7/6/2014 – Mara and the Hinderances

Payton led this the discussion this past Sunday on the topic of the concept of Mara as a
personification of the Hinderances in traditional Buddhist thought, as well as how the Buddha used the recognition of Mara in his liberation.

There were excerpts from three talks played. Below are the talks and some notes for each:

Noah Levine – Dealing with Mara:

Noah stresses that Mara is **just** the mind, the human condition, and not something outside of ourselves. He says that the second foundation of Mindfulness — feeling tone (positive, negative, or neutral) — is the core practical technique for ending suffering. Delusion arises all the time, so when we hear ourselves say, “I’ll be happy if…”, “I’ll be happy when…”, that’s s key that Mara is present.

Howard Cohn – Skillfully responding to the voices of Mara:

Life is **sensual**, meaning that each of the six senses can provide great pleasure, or great discomfort. Mara doesn’t want you to do evil, just to stay stuck in the wheel of samsara, to search for happiness in ways that cannot bring you lasting satisfaction. You can’t get rid of Mara; desires are endless. The key is to recognize and to know Mara when he’s present. The five voices of Mara (the five Hinderances) create internal pressure in the mind which causes the mind to begin story telling, to build up “a case for the prosecution”. Mara keeps us engaged in the story, so we must break out of the story and notice what is really going on. Howard also reads several poems, one from a 14th-century Samurai.

Jake Dartington – Mara and the Hinderances:

Just recognizing the Hinderances, “I know you Mara”, is very powerful. Once you see the delusion of wanting and then you can learn to trust and be ok for no reason at all. Much of the Dharma is simple truths are a series of reminders to be aware. This is a 2000yr old practice, this helps recognize that these hinderances are not personal. If you can say, “I know you Mara”, you can recognize the reaction and not be governed by it.