Samyukta Āgama (2) 30

Māra Saṃyutta

Māra plays the Vīṇā—Godhika

Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha on Vebhāra Mountain, in the Sattapaṇṇi Cave.

At that time, there was a monk called Godhika who lived alone in a cave on Isigili mountain, at the Black Rock. Living in the wilderness, he made diligent efforts, and through his tenacity cut through the view of self and attained temporary liberation, having experienced all stages of jhāna meditation. Then he regressed and lost the experience of liberation. This happened a second time, a third time … altogether six times. Always he regressed. Then the monk thought: “Now, living alone and making diligent efforts, I have regressed six times. If I regress again, I will kill myself with a knife.”

King Māra the Bad knew that the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha on Gijjhakūṭa Mountain in the Sattapaṇṇi Cave. He also knew that a disciple of the Buddha called Godhika was staying near Rājagaha, on Isigili Mountain, at the Black Rock. There, making diligent efforts with tenacious mind, Godhika had attained temporary liberation, had personally witnessed the truth, but after each of the six attainments had regressed. At that time King Māra had this thought: “When the monk Godhika attains temporary liberation for the seventh time, he will certainly kill himself, and leave the world of Māra.”

Having thought thus, he took his harp of beryl and went before the Buddha. Plucking his harp he composed this verse:

“You endowed with great wisdom and great strength /
with great magical powers,
having attained freedom in the Dhamma /
your majestic radiance shines brightly.

Now your sāvaka disciple /
wishes to kill himself.
You, best among men /
should restrain him.
How could he who rejoices in your teaching /
die while still learning it?”

When King Māra had spoken this verse, the Buddha said to him: “Bad One, you have always been a great friend of the slothful. What you said just now was spoken for your own sake, not for the sake of that monk.”

At that time the World-honored One spoke this verse:

“If one is not easily frightened /
and persistently practices diligently,
one can always enjoy meditation /
and day and night practice the good.

Godhika has ended the propensity for lust and desire /
and defeated your armies.
He has now cast off his final body /
and entered Nirvāṇa forever.”

There King Māra became sad and dispirited, dropped his harp of beryl and sadly and regretfully returned to his palace.

The Buddha ordered the monks to follow him to Godhika’s place at Isigili. There they saw something like smoke gathering to the east of Godhika’s corpse. The Buddha said to the monks: “Do you see the smoke gathering?” The monks said: “Yes, World-honored One, we see it.” Then the smoke gathered likewise towards the south, the west and the north of Godhika’s body. The Buddha said to the monks: “This is the Bad One; his form is hidden and he is surrounding Godhika looking for his consciousness.” The Buddha said to the monks: “The monk Godhika has entered Nirvāṇa; there is no consciousness to be found; there is no destination.” At that time, King Māra changed into a young man and spoke this verse:

“Above and below and in the four directions /
I have searched for Godhika’s consciousness.
Does no one know his destination /
where his consciousness abides?”

At that time the Buddha said to the Bad One: “Thus the wise and steadfast one has vanquished your armies and entered Nirvāṇa.”

When the Buddha had finished speaking, the monks, having heard what he said, were happy and remembered it well.