Evil is personified in Mara, the Buddhist Devil, who represents temptation, sin, and death.
Many Buddhists believe that Mara is an actual being while others contend that it is really an allegory or a personification of negative states of mind. There would seem to be more evidence for this second opinion than for the first.
And just like the lyrics from the INXS song, I think “Every single one of us the devil inside”.
I have recently had several experiences where I could see my internal battle being waged with Mara. After almost twelve years of studying the dhamma and practicing the Buddhist path, there is still this force that arises on occasion.
The Buddha faced this just prior to his enlightenment, rejected Mara and dismissed it (he/she) permanently.
Obviously, I have yet to become enlightened. But I find it very interesting that at this point on my path that I have become so aware of Mara’s existence within the self. Perhaps this is a type of small awakening, a Jhana perhaps.
Now I am aware that many of you many dispel any belief in evil, the devil or Mara. You could look at it as all just apart of the human nature or condition.
But I think that, for me, becoming aware of this arising is very beneficial. And although I may seem well, happy and peaceful most of the time, there is an urge sometimes to lash out in anger or rage. Thoughts come into my mind on occasion where I know I could just punch someone in the face! Not very Buddhist of me is it?
But perhaps it is. Perhaps it is only be this awareness that I have the opportunity to examine my mind and find the roots of these disturbing emotions. And isn’t this better than burying them inside and lacking awareness? Doing so would only be a way to further my ignorance and delusion (see Vipallāsa).
All of this brings me around to Bhante Sujatha’s recent dhamma talk about Bhavana. Bhavana being the practice of wisdom, meditation and virtue.
With continued practice, I can only hope to achieve genuineness in every word, thought and action.
What a wonderful path we are on, isn’t it!
And may you be well, happy and peaceful.