- Christian stories about Sakka (Magha of Macala) call him "St. Michael," a stream-enterer and ruler of two lower heavens, who defends humans in battle opposing the titans and serpents.
Sitting in a magnificent wooden hall with high ceilings, surrounded by a tall forest and peaceful meditators from all over the East Coast, I found myself mad like the fighting Irish.
Maybe I went wrong the very moment I thought of meditation as adversarial. But I did. I saw Mara, the dark tempter figure, as an opponent. I went up against his armies, the Cankers of sensual-desires, desiring eternal existence, clinging to wrong-views, and ignorance.
Like a wrathful Japanese deity, I thought I should fight. But all fighters are caught up in fighting until they sue for peace. Until this retreat, no one mentioned Mara had ten more armies, the Fetters binding beings to the Wheel of Samsara:
- (1) personality-belief
- (2) sceptical doubt
- (3) clinging to mere rules and rituals
- (4) sensual craving
- (5) ill-will (wrath)
- (6) craving for fine-material existence
- (7) craving for immaterial existence
- (8) conceit
- (9) restlessness
- (10) ignorance
The first five are called "lower fetters" that bind or fetter us to rebirth in sensual realm planes. The latter five are called "higher fetters" that bind beings to planes of rebirth in the two higher realms, the fine-material and immaterial spheres (A.IX.67-68; A.X.13; D.33, etc.)The great Earth shook (see photos). Mara is no fool. He does not come on a war elephant. He sends seductive daughters. He does not confront. He subverts with pride and delusion. He does not want beings to end up in the hells. He just never wants them to escape the cycle of rebirth.
I have much to learn.