The Demons of Thought

Demon of thought

 

“Ananda, when the good person who is cultivating samadhi has put an end to the feeling skandha, although he has not achieved freedom from outflows, his mind can leave his body the way a bird escapes from a cage. From within his ordinary body, he already has the potential for ascending through the Bodhisattvas’ sixty levels of sagehood. He is now able to use his mind to create a spiritual-body and can roam freely without obstruction.

“This is like someone talking in his sleep. Although he does not know he is doing it, his words are clear, and his voice and inflection are all in order, so those who are awake can understand what he is saying. This is the region of the thinking skandha.

“If he puts an end to his stirring thoughts and rids himself of superfluous thinking, it is as if he has purged defilement from the enlightened, understanding mind. Then he is perfectly clear about the births and deaths of all categories of beings from beginning to end. This is the end of the thinking skandha. He can then transcend the turbidity of afflictions. Contemplating the cause of the thinking skandha, one sees that interconnected false thoughts are its source.

He is now able to use his mind to create a spiritual-body: this is in reference to the Manomayakaya, or the Mind-induced Spiritual Body. We dealt exclusively with the manomayakaya in both our series on the Vimalakirti Sutra and The Lankavatarian Book of the Dead. At this junction, we can also infer from this section of the Surangama Sutra that this body is only capable of being created after one has overcome and mastered both the form and sensate Skandhas. It is still capable, though, of being highly influenced by the Demons of the Thought Skandha. While one can, with the help of proper bodhipower defeat these demons—as is highlighted in this section—we shall soon discover that the demons can conspire to utilize the manomayakaya for their own abominable ambitions. Throughout these ten aggregates of the Thought-Demons, there will be a recurring refrain at the beginning, suggestive that a demon has taken possession of the practitioner, or more likely, the practitioner has become possessed by someone whose commanding “manomayakaya-presence” wills and expects unequivocal obedience from the possessed—much like the leader of a cult. The Demon who possesses this manomayakaya ability also exhibits strange siddhis-powers that hold the possessed spellbound.

[1] “Ananda, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves its perfect brightness, so he sharpens his concentrated thought as he greedily seeks for cleverness and skill.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma.

“This person, unaware that he is possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks cleverness and skill, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. In an instant, he may appear to be a Bhikshu, enabling that person to see him as such, or he may appear as Shakra, as a woman, or as a Bhikshuni; or his body may emit light as he sleeps in a dark room.

“The good person is beguiled and fooled into thinking that the other is a Bodhisattva. He believes the other’s teachings and his mind is swayed. He breaks the Buddha’s moral precepts and covertly indulges his greedy desires.

“The other person is fond of speaking about calamities, auspicious events, and unusual changes. He may say that a Tathagata has appeared in the world at a certain place. He may speak of catastrophic fires or wars, thus frightening people into squandering their family wealth without reason.

“This is a strange ghost that in its old age has become a demon. It disturbs and confuses the good person. But when it tires of doing so, it will leave the other person’s body. Then both the disciples and the teacher will get in trouble with the law.

“You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

More often than not, in this context, the one with the commanding presence and manomayakayic-spiritual abilities is completely unaware that they are possessed by a demon; in the same fashion, those whom they hold in abeyance through siddhis-possession are also unaware of what is transpiring. This passage is strongly reflective of a fundamentalist cult-leader who has taken sole possession of his follower’s minds and wealth. It’s like those stories we hear from time to time about those who sell all they have and follow some madman because he informs them that the end of the world is coming soon.

The conclusion of each of these ten demon-states also describes that after the demon tires and leaves their host bodies, that the former-possessed ones suddenly wake-up, as if from a hypnotic haze, and may even find themselves afterwards getting into trouble with the law; in light of this passage the tragedy at Wako-Texas concerning the Dravidian-cult in the early 1990’s comes to mind.

[2] “Further, Ananda, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves to roam about, so he lets his subtle thoughts fly out as he greedily seeks for adventure.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma.

“This person, unaware that he is possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks to roam, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. His own body does not change its appearance, but those listening to the Dharma suddenly see themselves sitting on jeweled lotuses and their entire bodies transformed into clusters of purple-golden light. Each person in the audience experiences that state and feels he has obtained something unprecedented.

“The good person is beguiled and fooled into thinking the other is a Bodhisattva. Lust and laxity corrupt his mind. He breaks the Buddha’s moral precepts and covertly indulges his greedy desires.

“The other person is fond of saying that Buddhas are appearing in the world. He claims that in a certain place a certain person is actually a transformation body of a certain Buddha. Or he says that a certain person is such and such a Bodhisattva who has come to teach humankind. People who witness this are filled with admiration. Their wrong views multiply, and their Wisdom of Modes is destroyed.

“This is a drought ghost that in its old age has become a demon. It disturbs and confuses the good person. But when it tires of doing so, it will leave the other person’s body. Then both the disciples and the teacher will get in trouble with the law.

“You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

Reminiscent of the Cult of Osho Rasjneesh: His disciples claimed that he was Buddha Gautama returned in the flesh. During his daily satsang-sessions in “Buddha-Hall” he always worked everyone present into a wild frenzy, proclaiming that they were “all Buddhas.” The cult became highly dysfunctional and would engage in wild orgies. Eventually they, too, ran afoul of the law as their newly formed commune in Oregon was soon closed in 1985. The cult’s “International-Meditation Center” still exists to this day in Pune, India. This was Osho’s last location when he died at age 59 in January 1990. He wanted to transform the world with his teachings and his devoted disciples (sannyasins). This is truly a Personality Cult if ever there was one; many to this day, even long after his death, are still under his spell.

[3] “Further, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves spiritual oneness, so he clarifies his concentrated thought as he greedily seeks for union.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma.

“This person, unaware that he is actually possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks union, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. Neither his own body nor the bodies of those listening to the Dharma go through any external transformations. But he makes the minds of the listeners become `enlightened’ before they listen to the Dharma, so they experience changes in every thought. They may have the knowledge of past lives or the knowledge of others’ thoughts. They may see the hells or know all the good and evil events in the human realm. They may speak verses or spontaneously recite Sutras. Each person is elated and feels he has obtained something unprecedented.

“The good person is beguiled and fooled into thinking the other is a Bodhisattva. His thoughts become entangled in love. He breaks the Buddha’s moral precepts and covertly indulges his greedy desires.

“He is fond of saying that there are greater Buddhas and lesser Buddhas, earlier Buddhas and later Buddhas; that among them are true Buddhas and false Buddhas, male Buddhas and female Buddhas; and that the same is true of Bodhisattvas. When people witness this, their initial resolve is washed away, and they easily get carried away with their wrong understanding.

“This is a mei-ghost that in its old age has become a demon. It disturbs and confuses the good person. But when it tires of doing so, it will leave the other person’s body. Then both the disciples and the teacher will get in trouble with the law.

“You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

This is all highly evocative of Spiritualism. A possessed “Spiritualist” is largely unaware that he or she is possessed, claiming only to be a “channel” for some “enlightened entity” speaking through them. Those listening to this “channeled entity” think they are being fed an instant dose of enlightenment—after all, it’s an “entity” speaking so it has to be true—yeah, right! Theosophy is another major candidate for this passage; its adherents also claim to be privy to special “channeled material”, where there are higher and lesser “buddhas”, as well as lesser male and female bodhisattvas. Anyone falling prey to this type of “spirit-channeled” activity is in for one hell of a mind-trip. New-Age adherents can also be bracketed under this category.

[4] “Further, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves to know the origins of things, so he exhaustively investigates the nature of physical things and their changes from beginning to end. He intensifies the keenness of his thoughts as he greedily seeks to analyze things.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma.

“This person, unaware that he is possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks to know the origins of things, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. His body has an awesome spiritual quality which subdues the seeker. He makes the minds of those gathered beside his seat spontaneously compliant, even before they have heard the Dharma. He says to all those people that the Buddha’s Nirvana, Bodhi, and Dharma-body are there before them in the form of his own physical body. He says, `The successive begetting of fathers and sons from generation to generation is itself the Dharma-body, which is permanent and never-ending. What you see right now are those very Buddhalands. There are no other pure dwellings or golden features.’

“Those people believe and accept his words, forgetting their initial resolve. They offer up their lives, feeling they have obtained something unprecedented. They are all beguiled and confused into thinking he is a Bodhisattva. As they pursue his ideas, they break the Buddha’s moral precepts and covertly indulge their greedy desires.

“He is fond of saying that the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue are the Pure Land, and that the male and female organs are the true place of Bodhi and Nirvana. Ignorant people believe these filthy words.

“This is a poisonous ghost or an evil paralysis ghost that in its old age has become a demon. It disturbs and confuses the good person. But when it tires of doing so, it will leave the other person’s body. Then both the disciples and the teacher will get in trouble with the law. 

“You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

He says to all those people that the Buddha’s Nirvana, Bodhi, and Dharma-body are there before them in the form of his own physical body: Bespeaks the ultimate heretical assertion, that this foul demonic aggregate claims that it is the Unoriginated Dharmakaya Itself! It also represents the heresy of Immanentism: that the Absolute is somehow exclusively a particle of Materiality; the demon also impudently claims that immediate perceptive-materialistic-modes of existence are the true buddhalands, and also that the male and female genitalia are the origin of Bodhi and Nirvana—the gravest apostasy!

[5] “Further, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves revelations from afar, so he pours all his energy into this intense investigation as he greedily seeks for imperceptible spiritual responses.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma.

“This person, completely unaware that he is possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks revelations, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. He briefly appears to his listeners in a body that looks a hundred or a thousand years old. They experience a defiling love for him and cannot bear to part with him. They personally act as his servants, tirelessly making the Four Kinds of Offerings to him. Each member of the assembly believes that this person is his former teacher, his original Good and Wise Advisor. They give rise to love for his Dharma and stick to him as if glued, feeling they have obtained something unprecedented.

“The good person is beguiled and fooled into thinking the other is a Bodhisattva. Attracted to the other’s thinking, he breaks the Buddha’s moral precepts and covertly indulges his greedy desires.

“He is fond of saying, `In a past life, in a certain incarnation, I rescued a certain person who was then my wife (or my mistress, or my brother). Now I have come to rescue you again. We will stay together and go to another world to make offerings to a certain Buddha.’ Or he may say, `There is a Heaven of Great Brilliance where a Buddha now dwells. It is the resting place of all Tathagatas.’ Ignorant people believe his ravings and lose their original resolve.

“This is a pestilence ghost that in its old age has become a demon. It disturbs and confuses the good person. But when it tires of doing so, it will leave the other person’s body. Then both the disciples and the teacher will get in trouble with the law.

“You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

The origin of this type of demonic possession occurs when one, while in deep samadhis, procures exceptional siddhis abilities—like clairvoyance. In itself, the ability is kosher, yet when obsessively engaged will attract this form of demon.

Disturbingly evocative of the 1997 Cult of Heaven’s Gate, wherein the obsessed followers of a crazed persona, who promised them new life in a world that could be accessed to via a UFO hiding behind the comet Hale-Bopp—committed mass-suicide while the comet approached. Marshall Applewhite, the cult’s originator, encouraged its male members to undergo castration in order to better affect an ascetic lifestyle. These were quite mentally-capable people; they earned their living creating websites. Yet it was through that “mental-domain”, as it so often is, that people can become like mindless and whitewashed zombies, being led like lambs to the slaughter.

[6] “Further, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves deep absorption, so he restrains himself with energetic diligence and likes to dwell in secluded places as he greedily seeks for peace and quiet.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma.

“This person, unaware that he is possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks seclusion, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. He causes all of his listeners to think they know their karma from the past. Or he may say to someone there, `You haven’t died yet, but you have already become an animal.’ Then he instructs another person to step on the first person’s `tail’ and suddenly the first person cannot stand up. At that point, all in the assembly pour out their hearts in respect and admiration for him. If someone has a thought, the demon detects it immediately. He establishes intense ascetic practices that exceed the Buddha’s moral precepts. He slanders Bhikshus, scolds his assembly of disciples, and exposes people’s private affairs without fear of ridicule or rejection. He is fond of foretelling calamities and auspicious events, and when they come to pass, he is not wrong in the slightest.

“This is a ghost with great powers that in its old age has become a demon. It disturbs and confuses the good person. But when it tires of doing so, it will leave the other person’s body. Then both the disciples and the teacher will get in trouble with the law. You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

This forebodes what happens when one becomes too dependent upon silence and seclusion. The mind, through excessive ascetic practices, turns so inwardly-upon itself that it attracts the Demon of Seclusion—who continually haunts the one who reverences exclusive silence and separation from others above all else. In laymen’s terms, such a spirit-mind becomes too big for its britches and imagines itself to be far superior to those who cannot access such lofty heights. Left to itself it will eventually burn-itself out and begin to simply wither-away, like what happened to Shakyamuni Buddha who underwent intensive asceticism for five long years before awakening from such an unhealthy endeavor.

[7] “Further, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves more knowledge and understanding, so he diligently toils at examining and probing as he greedily seeks to know past lives.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma. This person, unaware that he is possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks knowledge, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma.

“There in the Dharma Assembly, inexplicably, that person may obtain an enormous precious pearl. The demon may sometimes change into an animal that holds the pearl or other jewels, bamboo tablets, tallies, talismans, letters, and other unusual things in its mouth. The demon first gives the objects to the person and afterwards possesses him. Or he may fool his audience by burying the objects underground and then saying that a `moonlight pearl’ is illuminating the place. Thereupon the audience feels they have obtained something unique. He may eat only medicinal herbs and not partake of prepared food. Or he may eat only one sesame seed and one grain of wheat a day and still look robust. That is because he is sustained by the power of the demon. He slanders Bhikshus and scolds his assembly of disciples without fear of ridicule or rejection.

“He is fond of talking about treasure troves in other locations, or of remote and hidden places where sages and worthies of the ten directions dwell. Those who follow him often see strange and unusual people.

“This is a ghost or spirit of the mountain forests, earth, cities, rivers, and mountains that in its old age has become a demon. The person it possesses may advocate promiscuity and violate the Buddha’s precepts. He may covertly indulge in the five desires with his followers. Or he may appear to be vigorous, eating only wild plants. His behavior is erratic, and he disturbs and confuses the good person. But when the demon tires, it will leave the other person’s body. Then both the disciples and the teacher will get in trouble with the law.

“You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

This is a prime example of someone who, after excessive and extremely arcane and secluded Samadhi, turns into a self-possessed nature-spirit. Usually this takes the form of animism, wherein one is literally possessed by the spirit of an animate as well as inanimate phenomenon. It becomes excessively obsessed with its own talisman, much like Gollum in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

[8] “Further, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves spiritual powers and all manner of transformations, so he investigates the source of transformations as he greedily seeks for spiritual powers.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma.

“This person, truly unaware that he is possessed by a demon, also claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks spiritual powers, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. The possessed person may hold fire in his hands and, grasping a portion of it, put a flame on the head of each listener in the Fourfold Assembly. The flames on top of their heads are several feet high, yet they are not hot and no one is burned. Or he may walk on water as if on dry land; or he may sit motionless in the air; or he may enter into a bottle or stay in a bag; or he may pass through window panes and walls without obstruction. Only when attacked by weapons does he feel ill at ease. He declares himself to be a Buddha and, wearing the clothing of a lay person, receives bows from Bhikshus. He slanders dhyana meditation and the moral regulations. He scolds his disciples and exposes people’s private affairs without fear of ridicule or rejection.

“He often talks about spiritual powers and self-mastery. He may cause people to see visions of Buddhalands, but they are unreal and arise merely from the ghost’s power to delude people. He praises the indulgence of lust and does not condemn lewd conduct. He uses indecent means to transmit his Dharma.

“This is a powerful nature spirit: a mountain sprite, a sea sprite, a wind sprite, a river sprite, an earth sprite, or a grassand-tree sprite that has evolved over long ages. It may be a dragon-goblin; or a rishi who has been reborn as a goblin; or again a rishi who, having reached the end of his appointed time, should have died, but whose body does not decay and is possessed by a goblin. In its old age it has become a demon. It disturbs and confuses the good person. But when it tires of doing so, it will leave the other person’s body. Then both the disciples and the teacher will get in trouble with the law.

“You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

This highlights when one becomes obsessed with arcane siddhis and directly relates the misuse and abuse of the Manomayakaya.  The unwary practitioner’s manomayakaya-body is even possessed by all manner of nature spirits that eventually consume him. Many can become bewitched by such a spirit’s siddhis-ability, like levitation and being able to pass itself through solid objects. It’s interesting to note how Jesus himself exhibited such phenomena, like walking on water. This can be reflective of the diverse Christological Schools of thought; those who hold the “exclusive Immanent-stance” that Jesus’ Body did not decay but miraculously rose from the dead, and the “exclusive Transcendent-stance” that the Christ was just a Pure Spirit who inhabited the Body of Jesus and then later discarded-it, like a cocoon, after the Crucifixion and Resurrection. This passage from the Surangama Sutra assures that the import of the Christ did not lie exclusively in either the former nor latter category. Jesus as Christ is a reflection of the Pure-Bodhisattvic-Realization, wherein both former speculations are jettisoned as He truly constituted neither Being nor Non-Being. To believe otherwise is to get caught up in the cycle of utter transmigration—an endless hodgepodge of material and spiritualistic phenomenological criteria. Jesus’ “walking on water” was akin to his manomayakaya being utilized for a wholesome purpose, like quieting his disciple’s fear of drowning.

[9] “Further, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves to enter cessation, so he investigates the nature of transformations as he greedily seeks for profound emptiness.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma.

“This person, unaware that he is possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks emptiness, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. In the midst of the great assembly, his physical form suddenly disappears, and no one in the assembly can see him. Then out of nowhere, he abruptly reappears. He can appear and disappear at will, or he can make his body transparent like crystal. From his hands and feet he releases the fragrance of sandalwood, or his excrement and urine may be sweet as thick rock candy. He slanders the precepts and is contemptuous of those who have left the home life.

“He often says that there is no cause and no effect, that once we die, we are gone forever, that there is no afterlife, and that there are no ordinary people and no sages. Although he has obtained a state of empty stillness, he covertly indulges his greedy desires. Those who give in to his lust also adopt his views of emptiness and deny cause and effect.

“This is an essence that was created during an eclipse of the sun or moon. Having fallen on gold, jade, a rare fungus, a unicorn, a phoenix, a tortoise, or a crane, the essence endowed it with life, so that it did not die for thousands or tens of thousands of years and eventually became a spirit. It was then born into this land and in its old age has become a demon. It disturbs and confuses the good person. But when it tires of doing so, it will leave the other person’s body. Then both the disciples and the teacher will get in trouble with the law.

“You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

This accentuates the disdainful state of being possessed with the Spirit of Vacuosity. This is a modern-day fallacy wherein erroneous assertions of emptiness, when taken to extremes, results in pure nihilism. All That Is is just one all-encompassing Vacuous Nature—even deprived of Substance Itself.  Yet, this is like depraving Mind of Mind—negating Its Full and Vibrant Actuosity. IT does not simply subsist of IT’s own Emptiness, but continually Celebrates its Vivifying Animating Propensity. It’s fascinating how this passage uses a metaphor of how this particular Evil Spirit was created during an “eclipse of the Sun or Moon”, indicative of being blind to the Light of Noble Wisdom that shines brilliantly like the Sun and bestows Its gnosis like the Moon’s somber Illumination. Devoid of this Noble Unborn Luminosity, what is left is just a rotting ghost-like corpse that obliterates everything in its path like a Black Hole.

[10] “Further, in the unhindered clarity and wonder that ensues after the feeling skandha is gone, this good person is untroubled by any deviant mental state and experiences perfect, bright concentration. Within samadhi, his mind craves long life, so he toils at investigating its subtleties as he greedily seeks for immortality. He wishes to cast aside the birth and death of the body, and suddenly he hopes to end the birth and death of thoughts as well, so that he can abide forever in a subtle form.

“At that time a demon from the heavens seizes the opportunity it has been waiting for. Its spirit possesses another person and uses him as a mouthpiece to expound the Sutras and the Dharma.

“This person, unaware that he is possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks long life, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. He is fond of saying that he can go places and come back without hindrance, perhaps traveling ten thousand miles and returning in the twinkling of an eye. He can also bring things back from wherever he goes. Or he may tell someone to walk from one end of the room to the other, a distance of just a few paces. Then even if the person walked fast for years, he could not reach the wall. Therefore people believe in the possessed person and mistake him for a Buddha.

“He often says, `All beings in the ten directions are my children. I gave birth to all Buddhas. I created the world. I am the original Buddha. I created this world naturally, not due to cultivation.’

“This may be a Chamunda sent from the retinue of the demon in the Heaven of Sovereignty, or a youthful pishacha from the Heaven of the Four Kings that has not yet brought forth the resolve. It takes advantage of the person’s luminous clarity and devours his essence and energy. Or perhaps without having to rely on a teacher, the cultivator personally sees a being that tells him, `I am a Vajra Spirit who has come to give you long life.’ Or the being transforms itself into a beautiful woman and engages him in frenzied lust, so that within a year his vitality is exhausted. He talks to himself; and to anyone listening he sounds like a goblin. The people around him do not realize what is happening. In most cases such a person will get in trouble with the law. But before he is punished, he will die from depletion. The demon disturbs and confuses the person to the point of death.

“You should be aware of this in advance and not get caught up in the cycle of transmigration. If you are confused and do not understand, you will fall into the Relentless Hells.

This is the Ultimate Temptation that can afflict the practitioner of Deep Samadhis: advancing so far into the highest light heavens that it believes it has eclipsed even the Tathagatas themselves. Within Spiritual Literature this is akin to Lucifer in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition, and within Buddhism this is the Domain of Mara himself. Indeed, Mara is the King-Demon of all Skandhas par-excellence. The Skandhas are his domain. One should not take this lightly. Left exclusively to the mercies of the Skandhas, we are Mara’s children. This Samsaric-realm we experience daily is his dominion. Without the Salvific Light of the Buddhadharma to guide us, we will just remain trapped like the unwary fly attached to the mucilaginous web of the spider…just lifeless roadkill.

“Ananda, you should know that in the Dharma-ending Age, these ten kinds of demons may leave the home-life (monastics) to cultivate the Way within my Dharma. They may possess other people, or they may manifest themselves in various forms. All of them will claim that they have already accomplished Proper and Pervasive Knowledge and Awareness.

“They praise lust and break the Buddha’s moral precepts. The evil demonic teachers and their demonic disciples that I just discussed transmit their teaching through licentious activity. Such deviant spirits take over cultivators’ minds, and after as few as nine lives or as many as a hundred generations, they turn true practitioners entirely into followers of demons.

“When their lives are over, they are bound to end up as one of the demonic hordes. They will lose their proper and pervasive knowledge and fall into the Relentless Hells.

“You need not enter Nirvana yet. Although you are completing your attainment to the level beyond study, hold nonetheless to your vows to enter the Dharma-ending Age. Bring forth great compassion to rescue and take across living beings who have proper minds and deep faith. Do not let them become possessed by demons. Help them instead to attain proper knowledge and views. I have already rescued you from birth and death. By venerating the Buddha’s words, you will be repaying the Buddha’s kindness.

“Ananda, all ten of these states may occur in dhyana as one’s mental effort interacts with the thinking skandha.

“Dull and confused living beings do not evaluate themselves. Encountering such situations, in their confusion they fail to recognize them and say that they have become sages, thereby uttering a great lie. They will fall into the Relentless Hells.

“In the Dharma-ending Age, after my Nirvana, all of you should pass on the Tathagata’s teachings, so that all living beings can awaken to their meaning. Do not let the demons of the heavens have their way. Offer protection so that all can realize the unsurpassed Way.

The Tathagata forewarns that these particular ten demon-states are all-inclusive in nature. They exist in the monasteries as well as the homestead. One needs to remain faithful to their Nirvanic-Vows. We are presently in the last quarter of the Dharma-Ending Age and all is unfolding as the Sutras have revealed. One needs to be mindful at all times, in particular while cultivating their deep samadhis, that authentic-sagehood is not complete until full and unequivocal Liberation: Undivided Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi. Yea, What the Mind Focuses on WILL Determine Its Mind-Body of Reality.

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2 Responses to The Demons of Thought

  1. Tozen says:

    If you are ever approached or attacked by a demon, it seemingly present within your field of consciousness,

    defeat it by challenging it on the terms of your truth body, and never, ever, on the terms of its own body of lies.

    Based on this proposition it should be rather noble and wise to know your own truth body.

    “How then”, might you ask, “am I supposed to know when a demon is upon me?”

    Again I answer, if you truly know thyself, your own true Mind, such matters are of minor concern.

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