Path of Oneness

 

The book Path of Oneness was compiled by Shinjo in 1957 to show ways to be one with the Buddha, the pursuit of which can be understood in terms of three perspectives. The first perspective is that of doctrine, in particular, teachings based on those of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, and the principles found in the Nirvana Sutra (the Mahaparinirvana Sutra). The second perspective is that which takes into account the way dharma manifests in invisible ways. The third perspective is that of personal experience. In other words, the path of incorporating the teachings into one’s life.

3. Triumph

Mara, the lord of demons, was frightened by the Prince’s great determination and sent three enchantresses to him, hoping to break his concentration. Lovely and alluring, the enchantresses approached the Prince. They danced and sang around him enticingly:

Ah, spring!
The sun brings warmth, and tender buds sprout.
O darling and handsome Prince in the springtime of life!
Why do you give up the pleasures of youth
and pursue the way to eternity?
Will you not look at us, beautiful as we are?
Even a hermit who has renounced the ways of the world
would stir with the passions of love.

The Prince replied in verse:

You are blessed by the good deeds of the past
that have now given you the appearance of celestial maidens.
You are truly lovely to behold, but it will not be long
before old age and death befall you,
as nothing is permanent.
Beautiful in form, yet polluted in spirit,
you are like poison served in a fine cup.
Sensual pleasures are the cause of one’s ruin,
And before long, one will sink into a mire of suffering.

Upon hearing these words, the three enchantresses lost their beautiful appearances and turned into hags.

Mara became enraged at this. He called up a million demons from all directions to storm the pippala tree under which the Prince sat, and they began advancing on the Prince, shooting arrows and brandishing swords, axes, and spears.

Thus, a battle began between the one who would guide all to enlightenment and the great lord of all impediments. Dark clouds whirled about and the seas raged with tidal waves. Rivers reversed course, and the sun stopped shinning. Bands of monstrous creatures stalked in the fields and mountains, and the ground shook.

The battalions of celestial beings who had been protecting the Prince up to that point fled with fright. The only one who could save the Prince now was himself.

The Prince remained perfectly calm, and proclaimed, “The holy paramitas that I have practiced over a long time – they will be my army. With these good paramita deeds, I shall crush all demons.”

Because of his perfect calm, the furious gales and torrential rain brought on by the lord of demons could not wet the Prince with even a dewdrop’s worth water. The rocks, boulders, and fire that were hurled at the Prince changed into flowers and adorned him. The darkness that Mara unleashed turned into brilliant sunshine as it came close to the Prince. Nothing could harm him. Frustrated, Mara screamed, “What do you pursue, sitting under that tree? Be gone from there! You do not deserve to sit in that place!”

To this, the Prince replied, “Between the heavens and the earth, who but myself does truly deserve this seat? Only one adorned by the merit of various good deeds accumulated since the remote past should take this seat.”

With his right hand touching the earth in an esoteric gesture to subdue evil, the Prince further proclaimed, “If I am worthy of this seat, may the Dharma-protecting deity of the earth come forth as my witness.” With these words the ground parted, and the earth deity emerged emitting a peal of thunder. Trembling in fear, Mara fled and his troops dispersed in all directions.
 

 

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