Sins in Buddhism vs. in General
Q & A Session in Brazil No. 7
An Explanation of Sins in Buddhism
A.Would you explain the difference in the meaning of sin between sins in Buddhism and the general public’s idea of sins?
B.The general public’s idea of sins usually refers to acts of crimes committed against the law of the country, such as stealing or killing people, etc. The Buddhist explanation of sin is actions and works not only by the body, but also by the mouth and mind. Even if one does not kill a person, to tell someone “I want to kill so and so.” or tell a lie with malice are considered sins. If one curses another person wishing them to be seriously injured in a traffic accident, etc., this is considered a sin.
Why are such acts and acts of the mouth and mind considered sins? It is because there is a deep level in one’s mind called the Araya mind (Hasshiki) which has the function of absorbing and storing one’s acts of the body, mouth and mind. These actions become seeds of spiritual energy and create one’s destiny. Let’s say, you cursed someone, that curse becomes bad seed and is instantly sowed in the Araya mind. That bad seed will grow into spiritual energy which will affect your destiny in a bad way. For example, you ridiculed someone in your mind. That act becomes a bad seed which is planted in the Araya mind and you will someday be ridiculed by someone. Moreover, the seeds planted in the Araya mind continue to live even after the body ceases to exist. In short, the Ayayashiki (Araya mind) is the core of birth and death. You carry within your Araya mind the bad seeds which were accumulated from past lives.
The bad seeds imbedded in the Ayara mind cause various misfortunes and calamities. These bad seeds are called sins (Zaisho). As long as sins are kept in the Araya mind, misfortune and calamities can befall you at any time. Unless the bad seeds are filtered and eradicated from the Araya mind, true happiness and peace cannot be attained.
Then, how can we eradicate our bad seeds?
Nichiren Shonin stated, “Amber collects dust. Magnets have the power to attract iron. Our bad seeds are like dust and iron. The Odaimoku of the Lotus Sutra is like amber or a magnet which attracts our bad seeds and then eradicates them and purifies our Araya mind. Think about this and constantly chant the Odaimoku.” (Hokke Daimoku Sho)
By chanting the Odaimoku, NamuMyohoRengeKyo, repeatedly, the holy energy of enlightenment will be sowed in the Araya mind and the bad seeds will be filtered and eradicated from it.
Nichiren Shonin also stated, “There is no sin which cannot be eradicated by chanting the Odaimoku, NamuMyohoRengeKyo. That is the truth. Accept it.” (Shogu Modo Sho)