Concept of evil in Buddhism.

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Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby Sovietnik » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:12 pm

What is the concept of evil in Buddhism like? Is there independent evil like the one that exists in abrahamic religions or maybe it's treated as just a quality of actions?
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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby culaavuso » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:47 pm

Sovietnik wrote:What is the concept of evil in Buddhism like? Is there independent evil like the one that exists in abrahamic religions or maybe it's treated as just a quality of actions?


Evil is a quality of actions and intentions. There is nothing independently existing to be found among conditioned phenomena.

AN 3.69
AN 3.69: Mula Sutta wrote:Just as a sal tree, a birch, or an aspen, when smothered & surrounded by three parasitic vines, falls into misfortune, falls into disaster, falls into misfortune & disaster, in the same way, a person like this — his mind overcome with evil, unskillful qualities born of greed... born of aversion... born of delusion, his mind consumed — dwells in suffering right in the here-&-now — feeling threatened, turbulent, feverish — and at the break-up of the body, after death, can expect a bad destination.


AN 5.57
AN 5.57: Upajjhatthana Sutta wrote:A disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'I am not the only one who is owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator; who — whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir. To the extent that there are beings — past and future, passing away and re-arising — all beings are the owner of their actions, heir to their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and have their actions as their arbitrator. Whatever they do, for good or for evil, to that will they fall heir.'
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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby boris » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:48 pm

Now on that occasion a cloud of smoke, a swirl of darkness, was moving to the east, then to the west, to the north, to the south, upwards, downwards, and to the intermediate quarters. The Blessed One then addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Do you see, bhikkhus, that cloud of smoke, that swirl of darkness, moving to the east, then to the west, to the north, to the south, upwards, downwards, and to the intermediate quarters?”
“Yes, venerable sir.”
“That, bhikkhus, is Mara the Evil One searching for the consciousness of the clansman Godhika, wondering: ‘Where now has the consciousness of the clansman Godhika been established?’ However, bhikkhus, with consciousness unestablished, the clansman Godhika has attained final Nibbana.”

http://suttacentral.net/sn4.23/en

Samiddhi approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘Mara, Mara.’ In what way, venerable sir, might there be Mara or the description of Mara?”
“Where there is the eye, Samiddhi, where there are forms, eye-consciousness, things to be cognized by eye-consciousness, there Mara exists or the description of Mara.
“Where there is the ear … the mind, where there are mental phenomena, mind-consciousness, things to be cognized by mind-consciousness, there Mara exists or the description of Mara.
“Where there is no eye, Samiddhi, no forms, no eye-consciousness, no things to be cognized by eye-consciousness, there Mara does not exist nor any description of Mara.
“Where there is no ear … no mind, no mental phenomena, no mind-consciousness, no things to be cognized by mind-consciousness, there Mara does not exist nor any description of Mara.”

http://suttacentral.net/sn35.65/en#65-68
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space and time.

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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby Mkoll » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:09 pm

Mara is personified in the suttas and there are questions as to whether he is an actual deity like Brahma, a symbolic personification of evil, both, or neither

The concept of evil is as culaavuso said.

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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby Aloka » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:30 pm

.

This sutta about Mara and a nun called Soma has always been one of my favourites:


SN 5.2 Soma Sutta: Soma

Setting at Savatthi. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Soma dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Savatthi for alms. When she had walked for alms in Savatthi and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Blind Men's Grove for the day's abiding. Having plunged into the Blind Men's Grove, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day's abiding.

Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Soma, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

That state so hard to achieve
Which is to be attained by the seers,
Can't be attained by a woman
With her two-fingered wisdom.
Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Soma: "Now who is this that recited the verse — a human being or a non-human being?" Then it occurred to her: "This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from concentration."

Then the bhikkhuni Soma, having understood, "This is Mara the Evil One," replied to him in verses:

What does womanhood matter at all
When the mind is concentrated well,
When knowledge flows on steadily
As one sees correctly into Dhamma.

One to whom it might occur,
'I'm a woman' or 'I'm a man'
Or 'I'm anything at all' —
Is fit for Mara to address.

Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, "The bhikkhuni Soma knows me," sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn05/sn05.002.bodh.html


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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby Feathers » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:48 pm

:twothumbsup:
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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby cooran » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:06 pm

Hello all,

Mara is five-fold:
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/g_m/maara.htm

With metta,
Chris
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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby Aloka » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:21 pm

This is a 6 minute extract "I know you Mara" from a longer talk by Ajahn Amaro called 'Practising with the Four Noble Truths'.





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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby Jason » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:36 am

Sovietnik wrote:What is the concept of evil in Buddhism like? Is there independent evil like the one that exists in abrahamic religions or maybe it's treated as just a quality of actions?


In my opinion, Buddhism is, philosophically speaking, more or less empirical and pragmatic in nature. Things like 'good' and 'evil' aren't really given any sort of ontological status in the suttas. For example, in regard to actions, bad actions are deemed 'bad' or 'unskillful' if they lead to to self-affliction, to the affliction of others or to both. Good actions, on the other hand, are deemed 'good' or 'skillful' if they don't lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others or to both (MN 61). In other words, these are descriptive labels that are limited to observable qualities and experiences (adjectives), not self-existent entities (nouns).

In the context of actions (kamma), the Pali term kusala, often translated as 'skillful' or 'wholesome,' basically means that which is not conducive to harm and pain, but to benefit and pleasure (AN 2.19). It denotes doing something well, such as in the case of playing a lute (see AN 6.55). The Pali term akusala (composed of the negative prefix a- + kusala), often translated as 'unskillful' or 'unwholesome,' basically means the opposite, or that which is not conducive to benefit and pleasure, but to harm and pain.

The Pali word that's usually translated as 'evil' is papa, which can also be translated as 'bad,' 'demerit' or 'wrong action' depending on the context. It seems to me that papa has a stronger, more negative connotation than akusala, but they're more or less synonymous.

So when looking at the question of evil in Buddhism from this perspective, it can certainly be said to exist in a subjective sense, and I'd say it's an appropriate descriptor for qualities that most people would agree to be extremely shocking and harmful. But as far as I can tell, Buddhism refrains from presenting evil as something which exists independently of us, something 'out there' as it were. And while Buddhism has its own scapegoat and tempter in the form of Mara, he's often used as a metaphor for the psychological clinging to the aggregates that gives rise to suffering, not an independent being.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby cooran » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:44 am

From the Dhammapada - Papavagga - Evil
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

With metta,
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby alan » Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:22 am

"Evil" is a word borrowed from Christianity, and is not helpful in a Buddhist context.
Drop that idea for now.
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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby purple planet » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:55 am

there is "wholesome" and "unwholesome" in buddhism

whats nice is that "wholesome" actions include all good action - but it contains more actions as well like sending metta - not getting attached to anger ect ...

and "unwholesome" actions includes all bad actions - but it contains more actions as well like being very greedy like eating tons of ice cream greedily is considered unwholesome

there are of course levels of "unwholesome" - if you kill someone its worse than stealing and that is much worse than eating tons of ice cream

so if someone is acting morally by following buddhism and he avoids "unwholesome" actions he will avoid doing "evil" actions as defined in Christianity or society standards

you can do as much unwholesome things that you like but you will suffer the consequences and you cant "remove" that karma by praying to buddha
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
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Re: Concept of evil in Buddhism.

Postby Sovietnik » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:08 am

Thanks for answers.
Regards.
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