For Whom do You Exist? 

The most difficult things for people to abandon are their notions. Some people cannot change, even if they have to give up their lives for fake principles. Yet notions are themselves acquired postnatally. People always believe that these unshakable ideas—ideas that can make them pay any price without a second thought—are their own thoughts. Even when they see the truth they reject it. In fact, other than a person’s innate purity and innocence, all notions are acquired postnatally and are not a person’s actual self.

If these acquired notions become too strong, their role will reverse by dictating a person’s true thinking and behavior. At this point, that person might still think that they are his own ideas. This is the case for almost all contemporary people.

In dealing with relevant, important matters, if a life can really assess things without any preconceived notions, then this person is truly able to take charge of himself. This clearheadedness is wisdom, and it is different from what average people call “intelligence.” If a person cannot do that, then he is dictated by acquired notions or external thoughts. He might even devote his entire life to struggling for them; but when he gets old, he will not even know what he has been doing in this lifetime. Though he has achieved nothing in his lifetime, he has committed innumerable mistakes while being driven by these acquired notions. Therefore, in his next life he will have to pay for the karma according to his own wrong deeds.

When a person becomes agitated, what controls his thoughts and feelings is not reason, but emotion. When a person’s various notions, such as his faith in science, religion, or an ideology, etc., are being challenged by the truth of the Buddha Fa, he also becomes agitated. This causes the evil side of human nature to predominate, thereby making him become even more irrational; this is a result of being controlled by the acquired notions. He blindly jumps to conclusions or complicates the matter. Even a person with a predestined relationship can lose the preordained opportunity because of this, turning his own actions into eternal, deep regrets.  

Li Hongzhi

July 11, 1998