Samyuktagama 2.32

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Samyukta Āgama (2) 32

Māra Saṃyutta Māra changes into beautiful and ugly people

Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha on Gijjhakūṭa Mountain. At that time the Buddha was extolling the teaching of Nirvāṇa for the monks. King Māra thought: “The Buddha is staying near Rājagaha extolling the teaching of Nirvāṇa for the monks. I should go and disturb them.” Having thought this, he changed into a hundred people, of whom fifty were extremely beautiful and fifty extremely ugly. At that time the monks were all surprised and astonished. “What is happening now? Such beauty, and again, such ugliness?” The Buddha knew that Māra had come to disturb the gathering. At that time the World-honored One addressed the Bad one:

   ‘In the long night of saṃsāric birth and rebirth,
   ​ you assume all these forms, beautiful and ugly.
   How now do you attain deliverance from the shore of suffering?
   ​ What is the use of all these shape-changes?
   If someone is attached to the characteristics of a man or woman,
   ​ you might with benefitchange into these forms.
   I, however, do not give significance to the characteristics of a man or woman.
   ​ What use is it changing into these shapes?’

When the Buddha had finished, the monks, having listened to what he had said, were happy and practiced accordingly.