(Clearwisdom.net) Lately I have had a clearer understanding of my acquired notions, as well as how these habits can control people's thoughts and behavior. Master had said in the article "For Whom do You Exist?" (Essentials for Further Advancement)

"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."

I find that bad thoughts are not necessarily obvious or at the surface. They are usually simply reactions to what happens and covertly control people's behavior. In the past, monks in remote mountains might have been able to reach a state free of bad thoughts, probably because they did not come in contact with ordinary society, so their bad thoughts had no opportunity to surface.

Notions often appear as a kind of emotion, a desire, a thought of how to do something, or even a kind of habit. It is difficult to distinguish them from your true thoughts. For instance, when everyday people come to ask for my help, they always smile and act humbly. When I ask others for help I find myself doing the same thing and also act humbly and speak gently. What kind of attachment did such behavior hide? A protective ego, and anxiety about the loss of my own interests. That is the reason for my keeping a low profile and protecting my interests. Acquired habits control people's behavior. Although there were no bad thoughts in my mind, my behavior already mirrored specific habits.

One acquired habit is that of fear. For the most part, I fear nothing. Occasionally, though, when something unexpected happens to me, many inappropriate thoughts that stem from fear immediately pop into my head.

The attachment to lust is another typical acquired notion. I understand that the attachment to lust might not directly appear to be despicable thoughts in mind, but it usually appears as being fond of beauty and this unknowingly affects and controls people's behavior. For instance, when a beautiful girl comes to ask for my help, I am moved by the attachment to lust even though I did not have any bad thoughts in my mind. The obvious behavior I displayed was being enthusiastic and friendly to her because a beautiful girl was paying attention to me. I would find topics to talk to her about and try to keep her staying longer, consciously or not. Even if I did not have the ability to help her, I would try my best to seek other possibilities, etc. On the contrary, if an unattractive girl comes to ask for my help, I would have no such feeling and would not do the same thing. I would follow all protocols for handling business and refuse her without any hesitation if I could not help.

Being addicted to lust is one such kind of acquired habit, a kind of substance that really exists. It controls people's bodies, creating negative physical symptoms. I understand this thoroughly. Lust during the daytime is not strong for me. However, at night when I am about to fall asleep, my desires surface and my mind conjures some erotic scenarios that are common in today's society. I had initially felt I had not cultivated well; my sexual craving was so strong. I could not get rid of it. Obviously, it was not what I wanted. I finally understand that this craving was a reflection of my acquired mindset, or perhaps a form of interference from the old forces.

Recently, that craving made a reappearance. I was calm and remained motionless on the bed. I just watched, like an innocent bystander, how my craving acted. And then I sent righteous thoughts to eliminate it, and after a while it disappeared. Then I fell asleep with a pure and calm mind.

When I was half awake and half asleep, I saw myself walking outside of my old house in my hometown. Lust again emerged. I felt so annoyed that I squatted down and did not want to walk any more. At that moment thunder gently boomed. The sound was not very loud, but I was shocked. I realized that Master gave me a hint to be diligent. At the same time the interference was also cleared up.