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Original Sin and the Redemption

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about Original Sin and the Redemption

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.

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

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.

Concern for Such Matters as the Redemption of the Present World, as the Fulfillment and Completeness of Life Can Arguably be Seen Not to be the Primary Perspective of the Major Spiritual Traditions

Contemporary thought concerning spirit tends to reflect the modern dichotomy between self and soul. Religion is the realm of priests and ministers, functioning as specialists to advise and aid individuals in a particular area of their lives. Most spiritual teachers seem to participate in this dichotomy, seeing themselves as caretakers of the soul or spirit, and leaving concerns of the self to psychologists. (This view is changing somewhat, but the dichotomy is still the rule.) It is interesting in this light to remember that the major religious traditions have developed in such a way that their primary concern is either preparation for the afterlife, in theistic religions, or enlightenment that brings freedom from existence, in Eastern religions. Concern for such matters as the redemption of the present world, as fulfillment and completeness of life, can arguably be seen not to be the primary perspective of the major spiritual traditions. 

In the Christ Perspective, the Shell that is the Apparent World, the Fake World, is Resurrected as the Cosmic Logos, the True Living World

Student: How is this Christ perspective connected to the Absolute?

Almaas: When the Absolute is realized, is really established, you can see the whole universe emerge again, but in a more real, more living, more organic way. The mind comes back, but comes back in true thinking. For the first time, you understand what thinking is. The thinking, the mind that we thought was a problem for spiritual realization—which it was—is now redeemed and functions in a real way. We realize that there is true thinking, liberated mentation, in which the thoughts themselves are an expression of love and peace and harmony. Then there is true feeling. There is true action. True thought. All redeemed. The dream of the human soul is to live in the real world, with joy and compassion, with harmony and peace and love. The dream of the human soul is to live a human life where life, world, and what is thought of as spiritual aren’t separate. We don’t liberate ourselves by leaving the world. We liberate ourselves by living the world. So it’s as if the shell is redeemed. The shell that is the ego, the empty shell, the fake one, is redeemed as the soul. When we see that the ego is not separate, when we recognize its original sin, the shell becomes connected, continuous with the whole. And that very shell, now made of essence and love and truth, we now realize is the soul. In the Christ perspective, the shell that is the apparent world, the empty world, the fake world, is resurrected as the Cosmic Logos, the true living world, the universal soul. 

Movement from Original Sin to the Absolute is Not Specific to Christianity; all Traditions Have that in One Form or Another

Student: What’s the difference between the Christ perspective and other teachings about separateness and loss of boundaries?

Almaas: Different people look at it in different ways. Some people talk about the separateness; some people talk about leaving your identity. Some teach about nonduality. There are all kinds of ways to look at it. It’s true that most traditions speak about going through that experience of loss of boundaries. But the loss of boundaries can happen in many ways. The experience of the Logos, in one way or another, is a loss of boundaries in a state of oneness. But that is not the complete experience of the Logos. Not all traditions know the complete experience of the Logos, but they experience it in one manifestation or another. So you could experience the oneness without experiencing it as a functioning oneness, as a living oneness. That’s one experience of the Logos, as a way you pass through the experience of oneness. But Christ says he is the Way and the Life, which means there is more. He is the oneness that is the Life that happens after one dies into the Absolute. 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. 

Original Sin, which is Separateness from the Source of Reality is Not Simply a Religious Transgression but a Faulty Understanding. It is the Basic Fault

Our attitude in this work is “I want to serve because I love the truth, not because I’m good. And in serving, I’m quite willing to see how bad I am.” So when Christians say, “First you have to see your wretchedness,” I take that to mean that we first need to recognize our impurity, our deficiency, our emptiness. And even after we have seen our wretchedness, to be saved we have to believe in the Christ. Seeing through our wretchedness is the work of purification. But the purification alone is not enough to completely attune us to the truth. In the Christian tradition, we need to be saved through the action of Christ, through the resolution of the original sin. The action of Christ is the action of unification and union, realizing that we’re not separate. The original sin is the belief in separateness. To see through the separateness, to realize that we are not separate from the truth but an integral expression of the truth, is true service. We are not only a servant but an actual slave of the truth. When we serve the truth and become God’s slave, we don’t lose our independence, we don’t lose our life; we gain the true life. As Christian mystics say, the true life is the life in the Divine Being, life lived as part of the Divine Being, the Cosmic Truth. So true attunement means finding the true function of the soul and living harmoniously with all that exists. True attunement is universal in scope. We cannot arrive at attunement as an independent and isolated enterprise. If we think of inner work as developing ourselves and our souls for our own sake, we will not transform in any significant way. The perspective of developing ourselves separately from the rest of the universe reflects a lack of understanding about what reality is. Original sin, which is separateness from the source of reality, is not simply a religious transgression but a faulty understanding. It is the Basic Fault.  

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

We Cannot Penetrate to the Absolute, to the Ultimate Nature, Believing that We are a Separate Soul

So the revelation of Christ brings back—full of life—the concepts, the forms, that we had to let go of to free ourselves from the world. Through this redemption, through that resurrection, we can see the significance of human life, which is not simply a matter of being free from the world but is actually about living in a real way. This realization can bring harmony between human beings, and between human beings and the rest of reality, because we see that we are all made of one thing. We are all made of joy and love and peace, not only light. Everything is made of that. Our realization of Christ in this way makes sense of the statement that “no one can come to the Father except through me.” Only through Christ can we go to the Father because we can’t go to the Father as a separate individual. There’s no way. We cannot penetrate to the Absolute, to the ultimate nature, believing that we are a separate soul. We have to lose our original sin, to let go of our separateness, and become the Christ. Only then can we realize that the Christ is the firstborn, in some sense the only born of the Absolute. We realize that the Christ, the totality of the universe as a harmony of all that there is, is the first manifestation of the Absolute. It is the first Word. Christ is the Word made flesh, the first form that arose from Absolute nonexistence. Here “Absolute” means before appearance, before creation, before existence. And the first thing that appears out of that is the Word. The Word is not just a word uttered by someone; the Word is the totality of all there is. The Word is the totality of all there is in the sense that it is a concept, an articulation. The Word is a concept in the mind of the Absolute. In some sense, the Absolute thinks and the world is created. But the Word in the mind of the Absolute is not like a word in our mind. The Word in the mind of the Absolute is the totality of the universe as complete harmony. One way to see it is that the potential within the Absolute that is not manifest becomes manifest.

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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