Arahanthood Without Purpose

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    • #18382
      inflib
      Participant

      Hello,

      In the post “Pannāvimutti – Arahanthood without Jhāna”, Lal writes about the unimportance of jhāna an iddhi powers, but what about one’s purpose for being here?

      I’ve come to the mindset that the Nature has brought each of us for a very special reason. If you avoid it (iddhi powers or otherwise), that will cause you to suffer.

      Angulimala is an example with his purpose of the Hindu spiritual path that lead him to kill 999 in order to attain enlightenment. His special purpose was to go down in the annals of how not to attain enlightenment. And the more you avoid your special purpose and avoid the truth of Nature, you will continue to suffer.

      Myself as an example has been life lived in the shadows of male dominance…painfully. Now out in the open and doing my part, the Nature is flowing through life to carry out my purpose and I no longer suffer from from the sea of bad choices. I’ve turned it over to Her.

      What do you think?

      May you all find your purpose, understand Nature and be free for suffering!

      Much metta,
      Donna :)

    • #18385
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Hello Donna,

      You need to read the correct story of Angulimala:
      Angulimala: A Murderer’s Road to Sainthood

    • #18388
      inflib
      Participant

      Hi Lal,

      Thank you, Lal. Angulimala’s story was relayed to me by one of the Theravada Bhikkhunis that was an avid researcher and a Harvard graduate.

      But even that aside, I’m interested in knowing what the community thinks about life purpose and the Nature’s goal of having each one us here.

    • #18389
      Tobias G
      Participant

      A „purpose“ requires a creator or thinker to set the goal or purpose. From my experience sometimes women have this view. I think this is a ditthi. As per Buddha Dhamma all happens because there are causes which lead to results if conditions are good enough.

      There is also a common view in Christian communities, that we all have to come back to our Father (God) and we are now as a human being in search to fulfill this purpose. This is also a ditthi which does not take into account the animal realm. If you ask a Christian believer: What type of beings are animals? Do they also have a “soul”, feelings, perceptions …? They will hardly understand your question and what do you want. The world view of the Buddha is missing.

    • #18393
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Many times in my life i have felt their is a certain purpose in what was/is happening. Or afterwards i saw that. For example, one pulls a certain book out of a bookcase with many books and exactly that book has a great impact on your life. Just accidental that you choose that book?

      There seems to be a certain guidance too. At least that’s what i think is happening.

      Certain things that happen, one feels it is not accidental and one understands immediately, while things are happening, there is a certain purpose in what is happening. A lesson to be learned?

      One immediately understands this is not accidental, this meeting, or this accident, or this event. Yes, those moments one feels like nature is talking to you and wants to express something.

      The Body gives certain signals, like pain, to tell there can be something going wrong. The Mind also gives certain signals. So information is fundamentel in life.

      The text mention the messangers of death, old age, sickness. Who sees this as messengers? Does life have other messengers? Why not? Maybe, for a Buddha life is all about information, all about messages. Every event is a kind of message, information.

      What do we experience as a message, as a sign? This is tricky, very tricky, because this is also seen in people with great mental problems. It can be exagerated. I have experienced this myself. In a period of great confusion i saw a green sign as a kind of reward and the red sign of a traffic light as a kind of punishment. I really felt it this way. One will see this is very ego-centric, like everything in life is about me.

      This seeing of signs and feeling of purpose can also be out of balance, but i will not concluse there definitely are no signs and no purpose.

      Siebe

    • #18394
      y not
      Participant

      Inflib,

      I see what you mean when you say that’Nature’ brought us here for a purpose, and ‘Nature has brought each of us for a very special reason’.

      But for that to come about Nature or Existence instills in us, in our parents in this specific case, the very powerful, the irresistible urge for sex. If it were not so, the cosmic process in the human and animal realms would not operate. But since it does, THEN ( and this is the REASON, or one of the reasons)the parents can fulfill the duty of paying the debts due to those children, plus a host of other dues to other beings in a human body at that time.

      I am therefore not with Tobias here when he says “A „purpose“ requires a creator or thinker to set the goal or purpose” The ultimate purpose of all beings anywhere in Existence, the purpose of Existence itself, is to attain Nibbana. Still there is no creator, no thinker, much less an ‘Almighty God’ behind all this. The ‘purpose’ is ingrained in the Dhamma itself, which took no almighty Thinker to sit down and formulate it – which, among other things, would beg the question: and what of the infinite time prior to that? DHAMMA ALWAYS IS. My way of putting it is: it MUST be so because it cannot be otherwise.(I apply this criterion to resolve conclusively any issue) If there were a beginning a multitude of irresolvable philosophical problems come up.

      In the post ‘Patisandhi Citta – How the Next Life is Determined According to Gathi’ Lal and myself take up precisely this topic, from my entry dated September 15, 2018 at 7:52 pm (last para) et seq. See what you make of it.

      Much Metta

    • #18396
      Tobias G
      Participant

      This fulfillment of duties is part of the endless PS cycles within sansara. If one sees this as the purpose, then one should remain in sansara forever. These debts are sky high and very painful to pay back. Angulimala never paid back all his debts and left as Arahant.

      People have this feeling that there is a purpose or that something happened in life for a reason. Sure, there is enough reason for vipaka. This we experience every day. If some event triggered a big change in life it happened because of attachment or because of PS cycles related to this event. But still all happens in the realms of sansara and is rupa based. Attachment to rupa is the problem, not the solution.

      All what is needed, is to stop the mistake of attaching to anything in this world. That requires the development of panna. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • #18399
      sybe07
      Spectator

      when i contemplate on life and buddha-dhamma sometimes there arises the view that life is not meant to awaken. To awaken and to purify ones mind comes with all kind of obstacles. It is not easy.

      It is like nature screams…”stop, you are not meant this way. You are meant to dream, to plan, enjoy like and dislike, have pleasure, enjoy life, create, have fun, make a family etc etc. All kind of purposes but not the purpose to awaken.

      To awaken seems the most unnatural thing to strive for and still… there is that longing to find the truth. And there is a sense that beauty is the moral mind, goodness. And the sense that real health is the awakened mind, the Buddha. That can be strong.

      I think a lot of ideas about the purpose of life are part of Mara tricks to keep us obsessed with worldly goals in life. To keep us fettered to samsara. Mara is part of ourselves. Mara’s voice will be there constantly when one sets a foot on the Path, is my experience at least.

      If this life is created by a God, suppose it is, in my opinion this God was not aiming on the awakening of human beings or other beings God created. God installed a lot of hindrances, as if his aim was that we will function blindly, deluded, defiled. I know, religious people will say this is not Gods aim but the Devils aim. Anyway, i do not belief that in nature wisdom rules, defilements rule, especially tanha and avijja.

      Siebe

    • #18400
      y not
      Participant

      Thank you Tobias,

      “If one sees this as the purpose, then one should remain in sansara forever”

      One sees this as the purpose WHILE in sansara (“Sure, there is enough reason for vipaka”)- all the while ever mindful of the greater purpose, Nibbana.

      “All what is needed, is to stop the mistake of attaching to anything in this world” This is so, but also much easier said than done for all but Anagamis. Most, even of those on the Path, will have attachments. Maybe more, maybe less.

      Much Metta

    • #18402
      y not
      Participant

      “Mara’s voice will be there constantly when one sets a foot on the Path, is my experience at least”

      Yes, Sybe, I think all of us are engaged in this struggle to one degree or another, depending on the stage we are at on the Path.

      I see this Mara as one who seeks to keep beings intent on release from material existence (including fine-material existence) bound there; this is his function. For those not on the Path he is not needed; the sense-objects all around in Nature herself will be enough. Out of this very struggle, stumbling along and falling over and over again, we finally make a great determination … and, but for this struggle against Mara, we would drift hopelessly and endlessly along in sansara.

      Much Metta

    • #18405
      Lal
      Keymaster

      All the comments made are good. I just wanted to expand a bit more on what Siebe mentioned.

      There are mainly two types of “Māra”, even though the first kind may have more subdivisions. They are both bad.

      One is called “kilesa Māra”. These are one’s own defilements. By the way, kilesa means “defilements”. They can be hidden below the surface as anusaya and may be “hidden” for long times, especially when one has a good, steady, moral mindset.
      -However, those hidden anusaya (“kilesa Māra”) can easily come back up under suitable conditions. When one’s mind is agitated or when the sense inputs become strong, they can come to the surface.

      The second is called “Māra deva”, sometimes called the “Devaputta Māra”. He is an actual deva in the Paranimmita vasavatti deva realm, which is the highest deva realm. Obviously, he is could not have been there without doing good deeds. And that is actually the problem. He thinks people should be moral, do good deeds, and be born in deva realms just like him. But he is scared of Nibbana (just like many “secular Buddhists” today; see, “Buddhism without Rebirth and Nibbana?“.
      – When the Bodhisatva was striving for the Buddhahood, he tried to convince the Bodhisatva that he should give up trying to find Nibbana and just enjoy worldly pleasures. After the Enlightenment, he came to the Buddha several times asking when he was going to attain Parinibbana.
      – There are also several accounts in the Tipitaka where the Māra deva tried to discourage bhikkhus and bhikkhunis from following the Path. Buddha always called him “the evil one”.

      So, both are real, and should be taken seriously. We should be aware of these possible obstacles. If one deviated from the Noble Path, it is easier for both those to influence one’s mind in negative and harmful ways.

    • #18406
      inflib
      Participant

      Hi Lal,

      Thank you. Just want you to know that this post is being cut off after your first comment at a public library in Boulder, CO.

      I’ll keep an eye out to see if it changes, but this doesn’t seem right. Any thoughts from the community about incidents like this? Have you noticed this type of thing elsewhere?

      Maybe it could be a caching issue with the site.

      Much metta

    • #18407
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Thanks Lal,

      I once made a theme on Mara, but in Dutch. I am going to share some information. Maybe it is useful.

      It is said Mara is, just like a Buddha, always a male (MN115).
      There is always only 1 Mara in samsara (Milindapanha)

      Mara is called “the foremost of rulers, blazing with power and glory”. “The foremost of those who exercise authority is Mara the Evil One”. (AN4.15).

      Pfff…

      In Christian thought God might be seen as the foremost ruler but in the kosmology of the Buddha, apparantly, Mara is seen as the foremost of rulers and those who execise authority. I belief there are Christians sects who also belief a kind of Devil is the ruler of the world and God has withdrawn from his creation.

      Mara can also take possession of beings and let them talk in a certain way or do certain things. I can provide sutta references if someone wants them.

      Mara also seems to have a certain kind of household or assembly (AN8.69, DN16§3.21 en MN12§29). Texts also speak of mara’s with a small ‘m’. I sometimes wonder (maybe you know this Lal) if these paranimmita-vasavatti deva’s are his household? I have not seen this mentioned in the sutta’s.

      In general Mara activities are focussed on keeping being trapped in samsara, his domain, where he is the foremost ruler.

      “Whatever forms exist here or beyond, And those of luminous beauty in the sky, All these, indeed, you praise, Namuci, Like bait thrown out for catching fish.” (the Buddha in SN2.30)

      I think one can say that someone aiming at higher rebirth (without seeing the need to reach sotapanna stage) is still under Mara’s influence. Also the celestial bond is Mara’s snare (SN1.50).

      Especially sense-pleasures are Mara’s bait and way of catching beings in his net. Moreover, everywhere where there is “me” and “mine” there follows Mara (SN4.24). Mara is often the symbol or metaphor of the deluded or defiled mind. In that way, i belief, only an arahant is not anymore under the authority of Mara, but even a sotapanna still is. As long as avijja and tanha have not totally ceased we are under his spell.

      Where there is attachment to the khandha’s we are bounded by Mara (SN22.63).

      -“Bhikkhu, in conceiving one is bound by Mara; by not conceiving
      one is freed from the Evil One.”
      (SN22.64).

      In search for enjoyment in the khandha’s one becomes bounded by Mara (SN22.65)
      With wrong view one is under the yoke of Mara (AN4.49).

      -“Having cut off all underlying tendencies that follow one drifting in Mara’s domain,those who attain the destruction of the taints,
      though in the world, have gone beyond
      “. AN8.29)

      So i think samsara is Mara’s domain and in samsara he seems to be the ultimate ruler who does not like when beings are trying to free themselves from his authority. He might frighten those who try, seduce them, etc.

      Nibbana is not Mara’s domain. Mara can be conquered with wisdom and practicing the noble eightfold path.

      This is a very short impression of an exploratory investigation of Mara in the sutta-pitaka i once made.

      Siebe

    • #18408
      y not
      Participant

      Lal, Sybe:

      Thank you

      Very enlightening comments.

      “And that is actually the problem. He thinks people should be moral, do good deeds, and be born in deva realms just like him.” (Lal)

      “I think one can say that someone aiming at higher rebirth (without seeing the need to reach sotapanna stage) is still under Mara’s influence.” That is to say, if one sees the need to reach the Sotapanna stage then one is not under Mara’s influence, and that is not consistent with:” i belief, only an arahant is not anymore under the authority of Mara, but EVEN A SOTAPANNA STILL IS).”
      In search for enjoyment in the khandha’s one becomes bounded by Mara (SN22.65)
      With wrong view one is under the yoke of Mara (AN4.49).” (Sybe)

      What of those who attain that deva realm with magga phala? Sakadagamis, for instance? Does Mara have sway over them? It appears not, for they are guaranteed only one bhava in devalokas (they cannot be detained there after that) then, depending on their progress there, they attain either a higher brahma realm or Nibbana.

      Much Metta to all

      • #18410
        sybe07
        Spectator

        In my opinion with any temptation, greed, craving one becomes under the influence of Mara. Also when heavens seem tempting. Mara praises those realms, like bait thrown out for catching fish (SN2.30). Also if one strives for ones non-existence that is Mara’s influence. It is all in the sphere of craving; craving for sensual pleasure, for new existences or even for non-existence.

        As long as we have cravings, anusaya, asava, samyojana, causes to be reborn in samsara again, Mara can be said to rule. A sotapanna is not yet free of causes for rebirth. He/she will come in the domain of Mara again. I think Mara’s power is weakened for a Sotapanna but still there.

        When one does not see the need to end the causes for rebirth (to end asava, anusaya etc.) that is exactly what Mara wants because then that being will come in his domain again where he is the foremost ruler. It is as if he wants us to be his puppits.

        And when one sees the need to end all causes for rebirth, to strive for Nibbana, like the Buddha did, Mara will obstruct such plans because he knows this person strives for the end of Mara’s rulership over him/her.

        Siebe

    • #18409
      inflib
      Participant

      Very interesting dialogue!

      If Mara (which I think you’re taking to be the Nature) is a male, he’s the most loving, kind, open-mined, balanced and nurturing man I’ve ever experienced. The reason I say this is the purpose I’ve been task with is assisting in the restoration of an egalitarian society, the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. This would mean Mara is a feminist or female or we’re not talking about Mara.

      All you have to do is look back in history over the past 2,000 years and see the outcomes of male domination…violence, warmongering, rape and promiscuity.

      Over the past two centuries our species has been recovering and an unstoppable movement toward equality is happening.

      I can see no downside in this pursuit of purpose while moving along the path to enlightenment. To me, they go hand in hand, setting the stage for even more people to have the favorable conditions to attain enlightenment. At this point, it would be an utter waste of the rest of this life to confine myself to a room and not share what I’ve been so blessedly given.

      Again, may you find your purpose, understand Nature, be free from suffering, AND share it with All.

      Much thanks for all your thoughts!

      Donna :)

      • #18415
        sybe07
        Spectator

        Hi Donna,

        In SN5.2 Mara tries to manipulate the bhikkhuni Soma, a great practioner. He tells her that a woman cannot attain Nibbana! But Soma recognizes Mara and says: “What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily, as one sees correctly into Dhamma”.

        https://suttacentral.net/sn5.2/en/bodhi

    • #18411
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Siebe (or anyone else): Do you know the name of sutta which describes how Devaputta Māra once got inside Ven. Moggallana’s body? He then admonished the Māra and reminded him that he himself was the Māra at an earlier time, and had to be born in the apayas by insulting a Buddha at that time.

      The point is that Māra himself would die one day and can be born in the apayas. There is no realm in this world of 31 realms that is “safe”.

      • #18413
        sybe07
        Spectator

        Hi Lal,
        I think this does refer to MN50

        kind regards,
        Siebe

    • #18414
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Thanks, Siebe.

      Here is an English translation of that sutta (MN 50), that gives the basic idea:
      Discourse On A Rebuke To Māra

    • #18416
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Info: Samyutta Nikāya 4 (SN4) is the Marasamyutta.

      siebe

    • #18417
      y not
      Participant

      When Ven. Moggallana was Dusi by name? Maratajjaniya sutta MN 50 ? I only found an audio of it and have no time to listen to it right now.

      /www.mixcloud.com/dhammanet/mn-50-maratajjaniya-sutta/

      I hope this is it.

      infinite gratitude

      I am too late ! Sorry! Thank you Sybe

    • #18419
      y not
      Participant

      Sybe,

      Thank you for your reply. However, it does not address my question:
      “What of those who attain that deva realm WITH MAGGA PHALA? …” the whole para.

      I have an answer, as you can figure out, but is it altogether correct? Is the THE answer. Is there more to it that I cannot see?

      Much metta to you

    • #18424
      sybe07
      Spectator

      @ynot,

      Apparently Mara as-devaputta-Mara does not have that much influence on beings with magga phala, in the sense that he cannot cause, for example, a sotapanna to fall back and not reach enlightment. They are said to be on a fixed course. I have never read (not yet) that a sotapanna can fall back, and loose the Path, due to Mara’s activities.

      Mara as-the-personification-of-kilesa (or craving or anusaya or samyojana or asava) will be there until arahanthood. So in that sense we are under Mara’s sway till arahanthood.

      What do you think?

      Siebe

    • #18426
      y not
      Participant

      Thank you once again Sybe,

      We see eye-to-eye then as to the influence, or lack of it, of devaputta-Mara on those with magga phala.

      It is a good thing that I reflected for about 45′ on this before starting to type; some things became clear which were not before:

      The whole ground for my position that Mara (in both senses) cannot alter the course of those on magga phala lies in the fact that a Sotapanna has at most 7 more bhava before attaining Nibbana. Now the question (to myself) was: how is it that a Sotapanna has this guarantee, while one on the next higher stage, the Sakadagami, has ‘only’ the guarantee of one (one more, if he attains that stage in the human realm) bhava in the devaloka, with nothing more said as to when he attains Nibbana. One would expect that the higher the stage of attainment, the fewer the bhava possible before Release.

      What I had not seen was that a Sakadagami of necessity has already been a Sotapanna, even if only since the previous thought-moment, so the ‘7-bhava guarantee’ applies to him as well; actually it will be one less now. And that makes sense. The same goes in the case of Anagamis. Now, since the course of those on magga phala is set (‘on a fixed course’ as you put it) then no one and nothing can come in the way to prevent it, Mara Deva or kilesa Mara. But we have be using the word ‘influence’ too freely, too broadly. Mara (both) can influence, that is, be the cause of changing course, only those NOT on magga phala (for the reason already given in para 2). With those on magga phala it will only be a case of intrusion or disturbance (to no avail in the end,with no chance of thus ‘influencing’ the outcome, Nibbana)

      So, Sybe: ‘Mara as-the-personification-of-kilesa (or craving or anusaya or samyojana or asava) will be there until arahanthood. So in that sense we are under Mara’s sway till arahanthood.’

      Will be there, yes. But of no influence ultimately. And ‘sway’approaches more the sense of ‘influence’ than mere intrusion or petty disturbance. So I do not think that “we are under Mara’s sway till arahanthood.”

      Much Metta

    • #18427
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Thank you ynot!

      This is a bit talking to myself and to you too.

      There are five higher fetters which are still there when one is an anagami, not yet an arahant. There is rupa- and arupa raga, there is mana, uddhacca and avijja. I have always understood it this way: when one is an anagami (or lower) those can become active and fetter in that moment the mind, take hold/grasp of the mind. That can manifest in speech and phyiscal ways. One can talk about this proces of becoming fettered as becoming under the sway of Mara.

      It was not correct of me to say that we are (all the time) under Mara’s sway untill arahanthood. Thanks for letting me see this. Just like it is not correct to say that we are always under the sway of avijja or tanha.

      I think it is better to say, that as long as there exist conditions (such as anusaya) which can give rise to defilements, we can become under the sway of Mara, i.e. when anusaya are triggered.

      For example, an anagami has still the mana anusaya. Well, suppose this anusaya becomes triggered and mana manifest itself in the mind. Does a anagami always become immediately aware of it and does he/she abandon that immediately?
      I have always understood it this way that an anagami can become fettered by mana. Mana can still take hold of his/her mind. Do i see this wrong?

      Suppose it is possible, then there is still an influence of that mana on the mind of an anagami. I think we can talk about this as mara’s sway, at that moment.

      Siebe

    • #18428
      y not
      Participant

      Thank you Sybe:

      One thing I need to have resolved first, otherwise anything I say from now on will not only be irrelevant but actually incorrect (based on a wrong assumption). Therefore I feel I cannot even comment when it comes to (Mara’s influence on) anagamis.

      Up to now I have taken it that Mara can exercise his authority only in the Deva lokas and below, since he presides over the highest one of them (and therefore over the lower ones as well). If the influence of his power extended to even brahma realms, would his ‘seat of power’ not be based there instead? And how will he entice with forms and sense-pleasures those who have gone beyond them? This is only my thinking. I am not saying it is so, or even that it should be so. How is it in reality? I do not know.

      Much metta

    • #18431
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Some general comments:

      1. A being in a given realm cannot adversely affect the mind of another in a higher realm. In fact, a deva cannot even see a brahma in any realm. A Brahma in a lower realm cannot even see one in a higher realm.
      2. No being in any realm can deviate a Noble person (including a Sotapanna Anugami) from the Noble Path.
      3. A sotapanna will attain the Arahanthood within 7 bhava. That means they will have to wait a MAXIMUM of 7 bhava. It could happen even within the same bhava or even the same jati, IF one happens to be lucky enough (or make an effort hard enough).
      4. Devaputta Mara may be able to influence the mind of a Sotapanna to some degree. It is said that Mara was able to make Ven. Ananda’s mind agitated enough to forget to request the Buddha to live his full life (about 100 years). However, Devaputta Mara can never make any Noble Person (Ariya) to be deviated from the Path.
      5. It is those who have not yet gotten to the Sotapanna Anugamai stage that need to be careful and be mindful. As long as one has faith in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, NO ONE in any realm can make anyone deviate from the Path. But until one gets to the Sotapanna Anugami stage, one is vulnerable to such external influences (and of course to kilesa Mara or one’s own defilements too).
    • #18434
      y not
      Participant

      Thank you Lal,

      Boundless gratitude to you
      and Metta to all

    • #18435
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Thanks Lal, you said “As long as one has faith in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, NO ONE in any realm can make anyone deviate from the Path”

      This is said in MN47 (at the end of the sutta). It says: §16. “Bhikkhus, when anyone’s faith has been planted, rooted, and established in the Tathagata through these reasons, terms, and phrases, his faith is said to be supported by reasons, rooted in vision, firm; it is invincible by any recluse or brahmin or god or Mara or Brahma or by anyone in the world”
      (MN47§16).

      @ynot,

      Regarding the subject of the range of Mara’s excercising authority.
      MN49 describes…”Then Mara the Evil One took possession of a member of
      the Brahma’s Assembly..” So, apparantly Mara can take possession of Brahma’s too.

      siebe

    • #18436
      y not
      Participant

      Sybe.

      If this sutta (and others) say so, then I will not contest the point. (I have just read the relevant part)

      However,when you were referring to “then there is still an influence of that mana on the mind of an anagami. I think we can talk about this as mara’s sway, at that moment.” (September 18, 2018 at 4:07 pm),it was about anagamis still in a human body in the human realm, where Mara still has influence over as a location or loka, but not (decisively) over their mindset, which is already that of a brahma.

      Thank you for the reference,

      Much Metta

    • #18437
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Siebe said: “Regarding the subject of the range of Mara’s excercising authority.
      MN49 describes…”Then Mara the Evil One took possession of a member of
      the Brahma’s Assembly..” So, apparantly Mara can take possession of Brahma’s too.”

      That is true. So, it seems there could be exceptions to #1 in my post above.

    • #18440
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Hi ynot,

      Oke. I meant it metaphorically. If a kilesa, such as mana influences someones mind and he/she thinks, speaks and acts conceited, then mind is, metaphorically under Mara’s sway. I did not mean that Mara as devaputta at that moment takes controll.

      But sometimes the text speak of Mara as a real living being which can take controll of other living being. In the sutta’s i have encountered that Mara takes possession of:
      – Ananda (in DN16, SN51.10, AN8.70) But i doubt if in this context Mara-devaputta is meant or Ananda was under the influence of kilesa-Mara
      -Mara takes the householders of a town called Pancasala in possession in such a manner that they do collectively not give alms to the Buddha (SN4.18)
      -Mara takes possession of someone in the company of Brahma’s (MN49)
      -Mara takes possession of a deva called Vetambari (SN2.30)

      Mara can also come in disguise. He can manifest as an ox (SN4.16), as a farmer (SN4.19), as a Brahmin with knotted hair, old (SN4.21). So he can transform in different forms, apparently.

      In the sutta’s Mara often acts as a tempter. The bhikkhuni Cala does not approve of birth anymore. Mara approaches her and says that one can enjoy sensual pleasures (SN5.6). As one example. Sometimes Mara stimulates people to aim for high deva realms (SN5.7).

      In short, his aim is that being do not escape samsara, his domain, where he is the ultimate ruler. I think he also does not want that people teach the escape-route. He stimulated the Budddha to go into Parinibbana after his awakening.

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