From the Original Sin to Buddha Nature Essay

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When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, they were sent to earth to work on themselves, with the promise that they would ultimately find deliverance, along with their children, provided that they obey God on earth. The very fact that they were disobedient to God is referred to as the original sin of man (Harent). Although theologists have ascribed various meanings to original sin through the ages, it is the original sin that is believed to have brought mankind from the Garden of Eden down to earth a place where toil and suffering are realities of daily living.

Believers in the original sin are made to agree that they are imperfect beings, unlike God, which is why they were sent down to earth by the almighty God (Harent). But, the Christ taught his followers to become perfect like God in order to save themselves from all suffering, especially in the hereafter. This teaching of the Christ is consonant with the concept of Buddha nature in Buddhism. Both the Christ and the Buddha taught that every individual is capable of becoming perfect, like the Buddha or the Christ, if not God Himself (King).

In order to become perfect, human beings have to rid themselves of all baseness, including negative emotions and thoughts, that is, the roots of all evil. Without a negative thought or emotion, evil deeds are not possible. Thus, clearing of the mind to make way for ultimate peace is the way of the Buddha. Buddhism is concerned with individuals ridding themselves of suffering here and now (King). To become Christ-like here and now is the aim of the Buddhist, although Buddhism does not refer to Jesus Christ by his name as the Christians do.

The Bible teaches its followers that human beings were made in the image of God, and that, in fact, the Lord of the universe breathed His Spirit into man. The Christ is the Spirit of God. Hence, every human being has the Christ within. When human beings indulge in evil deeds, it is Satan that is urging them to do so. It was Satan that urged man to disobey God in the Garden of Eden. The concept of original sin carries with itself the belief that Satan would continue to urge human beings the children of Adam and Eve to disobey God.

But, the prophets of God taught humanity to remember God and worship Him in all sincerity so as to save themselves from Hellfire or eternal suffering. Buddhists do not believe in the idea of eternal suffering. They believe in samsara instead, which is a cycle of birth and rebirth, so long as human beings have not attained the perfection of the Buddha (King 1). Christians do not believe in this cycle of birth and rebirth. It is only special people such as Jesus Christ, Elias and some of the best believers that may be reincarnated.

For ordinary mortals, Christianity does not promise a second birth, except in paradise or hell, both of which are believed to be eternal, unlike temporary lives on earth. Buddhists believe that the Buddha nature cannot exist outside of the human mind, although the Buddha is like the Spirit of God all-encompassing (King). To be a Buddha, an ordinary mortal is advised to work on his mind. According to a master of Zen Buddhism: To realize our Buddha-nature, two general conditions must be met. First, we must be sentient beings. Looking around, I think that we all qualify!

The Buddha calls this the direct cause. It is analogous to milk from which cream can be derived. Next, it is important to know what a sentient being is. A sentient being is, roughly speaking, spirit. Dont be confused and just assume that a sentient being is an animal or a plant, or even the five aggregates. It isnt. Your thoughts, for example, are sentient beings” but not a common fence post. The second condition you must fulfill in order to realize Buddha-nature is the indirect cause. The indirect cause refers to the six paramitas according to the Maahaparinirvaana

Sutra¦ The first paramita is charity. By mastering it, we surpass the robber of the visual world and thereby become spiritually wealthy¦ The second paramita is discipline. By mastering it, we surpass the robber of the auditory world and acquire good spiritual practices and concentration¦ The third paramita is patience. By mastering it, we surpass the robber of the olfactory world and acquire inner peace, both for self and for others¦ The fourth paramita is strength. By mastering it, we surpass the robber of the world of taste and acquire devotion¦

The fifth paramita is meditation. By mastering it, we surpass the robber of tactile sensations¦ The sixth paramita is wisdom. By mastering it, we surpass the robber of consciousness¦ (Buddha-Nature). The fact that the Buddhist master writes about realizing the Buddha nature just as the Christ taught about becoming perfect and holy like God underlines the concept of the original sin. Because human beings are capable of turning the wrong way, people like the Buddha and the Christ are sent as guides, according to Biblical beliefs about the presence of such people.

The Bible teaches its believers that Adam and his children are all capable of sinning or indulging in evil deeds. God desires for them to perform good deeds instead, with the use of His Spirit within. To realize the Buddha nature is to attain knowledge of the Christ within each human being. Because human beings perform evil deeds in order to feel like masters over their environment and Adam disobeyed God because Gods Spirit was capable of using freewill the Christ taught his followers to shun all evil in order to experience their own power in God.

Satan had the power to tempt the Christ as well, but the latter did not give in. If evil is all about attaining mastery over things, perfect peace, according to the Buddha and the Christ, is to live in the purity of God although Buddhists do not refer to God as the Christians do. To realize the Buddha nature, one must not only be aware of the Christ within, as a Christian would understand it; but also to comprehend the concept of the original sin. A realized human being, according to Buddhist understanding, is aware that negative thoughts and emotions may arrive through the senses.

Coming across a criminal, for example, may fill an innocent human being with negative thoughts and emotions. These thoughts and emotions may give rise to further problems; the innocent human being may decide to kill the criminal. In order to be safe from all suffering and worries, the Buddha taught his followers to contain their thoughts, and trust in the absolute peace available to every soul. This peace is only attainable through control of the mind (King). Buddhists are also taught to empty their minds because thoughts may lead individuals to continue on the path of the original sin (King).

According to the Christ, on the other hand, the mind must be infiltrated by thoughts of God. To live in God a Christian concept is also to discover ultimate peace here and now. Because of the original sin, however, it is important to worship God according to Christian belief. Buddhists are clear about the fact that the mind may lead the individual to err. Of course, Adam had thought to err before he actually sinned. As its name implies, the concept of Buddha nature is to be like the Buddha, an individual referred to as the holy one or the perfect one.

Once again, according to Buddhists, clearing of the mind is essential to being like the Buddha. In reality, however, it is not always possible to keep the mind clear of all thoughts. This is the reason why the Christs teachings are essential to discuss with reference to the Buddha nature. Living in God is to remember Him as much as possible. Some of the names of God are Love and Peace. The aim of the Buddhist is also to realize these attributes in order to be saved from the suffering of the original sin. Neither the Buddha nor the Christ taught that it is possible to save oneself from the perpetual possibility to err in this lifetime.

Thus, believers in the Buddha and the Christ are required to make a constant effort to save themselves from eternal damnation. Buddhists must be practicing meditation to stay close to their essential nature, that is, the Buddha nature or the Christ within. Christians, on the other hand, must be worshipping God as the principle form of meditation to stay close to God. According to the Bible, the consequences of the original sin would follow all human beings during their stay on earth. In the hereafter, Satan would be in hellfire with those that refused to shun all evil.

Those that remembered and worshipped God as He wanted them to would be saved. Of course, when Buddhists speak of compassion and charity, they are also remembering Gods attributes, albeit in a different way altogether. Followers of the Buddha and the Bible also believe in the perpetual negativity of the original sin, that, in fact, negative thoughts and emotions are always available to humanity on earth. The principle difference between the two beliefs systems is that the God mentioned in the Bible does not allow all human beings to be reincarnated.

Buddhists belief in a perpetual cycle of life and death so long as an individual has not attained permanent liberation. According to the Biblical belief system, however, the present life is the only chance for most human beings to catch up with masters such as the Christ. Adam and Eve were sent to earth with the potential to err. At the same time, each of them carried the Spirit of God or the Christ within. By meditating on this reality, the Buddha nature can be realized. Then again, according to the Bible, even the prophets of God had to continue worshipping God to keep themselves from evil thoughts that lead to evil deeds.

In reality, therefore, all human beings are perfect like the Buddha and the Christ; at the same time, nobody is saved from the possibility to err.

Works Cited

Buddha-Nature. Dark Zen. 26 Oct 2008. . Harent, Stephane. Original Sin. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 26 Oct. 2008 . King, Sallie B. Buddha Nature. New York: SUNY Press, 1991.

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