Monday, 25 April 2011


Māra comes from the root mr which means die or dying. So Māra is the god (deva) of Death or the Dying God (or both).  His heaven world is the highest of those devoted to sensual pleasures.  Like all other gods, he is not immortal, though his lifespan is inconceivably long compared to that of a man.  His heaven world is filled with those who have devoted their lives to sensual pleasures (see the sutta about Māra's Net).  But those who pursue indulgence in sense pleasures (including Māra himself), have to be born into a world (heavenly or otherwise) where sense objects are available in order to enjoy them.  Being born, they will have to die.

This is the flaw in Māra's world, his followers and his own being.  He devotes himself to activities which everywhere and always result in death.  Escape from death is only to be found by rejecting the pursuit of sense pleasures and therefore not being born.

When Māra realised that the Buddha was attempting to find this escape route from birth and death into the deathless (amara = a + māra), he tried to prevent him.  He saw that, if beings responded to the Buddha's teaching, they would escape from his net and he would lose his power both here and. in his heaven world.

So he sent his daughters, Tanhā, Arati and Rāga, to tempt the Buddha back into the plane of being where the pursuit of sense pleasures is the goal.

Tanhā means compulsive thirst, like that of an alcoholic for alcohol; and therefore craving.  There is sensual craving, craving for existence and craving for non-existence.  Sensual craving is craving for the six sense objects.  Craving for existence is craving for the world of the senses or the world of form or the formless world.  Craving for non-existence is craving for extermination.

Rāga means sensual desire.

Arati (a + rati) is the opposite of Rāga and therefore means aversion. Rati [Classic Sk. rati, fr. ram] means love, attachment, pleasure. As a proper name, Rati is the goddess of lust and pleasure.


Māra's daughters, therefore, represent those things which stand between us and the goal of amara.

How did the Buddha overcome them?


Note: "During the years when the Lord Buddha was alive, he told a story of a dog with mange. When it stayed in a cave it thought that the cave was uncomfortable and the dog itched all over. It moved to a forest and still it itched and was uncomfortable. It was never comfortable no matter where it went. This is because what was causing the itching was its skin condition, not the place it stayed."

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Āditta is adjectival and means burning. There are two Fire Sermons. In one the Sense Bases are said to be burning. In the other it is the Khandhas. It comes to the same thing.

At any point at which the senses contact the sense objects (i.e. the world), fire blazes up. This fire is said to be the fire of raga, dosa and moha. In some translations, raga is wrongly translated as "passion". Passion is a strong feeling but it can also be used to describe dosa (hatred) so it is clear that the Buddha had something else in mind. Raga means "strong desire".

Greed (lobha) is strong desire also. So we can see that the fires that ignite at sense contact are in fact the first three kilesas: 1. Greed (lobha) 2. Hate (dosa) 3. Delusion (moha). 

This is the link with last week's project. 

Kilesas 4 to 10: 4. conceit (māna) 5. view points (ditthi) 6. doubt (vicikicchā) 7. mental torpor (thīna) 8. restlessness (uddhacca) 9. shamelessness (ahirika) 10. moral recklessness (anottappa)can all be derived from the first three. If the first three are completely eradicated, the others disappear also.

The Buddha goes on to explain that these three are the fires of suffering (birth, old age etc.). When things are seen like this rather than as sense objects with desirable characteristics, there is a turning away from the sense objects (nibbindati, literally "withdrawing seeing from"). A turning away from the world. At this point, desire ceases (viraga) and release is obtained. This is the extinction of the asavas.


Monday, 11 April 2011


KILESAS, like actors and criminals, appear in disguise, sometimes with masks depicting virtues:

GREED as NEED or entitlement to my share.

HATE as the perception of someone else's faults and a humanitarian impulse to make him aware of them and firmly help him change for the better or in the name of justice get rid of him altogether. (He deserves it).

DELUSION as VISION of how much better things could be if people listened to me. Or how much better they actually are if they looked at them from my point of view.

CONCEIT as HUMILITY (in contrast to the pride of others) or justified pride in genuine achievement (in contrast to the sniping of those who would if they could but don't appreciate all the hard work that has gone into this).

VIEWPOINTS as TRUTH. The way I see it is how it is. The way it is is how I see it. (It is I who can see things as they are. Others have viewpoints).

DOUBT as DESIRE for CERTAINTY and TRUTH. It would be silly to commit myself before I am sure.

MENTAL TORPOR as THE NEED for a rest or as a SUBLIME STATE - Samadhi, Nirodha.

RESTLESSNESS as INVESTIGATION, CURIOSITY, the need to move on, energy, the Life Force.

SHAMELESSNESS as my right to FREEDOM to be as I am, to be the way I was made, (to do what I am strong enough to get away with).

MORAL RECKLESSNESS as my right to FREEDOM to follow my desires and do what I want.


Sunday, 3 April 2011


Kilesas can be found in thoughts, speech and deeds.

The mind is so volatile that it is difficult to spot them in thinking. By the time they appear in deeds, something has already been done and a karmic chain is underway.

That leaves speech. One can listen to others speaking and, more difficult, one can listen to oneself speaking and try and spot them there. 

The aim in all this is to become an expert kilesa spotter so that one can get on with the job of ridding oneself of them forever. Once the impurities have been removed from the water, it is already pure.