"The temptations of Mara as allegorical representations of the mental torment, conflict, and crisis experienced by the Buddha as well as his disciples are as old as Buddhism itself and the imagery could have originated in the Buddha's own graphic poetical expressions. The early compilers of the life of the Buddha did not make a conscious effort to deal systematically with individually recorded instances of such temptations. As such, there is a fair amount of confusion as regards the nature and the timing of the related events. Eventually, however, the Great Departure, the Victory over Mara, and the Temptation by Mara's daughters came to be singled out for detailed treatment in literature and art. Embellishments and variations were freely allowed according to the writer's or artist's conception of the situation, as the allegorical aspect was considered the more significant. The historical or factual aspect of the related events was secondary and the diversity of presentation made a definite contribution to the enrichment of both literary and artistic creativity."
THE BUDDHA'S ENCOUNTERS WITH MARA THE TEMPTER: Their Representation in Literature and Art
"The Ten Chief Sins came --- Mara's mighty ones, Angels of evil..."
Sakkaya-ditthi (Attavada) first, The Sin of Self, who in the Universe As in a mirror sees HER fond face shown, And crying "I" would have the world say "I," And all things perish so if she endure. "If thou be'st Buddha," she said, "let others grope Lightless; it is enough that thou art Thou Changelessly; rise and take the bliss of gods Who change not, heed not, strive not."
But Buddha spake, "The right in thee is base, the wrong a curse; Cheat such as love themselves."
Then came Doubt, He that denies --- the mocking Sin --- and this Hissed in the Master's ear: "All things are shows, And vain the knowledge of their vanity; Thou dost but chase the shadow of thyself; Rise and go hence, there is no better way Than patient scorn, nor any help for man, Nor any staying of his whirling wheel."
But quoth our Lord, "Thou hast no part with me, False Vicikiccha (Visikitcha), subtlest of man's foes."
3. Silabbata Paramasa
And third came SHE who gives dark creeds their power, Silabbat-paramasa, sorceress, Draped fair in many lands as lowly Faith, But ever juggling souls with rites and prayers; The keeper of those keys which lock up Hells And open Heavens. "Wilt thou dare," she said, "Put by our sacred books, dethrone our gods, Unpeople all the temples, shaking down That law which feeds the priests and props the realms?"
But Buddha answered, "What thou bidd'st me keep Is form which passes, but the free Truth stands; Get thee unto thy darkness."
Next there drew Gallantly nigh a braver Tempter, he, Kama-raga (Kama), the King of passions, who hath sway Over the gods themselves, lord of all loves, Ruler of Pleasure's realm.
Laughing he came Unto the Tree, bearing his bow of gold Wreathed with red blooms, and arrows of desire Pointed with five-tongued delicate flame which stings The heart it smites sharper than poisoned barb. And round him came into that lonely place Bands of bright shapes with heavenly eyes and lips Singing in lovely words the praise of Love To music of invisible sweet chords, So witching, that it seemed the night stood still To hear them, and the listening stars and moon, Paused in their orbits while these hymned to Buddh Of lost delights, and how a mortal man Findeth nought dearer in the three wide worlds Than are the yielded loving fragrant breasts Of Beauty and the rosy breast-blossoms, Love's rubies; nay, and toucheth nought more high Than is that dulcet harmony of form Seen in the lines and charms of loveliness Unspeakable, yet speaking, soul to soul, Owned by the bounding blood, worshipped by will Which leaps to seize it, knowing this is best, This the true heaven where mortals are like gods, Makers and Masters, this the gift of gifts Ever renewed and worth a thousand woes. For who hath grieved when soft arms shut him safe, And all life melted to a happy sigh, And all the world was given in one warm kiss? So sang, they with soft float of beckoning hands, Eyes lighted with love-flames, alluring smiles; In dainty dance their supple sides and limbs Revealing and concealing like burst buds Which tell their colour, but hide yet their hearts. Never so matchless grace delighted eye As troop by troop these midnight-dancers swept Nearer the Tree, each daintier than the last, Murmuring, "O great Siddartha! I am thine, Taste of my mouth and see if youth is sweet!" Also, when nothing moved our Master's mind, Lo! Kama waved his magic bow, and lo! The band of dancers opened, and a shape Fairest and stateliest of the throng came forth Wearing the guise of sweet Yasodhara. Tender the passion of those dark eyes seemed Brimming with tears; yearning those outspread arms Opened towards him; musical that moan Wherewith the beauteous shadow named his name, Sighing: "My Prince! I die for lack of thee! What heaven hast thou found like that we knew By bright Rohini in the Pleasure-house, Where all these weary years I weep for thee? Return, Siddartha! ah, return! But touch My lips again, but let me to thy breast Once, and these fruitless dreams will end! Ah, look! Am I not she thou lovedst?"
But Buddha said: "For that sweet sake of her thou playest thus Fair and false Shadow, is thy playing vain; I curse thee not who wear'st a form so dear, Yet as thou art, so are all earthly shows. Melt to thy void again!" Thereat a cry Thrilled through the grove, and all that comely rout Faded with flickering wafts of flame, and trail Of vaporous ropes.
Next under darkening skies And noise of rising storm came fiercer Sins The rearmost of the Ten, Patigha --- Hate --- With serpents coiled about HER waist, which suck Poisonous milk from both her hanging dugs, And with her curses mix their angry hiss. Little wrought she upon that Holy One Who with his calm eyes dumbed her bitter lips And made her black snakes writhe to hide their fangs.
Then followed Rupa-raga ---Lust of days--- That sensual Sin which out of greed for life Forgets to live.
Next came Lust of Fame, Nobler Arupa-raga, SHE whose spell Beguiles the wise, mother of daring deeds, Battles and toils.
And haughty Mana (Mano) came, The Fiend of Pride.
Smooth Self-Righteousness. Uddhacca (Uddhachcha); and --- with many a hideous band Of vile and formless things, which crept and flapped Toad-like and bat-like --- Ignorance.
The DAME Of Fear and Wrong, Avijja (Avidya), hideous hag, Whose footsteps left the midnight darker, while The rooted mountains shook, the wild winds howled, The broken clouds shed from their caverns streams Of levin-lighted rain; stars shot from heaven, The solid earth shuddered as if one laid Flame to her gaping wounds; the torn black air Was full of whistling wings, of screams and yells, Of evil faces peering, of vast fronts Terrible and majestic, Lords of Hell Who from a thousand Limbos led their troops To tempt the Master.
MARA THE TEMPTER
THE FIVE HINDRANCES
THE TEN FETTERS OF BUDDHISM
THE EIGHTEEN FAULTS OF A MONASTERY
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
AWAKENED TEACHERS FORUM
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
ON THE RAZOR'S
THE LIGHT OF ASIA, Chapter Six
THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF GAUTAMA
PRINCE OF INDIA AND FOUNDER OF BUDDHISM