Not Truly Evil

One who can become good
is not truly evil.

One who can become evil
is not truly good.

— Stonepeace | Get Books

(If even Mara can become a Buddha,
there is no true Mara-nature;
there is only true Buddha-nature.) 


  • *(If even Mara can become a Buddha,
    there is no true Mara-nature;
    there is only true Buddha-nature.)

    You’re saying it’s irreversible? Everything can only turn good? Pls check against your 1st statement.

  • It’s not stated that Buddhas can become maras. Buddhas can’t become maras because they ARE truly good. However, Mara can become truly good (Buddhas) since their evil is NOT true, as in everlasting – as they can change.


  • Everything is polarised. If there’s good there’s evil. If there’s a truly good there’s a truly evil.

  • Not true… We can become better and better
    till we are truly good (Buddhas)… while it is impossible to become worse and worse till there is totally no repentance, till one becomes pure and eternal evil Because of karma, even the most evil will realise it is not good to be not good.

  • I agree with Sam- if one holds onto an existence of ‘True’ good, there must be the opposite.
    We cannot name the right side of a stick without naming the left side as well.I can’t say I just want the right side not the left. If we label a ‘right’, there must also be a ‘left’.
    Likewise, if there’s a label ‘Good’, there is a label ‘Bad’

    Otherwise, the heart sutra which says-
    “…Likewise, there is no suffering, origin, cessation, or path; there is no wisdom, no attainment, and even no non-attainment… ” won’t make sense.

  • Of course there is good and bad as opposites, but who is ‘truly evil’ beyond redemption? Even Mara can become Buddha if he repents and practises the Dharma well. But a Buddha cannot backslide to be Mara. If backsliding is possible, there would be no point to become a Buddha. (Then again, even if there is backsliding, it is still better to become better continually, even if cyclically). Buddha-nature is eternal; ‘Mara-nature’ is impermanent.

    What the Heart Sutra says is that relative concepts are empty of substantiality. Becoming a Buddha is to realise the absolute; to be unbound by the relative, including good and evil. For convenience, we say the Buddhas have realised ultimate goodness. They are ‘truly good’. The more accurate term is that they have realised purity, that transcends worldly good and evil.

  • What you’re saying exists only in a perfect and ideal world. If the world is perfect, communism would’ve worked, since the ideology of communism is to work for the common good (see the similarity?). And yet, you do see people degenerate into what you termed ‘truly evil’ beyond redemption, and simply refuse to admit their faults and atrocity (no redemption here). So, we all realise that there is no perfect and ideal world is there? Humans are an unpredictable lot, of which ideologies and rules do not apply.

    I am not saying Buddhahood does not exist. It exists, yet the reverse also exists. There are people that enjoy doing good, likewise there will be people who do enjoy doing evil. The term ‘backsliding’, is applicable, but only to those that have not ‘attained’ the extreme polarity. If there is black, there is white; if there is light, there is darkness; if there is death, there is life. It is the ability to accept the world as it is, that is what is important.

  • There is a perfect and ideal world. It is called Pure Land, where there is no evil, where beings are either already enlightened or geared towards it without the possibility of backsliding.

    Communism cannot work in a world where beings are affected by the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion. Pure Land is a place without greed and hatred due to its blessings. The enlightened beings there have no delusion and the others’ delusion has no condition to arise, while wisdom is perfected.

    There is no ‘truly evil’ beings in any world. This is what the quote is saying – because even the very evil can repent and become enlightened in time. This is recognition of evil yet recognition of their potential to turn over a new leaf too. Everyone can work towards Buddhahood, while there is no such thing as an extreme opposite of ‘Condemned-hood’ (ie. beings who can never ever attain Buddhhood no matter what they do). Even the position of Mara is replaceable when ex-Maras change their ways.

    (The belief in the existence of absolute evil that deserves to burn in hell forever smells like Christian thinking. Buddhism does not subscribe to this.)

    Condemning anyone is not helpful in helping them realise their mistakes. There are people who enjoy doing evil – but only for so long – till negative karma ripens.

  • Good and evil are mutually exclusive. One is either good or evil. A good person is good and an evil person evil. There is no such thing as not truly good or not truly evil.

  • Good and evil in each moment is mutually exclusive. When we have an evil thought in the moment, we can’t have an good thought in the same moment. However, on a longer time scale, it is no so.

    Most people have a mix of good and evil in their lives. We wouldn’t say we are truly good or truly evil on the whole, would we? We are sometimes somewhat good and sometimes somewhat evil.

    Even Mara is not truly evil, as he has Buddha-nature and can become a Buddha when he repents and practises the Dharma. Meanwhile, the Buddhas are truly good, which is why they never backslide.

  • One of the most important aspects of the Buddhahood is the concept of Non-duality, good and evil do not exist. Buddhas are truly good because they are aware of it, awareness is irreversible.

  • Non-duality does not mean non-differentiation of good and evil. If this is so, there would be no need for the Buddhas to teach all beings to ‘avoid evil, do good’.

    Non-duality refers to the realisation that changing attributes of physical and mental phenomena are relative in nature, thus lacking lasting substantiality.

    Good and evil still exist in the moment for the good and evil doer, when there are wholesome and unwholesome intentions which create positive and negative karma. What the Buddhas realised is Buddha-nature, that is beyond change – purity. In that sense, it is non-dual.

  • something simple becoming confusing something confusing is actually simple, I believe there is nothing that truly evil and nothing that truly good

    just think about this, if Karma exist and punish a bad people or reward the good people than who assign Karma? I you can say the true being that can be said is truly good is God or nature? because it worked for the good and bad people

  • Is it true that nothing is truly evil? For instance, what about Hitler leading directly and indirectly 50 millions’ deaths? Of course, Hitler can still repent and change, but what is not evil about what he did?

    Is it true that nothing is truly good? For instance, what about the Buddha leading directly and indirectly to the enlightenment of many? What is not good about what he did?

    The Buddha defined evil as anything that arises from greed, hatred and delusion, and good as anything that arises from their opposites of generosity, loving-kindness/compassion and wisdom.

    Karma doesn’t exist to do this or that, because it is a natural law without will – just like gravity for instance. We don’t say gravity is assigned by anyone. It is naturally there for everyone; not unnaturally or supernaturally there only for some. Karma is natural because it operates like gravity for all. Just as gravity doesn’t differentiate good or bad people, karma doesn’t either. It is a law however, that evil deeds lead to suffering and good deeds lead to happiness.

    There is no God. If there is a God that is truly good, why would he create say, Hitler? Even if Hitler chose his own path, why did God let him harm so many?

    Based on the thinking that there ‘must’ be an assigner, if there is a God assigned to assign karma, there is the question of who assigned God. If he needs no assigner, it is simpler to say nature is naturally there, with karma as one of nature’s laws, with no assigner needed.

    ‘Something simple becoming confusing, something confusing is actually simple.’

  • What is truly good? what can 1 man truly do? Buddha born because of people need him, people are longing to lost from their sorrow where many things happen back in India and illogical practice still happen, the time of that kind of need push people or you on your side a law

    for the Hitler, it is interesting but i believe back then some people see him as a hero, the bad memory of the childhood drive him becoming a genocide, but see it if you are in German where there are no allies and money is used to be burn to heat up your body what other choice do you have unless die or take arms and fight, i think German economy at that time is beyond repair adding that they must to pay all the casualties of ally have some people say he is a divine messenger some say a true evil

    About the God, let think about gravity, gravity exist because of the mass and the mass is practically something insignificant and basic, that we do not know what is it come from, if you say that the world exist as today, scientifically speaking you are wrong there always chain reaction like you can not have car because car is there in the first place

    we must admit there is some higher being that try to balance things out you say evil, there might some one say a salvation.

    so let us think that God which is higher being exist and he created all things for the greater purpose, we must admit that there will be no high tech like internet without war because internet is being developed (not created) by military

  • Here is not the best place to postulate the existence of God. Before further commenting, please see these articles on the God idea:

    Did the Universe Have a Creator?
    Can a Creator God be ‘Created’?
    The Bird that Flew Too Far

    Are Buddhists Atheists?
    How Were the First Humans ‘Created’?
    Is the Buddha Just a Man?

    Creation of Evolution?
    How Even the Gods May Fall
    The Middle Path Between Nihilism & Eternalism

    The truly good is that which leads not to any suffering at all and only to True Happiness.

    What can 1 man truly do? A lot. Say, lead to the deaths of 50 million for example, or guide millions towards happiness.

    For Hitler, it is interesting but I believe back then, some 50 million who suffered and died due to him one way or another saw him as a villain. The question is upon hindsight, is he heroic or villainous. No one is his or her right mind will say it is the first. Remember – 50 million.

    Mass and energy are the same – interchangeable states in cycles of change. Mass is not practically insignificant as it is energy… great energy. Think A-bomb for instance. The world is not always the way it is – it is in constant flux. If mass and energy change is cyclic, it is a self-contained cycle. No need to postulate anything external to create the cycle, just as no external agent is needed to create the self-contained water cycle. Why no God is needed, by Hawkings: http://tinyurl.com/nogodneeded

    There is not just chain reactions in the universe, but webs of change and on a cosmic level, cycles of change such as the Big Bang and Big Crunch, which the Buddhist teachings are agreeable to.

    The idea that there must be a higher being, whom you should be referring to a an almighty good creator God who tries to ‘balance things out you say evil’ doesn’t make sense because where was this being when the 50 million died? By ‘balance’, it would mean that for every act of good in the universe, God ensures there is a balancing act of evil. If so, how can God be almightily good if he is half evil? There is no need to balance good and evil. We require more goodness always.

    On the idea that there is a God who created all things for a greater purpose, why did he create the universe? Why did he create suffering? Why did he create hell? Why did he create Hitler? Why does he create many who starve to death in poor countries daily? Since there is not a trace of a good reason, that there is such a good creator god is not true.

    That the internet was created partly for military purposes does not mean war is good or necessary. Many still use the internet for evil. The internet is up to us to use wisely.

  • I am amaze how the people love to argue and people love to think, i am not a thinking type people, thou I love that people like you guys help us to discover a new way to think and see the other way

    there will not always be a cycle, the heaven where there no mara or sin is exist, thou i can not tell you where is it because i never been there, only by the faith i know,

    if one people can make such a huge difference like killing or such that (though in my point of view even Hitler is not born there will be another one like him) every one of us who write and follow this thread are capable to do such thing right?

    I am not talking about hitler but let see to the positive side if every people capable to safe at least 2 people who you mention above starving, homeless, poor I will bow and give you guys respect

    Thou God do not need us we need him, how many times the community is safe because of the faith, still i believe the existence of the higher being, i pray you might encounter one ^^(smiley face)

    anyway i do not to defend Him or change your point of view because i can’t and incapable to do that he is higher than me so only him can do that

    ps: i love this forum

  • 1. If there is one, name a cycle that has ended. In Buddhism, the cycle of life and death is broken by attainment of enlightenment. Even so, enlightened beings, having great compassion, return to guide beings to enlightenment.

    2. In Buddhist cosmology, Mara resides in a heavenly plane. Mara is a godly being who did good in the past, but now does evil due to his lack of wisdom. This is different from the Christian concept of the devil being cast into hell yet being powerful enough to disturb humankind.

    3. In Buddhist teachings, there is no mention of ‘sin’ – as something done that displeases someone. There are only wholesome and unwholesome actions, that lead to happiness or suffering.

    4. Saying there will be a Hitler-like person even if Hitler didn’t do what he did begs the same old question of why, if there is an almighty and good God, did he not prevent this. If there is an almighty and good God, if he could not even NOT create Hitler, how can he save anyone?

    5. There are countless enlightened beings with perfect compassion and wisdom in Buddhism. They are Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

    6. For a concise comparison of Buddhist and Christian perspectives, please see http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/beyond-belief02.pdf You will then understand why Buddhists will never subscribe to belief in God. And do read the articles in the many other links above too.

  • Buddha and Mara are actually two sides of the same coin. Both states are empty.
    The propensity to do evil is latent in all of us. That is why Buddhism always advocates self-restriant and mindfulness.

  • I can’t help but wonder:

    If Mara can become a Buddha eventually, he would have had to take a longer time than most would as he would have to go through countless difficulties caused by beings who used to think and act like he did – destroy the spiritual progress of any weak-willed practitioner.

    If Buddhas from the ten directions could somehow allow Maras from different eras to behave the way they do until they decide to finally repent for good, can we also say that it is somehow bordering on condoning?

    I also recall that some Venerables and fellow practitioners advocate viewing people who trouble or harm us maliciously to be Bodhisattvas in disguise and to accord them the highest gratitude in terms of spurring us to become stronger in our spiritual journey – to achieve Buddhahood faster so to speak.

    All this sounds very logical, very positive-looking, but has anyone also considered that this is also somehow akin to contributing indirectly to the process of creating future Maras, creating people who are emboldened to do more evil since the people they harm get stronger and stronger emotionally and spritually but hardly being affected negatively at all at the same time…

    It’s like an indirect invitation ‘please come to harm me as often as and in any way you like’ for it will spur me to achieve greater spiritual heights and eventually Buddhahood in the shortest time possible.

    This feels like adding fuel to the process of encouraging those who perversely enjoy seeing others suffer and beg for mercy, but will give none ultimately, to increase their degree of cruelty in more creative ways.

    Is this really wisdom and compassion at work when we seem to be achieving great or small progress in attaining Buddhahood but passively ‘allowing’ such people to accumulate very negative karma at their own end? We say we leave it to their own free-will, we leave it to the so-called affinity and karma…

  • Evil should be discouraged at all levels. Even if they are stubborn, they should be warned skilfully. If they are truly stubborn, the ball is in their court to change.

    When maras observe Buddhas in order to sabotage them, they are stubborn in not learning the Dharma from the Buddha’s conduct and teachings, while the Buddha is effectively teaching them every time they come in contact. May less and less beings be stubborn, and swiftl practise the Dharma before this life runs out, which can be sudden.

  • Evil people will not viewed themselves as evil. They think highly of themselves as cultivated and enlightened beings and others as imperfect and evil till they find themselves alone. Nobody wants to be their friends, workers or family members.

  • Damn evil lady always compare with me who chant more sutras. Always afraid that I will win her. Jealous that i lead a better and happier life than her. Best friend, my foot!

  • May we have compassion and wisdom to guide the evil to be good.

    When we condemn others to be evil (and/or without hope for change), we are forgetting the Buddha’s teaching that all beings have Buddha-nature, that we should encourage one another to awaken to it.

    The number of times sutras are chanted does not equate to better lives if the teachings are not practised – e.g. by dissolving hatred and jealousy. Amituofo

  • When she was at the lowest point in her life, I taught her to chant sutras and saved her from depression/suicide. She was eternally grateful to me. Now she keeps backstabbing me because she is so jealous of me. I ignored her and she almost teared and apologise sincerely. I forgave her. I realised she just backstab me again, no way i can ever forgive her. Our sworn sister relationship is over. I hope she understand we should chant our sutras respectively ie. she chant her own and I chant my own. Dont talk rubbish to me like i cannot chant this and that sutras because i dont understand 100% and dont act like a saint because she can pay loads of money to print many sutras but give peanuts to her parents, treating them like beggars.

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