The great sadness of deity-based religions, be it monotheistic or polytheistic ones, the deity in name and worship, be it One or Many, all suffer from the souls’ delusion of servitude, either desired or forced upon itself by merit of self-ignorance, fear, love or guilt. It is servitude to something higher than its actual true self – the latter being PURE SPIRIT, BUDDHA NATURE, but in the soul by reason of ignorance being perceived as lower. It fails to realize that in any realm, or reality, there is nothing higher than its true self.
The ignorance of this, be it active or passive is the very reason of its suffering in the countless realms of its own making, all by the miraculously animating ability of the boundless light of its true nature – which is PURE SPIRIT, BUDDHANATURE, or as we say in this school of Mind-Only, UNBORN MIND.
From this saddening state of self-delusion where the soul prohibits itself to serve ITSELF and no-thing else, a spiritual ascension to right knowledge of its TRUE SELF, (the latter being not soul, but PURE SPIRIT) through a plethora of quasi-spiritual worlds, phenomena, demons, and deities are born at any given thought of Spatio-temporal imagery. Thus the self-empty realities of good and evil appear to it where it is forced to make a choice at any given point of its binding consciousness governed by the dimming forces known as Body, Space, and Time.
It is irrelevant if this “journey” is one of biological, mechanical, or astral nature. It is in all these formations of SPIRIT, mere aspects of the souls’ ignorance, self-perception as relative to the perceived and desired, or feared.
All this originates within the deluded ignorance that continuously forces it to stumble around in realms and bodies of what really IMAGINES is its true self. Being perceived as a devout monk, or saint does not guarantee a release from such delusions. The perception of Sainthood among the common-minded is often a creation of bewildered souls dwelling in the unknowing reality that shields them from the absolute reality of PURE SPIRIT/UNBORN MIND. Simply, the IMAGELESS reality of the aforementioned.
Only the true Saint[bodhisattva] knows the reality of Pure Spirit and the grace that permeates the true and liberated self in the presence of said reality.
Even a bodhisattva at a higher stage can be in error when confronting the countless illusions of Mara, but the difference between such a Spiritual Mind and an ordinary is that it can always ask for help and recognize and use it properly when so handed it (by the Buddhas) within itself as a shield and sword towards the begetting and deluding consciousness of evil.
The Mayans had their gods and other internal aspects of what was considered THAT of higher Power and ultimate meaning. So did, and still do the various branches of Judaism, Islam, and the various Christian churches, all based on their Abrahamic deity.
The Mesopotamian deities, preceding them were not fewer in terms of demanding worship and spiritual duty.
The Hindus and their myriad deities serve as the best example of how divided the souls Imaginarium when running unrestrained, can produce, evolve and bloom into a great Caldeioscopic verse of myriad gods and demi-gods.
The former was also a good reason Siddharta abandoned his fathers’ royal path by allowing his soul to seek the ultimate source, the origin of its true nature.
The very same can be said about evil in terms of demonology and the various hells the soul can find itself in, if there is a breach of a great set of rules that lack any reality [absolute truth] in the absolute reality [dharmakaya] of Pure Spirit, Nirvana and the other names this Buddha-nature is known by.
Of course, Buddhism itself contains its great portion of heavens and hells, but all of them still originates in the souls´ firm belief that what is perceived, be it by great habit energy and interdependent origination, and the temporal knowledge residing in this delusion must be real and hence a confirming source of its nature being ultimately true and absolute (which is an illusion).
The wise Zen student, in the very footsteps laid out as golden path by all Buddhas before it, has but a single goal during its souls’ presence in its latest biological matrix, that even in the most subtle levels of its consciousness keeps revealing a limited yet distorted view of absolute reality.
This goal (in its beginning) is to still itself in deep dhyana through the FOUR stages upon where the fourth stage enables it to ascend vertically beyond the hold of its biological matrix and reveal the spiritual world of said deities and demons, but also bodhisattvas and Buddhas.
Here the soul must spend time revealing and keep smashing the countless illusions of previous acts of deep ignorance and deep habit energy stored within its Alaya consciousness as a great and very vivid Imaginarium. It discovers its innate ability to slay the hold of its demons, its various gods, and even imagined natures of bodhisattvas and Buddhas.
This battle usually takes the remeaning years of its biological matrix but it will continue in its afterlife in a way ordinary sentients can not even imagine as they still serve the delusions of their own souls on a most primitive level. Compared to the ordinary sentient, the soul of said zen student in its afterlife has no transitory period of bridging one life with another provided there has been Kensho before the cessation of its biological matrix [the illusion of death].
It is in this disembodied reality of its ascended soul, the Zen student comes to realize that ITS TRUE NATURE [Buddhata] is not itself but the very PURE SPIRIT behind all its imaginations/ideations, the most important – the truth about itself being the illusions of its countless desires, choices and fortunate, or unfortunate outcomes are all nothing but differentiated light out of the undifferentiated light of its own PURE SPIRIT that gave birth to it as means to KNOW ITSELF by an endless chain of interlinked dreams. Once the awakening takes place in SPIRIT by means of its soul’s ceased perception of the projected imagery, SPIRIT realizes its true nature as luminous and permanently ultimate and hence the presence of Nirvana is allowed to be finalized as Pari-Nirvana. This is the spiritual goal of the Zen Student in its final stage.
To expand a bit on this later and final stage; Upon this, initially sudden and later, consequently gradual “evolution” and gnosis, the soul realizes its prime function as a mere perceiver, and a knower of all things; risen and ceased by the will and effectuation of its countless desires and past karmic originations, but that truth LIES NOT in a deity or any spiritual being, but in the absolute reality of its own true nature, Dharmakaya – the reality of PURE SPIRIT.
Hence, here, where no place or time can be found but the light of absolute suchness, a transference of spiritual energy is initiated, where the soul demands less and less with each remaining day in its last incarnation, and this mystical conversion effectuates a return back to its original and ultimate source, PURE SPIRIT, BUDDHAHOOD, UNBORN MIND – NIRVANA.
When the day of final release arrives, which a Mind steeped in this wisdom is keenly aware of, the proper mantra  is uttered to cut the final hold and allow unification with the absolute.
Thus this great command upon itself was created by compassionate Buddhas and ordained to it as a bridge and direction for the final return to said source of origin, also known as Pari-Nirvana.
Gate gate para gate para sam gate bodhi swaha
 In Tibet, for example, the final cutting command with the body is the mantra known as PHET! (uttered distinctly three times to honor the Triratna of Buddhism.