From Little Buddha by Bernando Bertolucci.
As Siddhartha Gautama sat under the tree, Mara – representing delusion and beliefs, appeared.
Mara sent his three daughters to seduce him, and Siddhartha was free from believing the thoughts that he needed love, approval and appreciation.
Mara sent his army to scare him, and Siddhartha was free from believing the thoughts of pain, death or a me who was born and could die. The arrows were revealed as something quite different.
Mara came and said Siddhartha wasn’t worthy of clarity, and Siddhartha was free from the belief that he wasn’t worthy.
This is how it is for each of us. Thoughts surface telling us we need love, approval and appreciation, that something terrible will happen, or that we are better or worse than others. If they are believed, we stay in confusion for a little longer, and that’s OK. If we have investigated those thoughts, they are revealed as innocent.
This can of course be explored in a more finely grained way. As long as I believe I need love, approval and appreciation, I will be seduced by these beliefs. I tell you what I think you want to hear. I try to be the person I think you want me to be. And as long as I believe in the thoughts of fear, pain and death, that this experience is too much, that this situation, emotion or thought means something terrible will happen, I will scare myself from being with what’s here and inquiring into the thought that’s here. As long as I believe I am better or worse than anyone else, I set myself apart, I feel I am not worthy or you are not worthy, and all of it is just from taking a thought as true.
The story of Siddhartha’s night under the tree is the story of each of us, and not about an imagined future but what’s here right now.
The work of Siddhartha’s mind came to be mythologized as a great battle with Mara, a demon whose name means “destruction’ and who represents the passions that snare and delude us. Mara brought vast armies of monsters to attack Siddhartha, who sat still and untouched. Mara’s most beautiful daughter tried to seduce Siddhartha, but this effort also failed.
Finally, Mara claimed the seat of enlightenment rightfully belonged to him. Mara’s spiritual accomplishments were greater than Siddhartha’s, the demon said. Mara’s monstrous soldiers cried out together, “I am his witness!” Mara challenged Siddhartha–who will speak for you? Then Siddhartha reached out his right hand to touch the earth, and the earth itself roared, “I bear you witness!” Mara disappeared. And as the morning star rose in the sky, Siddhartha Gautama realized enlightenment and became a Buddha.
– didn’t believe he needed laa, power
– didn’t believe the fears, the fear creating thoughts
– mara – what happens when a thought is taken as true
Mara’s three daughters are identified as Ta?h? (Craving), Arati (Boredom), and Raga (Passion)