Original Sin

“Original sin,” runs the answer, “is the sin that comes down to us from our first parents; we are brought into the world with its guilt on our soul.”  “And what is the effect of this guilt?”  “Our nature was corrupted by the sin of our first parents, which darkened our understanding, weakened our will, and left in us a strong inclination to evil.” 

 But are not this darkened understanding, weakened will, and inclination to evil exactly what the Buddhists mean by ignorance, fear, and desire; namely, maya?  And is it really necessary, or even useful, to interpret these well-known effects of our normally deluded psychological condition as having been historically caused by the “sinful” act of an originally undeluded first parent of the human race? 

Herein lies a very old and profound realization: that the growth of consciousness concerning oneself proceeds simultaneously with an awareness of guilt.  This realization is already expressed in the biblical story of Paradise, providing the occasion for the concept of original sin, as well as in the Eastern belief in karma, equivalent to a debt that has to be paid, which the individual brings with him into his present life.  TGL 181

That which has been stolen from nature must, at the same time, however, be understood as something “torn from the unconscious”.  Looked at from the point of view of the unconscious, becoming conscious clearly appears as guilt, a genuinely tragic offence, since it is only in this way that man can become what he has to be.  But a deadening and violation of nature, which imply a tremendous loss of soul, have gradually resulted from the achievement of consciousness effected by Christianity.  TGL 205

The splitting of the Original Man into husband and wife expresses an act of nascent consciousness; it gives birth to a pair of opposites, thereby making consciousness possible. Aion 204