Samyukta Āgama (2) 214

Bhikkhunī Saṃyutta


Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī, in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.

At that time there was a nun called Āḷavikā. Early one morning she took her robes and her begging bowl and entered the town to beg for food. Having finished her meal, she cleaned her bowl, and decided to enter the Andhavana forest to meditate.

At that time King Māra the Bad thought: “Gotama the renunciant is now staying at Sāvatthī in the Andhavana forest. His disciple the nun Āḷavikā entered the town Sāvatthī to beg for food. Having finished her meal and cleaned her bowl, she has gathered her seat and wants to enter this forest. I shall disturb her!” Thereupon the Bad One transformed himself into a young man. Standing by the wayside, he asked Āḷavikā: “Where are you going?” The nun answered: “I am going to a secluded place.” On hearing this, the young man spoke a verse:

“In all the worlds /
there is no liberation
You are going to a secluded, quiet place /
for what?

You are still young and pretty; /
if you won’t enjoy the five sensual pleasures now,
One day you will be old and weak; /
don’t have regrets later.”

Then the nun thought: “Who is this, who wants to disturb me? What a deceiver! Is he a human or a non-human being?” Having thought this, she entered concentration and, using her insight, she recognized that it was the Bad One who had tried to disturb her. She spoke a verse:

“There is liberation in the world; /
I know this through experience.
You, Bad One, ignorant and shallow /
do not know its traces.

Sensual pleasure is like a sharp halberd, slashing; /
the aggregates are bandits, running after you knife in hand.
You talk of enjoying the five sensual pleasures /
but the suffering caused by pleasure is to be feared.

Sensual pleasure causes sadness and troubles, /
sensual pleasure causes longing.
Sensual pleasure causes a hundredfold suffering, /
sensual pleasure is the root of all suffering.

I have cut off all craving, /
the darkness of ignorance is destroyed.
Having reached and witnessed complete cessation, /
I dwell in a state of purity.”

At that time the Bad One thought: “The nun Āḷavikā knows my mind well!” Vexed, dispirited, and ashamed, he returned to his palace.