Knocking on samsara's sorrowful door,
the apprentice on the path
enters into the arena of self-created being.
"Why am I afflicted by the various
degrees of conditioned awareness?"
"Why have I allowed myself to become
entangled by the illusory influences of the mind?"
Upon hearing such mournful cries
from the apprentice,
Mara, the queen of cyclical existence,
bombarded the mind
of the apprentice with images
of horrific tragedy and desperate yearning.
"To this, I am not responsible,"
replied the apprentice.
Mara, being more quick witted than the apprentice,
bedecked herself with the ornaments of
sickness and old age,
trying to convince the apprentice of the
all-consuming reality of change.
"What is beyond your doomed territory
is mine, o Mara.
What can the venoms of
self-created being do to me,
who is of the other shore?"
"Be hasty in one's meditation on the transitory
nature of thoughts and emotions,
and surely one will miss the
essence of no-self."
rebutted the illusion of illusions.
"Why do you try to help me,
tempter of the world?
What do you have to gain
besides my allegiance to
mind-numbing ignorance?" exclaimed the apprentice.
"Look within the depths of self-created being,
o worthy one. What do you see?"
"From this side of the shore,
I clearly recognize you,
Mara, in all of your various forms,
trying to cover the clear light of emptiness;
while at the same time, you compassionately reveal
the reality of nirvanic awareness to all who are ready, such as I."
"While relying solely on half-truths, I was not able
to see how the great illusion stands right in front of the great awakening."
"Where is the Buddha?" questioned Mara.
"The Buddha is firmly rooted in between the extremes
of samsara and nirvana.
The mind of awakening is the middle way."
"Where is the middle way?" questioned Mara.
"It is beyond the fertile field of self-grasping.
The moment one stops searching for a self
is the moment one stumbles upon the middle way."
"There is no suffering and there is no bliss.
There is only an indefinable awareness of being without being.
Such is the nature of the middle way."
"Pass before me, o victorious one.
You are ready to tread the path of paths.
Once having been, one ceases to be."
With this gesture of approval, the aspirant
confidently marched out of samsara's sorrowful door.