Abhidhamma View : Evil and Mara
[Presented by Dr.Tep Sastri @ SariputtaDhamma/JTN/Mult]
1. What, or who, is Mara?
Mara is known as the Evil One; the Buddha is known as the Blessed One. Mara is the personification of Death: "the kilesas (defilements) also came to be called Mara in that they were instruments of Death, the causes enabling Death to hold sway over the world"..
Mara is also called the lord of death(Maccuraaja), the exterminator (Antaka), the great king (Mahaaraaja), and the inescapable (Namuci) .
2. Why is Mara so powerful?
The five strands of sensuality(kaama-guna): forms, sounds, aromas, flavors, tactile sensations plus ideas are Mara's power and the most powerful striking force.
"There are forms, monks, cognizable via the eye-- agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. If a monk relishes them, welcomes them, & remains fastened to them, he is said to be a monk fettered to forms cognizable by the eye. He has gone over to Mara's camp; he has come under Mara's power. The Evil One can do with him as he wills".
Repeat the above for the other four strands of sensuality: sounds, aromas, flavors, tactile sensations and also for ideas cognizable via the intellect that are 'agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing'. [SN 35.115 Marapasa Sutta]
Besides sensuality or 'kaama', the other strong 'kilesas' that are Mara's armies, his striking forces, are discontent, hunger and thirst, craving, sluggishness and laziness, fear, indecision, disparagement of others, stubbornness, gain, fame, honor and prestige. [Snp 3.2 Padhana SuttaSnp 3.2 Padhana Sutta]
Sensuality (kaama), the strongest striking force of Mara, arises to hinder even a disciple of the noble ones in training, as the Blessed One said:
"Monks, sensuality is inconstant, hollow, vain, deceptive. It is illusory, the babble of fools. Sensuality here & now; sensuality in lives to come; sensual perceptions here & now; sensual perceptions in lives to come: both are Mara's realm, Mara's domain, Mara's bait, Mara's range. They lead to these evil, unskillful mental states: greed, ill will, & contentiousness. They arise for the obstruction of a disciple of the noble ones here in training".
. G.P. Malalasekera, Dictionary of Pali Proper Names (1937: reprint Luzac, London, 1960)
. Ananda W.P. Guruge, The Buddha's Encounters with Mara the Tempter Their Representation in Literature and Art. Access to Insight, 7 June 2010
May our earnest practice in this life soon set us free from Mara's realm, Mara's domain, Mara's bait, and Mara's range!
Love Buddha's dhamma,