Continuation from Early Buddhism and the role of Mara - Part 1
But Mara, on the lower levels, he can change the object of the mind by pushing it around. For example, inserting a pornographic image.
If you do that in the cinema, for example, as was done in the old days…where they inserted a picture (only one frame) of Coca Cola, with water running down off it, then everybody coming out of the cinema wants the Coca Cola. And they go to the bar and buy a Coca Cola.
This hidden advertising is not allowed anymore but Mara doesn’t care about that.
He can still insert one frame of consciousness (one Dhamma state) in your mind, without you knowing it. And still, this is effective. For example, if this is a pornographic image, then you’ll feel an urge for sex. If it’s a food image, then you will feel an urge for food.
Without knowing, because it’s on the subconscious level, only one frame out of 50, you don’t see it. You don’t notice it. But still, it affects the mind. Because the mind reacts to it.
So, it’s a subconscious, but still, intentionally effective influence.
One example I can give from the text: the Buddha was in the middle of his career, wandering around to get alms food; barefooted with his bowl into a village.
And then Mara descended (his thought and influence and also descended with his physical body) and made all people in this village think that Buddha was a paedophile. That he had sex with children.
And therefore, when the Buddha went around from door to door, he didn’t get anything. He didn’t get anything.
And so, Mara, he was leaning on the gate at the other end of the village, where the Buddha will pass out, and he asked “Gotama, did you get anything?”
And then the Buddha he recognised (even though they (Mara) can take up any form that he likes, any colour he likes) – he just looked like a regular 18 / 19-year-old man, dressed in clothes from that particular village. But immediately he recognised Mara, “Ah, this is Mara.”
And he said, “No Mara, I didn’t get anything. And it was because of you. And you know that.”
And then Mara said, “But if you didn’t get anything, why don’t you go back and then try once more? Then maybe you’ll get some food.”
But then the Buddha said, “No. They will be even worse. They will hit me with sticks if I go back.”
And that was exactly right.
So, there you see, the Buddha was at a high level. He could read the intention of Mara. But Mara could not read the mind of Gotama Buddha and thereby see whether he would go back or not. So, he had to try to persuade him, to push him back into the village. To beg once more and then be beaten up with a stick.
So, he has this ability, like all other Parinirmitavasavarti Devas, they have power over the mental construction (what you think), the verbal construction (what you say – including what you say to yourself) and the physical construction (what you do with the body), over other beings.
They can intentionally change that and do that. And that’s their gaming experience…that’s the closest I can come to our level. We can have a gaming experience with a social computer game. Where you are directing an army to go there and go there. Or you’re directing a couple of people to build a city here and not there…and build this and that and so on and so on.
With your powers over this gaming form of reality, you can get all kinds of individuals to act in various kinds of ways.
It’s the same thing with them.
Because they are acting through the mind, through the consciousness and through intention, then it makes sense to say that they are also a Klesha Mara (see list of four Mara’s above). Because this is his influence; this is his mental defilements. Lust, aversion, he can make somebody else hate something…hate even a Buddha because he has inserted a lie that he’s a paedophile in their mind.
So, he can insert a mental construction then their aversion flames up.
So, he’s actually both. He is both.
He’s an individuality and he also identifies as the mental influence and the result hereof.
The mental defilement of human beings and other beings as well on a much higher level than humans.
If I should say some individuality, or personality, here on the human level that reminds me most of his personality, just in a much, much weaker state, then it is the evil guy in Batman. This guy who has the smile painted on his face. Batman’s opponent. The Joker!
He’s similar in personality. Very intelligent, very tricky, very fast. Twitching like nothing. But also, exceedingly psychopathic. Exceedingly evil. Unpredictable. A psychopath in the truest sense of that word. And frightening, frightening, frightening.
There’s only one way to break out of his influence and that’s to gain control over your own thoughts, because then you are cutting his control. That’s the only way.
Until that has happened, you are in your own will to some extent, and then you are a robot to someone else’s extent. Without knowing it. And that’s the tragic part.