Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mara, after the Buddha's enlightenment


For seven years, I've dogged
the Blessed One's steps,
but haven't gained an opening
in the One Self-awakened
& glorious.

A crow circled a stone
the color of fat

— 'Maybe I've found
something tender here.
Maybe there's something delicious' —

but not getting anything delicious there,
the crow went away.
Like the crow attacking the rock,
I weary myself with Gotama.

As he was overcome with sorrow, his lute fell from under his arm.
Then he, the despondent spirit, right there disappeared.

I'd thought that after the Buddha enlightenment that was it for Mara. But the majority of references to Mara in the Pali Canon actually occur after the enlightenment and continue nearly until the end of Buddha's life.

This is important because it shows the human aspect of the Buddha, throughout his life. The work wasn't finished until the end.

I found an excellent talk, by Stephen Batchelor, where he elaborates on this topic. I'll be sharing a few more over the next couple of days. An interesting part of the second video is when he explains the Buddha didn't become free by destroying that aspect of himself but by finding a fundamentally different relationship to himself, a profound understanding of himself.



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Joseph. I look forward to spending time with these posts and clips.