Uppalavanna’s Relics

While I was in Bangkok recently we traveled up the Chao Phraya river one day on an excursion and stopped off at Wat Rachatiwat, it is not so far north, but it is off the beaten track. There I found a reliquary with many relics of famous disciples, including this one of Bhikkhunī Uppalavaṇṇā:

Relics of Bhikkhuni Uppalavanna

Here is a translation of some of Uppalavaṇṇā’s verses from the Therīgāthā (230-235)

[Māra said:]

“Supupphitaggaṁ upagamma pādapaṁ,
“Approaching a tree blossoming from the top,

Ekā tuvaṁ tiṭṭhasi rukkhamūle,
You stay alone at the root of the tree,

Na cāpi te dutiyā atthi koci,
There is no one whom you are second to,

Na tvaṁ bāle bhāyasi dhuttakānan?”-ti
Young woman, are you not afraid of the scoundrels?”

[Upalavaṇṇā replied:]

“Sataṁ sahassānaṁ pi dhuttakānaṁ
“Even if a hundred thousand scoundrels

Samāgatā edisakā bhaveyyuṁ
Of such a character were to assemble

Lomaṁ na iñje na pi sampavedhe,
Not a body-hair would shake or tremble,

Kiṁ me tuvaṁ Māra karissaseko.
What can you do to me by yourself, Māra?

Esā antaradhāyāmi kucchiṁ vā pavisāmi te,
I will disappear completely or I will enter your stomach,

Bhamukantare tiṭṭhāmi, tiṭṭhantiṁ maṁ na dakkhasi.
I will stand between (your) eyebrows, (but) standing you will not see me.

Cittamhi vasībhūtāhaṁ, iddhipādā subhāvitā,
I have mastery over my mind, the powers are well-developed,

Cha me abhiññā sacchikatā, kataṁ Buddhassa Sāsanaṁ.
I have realised the six deep knowledges, fulfilled the Buddha’s Teaching.

Sattisūlūpamā kāmā, khandhāsaṁ adhikuṭṭanā.
Sensual pleasures are like an axe, the constituent parts (like) the block,

Yaṁ tvaṁ kāmaratiṁ brūsi, arati dāni sā mama.
That which you say is sensual delight, in that for me there is no delight.

Sabbattha vihatā nandī, tamokhandho padālito,
Everywhere delight is dead, broken is the mass of darkness,

Evaṁ jānāhi Pāpima: nihato tvam-asi Antakā ti.
This you should know, Wicked One: the End-Maker is destroyed!


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