“[To attain Buddhahood], you must free [yourself] from 2 obscurations and 4 mara.” – John Tan, 2020

According to Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna there are two obscurations that prevent us from fully knowing the nature of phenomena. The first is called the afflictive obscuration, which is the fetter of an internal subjective reference point that the self is attributed to, and the second is called the cognitive obscuration, which is everything else that stands apart from our deluded sense of self, so all objects; persons, places, things.

For some reason these obscurations can be uprooted at different times.” – Kyle Dixon, 2021

*
https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php...
Two obscurations (Tib.
སྒྲིབ་པ་གཉིས་, dribpa nyi; Wyl. sgrib pa gnyis) — emotional and cognitive obscurations.
● Emotional obscurations are defined according to their essence, cause and function.
In essence, they are the opposite of the six paramitas, as described in the Gyü Lama:
"Thoughts such as avarice and so on,
These are the emotional obscurations."
Their cause is grasping at a personal ego, or the “self of the individual”.
They function to prevent liberation from samsara.
● Cognitive obscurations are also defined according to their essence, cause and function.
In essence, they are thoughts that involve the three conceptual ‘spheres’ of subject, object and action. The Gyü Lama says:
"Thoughts that involve the three spheres,
These are the cognitive obscurations."
Their cause is grasping at phenomena as truly existent, or, in other words, the “self of phenomena”.
Their function is to prevent complete enlightenment.”

 

On the four maras,

 

According to Sutrayana

  1. the mara of the aggregates (Skt. skandhamāra; Tib. ཕུང་པོའི་བདུད་, Wyl. phung po'i bdud), which symbolizes our clinging to forms, perceptions, and mental states as ‘real’;
  2. the mara of the destructive emotions (Skt. kleśamāra; Tib. ཉོན་མོངས་ཀྱི་བདུད་, Wyl. nyon mongs kyi bdud), which symbolizes our addiction to habitual patterns of negative emotion;
  3. the mara of the Lord of Death (Skt. mṛtyumāra; Tib. འཆི་བདག་གི་བདུད་, Wyl. 'chi bdag gi bdud), which symbolizes both death itself, which cuts short our precious human birth, and also our fear of change, impermanence, and death; and
  4. the mara of the sons of the gods (Skt. devaputramāra; Tib. ལྷའི་བུའི་བདུད་, Wyl. lha'i bu'i bdud), which symbolizes our craving for pleasure, convenience, and ‘peace’.

The Great Tibetan Dictionary gives the following descriptions:

  1. The mara of the aggregates prevents one from accomplishing virtue, since if one possesses the aggregates (created by karma and destructive emotions), then one falls under the sway of sickness, aging and decay; the conditions preventing one from accomplishing virtue.
  2. The mara of the destructive emotions prevents one from accomplishing virtue, since one is under the power of destructive emotions such as desire and anger. The coarse mara of the destructive emotions are the root and subsidiary destructive emotions. The subtle mara of the destructive emotions are for example the emotional habitual tendencies in the mind of an arhat.
  3. The mara of the Lord of Death causes one to be powerless regarding the ceasing of the life-force faculty.
  4. The mara of the sons of the gods prevent one from accomplishing virtue through the jealousy of the desire realm's sons of the gods. The coarse mara of the sons of the gods is Garab Wangchuk (kāmadeva), the lord of the realm Controlling Others' Emanations. The subtle mara of the sons of the gods is for example distraction which makes one unable to overcome any of the first three maras.” - https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Four_maras 

 

 

 

.....

 

krodha commented on Question about Mara

Question

•r/Buddhism

•Posted byu/jogyesakr

krodha

3 points ·

2 days ago

Yeah it’s a complicated topic with much nuance. I don’t say anything I can’t back up in this subreddit. I can’t help that people don’t understand and downvote, that is their limitation.

Khenpo Ngachung:

The tangible demon represents external dangers: fires, floods, precipices, lightning, savage beings, enemies, robbers and thieves, vipers and carnivorous beasts, flesh-eating spirits, and any other frightening things that can harm our bodies and minds.

The intangible demon refers to inner attachment, aversion, bewilderment, and the other eighty-four thousand negative emotions, which give rise to all the sufferings of samsara.

The demon of exultation is the exultation that comes when one is wandering in haunted places, in the mountains, and so on, and one thinks, "My teacher is not like other teachers, his teachings are not like other teachings, there are no practices quite like mine, my vajra brothers and sisters are much better than anyone else's." In short, the demon of exultation is the attachment and infatuation one feels when one achieves the slightest inner warmth or power in one's concentration.

The demon of conceit is the root of the preceding three demons. It is the conceited belief in "I" and "me" that makes one think that the five aggregates are "me" or "mine". If one eradicates this inner demon, all outer demons will automatically be destroyed. For example, when one cuts a tree at the root, all the branches and leaves are brought down in the process. Similarly, since the root of the demons described here is contained in this inner demon of self-centered conceit, it is this that we have to destroy.

And Padmasambhava:

There are as many Dharma practitioners as stars in the sky, but few are without the obstacles of māra, like the sun and moon. If one is without the obstacles of māra, it would be easy to attain liberation in a single year. Therefore, necessary to recognize māra and overthrow him.

In the beginning, when one is staying in the city of samsara’s suffering, also one’s faith in Dharma is slight; carried away by the “māra of laziness”, one is angry at enemies, loving to friends, one thinks of mutual satisfaction, one is distracted by mundane activities, one is not mindful of death. Because of the activities of deluded appearances one remains in procrastination. That is called “māra”. The method of overpowering that māra is to seek out a qualified Guru, the cause of unimpaired faith. Meditate on death and impermanence, the cause of unimpaired diligence. Having established one’s priorities, flee towards the Dharma.

At that time, māras turning one’s thinking in the wrong direction will arise. Some will manifest as one’s kin and companions, “Don’t practice Dharma” they will say and will cause obstacles by various means. Some will manifest as terrifying enemies or manifest as competitors and property. Since the human life of deceptions is exposed, slipping away day after day, and in the end one sinks deeper into the mire of samsara. To subdue it, having entrusted one’s mind to the jewel of the Guru, it is necessary to have the resolve not to seek advice from secular counselors. [8/a]

When one arrives in the presence of the Guru, the mārawho accompanies doubts arises. The sign of his entry is to not perceive the qualities of the Guru. Even subtle faults are perceived. Incorrect views regarding his practice of interpretable deeds arise.

Thinking it is necessary to go to hell after giving whatever donations were received to the Dharma is a māra. To subdue it, develop the thought of the Guru as a Buddha.

At that time, the māra of turning away from Dharma arises. One will think of women, wealth, business, be deceitful and hoard. The sign of the entry of that māra is one will give up one’s Dharma clothes, companions, and Dharma practice. One will not wish to listen to Dharma. One’s behavior will be mundane and one will have attachments and aversions. One will be greatly attached to evil alcohol. One will turn one’s back on the teachings of the Buddha. To subdue it, develop perseverance towards the Dharma, sublime of the sublime. One should be diligent whatever profound Dharma to which one is inclined. Remain very far away from women and irreligious activities. It is important to think about the liberation accounts of one’s predecessors.

At that time, the māra of being jaded about hearing different Dharmas will arise necessarily. The sign of his entry is one speaks proudly “I made this request for this Dharma.” There isn’t an intellectual understanding because one has not understood the meaning. Because one understands empty words alone, one explains secret words in public. Despite whatever profound meaning is explained, one thinks “I have heard it before” and certain knowledge does not arise. One does not reach perfection in Dharma, that is a called a māra. To subdue it, one must engage in hearing and contemplation as before again and again, and truly integrate the meaning of Dharma.

At that time, māra of seeking many qualities enters. Since one understands qualities, māra is disguised as benefactors and students. On their arrival, one doesn’t engage in practice. One becomes conceited about one’s learning, and one sees oneself as important. One becomes attached to wealth. Obstacles preventing one from traveling the path of Dharma are created. The method of subduing it is, stay in mountain retreat for a long time, and change all other activities which will not realize the Dharma.

At that time, the māra of tenets will arrive. Having arrived as a Dharma of five poisons with the biases of oneself and others, give up the jealousies of tenets, train in unbiased pure vision.

At that time, when meditating on the deity, the māra of having doubts about the deity enters. Concepts about taking and putting down the deity, and is it good or bad arise. [9/a] Wishing to subdue demons with power, with completing the approach, hurrying the activities, practicing subjugation and evil mantras, to tame the māra of animosity with the wisdom deity, whatever deity one meditates, do not meditate with or without characteristics, but develop only the inner radiance of awareness and be steady in one’s commitments of the three doors.

If one is freed from that māra, once again when one is meditating the channels and winds, the māra of introducing obstacles to practice arises, creating obstacles to spiritual practice, even slight suffering is unbearable. One stops that practice and later one is apprehensive of doing it. For that, meditate on the faults of samsara and one will be free from obstacles.

If one is free from that, again, enhancing great bliss, the dākinī māra arrives. Having accepted mantra, the woman bears children. Since one cannot care for them, various non-virtues occur. Cut the snares of attachment to her, what one does not have one needn’t protect.

If one is free from that, when meditating emptiness, the māra of emptiness arising as an enemy occurs. “Nothing is accomplished” and one confuses good deeds and misdeeds. One will have not faith in the Three Jewels. One will not arouse compassion for sentient beings. For that, one should increase virtue and purify misdeeds. One should train in pure vision, devoted faith, dependent origination and inseparable emptiness and compassion.

Further, the māra of compassion arising as an enemy is that without oneself being liberated one rushes to help migrating beings, and delay in accomplishment, etc., occurs. So to avoid that, develop aspirational bodhicitta and be relaxed about engaged bodhicitta.

If one is free from that, the māra of predictions arising as an enemy occurs. Impersonating one’s deity or Guru, when such predictions occur in one’s experience or in dreams as “Help migrating beings!” and “One will become accomplished if one has helped migrating beings”, etc., for that dissolve the wisdom being, if it remains clearly, it is the deity or Guru. But if it does not remain clearly, it is a māra and an obstacle. One should determine that with certainty.

If free from that, because the māra of ascetic conduct arises as an enemy, one wanders continually in towns, some are drunks, others show crazy behavior, others are lewd, behavior which is not correspond with the sublime Dharma occurs. To counter act that, [10/a] stay in one place, meditate on candali, be impartial towards the eight dharmas.

Otherwise, the obstacles of māra while one has not obtained perfect Buddhahood are endless, and also the explanations which follow. Having given up material things, if one practices one pointedly, no kind of obstacle or māra will affect one.

krodha commented on What are your thoughts on moving your altar out of prominence in the living room if a guest comes to your house?

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•r/Buddhism

•Posted byu/StompingCaterpillar

Australia

krodha

2 points ·

2 days ago

If you practice Vajrayāna for example, you’d most likely keep your altar concealed anyway, if not, then its up to your own discretion.

krodha commented on What do you think most people misunderstand about Buddhism?

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•r/Buddhism

•Posted byu/Kytzer

krodha

3 points ·

2 days ago

Well, devas, which are a class of sentient being.

krodha commented on Question about Mara

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•r/Buddhism

•Posted byu/jogyesakr

krodha

4 points ·

2 days ago

· edited 2 days ago

Hi all, quick question. Do most Buddhists understand Mara as a literal, existing in space and time being similar to how most Christians understand Satan to be a literal being, or do most see Mara as a metaphor for our desires and untamed mind?

A mara is any obstacle to buddhahood. Not a literal being. If māra is something physical, then it is physical obstructions and dangers, etc.

Maras are classified as (i) tangible māras, (ii) intangible māras, (iii) the māra of exultation, and (iv) the māra of conceit. The fourth is the root of the other three, which if severed will eliminate all other māras.

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‎[23/3/16, 8:13:14 AM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted
[23/3/16, 8:33:22 AM] John Tan: More towards the +A.  Not so much on the -A imo.
[23/3/16, 8:54:55 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
[23/3/16, 9:42:14 AM] John Tan: Actually what he wrote r all the +A from realizing reality has always non-dual and nothing is or can "presents".   Mere presence is exactly the capacity and the presentation as such no one presenting and nothing presented.  

The mind never fails to create a "ghostly image" behind appearances be it karma, capacity, symbols as something behind hidden.  Is there anything hidden at all or dualistic misperception has prevented us from seeing and tasting the obviousness directly.  If you purge away "ghostly images", then there is only obviousness and aliveness everywhere.  Duality of capacity to give rise to appearances and appearances itself dissolve.  In the realm of suchness, it is altogether a different mode of "perception".  

It is full, direct and intimate living.  Every engagement must be total and complete...and therefore in engagement, there is only the engagement and in the seen, there is only the seen.  You must learn to reclaim your birthright and primordial facility.  Feel fully with entirety body-mind.  Forget self and Smell the air...hear the drum beats of the foot steps, feel the vibration of the moving train...live fully!




[27/3/16, 8:02:59 AM] John Tan: Intensity arises when self dissolves and one becomes a living expression.  Clear, vibrant and spontaneous expression.  U don't think because is replaced by unconditioned intelligence.  When  dealing with our true nature that is free of all artificialities and conventions, it is not only non-attachment but more importantly, the nature of unconditioned suchness is fully expressed and lived.


[27/3/16, 5:48:10 PM] John Tan: There r 2 -A aspects of "emptiness" that stand out quite strongly when contemplating the emptiness of phenomena in my experience.

1.  The non-arising nature of suchness.  There is no true arising, duration and cessation of appearance freeing one from the proliferation of production and cessation.
2. Illusion-like experience

When contemplating the "redness" of a flower and asked "where" is this redness? Is it on the "flower"? Where is the "flower" besides as an empty convention reified as "entity".   Where is the vivid "redness"?  Look at the vivid color...so clear and real but where is it?

Similarly contemplating the dependent origination and emptiness of a beautiful piece of music.  The former note does not meet the current note yet a beautiful music is produced. Where is this music?  Do not attempt to think of its whereabout but "feel" the whereabout...

There will come a time this mirage like experience of phenomena is brought into actual taste upon the immanent presence itself.  Here but never truly here..vividly present but no where to b found...do not think abt it but as a living first person visceral taste of this illusion-like nature of whatever arises...indestructibly vajra not by being powerful, but by being not-real (-A).





[28/3/16, 11:27:27 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Hi Soh, this is a talk given about Kuan-Yin's path to enlightenment. It covers more than half of what I was saying. I'm working on a book and I just found this site.
http://www.baus.org/en/?p=143

- James
[28/3/16, 11:28:49 PM] Soh Wei Yu: "Suppose that someone rings a bell. If he then asks if the bell is ringing, one would answer affirmatively. If he were to ask the same question after the ringing had faded away, one would answer in the negative. Here, language is well in accord with what has actually taken place, for the sound of the bell has, in fact, arisen and subsided. But now, if the bell is made to ring again and the question posed is “Can you hear something?” the situation becomes quite different. While the affirmative answer made while the bell continues to ring would still be correct, the same cannot be said of the negative response given when the ringing has ceased. It is true that one no longer hears the bell, but one can still hear. Even if one is aware of no sound at all, it is precisely by using the sense of hearing that one is aware of silence. So it is clear that while sound just comes and goes, the same is not true of our innate nature to hear. This aspect of hearing, which hears transient sounds, but does not itself change, is what is called the innate nature to hear in Buddhist terminology.
The examples given above serve to illustrate the difference between sound and the nature to hear. Sound arises and ceases without lingering for even a moment. It is impermanent. The nature to hear, on the other hand, is always present; it neither arises nor ceases. Even a deaf man possesses the nature to hear, but due to other impairments he cannot hear sounds."
[28/3/16, 11:29:11 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Sounds no different from Advaita discriminating the changeless from the changing
[28/3/16, 11:29:12 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Lol
[28/3/16, 11:29:34 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Or Lzls yi jue bu yi xin cos awareness is changeless and mind is changing
[28/3/16, 11:32:14 PM] John Tan: That is dualistic
[28/3/16, 11:38:56 PM] John Tan: How do u change it to ur understanding?
[28/3/16, 11:52:01 PM] Soh Wei Yu: There is no awareness besides mind, hearing besides sound
[28/3/16, 11:54:37 PM] John Tan: If u continue to think this way, u will not see DO And emptiness.
[28/3/16, 11:58:16 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. How should I understand it?
[28/3/16, 11:59:21 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Sound appears due to conditions, never truly arise?
[29/3/16, 12:01:35 AM] John Tan: What sort of logic is that
[29/3/16, 12:02:02 AM] John Tan: Appears due to conditions so nvr truly arise?
[29/3/16, 12:07:15 AM] Soh Wei Yu: More like it never attained the status status of independent existence. What is originating in dependence does not exist on its own that could have lifespan, like if two blocks support each other, it's not that two standing blocks are "created". They are only appearing or originating in dependence. When this is, that is, when this is not, that is not. When seeing scenery, the seeing/scenery originates in dependence and could never stand on its own apart from conditions
[29/3/16, 12:08:26 AM] Soh Wei Yu: There is no inherently existing or fixed "standing block"
[29/3/16, 12:13:09 AM] John Tan: Why isn't this orgination?
[29/3/16, 12:14:03 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Origination means it has inherent existence and could sustain its own existence on its own for a period of time before ceasing to exist after some time
[29/3/16, 12:14:26 AM] Soh Wei Yu: There is simply no self sustaining Essence, only dependently originating appearance/phenomena
[29/3/16, 12:15:19 AM] John Tan: First u must know there r many unexamined assumptions
[29/3/16, 12:16:29 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. What assumptions?
[29/3/16, 12:19:34 AM] John Tan: There can only arising, duration and cessation when an "essence" can b found.
[29/3/16, 12:20:23 AM] John Tan: But u may think u hv gone through thorough enough to know abt essencelessness
[29/3/16, 12:21:57 AM] John Tan: Saying whatever originates in dependence does not originate, abide and cease does not mean u hv understood anything.
[29/3/16, 12:22:31 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[29/3/16, 12:24:07 AM] John Tan: The teaching starts with a sincere heart in looking for an essence but can't b found under ultimate analysis though in appearance, phenomena appear solid.
[29/3/16, 12:27:44 AM] John Tan: The first actual taste of the profound teaching of essencelessness is from the insight of anatta.  However the taste is far from mature realisation of the meaning of non-arising and empty nature of phenomena.
[29/3/16, 12:30:19 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[29/3/16, 12:30:58 AM] John Tan: So if u do not see essencelessness deep enough, u won't b able to "feel"  essencelessness
[29/3/16, 12:32:45 AM] John Tan: There when someone says a bell is ringing, it only sounds logical conventionally, not ultimately.
[29/3/16, 12:43:41 AM] John Tan: For in ultimate sense, neither bell nor sound can b found when sought.
[29/3/16, 12:43:56 AM] John Tan: And what does that mean?
[29/3/16, 12:44:53 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Bell is labelled based on the sound, the Colours, the function
[29/3/16, 12:44:59 AM] Soh Wei Yu: No bell can be found
[29/3/16, 12:45:36 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Sound is labelled in dependence on hearing, hitting, etc
[29/3/16, 12:46:36 AM] John Tan: Like the example u gave once, these texts I m typing scrolls up and down seem to appear and disappear.  The texts seem to hide below window and when scrolled upward appears to re-surface from below the window.
[29/3/16, 12:47:22 AM] John Tan: But in ultimate sense, there is no text hidden below the chat window.
[29/3/16, 12:48:18 AM] John Tan: But that is in ultimate sense, not conventional sense.
[29/3/16, 12:49:12 AM] John Tan: So in ultimate sense, there is nothing truly arise, abide and cease.
[29/3/16, 12:49:33 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
[29/3/16, 12:58:15 AM] John Tan: So bringing this into actual taste (as first person), what is this telling u? In anatta, what is it telling u and how it feels like?
[29/3/16, 3:40:51 AM] Soh Wei Yu: In Anatta one is freed from the ghostly image of inherent existence and directly taste the appearance.. Likewise for non arising one taste the nature of appearance as empty clarity free from Essence, coming, going
[29/3/16, 3:41:36 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Anatta tells you there is no ghost or inherent existence to awareness besides seen, heard, smell
[29/3/16, 7:59:02 AM] John Tan: U no need to work?
[29/3/16, 7:59:22 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Need to work
[29/3/16, 7:59:30 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Woke up in the middle of the night lol
[29/3/16, 7:59:45 AM] John Tan: Lol
[29/3/16, 8:02:21 AM] John Tan: Free from the inherent existence of self...not free from inherent existence
[29/3/16, 8:14:35 AM] John Tan: Yes allowing one to directly taste the transience and realize these transience (color, sound, thoughts, sensations, scent) that we shunt away is the very suchness.  So don't look elsewhere for suchness.

Sound, sensations, colors, form, scent...all these transience phenomena...they r like the texts being scrolled up and down, appears to come and go...but in ultimate sense, understand that they do not truly arise, abide and cease.   That is the non-arising and empty nature of suchness.

It is fully understanding these evanescence appearances without  having the need to resort back to a linking essence that is difficult.
[29/3/16, 8:15:53 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[29/3/16, 8:16:55 AM] John Tan: There is some true existence hearing nature is the problem...for that is precisely the cause of duality.
[29/3/16, 8:17:07 AM] John Tan: And cause of suffering.
[29/3/16, 8:22:44 AM] John Tan: If one needs to establish "sound" to b "here", to b "now" or to have firm establishment any hearing nature separate from sound....that is stressful, not liberating.
[29/3/16, 8:26:44 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
[29/3/16, 8:28:16 AM] John Tan: Freedom comes from directly experiencing the empty and non-arising nature of appearances in real time...not needing an Essence ground is the releasing factor.
[29/3/16, 8:41:11 AM] John Tan: The key issue is most do not know the way of essencelessness.  It is directly opposite of "holding"...rather it is just full and unreserved opening...complete welcoming
[29/3/16, 8:45:18 AM] John Tan: Even u after conceptually understood...even after initially taste of selflessness and the insight of anatta, there is no release.  The karmic tendency of holding on to an essence has infiltrated into every aspect of our thoughts, manifested in our every action, imprinted into every cell.
[29/3/16, 8:46:48 AM] John Tan: The body must b opened up too in addition to just dissolving reified mental constructs.

Also see:

 

 

 

 

    Ok enough of blahing for few weeks, this will be my last post😝.
    For those who conclude mmk denies causal efficacy,
    they have unknowingly fallen into the essentialist view of "true existence". Mmk only teaches if cause and effect exist essentially, then casuality is untenable and impossible.
    Therefore don't just say "ultimately causality, self and phenomena are empty" but deeply understand:
    In anatta, there is action without agent.
    In prasangika, action is performed by empty agent.
    As such "empty wars" kill, "empty self" suffers, empty self takes rebirth and only empty things have causal relations.
    That is y Nagasena can be ferried by an "empty chariot"😝.
    Hence, don't neglect the imagined and experience the wonderment of seeing emptiness of the conventional.
    An early Happy New Year to all and happy journey to all my dharma friends!

    2 Comments


    William Lim
    Nice blahing!
    More empty blahing in the new year please.
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  • Yin Ling
    So good. Why is the last post 🥲
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