Mara is a symbol of death and suffering in Buddhism. When researching the name Mara it was found that its Sanskrit root means, “to die.” During the life of the Buddha and his path to enlightenment, he encounters this evil archenemy. Mara attempts to tempt Buddha in many different ways in order to try and ruin his chance of achieving enlightenment. He believes he has power over the soon to be Buddha when stating “so this successful prince Siddhartha wishes to escape from my sphere of influence, straight away I will make him unsuccessful.” As prince Siddhartha is meditating under the Bodhi Tree, Mara sent an army after Buddha in attempt to bring him down. Mara created a storm which brought “an extremely terrible fire like fiery great rocks, ashes and mud, a torrent of weapons like rain, a torrent of blazing charcoal, and sand like rain.” However, not even that was capable of bringing Buddha down. Instead, all of these terrible things turned into flowers. He continued to attempt to attack and destroy Buddha but appeared to be powerless as everything he did turned into sunshine and flowers. Following this, the two argue over who deserves the throne. Mara demands that Buddha rises from the seat and they battle through witnesses. Given that the earth was Buddha’s witness of his generosity, he ultimately defeated Mara. From this story, Mara is looked down upon greatly by Buddhists. His actions portray that he wants to prevent people from reaching enlightenment, the ultimate goal in Buddhism. This story can also serve a lesson for those trying to reach enlightenment: evil can be controlled as long as one does not give into temptations.
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