Samyuktagama 2.218

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Samyukta Āgama (2) 218

Bhikkhunī Saṃyutta Selā

Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī at the Jeta Grove in the Anāthapiṇḍika Park.

At that time one morning the nun Selā took her robes and her begging bowl and entered Sāvatthī to beg for food. Having finished her meal, she cleaned her bowl, gathered her seat for meditation and went to the Andhavana forest to meditate. At that time King Māra thought: “The renunciant Gotama is staying at Sāvatthī at the Jeta Grove in the Anāthapiṇḍika Park. And there is the nun Selā who took her robes and her begging bowl and entered Sāvatthī to beg for food. Having finished her meal, she cleaned her bowl, gathered her seat and has gone to the Andhavana forest. I shall disturb her!” Having thought this he changed into a young man, approached her and spoke a verse:

   “Who is it that created beings, /
   ​by whom were they made?
   Why are they called beings, /
   ​from where do they arise?”

That time the nun Selā, having heard the verse thought: “Who is this? What a cheat! Is he a human or a non-human being?” She entered concentration and recognized he was King Māra. She answered with a verse:

   “Māra, you have a wrong view of ‘beings’, /
   ​saying and believing they actually exist as substantial entities.
   Conventional, empty they are but compounded entities /
   ​there are in fact no ‘beings.’
   Like when causes and various conditions /
   ​converge and yield the use of a ‘chariot’.
   The same with aggregates (khandhas), elements (dhātus) and spheres (āyatanas): /
   ​because of the convergence of such causes and conditions there are beings.
   Because of karmic conditions they assemble /
   ​because of karmic conditions they disperse.
   I have cut off all craving, /
   ​the darkness of ignorance is destroyed.
   Having reached complete cessation. /
   ​I peacefully dwell in a state of purity.
   Therefore understand: /
   ​Bad One, you are defeated.”

At that time King Māra thought: “This nun knows my mind well!” Depressed, dispirited, and ashamed he returned to his palace.