Everyone born in this world is bound to suffer. Mara tempted Buddha so many times to abandon his quest which he did not. Yet Mara herself never suffered due to her own Karma or due to her belief system. Mara is alive even today.

My question is why not Mara, the tempter, suffers or suffered due to her belief system and actions ?

  • Are you looking for an answer about Mara, based in an conventional or ultimate sense?
    – user2424
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 14:51
  • If there are more than one way of answering the question then please enlighten me both ways. Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 14:55
  • Mara cannot be a woman (refer to MN 115) Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 19:52

4 Answers 4


Mara (a psychic that decides to harass Buddhists) does suffer according to the suttas:

Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, "The bhikkhuni Vajira knows me," sad and disappointed, disappeared right there. SN 5.10

‘Get out, Evil One, Evil One, get out. Do not annoy a Tathāgata or a Tathāgata's disciple, lest for a long time there be woe and sorrow for you.’...While he was looking around, Evil One, Dūsin the Māra deceased from that place and arose in the Great Niraya Hell. What was that Niraya Hell like where Dūsin the Māra was boiled, For striking the disciple Vidhura and the brahman Kakusandha? It was that of the hundred iron spikes, all suffered separately. This was the Niraya Hell where Dūsin was boiled, For striking the disciple Vidhura and the brahman Kakusandha. MN 50

  • If Mara suffered so much then why Mara still exists? Why didn't Mara turned down and surrender to Buddha? Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 14:45
  • My impression is Mara is not the same person over time but merely an advanced psychic that disagrees with Buddhism, such as a Brahman or (today) Christian mystic who believes people should be taught about 'god' rather than about 'anatta'. Thus Mara suffers from attachment but probably does not suffer in a major way (such as portrayed in MN 50, which, together with MN 49, is probably not an authentic sutta & religious propaganda). Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 4:41

Mara is not a living being, like a human being. Moreover, Mara is not of feminine gender.

Mara represents the obstacles on the path to enlightenment, such as:

  • passion,
  • greed,
  • emotional degradation, and
  • fear of death.

Mara represents our deep inner self and our inner belief system.

Mara tempted Buddha so many times to abandon his quest which he did not.

Yes, it happens to anyone practicing the path. How many times your inner doubts, your inner voice tells you something to deviate you from the practice; how many times you question the validity or efficacy about the practices; how many times you feel it is useless to practice these practices, and so forth. For example, during your practice of eating two meals a day of simple food, how many times did your mind think about delicious food, how many times did you "miss" certain types of food, and so forth? These are your inner temptations to steer you away from your practice and go back to the materialistic world and be trapped endlessly in samsara. Buddha was also facing inner turmoil. He did not succumb to the pressures of these inner doubts, questions, and temptations.

Yet Mara herself never suffered due to her own Karma or due to her belief system.

Mara does not represent the feminine energy. Mara is representative of the masculine energy. As I mentioned above, the four major Maras, or inner obstacles on the path to enlightenment, are greed, passion, emotional disharmony/degradation, and fear (of death, and so on). Now, just think. How can your inner quality of greed suffer? How can your inner fear suffer? These are the same inner qualities and belief systems that are the root cause of all your karma, good or bad karma. These inner qualities make you behave, react, or respond in certain ways, intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, it is you who will suffer when you succumb to these inner qualities or Maras.

Mara is alive even today.

You are correct! Mara will always be alive as long as sentient beings exist. Isn't this exactly what the Buddhist philosophies teach you to abandon? To abandon the Maras that trap you to cyclic existence (samsara)?


Mara isn't necessarily a real being. Mara is our own propensity to follow wrong views, doubts, defilements, bad habits and to give up on reality as it is.

If Mara is a being then Mara would suffer like any unenlightened being. Is there some scripture somewhere that states that Mara is immune to suffering?

I have never heard that Mara was female. What scripture supports that Mara is female?

  • Gender doesn't matter. What matters is the actions which cause the blessings or the suffering. Mara has always been badgering Buddha. Such actions cause the suffering but it seems Mara enjoys to annoy Buddha. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 14:43
  • I don't know, I would think if the Buddha was annoyed that Mara won and that's why he loves it. So Mara must be delusional if Mara thinks he annoyed the Buddha. What do you think?
    – Lowbrow
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 15:11
  • 1
    Mara is delusional. Mara suffers for its actions yet it doesn't give up its profession of annoying innocent persons. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 15:23

Initially a reply to this comment:

If Mara suffered so much then why Mara still exists? Why didn't Mara turned down and surrender to Buddha?

There is a necessity for Mara's existence. Hot only seems so hot when you have something to compare it to, in fact if you have nothing to compare it to it is not even "hot", and if the temperature of the comparison point changes, then so may the "hot". There cannot be light without darkness, nor darkness without light. If you do not know evil you cannot know good, if you do not know what is 'bad', how can you ever understand what is 'good'?

We start off with things being in a sense 'bad' so that we have freedom, and this doing us a service, instead of just starting off as angels who can never do any harm, we are tempted and given the choice so that it is not by creation, but by choice that we do 'good' and choose who we are. Another thing is that 'suffering' is really just a creation of the mind, it kind of exists until you are free of it and realise that it is not actually really that real, but really it doesn't exist as such. It's just a concept.

I also think that Mara is going to be a very different kind of being to us so we cannot interpret her in the same way. But she has to exist for balance and freedom.

If you have not helped yourself be free from something you cannot hope to help others. Your power comes from your karma, only when you know how deep the hole goes and how to get out of it can you help others, if you never went down the hole you wouldn't be much use to anyone. Mara is a great teacher. When you see Mara you really see yourself. You have the balance within you and it is your choice.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .