Samyukta Āgama (2) 221

Bhikkhunī Saṃyutta

Cālā

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

At that time there was a nun named Cālā. 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 gathered her seat for meditation. She went to the Andhavana forest for the day’s abiding, and sat upright under a tree to meditate. At that time King Māra thought: “The renunciant Gotama is staying at Sāvatthī at the Jeta Grove in the Anāthapiṇḍika Park. There is the nun Cālā who in the morning took her robes and her begging bowl and entered the town to beg for food. Having finished her meal, she cleaned her bowl, gathered her seat and has gone into the Andhavana forest for the day’s abiding. Now she is sitting under a tree. I shall go there and disturb her!” Having thought thus, he transformed himself into a young man, approached her, and said: “My lady, where do you desire to be reborn?” The nun replied: “As things stand, I will not be reborn anywhere.” At that time the young man spoke a verse:

“Once born we are bound to experience joy /
and the five sensual pleasures.
Who has taught you /
to say you have no need of further birth?”

The nun Cālā replied with a verse:

“Whoever is born must die /
and is held in bondage by all kinds of suffering.
To cut off all suffering /
is not to ask for further life.
The venerable sage, the seer /
has explained this truth:

Suffering, the cause for its arising, /
all this is to be left behind
through practicing the eight-fold noble path, /
peacefully we move toward Nirvāṇa.

The World-honored One has taught me, /
and I rejoice in his teaching.
I have witnessed and realized this teaching /
and therefore have no joy in birth.

I have cut off all craving, /
the darkness of ignorance is destroyed.
Having reached complete cessation, /
I peacefully dwell in a state of purity.
Therefore understand: /
Bad One, you are defeated.”

At that time King Māra thought: “This nun knows my mind well!” Depressed, dispirited, and ashamed he returned to his palace.