Thank you for reviewing my book, Faith Stories of One Good Catholic Girl, and for your remarks about it. I tried to respond on your blog, but couldn’t, so decided to email you.
As you say, my book is a primarily a personal account of my Catholic faith. But the section on Original Sin was probably confusing. St. Augustine is the one who sent all the unbaptized babies to hell. Aquinas sent those babies to the “rim” of hell, called “Limbo”. (Limbus comes from the Latin, meaning edge or boundary, or the “edge” of hell.)
The point of that section is that, rather than theorizing about where sin came from, it is better to practice decency, care for others, and justice upon which Christianity is based. These guides are in the Ten Commandments, Eight Beatitudes, and the Sermon on the Mount.
Eustacia, your experience with Buddhists is very interesting. Buddhism as practiced in the Pacific Rim may be different than that adopted by Western cultures. I asked my sister again if Buddhists believe in sin. She has lived in London, England, for 40 years and teaches Buddhism there so her response may be valid in a western experience of Buddhism. Here is what she said,
“A quick answer would be "No, Buddhists don’t believe in sin.” But we need to qualify that. Buddhism does not have any commandments.
It is based on respect for life and the law of cause and effect. Every action (thought word and deed) will have a reaction,(Karma) There are ethics that are commonly acknowledged in Buddhism--truthfulness, honesty, moderation, non violence, compassion, cleanliness, humility.
Buddhism believes that everyone knows when they are creating value, or negative causes. Bad actions create bad karma, which will affect you in the present or future. Good actions, thoughts, words, deeds create good karma which will affect you in the present or future. Everyone has the potential to reveal their highest life state of Buddhahood immediately in this lifetime. No one can judge another person or understand their karma. We can only help each other reveal our Buddhahood.”
Eustacia, you are a thoughtful and literate individual, and your blog does a service to your readers. Keep up the good work!