What is Sin?
The concept of what Sin is, is a question many people ask, and never really get a straight answer. Sin, is a word, which we Humans use to express the concept of some kind of Judicially Regulated list of acts and intentions, thoughts and words, some of which are considered to be of a positive charge (nature), and others with a Negative Charge (unnatural). Those which we consider positive are said to be Auspicious, or Meritorious.
Those actions words or intentions and thoughts which are negatively charged, are considered to be Sinful, Unethical and Immoral. I would say that before any Humans and Religions and Philosophies ever arose, Evolution was already at work long before, and that Sin, is a Human Concept, based on a measurement Principle which differs according to the varying Ethical Beliefs of each Culture or Belief System (Religion).
In truth, all things are in motion and living beings react to each other according to how Nature has programmed them to survive and evolve as species… even inanimate objects such as rock, lava, water, and clouds, behave in reaction to their surrounding environment, which is also involved in the causes of effects. Cause and Effect is not just our own actions, rather, the environment and our memories and experiences and genetic makeup also condition our responses.
The fight or flight reaction, and Evolution’s way of constantly improving on itself is programmed into all living beings, and is survival instinct and adaptation to change, that is the pre-programmed algorithm, that Christians call ‘Original Sin – the concept of good and evil ‘ – it is Original Sin, that is said to be the knowledge of good and evil, but i would say that both polarities are conceptual abstractions, and not fixed imperatives or constants. It is not knowledge of good and evil, as they do not really exist outside of our heads, rather, the concept, ot good and evil (illusory pathological thought in a dualistic dimension of awareness)
They are programmed by nature, such as anger is what a buffalo mother is programmed to have, when her perception sees an approaching living being, and memory association or genetic memory, then associates the approaching being as enemy or friend, and if a lion, the buffalo gets angry, and prepares to fight or flee… It is a chemical reaction of mother nature, and evolution’s survival of species .. not sin! it is Natural. But this inbuilt pre-programmed survival instinct system evolved by Nature in the creation of life forms, is a natural process that is not sinful, it is merely defilement that hides the true Buddha Nature from the Experiencer, who has fallen into Samsaric Existence and Physicality by way of Birth, due to Dependent Origination (Pratītyasamutpāda).
But what is Supernatural?
Supernatural, is the Human who has overcome the base instincts, which mother nature provided each species with to survive, and which cause illusory perception of existence (subjective, not objective), and this is what the Human who has seen the escape route to the existential question, seeks.. Buddhists call it Nibbana. The cessation of suffering and consciousness of dis-satisfactory sensations, and afflictive thoughts and emotions.
Sin is when knowing all of the above, one still wishes harm towards others, with no reason that is programmed by evolution, survival of species, or human conditioning. Such is hardly possible, except when the ‘sinner’ is still oblivious to the nature of all things. Sin is hence Ignorance, and Ignorance is always present, for Anger or Greed to arise.
The three mind poisons (for me, better named as ‘Desire, Aversion, and Delusion’ as ‘Greed Anger and Ignorance), which prevent us from becoming liberated, and which shroud our minds and affect our behavior, and are afflictions of the spirit, are that which must be destroyed, by destroying ignorance. In Thailand, we call this Ignorance of the True Nature of all Things (Dhamma), ‘Awicha’ (Avidyā in Sanskrit, or Avijjā in Pali).
If Ignorance (Delusion) is destroyed, greed and anger are instantly vanquished, and when ignorance is extinguished, the light of wisdom arises. In Thai we say ‘Awicha Dab, Wicha Prakot – Wicha Prakot, Awicha Dab (‘When Ignorance is Extinguished, True Knowledge Arises – When True Knowledge Arises, Ignorance is Extinguished’)