Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day: Cupid is the devil Mara (sutra)

John D. Ireland (, Padhana Sutra: "The Great Struggle" (Sn 3.2); PRI; Cozmo El; Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Dharma Meditation Initiative - Pasa Dharma - Punx - Disclosure Project - MARC UCLA

Cupid (Kama-deva) is a "devil"
The Buddha remembered: "When, near the Nerañjara river, I exerted myself in meditation for attaining to security from bondage (yogakkhema, a name for nirvana), there came speaking words of compassion Namuci*:
  • *"He who does not let go [his hold over beings easily]" is a name for Mara, the Tempter, the Killer, the Evil One, the Dark One.
"'You are emaciated and ill-looking, near to death! A thousand parts of you belong to death, and only a fraction of you is alive. Live, good sir! It is better to live! Living you may perform many meritorious deeds (good karma).

Relics of St. Valentine of Terni at the basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin.

What's better than being bad?
"From practicing celibacy and tending the sacrificial fire much merit is made. But what is obtained from striving [in meditation]? It is difficult to enter the path of exertion, it is difficult to do, difficult to maintain.'"
Mara spoke these words while standing in the presence of the Buddha, the "Awakened One." To Mara speaking in this way, the Buddha replied:
"You who are a friend of the negligent, O Evil One. For what reason have you come here? Those who still have use for merit [because they are not yet enlightened and liberated], Mara may consider worthwhile addressing.

"I have confidence and energy and wisdom. Being thus bent on striving, why do you ask me to live? This wind will wither the currents of the rivers; why should not my exertion dry up even the blood? When the blood dries up, the bile and phlegm wither.

"Lust" (Raquel Welch) in 1967's Bedazzled
"On the wasting away of the flesh, my mind becomes more and more serene. And my mindfulness, wisdom, and concentration are established more firmly.

"In me, who abides enduring such an extreme experience, the mind does not long for sensual pleasures. Behold the purity of a being!"

Who/what in the hell is Cupid?

Hey, STFU. I'm the Greek god Eros anew
CUPID comes from its verb cupere (Latin "to desire"). Three derived nouns have been passed down into English with minimal modification: Cupiditas meant "yearning" and "desire," which English borrowed as "cupidity," which originally in the 15th century was synonymous with "LUST." (Another meaning of "cupidity," now archaic, is "greed").

Latin cupido started out as a near-synonym of cupiditas, but it came to stand for the specific personification of carnal desire, the counterpart of Greek Eros (the erotic "god"); this is the source of our familiar and rather domesticated (Roman god) Cupid. A strengthened form of cupere (concupiscere, meaning "to desire ardently) yielded the noun concupiscentia in the Late Latin of the Christian church.

I'm not impressed. Get it out of my face!
English concupiscence, which means "sexual desire," comes from this form. Cupidity's origin and etymology is therefore from the Latin cupiditat-, cupiditas — more at covet, which led to Middle English cupidite and Anglo-French cupidité. (Derived from
  • A Buddhist View of Romantic Love: Nothing Higher to Live For If ROMANTIC LOVE is the highest thing to live for, this is a hopeless universe because...Cupid's arrows not only thrill us but make us bleed. "Man Kills Estranged Lover Then Self"! "Wife Stabs Husband in Domestic Quarrel"! "Love Triangle Leads to Shooting"! -- scream the headlines...
  • The Buddha's Encounters with Mara the Tempter In the typical style of this Indian Cupid, the first weapons used are the five flower-arrows. When they fail Måra thinks: “He is not worthy of my flower-shaft, nor my arrow 'gladdener,' nor the sending of my daughter Rati (to tempt him); he deserves alarms, rebukes, and blows from these gathered armies of demons.
Mara's Armies
Lord Shiva Turns Cupid/Kama-Deva to Ashes (Madan Bhasma/
  1. "Sensual desire is your first army
  2. the second is called discontent
  3. the third is hunger-and-thirst
  4. the fourth craving
  5. the fifth sluggishness-and-laziness
  6. the sixth fear
  7. the seventh indecision
  8. and the eighth stubbornness and disparagement of others: gain, fame, honor, unmerited prestige (wrongly acquired), praise of oneself, and despising others.
"These, Namuci, are your armies, the striking forces of the Dark One.*
  • Kanha, the "Dark One" (Sanskrit, Krishna), is another name for Mara. He is India's version of Cupid (Kamadeva) and personifies sensual passions. He carries a lute (vina), mentioned at the close, with which he captivates beings by his playing. His other equipment includes a bow, arrows, a noose, and a hook.
"A lazy, cowardly person cannot overcome them. But by conquering them one gains bliss. I wear muñja-grass*!
  • *Indian warriors used to wear a tuft of a certain variety of grass called muñja on their head or headgear, to indicate that they were prepared to die in battle and determined not to retreat.
Representations of the Buddha Gautama
"Shame on life here in this world! It is better for me to die in battle than to live defeated.

"Some wandering ascetics and Brahmins are not seen (exerting themselves) here, so immersed are they (in sensual worldliness). They are unaware of the path those of perfect conduct walk.

"Seeing the surrounding army ready and Mara mounted (on his elephant), I am going out to fight so that he may not move me from my position.

Under the Buddha's bodhi tree, India
"This army of yours, which the world together with the devas is unable to subdue, that I will destroy with wisdom, [shatter] like an unbaked clay-bowl with a stone.

"Having mastered the mind and firmly established mindfulness, I shall wander from country to country guiding many disciples.

"And these disciples will be diligent and energetic in practicing this teaching, the teaching of one free of sensual craving. And they will reach where, having reached, one no more grieves."
Who's as beautiful as Barbie? Valeri-Devi
Mara responded: "For seven years I followed the Blessed One step by step but did not find an opportunity to defeat that mindful Awakened One.

"A crow flew around a stone the [whitish] color of fat thinking: 'Can we find here something tender? May it be something to eat?'
"Not finding anything edible the crow left that place. As with the crow and the stone, we leave Gotama [the Buddha], having approached and become disheartened."
  • *Māra Devaputra is the deva of the highest world in the Sensual Sphere (Kama Loka), who considers himself the God of this sphere (which includes the human plane that is in no way limited to earth) tries to prevent the Buddha from finding the escape that is liberation from the otherwise endless cycle of rebirth during his struggle for enlightenment.

No comments: