Mother Earth squeezes her hair, making a great ocean which sweeps away Mara's armies
The place at which the Great Being sat in order to carry out his training of the mind and seek enlightenment, the foot of the bodhi tree, is called the "Throne of Enlightenment." Mara tried to claim that it was his own, but the Great Being countered that it had arisen as a result of the accumulated perfections of his previous lives, for which he called Mother Earth to witness.
The Pathamasambodhi states: "The great earth was incapable of remaining inactive ... It sprang up from the earth in the form of a young maiden..." and served as witness for the Bodhisatta. Thereupon, [the maiden] squeezed water from her hair. That water is referred to as daksinodaka, which is all the water that the Great Being had used to consecrate the vows made in his previous lives, which Mother Earth had kept in her hair. When she squeezed her hair, all that water flowed out.
The Pathamasambodhi states: "It was a great flow that flooded all the land, like a great ocean.... The armies of Mara were powerless to stop it and were swept away and entirely carried off by the current. As for Girimekhala, Vassavadi Mara's elephant, it was swept off its feet and, unable to maintain its balance, was carried off to the ocean. ...Thus Mara was eventually defeated."
Now I will explain the meaning of this allegory. Mara is the defilements within people; they are what opposes the mindfulness and understanding that lead to knowledge of good, evil, benefit and harm. Defilements take delight in misdeeds, so that when a person is going to do something good the defilements try to interfere. Before the Great Being was enlightened as the Buddha, he still had defilements, but they were in the process of falling from his mind. His defilements were the fondness and attachment for his royal treasures and the country he had left behind, but he was able to defeat them due to the great perfections [paramita] he had accumulated.
A perfection is goodness. The Great Being reflected that the lives, hearts and eyes he had sacrificed to others as wholesome deeds of charity, if gathered together, would be greater than the fruits in the forest and greater than the number of stars in the sky.
Good deeds do not disappear: even if no one sees them, the sky and the earth, Mother Earth, see them.
Copyright © 2002 Mahidol
University All rights reserved.