“One day Buddha was in his cave, and Ananda, Buddha’s assistant, was standing near the entrance. Suddenly he saw Mara, the evil one, coming. Mara walked straight to Ananda and told him to announce his visit to Buddha.

Ananda said,“Why have you come here? You were defeated by Buddha under the Bodhi tree. Go away! You are his enemy!”

Mara began tolaugh. “Did you say that your teacher has told you that he has enemies?” That made Ananda veryembarrassed. He went in to announce Mara to Buddha.

“Is it true? Is he really here?” Buddha went out in person to greet Mara. He bowed and took his hands in the warmest way. “How have you been? Is everything all right?”

After they sat down to tea, Mara said,“Things are not going well at all. I am tired of being a Mara. You have to talk in riddles, and if you do anything, you have to be tricky and look evil. I’m tired of all that. But the worst part is my disciples. Now they are talking about social justice, peace and equality, liberation,non duality, nonviolence, all that. It would be better if I hand them all over to you. I want to be something else.”

Buddha listened with compassion. “Do you think it’s fun being a Buddha? My disciples put words in my mouth that I never said. They build garish temples. They package my teachings as items for commerce. Mara, you don’t really want to be a Buddha!” - Coleman Barks, Rumi, the Book of Love.

The Seacoast Peace Academy 2013