2. The Discourse about Somā
Thus I have heard:
at one time the Fortunate One was dwelling near Sāvatthī at Anāthapiṇḍika’s grounds in Jeta’s Wood.
Then the nun Somā, 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 to pass the day, and having entered Blind Man’s Wood, she sat down at the root of a certain tree to pass the day.
Then the Wicked Māra desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in the nun Somā, desiring to drive her out of concentration, approached the nun Somā, and after approaching he addressed the nun Somā with a verse:
“That place Comm: place means Worthiness. which has been attained by the seers is hard to obtain,
No woman, with her two-finger wisdom, Comm: two-finger wisdom means having little wisdom, because having grabbed the cotton with her two fingers she spins thread, therefore a woman has two-finger wisdom is said. is able to attain it.”
Then it occurred to the nun Somā: “Who is this, a human or a non-human, speaking this verse?” Then it occurred to the nun Somā: “This is the Wicked Māra desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in me, desiring to drive me out of concentration, who speaks this verse.”
Then the nun Somā having understood: This is the Wicked Māra, replied with these verses to the Wicked Māra:
“What is to be made of womenhood when my mind is well-composed?
When knowledges exist, Comm: when knowledge exists means when the knowledge of fruition attainment exists. and Right Dhamma has been seen with insight. Comm: Dhamma has been seen with insight means the Dhamma of the Four Truths has been seen with insight, or previously seeing the five constituents objectively with insight.
For whomever thinks thus: I am a woman or a man,
Or I am something other, deserves to have Māra speak to her.” Comm: or I am something other means there will be some other ‘I am’, on account of craving, conceit or views.
Then the Wicked Māra (thought): “The nun Somā knows me!” and pained and depressed he vanished right there.
last updated: September 2011