Mara

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Mara is the Evil One, or Devil-Tempter, of Buddhism. As Jesus the Christ was tempted in the wilderness by the Devil, so Gautama the Buddha was tempted by Mara prior to his enlightenment.

As Siddhartha Gautama (soon to be the Buddha) sat beneath the Bo tree, where he had vowed to remain until fully illumined, Mara, the Evil One, tempted him with visions of desire and death, finally challenging his right to be doing what he was doing. Gautama, who remained unmoved, responded by tapping the earth with the “earth-touching” mudra (left hand upturned in lap, right hand pointed downward, touching the earth) and the earth thundered her answer: “I bear you witness!” All the LORD’s hosts and elemental beings acclaimed his right to pursue the enlightenment of the Buddha—whereupon Mara fled.

See also

Gautama Buddha

Sources

Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 25, no. 5, January 31, 1982, endnote.

Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 28, no. 4, January 27, 1985, endnote.