Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Who exactly was, or is, Mara?

mockeymindmockeymind Veteran
edited March 2015 in Buddhism Basics

When Siddhartha was tempted by Mara that night before the awakening, I have a little confusion who exactly was Mara. Is it Siddhartha's other side? Is he the deepest dark element of the Buddhas mind? or simply an evil realm of the mind. As I understand, Mara is not like Satan mentioned in Christianity. Could anybody give insights as to who and what Mara was?
There is one documentary showed that when the Buddha faces Mara - He faces himself and found himself strong equanimity. Are we in the same path as the Buddha? That one day will will eventually face our own mara?

Comments

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "Who is exactly was Mara"

    In the conventional sense perhaps Mara could simply be seen as "Craving & Aversion" of the sense objects....

    And if this being the case, then we already face/battle against Mara every day ....

    But I could be wrong.......

  • cazcaz Veteran United Kingdom Veteran

    According to the Sutra's this was a Devaputra Mara, an actual being rather then delusions.

    sova
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @caz said:
    According to the Sutra's this was a Devaputra Mara, an actual being rather then delusions.

    According to the SutRas yes. According to the SuTTas and eminent Buddhist textual scholars, Mara is both 'real' and 'imaginary'.

    Whichever way you want to take that.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    Mara is as real as you allow.

    No more and no less.
    silverdantepwShockYourMoneyBuddhaRowan1980
  • There is a story myth during the Buddha's time where after his enlightenment - Mara still visited the Buddha. The story told that Buddha simply said every time Mara's visit "I know you Mara, I see you" He didn't avoid or welcome Mara. It's the way of knowing and seeing clearly.

    I am still a newbie on the practice, I wanted to train my mind to see clearly. Not avoiding or doing something about it. I think this is what the bottom line of everything in the practice. To know and see things, not to combat, avoid or do anything. Facing my own mara through his eyes.

    silverdantepwDavidsova
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @Earthninja that is always how I've understood it, too. That while we obviously face temptations and Mara in a sense every day, that what Buddha faced (and perhaps anyone at that stage might face) is a last strong gasp for breath from your ego using whatever it thinks might be the most powerful cravings to pull you back in. But it's possible that those things could come in the form of "real life" rather than during meditation, too, I think, because we (or life) have a tendency to create the challenges we need to grow from.

    Earthninjadantepw
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited March 2015

    Yes, while we tend to treat Mara as metaphor in our day and age, remember that for people then and even now, the world is populated by spirits and demons and ghosts, and their reality is very much a part of their life and has direct influence. Mara as an actual tempter or trickster is as real as Buddha to many worshipers.

    BuddhadragonDavidsova
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Lot's of people believe in angels these days, there's a whole shelf of books on this in my local book shop, very popular now. Lot's of people believe in God and gods and ghosts and space aliens and all kinds of weird new-age stuff. So maybe we haven't come as far as we like to pretend! ;)

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Earthninja said:> According to S.N. Goenka who was an enlightened Vipassana teacher.

    Was he enlightened then?

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited March 2015

    @mockeymind
    From one zen perspective.

    Mara is not just a one off or the product of subtly latent karma coming to fruition.
    Mara is whatever challenges your steps along the path toward sufferings cessation.

    An obstacle when becoming subject to its storyline, a teacher when transcending them.

    Shoshinsova
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @mockeymind your title is a bit skew-whiff... "who is exactly was Mara"... ?

    I would say "Who exactly IS Mara?" because we all carry him around with us everywhere we go, day in day out - he may have bothered the Buddha a bit, but he's still very much a real, present and evident problem!

  • @federica - the first time I read the life of Buddha - I assumed that he was done with mara. but some myth story said that he was revisited. The power of seeing who and what mara fascinates me. Is this what the Buddha told about "Right View"

    Sorry if my mind screwed some of the words.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Let me help you out with that.... :)

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @mockeymind said:
    There is a story myth during the Buddha's time where after his enlightenment - Mara still visited the Buddha. The story told that Buddha simply said every time Mara's visit "I know you Mara, I see you" He didn't avoid or welcome Mara. It's the way of knowing and seeing clearly.

    I am still a newbie on the practice, I wanted to train my mind to see clearly. Not avoiding or doing something about it. I think this is what the bottom line of everything in the practice. To know and see things, not to combat, avoid or do anything. Facing my own mara through his eyes.

    That was really well said - that bit about him not avoiding or welcoming Mara. Ty.

    dantepw
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    I wonder what kind of person gets reborn as Mara the Tempter.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Dale Winton?

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Niles Crane?

    David
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Mara is "Dukkha"

  • My teacher says that Mara cuts in and tries to steal spiritual victories. I think it just a 'habit' or 'thought construct' the whole ego structure if you want to use that word. So you get a glimpse of the sun behind the clouds and Mara says "I did it.. want to get more of that sun..." and then the glimpse of sun is grasped to and suffering comes.

    EarthninjaDavidRowan1980
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    @SpinyNorman , do you mean while alive or before the Sankharas?

    He was a business man from Burma who learnt Vipassana. He talks about learning everything there is to know about reality(body/mind). Then he realised what lay beyond body/mind.
    He says it's in the realm if the wordless and wants us all to experience this.
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "The most essential method which includes all other methods is to behold the mind...The mind is the root from which all things grow...If you can understand the mind...Everything else is included !"

    Mara...An imaginary friend or foe....Either way "imaginary" ....

  • @Shoshin - I remember a line in the matrix movie - your mind makes it real.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited March 2015

    @mockeymind The quote is credited to Bodhidharma ( Da Mo.)

    http://www.usashaolintemple.org/chanbuddhism-history/

    But I also remember that line too....

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited March 2015
    The one with the strongest good in them will have the darkest dark side.

    If one is on the path to awakening, these aspects will have to acknowledge each other eventually.

    The more we fight our demons the stronger they get because they feed off that kind of thing but we can't give them power over us either so what can we do?

    "Hello anger (or whatever form Mara happens to be at the time)... Join me for tea and tell me to what I owe the visit"
    lobstertibellussova
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    If Mara ever wakes up completely will it be Maitreya?
  • @ourself said:
    If Mara ever wakes up completely will it be Maitreya?

    Wonderful question. I believe the hell realms will have been freed and the Maitreya will not have to deal with such primitive ideas.

    In one sense I would suggest that the delusional aspect that Mara represents will have changed . . .

    David
  • robotrobot Veteran
    edited March 2015

    @lobster said:
    Wonderful question. I believe the hell realms will have been freed and the Maitreya will not have to deal with such primitive ideas.

    Does this mean that the 4 noble truths will no longer apply?

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @robot said:
    Does this mean that the 4 noble truths will no longer apply?

    I know you didn't ask me, sorry... I think they would still apply but maybe not be applicable at the moment.

    The wheel will have been turned and I would imagine a mindful society would be mindful of what had turned it.

    The Buddha taught suffering and the cessation of suffering.

    I think we get the suffering part... It's getting old and we've done it to death.

    Eventually, we will have to get to the cessation.

    Does that mean we stop being mindful?

    The cessation of suffering is not the cessation of growth.

    lobster
  • robotrobot Veteran

    As I recall , Maitreya is scheduled to appear when all traces of Shakyamuni's turning have faded away. The Buddha dharma will be forgotten.
    I think Maitreya will have to start from the beginning. Mara may well have a place, but with a different name since the original material will be lost.

    I guess I'm inclined to believe that the hell realms will be topped up as usual.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited March 2015
    I think that was an error in translation and or interpretation.

    Why turn the wheel if there is no momentum?

    I think Maitreya would more likely show up when the next stage is reached. If Buddha only shared a handful and what he shared will be forgotten well... It just doesn't bode well for any supposed Buddha.

    I could see there being more to be revealed but I don't think Buddha would have predicted a regression in awareness.

    It just doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense, you know what I mean?
  • @robot said:
    Does this mean that the 4 noble truths will no longer apply?

    According to tradition they and dharma will have to be rediscovered.

    Personally by the way things are going I can envisage a very unusual future for many. We will control our physical and mental processes to a much greater degree. Perhaps choosing our emotional states by augmented or manipulated mind symbiosis with our beyond quantum level AI. Reaching an enlightened state might be part of our education.

    The First Noble Truth that existence is Dukkha might simply, not apply . . .
    Who knows what the Maitreya will provide . . . B)

    anataman
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    MAITREYA =

    MA (ITRE) YA

    so MA YA is interposed with ITRE (ITRE when raised to the dizzying heights of something scientifically important becomes: ITRE (http://www.eppgroup.eu/ITRE) - which is an European bureaucratic religion in the making, and is almost a church in it own right...

    Isn't it amazing how you can manipulate letters and words to such an extent, that they may start making sense...

    MARA

    ...\lol/...

    Earthninja
  • cazcaz Veteran United Kingdom Veteran

    @federica said:

    Both Sutra's and Sutta's agree about the 4 classifications of Mara's and Sutra's and Sutta's alike are both very specific about which kind is being dealt with in which situation in the case of Buddha vs Mara in the Brahma-Nimantanika Sutta Buddha is not conversing with an inner Mara, but the Devaputra Mara who is the opponent of those who practice Dharma.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    ...If you choose to see it that way and believe it, that's absolutely fine.
    I don't.

  • The are different Maras. The one most common is the Mara associated with the five aggregates consisting of material shape, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness.

  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran
    edited March 2015

    (* you're *)Mara.
    The Buddha was Mara.
    I am Mara

    federica
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    (* you're *)

    Theswingisyellow
  • @Theswingisyellow said:
    I am Mara

    I am Spartacus! ;)

    Quite right. We are the awake and the deluding. Nirvana and samsara . . . falling away . . .

    Theswingisyellow
  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran

    Lobster you may be Mara but your not Spartacus! I saw the movie.......and you look nothing like Kirk Douglas (at least I think so)

    lobster
  • I am.
  • DaltheJigsawDaltheJigsaw Mountain View Veteran
    edited March 2015

    @lobster said:
    Know Mara. No Mara. B)

    By logic? Isn't that a good thing? Or is more of a filter?

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran

    "Happy is he who knows Samsara and Nirvana are not Two" - Milarepa

    lobsterEarthninja
  • @sova said:
    "Happy is he who knows Samsara and Nirvana are not Two" - Milarepa

    Exactly so. How terrible. How wonderful. OK I am not Kirk Douglas and neither am I Mara Buddha. These are all affectations, constructions, ideals or rejections.

    In a sense we do not face Buddha (and if a zenith kill the dudette) or face Mara, we face up to ourself, warts an' all.

    People always attach themself to postures such as I am an average, humourist, crazy, jewish, black, male, clown, ozzi, pom, drugee, gay etc.

    Empty stuff. Stuff of no consequence. Your essence is empty of attributes. The same as my empty of attributes being. Identical. It is only the karma or condititions of expression that is different.

    Am I not the Walrus?

Sign In or Register to comment.