Do you believe in Mara

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Do you believe in Mara?

It is a real devil who harasses those who try to enlighten
6
38%
It is just a metaphor for our own low mental states
8
50%
I believe in 2 but not sure why Mara is shown as a real devil in suttas
2
13%
 
Total votes: 16

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daverupa
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by daverupa » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:15 pm

I use certain guidelines in assessing Suttas, but this is the same as saying I have certain biases. These may or may not be helpful, but they are almost certainly imperfect.

So, nevermind what they are; given that time is short, I recommend studying discourses which describe the gradual training, and I would apply myself to those with great vigor. Mara & Brahma aren't really important.

:heart:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

whynotme
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by whynotme » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:36 am

BlueLotus wrote:
daverupa wrote:Not like fairy tales... more like allegories.

And I don't mean to say that this sort of thing was added by various authors, while other parts were not - each of the Nikayas exemplifies the hands of various editors, so the presence of moral cosmologies, hagiography, birth narratives, and other forms of religious literature are not surprising.

One cannot draw a line in the sand and say "all texts up to here are infallible" - it takes a much more nuanced approach than that to get at the heartwood.
Difficult to understand you. Sorry my english is not that good.
May I ask you what is your native language?

Here is a thread a member described his experience seeing gods:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=12955" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Doubt about things aren't bad, but don't use doubt or the lack of evidence to reject everything.

Regards
Please stop following me

SarathW
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by SarathW » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:27 am

BlueLotus wrote:Is it a real devil who tried to torment the Buddha and his disciples.
Is it just a metaphor
You believe it is a metaphor but you cannot explain why it appears so much as real devil in suttas
I believe in Mara and Brahma. They all some form of aggregates. Five aggregates can be manifested in any combination or permutation. Hence we are talking about millions of possible aggregates. For example in Asanna realm only the Rupa (matter) but no mind. In Arupavachara realm only the mind but not matter exist.
End of the day they all come down to one thought moment. In that regard I can see Mara and Brahma in human, animal and in any living matter. Through deduction I can imagine that there could be very fine material existences.
I have experienced very fine matters something like a smoke passing by me in a very short period of time. But no direct communication except as thought experiences. Hence I wonder whether they are just mind created.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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robertk
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by robertk » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:31 am

FatDaddy wrote:Of all the personifications found in Buddhist cosmology, Mara is the one that presents the most difficulty for me. With the exception of Mara, they all exist as a result of kamma. Mara seems to exist outside of cause and effect.

All of my defilements are internal and cannot be attributed to any outside agency. I am struggling with myself, not some devil who “made me do it”.
Mara, the god, exists in the higher kamaloka, he is not a demon (as someone suggested). Nor is he outside of cause and effect and he will die and be reborn in some realm suitable to the kamma he is making.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by BlueLotus » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:52 am

I don't like the mara concept either. I don't like to think there are beings out there who lead the craving kama world and they want us in their control. It's scary.

BUT, I find it really hard to see how these guys keep appearing is sutta if they are just mental. If Mara is symbol for our own craving how did he appear to enlightened ones? Doesn't make sense.

Maybe the sutta are not completely rights as devarupan said.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:55 am

BlueLotus wrote:I
If Mara is symbol for our own craving how did he appear to enlightened ones? Doesn't make sense.
And how do the arahants handle Mara when he appears?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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BlueLotus
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by BlueLotus » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:31 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:I
If Mara is symbol for our own craving how did he appear to enlightened ones? Doesn't make sense.
And how do the arahants handle Mara when he appears?
They handle it quite well. BUT if Mara is just bad mental states how can bad mental states arise in enlightened minds? They have no bad mental states like desire and anger.

Another thing is Mara is once in Ven moggallana's belly. Doesn't make sense to say bad mental states came to his belly. :jumping: It is funny anyway.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:52 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:I
If Mara is symbol for our own craving how did he appear to enlightened ones? Doesn't make sense.
And how do the arahants handle Mara when he appears?
They handle it quite well. BUT if Mara is just bad mental states how can bad mental states arise in enlightened minds? They have no bad mental states like desire and anger.
But they have bodies and conditioning.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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BlueLotus
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by BlueLotus » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:55 pm

tiltbillings wrote:But they have bodies and conditioning.
Can you please explain what you say more?

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:12 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Maybe the sutta are not completely rights as devarupan said.
It's not that the suttas aren't right. All the suttas are "right" and "true." It's just that they aren't always meant to be taken literally.

Take the Buddha's birth, for example. In a few suttas, it says that he walked immediately after birth and that lotus flowers grew up underneath each footstep. Do you think that really happened? Probably not, but that doesn't mean that the sutta is lying, trying to convince you that it actually happened. No, it's far more about using metaphor and myth to show us how pure and beautiful the Blessed One was. The question isn't "Did Mara really appear as a real demon to these people?" The question is "How did these people deal with the temptation?" That's what is important, not the truth value of a certain demon.

Does that make sense? The suttas aren't lying to you, they're just not interested in being a science textbook.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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manas
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by manas » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:08 am

Hi,

my preferred option was not there for me to vote on: "I think Mara is both metaphorical AND, sometimes, a literal being as described in some suttas".

:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

Yana
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Re: Do you believe in Mara

Post by Yana » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:31 am

hi,

I think Mara as my own personal defilement but am not sure if Mara exists as real devil. But if Mara does exist i think getting rid of my own defilement is still more important. :anjali:
Life is preparing for Death

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