Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE SISTERS

Appendix


 

XIX

Abhirūpa-Nandā

[idx]

APPENDIX

Verses Attributed To Sisters
in the
Bhikkhunī-Saŋyutta
of the
Saŋyutta-Nikāya

1. Āḷavīka[1]

THUS have I heard. The Exalted One was once staying at Sāvatthī , in the Jeta Grove, the park of Anathapi.n.dika. Now Āḷavīka the Bhikkhunī dressed herself early and, taking bowl and robe, entered Sāvatthī for food. And when she had gone about Sāvatthī for it, had broken her fast and returned, she entered the Dark Wood, seeking solitude.

Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, wavering, and dread in her, desiring to make her desist from being alone, went up to her, and addressed her in a verse:

'Ne'er shalt thou find escape while in the world.
What profiteth thee then thy loneliness?
Take the good things of life while yet thou may'st,
Repentance else too late awaiteth thee.'

Then Āḷavīka thought: 'Who now is this, human or non-human, that speaketh this verse? Sure 'tis Māra the Evil One speaketh it, desirous to arouse in me fear, wavering and dread, desirous to make me desist from my solitude.' And Bhikkhunī Āḷavīka, knowing that 'twas he, replied with a verse:

'There is escape while in the world, and I
Have well attained thereto by insight won.
Thou evil limb of loafing![2] 'tis not thine
To know that bourne, or how it may be reached.
Like spears and jav'lins are the joys of sense,
That pierce and rend the mortal frames of us.
These that thou callest "the good things of life,"
Good of that ilk to me is nothing worth.'

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Āḷavīka knows me!' vanished thence, sad and dejected.

 


 

2. Soma[3]

[4]Now Soma ... entered the Dark Wood for siesta, and, plunging into its depths, sat down at the root of a certain tree for siesta.

Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, wavering, and dread in her, desiring to make her desist from concentrated thought, went up to her, and addressed her in a verse:

'That vantage-ground the sages may attain is hard
To reach. With her two-finger consciousness
That is no woman competent to gain!'

Then Soma thought ... 'Sure 'tis Māra!' ... and replied with verses:

'What should the woman's nature do to them[5]
Whose hearts are firmly set, who ever move
With growing knowledge onward in the Path?
What can that signify to one in whom
Insight doth truly comprehend the Norm?
To one for whom the question doth arise:
Am I a woman in these matters, or
Am I a man, or what not am I, then?
To such an one is Māra fit to talk!'

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Soma knows me,' vanished thence, sad and dejected.

 


 

3. Gotami[6]

Now the Lean Gotamid ... entered the Dark Wood for siesta, and, plunging into its depths, sat down at the root of a certain tree for siesta. Then Māra ... went up to her, and addressed her in a verse:

'How now? Dost sit alone with tearful face
As mother stricken by the loss of child?
Thou who hast plunged into the woods alone,
Is it a man that thou hast come to seek?'

Then the Lean Gotamid thought ... 'Sure 'tis Māra!' ... and replied with verses:

'Ay, ever am I she whose child is lost![7]
And for the seeking, there are men at hand.
I do not grieve, I am not shedding tears,
And as for thee, good sir, I fear thee not.
Slain everywhere is love of worldly joys,
And the thick gloom of ignorance is rent in twain.
Defeating all the army of the power of death,
I here abide purged of the poison-drugs.'[8]

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Gotami knows me!' vanished thence, sad and dejected.

 


 

4. Vijaya[9]

Now Bhikkhunī Vijaya ... sat down at the root of a certain tree for siesta.

Then Māra ... addressed her in a verse:[10]

'A maiden thou and beautiful and I
So young a lad! Now where to fivefold art[11]
Of sounds melodious we may list, O come,
Lady, and let us take our fill of joy!'

Then Bhikkhunī Vijaya thought ... 'Sure 'tis Māra!' ... and ... replied with verses:

'Sights, sounds and tastes and smells and things to touch,
Wherein the mind delights, I leave them all
To thee, Māra; for such no mind have I!
This body vile, this brittle, crumbling thing,
Doth touch me only with distress and shame.
Craving for joys of sense is rooted out.
They who have come to worlds of form, and they
Who dwell where form is not, and that perfect
Attainment which is peace[12] from all,
From everywhere, the darkness is dispelled.'

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Vijaya knows me!' vanished thence, sad and dejcted.

 


 

5. Uppalavaṇṇa.

Now, Bhikkhunī Uppalavaṇṇa. ... . . entered the Dark Wood for siesta, and, plunging into its depths, halted at the root of a certain sala-tree in full blossom.

Then Māra ... addressed her in a verse:

'Thou that art come where over thee crownèd with blossom
[Waveth] the sal-tree, Sister, and standest alone in the shade of it,
No one like thee could hither come rival to beauty as thine is!
Fearest thou not, O foolish maiden, the wiles of seducers?'[13]

Then Bhikkhunī Uppalavaṇṇa thought ... 'Sure 'tis Māra!' ... and ... replied with verses:

'Were there an hundred thousand seducers e'en such as thou art,
Ne'er would I tremble affrighted thereat, or turn a hair of me.
Māra, I fear not thee, all lonely though I be standing.
Here though I stand, I vanish, or enter into thy body.
See! 'twixt thine eyelashes hide, standing where thou canst not see me.
For all my mind is wholly self-controlled,
And the Four Paths to Potency are thoroughly learnt.
Yea, I am free from all the Bonds there be.
In sooth, good sir, no fear have I of thee!'

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Uppalavaṇṇa knows me!' vanished thence, sad and dejected.

 


 

6. Cala[14]

Now, Bhikkhunī Cala ... sat down at the root of a certain tree for siesta.

Then Māra the Evil One went up to her, and spoke thus to her: 'Wherein, O Sister, dost thou find no pleasure?'

'In birth,[15] good sir, I find no pleasure.'

'Why findest thou no pleasure in birth? Once born, one enjoys the pleasures of a life of sense. Who hath put this into thy mind — "Find no pleasure in birth" — Sister?'

'Once born, we die. Once born, we see life's Ills —
The bonds, the torments, and the life cut off.[16]
The Buddha hath revealed the Norm to us —
How we may get beyond the power of birth,
How we may put an end to every Ill.
'Tis He hath guided me into the True.
They who have come to worlds of Form, and they
Who in those worlds abide where Form is not,
An they know not how they may end it all,
Are goers, all of them, again to birth.[17]

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Calā knows me!' vanished thence, sad and dejected.

 


 

7. Upacalā[18]

Now, Bhikkhunī Upacalā ... sat down at the root of a certain tree for siesta.

Then Māra the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear ... to make her desist from concentrated thought, went up to her, and spoke thus to her:

'Where, Sister, dost thou wish to rise again?'

'Nowhere, good sir, I wish to rise again.'

'Now, think upon the Three-and-Thirty gods,
And on the gods who rule in realm of Shades,
On those who reign in Heaven of Bliss, and on
Those higher deities who live where life
Yet flows by way of sense and of desire —
Think, and thither aspire with longing heart,
The bliss of each in turn shall then be thine.'

Upacalā

Ay, think upon the Three-and-Thirty gods,
And on the gods who rule in realm of Shades,
On those who reign in Heaven of Bliss, and on
Those higher deities who live where life
Yet flows by way of sense and of desire!
They all are bound by bonds of sense-desire,
Hence come they evermore 'neath Māra's sway.
On fire is all the world, is wrapt in smoke.[19]
Ablaze is all the world, the heav'ns do quake!
But that which quaketh not, influctuate,[20]
Untrodden by the average worldling's feet,
Where Māra cometh not nor hath way-gate —
There doth my heart abide in blest retreat.'[21]

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Upacala knows me!' vanished thence, sad and dejected.

 


 

8. Sisupacalā[22]

Now, Bhikkhunī Sisupacalā ... sat down at the root of a certain tree for siesta.

Then Māra the Evil One went up to her, and spoke to her thus: 'Of whose shibboleth, Sister, dost thou approve?' 'I approve of no one's shibboleth, good sir.'

'Why now and whereto art thou seen thus garbed
And shaven like a nun, yet dost not join
Ascetics of some sort and shibboleth?
What, futile and infatuate, is thy quest?'

"Tis they that are without, caught in the net
Of the vain shibboleths in which they trust —
Their's is the doctrine I cannot approve.
'Tis they that lack acquaintance with the Norm.
'Lo! in the princely Sakiya clan is born
A Buddha peerless 'mong the sons of men,
Who all hath overcome, before whose face
Māra doth flee away, who everywhere
Unconquered stands, He that is wholly freed
And fetterless, the Seer who seeth all,
For whom all karma is destroyed, who in
The perishing of every germ that birth
Once more engenders, is at liberty.
This the Exalted One, my Master and my Lord:
His doctrine, His the word that I approve.'

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Sisupacala knows me! ...

 


 

9. Selā[23]

Now, Bhikkhunī Sela ... sat down at the root of a certain tree for siesta.

Then Māra ... went up to her, and addressed her with a verse:

'Who was't that made this human puppet's form?
Where, tell me, is the human doll's artificer?
Whence hath the human puppet come to be?
Where, tell me, shall it cease and pass away?'

Then Bhikkhunī Sela thought ... ' Sure 'tis Māra!' ... and ... replied with verses:

'Neither self-made the puppet is, nor yet
By other is this evil fashionèd.
By reason of a cause it came to be;
By rupture of a cause, it dies away.
Like to a given seed sown in the field,
Which, when it lighteth on the taste of earth
And moisture likewise — by these twain doth grow,
So the five aggregates, the elements,
And the six spheres of sense — even all these —
By reason of a cause they came to be;
By rupture of a cause they die away.'

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Sela knows me!' vanished thence, sad and dejected.

 


 

10. Vajirā

Now Bhikkhunī Vajira ...sat down at the root of a certain tree for siesta.

Then Māra ... went up to her, and addressed her with a verse:

'Who hath this being[24] fashioned? Where is
The maker of this being? Whence hath it sprung?
Where doth this being cease and pass away?'

Then Bhikkhunī Vajira thought ... 'Sure 'tis Māra!' ... . . and replied with a verse:

'"Being"? Why dost thou harp upon that word?
'Mong false opinions, Māra, art thou strayed.
This a mere bundle of formations is.
Therefrom no "being" mayest thou obtain.
For e'en as, when the factors are arranged,
The product by the word "chariot" is known,
So doth our usage covenant to say —
"A being" — when the aggregates are there.
"Tis simply Ill that riseth, simply Ill
That doth persist, and then fadeth away.
Nought beside Ill it is that doth become;
Nought else but Ill it is doth pass away.'

Then Māra, thinking, 'Bhikkhunī Vajira knows me!' vanished thence, sad and dejected.

Here endeth the Bhikkhunī Series.

 

§

 

The Yakkha-Saŋyutta, or Fairy Series in the same Nikāya, gives the summons uttered by the indignant tree-fairy to the people of Rājagaha in Sukka's little poem. The lines are exactly the same, except that 'wayfarer' is panthagū instead of addhagū.

In the following Sutta presumably the same devoted spirit proclaims the praises both of Sukkā and of a lay-disciple who supplied the eloquent Therī with food:

'O surely plenteous merit hath he wrought,
That layman wise, who Sukkā's wants supplied —
Sukkā's, who from all bonds is wholly free!'[25]

 


[1] Cf. Selā's Psalm, xxxv. She was the daughter of the King of Āḷavī.

[2] Pamatto.

[3] See Ps. xxxvi., comparing the vastly more interesting reply given here.

[4] Where dotted lines occur, here and below, the reading is as for Āḷavīkā.

[5] Not 'to us,' as in the Psalm.

[6] Cf. Ps. lxiii. In the case of elisions, read as for Somā. [Ed.: Text makes no distinction using "....." in all cases.]

[7] By 'ever' — accantaŋ, lit. exceedingly, endlessly — it is conceivable that she alludes, not to her own too common case, as a mother bereaved of a son, but either to endless past bereavements, or to the fact that, as Arahant, she had cut herself off from age-long possibilities of being often again in similar circumstances. Cf., e.g., Ps. xxxiii.

[8] Āsavas.

[9] Vijayā, to whom Ps lvii. is ascribed, is apparently a different person.

[10] Cf. Khema's Psalm (lii.)

[11] Five sorts of musical instruments are supposed to be implied in this idiomatic phrase — atataŋ, vitataŋ, atata-vitataŋ, ghanaŋ, susiraŋ.

[12] I have ventured to bridge over the hiatus, in what Professor Windisch calls the 'loose construction' of this gāthā, by the insertion of 'from all, from. ...' For what may have been the original, and is the more logical, ending, see Cala's verses below. As the gāthā in Pali stands here, it seems to mean: '"I see life steadily, and see it whole." Trouble me not with your foolish little solicitations to sensual joys.'

[13] Where the text differs from that of Psalm lxiv. may be seen by the following:

Therīgāthā.

Saŋyutta.

Supupphitaggaŋ upagamma padapaŋ eka tuvaŋ tiṭṭhasi rukkhamule

Supupphitaggaŋ upagamma bhikkhuni eka tuvaŋ tiṭṭhasi salamule

Na capi te dutiyo atthi; koci na tvaŋ bale bhayasi dhuttakanaŋ.

Na c'atthi te dutiya vaṇṇadhatu idhagata tadisika bhaveyyuŋ.
Bale na tvaŋ bhayasi dhuttakanaŋ.

On choice of reading in the preceding line, see the Psalm in question, n.

[14] Pronounced Chālā. Cf. Ps. lix., lx. The latter Psalm — Upacala's — incorporates most of what is here attributed to her sister.

[15] I.e., in the fact or phenomenon of 'being born over and over again.'

[16] Literally, meaning the punishments of criminals, but standing for the ills of life in general. Cf. Ps. lxx., verse 345; lxxiii., verse 505.

[17] Cf. last note to Vijaya's verses above.

[18] In the Psalms, her Psalm is put into the mouth of her sister, Sisupacālā.

[19] Padhūpito, in the corresponding Psalm paridīpito.

[20]

Saŋyutta

Therīgāthā

Akampitaŋ acalitaŋ aputthujana-sevitaŋ

Akampitaŋ atuliyaŋ aputhujjana-sevitaŋ

Agati yattha Marassa tattha me nirato mano.

Buddho dhammaŋ me desesi tattha me nirato mano.

[21] Lit., Thereto is my heart (or mind) devoted.

[22] In the Psalms she is made to utter her sister Cālā's Psalm.

[23] The Psalm ascribed to Selā (xxxv., p. 144) is, in this Appendix, put into the mouth of Āḷavīkā, which, in the Commentary, is Selā's patronymic.

[24] Satto, a concrete living entity, not the abstract idea.

[25] Cf. Ps. xlvi. 111.


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