The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 4. Mārasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses with Māra

I. The First Subchapter (Life Span)

1 (1) Austere Practice
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Uruvelā on the bank of the river Nerañjarā at the foot of the Goatherd’s Banyan Tree just after he had become fully enlightened. Then, while the Blessed One was alone in seclusion, a reflection arose in his mind thus: “I am indeed freed from that gruelling asceticism! It is good indeed that I am freed from that useless gruelling asceticism! It is good that, steady and mindful, I have attained enlightenment!”
    Then Māra the Evil One, having known with his own mind the reflection in the Blessed One’s mind, approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

446 “Having deviated from the austere practice
      By which men purify themselves,
      Being impure, you think you’re pure: <232>
      You have missed the path to purity.”

Then the Blessed One, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

447 “Having known as useless any austerity
      Aimed at the immortal state,
      That all such penances are futile
      Like oars and rudder on dry land,

448 By developing the path to enlightenment—
      Virtue, concentration, and wisdom—
      I have attained supreme purity:
      You’re defeated, End-maker!”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The Blessed One knows me, the Fortunate One knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

2 (2) The King Elephant
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Uruvelā on the bank of the river Nerañjarā at the foot of the Goatherd’s Banyan Tree just after he had become fully enlightened. [104] <233> Now on that occasion the Blessed One was sitting out in the open air in the thick darkness of the night while it was drizzling.
    Then Māra the Evil One, wishing to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the Blessed One, manifested himself in the form of a giant king elephant and approached the Blessed One. His head was like a huge block of steatite; his tusks were like pure silver; his trunk was like a huge plough pole.
    Then the Blessed One, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” addressed him in verse:

449 “You’ve wandered through the long course
      Creating beautiful and hideous shapes.
      Enough, Evil One, with that trick of yours:
      You’re defeated, End-maker!”

Then Māra the Evil One, realizing, “The Blessed One knows me, the Fortunate One knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

3 (3) Beautiful
<234> While dwelling at Uruvelā. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was sitting out in the open air in the thick darkness of the night while it was drizzling. Then Māra the Evil One, wishing to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the Blessed One, approached the Blessed One and, not far from him, displayed diverse lustrous shapes, both beautiful and hideous. Then the Blessed One, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” addressed him in verses:

450 “You’ve wandered on through the long course
      Creating beautiful and hideous shapes.
      Enough, Evil One, with that trick of yours:
      You’re defeated, End-maker!

451 “Those who are well restrained
      In body, speech, and mind,
      Do not come under Māra’s control
      Nor become Māra’s henchmen.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there. [105]

4 (4) Māra’s Snare (1)
<235> Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Bārāṇası in the Deer Park at Isipatana. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus!”
    “Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “Bhikkhus, by careful attention, by careful right striving, I have arrived at unsurpassed liberation, I have realized unsurpassed liberation. You too, bhikkhus, by careful attention, by careful right striving, must arrive at unsurpassed liberation, must realize unsurpassed liberation.”
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

452 “You are bound by Māra’s snare
      Both celestial and human;
      You are bound by Māra’s bondage:
      You won’t escape me, ascetic!”

[The Blessed One:]

453 “I am freed from Māra’s snare
      Both celestial and human;
      I am freed from Māra’s bondage: <236>
      You’re defeated, End-maker!”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

5 (5) Māra’s Snare (2)
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Bārāṇası in the Deer Park at Isipatana. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus!”
    “Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “Bhikkhus, I am freed from all snares, both celestial and human. You too, bhikkhus, are freed from all snares, both celestial and human. Wander forth, O bhikkhus, for the welfare of the multitude, for the happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans. Let not two go the same way. Teach, O bhikkhus, the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing. Reveal the perfectly complete and purified holy life. There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. [106] There will be those who will understand the Dhamma. I too, bhikkhus, will go to Senānigama in Uruvelā in order to teach the Dhamma.” <237>
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

454 “You are bound by all the snares
      Both celestial and human;
      You are bound by the great bondage:
      You won’t escape me, ascetic!”

[The Blessed One:]

455 “I am freed from all the snares
      Both celestial and human;
      I am freed from the great bondage:
      You’re defeated, End-maker!”

6 (6) Serpent
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was sitting out in the open in the thick darkness of the night while it was drizzling. Then Māra the Evil One … manifested himself in the form of a giant king serpent and approached the Blessed One. <238> Its body was like a huge boat made from a single tree trunk; its hood, like a large brewer’s sieve; its eyes, like the large bronze dishes of Kosala; its tongue darting out from its mouth, like flashes of lightning emitted when the sky thunders; the sound of its breathing in and out, like the sound of a smith’s bellows filling with air.
    Then the Blessed One, having understood, “This is Māra the Evil One,” addressed Māra the Evil One in verses:

456 “He who resorts to empty huts for lodging—
      He is the sage, self-controlled.
      He should live there, having relinquished all:
      That is proper for one like him.

457 “Though many creatures crawl about,
      Many terrors, flies, serpents, [107] <239>
      The great sage gone to his empty hut
      Stirs not a hair because of them.

458 “Though the sky might split, the earth quake,
      And all creatures be stricken with terror,
      Though men brandish a dart at their breast,
      The enlightened take no shelter in acquisitions.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

7 (7) Sleep
 On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Then, when the night was fading, the Blessed One, having spent much of the night walking back and forth in the open, washed his feet, entered his dwelling, and lay down on his right side in the lion’s posture, with one leg overlapping the other, mindful and clearly comprehending, having attended to the idea of rising.
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse: <240>

459 “What, you sleep? Why do you sleep?
      What’s this, you sleep like a wretch?
      Thinking ‘The hut’s empty’ you sleep:
      What’s this, you sleep when the sun has risen?”

[The Blessed One:]

460 “Within him craving no longer lurks,
      Entangling and binding, to lead him anywhere;
      With the destruction of all acquisitions
      The Awakened One sleeps:
      Why should this concern you, Māra?”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

8 (8) He Delights
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthı in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

461 “One who has sons delights in sons,
      One with cattle delights in cattle. [108] <241>
      Acquisitions truly are a man’s delight;
      Without acquisitions one does not delight.”

[The Blessed One:]

462 “One who has sons sorrows over sons,
      One with cattle sorrows over cattle.
      Acquisitions truly are a man’s sorrow;
      Without acquisitions one does not sorrow.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

9 (9) Life Span (1)
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus!”
    “Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “Bhikkhus, this life span of human beings is short. One has to go on to the future life. One should do what is wholesome and lead the holy life; for one who has taken birth there is no avoiding death. One who lives long, bhikkhus, lives a hundred years or a little longer.”
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

463 “Long is the life span of human beings,
      The good man should not disdain it.
      One should live like a milk-sucking baby:
      Death has not made its arrival.” <242>

[The Blessed One:]

464 “Short is the life span of human beings,
      The good man should disdain it.
      One should live like one with head aflame:
      There is no avoiding Death’s arrival.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.

10 (10) Life Span (2)
(Opening as in preceding sutta:)
    Then Māra the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse: [109]

465 “The days and nights do not fly by,
      Life does not come to a stop.
      The life span of mortals rolls along
      Like the chariot’s felly round the hub.” <243>

[The Blessed One:]

466 “The days and nights go flying by,
      Life comes to a stop.
      The life span of mortals is depleted
      Like the water in rivulets.”

Then Māra the Evil One … disappeared right there.
 

How to cite this document:
© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

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