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Original Sin

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Original Sin

Christ’s Contribution to the Understanding of the Human Situation

So this is the redemption: In the course of our path of realizing what is beyond mind, the forms that came to be seen as only conceptual, empty, and unreal, now become full and real, filled with the truth. Here we can speak of a whole dimension we call the Cosmic Christ. In the way I understand Christian revelation, the person Christ, or Jesus, taught and embodied this perspective more clearly and more completely than anyone else before him. Christ taught that the kingdom of heaven has arrived here and now. When we go through the redemption, when the original sin is released, we realize that the kingdom of heaven is here. When we release the original sin, we experience the resurrection, and not only are we resurrected without the separate self, but the whole world is resurrected. Human life as a whole is resurrected, including the human mind, including the human heart. So Christ’s contribution to the understanding of the human situation is to show the truth and thus the value of the world, of existence, what in religious traditions is called creation.

Seeing Original Sin as the Belief that We are an Independent Entity, a Separate Human Being

Here we need to introduce another factor important to Christianity. As far as I understand it, Christian belief involves the notion of original sin. In fact, the idea of original sin is specifically Christian. What is original sin? Original sin is not something that we do in our life. We have it the moment we are born. It is the fabric of being a human being. Although the doctrine of original sin first appears most prominently in the Christian theology of Augustine, the notion is derived from Paul’s letters in the New Testament. Original sin is the fundamental problem that all human beings have from the beginning, a problem that is not dependent on whether we are good or bad, whether we do the right thing or the wrong thing. Although Christian scholars explicate the notion in various ways, in my view original sin is the belief that we are an independent entity, that we are a separate human being. So the belief in separateness, the belief in entityhood, the belief in being a separate entity and having our own will and mind and choice is the original sin.

Separateness is One Way of Understanding the Christian Concept of Original Sin

Such separateness has been seen by many mystics as the original fall, the true meaning of the biblical story of the fall. In other words, separateness is one way of understanding the Christian concept of original sin, for it leads naturally and automatically to all the ugly passions, and ultimately to hatred, even hatred of goodness and love. In Islamic thought, the devil was an angelic soul that was cast out of heaven. In other words, we may see that the casting out of heaven as the loss of the paradisal state of divine love, which results in separateness, isolation, opposition, and loss of love. (See Facets of Unity, chapter 11.) Absence of love, combined with the privations of separateness, breeds hatred, becoming personified in the figure of the Beast.

The End of Separateness and the Redemption from Original Sin

We are here to live in a real world, in a real way. The redemption is our recognizing that the world, including all of humanity, is life; the world itself is alive. We recognize that the whole world is made of living consciousness. And we realize also that the nature of the consciousness is love. ………..One way many people experience this realization is to perceive the whole world as the living body of Christ. This means the end of separateness and the redemption from original sin. When we see the true reality of the world in its redeemed truth, we see that there are no separations. The oneness we have realized is composed of the various human qualities—composed of love, composed of compassion, composed of strength, of beauty, peace, and harmony. All these qualities are revealed to be what constitute not only our souls but also physical reality. All of physical reality, all of the universe, can be seen then as a harmony, as an expression of love. All the dimensions and all the accidents of life appear in harmonious oneness: Oneness that is peace. Oneness that is love. Oneness that is harmony.

The Feeling of Something that We Call “Sin”

So the experience of duality is imbued with the loss of that holiness, beauty, and harmony, and therefore, has a negative tinge to it. This loss will be experienced as the sense that something is fundamentally wrong. The closest thing to this sense is the feeling of “original sin.” You know something terrible has happened, but you don’t know exactly what it is; you don’t know it is the loss of your natural state. The term Dzogchen in Tibetan literally means the natural state of the human individual, the condition where everything is completely the way it should be—and this is what you have lost. This results in a very deep state of something that we call “sin.” It feels like a disconnection, a loss, and a falling from grace; you no longer live in Holy Truth. You sense that what is most true and precious has been lost and destroyed, and that someone or something is to blame. Through the filter of the delusion of duality, one thing becomes perceived as being in opposition to another, and one side is guilty. The loving and perfect truth has been lost, and so someone has committed a crime or a sin here, and must be found and punished. This is the position of the ennea-type Eight, which has been called Ego Venge. Ultimately, you blame yourself for no longer being divine, and later this blame is projected onto others in order to protect yourself from the self-hatred that would otherwise result.

Facets of Unity, pg. 93

What Needs to Happen is the Actual Perception of the Original Sin of Separateness

So the movement from original sin to the Absolute is not specific to Christianity; all traditions have that in one form or another. Christianity emphasizes original sin as part and parcel of being human, having nothing to do with being good or bad. And only Christ can redeem you from that original sin. Although many theologians tell you that you have to believe in that person Christ and to believe in Christianity to be redeemed, I don’t think it works that way, although the belief might help. What needs to happen is the actual perception of the original sin of separateness and then the actual perception of the nondual dynamic oneness. So believing in your mind in Christ does not do it; you actually have to perceive the Christ. So being both the Way and the Life is important, but being the Life is the specific contribution of Christianity that’s not talked about much in other traditions. Christ’s message is the redemption of the totality of all existence, seeing the Logos as the Cosmic Logos, as the Cosmic Christ, giving existence a true value. Christ happened to be a complete embodiment of that level of consciousness in being a person. So you could say that the Logos itself, true nature as a dynamic, creative, active, living, indivisible presence of realness, got incarnated as an individual. And that’s the sense in which Christ is the Son of God, because the Logos is what first comes out of the Absolute. The Logos is the first radiance, the first light, the first intelligence. Think of the resurrection as happening all the time. The Logos is the firstborn, the first emanation of the Absolute. Christ the Logos is the oldest of the old.

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