Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Buddha confronts Mara


O you are thin and you are pale,
And you are in death's presence too;
A thousand parts are pledged to death,
But life still holds one part of you.
Live, Sir! Life is the better way;
You can gain merit if you live,
Come, live the Holy Life and pour
Libations on the holy fires,
And thus a world of merit gain.
What can you do by struggling now?
The path of struggling too is rough
And difficult and hard to bear.


Your first squadron is Sense-Desires,
Your second is called Boredom, then
Hunger and Thirst compose the third,
And Craving is the fourth in rank,
The fifth is Sloth and Torpor
While Cowardice lines up as sixth,
Uncertainty is seventh, the eighth
Is Malice paired with Obstinacy;
Gain, Honor and Renown, besides,
And ill-won Notoriety,
Self-praise and Denigrating Others:
These are your squadrons, Namuci.

None but the brave will conquer them
To gain bliss by the victory...

Better I die in battle now
Than choose to live on in defeat...

I sally forth to fight, that I
May not be driven forth from my post.

For I have faith (saddhaa) and energy (viriya)
And I have wisdom (paññaa) too.

Your serried squadrons, which the world
With all its gods cannot defeat,
I shall now break with wisdom
As with a stone a clay pot.

I'm always intrigued by reading text on the confrontations between Siddhartta and Mara.

Considering any confrontation with Mara is truly a personification of confrontation with yourself, I see them as very personal, honest glimpses into what was going on in the Buddha's mind, his thought process as he met with desires, insecurities, fears, doubts.

It reminds me how much the condition of my own happiness originates from within. I usually allow Mara to consume me without even the awareness to confront him until his already made a noticeable mess. But I suppose it's not in Mara's nature to knock before he comes in...


  1. I love it when the Buddha says "I see you Mara" and that antidote basically that takes care of everything. I wonder when I'll develop that kind of skill lol. It reminds me of something a nun said who had spent 6 years in solitary retreat. When she's facing Mara in her hermitage, she swears up a storm and says things nuns aren't supposed to say =D

  2. Yeah, wouldn't it be great to have Super-Mara-vision goggles! ^_^

  3. We already got those goggles, of course: They're known as "meditation cushion!"

  4. I was just reading Tolle's Power of Now again and I found his description of the pain body to square with the Buddhist literature's description of Mara. Tolle's conception of it is useful; it's very psychological, but he also writes it's an kind of entity in its own right. It feeds off of negative energy. Mine is quite plump.