Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 5. Bhikkhunīsaṃyutta: Connected Discourses with Bhikkhunīs

1 Āḷavikā
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.
    Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Āḷavikā dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Sāvatthī for alms. When she had walked for alms in Sāvatthī and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Blind Men’s Grove seeking seclusion.
    Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhunī Āḷavikā, desiring to make her fall away from seclusion, approached her and addressed her in verse:

519 “There is no escape in the world,
      So what will you do with seclusion?
      Enjoy the delights of sensual pleasure:
      Don’t be remorseful later!”

Then it occurred to the bhikkhunī Āḷavikā: “Now who is it that recited the verse—a human being or a nonhuman being?” Then <282> it occurred to her: “This is Māra the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from seclusion.”
    Then the bhikkhunī Āḷavikā, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

520 “There is an escape in the world
      Which I have closely touched with wisdom.
      O Evil One, kinsman of the negligent,
      You do not know that state.

521 “Sensual pleasures are like swords and stakes;
      The aggregates like their chopping block.
      What you call sensual delight
      Has become for me nondelight.” [129]

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhunī Āḷavikā knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there. <283>

2 Somā
At Sāvatthī. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Somā dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Sāvatthī for alms. When she had walked for alms in Sāvatthī and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Blind Men’s Grove for the day’s abiding. Having plunged into the Blind Men’s Grove, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.
    Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhunī Somā, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

522 “That state so hard to achieve
      Which is to be attained by the seers,
      Can’t be attained by a woman
      With her two-fingered wisdom.”

Then it occurred to the bhikkhunī Somā: “Now who is this that recited the verse—a human being or a nonhuman being?” Then it occurred to her: “This is Māra the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from concentration.”
    Then the bhikkhunī Somā, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” replied to him in verses: <284>

523 “What does womanhood matter at all
      When the mind is concentrated well,
      When knowledge flows on steadily
      As one sees correctly into Dhamma.

524 “One to whom it might occur,
      ‘I’m a woman’ or ‘I’m a man’
      Or ‘I’m anything at all’—
      Is fit for Māra to address.”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhunī Somā knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

3 Gotamī
At Sāvatthī. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Kisāgotamī dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Sāvatthī for alms. When she had walked for alms in Sāvatthī and had returned from her alms round, [130] after her meal she went to the Blind Men’s Grove for the day’s abiding. Having plunged into the Blind Men’s Grove, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding. <285>
    Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhunī Kisāgotamī, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

525 “Why now, when your son is dead,
      Do you sit alone with tearful face?
      Having entered the woods all alone,
      Are you on the lookout for a man?”

Then it occurred to the bhikkhunī Kisāgotamī: “Now who is this that recited the verse—a human being or a nonhuman being?” Then it occurred to her: “This is Māra the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from concentration.”
    Then the bhikkhunī Kisāgotamī, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

526 “I’ve gotten past the death of sons;
      With this, the search for men has ended.
      I do not sorrow, I do not weep,
      Nor do I fear you, friend.

527 “Delight everywhere has been destroyed,
      The mass of darkness has been sundered. <286>
      Having conquered the army of Death,
      I dwell without defiling taints.”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhunī Kisāgotamī knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

4 Vijayā
At Sāvatthī. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Vijayā dressed … she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.
    Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhunī Vijayā, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse: [131]

528 “You are so young and beautiful,
      And I too am a youth in my prime.
      Come, noble lady, let us rejoice
      With the music of a fivefold ensemble.”

Then it occurred to the bhikkhunī Vijayā: “Now who is this…? This is Māra the Evil One … desiring to make me fall away from concentration.” <287>
    Then the bhikkhunī Vijayā, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

529 “Forms, sounds, tastes, odours,
      And delightful tactile objects—
      I offer them right back to you,
      For I, O Māra, do not need them.

530 “I am repelled and humiliated
      By this foul, putrid body,
      Subject to break up, fragile:
      I’ve uprooted sensual craving.

531 “As to those beings who fare amidst form,
      And those who abide in the formless,
      And those peaceful attainments too:
      Everywhere darkness has been destroyed.”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing “The bhikkhunī Vijayā knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

5 Uppalavaṇṇā
<288> At Sāvatthī. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Uppalavaṇṇā dressed … she stood at the foot of a sal tree in full flower.
    Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhunī Uppalavaṇṇā, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

532 “Having gone to a sal tree with flowering top,
      You stand at its foot all alone, bhikkhunī.
      There is none whose beauty rivals yours:
      Foolish girl, aren’t you afraid of rogues?”

Then it occurred to the bhikkhunī Uppalavaṇṇā: [132] “Now who is this…? This is Māra the Evil One … desiring to make me fall away from concentration.” <289>
    Then the bhikkhunī Uppalavaṇṇā, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

533 “Though a hundred thousand rogues
      Just like you might come here,
      I stir not a hair, I feel no terror;
      Even alone, Māra, I don’t fear you.

534 “I can make myself disappear
      Or I can enter inside your belly.
      I can stand between your eyebrows
      Yet you won’t catch a glimpse of me.

535 “I am the master of my mind,
      The bases of power are well developed;
      I am freed from all bondage,
      Therefore I don’t fear you, friend.” <290>

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhunī Uppalavaṇṇā knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

6 Cālā
At Sāvatthī. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Cālā dressed … she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the bhikkhunī Cālā and said to her: “What don’t you approve of, bhikkhunī?”
    “I don’t approve of birth, friend.”

536 “Why don’t you approve of birth?
      Once born, one enjoys sensual pleasures.
      Who now has persuaded you of this:
      ‘Bhikkhunī, don’t approve of birth’?”

[The bhikkhunī Cālā:]

537 “For one who is born there is death;
      Once born, one encounters sufferings—
      Bondage, murder, affliction—
      Hence one shouldn’t approve of birth.

538 “The Buddha has taught the Dhamma, <291>
      The transcendence of birth;
      For the abandoning of all suffering
      He has settled me in the truth. [133]

539 “As to those beings who fare amidst form,
      And those who abide in the formless—
      Not having understood cessation,
      They come again to renewed existence.”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhunī Cālā knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

7 Upacālā
At Sāvatthī. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Upacālā dressed … she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the bhikkhunī Upacālā and said to her: “Where do you wish to be reborn, bhikkhunī?”
    “I do not wish to be reborn anywhere, friend.”

540 “There are Tāvatiṃsa and Yāma devas,
      And devatās of the Tusita realm,
      Devas who take delight in creating, <292>
      And devas who exercise control.
      Direct your mind there [to those realms]
      And you’ll experience delight.”

[The bhikkhunī Upacālā:]

541 “There are Tāvatiṃsa and Yāma devas,
      And devatās of the Tusita realm,
      Devas who take delight in creating,
      And devas who exercise control.
      They are still bound by sensual bondage,
      They come again under Māra’s control.    

542 “All the world is on fire,
      All the world is burning,
      All the world is ablaze,
      All the world is quaking.

543 “That which does not quake or blaze,
      That to which worldlings do not resort,
      Where there is no place for Māra:
      That is where my mind delights.”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhunī Upacālā knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

8 Sīsupacālā
<293> At Sāvatthī. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Sīsupacālā dressed … she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the bhikkhunī Sīsupacālā and said to her: “Whose creed do you approve of, bhikkhunī?”
    “I don’t approve of anyone’s creed, friend.”

544 “Under whom have you shaved your head?
      You do appear to be an ascetic,
      Yet you don’t approve of any creed,
      So why wander as if bewildered?”

[The bhikkhunī Sīsupacālā:]

545 “Outside here the followers of creeds
      Place their confidence in views.
      I don’t approve of their teachings;
      They are not skilled in the Dhamma. [134]

546 “But there’s one born in the Sakyan clan,
      The Enlightened One, without an equal, <294>
      Conqueror of all, Māra’s subduer,
      Who everywhere is undefeated,
      Everywhere freed and unattached,
      The One with Vision who sees all.

547 “Attained to the end of all kamma,
      Liberated in the extinction of acquisitions,
      That Blessed One is my Teacher:
      His is the teaching I approve.”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhunī Sīsupacālā knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

9 Selā
At Sāvatthī. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Selā dressed … she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.
    Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhunī Selā, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

548 “By whom has this puppet been created?
      Where is the maker of the puppet?
      Where has the puppet arisen?
      Where does the puppet cease?” <295>

Then it occurred to the bhikkhunī Selā: “Now who is this…? This is Māra the Evil One … desiring to make me fall away from concentration.”
    Then the bhikkhunī Selā, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

549 “This puppet is not made by itself,
      Nor is this misery made by another.
      It has come to be dependent on a cause;
      With the cause’s breakup it will cease.

550 “As when a seed is sown in a field
      It grows depending on a pair of factors:
      It requires both the soil’s nutrients
      And a steady supply of moisture:

551 “Just so the aggregates and elements,
      And these six bases of sensory contact,
      Have come to be dependent on a cause;
      With the cause’s breakup they will cease.”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhunī Selā knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

10 Vajirā
<296> At Sāvatthī. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhunī Vajirā dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Sāvatthī for alms. When she had walked for alms in Sāvatthī [135] and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Blind Men’s Grove for the day’s abiding. Having plunged into the Blind Men’s Grove, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.
    Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhunī Vajirā, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

552 “By whom has this being been created?
      Where is the maker of the being?
      Where has the being arisen?
      Where does the being cease?”

Then it occurred to the bhikkhunī Vajirā: “Now who is this that recited the verse—a human being or a nonhuman being?” Then it occurred to her: “This is Māra the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from concentration.”
    Then the bhikkhunī Vajirā, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

553 “Why now do you assume ‘a being’?
      Māra, is that your speculative view? <297>
      This is a heap of sheer formations:
      Here no being is found.

554 “Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
      The word ‘chariot’ is used,
      So, when the aggregates exist,
      There is the convention ‘a being.’

555 “It’s only suffering that comes to be,
      Suffering that stands and falls away.
      Nothing but suffering comes to be,
      Nothing but suffering ceases.”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhunī Vajirā knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.
 

How to cite this document:
© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

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