Samyutta Nikaya Masthead

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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagatha Vagga
5. Bhikkhunisaɱyutta

Sutta 5

Uppalavanna Sutta

Sister Uppalavanna

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Provenance, terms and conditons



[5.1][pts][bps] Near Sāvatthī.

Then, early in the morning, Uppalavanna the nun put on her robes and, taking her bowl and outer robe, went into Sāvatthi for alms. When she had gone for alms in Sāvatthi and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Grove of the Blind to spend the day. Having gone deep into the Grove of the Blind, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day's abiding.

Then Māra the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, and terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

You've come, nun,
to this sal-tree
with its fine flowering crest,
and stand alone
at its root,
with no one
to match you in beauty.
In your foolishness,
aren't you afraid
of rape?

Then the thought occurred to Uppalavanna the nun: "Now who has recited this verse — a human being or a non-human one?" Then it occurred to her: "This is Māra the Evil One, who has recited this verse wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, and terror in me, wanting to make me fall away from concentration."

Then, having understood that "This is Māra the Evil One," she replied to him in verses:

If even a hundred-thousand rapists
came across me like this,
I wouldn't stir a hair.
I'd feel no terror,
    and I'm not afraid of you,Māra,
    even alone like this.

Here — I disappear.
I slip into your belly
or stand between your eyebrows,
    and you
    don't see me.
I have mastery
    over the mind,
have well-developed
    the bases of power.
I'm released from all bonds,
    and not afraid of you,
    my friend.

Then Māra the Evil One — sad and dejected at realizing, "Uppalavanna the nun knows me" — vanished right there.


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