The references to the demon mara are to make a point: we cited an interesting book (a previous post this week) on Buddhism and secularism.
But what of the issue of the demon Mara. Any sensible secularist would delete such a meme at once. But what then is the status of the classic tale at
the core of Buddhism. To sanitize Buddhism here would seem peculiar. Buddha insisted on this point, it is central to the history. But that legacy is now changed;
we will simply ignore the problem. Note the catch 22. Why bother with Buddhism at all in such case?
The question is doubly ambiguous: people who meditate often confront a mysterious presence that seems to undermine them That’s real experience. To reify it with a demonic name is probably
wrong and violates Kantian warnings about ‘ghostseers’. It is antinomial perhaps?
Consider the realm of Gurdjieff: and then a Gurdjieff legacy agent like Gold. He has explicitly said he will put endless obstacles in the way of seekers. Why on earth do that?
Whatever the case, such sufis are vicious. They make sport of destroying hapless seekers. It was once called spiritual cannibalism, but that term is misleading (to say the least).
Ok, such people exist. So what happens when they die? Now a secularist has a problem. He may nor may not reject ghost issues as toxic nonsense. But can he sure? A dead ghost of a former
Gurdjieff type, known as fact to try to destroy seekers, what happens when he dies…. The question remains, what happens to figures when they die?
And another question, what happens to a demon like Gurdjieff when he dies?
Figure through such ‘nonsense’ with wariness, but in a short paragraph we have shown the logic behind a demonic figure like ‘Mara’.
We cannot say anything here. But we would do well to be wary of secularized Buddhism
Let me note that sufis can be deadly figures, cruel in a way that is baffling. Gurdjieff sounded a warning in disguise.
Having spouted such nonsense we end up in a strange situation.
Let me hasten to add that this kind of thinking is very dangerous. It degenerates into stupidity quickly. Secularists are justified in their scepticism,
The r eal answer is we have to start over from scratch: the legacy as given is hard for a modern mind to navigate.
If we create a new version in our modern context, we make a fast exit from past superstitions. In fact that is what secular Buddhism meant,
but the question is not so simple.
Let me note that in the west a pathless path exists by default and in the context of will inherited from christianity which is a path of the will, or what’s left of it. That is perhaps why the christian seems always defeated. He cannot realize ‘will’. The path of meditation in yoga or buddhism is far better, but lacks this element which makes the whole question of a path impossibly difficult. We should discuss that later having made our point but with the warning that paths of the will are doubly in danger here. Look at Bennett’s books: Being, Function, Will’
Paths of will have a mysterious problematic of their own. The problem, and here Bennett shows it without understanding it, is the ‘will’ is ambiguous: like the noumenon in Kant, or the ‘Will in nature’ of Schopenhauer, who influenced Bennett. The will is virtual and not the same as psychological will. It is been botched by figures like Crowley with is nonsense on will. Be wary of it.
The answer is simple enough: pursue a path of being like yogic meditation and the quest man uncover the virtual will.
But mixing paths is subject to endless confusion. Stick with yoga perhaps. And leave the demons in training of the Gurdjieffs far behind.until you can handle that.