Nuns Home PageNext Discourse
1. The Discourse about Āḷavikā
Thus I have heard:
at one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī at Anāthapiṇḍika's grounds in Jeta's Wood.
Then the nun Āḷavikā, Comm: Āḷavikā means she was born in Āḷavī and she went forth from the town of Āḷavī.01 having dressed in the morning time, after picking up her bowl and robe, was entering Sāvatthī for alms. After walking for alms in Sāvatthī, and returning from the alms-round after the meal, she approached the Blind Man's Wood Comm: Blind Man's Wood, having taken riches for the purpose of the work on the Chetiya of the Fully Awakened Kassapa, after they tore out the eyes of the Dhamma recitor named Yasodhara, who was a Noble One, five hundred thieves lost their own sight and dwelt right there because of it, and the name Blind Man's Wood came to that wood. It seems it was around a half a league on the southern side of Sāvatthī and was guarded and protected by the King, and monks and nuns who desired seclusion would go there. Therefore seeking for bodily seclusion she approached that wood.02 seeking for seclusion.
Then the Wicked Māra desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in the nun Āḷavikā, desiring to drive her out of seclusion, approached the nun Āḷavikā, and after approaching he addressed the nun Āḷavikā with a verse:
“There is no escape Comm: escape means Emancipation.03 from the world, why do you try with seclusion?
Enjoy the sensual delights, do not be remorseful hereafter.”
Then it occurred to the nun Āḷavikā: “Who is this, a human or a non-human, speaking this verse?” Then it occurred to the nun Āḷavikā: “This is the Wicked Māra desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in me, desiring to drive me out of seclusion, who speaks this verse.”
Then the nun Āḷavikā having understood: This is the Wicked Māra, replied with these verses to the Wicked Māra:
“There is an escape from the world, which I have attained through wisdom, Comm: through wisdom means through reflection knowledge (reflection on her attainment). 04
You do not know that state, Comm: you do not know that state means you do not know the state of Emancipation or the path going to Emancipation.05 you Wicked one, kin of the heedless,
Sensual pleasures are like an axe, Comm: like an axe means the same as an axe the purpose of which is to pierce through.06 the constituent parts (like) the block, Comm: the constituent parts (are like) the block means those constituents are like a heap on a block.07
That which you say is sensual delight, in that for me there is no delight.”
Then the Wicked Māra (thought): “The nun Āḷavikā knows me!” and pained and depressed he vanished right there.