All beings need to
conquer their inner Maras –
including all outer Maras themselves!
Is Mara (the evil one) immortal? Well, as Mara is a heavenly demon with much good (positive) yet abused karma, he lives long, but will still die eventually to be reborn, while the ‘next better (i.e. most evil) player’ replaces him. Think of ‘Mara’ like a position – like ‘President’ and such. In any unenlightened world system with similar structures, Mara will be the most powerful evil being there. He leads his minions or followers (maras), also known as ‘sons and daughters of Mara’ in the Sixth Desire Heaven, of the Sphere Of Desire.
As Mara is powerful, can he manifest into other beings, such as a Buddha, to trick sentient beings? Yes he can, but for sincere practitioners, especially of mindfulness of Buddha (Nianfo), Mara and his minions cannot manifest as Buddhas to trick them – due to their more or less constant protective connection to the Buddha they are mindful of (e.g. Amituofo; Amitabha Buddha). In the midst of sincere Nianfo, Mara definitely cannot manifest as Buddha, and has to retreat or reveal his true identity. That said, Mara only disturbs very great practitioners while our immediate concern is our own inner Mara – of our own Three Poisons of greed, hatred and delusion.
Who will most likely encounter Mara? Those who totally neglect the precepts of morality are likely to meet and/or be ‘recruited’ to be one of Mara’s minions. See too this on how to avoid demonic obstacles: https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2015/06/how-to-be-free-from-demonic-obstacles How does one become a Mara? One might become Mara if one creates a lot of good karma but is still with much of the Three Poisons.
How can one with lots of good karma still have the poisons? For example, there are some born into rich and powerful families due to good karma from past lives, but they can abuse their wealth and power in this life due to Three Poisons still present or even growing. For instance, there are some tyrannical leaders, able to have power due to past good karma and some present efforts, but actively creating bad (negative) karma by abuse of power. Having good karma thus does not equate to having no poisons. We too, all have some good karma now, but we still have the Three Poisons to some extent too, since we are unenlightened.
What constitutes good karma? Good karma is the potential for happiness created by thoughts, words and deeds without the Three Poisons in the moment, though they might be latent then, in the background, thus resurfacing later. For example, we can do a selfless act or two in helping someone, but it does not mean we become pure totally and forever, since the Three Poisons are still simmering at the back of our minds. Karma is the moral law of cause and effect, of how good done begets happiness and evil done begets suffering. However, it is pure karma (merits; meritorious virtues) that we aim to create with compassion and wisdom, that is beyond cyclical rise and fall with alternating good and evil.
When all beings
conquer their inner Maras,
all outer Maras disappear!