The temptations of The Buddha and Christ


The temptation of Buddha – Traditional sculpture

The Buddha’s encounter with Mara

The Buddha came to Bodh-Gaya and meditated under a Bodhi tree.
When Mara recognized that Siddhartha was on the near to transcending his domain, samsara, the realm of fear and desire, he took immediate action. He brought his three beautiful daughters (Tanha-craving, Arati-aversion and Raga-passion) to seduce Siddhartha. Yet the Buddha was not moved by desire and remained meditating.
Then Mara himself appeared before Siddhartha as a Chakravartin (world ruler), mounted on his elephant, Girimekhala, accompanied by a large army including monstrous demons wielding powerful and deadly weapons. They attacked the Buddha yet he sat still without fear and remained unharmed. Mara claimed that according to the Dharma the seat of enlightenment belongs to the greatest and only the greatest. Mara’s soldiers cried out, “Mara is the Chakravartin. He is the greatest. I am his witness!”. Mara challenged the Buddha but he reached out his right hand to touch the earth and Mae Thorani (Mother Earth) appeared and she  wrung water from her hair which caused a flood that drowned Mara’s army. The water represented the good merit accumulated by Buddha. The earth-mother herself spoke: “Bless him/her who sits on the axis of the world for one can only transcend time and space if one is immmovable.”

Mara tried to push and pull Siddhartha away from the immovable spot but there was no-body there. Mara was perplexed but Mae Thorani exclaimed: “This is my beloved son, who through his five hundred incarnations has so given himself that there is no more “I”.

And as morning star rose in the sky on the new day, Siddhartha Gautama realized enlightenment. He became Buddha, the Enlightened One.

The temptations of Christ 

 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.   He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.   The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple,   saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor;  and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'”
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NRSV)

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