Saṃyutta Nikāya 5

Connected Discourses with Bhikkhunis

1. Aḷavika

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapiṇḍika’s Park.

Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Aḷavika dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Savatthi for alms. When she had walked for alms in Savatthi and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Blind Men’s Grove seeking seclusion.

Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Aḷavika, desiring to make her fall away from seclusion, approached her and addressed her in verse:

“There is no escape in the world,
So what will you do with seclusion?
Enjoy the delights of sensual pleasure:
Don’t be remorseful later!”

Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Aḷavika: “Now who is it that recited the verse—a human being or a nonhuman being?” Then it occurred to her: “This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from seclusion.”

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

“There is an escape in the world
Which I have closely touched with wisdom.
O Evil One, kinsman of the negligent,
You do not know that state.

“Sensual pleasures are like swords and stakes;
The aggregates like their chopping block.
What you call sensual delight
Has become for me nondelight.”

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