Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
Hawaii, U.S.A., September 6, 1994
(Originally in English)
Q: Do good and bad come from our hearts?
M: The good comes from the positive side of our nature; the bad comes from the negative side. Mostly, when we come here we borrow the negative side from environmental effects, influences, and the habits that we've learned from the people we are with, the company we are in. Just like you are not born a smoker or an alcoholic, you learn it from society. Once smoking becomes habitual, whenever you see a cigarette, you want it. And when you don't see a cigarette, it's still in your mind; you want to have one, or you want to have one more glass of alcoholic liquid. It is because you get into this habit; you are not born with it.
For example, you see your neighbor hitting someone else when he is angry and that person hits back. Then you keep seeing these images of your neighbor in your mind all the time, or something like that. The next time a person makes you angry or hits you, you will hit him back because you have learned that; you have practiced that in your mind, or you have learned it together with the people who taught you to hit other people when they do not please you.
That's why even in twins with the same DNA that are supposedly a split personality of the same person, the same construction, who have the same day and same minute of birth, or only one, a few seconds, or a minute apart, one person grows up to become a star of a political or other field, or a movie star, and the other grows up to become possibly a murderer, a thief or a violent person. It is because each was exposed to different environments.
In learning this, we can easily forgive the person; otherwise, we will think he is very bad. Actually, no one is so bad. He is just born with the tendency to learn, and he learns things quickly - the good as well as the bad. If he learns the good, he becomes good; if he learns the bad, he tends to become bad unless he has a strong will to resist it, and this is rare.
So, bad things do not come from the heart, but from the habits. Good things come from your heart because you are born with them. You are born with heavenly qualities, you are endowed with heavenly tools to come down, and then, coming down here you drop into this school with all kinds of things to learn and to react to. If you happen not to be strong enough and give in, then you will drown.
That's why I tell you that in heaven they don't look at sins and virtues the way we do. They are very tolerant, forgiving, and loving, but still you, yourself, have to check up, and you will probably feel bad yourself. That is the final day of judgment.
~ The Supreme Master Ching Hai
By strong will, good habits, association with good people, you quit a lot of bad habits.
Our bodies are created life after life from desires. Strong desires repeat themselves again and again, forming certain fixed habits that cannot be changed. This is what is called "being tied down to karma". Karmas are the habits cultivated through many lifetimes. Regardless of whether they are good or bad, they tie people down.