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Discourse On A Rebuke To Māra—I.B. Horner

Majjhima Nikāya

The Middle Length Sayings

Māra Tajjaniya Suttaṃ

50. Discourse On A Rebuke To Māra

Thus have I heard: At one time the venerable Moggallāna the Great was staying among the Bhaggas in Sumsumāragira in Bhesakaḷā Grove in the deer-park. Now at that time the venerable Moggallāna the Great was pacing up and down in the open. Now at that time Māra the Evil One, entering the venerable Moggallāna the Great's belly, got into his stomach. Then it occurred to the venerable Moggallāna the Great: “Now why is my belly heavy as if it were heaped full?” Then the venerable Moggallāna the Great, having come down from the place for pacing up and down in, having entered the dwelling-place, sat down on a seat made ready. As he was sitting down, the venerable Moggallāna the Great reflected carefully about himself. Then the venerable Moggallāna the Great saw that Māra the Evil One, having entered his belly, had got into his stomach; seeing him, he spoke thus to Māra the Evil One:

“Get out, Evil One; Evil One, get out; do not annoy a Tathāgata, or a Tathāgata's disciple, lest for a long time there be woe and sorrow for you.”

Then it occurred to Māra the Evil One: “This recluse speaks thus not even knowing, not even seeing me: ‘Get out, Evil One, Evil One, get out. Do not annoy a Tathāgata or a Tathāgata's disciple, lest for a long time there be woe and sorrow for you.’ Even his teacher could not know me so quickly, so how can this disciple know me?”

Then the venerable Moggallāna the Great spoke thus to Māra the Evil One: “But I do know you, Evil One. Do not you think: ‘He does not know me.’ You, Evil One, are Māra. It occurred to you, Evil One: “This recluse speaks thus not even knowing, not even seeing me: ‘Get out, Evil One, Evil One, get out. Do not annoy a Tathāgata or a Tathāgata's disciple, lest for a long time there be woe and sorrow for you.’ Even his teacher could not know me so quickly, so how can this disciple know me?”

Then it occurred to Māra the Evil One: “It is because this recluse knows and sees me that he speaks thus: ‘Get out, Evil One, Evil One, get out. Do not annoy a Tathāgata or a Tathāgata's disciple, lest for a long time there be woe and sorrow for you.’ Then Māra the Evil One, having gone out through the venerable Moggallāna the Great's mouth, stood against the door.

Then the venerable Moggallāna the Great saw Māra the Evil One standing against the door; seeing him, he spoke thus to Māra the Evil One: “Indeed I do see you now, Evil One. Do not think: ‘He does not see me’; it is you, Evil One, standing against the door. Once upon a time, I, Evil One, was the Māra called Dūsin; as such, Kāḷi was the name of my sister, you were her son, thus you were my nephew. Now at that time, Evil One, Kakusandha, the Lord, the perfected one, fully self-awakened one, had uprisen in the world. Now, Evil One, Vidhura and Sañjīva were the pair of disciples which was the chief, the lucky pair of Kakusandha, the Lord, the perfected one, the fully self-awakened one. Of all the disciples, Evil One, of Kakusandha, the Lord, perfected one, fully self-awakened one, there was none there equal to the venerable Vidhura in regard to teaching Dhamma. It was because of this, Evil One, that the venerable Vidhura's name came to be Vidhura, the Peerless. But the venerable Sañjīva, Evil One, forest-gone, gone to the roots of trees and gone to empty places, with no trouble attained the stopping of perceiving and feeling.

Once upon a time, Evil One, the venerable Sañjīva was sitting at the root of a certain tree attaining the stopping of perceiving and feeling. Then, Evil One, cowherds, goatherds, yeoman farmers, travellers, saw the venerable Sañjīva sitting at the root of that tree attaining the stopping of perceiving and feeling; having seen him, it occurred to them: ‘Indeed it is wonderful, indeed it is marvellous, that this recluse is just sitting dead. Come, we will cremate him.’ Then, Evil One, these cowherds, goatherds, yeomen farmers, travellers, having collected grass and sticks and cow-dung and having heaped them over the venerable Sañjīva's body, lit the fire and departed.

Then, Evil One, the venerable Sañjīva, having emerged towards the end of that night from that attainment, having shaken his robes, having dressed in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, entered a village for almsfood. Evil One, those cowherds, goatherds, yeomen farmers and travellers saw the venerable Sañjīva walking for almsfood; having seen him, it occurred to them: ‘Indeed it is wonderful, indeed it is marvellous that this recluse who was just sitting dead, that he has come back to life.’

It was because of this, Evil One, that the venerable Sañjīva's name came to be Sañjīva, the Quick . Then, Evil One, it occurred to the Māra Dūsin: ‘I simply do not know either the coming or the going of these monks who are of moral habit, lovely in character. Suppose I were to visit brahmans and householders (and say): “Come, do you revile, abuse, vex, annoy the monks who are of good moral habit, lovely in character, for it is likely that when they are being reviled, abused, vexed and annoyed by you there will be a change of heart so that Dūsin the Māra might get a chance over them.”

Then, Evil One, the Māra Dūsin visited brahmans and householders (and said): “Come, do you revile, abuse, vex, annoy the monks who are of good moral habit, lovely in character, for it is likely that when they are being reviled, abused, vexed and annoyed by you there will be a change of heart so that Dūsin the Māra might get a chance over them.” Then, Evil One, those brahmans and householders who had been visited by the Māra Dūsin reviled, abused, vexed and annoyed the monks who were of good moral habit, lovely in character, saying: ‘But these little shaveling recluses are menials, black, the offscourings of our kinsman's feet. They say, “We are meditatives, we are meditatives”, and with their shoulders drooping, with their faces cast down, as if drugged, they meditate, they meditate absorbed, they meditate more absorbed, they meditate quite absorbed.

As an owl on the branch of a tree when tracking a mouse meditates, meditates absorbed, meditates more absorbed, meditates quite absorbed, so do these little shaveling recluses, menials, black the offscourings of our kinsman's feet meditate quite absorbed. And as a jackal on the bank of a river when tracking fish meditates, meditates absorbed, meditates more absorbed, meditates quite absorbed, so do these little shaveling recluses, menials, black the offscourings of our kinsman's feet meditate quite absorbed. And as a cat on the edge of a refuse heap when tracking a mouse meditates, meditates absorbed, meditates more absorbed, meditates quite absorbed, so do these little shaveling recluses, menials, black the offscourings of our kinsman's feet meditate quite absorbed. And as an ass at the edge of a refuse-heap, its burden removed, meditates, meditates absorbed, meditates more absorbed, meditates quite absorbed, so do these little shaveling recluses, menials, black, the offscourings of our kinsman's feet, saying: ‘We are meditatives, we are meditatives,’ with their shoulders drooping, with their faces cast down, as if drugged, meditate, meditate absorbed, meditate more absorbed, meditate quite absorbed.

Evil One, nearly all the people who passed away at that time, at the breaking up of the body after dying arose in a sorrowful state, a bad bourn, the abyss, Niraya Hell. Then, Evil One, Kakusandha, the Lord, perfected one, fully self-awakened one, addressed the monks, saying: ‘Monks, brahmans and householders have been visited by the Māra Dūsin (who said): “Come, do you revile, abuse, vex, annoy the monks who are of good moral habit, lovely in character, for it is likely that when they are being reviled, abused, vexed and annoyed by you there will be a change of heart so that Dūsin the Māra might get a chance over them.” Come, do you, monks, (1) abide, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of friendliness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; abide having suffused the whole world, everywhere, in every way with a mind of friendliness, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. (2) Abide, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of compassion, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; abide having suffused the whole world, everywhere, in every way with a mind of compassion, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. (3) Abide, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of sympathetic joy, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; abide having suffused the whole world, everywhere, in every way with a mind of sympathetic joy, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. (4) Abide, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; abide having suffused the whole world, everywhere, in every way with a mind of equanimity, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence.

Then, Evil One, these monks, forest-gone and gone to the roots of trees and gone to empty places, thus exhorted, thus instructed by Kakusandha, the Lord, perfected one, fully self-awakened one, (1) abided, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of friendliness, likewise the second, like wise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; abide having suffused the whole world, everywhere, in every way with a mind of friendliness, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. (2) Abided, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of compassion, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; abide having suffused the whole world, everywhere, in every way with a mind of friendliness, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. (3) Abided, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of sympathetic joy, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; abide having suffused the whole world, everywhere, in every way with a mind of sympathetic joy, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. (4) Abided, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; abide having suffused the whole world, everywhere, in every way with a mind of equanimity, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence.

Then, Evil One, it occurred to the Māra Dūsin: ‘Even although I am working thus, I do not know the coming or the going of these monks who are of good moral habit, lovely in character. Suppose I were to visit brahmans and householders (and say): “Come, do you reverence, revere, respect, honour the monks who are of good moral habit, lovely in character, for it is likely that when they are being reverenced, revered, respected and honoured by you, there will be a change of heart, so that Dūsin the Māra can get a chance over them.”’ Then, Evil One, the Māra Dūsin visited these brahmans and householders (and said): “Come, do you reverence, revere, respect, honour the monks who are of good moral habit, lovely in character, for it is likely that when they are being reverenced, revered, respected and honoured by you, there will be a change of heart, so that Dūsin the Māra can get a chance over them.”’ Then, Evil One, these brahmans and householders who had been visited by Dūsin the Māra, reverenced, revered, respected and honoured those monks who were of good moral habit, lovely in character. Evil One, nearly all the people who passed away at that time, at the breaking up of the body after dying arose in a good bourn, a heaven world.

Then, Evil One, Kakusandha, the Lord, perfected one, fully self-awakened one, addressed the monks, saying: ‘Monks, brahmans and householders have been visited by the Māra Dūsin (who said): “Come, do you reverence, revere, respect, honour those monks who are of good moral habit, lovely in character, for it is likely that when they are being reverenced, revered, respected and honoured by you there will be a change of heart so that Dūsin the Māra can get a chance over them.” Come, do you, monks, dwell beholding what is unlovely in the body, conscious of the cloying of food, conscious of there being no delight in the whole world, beholding the impermanence of all constructions.’ Then, Evil One, these monks, forest-gone, gone to the roots of trees and gone to empty places, being exhorted thus, being instructed thus by Kakusandha, the Lord, perfected one, fully self-awakened one, dwelt beholding what is unlovely in the body, conscious of the cloying of food, conscious of there being no delight in the whole world, beholding the impermanence of all constructions.

Then, Evil One, Kakusandha, the Lord, perfected one, fully self-awakened one, having dressed in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, entered a village for almsfood with the venerable Vidhura as his attendant. Then, Evil One, Dūsin the Māra, having visited a certain young man, having taken up a stone, gave a blow to the venerable Vidhura's head; his head split. Then, Evil One, the venerable Vidhura with his head broken and dripping with blood, even so, followed close after Kakusandha, the Lord, the perfected one, fully self-awakened one. Then, Evil One, Kakusandha, the Lord, perfected one, fully self-awakened one, looked around with the “elephant-look.” and thought: “Indeed, this Dūsin the Māra does not know moderation.” While he was looking around, Evil One, Dūsin the Māra deceased from that place and arose in the Great Niraya Hell.

Evil One, there are three appellations of that Great Niraya Hell: it is called “Belonging to the sphere of the Six Sensory Impingements” and it is called “The Meeting of the Spikes” and it is called “The Separate Feelings.” Then, Evil One, the guardian of Niraya Hell, having approached me, spoke thus: ‘When, good sir, spike shall meet spike within your heart, then you should understand this: There will be a thousand years of boiling in Niraya Hell for me.’ Then I, Evil One, for many years, for many a hundred, for many a thousand years, boiled in that Great Niraya Hell. After ten thousand years of that Great Niraya Hell itself, feeling a feeling called vuṭṭhānima (pain), I was boiled in Ussada (Hell). Because of this, Evil One, my body came to be such, like a man's; my head came to be such, like a fish's.”

What was that Niraya Hell like where Dūsin was boiled,
For striking the disciple Vidhura and the brahman Kakusandha?
It was that of the hundred iron spikes, all suffered separately.
This was the Niraya Hell where Dūsin was boiled,
For striking the disciple Vidhura and the brahman Kakusandha.

Whatever monk, the Awakened One's disciple, understands this:

Dark One, for striking such a monk you go to suffering.
Mansions stand for an eon in the middle of the sea,
The hue of beryl-stones, brilliant, glowing, radiant;
There dance full many nymphs in divers hues.

Whatever monk, the Awakened One's disciple, understands this:

Dark One, for striking such a monk you go to suffering.
Whoever, urged on by the Awakened One, watched by the Order of monks,
With his great toe shakes the palace of Migāra's mother.

Whatever monk, the Awakened One's disciple, understands this:

Dark One, for striking such a monk you go to suffering.
Whoever with his great toe shakes Vejayanta Palace,
Rigid through psychic power and strongly moves the devatās.

Whatever monk, the Awakened One's disciple, understands this:

Dark One, for striking such a monk you go to suffering.
Whoever inquires of Sakka in the Vejayanta Palace,
Have you, friend, found the freedoms by the destruction of craving?
To whom Sakka truthfully answers the question put to him.

Whatever monk, the Awakened One's disciple, understands this:

Dark One, for striking such a monk you go to suffering.
Whoever inquires of Brahmā in conclave in Sudhammā's hall,
Do you, friend, even today hold those views which formerly were views of yours?

Do you see the passing radiance in the Brahma-world?
To whom, Brahmā truthfully answers (those questions) in succession:
Good sir, those views are not mine which formerly were views of mine;
I see the passing radiance in the Brahma-world;
How could I say today: I am permanent, eternal?

Whatever monk, the Awakened One's disciple, understands this:

Dark One, for striking such a monk you go to suffering.
Who, by deliverance, has gained great Neru's peak,
The forest of the Eastern Videhas, and whatever men sleep on the ground.

Whatever monk, the Awakened One's disciple, understands this:

Dark One, for striking such a monk you go to suffering.
Verily, a fire does not think, ‘I am burning a fool,’
For the fool is burnt by assailing the blazing fire;
Even so, you, Māra, by assailing the Tathāgata,
Will yourself burn yourself like a fool touching a fire.

Māra acquires demerit for assailing a Tathāgata.
But do you not think, Evil One: Evil does not mature for me?
The evil done (by you) must be heaped up for a long time, End-maker.
Māra, turn away from the Wake, have no hopes among the monks.

Thus did a monk tilt at Māra in the Bhesakaḷā Grove,
Wherefore that dejected fiend vanished then and there.”

Discourse on a Rebuke to Māra: The Tenth

TOLD ARE THE FIRST FIFTY