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The Mara

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  • 2009novice's Avatar
    961 posts since Oct '09
    • There is this strange thought that i would like to ask...

      when the bodhisattvas decided to stay back in samsara to help, are they also tempted by Mara not to attain nibbana...? Although we know it is out of great compassion that they stay back to help sentient beings...

      Did Mara created a illusion of all-powerful bodhisattvas in people's mind to emulate? As a ... "method" or something to make people think they will achieve the same level as these bodhisattvas

      As far as I can see.... as long as there are greed, hatred in this world, unrest and violence will always happen perpetually

  • Moderator
    Aik TC's Avatar
    1,636 posts since Jun '10
    • Early Buddhism speak of both a literal and psychological interpretation of Mara. I prefer to interpreted the literal form as those environmental conditions such as gambling houses, prostitution dens, that are created by us, to cause such psychological state of mind as greed, desire to arise in us.

      There are different conceptions to the nature of a bodhisattva in the Mahayana traditions. Some speak of the bodhisattva as someone on the path to full Buddhahood. Others speak of bodhisattvas renouncing Buddhahood. Bodhisattvas who aspires to delay Buddhahood until all other sentient beings achieve Buddhahood is the usual category we heard of most often.

      If one looks at the ten stages of the Mahayana bodhisattva's path of awakening, by the 2nd Bhumi, the Stainless stage, the bodhisattva is free from the stains of immorality, therefore, he would have perfected his moral discipline (śīla). He would not be affect by Mara.

      By the 8th Bhumi, the Immovable stage, he would be able to choose his place of rebirth. Again here, Mara is a non-issue on whether he wants to attained to Buddhahood or not.


      Of course in the Theravada tradition when we talk about the Bodhisattva, it is usually in reference to the historical Buddha’s past lives as recorded in Jataka tales whilst on his way to Buddhahood. 

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