Sympathy for the Maras

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sympathy for the maras

Sympathy for the Maras —

Transforming Mental Poisons into Liberative Compassion: Practical and Poetic Dynamics of Dharma Life

Sometimes the living out of the Buddhist spiritual life feels like magic. And sometimes it seems quite ordinary. We work at different levels of our experience, sometimes adjusting behaviors and making practical changes to our living conditions, and other times trusting deeper processes brought about through meditation, ritual and friendship that we can’t necessarily explain. This wonderful dynamic of the ordinary and the mysterious is something we discover and appreciate as we walk the path together.

Mara is the embodiment of the human predicament. Mara is a trickster and an archetype of death and spiritual ignorance. Mara was with the Buddha beneath the Bodhi Tree and was defeated when the Buddha Awakened. Though, that is not the last we see of Mara — Mara appears many times in the early Buddhist scriptures and even conversed with the Buddha shortly before the Buddha’s final passing. 

Yet, Mara is not a distant figure — Mara is still here. In fact, we all live intimately in Mara’s world. What are the implications of this for us? We’ll explore that question and more at the crossroads of myth and practicality. 

On this retreat we will explore:

— The teaching of the Four Maras: The human condition is tricky; let’s have a close look at it!
— The transformation of the five poisons into the five wisdoms; practical and Imaginative approaches to liberation.
— The Tantric Rites: the ancient roots of Buddhist ritual and the poetry of transforming our inner world.
— The Six Perfections (Paramitas): Bodhisattva practices for liberation of self and community. 

We will explore these teachings through:

— Brief presentations of the teachings as they relate to the personal and communal aspects of Dharma life, followed by discussion.
— Meditation practice to find ease and touch depth.
— Creative ritual to find connection between our inner and outer world.
— Reflective projects to explore the practical and poetic nature of a Dharma life.

Schedule: June 25-27, (all times ET)
June 25 — 6:30-8:30pm: Introductory talk and dedication
June 26 — (two sessions) 10am-12pm: Meditation, talk, discussion and intro of reflective project; 4:30-6:30pm: Talk, discussion and Ritual
June 27 — 10am-1pm: Meditation, talk and discussion of reflective projects; closing ritual


Sympathy for the Maras is an immersive online home-retreat. All sessions will be recorded and quickly made available for later viewing if you can’t make all the sessions in our time zone (ET). 

Suddhayu has been teaching meditation and Buddhism and leading retreats since 1998. He has a deep love of the multifaceted nature of the Dharma and Dharma practice, as well as poetry, myth and creative ritual. He currently works full-time for Dharma initiatives as Chair at the Portsmouth Buddhist Center and Manager of Aryaloka. 


Aryaloka continues to run all events online and by donation – your generosity is making it possible for Aryaloka to stay afloat while we wait for in-person programming to resume. Please give what you can, though if you can't afford to make a donation, do let us know and we'll sign you up for free. If you'd prefer not to book online you may email to make other arrangements. You'll receive a Zoom link a few days before the retreat.

Image includes details from Buddhist art and Warwick Goble’s illustration ‘Laura visits the Goblin market where animal-faced goblins peddle fruits’


June 25th, 2021 6:30 PM through June 27th, 2021 1:00 PM
14 Heartwood Circle
Newmarket, NH 03857
United States
Event Fee(s)
Suggested Donation $ 50.00
Suggested Donation $ 75.00
Suggested Donation $ 100.00
Suggested Donation $ 125.00
Suggested Donation $ 150.00
Suggested Donation $ 200.00

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