How can Mara be bested?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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How can Mara be bested?

Post by GusVanSpent » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:56 pm

I could really use some insight or wisdom regarding how to make yourself strong enough to resist temptations and follow the five precepts with joy rather than constantly being bested by my inner demons. I feel that through meditation I've enabled myself to see when my intentions are bad, but cannot overpower the hunger they bring into me. The worst of it is in the morning, my mind is so cloudy and foggy that my first thoughts are immediately (I need a smoke), which leads to caffeine which leads to alcohol.

Are there any teachings that centre around temptations like these that might shed some light on the situation and help me advance back onto the path?

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Re: How can Mara be bested?

Post by Ben » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:09 am

Hi Gus,
Basically nearly every teaching the Buddha gave was about suffering, its causes, its eradication and the path that leads to the eradication of suffering.
Coffee is not an intoxicant, tobacco (while responsible for serious respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases is not an intoxicant), however, alcohol is an intoxicant. From your post it appears there is some association between smoking, coffee and alcohol consumption. My recommendation to you is to break the association. Instead of drinking alcohol - drink mineral water or some other beverage instead. Try and exert some strong determination to help you to maintain your precepts. Keep in mind that the precepts are foundational and progress on the path is dependent largely on strong sila.
kind regards,

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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lyndon taylor
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Re: How can Mara be bested?

Post by lyndon taylor » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:20 am

I also think from this and your other post Honesty is really a problem, honesty with others and honesty with yourself, And alcohol leads to dishonesty, But Ben is really right, cigarettes and coffee are the least of your problems RIGHT NOW, compared to alcohol use, and sobriety is a long struggle at least for the first few months, stop going to bars start going to coffee shops if you need social contact, talk less and less to your drinking friends, and go out of your way to cultivate friendships with sober people, don't try to hide your addictions from others, because then you can hide them from yourself,etc its a real battle, but winning it IS WORTH ALL THE EFFORT, IMHO
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

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Re: How can Mara be bested?

Post by santa100 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:16 am

Also try to introduce some daily exercise routines. Aerobic exercises are the best like swimming, biking, jogging, etc. They're also very effective in helping you quit smoking and drinking. Alcohol and cigarettes severely affect one's stamina and endurance. And so by forcing yourself into some fixed exercise schedule, say a 30 minute jog every day, you'll have no choice but to quit those things or at least significantly cutting back. Good luck..

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Re: How can Mara be bested?

Post by SarathW » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:57 am

My personal experience is that you should have a clear life goal.
Ask the question “ Can I achieve my goal with the life style I have now?”
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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