SN 5.1 Āḷavikā Sutta

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mikenz66
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SN 5.1 Āḷavikā Sutta

Post by mikenz66 »

SN 5.1 Āḷavikā Sutta [SN i 128] <SN i 281>
Translated by Bhihkkhu Bodhi


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Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapiṇḍika’s Park.

Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Aḷavika dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Savatthi for alms. [331] When she had walked for alms in Savatthi and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Blind Men’s Grove seeking seclusion. [332]

Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Aḷavika, desiring to make her fall away from seclusion, approached her and addressed her in verse:
  • “There is no escape in the world,
    So what will you do with seclusion?
    Enjoy the delights of sensual pleasure:
    Don’t be remorseful later!”
Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Aḷavika: “Now who is it that recited the verse—a human being or a nonhuman being?” Then it occurred to her: “This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from seclusion.”

Then the bhikkhuni Aḷavika, having understood, “This is Mara the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:
  • “There is an escape in the world
    Which I have closely touched with wisdom.
    O Evil One, kinsman of the negligent,
    You do not know that state. [333]

    “Sensual pleasures are like swords and stakes;
    The aggregates like their chopping block.
    What you call sensual delight
    Has become for me nondelight.”
Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhuni Aḷavika knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

Notes

[331] Thi does not ascribe any verses to a bhikkhuni named
Alavika, but two of the verses in this sutta are to be found
among SeIa's verses: v. 519 = Thi 57 and v. 521 = Thi 58.
Thi-a 60 confirms the identity of the two bhikkhunis,
explaining that Sela was called A!avika because she was
the daughter of the king of A!avaka . She heard the
Buddha preach and became a lay follower. Later she took
ordination as a nun and attained arahantship. See Pruitt,
Commentary on the Verses of the Theris, pp. 83-87.

[332] pk explains the origin of the name: After the parinibbana
of the Buddha Kassapa a lay disciple named Yasodhara,
while bringing money to build the cetiya for the relics,
was ambushed there and blinded by five hundred thieves.
Because Yasodhara was a noble disciple, the thieves
straightaway lost their own vision as an immediate kammic
result. They continued to dwell there and thus it became
known as the Blind Men's Grove. Bhikkhus and bhikkhunis
went there for seclusion. It was about three kilometres
south of Savatthi and was protected by royal guards.

[333] Strangely, this verse, the appropriate response to Mara's
taunt, is not found in Thi. Spk: The escape (nissarana) is
Nibbana. With wisdom (pannaa): with reviewing knowledge.
Spk-pt: The intention is: "How much more, then, with the
knowledge of the path and fruit?"
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mikenz66
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Re: SN 5.1 Āḷavikā Sutta

Post by mikenz66 »

SN 5.1 PTS: S i 128 CDB i 221 Alavika Sutta: Sister Alavika
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Mara: Why bother meditating? Why not just relax and enjoy life's pleasures?

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At Savatthi. Then, early in the morning, Alavika the nun put on her robes and, taking her bowl & outer robe, went into Savatthi for alms. When she had gone for alms in Savatthi and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Grove of the Blind to spend the day. Having gone deep into the Grove of the Blind, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day's abiding.

Then Mara the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from seclusion, approached her & addressed her in verse:
  • There's no
    escape
    in the world,
    so what are you trying to do
    with solitude?
    Enjoy sensual delights.
    Don't be someone
    who later regrets.
Then the thought occurred to Alavika the nun: "Now who has recited this verse — a human being or a non-human one?" Then it occurred to her: "This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited this verse wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in me, wanting to make me fall away from seclusion."

Then, having understood that "This is Mara the Evil One," she replied to him in verses:
  • There is
    an escape in the world,
    well touched by me
    with discernment —
    something that you,
    you Evil One,
    kinsman of the heedless,
    don't know.

    Sensual pleasures
    are like swords & spears;
    the aggregates,
    their executioner's block.
    What you call sensual delight
    is no delight for me.
Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, "Alavika the nun knows me" — vanished right there.
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Re: SN 5.1 Āḷavikā Sutta

Post by pulga »

“Sensual pleasures are like swords and stakes;
The aggregates like their chopping block.
What you call sensual delight
Has become for me non-delight.”
I think it all begins with a commitment to restrain oneself. Only then do sensual pleasures become like "swords and stakes".
"Dhammā=Ideas. This is the clue to much of the Buddha's teaching." ~ Ven. Ñanavira, Commonplace Book
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Re: SN 5.1 Āḷavikā Sutta

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
SN 5.1 wrote:“There is an escape in the world
Which I have closely touched with wisdom."
More details on escape in the world:

AN 5.200: Nissaraniya Sutta: Leading to Escape
AN 6.13: Nissaraniya Sutta: Means of Escape

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Mkoll
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Re: SN 5.1 Āḷavikā Sutta

Post by Mkoll »

pulga wrote:
“Sensual pleasures are like swords and stakes;
The aggregates like their chopping block.
What you call sensual delight
Has become for me non-delight.”
I think it all begins with a commitment to restrain oneself. Only then do sensual pleasures become like "swords and stakes".
I'd say at that point and for some time thereafter, sensual pleasures become like "honey-tipped thorns." One knows their danger, but they can still be tantalizing. Only when restraint is very highly developed, I'd think non-returner, are sense pleasures no longer tantalizing.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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