The Evil One

The world belongs to the devil. The devil manipulates imagination and intellect.

the thought occurred to Māra, the Evil One: “Gotama the contemplative is instructing, urging, rousing, & encouraging the monks with a Dhamma talk concerning unbinding. The monks—attentive, interested, lending ear, focusing their entire awareness—are listening to the Dhamma. What if I were to go to Gotama the contemplative to obscure his vision?”

Māra the Evil One, taking on the form of a farmer went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said, “Hey, contemplative. Have you seen my oxen?”

“And what are your oxen, Evil One?”

“Mine alone is the eye, contemplative. Mine are forms, mine is the dimension of consciousness & contact at the eye. Where can you go to escape me? Mine alone is the ear… the nose… the tongue… the body… Mine alone is the intellect, contemplative. Mine are ideas, mine is the dimension of consciousness & contact at the intellect. Where can you go to escape me?”

“Yours alone is the eye, Evil One. Yours are forms, yours is the sphere of consciousness & contact at the eye. Where no eye exists, no forms exist, no dimension of consciousness & contact at the eye exists: There, Evil One, you cannot go. Yours alone is the ear… the nose… the tongue… the body… Yours alone is the intellect, Evil One. Yours are ideas, yours is the dimension of consciousness & contact at the intellect. Where no intellect exists, no ideas exist, no dimension of consciousness & contact at the intellect exists: There, Evil One, you cannot go.”

Māra:

“Of what they say,
‘This is mine’;
and those who say,
‘Mine’:
If your intellect’s here,
contemplative,
you can’t escape
from me.”

The Buddha:

“What they speak of
isn’t mine,
and I’m not one of those
who speak it.
Know this, Evil One:
You won’t even see
my tracks.”

Then Māra the Evil One—sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me”—vanished right there.

The Farmer
Kassaka Sutta (SN 4:19)

“Is it possible to exercise rulership without killing or causing others to kill, without dispossessing or causing others to dispossess, without sorrowing or causing others sorrow—righteously?”

Then Māra, the Evil One, knowing with his awareness the train of thought in the Blessed One’s awareness, went to him and on arrival said to him: “Exercise rulership, Blessed One! Exercise rulership, O One Well-Gone!—without killing or causing others to kill, without dispossessing or causing others to dispossess, without sorrowing or causing others sorrow—righteously!”

“Lord, the Blessed One has developed the four bases of power, pursued them, given them a means of transport, given them a grounding, steadied them, consolidated them, and undertaken them well. If he wanted to, he could resolve on the Himalayas, king of mountains, as gold, and it would become a mountain of gold.”

The Buddha:

“The entirety
of a mountain of gold,
of solid bullion:
Even twice that
wouldn’t suffice
for one person.
Knowing this,
live evenly,
in tune with the contemplative life.
When you see stress,
and from where it comes,
how can you incline
to sensuality?
Knowing acquisition
to be a bond in the world,
train for
its subduing.”

Then Māra the Evil One—sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me”—vanished right there.

Rulership
Rajja Sutta (SN 4:20)

Being a woman makes no difference when the mind’s well-centered, when knowledge is progressing, seeing clearly, rightly, into the Dhamma.

Māra the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her [Somā the nun], wanting to make her fall away from concentration, approached her & addressed her in verse:

“That
which is
to be attained by seers
—the place so very hard to reach—
women
can’t
—with their two-inch discernment—
attain.”

Then the thought occurred to Somā the nun: “Now who has recited this verse—a human being or a non-human one?” Then it occurred to her: “This is Māra the Evil One who has recited this verse wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in me, wanting to make me fall away from concentration.”

Then, having understood that “This is Māra the Evil One,” she replied to him in verses:

“What
difference
does being a woman make
when the mind’s well-centered,
when knowledge is progressing,
seeing clearly, rightly,
into the Dhamma.
Anyone who thinks
‘I’m a woman’
or ‘a man’
or ‘Am I anything at all?’—
that’s who Māra’s
fit to address.”

Then Māra the Evil One—sad & dejected at realizing, “Somā the nun knows me”—vanished right there.

Sister Somā
Somā Sutta (SN 5:2)

Māra the Evil One went to the Blessed One and recited this verse in his presence:

“Those with children
delight
because of their children.
Those with cattle
delight
because of their cows.
A person’s delight
comes from acquisitions,
since a person with no acquisitions
doesn’t delight.”

The Buddha:
“Those with children
grieve
because of their children.
Those with cattle
grieve
because of their cows.
A person’s grief
comes from acquisitions,
since a person with no acquisitions
doesn’t grieve.”

Then Māra the Evil One—sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me”—vanished right there.

* In this discourse, Māra and Buddha are speaking different languages. By “acquisitions” Māra means one’s family and physical possessions. The Buddha uses the same word to mean a sense of possession for anything—physical or mental—at all.

Delight
Nandana Sutta (SN 4:8)

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rājagaha in the Maddakucchi Deer Reserve. Now at that time his foot had been pierced by a stone sliver. Excruciating were the bodily feelings that developed within him—painful, fierce, sharp, wracking, repellent, disagreeable—but he endured them mindful, alert, & unperturbed. Having had his outer robe folded in four and laid out, he lay down on his right side in the lion’s posture—with one foot placed on top of the other—mindful & alert.

Then Māra the Evil One went to the Blessed One and recited this verse in his presence:

“Are you lying there in a stupor,
or drunk on poetry?
Are your goals so very few?
All alone in a secluded lodging,
what is this dreamer, this sleepy-face?”

The Buddha:

“I lie here,
not in a stupor,
nor drunk on poetry.
My goal attained,
I am sorrow-free.
All alone in a secluded lodging,
I lie down with sympathy
for all beings.
Even those pierced in the chest
with an arrow,
their hearts rapidly,
rapidly
beating:
even they with their arrows
are able to sleep.
So why shouldn’t I,
with my arrow removed?
I’m not awake with worry,
nor afraid to sleep.
Days & nights
don’t oppress me.
I see no threat of decline
in any world at all.
That’s why I sleep
with sympathy
for all beings.”

Then Māra the Evil One—sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me”—vanished right there.

The Stone Sliver
Sakalika Sutta (SN 4:13)

Then Māra the Evil One, assuming the appearance of a brahman—with a large coiled top-knot, clad in an antelope hide, aged, crooked like a roof support, wheezing, holding a staff of fig wood—went to the monks and, on arrival, said to them, “You have gone forth while young, masters—black-haired, endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life—without having played with sensuality. Enjoy human sensuality, monks. Don’t drop what is visible here-&-now in pursuit of what’s subject to time.”

“Brahman, we’re not dropping what’s visible here-&-now in pursuit of what’s subject to time. We’re dropping what’s subject to time in pursuit of what’s visible here-&-now. For the Blessed One has said that sensuality is subject to time, of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks; whereas this Dhamma is visible here-&-now, not subject to time, inviting all to come & see, pertinent, to be known by the observant for themselves.”

So the monks went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there they [told him what had happened].

“That wasn’t a brahman, monks. That was Māra the Evil One, come to blind you.”

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion spoke these verses:

One who has seen the cause
from which suffering comes:
How could that person
incline to sensuality?
Having realized
that acquisition is a tie
in the world,
a person should train
to subdue
just that.

A Large Number
Sambahula Sutta (SN 4:21)

Then Māra the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her [Cālā the nun], wanting to make her fall away from concentration, approached her & said, “What is it that you don’t approve of, nun?”

“I don’t approve of birth, my friend.”

Māra:

“Why don’t you approve of birth?
One who is born
enjoys sensual pleasures.
Who on earth
ever persuaded you:
‘Nun, don’t approve of birth’?”

Sister Cālā:

“For one who is born
there’s death.
One who is born
sees pain.
It’s a binding, a flogging, a torment.
That’s why one shouldn’t approve
of birth.
The Awakened One taught me the Dhamma
—the overcoming of birth—
for the abandoning of all pain,
he established me in
the truth.
But beings who have come to form
& those with a share in the formless,
if they don’t discern cessation,
return to becoming-again.”

Then Māra the Evil One—sad & dejected at realizing, “Cālā the nun knows me”—vanished right there.

Sister Cālā
Cālā Sutta (SN 5:6)

“Monks, gains, offerings, & fame are a cruel thing, a harsh, bitter obstacle to the attainment of the unexcelled rest from bondage.

“Once, monks, a large family of turtles had lived for a long time in a certain freshwater lake. Then one turtle said to another, ‘My dear turtle, don’t go to that area.’ But the turtle went to that area, and because of that a hunter lanced him with a harpoon. So he went back to the first turtle. The first turtle saw him coming from afar, and on seeing him said to him, ‘I hope, dear turtle, that you didn’t go to area.’

“‘I went to that area, dear turtle.’

“‘Then I hope you haven’t been wounded or hurt.’

“‘I haven’t been wounded or hurt, but there’s this cord that keeps dragging behind me.’

“‘Yes, dear turtle, you’re wounded, you’re hurt. It was because of that cord that your father & grandfather fell into misfortune & disaster. Now go, dear turtle. You are no longer one of us.’

“The hunter, monks, stands for Māra, the Evil One. The harpoon stands for gains, offerings, & fame. The cord stands for delight & passion. Any monk who relishes & revels in gains, offerings, & fame that have arisen is called a monk lanced by the harpoon, who has fallen into misfortune & disaster. The Evil One can do with him as he will. That’s how cruel gains, offerings, & fame are: a harsh, bitter obstacle to the attainment of the unexcelled rest from bondage.

“So you should train yourselves: ‘We will put aside any gains, offerings, & fame that have arisen; and we will not let any gains, offerings, & fame that have arisen keep our minds consumed.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.”

The Turtle
Kumma Sutta (SN 17:3)

“Conquered by eight untrue dhammas, his mind overcome, Devadatta is headed for a state of deprivation, headed for hell, there to stay for an eon, incurable. Which eight?

“Conquered by material gain, his mind overcome, Devadatta is headed for a state of deprivation, headed for hell, there to stay for an eon, incurable.

“Conquered by lack of material gain.…

“Conquered by status.…

“Conquered by lack of status.…

“Conquered by offerings.…

“Conquered by lack of offerings.…

“Conquered by evil ambition.…

“Conquered by evil friendship, his mind overcome, Devadatta is headed for a state of deprivation, headed for hell, there to stay for an eon, incurable.

“Monks, it’s good for a monk to keep conquering again & again any arisen material gain. It’s good for a monk to keep conquering again & again any arisen lack of material gain… any arisen status… any arisen lack of status… any arisen offerings… any arisen lack of offerings… any arisen evil ambition… any arisen evil friendship.

‘We will keep conquering again & again any arisen material gain… any arisen lack of material gain… any arisen status… any arisen lack of status… any arisen offerings… any arisen lack of offerings… any arisen evil ambition… any arisen evil friendship.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.”

About Devadatta
Devadatta Sutta (AN 8:7)