SN 5. Bhikkhunīsaṁyuttaṁ
The Thematic Discourses about Nuns

1. Āḷavikāsuttaṁ
The Discourse about Āḷavikā

162. Evaṁ me sutaṁ:
Thus I have heard:

ekaṁ samayaṁ Bhagavā Sāvatthiyaṁ viharati
at one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī

Jetavane Anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme.
at Anāthapiṇḍika's grounds in Jeta's Wood.

Atha kho Āḷavikā bhikkhunī, pubbaṇhasamayaṁ nivāsetvā,
Then the nun Āḷavikā, Comm: Āḷavikā ti Āḷaviyaṁ jātā Āḷavinagarato yeva ca nikkhamma pabbajitā; Āḷavikā means she was born in Āḷavī and she went forth from the town of Āḷavī.01 having dressed in the morning time,

pattacīvaram-ādāya, Sāvatthiṁ piṇḍāya pāvisi.
after picking up her bowl and robe, was entering Sāvatthī for alms.

Sāvatthiyaṁ piṇḍāya caritvā, pacchābhattaṁ piṇḍapātapaṭikkantā,
After walking for alms in Sāvatthī, and returning from the alms-round after the meal,

yena Andhavanaṁ tenupasaṅkami vivekatthinī.
she approached the Blind Man's Wood Comm: Andhavanan-ti Kassapasammāsambuddhassa cetiye navakammatthāya dhanaṁ samādapetvā, āgacchantassa Yasodharassa nāma Dhammabhāṇakassa ariyapuggalassa akkhīni uppāṭetvā, tattheva akkhibhedappattehi pañcahi corasatehi, nivutthattā tato paṭṭhāya Andhavanan-ti saṅkhaṁ gataṁ vanaṁ. Taṁ kira Sāvatthito dakkhiṇapasse gāvutamatte hoti Rājārakkhāya guttaṁ, tattha pavivekakāmā bhikkhū ca bhikkhuniyo ca gacchanti. Tasmā ayam-pi kāyavivekatthinī yena taṁ vanaṁ tenupasaṅkami. 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.

Atha kho Māro pāpimā
Then the Wicked Māra

Āḷavikāya bhikkhuniyā bhayaṁ chambhitattaṁ lomahaṁsaṁ uppādetukāmo,
desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in the nun Āḷavikā,

vivekamhā cāvetukāmo, yena Āḷavikā bhikkhunī tenupasaṅkami,
desiring to drive her out of seclusion, approached the nun Āḷavikā,

upasaṅkamitvā Āḷavikaṁ bhikkhuniṁ gāthāya ajjhabhāsi:
and after approaching he addressed the nun Āḷavikā with a verse:

 

“Natthi nissaraṇaṁ loke, kiṁ vivekena kāhasi?
“There is no escape Comm: nissaraṇan-ti nibbānaṁ, escape means Emancipation.03 from the world, why do you try with seclusion?

Bhuñjassu kāmaratiyo, māhu pacchānutāpinī.” ti
Enjoy the sensual delights, do not be remorseful hereafter.”

 

Atha kho Āḷavikāya bhikkhuniyā etad-ahosi:
Then it occurred to the nun Āḷavikā:

“Ko nu khvāyaṁ manusso vā amanusso vā gāthaṁ bhāsatī?” ti
“Who is this, a human or a non-human, speaking this verse?”

Atha kho Āḷavikāya bhikkhuniyā etad-ahosi:
Then it occurred to the nun Āḷavikā:

“Māro kho ayaṁ Pāpimā
“This is the Wicked Māra

mama bhayaṁ chambhitattaṁ lomahaṁsaṁ uppādetukāmo,
desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in me,

vivekamhā cāvetukāmo gāthaṁ bhāsatī.” ti
desiring to drive me out of seclusion, who speaks this verse.”

Atha kho Āḷavikā bhikkhunī: Māro ayaṁ Pāpimā iti viditvā,
Then the nun Āḷavikā having understood: This is the Wicked Māra,

Māraṁ Pāpimantaṁ gāthāhi paccabhāsi:
replied with this verse to the Wicked Māra:

 

“Atthi nissaraṇaṁ loke, paññāya me suphussitaṁ,
“There is an escape from the world, which I have attained through wisdom, Comm: paññāyā ti paccavekkhaṇañāṇena; through wisdom means through reflection knowledge (reflection on her attainment). 04

Pamattabandhu Pāpima, na tvaṁ jānāsi taṁ padaṁ,
You do not know that state, Comm: na tvaṁ jānāsi taṁ padan-ti tvaṁ etaṁ Nibbānapadaṁ vā Nibbānagāmimaggapadaṁ vā na jānāsi; 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,

Sattisūlūpamā kāmā, khandhāsaṁ adhikuṭṭanā,
Sensual pleasures are like an axe, Comm: sattisūlūpamā ti vinivijjhanatthena sattisūlasadisā; 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: khandhāsaṁ adhikuṭṭanā ti khandhā tesaṁ adhikuṭṭanabhaṇḍikā; the constituent parts (are like) the block means those constituents are like a heap on a block.07

Yaṁ tvaṁ kāmaratiṁ brūsi, arati mayha' sā ahū.” ti
That which you say is sensual delight, in that for me there is no delight.”

 

Atha kho Māro Pāpimā: “Jānāti maṁ Āḷavikā bhikkhunī!” ti
Then the Wicked Māra (thought): “The nun Āḷavikā knows me!”

dukkhī dummano tatthevantaradhāyī ti.
and pained and depressed he vanished right there.