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Re: [dsg] Re: Vajira and Mara

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  • upasaka@aol.com
    Hi, Christine (and James) - What a great post! Whether or not there is a Mara who is more than metaphor, I think that the metaphorical sense of Mara as
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 5, 2002
      Hi, Christine (and James) -

      What a great post! Whether or not there is a Mara who is more than
      metaphor, I think that the metaphorical sense of 'Mara' as temptation is the
      important one, and I think that you have pointed out the crux of the matter
      when you pointed out that knowing Mara, knowing him well - knowing fully the
      delusive and dangerous nature of temptation, defeats him.

      With metta,
      Howard

      In a message dated 12/5/02 1:20:42 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      cforsyth@... writes:

      >
      > James,
      >
      > Thank you for the sutta about the Bhikkhuni Vajira and Mara. In
      > following up your quote I found the one I was wondering about
      > yesterday. It is the Bhikkhuni Sela to whom Mara used the simile of
      > the puppet, and who was as equally unimpressed as Vajira by Mara the
      > tempter.
      > "This puppet is not made by itself,
      > Nor is this misery made by another.
      > It has come to be dependent on a cause,
      > When the cause dissolves then it will cease.
      > <<<SNIP>>>
      > Just so the aggregates and elements,
      > And these six bases of sensory contact,
      > Have come to be dependent on a cause;
      > When the cause dissolves they will cease."
      > Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, "The bhikkhuni Sela knows me," sad
      > and disappointed, disappeared right there.
      >
      > I don't recall any visitation that I could name Mara, but the Buddha
      > and the Arahats knew they had been visited by him. Perhaps like
      > unusual occurrences, sights, sounds etc. in meditation it is best not
      > to place too much importance on it? Just set aside and get on with
      > studying Dhamma, increasing wisdom and eradicating defilements where
      > and when possible....
      > The fact that the being Mara is a deva on the highest deva plane
      > accentuates the truth that the gods are not necessarily wise or good.
      > Mara also stands for death and defilements. Mara's task is to prevent
      > beings from being won over to the Dhamma, to keep them trapped in the
      > cycle of birth and death, his own personal domain. It seems that
      > Mara is a real Being, he is mentioned too many times in the Tipitaka
      > to be dismissed as a myth or superstition imo - as well as being a
      > term
      > used for kilesa and dukkha. Could it be that like any other scary
      > obstacle, the devaputta Mara simply has to be known at that moment
      > in order to become powerless.? In the Marasamyutta (p.195 of Bodhi's
      > Samyutta Nikaya) there are 25 instances of the Buddha defeating
      > Mara. Oftentimes it says that Mara makes an attempt to arouse fear,
      > trepidation, and terror in the Blessed One. Always it ends "Then
      > Mara the Evil One, realising, "The Blessed One knows me, the
      > Fortunate One knows me," sad and disappointed, disappeared right
      > there." It seems he has power when there is no understanding that he
      > is involved, and when we feel fear - can one feel fear if there is
      > concentration on and confidence in the Dhamma?
      > The Bhikkhunisamyutta follows immediately after (p. 221) and has 10
      > instances of Mara being defeated by the Bhikkhunis.
      > Each of the nuns is an arahat and has seen so deeply into the truth
      > of the Dhamma that she is utterly unimpressed by Mara. Once Mara
      > realizes that he is known, he vanishes immediately, "sad and
      > disappointed."
      > Though we are not yet arahats, can't we also know Mara in whatever
      > form he takes, and so disarm him?
      >
      > See also Nina's message to Rahula at::
      > "Maara has many meanigs: the person of Maara, devaputta, and then:
      > kilesa
      > maara, the defilements, and also: all conditioned realities which are
      > impermanent and thus dukkha. Maara is a name that can be used for all
      > that
      > is dukkha. Birth, old age and death are Maara. The PTS dict gives:
      > death,
      > maara can be applied to all conditioned realities: realm of rebirth,
      > opposed
      > to nibbana. Khandha, dhatu, ayatana, they are maara. S, I, Maara
      > Samyutta."
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup/message/16439
      >
      > metta,
      > Christine
      >


      /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
      in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
      phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • James
      ... more than ... temptation is the ... the matter ... fully the ... Howard, I do not agree with your perspective of Mara. Maybe I would before actually
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 5, 2002
        --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., upasaka@a... wrote:
        > Hi, Christine (and James) -
        >
        > What a great post! Whether or not there is a Mara who is
        more than
        > metaphor, I think that the metaphorical sense of 'Mara' as
        temptation is the
        > important one, and I think that you have pointed out the crux of
        the matter
        > when you pointed out that knowing Mara, knowing him well - knowing
        fully the
        > delusive and dangerous nature of temptation, defeats him.
        >
        > With metta,
        > Howard
        >

        Howard,

        I do not agree with your perspective of Mara. Maybe I would before
        actually experiencing him, but not now. Thinking of Mara as
        metaphor for temptation is useless and not how the Buddha spoke of
        Mara at all…I agreed with Christine's words and perspective, but not
        the quote she quoted from Nina. Nina has obviously never met Mara
        or she wouldn't have written those statements. I am not sure why
        you both feel compelled to write about a subject with a stance
        plainly in contradiction to all of the Tipitaka. The Buddha, his
        monks, his nuns, NEVER spoke of Mara as a metaphor, and yet you and
        Nina say that is the most important way to view him. That is very
        misleading and not proper dhamma. I have just remained quiet about
        such things until I knew them personally. Now that I know them
        personally, I don't think I need to be quiet anymore.

        Mara isn't temptation predominately; Mara is a blockade…a barrier.
        Mara isn't the one who keeps us attached to this samsara world
        lifetime after lifetime; our own ignorance does that. Mara simply
        finds it his duty to support this samsara existence. Anyone who
        appears as if they are going to break loose, he swoops down to try
        his best to stop them. He mainly does it with fear and confusion,
        and occassionally temptation. I speak from personal experience. I
        will post more in a bit.

        Metta, James
      • upasaka@aol.com
        Hi, James - You might consider re-reading what I wrote. I never denied that there is a deva who spends his time as an adversary, attempting to thwart
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 5, 2002
          Hi, James -

          You might consider re-reading what I wrote. I never denied that there
          is a deva who spends his time as an adversary, attempting to thwart
          liberation. I simply don't know first-hand that there is. My point was that
          personal temptations constitute a more important impediment.

          With metta,
          Howard

          In a message dated 12/5/02 8:02:40 PM Eastern Standard Time,
          buddhatrue@... writes:

          > --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., upasaka@a... wrote:
          > >Hi, Christine (and James) -
          > >
          > > What a great post! Whether or not there is a Mara who is
          > more than
          > >metaphor, I think that the metaphorical sense of 'Mara' as
          > temptation is the
          > >important one, and I think that you have pointed out the crux of
          > the matter
          > >when you pointed out that knowing Mara, knowing him well - knowing
          > fully the
          > >delusive and dangerous nature of temptation, defeats him.
          > >
          > >With metta,
          > >Howard
          > >
          >
          > Howard,
          >
          > I do not agree with your perspective of Mara. Maybe I would before
          > actually experiencing him, but not now. Thinking of Mara as
          > metaphor for temptation is useless and not how the Buddha spoke of
          > Mara at all…I agreed with Christine's words and perspective, but not
          > the quote she quoted from Nina. Nina has obviously never met Mara
          > or she wouldn't have written those statements. I am not sure why
          > you both feel compelled to write about a subject with a stance
          > plainly in contradiction to all of the Tipitaka. The Buddha, his
          > monks, his nuns, NEVER spoke of Mara as a metaphor, and yet you and
          > Nina say that is the most important way to view him. That is very
          > misleading and not proper dhamma. I have just remained quiet about
          > such things until I knew them personally. Now that I know them
          > personally, I don't think I need to be quiet anymore.
          >
          > Mara isn't temptation predominately; Mara is a blockade…a barrier.
          > Mara isn't the one who keeps us attached to this samsara world
          > lifetime after lifetime; our own ignorance does that. Mara simply
          > finds it his duty to support this samsara existence. Anyone who
          > appears as if they are going to break loose, he swoops down to try
          > his best to stop them. He mainly does it with fear and confusion,
          > and occassionally temptation. I speak from personal experience. I
          > will post more in a bit.
          >
          > Metta, James
          >


          /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
          in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
          phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • peterdac4298
          ... that there ... thwart ... was that ... Hi Howard I think that the point of the Mara mythology is that personal temptation is a manifestation of Mara s
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 6, 2002
            --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., upasaka@a... wrote:
            > Hi, James -
            >
            > You might consider re-reading what I wrote. I never denied
            that there
            > is a deva who spends his time as an adversary, attempting to
            thwart
            > liberation. I simply don't know first-hand that there is. My point
            was that
            > personal temptations constitute a more important impediment.
            >
            > With metta,
            > Howard
            >
            Hi Howard

            I think that the point of the Mara mythology is that "personal
            temptation" is a manifestation of Mara's retinue, e.g. his daughters
            and his cohorts. I hope the following link puts it well.

            http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/demons.html

            Cheers
            Peter
          • upasaka@aol.com
            Hi, Peter - Thanks for the link. It s a good one. Of course what James is addressing is not Mara as psychological metaphor, but as the current holder of a
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 6, 2002
              Hi, Peter -

              Thanks for the link. It's a good one. Of course what James is
              addressing is not Mara as psychological metaphor, but as the current holder
              of a devic job-category, the job-description of which involves temptation and
              misdirection.

              With metta,
              Howard

              In a message dated 12/6/02 8:31:40 AM Eastern Standard Time,
              peterd@... writes:

              >
              > --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., upasaka@a... wrote:
              > >Hi, James -
              > >
              > > You might consider re-reading what I wrote. I never denied
              > that there
              > >is a deva who spends his time as an adversary, attempting to
              > thwart
              > >liberation. I simply don't know first-hand that there is. My point
              > was that
              > >personal temptations constitute a more important impediment.
              > >
              > >With metta,
              > >Howard
              > >
              > Hi Howard
              >
              > I think that the point of the Mara mythology is that "personal
              > temptation" is a manifestation of Mara's retinue, e.g. his daughters
              > and his cohorts. I hope the following link puts it well.
              >
              > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/demons.html
              >
              > Cheers
              > Peter
              >


              /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
              in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
              phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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