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Thread: Mara

  1. #1

    Mara

    Early this morning during my sit I had an interesting insight.

    It takes an act of courage on my part to sit at all.

    More times than not Mara visits me in one form or another during my mediation: sadness, grief, anxiety, grinding boredom or worst of all, fear. I sit with them all. And then I go about my day and with the busyness those emotions are relegated to the backburner. Then, bam, there they are again in my afternoon meditation. Often I dread sitting because of this. But I do sit. And I realized this morning that it is a courageous action to sit with Mara’s visits day after day. I have learned to acknowledge his presence and allow space for the churned up emotions. They can dissipate, but usually are back before too long. Oddly, I find that if I'm extremely tired/sleepy the sit is quieter.

    I understand why some people would choose an electric shock (Jundo posted a thread recently on this phenomenon) over the opening to the depth of emotions that can occur in silence!!

    And so I bow to all my courageous brothers and sisters out there sitting with Mara’s whispers. I can't be the only one.

    Anne
    ~st~

  2. #2
    Hello,

    This was helpful -

    "Just Sitting" is anything but "sitting doing nothing", because one realizes this "no thing that is each and every thing". It is not "whatever happens is fine" because, sitting in the radical allowing of "no need to change things, all just what it is", the delusions drop away and thus ignorance changes to Wisdom. Everything changes. All Is Just What It Is, which ain't what it seemed before." Jundo Cohen. 01/08/15


    Telling Mara, "You keep lobbing them in, and they'll always be hit out of the park."

    It's all practice.


    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  3. #3
    Hello Anne,

    We are Mara and Mara is us ... our emotions are not separate from us, so when we sit, Mara sits. =)

    Life can be super busy and distracting at times, sitting allows us to see life in it's pure form and not through a lens of smoke and mirrors. So keep doing what you are doing, sounds like you are doing just fine. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  4. #4
    Thank you Anne. And bows to you.

    Sat today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  5. #5
    Thank you Anne.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -sattoday

  6. #6
    Joyo
    Guest
    Hello Anne, I too have faced the same emotions during zazen that you described. I have found that part of my practice is to not psych myself up, either thinking that this zazen time is soon arriving so soon I will feel all peaceful and tranquil, or oh no, zazen is about to start, I have to face mara again. Just meet zazen with no expectations. Of course, keep in mind that I am also a beginner and speaking from limited years of practice.

    I am reminded of this quote that someone at Treeleaf posted awhile back. The reason I like it is that it takes the pressure off, no need to practice for something special as something special is in Mara, in sadness, or really in anything.

    Study and practice the buddhadharma only for the sake of the buddhadharma,
    not for the sake of emotions or worldly ideas.--Uchiyama Roshi


    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  7. #7
    Mara as I've read about just seems enticing, a pulling away from the effort of making the peace of the empty mind. "Oh look, a problem, a feeling to deal with instead! Isn't that interesting? How can you possibly carry on just sitting or being mindful of this moment when blah blah..." Not to diminish what some may experience as mara, but thus far that has been mine, more pesky like flies than anything. Like, I know things will emerge. I know they may be problematic. But they are mine, and at the same time universal. And I know they will fade, come back, fade again and that's just fine. I assume this is because I am so new to the experience. Deeper things than anxious flies will emerge, I'm sure.

    Gassho all
    sat today with pesky small things

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post

    More times than not Mara visits me in one form or another during my mediation: sadness, grief, anxiety, grinding boredom or worst of all, fear. I sit with them all. And then I go about my day and with the busyness those emotions are relegated to the backburner. Then, bam, there they are again in my afternoon meditation. Often I dread sitting because of this. But I do sit.
    Hi Anne,

    Yes, "Mara" can mean all those negative emotions, temptations, distractions, that fill our heads and hearts during Zazen and at other times. Just as you say, "sadness, grief, anxiety, grinding boredom or worst of all, fear."

    We do not engage with them, do not buy into their tricks. At the same time, this Practice is to allow a light to shine which transforms them all. Ignorance changes to wisdom. By not grabbing on, by not playing their game, a certain Peace and Wholeness arises which releases, dissipates, transforms the sadness, grief, anger, fear and all the rest ... and each becomes there yet not, something else, light and free.

    I am reading something by the 18th century Soto priest and great Dogen translator, Menzan, that is on point. He is describing the "thinking-non-thinking" of Zazen, and the fact that there is a certain "light", a "Good", which shines and brightens right through small human conceptions of good and bad:

    The one-mind which manifests either as 'unen' [thought-good and evils and all human emotions] or 'munen' [no-thought, no-emotions-not good, not evil] must be something which is beyond these conditions. It must be the light which illuminates everywhere and is never clouded. As soon as you become clearly aware of this light, you will be released from the limitation of delusory thoughts, and the Buddha's wisdom will be realized.

    ...

    The Third Patriarch said, "When the cloudless light illumminates itself, there is no need to make mental struggle, there is no waste of energy." This is the vital point of the practice and enlightenment of this samadhi. "The cloudless light illuminates itself" means the light of the [True] Self shines brightly. "Not to make mental struggle" means not to add the illusory mind's discrimination to the reality. When you make mental struggle, the light becomes illusory mind and brightness becomes darkness. If you do not make mental struggle, the darkness itself becomes the Self illumination of the light. ... For example, it is like the light of the sun or the moon illuminating everything-mountains and rivers, human beings and dogs, etc. equally, without differentiation or evaluation. Also, a mirror reflects everything without bothering to discriminate.

    ...

    When our mind is good, we become stiffened by good intention and attached to the limited results of the three good realms. Consequently, we become blind to the light which is beyond goodness. When our mind is evil, we become stiffened by evil intention and pulled by the results of the three evil realms [greed, anger, ignorance]. Consequently, we suffer and cannot be aware of the light which is beyond evil. When we are in the condition of no-thought, we stagnate there because we think it a desirable stage of mind. ... We fail to realize the light beyond no-thought. When we transcend the dichotomies of good and evil, thought and no-thought, and emit the light of the Self, settling beyond discrimination, we will not stagnate in goodness though our mind be good. Nor will we attach ourselves to evil, or to the stage of no-thought even though our mind be in that condition. Therefore, even when our mind becomes evil, if the light of beyond-thought is emitted, evil mind will be dropped off immediately, and there will be only the light of the [True] Self. This is the way to lead people in the three evil realms to annuttara-sammyak-sambodhi (ultimate awareness). The same occurs to the people dwelling in the three good realms too, and allows them to step over into ultimate awareness.

    ***

    Only when we sit zazen in our daily life, are our eyes opened to the reality outside of the domain of thoughts and discrimination. We just illuminate our thoughts which moment by moment come up and go away, refrain from fabricating adoption or rejection, and hatred or love. As with the Tathagata, what we do in our zazen is expressed as radiating the great light, illuminating the whole world of the ten directions, and releasing all sentient beings from suffering.
    (I will be talking a bit more about this piece by Menzan in coming days)

    A lovely, traditional picture of Buddha sitting Zazen unperturbed by all the temptations, fears, boredom and all the rest that "Mara" can toss at him. The boogeymen seem flustered and the dancing girls annoyed.


    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday

    PS - Only for the more philosophically minded among us, I might point out that Stephen Batchelor has a lovely book of food for thought (and non-thought), to be read slowly in small bites on our Devils/Mara, Living with the Devil: a meditation on good and evil. A little review here ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post98102
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-17-2015 at 03:09 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9

    Mara

    Anne,
    It is a courageous act to sit - and a beautiful one as well. Thank you for this lesson.

    Deep bows
    Yugen

    st


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Hi Anne,

    Mara is us, but like it's been said, it's not only the bad parts in us. Mara is anger and fear, but is also passion and euphoria. In any case, temptations Mara presents to us are just reflexions of our attachments and aversions. At the same time, Mara is just an illusion of our own ego who is telling us that there is always moch more fun than to just sit.

    By dropping judgements and by allowing Mara just be without us grasping, it's a good way to deal with it all.

    We just sit and observe.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    ...Mara is us, but like it's been said, it's not only the bad parts in us. Mara is anger and fear, but is also passion and euphoria. In any case, temptations Mara presents to us are just reflexions of our attachments and aversions. At the same time, Mara is just an illusion of our own ego who is telling us that there is always moch more fun than to just sit.

    By dropping judgements and by allowing Mara just be without us grasping, it's a good way to deal with it all.

    We just sit and observe....
    Brilliant. These words shine so clearly, Kyonin. Thank you for the illumination. And thanks to Anne for bringing up the topic.

    Deep bows,
    Lisa
    sat today

  12. #12
    Mara is an old friend. Mara, the Devil, Darth Vader,... how boring life would be without a villain. I'm just starting a digital painting of Mara facing off with the Buddha. It will show the moment when the hail of arrows turn into blossoms... wonderful.


    Gassho
    Daizan

    sat today

  13. #13
    Mara is a word.

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

  14. #14

    Mara

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Anne,

    Yes, "Mara" can mean all those negative emotions, temptations, distractions, that fill our heads and hearts during Zazen and at other times. Just as you say, "sadness, grief, anxiety, grinding boredom or worst of all, fear."

    We do not engage with them, do not buy into their tricks. At the same time, this Practice is to allow a light to shine which transforms them all. Ignorance changes to wisdom. By not grabbing on, by not playing their game, a certain Peace and Wholeness arises which releases, dissipates, transforms the sadness, grief, anger, fear and all the rest ... and each becomes there yet not, something else, light and free.

    I am reading something by the 18th century Soto priest and great Dogen translator, Menzan, that is on point. He is describing the "thinking-non-thinking" of Zazen, and the fact that there is a certain "light", a "Good", which shines and brightens right through small human conceptions of good and bad:



    (I will be talking a bit more about this piece by Menzan in coming days)

    A lovely, traditional picture of Buddha sitting Zazen unperturbed by all the temptations, fears, boredom and all the rest that "Mara" can toss at him. The boogeymen seem flustered and the dancing girls annoyed.


    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday

    PS - Only for the more philosophically minded among us, I might point out that Stephen Batchelor has a lovely book of food for thought (and non-thought), to be read slowly in small bites on our Devils/Mara, Living with the Devil: a meditation on good and evil. A little review here ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post98102
    Jundo,
    Is the Menzan quotation from Jijuyu Zanmai?

    Deep bows

    sat2day
    Last edited by Yugen; 05-16-2015 at 07:42 PM.

  15. #15

    Mara

    Jundo,
    Yes, it is Jijuyu Zanmai. Amazing. Probably the most impactful piece I have read to date.

    Deep bows
    Yugen

    sat2day
    Last edited by Yugen; 05-16-2015 at 07:42 PM.

  16. #16
    Yes. The full translation is here. I will be talking on portions, probably during the next monthly Zazenkai ...

    (RTF file)
    http://terebess.hu/zen/JijuyuZanmai.rtf

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Well said Cooperix just sitting is a small miracle for most of us! I know im most often besest by distraction to the point im jumping out of my skin; but i know it will pass before long and if I dont add to it I will be fine! Perhaps our minds get a bad rap, they only do what we let them and what we ask of them lol!

    Thankyou for the translation Jundo, a"nd funnily im reading "GoodandEvil" by Batchelor right now! Ive just been given several of his works, after admiting i had not actually heard of him before this year!

    Gassho
    Sattoday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

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