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The Mara Suttas

Samyutta Nikaya I: Sagathavaga: IV: Marasamyutta[1]

Chapter I

1.[2] Penitence and Works

I HEAR TELL[3]

Once Upon a Time, the Lucky Man, Uruvela land, on the banks of the Neranjara at the root (mula) of the Goatherd's Banyon[4] revisiting, first thing after his all-round-self-awakening[5]
There, alone in solitary reflection this thought came to mind:

"Free at last from that grinding-pain-racked-body!
"Thank Goodness! Free at last from that worthless good-for-nothing, grinding-pain-racked-body!
"Thank Goodness! taking a stand, conscious, awake, I've got'n the highest high get'n.[6]

Then Mara, The Evil One, knowing with his mind the Lucky Man's thoughts, drew close
Drawing close to the Lucky man, he wispaas:

"Penitential works he gives him up
What purifies the son of man.
Impure, 'I'm purified' he thinks
And thereby gives him up his Way to Purity!"

But the Lucky man heard; and responded in kind:

"Know I well that good-for nothing
penitence at death-defeating aimed
all-for-naught is made to be
as oar and rudder on dry land and not the sea

Give me ethics, get'n high and wise
The Way to Waking up I'll place before your eyes

Purified the way to purity I've gained
Get thee gone thy thing of ends
I've had my fill of making thee amends."

And Mara, The Evil One thought: "I am found out! The Lucky Man recognizes me." And pained and depressed he vanished on that spot[7].

 


 

Mara whispers Don't touch that spot!

 


 

2. The Elephant[8]

I HEAR TELL

Once Upon a Time, the Lucky Man, Uruvela land, on the banks of the Neranjara down by the Goatherd's Banyon revisiting, first thing after his all-round-self-awakening.

At this point in time he had come to be sitting down in the open air in the deep darkness of the night
and the rain was coming down from the heavens one drop after another.

Then Mara, Death, The Evil One, whooisshta scare the Lucky man stiff make'es hair stan on en,[9] hèhèhè, trickṭ he's self up in this shape of a huge bull elephant and drew close
Head like a huge block of stone
Tusks a-gleam'n white
Trunk like a plow pole

But the Lucky Man saw: 'This is Mara, Death, The Evil One', and he pronounced this canto:

Long the time of lengthy Rounds
now beautiful now vile the shape
Get thee gone thy thing of ends
That bag of tricks is no man's friend

And Mara, The Evil One thought: "I am found out! The Lucky Man recognizes me." And pained and depressed he vanished on that spoṭ

 


 

3. Now Beautiful

Uruvela-land revisiting[10]
At this point in time he had come to be sitting down in the open air in the deep darkness of the night
and the rain was coming down from the heavens one drop after another.

Then Mara, Death, The Evil One, who wished to scare the Lucky man stiff and cause his hair to stand on end, drew close
Drawing close he projected forth various luminous shapes, now beautiful, now vile.

But the Lucky Man saw: 'This is Mara, Death, The Evil One', and he pronounced this canto:

Long the time of lengthy Rounds
now beautiful now vile the shape
Get thee gone thy thing of ends
That bag of tricks is no man's friend

Who in body, speech and mind be stayed
by shimmering lights will not be sway'd
nor Mara's spell-bound vassel made to be[11]

And Mara, The Evil One thought: "I am found out! The Lucky Man recognizes me." And pained and depressed he vanished on the spot.

 


[1] Saŋyutta: pp of saŋyuñjati = (Saŋ + yuñjati: to connect, join with unite)
yuñjati: Latin: jungo to unite, put together, pp: junctus; Sanskrit: yukta, English: junction, unite; join; Lith: jungin
To: yuj, yoge, yoga: to yoke
With "Saŋ" as "Con" we get: Conjoined and we see, back at Saŋyuñjati meaning #2: to couple, to wed someone to. Hitch? Hook?
I think in today's computer age we must use "Linked"
So: The Linked Kitbag; The Collection with Cantos; The Spells Linked to Mara, Death, The Evil One (Only a couple of examples are included here; there are quite a few, for the full list see: Index to the Mara Samyutta

[2] Numbers link to the Pali text.

[3] We are told we are to understand that it was Ananda who was the repeater-of-record for these suttas; but who was it that told Ananda? In this case the sutta is not in the form of "Once, Ananda, I was..." but is in the form of "Once this happened to The Buddha"; and the only other person we know was there was Mara.

[4] Nigrodha, Sanskrit: nyagrodha: the banyan or Indian fig-tree Ficus Indica

[5] pathama-abhi-sam-buddho

[6] Horner and Bhk Bodhi use "enlightenment". The word used is: samajjhagan (> samadhigā; samadhigacchati). Important? I think so. I think the situation before the Buddha was "enlightened" was similar to what we have here today. Those who were working on their minds got high. They do it now, they did it then. The problem was the same then as it is now: drugs are not reliable (in this life) or portable (to other lives), so the intelligent let go of drugs and say 'It has got to be possible to do this (thinking 'and hopefully do it better!') with just the mind.' Afterward, when they do it, they refer to it in the terms from which they emerged: they got high, or they got higher than high. In any case it is important to break away from the sleepy trance of accepted terminology (certainly there is nothing in any of that that is anywhere near the word "enlightenment") as Mara will slip one in there someplace when you are not looking and that will be the one that throws you off track and into another round.

[7] You know the spot I'm talking about.
 
A: No, I'm not sure if I know the spot and I'm not sure what that pic. is.
 
A! You did not spot the spot?
As for the pic: that's Mara whispering into the ear of Buddha sitting at the root of the Ol'Fig Tree. Back to us.

[8] Nago: NAGA: PED: (Vedic: Naga; ? Anglo Saxon: snaca: snake; snaegl: snail) 1. A serpent or Naga demon, playing a prominent part in Buddhist fairy-tails, gifted with miraculous powers and great strength. They often act as fairies and are classed with other divinities with whom they are sometimes friendly, sometimes at enmity). 2. an elephant, especially a strong, stately animal. 3. The Naga-tree (now called "iron-wood tree," noted for its hard wood and great masses of red flowers

[9] bhayam chambhitattam lomahamsam: PED: fear, stupification and horripilation > horrify.

[10] That's the way it is in the Pali. I prefer to Spell it out, and that is what I will do hereafter.

[11] paccagu (paccca + guu) PED states the word is difficult and gives: "one who goes toward"; Horner has: "pupils"; Bhk. Bodhi has: "become...henchmen"

References:

PTS: The Mara Suttas, I.129
WP: Connected Discourses with Mara, 195
Mrs. Rhys Davids references: This group of suttas has been translated into German by Dr. Windisch in his Mara und Buddha, Leipzig, 1895, a notable monograph on the Mara legend.


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