Is there “sin” in Buddhism?

Most practicing Buddhist masters do recognize “sin” by the traditional definitions, they regard sin as actions that are either unwholesome or unskillful. Therefore, in their belief, man is not sinful by nature, but simply uneducated or asleep at the wheel of life. It’s believed that every human being is an individual of great worth with a wealth of both good and evil. The good in a person awaits the right time to manifest. In short, Buddhism teaches that every evil deed done is by a singular individual, not their relatives or friends, and as a result, only the evildoer will repay for what they’ve done through the natural progression of karma.

We can interpret this as ones sorrow to be of their own making. It doesn’t culminate from a curse (family or otherwise), nor can it be traced to an original sin done by a fanciful primeval ancestor. Buddhists don’t believe that the world we are in is just a testing ground. They believe it can be the place to achieve the highest perfection. They further believe that humankind isn’t a deity’s experiment created with the power to discard when done. Buddhists believe that if sin can be forgiven, humanity is capable of taking this as an advantage and proceed to commit more crime. They also don’t subscribe to the belief that a person who commits crimes against others can elude the imparted consequences with unmerited favor. Again our karma, or the paths we set in motion often teach the greatest lessons.

When a person places their hand on or in a fire, the hand will be burned, and the scars will remain no matter how hard one prays. The same is believed to occur to individuals that choose to walk into the fires of bad actions. Buddhists approach to problems occurring from suffering is empirical as opposed to being metaphysical, imaginary, or speculative. Buddha’s path to sin is that it’s an unskillful and unwholesome action that leads to man’s downfall. To Buddha, the wicked man is a naïve one. He is an individual that should be instructed more not condemned and punished. The individual is not seen as violating God’s will and shouldn’t have to beg for forgiveness and divine mercy; instead, he should be guided to become enlightened. The wicked man needs an individual who will help him to use reason to understand that he is responsible for his wrongdoings, and there are consequences. 

“Work out your own salvation, do not depend on others for what you need or seek, this life is your path to walk, yours to grow from or wither on the vine in disillusion” – The Buddha

Peace and Love, Jim

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