I. Sagatha Vagga
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Provenance, terms and conditons
Then, early in the morning, Soma the nun put on her robes and, taking her bowl and outer robe, went into Sāvatthi for alms. When she had gone for alms in Sāvatthi 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 Māra the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, and terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:
to be attained by seers
-- the place so very hard to reach —
-- with their two-inch discernment —
Then the thought occurred to Soma the nun: "Now who has recited this verse — a human being or a non-human one?" Then it occurred to her: "This is Māra the Evil One, who has recited this verse wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, and terror in me, wanting to make me fall away from concentration."
Then, having understood that "This is Māra the Evil One," she replied to him in verses:
does being a woman make
when the mind's well-centered,
when knowledge is progressing,
seeing clearly, rightly,
into the Dhamma.
Anyone who thinks
'I'm a woman'
or 'a man'
or 'Am I anything at all?' —
that's who Māra's
fit to address.
Then Māra the Evil One — sad and dejected at realizing, "Soma the nun knows me" — vanished right there.