Michael Nichols

Jun 17, 2021

Malleable Mara

Transformations of a Buddhist Symbol of Evil

SUNY Press 2020

Michael Nichols's Malleable Mara: Transformations of a Buddhist Symbol of Evil (SUNY Press, 2020) is the first book to examine the development of the figure of Māra, who appears across Buddhist traditions as a personification of death and desire. Portrayed as a combination of god and demon, Māra serves as a key antagonist to the Buddha, his followers, and Buddhist teaching in general. From ancient India to later Buddhist thought in East Asia to more recent representations in Western culture and media, Māra has been used to satirize Hindu divinities, taken the form of wrathful Tibetan gods, communicated psychoanalytic tropes, and appeared as a villain in episodes of Doctor Who.

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