Translation of BZA 218. First version published in Buddhist Studies
Review vol. 23-1 (2006).
Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī at the Jeta Grove in
the Anāthapiṇḍika Park.
At that time one morning the nun Selā took her robes and her begging bowl and
entered Sāvatthī to beg for food. Having finished her meal, she cleaned her
bowl, gathered her seat [for meditation] and went to the Andhavana forest [to
meditate]. At that time King Māra thought: “The renunciant Gotama is staying at
Sāvatthī at the Jeta Grove in the Anāthapiṇḍika Park. And there is the nun Selā
who took her robes and her begging bowl and entered Sāvatthī to beg for food.
Having finished her meal, she cleaned her bowl, gathered her seat and has gone
to the Andhavana forest. I shall disturb her!” Having thought this he changed
into a young man, approached her and spoke a verse:
Who is it that created beings // by whom were they made
Why are they called beings // from where do they arise
That time the nun Selā having heard the verse thought: “Who is this? What a
cheat! Is he a human or a non-human being?” She entered concentration and
recognized he was King Māra. She answered with a verse:
Māra, you have a wrong view of “beings” // saying and believing they actually
They are assembled from conventional empty [names] // there are in fact no
Like when causes and various conditions // converge and yield the use of a
The same with khandhas, dhātus and āyatanas // they exist [because of] the
convergence of causes and conditions.
Because of karmic conditions they assemble // because of karmic conditions
[I have] cut off all craving // the darkness of ignorance destroyed
Having reached complete cessation // [I] peacefully dwell in a state of
Therefore understand // Bad One you are defeated
At that time King Māra thought: “This nun knows my mind well!” Depressed,
dispirited, and ashamed he returned to his palace.
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