5. The Discourse about Uppalavaṇṇā

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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 Uppalavaṇṇā, 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 stood at the root of a Sāla tree in full flower.

Then the Wicked Māra desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in the nun Uppalavaṇṇā, desiring to drive her out of concentration, approached the nun Uppalavaṇṇā, and after approaching he addressed the nun Uppalavaṇṇā with a verse:

“Approaching (a tree) blossoming from the top, Comm: blossoming from the top means from the top of the Sāla tree which was in full flower.01 nun,
You stay alone at the root of the Sāla tree,
You are second to none in your beautiful form, Comm: you are second to none in your beautiful form means there is no beauty the same as your beautiful form, there is no other nun the same as you, is what is said.02
Young woman, are you not afraid of the scoundrels?”

Then it occurred to the nun Uppalavaṇṇā: “Who is this, a human or a non-human, speaking this verse?” Then it occurred to the nun Uppalavaṇṇā: “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 Uppalavaṇṇā having understood: This is the Wicked Māra, replied with these verses to the Wicked Māra:

“Even if a hundred thousand scoundrels
Of such a character were to come here Comm: (if) such a character were to come here means there is no affection or love found for anyone of such a character, thus they would (all) be the same to her.03
Not a body-hair would shake or tremble,
Even alone I am not afraid, Māra.

I will disappear completely or I will enter your stomach,
I will stand between (your) eyelashes: Comm: between (your) eyelashes means on the bridge of (your) nose, between (your) two eyes, I will stand, and you will not (be able to) see me.04 (even there) you will not see me.

I have mastery over my mind, the powers are well-developed,
I am free of all bondages, I am not afraid of you, friend!”

Then the Wicked Māra (thought): “The nun Uppalavaṇṇā knows me!” and pained and depressed he vanished right there.