How to Turn Arrows into Flowers.
The Buddha sat under a tree on the night when he would become fully awake.
The forces of Mara fired arrows at him while he sat there to divert him from attaining enlightenment, but he converted their weapons into flowers with knowledge.
The nature of challenges is described in traditional teachings on the forces of Mara, as well as how people often feel perplexed and lose faith in their fundamental knowledge mind. The teachings on the four maras describe a few extremely common methods that we attempt to stop what is occurring.
We have the ability to change these arrows into flowers just as the Buddha did. We may utilize it to observe what we do when we’re squeezed rather than attempting to remove a barrier or believing that we are being assaulted.
Do we reopen or do we shut down? Alternatively, do we get softer? Do we become smarter or dumber as we age?
- Devaputra mara includes pleasure-seeking. The bubble of reality that we have grown to believe is safe and definite may be burst by every challenge we face. We are unable to tolerate the jitteriness, nervousness, escalating rage, or the acrid taste of bitterness when we feel threatened in that manner. So we grasp for anything we believe will smother it. We strive to seize something enjoyable. By opening our hearts and examining the ways in which we attempt to flee, we may transform this arrow into a blossom. Seeking pleasure might give us a chance to examine our behavior while we are experiencing suffering.
- Skandha mara is concerned with how we attempt to rebuild ourselves once things go wrong. As soon as we can, we go back to our self-concept, which is a rock. This is what Trungpa Rinpoche referred to as “nostalgia for samsara.” Instead of fighting to reclaim our sense of self when things go wrong, we should take advantage of the chance to be open and curious about what has just occurred and what will happen next. How to transform this arrow into a flower is as follows.
- Klesha mara exhibits intense emotions. Instead of allowing emotions to exist in isolation, we incorporate them into a plot, which sparks even stronger sensations. When things break apart, we all turn to our emotions to restore our composure.
Using strong feelings as a method to cultivate genuine compassion for ourselves and everyone else, we may transform this arrow into a flower.
- The dread of death is the foundation of Yama mara. By directing our experience, we are sabotaging the present. We want to preserve what we now have. Every encounter should serve to support, applaud, and solidify our sense of unity. In reality, the yama mara is a dread of life, despite what we say. By utilizing the want to control as a reminder to approach each situation with an open mind, we may transform this arrow into a flower.
We can always go back to our core values.
Moving away from our experiences and the present moment with all of our routines and tactics inevitably results in restlessness, discontent, and unhappy feelings. Concretization and making something concrete give us a temporary, fleeting sense of comfort.
We feel a tremendous feeling of freedom as we go into our experience, whether it is the opening experience of love and compassion or the closing-down experience of anger and estrangement.
This freedom is the freedom of nothing solid.
Something starts to equate freedom with “nothing substantial.”
In the meanwhile, we learn that we would prefer to be completely present in our life than to go out pursuing our fantasies or addictive behaviors in an effort to make things solid and secure.
We come to understand that facing our experience head-on feels better than running from it. Even though it hurts, it’s better to be there than to run away.
We get more used to groundlessness, a new condition of being that is always open to us, as we practice entering the present moment in this manner. Liberation is the act of stepping out into an unfamiliar, undiscovered, and uncertain space and letting go of security and familiarity.
The Reality of Egolessness
Egolessness, often known as no-self, is the second characteristic of existence. These expressions may be deceptive. They don’t imply that we vanish or that we lose our individuality. The fixed notion that we have about ourselves as solid and distinct from one another is severely restrictive, according to egolessness.
The fact that we take ourselves so seriously and consider ourselves to be insanely important is a problem. Self-importance confines us to the realm of our preferences like a jail. We eventually get utterly bored with ourselves and the environment.
We get to a really poor conclusion.
There are just two options available to us: either we accept everything as true and certain, or we do not. Either we come to terms with our fixed perceptions of reality or we start to question them. Buddha believed that the finest use of our existence as humans is to train in being open and curious—to train in removing the walls we create between ourselves and the outside world.
Egolessness may be thought of as a flexible identity in the most basic sense. It shows up as curiosity, flexibility, comedy, and fun. It is our ability to unwind in the face of uncertainty, of not having all the answers, and of not being at all certain of who we are or who anybody else is.
Every moment is distinct, uncharted, and brand-new. A warrior-in-training experiences egolessness as a source of delight rather than dread.
Openness comes from really understanding our anxieties rather than from battling them. Without loving investigation into the workings of the ego, we cannot develop fearlessness.
We thus question, “What happens when I feel I can’t manage what’s happening? Which tales do I tell myself? What turns me off and what draws me in? What do I rely on for support and where do I search for it?”
We begin to recognize what is occurring as soon as we begin to meditate. Even if we still avoid others and engage in vices, we can plainly see what we’re doing. We are aware of our wants and repulsions. We get used to the tactics and convictions we employ to protect our cocoon.
As we practice mindfulness, we become more interested in what is happening.
We have only been able to view it well for a while. They start to tire themselves out to the extent that we’re prepared to view our indulgence and repression plainly.
Going gone and wearing out are not quite the same thing. Instead, a broader, more forgiving, and more informed viewpoint develops.
By accepting whatever emerges without passing judgment on it, allowing the ideas to just go, and returning to the openness of this exact now, we may maintain the balance between indulging and suppressing.
In fact, when we meditate, we’re doing that. All these ideas arise, but instead of suppressing them or becoming fixated on them, we notice them and let them go. Then we return to just being here.
We eventually link to hope and fear in our everyday lives in that manner. We suddenly cease striving and begin to unwind. We recognize our plot, let it go, and return to the spontaneity of the present.
Slogan: “Hold the major witness out of the two.”
The main characteristic of bodhichitta training and all forms of practice is that only you are aware of what is opening and what is shutting. The only one who is aware is you. One kind of witness is somebody who offers you criticism and judgment. There is some truth to what people are saying, therefore it’s worth listening to.
However, you are the main witness. The only person who is aware of your opening and closing times is you. You are the only one who can recognize when you are using anything to defend yourself and maintain your ego and when you are opening and letting things fall apart, accepting the world as it is and working with it as opposed to fighting it. The only one who is aware is you.
One such catchphrase reads, “Don’t turn gods into monsters.” It basically implies that you may transform something positive—like a mind-training exercise—into a monster. You can shut your windows and doors with anything.
You may utilize practice to increase your self-assurance, sensation of being in the right place at the right time, a sense that you have chosen the proper faith, and a sense that “all is well with the world” That is not very helpful.
When you use tonglen or any other technique to feel heroic, you’ll soon start to believe that reality is constantly winning the war against you. But only you have the information.
Experiencing the Edge
Buddhist teachings often speak about egolessness. What they’re talking about seems complicated—what exactly are they talking about? We feel totally at home when the lessons are about neuroticism.
We are pretty good at understanding that. But egolessness? If we strive to truly understand our limit when we get there—that is, if we strive to neither indulge nor repress—a hardness inside us will dissipate.
Regardless of the energy that manifests—anger, disappointment, or fear—we will be soothed by its sheer intensity. That very energy pierces and opens us when it is not solidified in one direction or the other.
This is when egolessness was discovered. It’s when all of our typical plans fail. Instead of coming up against a challenge or receiving a punishment, reaching our limit is like discovering a doorway to sanity and the unwavering goodness of people.
Working in this manner during seated meditation is the safest and most nourishing setting. On the cushion, we start to understand what it feels like to neither indulge or suppress and how to let the energy just be.
Because of this, it’s beneficial to meditate each day and keep making friends with our aspirations and concerns.
This plants the seeds for our ability to be more alert amid the daily bustle. It occurs gradually and cumulatively, but that’s what truly happens. We don’t sit in meditation to improve our ability to meditate. We meditate so that we may live more consciously.