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sn.4.6 Saṁyutta Nikāya (Linked Discourses)


Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rajagaha 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 Mara the Evil One … manifested himself in the form of a giant king serpent and approached the Blessed One. 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 Mara the Evil One,” addressed Mara the Evil One in verses:

“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.

“Though many creatures crawl about,
Many terrors, flies, serpents,
The great sage gone to his empty hut
Stirs not a hair because of them.

“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 Mara the Evil One … disappeared right there.

- Translator: Bhikkhu Bodhi

- Editor: Blake Walsh

A Serpent

So I have heard.
At one time the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrels’ feeding ground.
Now at that time the Buddha was meditating in the open during the dark of night, while a gentle rain drizzled down.
Then Māra the Wicked, wanting to make the Buddha feel fear, terror, and goosebumps, manifested in the form of a huge serpent king and approached him.
Its body was like a huge canoe carved from a single tree.

Its hood was like a large brewer’s sieve.

Its eyes were like those big bronze dishes from Kosala.

Its tongue flickered from its mouth like lightning flashes in a thunderstorm.

The sound of its breathing was like the puffing of a blacksmith’s bellows.

Then the Buddha, knowing that this was Māra the Wicked, replied to him in verse:
“A self-controlled sage frequents
empty buildings for lodging.
It’s appropriate for such a person
to live there after relinquishing.
Though there are lots of creepy crawlies,
and lots of flies and snakes,
they wouldn’t stir a hair
of a great sage in that empty hut.
Though the sky may split and the earth may quake,
and all creatures be stricken with fear;
and even if an arrow’s aimed at their breast,
the Buddhas take no shelter in attachments.”
Then Māra the Wicked, thinking, “The Buddha knows me! The Holy One knows me!” miserable and sad, vanished right there.