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Saturday Mar 26, 2011

Lord of Illusion

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Field of Temptation

Gautama Buddha, according to tradition, came to the Middle Path between extremes that leads to the cessation of suffering, after being confronted by Mara, a personification of death, delusion, and temptation.

While Siddhartha, the prince before he became the Buddha, sat under the sacred Bodhi tree of awakening, Mara assaulted him with doubts and temptations such as hunger, sensuality, fear, and sloth to dissuade him from pursuing the path toward enlightenment.

But all temptations failed and the Buddha attained Nirvana. The Lord of Illusion couldn’t seduce Gautama from his mission to see reality as it is. This parable is a favorite among Buddhist artists and teachers as it illustrates the pillars of character and spiritual striving: discernment, truth, renunciation, and calm.

Resolve or great art can’t exist without tests of character.

And, as the Zen master said: character answers all questions.