9. The Discourse about Sela

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 Selā, 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 sat down at the root of a certain tree to pass the day.

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

“By whom was this manikin made, where is this manikin’s maker,
Where has this manikin 1 risen, and where does the manikin cease?”

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

“This manikin’s not made by oneself, pain 2 is not made by another,
Through conditions it arises, conditions broken 3 it ceases.

Just as a certain seed when it has been sown in a field will grow
Through both of these (conditions): the earth’s essence and the moisture,

So the constituents and the elements and these six sense spheres,
Through conditions (surely) arise, with conditions broken they cease.”

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


translated by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu

End Notes

1 Comm: manikin is said in reference to selfhood.
2 Comm: pain is said (because) selfhood is established on pain.
3 Comm: conditions broken means through the ceasing of conditions, through deficiency of causes.

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