The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 4. Mārasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses with Māra

II. The Second Subchapter (Rulership)

11 (1) The Boulder
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha on Mount Vulture Peak. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was sitting out in the open in the thick darkness of the night while it was drizzling. <244> Then Māra the Evil One, wishing to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the Blessed One, shattered a number of huge boulders not far away from him.
    Then the Blessed One, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” addressed Māra the Evil One in verse:

467 “Even if you make this Vulture Peak
      Quake all over in its entirety,
      The enlightened are not perturbed,
      For they are are fully liberated.”

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

12 (2) Lion
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was teaching the Dhamma while surrounded by a large assembly. [110]
    Then it occurred to Māra the Evil One: “This ascetic Gotama is teaching the Dhamma while surrounded by a large assembly. <245> Let me approach the ascetic Gotama in order to confound them.”
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

468 “Why now do you roar like a lion,
      Confident in the assembly?
      For there is one who’s a match for you,
      So why think yourself the victor?”

[The Blessed One:]

469 “The great heroes roar their lion’s roar
      Confident in the assemblies—
      The Tathāgatas endowed with the powers
      Have crossed over attachment to the world.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

13 (3) The Splinter
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Maddakucchi Deer Park. Now on that occasion the Blessed One’s foot had been cut by a stone splinter. Severe pains assailed the Blessed One—bodily feelings that were painful, racking, <246> sharp, piercing, harrowing, disagreeable. But the Blessed One endured them, mindful and clearly comprehending, without becoming distressed. Then the Blessed One had his outer robe folded in four, and he lay down on his right side in the lion posture with one leg overlapping the other, mindful and clearly comprehending.
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

470 “Do you lie down in a daze or drunk on poetry?
      Don’t you have sufficient goals to meet?
      Alone in a secluded lodging
      Why do you sleep with a drowsy face?”

[The Blessed One:]

471 “I do not lie in a daze or drunk on poetry;
      Having reached the goal, I am rid of sorrow.
      Alone in a secluded lodging
      I lie down full of compassion for all beings.

472 “Even those with a dart stuck in the breast <247>
      Piercing their heart moment by moment—
      Even these here, stricken, get to sleep; [111]
      So why should I not get to sleep
      When my dart has been drawn out?

473 “I do not lie awake in dread,
      Nor am I afraid to sleep.
      The nights and days do not afflict me,
      I see for myself no decline in the world.
      Therefore I can sleep in peace,
      Full of compassion for all beings.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

14 (4) Suitable
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Kosalans at the brahmin village of Ekasālā. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was teaching the Dhamma surrounded by a large assembly of laypeople.
    Then it occurred to Māra the Evil One: “This ascetic Gotama is teaching the Dhamma while surrounded by a large assembly of laypeople. <248> Let me approach the ascetic Gotama in order to confound them.”
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

474 “This is not suitable for you,
      That you instruct others.
      When so engaged don’t get caught
      In attraction and repulsion.”

[The Blessed One:]

475 “Compassionate for their welfare,
      The Buddha instructs others.
      The Tathāgata is fully released
      From attraction and repulsion.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

15 (5) Mental
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

476 “There is a snare moving in the sky, <249>
      Something mental which moves about
      By means of which I’ll catch you yet:
      You won’t escape me, ascetic!”

[The Blessed One:]

477 “Forms, sounds, tastes, odours,
      And delightful tactile objects—
      Desire for these has vanished in me:
      You’re defeated, End-maker!”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there. [112]

16 (6) Almsbowls
At Sāvatthī. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was instructing, exhorting, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk concerning the five aggregates subject to clinging. And those bhikkhus were listening to the Dhamma with eager ears, attending to it as a matter of vital concern, applying their whole minds to it.
    Then it occurred to Māra the Evil One: “This ascetic Gotama is instructing, exhorting, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus … <250> who are applying their whole minds to it. Let me approach the ascetic Gotama in order to confound them.”
    Now on that occasion a number of almsbowls had been put out in the open. Then Māra the Evil One manifested himself in the form of an ox and approached those almsbowls. Then one bhikkhu said to another: “Bhikkhu, bhikkhu! That ox may break the almsbowls.” When this was said, the Blessed One said to that bhikkhu: “That is not an ox, bhikkhu. That is Māra the Evil One, who has come here in order to confound you.”
    Then the Blessed One, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” addressed Māra the Evil One in verses:

478 “Form, feeling, and perception,
      Consciousness, and formations—
      ‘I am not this, this isn’t mine,’
      Thus one is detached from it.

479 “Though they seek him everywhere,
      Māra and his army do not find him:
      The one thus detached, secure,
      Who has gone beyond all fetters.” <251>

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

17 (7) Six Bases for Contact
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Vesālī in the Great Wood in the Hall with the Peaked Roof. [113] Now on that occasion the Blessed One was instructing, exhorting, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk concerning the six bases for contact. And those bhikkhus were listening to the Dhamma with eager ears, attending to it as a matter of vital concern, applying their whole minds to it.
    Then it occurred to Māra the Evil One: “This ascetic Gotama is instructing, exhorting, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus … who are applying their whole minds to it. Let me approach the ascetic Gotama in order to confound them.”
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and, not far from him, made a loud noise, frightful and terrifying, as though the earth were splitting open. Then one bhikkhu said to another: “Bhikkhu, bhikkhu! It seems as though the earth is splitting open.” When this was said, the Blessed One said to that bhikkhu: <252> “The earth is not splitting open, bhikkhu. That is Māra the Evil One, who has come here in order to confound you.”
    Then the Blessed One, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” addressed Māra the Evil One in verses:

480 “Forms, sounds, tastes, odours,
      Tactiles, and all mental objects:
      This is the terrible bait of the world
      With which the world is infatuated.

481 “But when he has transcended this,
      The mindful disciple of the Buddha
      Shines radiantly like the sun,
      Having surmounted Māra’s realm.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

18 (8) Alms
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Magadhans at the brahmin village of Pañcasālā. [114] Now on that occasion the gift-festival of the young people was being held at the brahmin village of Pañcasālā. <253> Then, in the morning, the Blessed One dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Pañcasālā for alms. Now on that occasion Māra the Evil One had taken possession of the brahmin householders of Pañcasālā, [inciting in them the thought,] “Don’t let the ascetic Gotama get alms.”
    Then the Blessed One left Pañcasālā with his bowl just as cleanly washed as it was when he entered it for alms. Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and said to him: “Maybe you got alms, ascetic?”
    “Was it you, Evil One, who saw to it that I didn’t get alms?”
    “Then, venerable sir, let the Blessed One enter Pañcasālā a second time for alms. I will see to it that the Blessed One gets alms.”

[The Blessed One:]

482 “You have produced demerit, Māra,
      Having assailed the Tathāgata.
      Do you really think, O Evil One, <254>
      ‘My evil does not ripen’?

483 “Happily indeed we live,
      We who own nothing at all.
      We shall dwell feeding on rapture
      Like the devas of Streaming Radiance.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

19 (9) The Farmer
At Sāvatthī. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was instructing, exhorting, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk concerning Nibbāna. And those bhikkhus were listening to the Dhamma with eager ears, attending to it as a matter of vital concern, applying their whole minds to it. [115]
    Then it occurred to Māra the Evil One: “This ascetic Gotama is instructing, exhorting, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus … who are applying their whole minds to it. Let me approach the ascetic Gotama in order to confound them.” Then Māra the Evil One manifested himself in the form of a farmer, carrying a large plough on his shoulder, <255> holding a long goad stick, his hair dishevelled, wearing hempen garments, his feet smeared with mud. He approached the Blessed One and said to him: “Maybe you’ve seen oxen, ascetic?”
    “What are oxen to you, Evil One?”
    “The eye is mine, ascetic, forms are mine, eye-contact and its base of consciousness are mine. Where can you go, ascetic, to escape from me? The ear is mine, ascetic, sounds are mine … The nose is mine, ascetic, odours are mine … The tongue is mine, ascetic, tastes are mine … The body is mine, ascetic, tactile objects are mine … The mind is mine, ascetic, mental phenomena are mine, mind-contact and its base of consciousness are mine. Where can you go, ascetic, to escape from me?”
    “The eye is yours, Evil One, forms are yours, eye-contact and its base of consciousness are yours; but, Evil One, where there is no eye, no forms, no eye-contact <256> and its base of consciousness—there is no place for you there, Evil One. The ear is yours, Evil One, sounds are yours, ear-contact and its base of consciousness are yours; but, Evil One, where there is no ear, no sounds, no ear-contact and its base of consciousness—there is no place for you there, Evil One. The nose is yours, Evil One, odours are yours, nose-contact and its base of consciousness are yours; but, Evil One, where there is no nose, no odours, no nose-contact and its base of consciousness—there is no place for you there, Evil One. [116] The tongue is yours, Evil One, tastes are yours, tongue-contact and its base of consciousness are yours; but, Evil One, where there is no tongue, no tastes, no tongue-contact and its base of consciousness—there is no place for you there, Evil One. The body is yours, Evil One, tactile objects are yours, body-contact and its base of consciousness are yours; but, Evil One, where there is no body, no tactile objects, no body-contact and its base of consciousness—there is no place for you there, Evil One. The mind is yours, Evil One, mental phenomena are yours, mind-contact and its base of consciousness are yours; but, Evil One, where there is no mind, no mental phenomena, no mind-contact and its base of consciousness—there is no place for you there, Evil One.”

[Māra:]

484 “That of which they say ‘It’s mine,’
      And those who speak in terms of ‘mine’—
      If your mind exists among these,
      You won’t escape me, ascetic.”

[The Blessed One:]

485 “That which they speak of is not mine,
      I’m not one of those who speak [of mine].
      You should know thus, O Evil One:
      Even my path you will not see.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there. <257>

20 (10) Rulership
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Kosalans in a small forest hut in the Himalayan region. Then, when the Blessed One was alone in seclusion, a reflection arose in his mind thus: “Is it possible to exercise rulership righteously: without killing and without instigating others to kill, without confiscating and without instigating others to confiscate, without sorrowing and without causing sorrow?”
    Then Māra the Evil One, having known with his own mind the reflection in the Blessed One’s mind, approached the Blessed One and said to him: “Venerable sir, let the Blessed One exercise rulership righteously: without killing and without instigating others to kill, without confiscating and without instigating others to confiscate, without sorrowing and without instigating others to cause sorrow.”
    “But what do you see, Evil One, that you speak thus to me?” <258>
    “Venerable sir, the Blessed One has developed and cultivated the four bases for spiritual power, made them a vehicle, made them a basis, stabilized them, exercised himself in them, and fully perfected them. And, venerable sir, if the Blessed One wishes, he need only resolve that the Himalayas, the king of mountains, should become gold, and it would turn to gold.” [117]

[The Blessed One:]

486 “If there were a mountain made of gold,
      Made entirely of solid gold,
      Not double this would suffice for one:
      Having known this, fare evenly.

487 “How could a person incline to sensual pleasures
      Who has seen the source whence suffering springs?
      Having known acquisition as a tie in the world,
      A person should train for its removal.”

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

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

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