Samyukta Āgama (2) 24

Māra Saṃyutta

Māra says life is eternal

Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying north of Rājagaha in the Sītavana forest. At that time the Buddha told the monks: “All compounded things are impermanent. Relentlessly, they quickly pass away. We cannot rely on them as they are bound to decay. You should make haste and leave the realms of saṃsāric existence to follow the path of liberation.” At that time the Demon King Māra, having heard what was said, thought: “The renunciant Gotama is expounding such a 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, went to the Buddha, stood to one side and spoke this verse:

“Night and day are eternal /
lives will forever come and go,
turning like a wheel on its axle /
spinning around endlessly.”

The Buddha knew King Māra had come to disturb them and spoke a verse:

“One’s life—its days and nights do end /
and life itself is filled with sorrows and troubles:
it is like, having fallen into a river, /
being quickly carried away without a trace.
This is why you, Bad One, /
should not disturb us.”

There Māra thought: “The Buddha knows my intentions.” And he became depressed and dispirited and felt deep regret. He made himself invisible and returned to his heavenly palace.