Saṃyutta Nikāya 4

Connected Discourses with Mara

1. Austere Practice

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Uruvela on the bank of the river Nerañjara at the foot of the Goatherd’s Banyan Tree just after he had become fully enlightened. Then, while the Blessed One was alone in seclusion, a reflection arose in his mind thus: “I am indeed freed from that gruelling asceticism! It is good indeed that I am freed from that useless gruelling asceticism! It is good that, steady and mindful, I have attained enlightenment!”

Then Mara the Evil One, having known with his own mind the reflection in the Blessed One’s mind, approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

“Having deviated from the austere practice
By which men purify themselves,
Being impure, you think you’re pure:
You have missed the path to purity.”

Then the Blessed One, having understood, “This is Mara the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

“Having known as useless any austerity
Aimed at the immortal state,
That all such penances are futile
Like oars and rudder on dry land,

By developing the path to enlightenment—
Virtue, concentration, and wisdom—
I have attained supreme purity:
You’re defeated, End-maker!”

Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, “The Blessed One knows me, the Fortunate One knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.