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Hate of sin

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in response to reader comment: Concerned Buddhist

Submitted by Concerned Buddhist (Lithuania), Sep 20, 2007 at 04:16

I am very happy to receive so insighful response from you. It indeed makes me think and to write a response was not so easy, I had not a ready answer and I still do not know whether I have, but I'll try to answer.

A person does not really exist as entity, what really exists is a conglomerate of mental and physiological states in constant flux. Sins as well a good acts make part of this flow, that why I think behavior and thoughts cannot be really separated from the person, if we remove them what remains from personality? Nothing. Yet since all states are impermanent, we can hope that a person who sinned today maybe will do good works tomorrow. So that a person is identic with his sins and at the same time isn't.

One does not need to hate sin. The sin is bad not because some LORD has decided that it is bad, but just because all persons and things are interrelated and interpenetrating, there is nothing what stands alone, so if you hurt others you in fact hurt yourself as well. Buddha was not God and he has not invented or postulated what should be considered sinful and what not, but he simply was an enlightened person who saw things as they really are and so he fomulated how humans should behave to be happy, similarly how a scientist would formulate a law of nature.

Maybe the effects of sin on a person will appear on him only in next life/lives but nevertheless it could be very hurtful. However an ordinary person is shrouded in thick cover of ignorance and does not perceive things as they really are, so continues commiting sins. Therefore sinful persons could be likened to "ignorant, foolish children". And indeed "foolish children" deserve compassion, not hate. One should not necessarily stand up tall and chastise them, sometime it is better just to coax them into right behavior by skillful means, of course sometime scolding works better. It depends on circumstances and it is not always easy to discern. One has to cultivate the wisdom to be able to do that.

Differently as you think, a person could not necessarily think "I am poor sinner and will always remain so". Indeed there exist practices which have potential to develop compassion and attain wisdom, some more powerful, some less. In seeking perfection Buddhists are motivated by their desire to become able to help other living beings. I must admit that I am Buddhist since very fresh date and I have not yet achieved much progress.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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