Turning Arrows Into Flowers
On the night that the Buddha attained enlightenment, he sat under a tree. While he was sitting there, the forces of Mara shot arrows at him to distract him from becoming enlightened; he merely turned their arrows into flowers.
It’s a story to illustrate the continuity of pure awareness.
Mara does not exist. The arrows do not exist and the flowers do not exist…and the Buddha does not exist. Instead of fighting these mental obstacles, we can realise their – and our – true nature.
Everything has the nature of emptiness.
The forces of Mara/demons are obstacles in the mind (desire, aversion and ignorance) that create confusion and doubt about our true nature. This pattern of demonic negative behaviour is familiar to us all, and like the Buddha, it is possible for us to turn these arrows into flowers.
As Christ said, “Turn the other cheek”; in other words, stop reacting to appearances in the mind.
Health and Safety Warning: if a physical arrow is aimed at us, we still duck! 🙂
The Story Of Buddha and The Evil One…it’s a story…to illustrate a point.
The Evil One made blazing rocks and hurled them at the hero. They sped through the air but changed when they came near the tree, and fell, not as rocks, but flowers.
Mara then commanded his army to loose their arrows at his enemy, but the arrows also turned into flowers. The army rushed at the hero, but the light he diffused acted as a shield to protect him; swords were shivered, battle-axes were dented by it, and whenever a weapon fell to the ground, it too at once changed into a flower.
And, suddenly filled with terror at the sight of these prodigies, the soldiers of the Evil One fled.
And Mara wrung his hands in anguish, and he cried:
“What have I done that this man should defeat me? For they are not a few, those whose desires I have granted! I have often been kind and generous! Those cowards who are fleeing could bear witness to that.”
The troops that were still within hearing answered:
“Yes, you have been kind and generous. We will bear witness to that.”
“And he, what proof has he given of his generosity?” continued Mara. “What sacrifices has he made? Who will bear witness to his kindness?”
Whereupon a voice came out of the earth, and it said:
“I will bear witness to his generosity.”
Mara was struck dumb with astonishment. The voice continued:
“Yes, I, the Earth, I, the mother of all beings, will bear witness to his generosity. A hundred times, a thousand times, in the course of his previous existences, his hands, his eyes, his head, his whole body have been at the service of others. And in the course of this existence, which will be the last, he will destroy old age, sickness and death. As he excels you in strength, Mara, even so does he surpass you in generosity.”
And the Evil One saw a woman of great beauty emerge from the earth, up to her waist. She bowed before the hero, and clasping her hands, she said:
“O most holy of men, I bear witness to your generosity.”
Then she disappeared.
And Mara, the Evil One, wept because he had been defeated.