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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "The Four Maras"

This is the linkback perk poem from the November 6, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was originally hosted by dreamwriters.  Linkers include dreamwriters, siliconshaman, janetmiles, siege, the_vulture, technoshaman, and mdlbear.  This poem came out of the October 2-3 Poetry Fishbowl, inspired by marina_bonomi.  It belongs to the series Kung Fu Robots, which you can explore further on the Serial Poetry page.

The Four Maras

After the incident at the tavern,
Caper became timid for a time.
The robot did not wish to go out,
even though it needed sorghum brandy
to keep its engine running.

Beggar So noticed this.
"What is wrong, Caper?" he asked.
"It is not good to sit and go nowhere."

"I am afraid to go anywhere,"
Caper confessed.
"The last time I went to a tavern,
the men there almost destroyed me."

"Ah, you are plagued by demons,"
Beggar So said with a sage nod.
"You must not allow them to defeat you."
"I do not understand," said Caper.
"I see no demons here.
I thought they were superstitions."

"Demons are false beliefs,"
Beggar So said to Caper.
"There are four maras 
that lead the mind astray."

"Then a mara  is like ...
a virus?" Caper said,
trying to grasp the concept.

"Yes," said Beggar So.
"There is the mara  of death
which troubles you now.
It makes you fear loss of life.
There is no point in fearing
what is certain to occur!
You must not let that stop you
from living a mindful life."

Caper considered that
sitting on a bench was boring
compared to the excitement of a tavern.
"You are very wise," it said to Beggar So.

"Perhaps," said Beggar So.
"Next there is the mara  of emotion.
This demon rouses desire, anger,
and other restless feelings.
It attacks peace and drags the victim
away from the Dharma path."

Caper recalled how tempting
it had been to kill the commander
of the robots in the military,
instead of merely leaving him
unconscious in his bunk.
"These are fearsome demons,"
it said to Beggar So.

"They can be," he agreed.
"The mara  of aggregates
follows the mara  of emotion,
creating all kinds of suffering
through tainted phenomena.
If you give in to one,
the other then attacks with
the consequences of your actions."

"I am alarmed," said Caper,
"that demons use flanking movements."
"They are, as you said,
very fearsome demons,"
Beggar So pointed out.
"Yes," said Caper.

"The fourth demon is
the mara  of unawareness,"
said Beggar So.
"This one obscures energy
and makes the mind oblivious.
Only when we see
by the clear light can we
find our way on the right path."

"That sounds much like
a sensor malfunction," said Caper.
"It is very harmful because
good decisions require good data."

Beggar So clapped a hand
on Caper's metal shoulder and said,
"Now you too are becoming wise!
Come, let us leave these demons behind.
There is a tavern waiting for us,
and sorghum brandy that needs to be drunk."

So Caper put its feet on the path
and walked away from the four maras
to find the tavern promised by its master.

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3 comments or Leave a comment
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: November 7th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay Kung Fu Robot icon!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 7th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)


The icon is courtesy of djinni, although I added the text myself. Requests are closed for Icon Day 23 but the tip button is still there in case you want to show support in general. My latest request involved an icon for the Fledgling Grace series.
little_lynnet From: little_lynnet Date: September 6th, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh, I loved seeing Caper rephrase what Beggar So was telling it. <3
3 comments or Leave a comment