Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Dynamis of Evil

In Ephesians 6:12, Paul writes:

…we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities (archas), against the powers (exousias), against the world rulers (kosmokratoras), of this present darkness, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. read more

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Towards a Psychology of the Māras, Part I

             The Sacred India Tarot

At the outset here one needs to be aware that the context in which Māra(s) is spoken is mythic in scope. Far more than any cognitively-based amalgams of collective-experiences shared in the human psyche—this mythos is more-than-human. It involves cosmic-forces that have been around longer than the early dawn of mankind’s limited evolutionary experiences. As Robert Warren Clark states in his excellent Dissertation, Māra: Psychopathology and Evil in the Buddhism of India and Tibet: read more

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The Proclivities of Evil

The best way to expose evil is through its actions. The proclivities of Satan and Māra are well documented. read more

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Etymology of the Evil Ones

Evil is wide and prevalent in our Saha-World. Unlike the Truth, it assumes an endless array of faces and embeds itself unmercifully in all the assorted-affairs of sentient beings. The dominant Western and Eastern terms for these faces of evil are Satan and Māra. The term “Satan” is derived from a Hebrew term meaning, the adversary. The popular term “Devil” is derived from the Greek, diabolos. Both of these terms are found in the New Testament and later on in the writings of the Church Fathers. Throughout the Millennium he’s also referred to as the “Dark-One”, the “Black-One” and the “wicked-one”; the term, the evil-one appears in a popular translation of the “Our Father” prayer—deliver us from the Evil One. Traditionally, Satan was originally the premier Angel of Light (son of the morning) in Heaven, named Lucifer; through his own conceited vanity, he tried to usurp the very throne of the Most High. John Milton’s Epic poem, “Paradise Lost”, describes this most evil of all adversaries: read more

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Coming Soon: Māra and Satan

On Ash Wednesday, February 18th, roughly 1.2 Billion across the globe will be ushering-in the season of Lent. One of the passages from scripture that always begins this solemn season, is the one in which Jesus is tempted by Satan for 40 days in the Desert. This is a highly symbolic event, since Lent itself lasts 40 days; and so, during this stretch of time, one is asked to do assorted penances and make new resolutions, ones that are in tune with self-denying one’s carnal appetites, in favor of a highly spiritual-makeover. In a very real way, one is also seeking refuge from the forces of evil in the world, ones that are always afoot attempting to wreak havoc on a soul that is trying to better itself. There are parallels in both Christianity and Buddhism that personify these dark forces, the Fathers of Evil if you will. Hence we have Satan, and Māra. Back in 1975, James W. Boyd, published a well-informed book, Satan and Māra: Christian and Buddhist Symbols of Evil. Unfortunately his work is long out of print, but I was recently fortunate enough to find a copy. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, we shall be exploring in depth these interesting parallels between Satan and Māra. It’s by no small chance that Siddhartha Gautama experienced similar inclinations from Māra that Jesus did from Satan throughout his Dark night of the Soul in the desert. read more

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Closing Teachings on Prajñāpāramitā

Painting by Peter Adams

At that time, Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, in the cities and villages of Jambudvīpa, what should be the station of one who expounds the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā?” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Now in this assembly, if there are people who hear Prajñāpāramitā, and all vow saying, ‘In a future life, I should always attain this manifestation of Prajñāpāramitā,’ then from this belief, in a future life, they will be able to hear this sūtra. It should be known that it is not from few good roots that such a person is able to accept and hear it with bliss. Mañjuśrī, if there is again someone who has heard this Prajñāpāramitā from you, then you should say, ‘In this Prajñāpāramitā, there is no Śrāvaka or Pratyekabuddha Dharma, or a Buddha Dharma, and also no dharmas of birth and death, of ordinary beings, and so on.’” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, suppose bhikus, bhikuīs, upāsakas, or upāsikās come and ask of me, ‘How does the Buddha expound Prajñāpāramitā?’ I would reply saying, ‘All dharmas are without conflicting characteristics, so how should the Tathāgata expound Prajñāpāramitā?’ Why? There is no perception of the existence of dharmas with which dharmas may conflict, and also no minds and consciousnesses of sentient beings which are able to know. read more

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Single Action Samādhi

At that time, Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, I contemplate the true Dharma which is unconditioned and without characteristics, without obtaining and without benefit, without birth and without death, without coming and without going, without one who knows, without one who perceives, and without one who acts. There is no perceiving Prajñāpāramitā, nor perceiving a realm of Prajñāpāramitā, being neither realization nor non-realization. It is not composing conceptual elaborations, and is without discrimination. All dharmas are endless and apart from any end. There is no Ordinary Person Dharma, Śrāvaka Dharma, Pratyekabuddha Dharma, or Buddha Dharma. There is neither attainment nor non-attainment, neither abandoning birth and death, nor realizing Nirvāa. There is neither conceivable nor inconceivable, neither doing nor nondoing. Such being the characteristic of the Dharma, how then should one learn Prajñāpāramitā?” At that time, the Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “If one is able to thusly know the characteristics of the Dharma, then this is what is called learning Prajñāpāramitā. Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas who wish to learn the Bodhi Sovereign Samādhi, and having attained this samādhi, illuminate all extremely profound Buddha dharmas, as well as know the names of all buddhas, and in each case thoroughly understand the various buddha world realms without obstruction, should learn this Prajñāpāramitā spoken by Mañjuśrī.” read more

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Cultivating Prajñāpāramitā II

Painting by Peter Adams

At that time, Mahākāśyapa addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, in the coming age, if the extremely profound true Dharma is spoken thusly, who will be able to believe, understand, accept, and practice it?” The Buddha said to Kāśyapa, “If bhikus, bhikuīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās in this assembly are able to hear this sūtra thusly, then in the coming age, if they hear this Dharma again, they will certainly be capable of understanding the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā. They will even be able to study, recite, believe, understand, accept, and maintain it, and they will be able to expound it to others and explain it. Consider a householder who is worried and distressed after losing a mai jewel. When it is found again later, his mind will be extremely happy. It is just like this, Kāśyapa. Bhikus, bhikuīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās, are also such as this, who have a mind of faith and happiness. If they do not hear the Dharma, then distress will arise, but when they are able to hear it, they will believe, understand, accept, and maintain it, always happy when studying and reciting it, extremely blissful and happy. It should be known that such a person is essentially perceiving the Buddha, and essentially serving and providing offerings to all buddhas.” read more

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The Inconceivable Samādhi

At that time, the spiritual power of the Buddha caused the great earth to shake in six directions, with the manifestation of impermanence. Sixteen thousand people attained the Dharma Patience of Non-arising, and seven hundred bhikus, three thousand upāsakas, forty thousand upāsikās, and sixty countless myriads of beings from the Six Heavens of Desire left the dust and dirt far behind, and attained the pure Dharma Eye regarding all dharmas. read more

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The True Liberation of the Tathāgatas

At that time, the Bhagavān spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “When you say I am the Tathāgata, do you mean that I have come from suchness?” Mañjuśrī said, “No, Bhagavān, I would not say that the Tathāgata is the one who has come from suchness. Why? There is no appearance of suchness which may be called suchness, and no Tathāgata wisdom which is able to know suchness. Why? The Tathāgata and wisdom are without characteristics of duality. Emptiness is the Tathāgata, only existing as a name, so what should I say is the meaning of Tathāgata?” The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Do you doubt the Tathāgata?” Mañjuśrī said, “No, Bhagavān. I contemplate the Tathāgata as being without fixed nature, without birth and without death, and for this reason there is no doubt.”  read more

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