From Darwiniana: Buddha and Mara???
Richmond’s view deserves consideration, no doubt, with leads toward further research, but surely the issue is simpler for most than this ornate embroidery of something Gautama probably never knew about. The issue is: the path of enlightenment attracts demonic oppositions. And these are intangible. Spirits, devils, unconscious projections? People who get close to a result often disconbobulate without warning. It is this issue that seems to many a demonic reality in action. Jumping to the conclusion can be problematical.
It is not enough to say these issues are a matter of one’s own projections, but the issue is not clear, and don’t believe those who are doing buddhist PR in a ‘secular’ age.
This is said in the context of a rapidly ‘naturalizing’ buddhism, which is going to be a nice job for those demonic oppositions, easy pickings. The result will be a disaster. Don’t listen to Mahayanists here: they have already conceded the game. They have their own defense here, as to this.
Consider Milarepa’s desperation: preaching the dharma to these devils, that sounds right: through the land of Whacko and onto the beyond, maybe.
It is hard to evaluate the buddhist tradition here: where this material comes from is not clear, but probably it has nothing to do with Gautama.
In an age of science, skepticism attends such statements, skepticism is the starting point: but here’s the point, a strong path of meditation is an empirical gesture, and experiment, among other things in reality of ‘devils’, in the discovery of any sense to such terms. So beware of prejudging the experiment.
Meditation, most ironically, is one of the few ways to conduct spiritual experiments. It is its own brand of science.