Māra turns into a snake to frighten the Buddha
Translation of BZA 028. First version published in Buddhist Studies
Review vol. 23-1 (2006).
Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha on Gijjhakūṭa
At that time, in the middle of the night, the World-honoured One walked in the
open. having washed his feet, he entered his silent abode, sat upright and
focused his attention in front of him. There, King Māra the Bad had this
thought: ‘The gotama renunciant [staying] in Rājagaha on Gijjhakūṭa Mountain is
walking in the open. I should go and disturb him’.
At that time King Māra changed into a huge snake that was long and thick like a
large boat. With a pair of eyes glittering brightly like a [bronze] bowl from
the land of Kosalā, tongue flickering in and out like lightning and breath
heaving like thunder, it stood before Buddha while coiling its body around him.
Then, it bent its neck forward, and lowered its head onto the head of the
Buddha. The Buddha, who knew that this was Māra [trying] to disturb him, spoke
I live in complete solitude // the mind focused in true liberation,
In quiet meditation and physical cultivation // according to the teaching of
the former Buddhas.
Poisonous snakes, fierce and violent // of terrifying appearance,
constrictor snakes and vermin: // all these disturbances //
cannot stir even one hair [on my body] // much less frighten me.
If the sky broke apart // or the great earth shook,
all beings // would feel great terror;
[but] to frighten me // is not possible.
Even if you aimed a poisoned arrow // at my heart,
the moment the arrow struck // i would not seek protection;
nevertheless the poisoned arrow // cannot penetrate.
When King Māra heard the Buddha speak this verse he thought: ‘The gotama
renunciant knows my mind!’, and he became deeply afraid. Depressed and
dispirited, he made himself invisible and returned to his heavenly palace.
View TEI-XML Source