand heard much preaching, feel in their hearts that the only principle of their behavior toward God is that they should always be obsequious and fawning, or else should praise God and commend Him in a way that is unrealistic. They believe that God is a God who requires them to behave in such a way, and they believe that if they do not do so, then at any time they may provoke His anger or sin against Him, and that as a result of sinning God will punish them. Such is the God in their hearts.
g. And then there’s the majority of people, who find spiritual sustenance in God. Because they live in this world, they are without peace or happiness, and nowhere do they find comfort. After they find God, when they have seen and heard His words, in their hearts they are secretly joyful and elated. And why is that? They believe that they have finally found somewhere that will bring them happiness, that they have finally found a God who will give them spiritual sustenance. That is because, after they have accepted God and began following Him, they become happy, their lives are fulfilled, they are no longer like the unbelievers, who sleepwalk through life like animals, and they feel they have something to look forward to in life. Thus, they think that this God can satisfy their spiritual needs and bring great happiness in both mind and spirit. Without realizing it, they become unable to leave this God who gives them spiritual sustenance, who brings happiness to their spirit and whole family. They believe that the belief in God need do nothing more than bring them spiritual sustenance.
Do the attitudes toward God of these various types of people exist among you? (They do.) If, in their belief in God, someone’s heart contains any of these attitudes, are they able to truly come before God? If someone has any of these attitudes in their heart, do they believe in God? Do they believe in the unique God Himself? Since you do not believe in the unique God Himself, who do you believe in? If what you believe in is not the unique God Himself, it is possible you believe in an idol, or a great man, or a Bodhisattva, that you worship the Buddha in your heart. Moreover, it’s possible that you believe in an ordinary person. In sum, because of people’s various forms of belief and attitudes toward God, people place the God of their own cognition in their hearts, they impose their imagination upon God, they place their attitudes and imaginings about God side-by-side with the unique God Himself, and then they hold them up to be feted. What does it mean when people have such improper attitudes toward God? It means that they have rejected the true God Himself and worship a false God, and it means that at the same time as believing in God, they reject God, and oppose Him, and that they deny the existence of the true God. If people keep holding onto such forms of belief, what will be the consequence for them? With such forms of belief, are they able to draw ever closer to fulfilling God’s requirements? On the contrary, because of their conceptions and imaginings, these people will become ever further from God’s way, for the direction they seek is the opposite of the direction God requires of them. Have you ever heard of the story “going south by driving the chariot north”? This may well be a case of going south by driving the chariot north. If people believe in God in such a ludicrous way, then the harder you try, the further you will run from God. And so I admonish you this: Before you get going, you must first discern whether you are going in the right direction. Be targeted in your efforts, and be sure to ask yourselves, “Is the God I believe in the Ruler of all things? Is this God I believe in merely someone that gives me spiritual sustenance? Is He my idol? What does this God I believe in ask of me? Does God approve of everything I do? Is everything I do and pursue in the pursuit of knowing God? Is it in line with God’s requirements of me? Is the path I walk recognized and approved of by God? Is God satisfied with my faith?” You should often and repeatedly ask yourselves these questions. If you wish to pursue the knowledge of God, then you must have a clear consciousness and clear objectives before you can satisfy God.