Samyukta Āgama (2) 23

Māra Saṃyutta

Māra disturbs a teaching on impermanence

Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying north of Rājagaha in the Sītavana forest. At that time the Buddha told the monks: “Human life is short, it is bound to end. You should make an effort to follow the path and practice in purity and celibacy. Therefore do not be lazy; practice right conduct. You should train yourselves in the right meaning of the Dhamma and true conduct.”

At that time the Demon King Māra, having heard what was said, thought: “The renunciant Gotama is expounding the principles of the Dhamma for his disciples in the Sītavana forest at Rājagaha. I should go there and disturb them.” Having thought thus, he transformed himself into a young man and went to the Buddha. He paid homage at his feet and stood to one side. Then he spoke a verse:

“Human life is long /
without any cares or worries.
For those always at ease /
there is no path for death.”

The Buddha thought: “Māra the Bad has come to confuse and disturb us.” And he spoke this verse:

“Human life hurries quickly away /
filled with confusion and trouble;
make haste to practice the good /
as if your head were on fire,
and know the Bad One /
has come to disturb.”

Then King Māra, having heard the verse, thought: “The renunciant Gotama knows my intentions.” And he became depressed and dispirited and felt deep regret. He made himself invisible and returned to his heavenly palace.