As Mara pauses to review some data on his desktop monitor there is a soft knock on the office door and another young ravishing goddess enters with a platter full of sweetmeats.

"Snack time!"

As Mara eyes her appreciatively, the secretary's eyes narrow. She snaps here fingers as the younger goddess leaves, causing her to grow a pair of donkey's ears.

Mara raises an elegant eyebrow. "My dear! I'm shocked and appalled."

"I hate the bitch."She hisses.

"Mmmm. Have one of these dainties, they're literally divine!"

Eighth Army
Malice and Obstinacy

My Eighth Army is the negative image of the First. Mara's hand writing with a quill
It is your duty to see to it that beings fall into the mental habits of aversion, ill-will, anger, hatred and spite.

The theory is elementary in our trade, but let us review it briefly. Whenever a being makes contact with a sense object, that is at each and every conscious moment, then an associated feeling arises. This feeling may be one of pleasure or displeasure, or so subtle as to be for all practical purposes neutral. These feelings are an extremely rudimentary level of mental life and are for the most part completely natural and automatic. The simplest beings could not maintain existence without a liking for good tasting food and a disliking for harmful conditions. These basic feelings are not of our doing; we can however use them to lure beings on to the next step.

In the case of happy feelings, the job is well left to the able ministrations of the First Army. It is your job to develop mental proliferation around the unhappy feelings. If the being in question is not mindfully aware of his own mental processes (and few of them are even marginally aware) then we can turn this simple unpleasant feeling into a whole complex of aversion and resentment. The raw feeling is a momentary thing of little significance, in and of itself, but oh! What fun we can have with it.

It is of course true that by developing these negative proliferations beings are adding completely unnecessary suffering to whatever unavoidable physical unpleasantness they may be enduring. This is their problem, not ours. We have a job to do.

A being engrossed in unhappiness or anger is unable to see things clearly. They cannot see their true situation and they cannot begin to work out the escape. There are many tricks we can use to encourage them in their delusions. One of the most amusing is "righteous" anger. Feed the negative mental proliferation by justifying it. "He hurt me, he robbed me, he threw me down and beat me!" This has the added twist of building up the ego image. We have made some excellent progress in this area lately, their popular psychology now praises the "empowering" aspect of such anger. Let it remain our little secret just who is empowered by this method.

A related syndrome is to encourage a victimized feeling. "Poor me" is a marvelous way to entrench the concept "me." All types of ill-will work by causing the being to understand the universe in reference to her own arbitrary ego position. They cannot begin to see clearly so long as they operate from such an assumption.

We have a wide spectrum of emotions to work with. There is the very mild and temporary flicker of aversion towards the driver ahead of you on the highway, who is taking too long to make a left turn. There is the smoldering resentment towards the inconsiderate boss at work. There is the bitter lifelong ethnic hatred that can enflame whole nations. All of these are grist for our mill. All of these are manifestations of the same thing.

They can even be made to feel ill-will towards inanimate objects; particularly their own creations. Nothing is more amusing than to see a human work himself into a frenzy of anger directed at some malfunctioning machinery. The senseless of it hardly deters them at all.

Obstinacy is the pig-headed refusal to change. This is a tendency many of them have to continue throwing good money after bad, in a manner of speaking. Once having invested some emotional energy in a grudge, it seems a defeat to let it go. Somewhat like admitting how foolish they've been all along, and that would never do.

Our position in this department is quite sound. As they multiply themselves upon the face of the earth, they crowd into each other more and more and get on each others' nerves. Nevertheless, we must be vigilant against the one credible antidote to ill-will. That is the emotion of universal loving-kindness. You shudder at the name, my minions, but name it I must. In the old Pali it is metta, to the Greeks it was called agape. This is the one force against which we cannot stand. So stop it before it is cultivated. Discredit it as weakness. This is becoming easy, as compassion is losing its stand amongst them. It has become quite unfashionable to pity the poor, for example. Little do they know that it requires real courage of spirit to practise universal goodwill. Luckily for us few of them possess the requisite mettle.

Should any of them begin to practise mental culture, as for example by meditating, then it is time to redouble our efforts, because here is one that might get away. I have touched upon this issue in my notes to some of the other armies, but in your specialty you have many opportunities to attack the meditator. Attack him through the body. It is inevitable that the effort to remain motionless will cause the squirmy little beggars some discomfort. It takes only a little prodding from us to turn this into aggravation or self-pity. The nuances are endless; it can take them a very long time to realize that whereas the bodily aspect of pain is inevitable, this mental self-torment is entirely superfluous. We can also encourage resentments against the teacher, the practice, the food, the weather and numerous other external factors. They can wallow in these petty miseries for hours and hours. Lets not let any of them get away!

Copyright © 1997 Arrow River Community Center

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