Chapter XXI — (More of) Mara's Deeds (RiBa)

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Chapter XXI

~(MORE OF) MARA’S DEEDS~

Pride and the Magical Power of Veracity

This Bodhisattva, as we see, says: "I am predicted to full enlightenment by the Tathagatas of this past. As this is the Truth, and my utterance of this Truth, let this ghost depart!"

Now as this happens, Mara -is seen to be- in his turn trying at this same time to induce the ghost to depart. And his efforts are particularly strong and energetic when he has to deal with a Bodhisattva which has but recently set out in the vehicle. It is the magical power of Mara which is seen to have driven the ghost away. But a recently set out Bodhisattva thinks one's own might drove the ghost away, and does not know nor consider that this just may be what is called Mara's might, as one's own negative forces within, driving one to thoughts of great advantage. The Bodhisattva now slackens in efforts.

As a result of this [apparent] victory over the ghost this Bodhisattva thinks to have had this prediction in this past, and despises other Bodhisattvas, sneers at these, ironically compliments, condemns and deprecates these. Pride goes on increasing, until quite firm and rigid. The pride, arrogance, hauteur, false pride, conceit keeps this one away from all-knowledge, from supreme cognition of a Buddha, from cognition of the Self-Existent [386], from cognition of all-knowing, from supreme enlightenment. As this one meets with Bodhisattvas which are good friends, -virtuous in character, resolutely intent on the sublime, earnestly intent, skilled in means, endowed with irreversible dharma, - in this one's conceit these are despised, as such does not tend to, love and honor these. So, this recently set out Bodhisattva tightens what's seen as the bond of Mara still further. One can expect this one to belong to one of two levels, either of Sravaka Disciple, or of a Pratyekabuddha. In this way, in connection with magical power of the enunciation of a Truth, Mara the Evil One is seen to be allowed to cause an obstacle to full enlightenment in any Bodhisattva which has recently set out in the vehicle, which has little faith, has learned little, lacks any good friend, is not upheld by perfect wisdom, and lacks in skill in means. This also can be known as Mara's deed to any Bodhisattva.

Pride in Connection with the Annunciation of the Name

Here and now, Subhuti, these deeds of Mara are seen to operate also in connection with the annunciation of a Bodhisattva's name. And how? Mara is accredited with using even the annunciation of the name, and of the other details connected with it, to tempt a Bodhisattva. He comes to the Bodhisattva in all kinds of disguises, and says: "You have your prediction from Tathagatas in other times. The proof is this name you have, even as a Buddha, and these are the names of your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your friends, maternal relatives, kinsmen and relations." He proclaims these names backwards through seven generations. He tells you that you are born in this region, this country, this village, town or marketplace. [387] As you have any particular quality, he tells you that you have that same quality also in other times. Whether this Bodhisattva is dull by nature, or keen in faculties, Mara tells this one that such is the same in other times as well.

Or, he will take other qualities which one has in this present life: As, say, a forest dweller, or one who begs for food from door to door without accepting invitations, or wears clothes made of rags taken from a dust heap, or never eats any food after midday or eats a meal in one sitting, or sleeps at night wherever one may happen to be, or possesses no more than three robes, or lives in and frequents cemeteries, or one dwells at the foot of a tree, or even in sleep remains in a sitting posture, or lives in an open, unsheltered place, or wears a garment made of felt, or has few wishes, is easily contented, detached, frugal, soft in speech, or a person of few words, -in each case, Mara announces that also in other times this same one is endowed with the same quality, and that for certain the Tathagatas of the three times must have predicted this one to full enlightenment and to the stage of an irreversible Bodhisattva, for now this one has the just mentioned qualities of an austere ascetic, and must now in all certainty also have endowments with these from other times.

It may be now a Bodhisattva comes to feel conceit as one thinks of the annunciation of these names and circumstances from other times, and of present austere penances as a rigid ascetic. One may actually think one had this prediction in other times as now one has these qualities of a rigid ascetic. And Mara confirms this one in this view. [388] In the guise of a monk, or nun, or lay brother, or lay sister, or Brahmin, or householder, or mother, father, brother, sister, friend or relative, Mara is seen as coming to the Bodhisattva and telling this one that in other times one has had this prediction to full enlightenment and to this irreversible stage of a Bodhisattva for the simple reason that now one has these qualities of a rigid ascetic, which, according to Mara, are the qualities of an irreversible Bodhisattva. But...the Bodhisattva does not have the attributes, tokens and signs of an irreversible Bodhisattva which is described. This is surely a being seen as beset by Mara, unlike these other Bodhisattvas [which are good friends]. For this one does not have the attributes, tokens and signs which are actually characteristics of an irreversible Bodhisattva.

So, as a result of the annunciation of the circumstances of other times one feels conceit. In this conceit, overcome by great and rigid conceit, defeated by what's seen as the magical power of Mara, one despises brother and sister Bodhisattvas, sneers at and deprecates these. One can recognize this as a deed -seen as being done- of Mara, which makes uses of the annunciation of the circumstances, said to be from other times of a Bodhisattva. [389]

Also Subhuti, Mara -is seen to- operate in connection with the prediction of the name which a Bodhisattva will have as a Buddha. In the guise of a monk he comes to a Bodhisattva and predicts: "this will be your name when you have won full enlightenment." And Mara, strangely enough, is seen to predict the name which the Bodhisattva had already guessed when pondering over the name one would bear after full enlightenment. If the Bodhisattva is weak in wisdom, [which is pure and natural sensibilities more or less refined] and without skill in means, this one reflects that, strangely enough, the name which that monk has mentioned is the same guessed by oneself.

The Bodhisattva compares the name thought out by oneself with the name proclaimed by that monk, who is seen as either beset by Mara, or was conjured up by Mara or his host, and finds that the two agree, and concludes oneself has in other times also been predicted to full enlightenment by Tathagatas by name. But one has not got the attributes, tokens and signs of an irreversible Bodhisattva as are described. Since lacking in them, one feels conceit as a result of this prediction of name. In this conceit [390] one despises the brother and sister Bodhisattvas, and thinks that as one has had this prediction, these others have not. This pride, arrogance and conceit which makes one despise these other Bodhisattva keeps one far away from all-knowledge and the cognition of a Buddha. Not upheld by perfect wisdom, lacking in skill in means and the good friend, taken hold of by the bad friend, one would, we must expect, belong to one of two other levels, that of a Sravaka Disciple, or that of a Pratyekabuddha.

Now, even if after one has spent a long time, a good long time in erring about and in wandering about [in birth-and-death], one would again come to want to know full enlightenment by resorting to just this perfection of wisdom; and if one were to go to these good friends and regularly approach them; and if, in one's newfound outlook on life one would, first of all, censure former ideas, vomit them up, abhor them, throw them back, see their error, - even then it is still difficult for this one to realize buddha-nature. So serious is the offense of conceitedness, for it is a result of pandering to the self-aggrandizing and deluded needs of one's self for immediate gratification.

Among the monks who belong to the vehicle or level of the Sravaka Disciples four unforgivable offences are so serious that, as someone has been guilty of one of them, that one ceases to be a monk, a Shramana, a son or daughter of the Shakya. More serious than those four unforgivable offences is the production of a proud thought, when, on the occasion of the prediction of one's name, a Bodhisattva has despised other Bodhisattvas, and produced a thought which is very unwholesome, which is more serious than the four unforgivable offences. Not only this, but it is more serious even than the five deadly sins, this production of thought connected with pride, [391] produced on the occasion when a Bodhisattva's future name [as a Buddha] is announced. That thought is more serious than the five deadly sins. In this way, even through the mere annunciation of a Bodhisattva's name very subtle deeds -seen to be- of Mara may arise. These are recognized for what these are, and avoided, both by the Bodhisattva oneself, and by others.

Faults in Connection with Detachment

Furthermore, -what is seen as- Mara the Evil One, comes to any Bodhisattva and exhorts and informs these in connection with the quality of detachment which Tathagatas have appraised as detachment, and that this means one should dwell in a remote forest, in a jungle, in mountain clefts, burial grounds, or on heaps of straw, etc. But this is not taught as the detachment of a Bodhisattva, that one should live in a forest, remote, lonely and isolated, or in jungle, mountain clefts, burial grounds, on heaps of straw, etc.

Subhuti: As this is not the detachment of the Bodhisattva, what then is this detachment of a Bodhisattva?

The Lord: A Bodhisattva dwells detached as one is detached from the mental activities associated with Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas [392].

As one is taken hold of by perfection of wisdom and skill in means, and as one dwells in the dwelling of friendliness and of great compassion towards all beings, one dwells detached even as one dwells in the neighborhood or village. Thusly ordained is this detachment from the mental activities associated with Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas: A Bodhisattva dwells detached as one passes day and night dwelling in this detachment. As any Bodhisattva dwells in this dwelling while one lives in remote dwelling places, in remote forests, in the jungle, in mountain clefts and burial grounds, thus one dwells detached. But as to the detachment recommended by Mara, the Evil One, -i.e. the dwelling in remote forests, jungles, mountain clefts and burial grounds, -as this detachment is actually contaminated or tainted by the mental activities associated with Disciples and Pratyekabuddha, just so, as one does not apply as one practices the perfection of wisdom, one does not fulfil these conditions necessary to realize all-knowledge. As a result, one dwells in a contaminated dwelling, in a mental activity which is not wholly pure. By consequence of this, one despises other Bodhisattvas who dwell in villages, but which are uncontaminated by mental activities associated with Sravaka Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas, who dwell in dwellings of wisdom with many devices, and with great compassion.

As one's deeds of body, voice and mind are not quite pure, one is a dweller in contamination, not a dweller in detachment, although one may dwell in the remote forest. At first one despises these which live in the neighborhood of a village, though these dwell in the dwelling of wisdom, with devices and great compassion, though these are habitually quite pure in what these do with their body, voice or mind, though these are detached from mental activities associated with Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas, uncontaminated by them [393]; after this one finds one cannot gain the Trances, Concentrations, Attainments, Emancipations and Super-knowledges, and these qualities do not reach fulfillment in this person. The reason for this is that this one is without skill in means.

Even though a Bodhisattva may dwell in deserted forests hundreds of miles wide, with no other company than beasts of prey, antelopes, flocks of birds, uninfested even by the smaller wild animals, by Yakshas and Rakshasas, and untroubled by the fear of robbers, and even though one may settle here for one year, or for one hundred years, or even for hundreds of thousands of niyutas of kotis of years, or for more than that; -if one does not know this detachment as explained, and through which detachment and explanation a Bodhisattva dwells as one who has set out with earnest intentions, who has achieved earnest intentions; even now one completely devoted to life in the remote forests fails to gladden the heart of hearts, as one does not know this [detachment], as one is without skill in means, as one leans on this detachment, clings to it, is bent on it, indulges in it. For the detachment of any Bodhisattva which is described does not appear in this one's detachment. But from a place high up in the air Mara can be seen as saying to the dweller in the remote forest that this dweller does well, that one's detachment is the one which Tathagatas have described, and one can go on dwelling in just this detachment, and in consequence of it one quickly realizes full enlightenment. [394]

As one leaves this isolated place in the forest, and comes back to a village, one despises Bodhisattvas here, monks who are well behaved, chaste, lovely in character, uncontaminated by mental activities associated with Sravakas, Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas, and living their lives quite pure in body, voice and mind. This one tells these they surely do not dwell in a detached dwelling, but in a contaminated and crowded one. Any Bodhisattvas here, who dwell in a detached dwelling, this one warns against contaminated and crowded dwellings, tries to commit them to a detached dwelling [as this one conceives it].

One such as this also attempts to make claims, and demanding their respect for one's own isolated residence...is proud, and tells these: "Superhuman beings have exhorted me, superhuman beings have come to inform me! This [isolated place in the forest] is the dwelling in which I dwell. What dweller in a village has ever been exhorted and informed by superhuman beings?" In this way this one despises the persons who belong to the vehicle of the Bodhisattva. This one is known as a Candala of a Bodhisattva, as a defamer of Bodhisattvas, as a mere pretender of a Bodhisattva, as a counterfeit Bodhisattva, as filth of a Bodhisattva, as a robber in the guise of a Shramana, a robber of persons belonging to the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas, a robber of the world with its Gods. Such a one is surely not yet tended, loved or honored. For such persons have fallen into conceit.[395]

These even succeed in corrupting other kindred spirits, weaklings who have but recently set out in the vehicle. These are regarded as yet obscurred of nature, as devoid of any ability as yet to allow teachers to find their effectiveness within one such as this, devoid of any realization of the qualities of holiness.

Although a Bodhisattva does not yet tend such persons, neither does one not love or honor these, as a true Bodhisattva is one who can neither abandon beings, nor all-knowledge, nor full enlightenment, as one aspires earnestly to reveal full enlightenment, and indicate to countless others how to bring about this revelation themselves as well as the weal of all beings.

On the contrary, one who has raised oneself to a height which is such as one considers the weal of all beings, also does, so one may see through these and other deeds -seen to be- of Mara, always maintain one's mind as anxious to expound the path to beings who have not yet got it, a mind which does not tremble and which is not submerged in the wanderings through these triple worlds; one has revealed first of all an attitude of friendliness, and an attitude of compassion, one has revealed the great compassion and is moved by sympathy, one has thoughts of joy and in sympathy with the beings who progress, whether or not such is obvious, and one is impartial, for the true nature of dharmas is such as it cannot be apprehended; [with all this in mind] one forms the resolution: "Thus in any time any and all the faults seen to be of Mara's deeds are in no way whatsoever either conceived, or produced; or, appearing as produced, these at once pass away again. Thus train oneself!"

This is also known as a Bodhisattva's courageous advance towards one's own higher knowledge. So much for this which a Bodhisattva knows about Mara's deeds in connection with the quality of detachment.


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