First Army
The Host of Sense- Desires

You well deserve the honour of being my beloved First Host.Mara's hand writing with a quill
In most cases your work alone is enough to keep beings in line. Your Five Divisions assault our victims with all the enchantments of sensory pleasure. Beings spend their lives coming to you. Your sacrificial victims come to the altar willingly, even eagerly.

But this is no reason to slacken in your efforts. There is always the danger that they will begin to see, let us be perfectly frank amongst ourselves, the shoddy nature of the goods. We know that sense pleasures are entirely unsatisfactory and illusory. In spite of all our inventiveness we have never come up with any pleasure that is completely satisfying, lasting or substantial. Fortunately the vast majority of humans don't realize this. The foolish little beggars all seem to imagine that only the pleasures they've had so far are like this; somewhere somehow they will find the magic trinket that will let them live happily ever after.

I know this sounds preposterous but most humans don't think these things through very carefully. They like what feels good and never mind the consequences. The only trick for us is to keep them diverted and entertained. We must keep coming up with new enticements as the old ones become tired. Although we have a few tried and true standards; sex and food primarily -- even here we need to keep coming up with new variations and twists.

So far my army you've been doing the job marvelously! Take sex for example, this has been our weapon of choice for about a billion years now. For a simple biological function it does allow for a great deal of creative possibilities. What a wonderful swindle it all is! All the weird and wonderful variations they get themselves so frenzied about all reduce to some tricky wiring and a simple bit of friction. In one sense it isn't sex itself that keeps us in business but all the peripheral things that go with it; all the expectations and preliminaries, all the accessories and emotional baggage. Fortunately there's enough of this stuff to keep most of them going for a lifetime; and one lifetime at a time is all we need to concern ourselves with. They'll keep coming back for more of the same.

Lately I must say we have been succeeding wonderfully in this area. Technology is such an asset. As soon as they got the daguerreotype working they were pointing it at naked women and of course now we have colour photography, cinema and video. Tantalizing images are easier and easier to come by. Recently they've been distributing all this stuff on the Internet, so they don't even have to go anywhere to find it. (Perhaps I ought to get a web page -- no it would only be redundant.)

Technology itself is largely a product of sensual desire; beings create devices to make the acquisition of sensual pleasures easier or to avoid the occurrence of sensory discomfort. This drives their whole economy and keeps them busy all their brief lives. They want, indeed they imagine they need, a car, a stereo, a computer and then a newer car, a newer stereo, etc. We must keep them in a state of desire for all these devices -- the more they work the less time they will have for reflection.

The teachings of our Great Adversary are the only serious obstacle to this project. He has pointed out to them again and again the dangers inherent in sensual desire. However we have, over the centuries, succeeded so well in muddling up this truth with various bogus teachings that it is becoming harder and harder for them to find the real Dharma. There are plenty of so-called "teachers" among them who are willing to speak our line in his name. Not merely soft-pedaling the idea of renunciation but proudly announcing that the "passions themselves are enlightenment." Of course there are plenty of fish who like the taste of that bait!

If they do start to reflect or worse to practise renunciation and meditation then we mustn't give up. They are then getting dangerously close to finding a way out of our power. Once they discover that their true happiness is not based on our trickery then they may escape. We must use all the resources at our disposal to distract them. Although they may be sitting quietly their minds are still easily distracted for a long time. Fantasy is a great thing, especially as the mind with a bit of concentration can powerfully visualize and hold an object, even an unwholesome object. The thing we must not let them do is to contemplate the real nature of the body. You would think that any being of even moderate intelligence could see the inherently foul and unstable nature of those meat-machines they drag around. After all, they have to be constantly washing and perfuming the stinking things just to bear being in each other's company! But they don't see that and don't want to see it. We merely have to keep them looking at their bodies in a highly selective way, emphasizing those largely visual characteristics identified as "beautiful." It's an easy enough trick.

And don't forget to whisper all the current buzz that keeps them from doing body-meditations. You know what I mean, meditation on the unlovely is "life-denying, uptight, repressive." It's easy enough to convince them because it's what they want to hear. Keep them imagining they can have their cake and eat it too and then we can stop worrying. Let them meditate all they want -- as long as they think they don't have to let anything go, we're still in control.

Copyright © 1997 Arrow River Community Center

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