THE BEGINNING OF SUFFERING
Last time we read how the man and the woman enjoyed God’s loving care of them in the Garden of Eden. Today we will read about the cause that changed their pure quality of mind (sems rgyud dag pa).
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
The God of Heaven had taken counsel and made humans in His own likeness (see Genesis 1:27 with its three signatures); he now put the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden, where the One whose name is Yahweh could keep loving company with them. What to say? It was all that they needed, and it was enough.
However, Yahweh God had warned them about one tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, “Do not eat its fruit, or else you will die.” But they did eat it. It was the cause (rgyu) of their change of mind. It is important that you read about this in Genesis Chapter 3.
If you have now read Genesis, you will have learned that one of the animals hated God. He spoke to Eve words which were like the poison in the bite of a snake. He said, “As God loves you so much, did he really tell you not to eat such delicious fruit? Surely not; he would not be so unloving.”
The First Cause of Dissonant Thinking (nyon mongs)
But the snake lied. And because the woman was deceived, it was the cause of her doubting the goodness of Yahweh God; that doubt acted like poison in her mind, and changed her purity (rig pa) into ignorance of the truth (ma rig pa). And immediately she saw the beauty of the tree, and desired the taste of its fruit, and wanted in pride to become as wise as God himself.
The First Sin
The woman was deluded. As for the man, he knew well that God had said, “Don’t eat”. But he, seeing her eat, disobeyed Yahweh God and he also ate. It was an act of rebellion. Sin is not listening to God’s word, and so not doing it.
The Truth of Suffering (sdug bsngal gyi bden pa)
Next time we shall read how Yahweh God allowed the man and the woman to decide for themselves what was good and what was bad. And in future posts we shall learn how his words, saying that they would suffer and die, became true for them, and for all their descendants; this was because, after taking counsel again, Yahweh God expelled them from the Garden so as to prevent them eating from the Tree of Life
In other books of the Bible we find that in later times the snake was given the name ‘Satan’, which means in the Hebrew language ‘The Adversary’. He is the Chief Demon (gdon gyi gtso bo); and he hates and opposes God. He lies, and he puts obstacles in the path of those who are believers.
As for believers, what to say? There would be believing people who knew that God still had compassion for them, despite his law of sin and death. For God had appointed a more powerful and wonderful law even before he had planted the garden; that law was a treasure to be found that cancelled all sin and suffering and death. Not having found and understood this mystery, yet trusting in God’s love, they would seek to find and follow the path leading to the cessation of suffering.