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(skt.: mara; tib.: du) Literally it means murderer. The Tibetan word also means thick. Generally it represents the difficulties and delusions that distract practitioners from Dharma practice and cause suffering. Mara symbolizes the passions that overwhelm human beings as well as everything that hinders the arising of wholesome roots and progress on the path to enlightenment. It is also what Lord Shakyamuni Buddha overcame under the bodhi tree as he attained enlightenment.
There are four kinds of maras:
1. skandha mara, which is incorrect view of self
2. klesha mara, which is being overpowered by negative emotions
3. mrityu mara, which is death and interrupts spiritual practice
4. devaputra mara, which is becoming stuck in the bliss that comes from meditation (sometimes this is explained differently, in the sense that this kind of mara is godly mara of seduction)