What Role Does The Mara Have In Buddhism?
besides the fact that he first tried to tempt the Buddha away from his mission?
- Anonymous8 years agoFavorite Answer
Besides being the master of illusion who attempted to prevent the Buddha from attaining enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Mara has a number of psychological aspects for a seeker. The four maras (Skt. catvāri māra) are the four types of obstructive, 'demonic' forces (sometimes also translated as 'demons') which create obstacles to practitioners on the spiritual path. It is important to understand that they have no inherent existence and are only dependent upon ones mind.
There are two categorizations of the four maras, one according to the Sutra, and one according to the Tantra (especially in the practice of chöd).
According to Sutra they are;
1. the mara of the aggregates (Skt. skhandamāra), which symbolizes our clinging to forms, perceptions, and mental states as ‘real’;
2. the mara of the destructive emotions (Skt. kleśamāra), which symbolizes our addiction to habitual patterns of negative emotion;
3. the mara of the Lord of Death (Skt. mṛtyumāra), which symbolizes both death itself, which cuts short our precious human birth, and also our fear of change, impermanence, and death; and
4. the mara of the sons of the gods (Skt. devaputramāra), which symbolizes our craving for pleasure, convenience, and ‘peace’.
According to Tantra they are;
1. the tangible mara (thogs bcas kyi bdud) which is external phenomena, whether things or other beings who do us harm;
2. the intangible mara (thogs med kyi bdud) which are the three poisons - anger, desire, and ignorance;
3. the mara of exultation (dga' brod kyi bdud) which is attachment to such things as inner spiritual experiences;
4. the mara of conceit (snyems byed kyi bdud) which is the root of all demons - it is clinging to a self.
- Citrine DreamLv 78 years ago
He's most famous for tempting the Buddha while under the Bodhi tree. But he does other things too.
Mara is a supernatural being that is responsable for evil and death. He is also a being that keeps us from knowlage. I've heard it said that when you're feeling too lazy to do your practice, that's your Mara keeping you from following the path.
Guruge writes that Mara plays several different roles in the early texts, and sometimes seems to be several different characters. Sometimes he is the embodiment of death; sometimes he represents unskillful emotions or conditioned existence or temptation. Sometimes he is the son of a god.
Mara is not a Buddhist equivalent to Satan. Mara is a relatively minor figure in Buddhist mythology compared to Satan. Satan is the lord of Hell. Mara is the lord only of the sixth heaven of the "desire realm" of the Triloka, which is an allegorical representation of reality adapted from Hinduism.