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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagatha Vagga
5. Bhikkhunisaɱyutta

Sutta 9

Sela Sutta

Sister Sela

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



[9.1][pts][bps] Near Sāvatthī.

Then, early in the morning, Sela 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:

By whom     was this doll created?
Where     is the doll's maker?
Where     has the doll originated?
Where     does it cease?

Then the thought occurred to Sela 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:

This doll isn't self-made,
nor is this misery made by another.[1]
In dependence on a cause
    it comes into play.
With the dissolution of the cause
    it ceases.
Just as a seed grows
    — when planted in a field —
because of the soil's savor
    together with moisture;
in the same way, these
    sense media
-- in dependence on a cause —
    come into play.
With the dissolution of the cause
    they cease.

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


[1]Alternative reading:

This doll, this misery,
    isn't created.


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