How may I discern and conquer Mara?
In fact I do not even know how to discern Mara and what is not Mara. A compulsive urge or something done of an impulse can be considered Mara right, but what else? This seems no different than the concept of the Devil in Christianity, who is an external being instead of an internal one. Ok, so say I get an urge of sexual desire, what should I consider this? It is sexual desire, but how may I stop acting on the urge? I feel torn between seeing it as a simple biological urge and seeing it as Mara and so should not be obeyed. It is a biological drive, but is it more? Should I stop it at .."it is a biological drive"? It is hard not to act on an urge of sexual desire. By act I don't mean go out and have sex either. It could just be to go look at say...something on the internet. Any ideas on what to do when this urge overcomes me? I understand many people will say it's ok it's natural, but it seems like a problem for me. Maybe I am just misunderstanding something about what the Buddha says. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the Dharma. So I ask the Sangha. Well if there is something you don't understand about what I am saying please ask, so I may clarify. I don't know how else to put it.
- P'angLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
The Buddha was not concerned with "accidental" human actions, but with arising from intention. Intention forms the basis for karma.
In the Buddhist view, impulses reveal intentions.
Many intentions quickly become habitual, because we act upon them and experience momentary gratification.
For example, the "impulse" to engage in sexual activity reveals the intention of have sex. If we actually engage in sexual activity, we may experience sensate gratification. But, as with anything based in feeling, this will quickly pass. And, the sexual activity may produce suffering that extends beyond the immediate gratification.
So the work of Buddhist practice - and this is the work that the Buddha did while sitting under the bodhi tree - is to become intimately acquainted with intention and impulse, to see how these govern behavior, and to learn how to make wise choices about them.
Some Buddhist traditions use a term - klesha - to describe these intentions. In the literature, kleshas are thought of in rather simple terms - anger, ignorance, desire, sloth, aggression, jealousy, etc. But in experience, kleshas are much more subtle.
When we practice meditation, we begin to see our kleshas more clearly.
For example, we might see the arising of anger, and also the the intention behind the anger. We might even see the projections and fantasies that generated the intention. And, seeing all this, we can choose not to allow anger to govern our behavior.
So Buddhist practice is about becoming fully acquainted with our whole human self - our remarkable capacity for joy, compassion and creativity, and also our capacity for damage and destruction.
The great American Zen master, Robert Aitken, recently wrote this passage, which says it better than I possibly can:
"Over and over the master assures you, 'You are all right to the very bottom.' This is not an assurance that beneath all your differences and peculiarities you will finally reach something called 'Buddhahood.' It means that your differences and peculiarities mark your Buddhahood as you are."
The work of Buddhism is to discover own differences and peculiarities, and take responsibility for them.
- kamekoLv 43 years ago
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