Whether this is the first time you’ve been formally introduced to Mara, the truth is the two of you are already quite familiar with one another. In fact, it’s likely Mara knows you better than you know yourself. Especially if you’re an addict like me.
There are literal and metaphorical interpretations of Mara dating back thousands of years. In Hindu mythology, Mara is the God of Death. In Buddhism, if one were to accept the literal interpretation found in certain texts, Mara is the demon who tried tempting the Buddha with women as a means to prevent him from reaching the mental state of enlightenment. In case you’re not familiar with how that story ends; Mara failed, as the Buddha cockblocked himself and chose the path of enlightenment.
However, as it pertains to this site, Mara should be interpreted as the metaphorical embodiment of all unskillful emotions, such as fear, greed, hate, jealousy, delusion, etc. Note that this definition specifies “unskillful” emotions, not necessarily “unpleasant” emotions. As humans, life cannot be entirely pleasurable. We experience pains and that are inherent to the human condition. The “unskillful” emotions are those rooted in clinging or aversion, both of which lead to suffering due to the impermanent nature of everything. We cling, the pleasure ends, we suffer.
Mara fuels the cravings of addiction. In order to overcome these cravings, we must be able to identify Mara in our lives, greet it with compassion and allow it to pass. Hence the name Hello, Mara.