Saṃyutta Nikāya 4

Connected Discourses with Mara

23. Godhika

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary.

Now on that occasion the Venerable Godhika was dwelling on the Black Rock on the Isigili Slope. Then, while the Venerable Godhika was dwelling diligent, ardent, and resolute, he reached temporary liberation of mind, but he fell away from that temporary liberation of mind. A second time, while the Venerable Godhika was dwelling diligent, ardent, and resolute, he reached temporary liberation of mind, but he fell away from that temporary liberation of mind. A third time…A fourth time … A fifth time…A sixth time, while the Venerable Godhika was dwelling diligent, ardent, and resolute, he reached temporary liberation of mind, but he fell away from that temporary liberation of mind. A seventh time, while the Venerable Godhika was dwelling diligent, ardent, and resolute, he reached temporary liberation of mind.

Then it occurred to the Venerable Godhika: “Six times already I have fallen away from temporary liberation of mind. Let me use the knife.”

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

“O great hero, great in wisdom,
Blazing forth with power and glory!
I worship your feet, One with Vision,
Who has overcome all enmity and fear.

“O great hero who has vanquished death,
Your disciple is longing for death.
He intends to take his own life:
Restrain him from this, O luminous one!

“How, O Blessed One, can your disciple—
One delighting in the Teaching,
A trainee seeking his mind’s ideal—
Take his own life, O widely famed?”

Now on that occasion the Venerable Godhika had just used the knife. Then the Blessed One, having understood, “This is Mara the Evil One,” addressed him in verse:

“Such indeed is how the steadfast act:
They are not attached to life.
Having drawn out craving with its root,
Godhika has attained final Nibbāna.”

Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Come, bhikkhus, let us go to the Black Rock on the Isigili Slope, where the clansman Godhika has used the knife.”

“Yes, venerable sir,” those bhikkhus replied. Then the Blessed One, together with a number of bhikkhus, went to the Black Rock on the Isigili Slope. The Blessed One saw in the distance the Venerable Godhika lying on the bed with his shoulder turned.

Now on that occasion a cloud of smoke, a swirl of darkness, was moving to the east, then to the west, to the north, to the south, upwards, downwards, and to the intermediate quarters. The Blessed One then addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Do you see, bhikkhus, that cloud of smoke, that swirl of darkness, moving to the east, then to the west, to the north, to the south, upwards, downwards, and to the intermediate quarters?”

“Yes, venerable sir.”

“That, bhikkhus, is Mara the Evil One searching for the consciousness of the clansman Godhika, wondering: ‘Where now has the consciousness of the clansman Godhika been established?’ However, bhikkhus, with consciousness unestablished, the clansman Godhika has attained final Nibbāna.”

Then Mara the Evil One, taking a lute of yellow vilva-wood, approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

“Above, below, and across,
In the four quarters and in between,
I have been searching but do not find
Where Godhika has gone.”

The Blessed One:

“That steadfast man was resolute,
A meditator always rejoicing in meditation,
Applying himself day and night
Without attachment even to life.

“Having conquered the army of Death,
Not returning to renewed existence,
Having drawn out craving with its root,
Godhika has attained final Nibbāna.”

So much was he stricken with sorrow
That his lute dropped from his armpit.
Thereupon that disappointed spirit
Disappeared right on the spot.