Buddha-Nature and Demon-Nature 

In a very high and very microscopic dimension of the universe there exist two different kinds of substances. They are two forms of material existence manifest by the supreme nature of the universe, Zhen-Shan-Ren, at certain dimensional levels in the universe. They pervade certain dimensions from top to bottom, or from the microscopic level to the macroscopic level. With the Fa’s manifestations at different levels, the lower the level, the greater the difference in the manifestations and variations of these two different substances. As a result, it brings forth what the Dao School calls the principles of yin and yang and Taiji. Descending further to lower levels, these two kinds of matter with different properties become increasingly opposed to each other, and this then gives rise to the principle of mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition.

Through mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition there appear kindness and wickedness, right and wrong, and good and evil. Then, as to living beings, if there are Buddhas, there are demons; if there are humans, there are ghosts—this is more obvious and complicated in the society of everyday people. Where there are good people, there are bad ones; where there are selfless people, there are selfish ones; where there are open-minded people, there are narrow-minded ones. As to cultivation, where there are people who believe in it, there are people who do not; where there are people who can be enlightened, there are people who cannot; where there are people for it, there are people against it—this is human society. If everyone could practice cultivation, be enlightened to it, and believe in it, human society would turn into a society of gods. Human society is just a society of human beings, and it is not allowed to cease to exist. Human society will continue to exist forever. Therefore, it is normal that there are people who oppose it. It would be abnormal if instead no one objected. Without ghosts, how could humans reincarnate as humans? Without the existence of demons, one would not be able to cultivate Buddhahood. Without bitterness, there could not be sweetness.

When people try to accomplish something, they encounter difficulty precisely because the principle of mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition exists. Only when you accomplish what you want through bitter effort and overcome difficulties will you find it not easily won, cherish what you have achieved, and feel happy. Otherwise, if there were no principle of mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition and you could accomplish anything without effort, you would feel bored with life and lack a sense of happiness and the joy of success.

Any kind of matter or life in the universe is composed of microscopic particles that make up larger particles, and these then form surface matter. Within the scope covered by these two kinds of matter of differing properties, all matter and lives possess dual nature just the same. For instance, iron and steel are hard, but they oxidize and rust when buried in the earth. Pottery and porcelain, on the other hand, do not oxidize when buried in the earth, but are fragile and easily broken. The same applies to human beings, who possess Buddha-nature and demon-nature at the same time. What one does without moral obligations and constraints is of demon-nature. Cultivating Buddhahood is to eliminate your demon-nature and strengthen and increase your Buddha-nature.

One’s Buddha-nature is Shan, and it manifests itself as compassion, thinking of others before acting, and the ability to endure suffering. One’s demon-nature is viciousness, and it manifests as killing, stealing and robbing, selfishness, wicked thoughts, sowing discord, stirring up troubles by spreading rumors, jealousy, wickedness, anger, laziness, incest and so on.

The nature of the universe, Zhen-Shan-Ren, manifests in different ways at different levels. The two different kinds of substances within certain levels of the universe also have different manifesting forms at different levels. The lower the level, the more marked the mutual-opposition, and thus the distinction between good and bad. The virtuous becomes more virtuous, while the evil becomes more evil. The dual nature in the same physical subject also becomes more complicated and changeable. This is exactly what Buddha referred to when he said, “Everything has Buddha-nature.” In fact, everything has demon-nature as well. 

Nevertheless, the universe is characterized by Zhen-Shan-Ren, and so is the society of everyday people. These two kinds of substances that I discussed are nothing but two types of substances that exist from top to bottom, from the microscopic level to the macroscopic level, to human society, and are reflected in living beings and matter and can cause dual nature in them. But lives and matter from the top to the bottom, to human society, are composed of countless varieties of matter from the microscopic level to the macroscopic level.

If mankind does not observe human moral standards, society will enter uncontrollable chaos, with natural calamities and man-made disasters. If a cultivator does not get rid of his demon-nature through cultivation, his gong will be badly disordered and he will attain nothing or follow a demonic path. 

Li Hongzhi

August 26, 1996