Sisupacala Sutta
Sister Sisupacala


At Savatthi: Then, early in the morning, Sisupacala the nun put on her robes and, taking her bowl and 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,” (sic) and terror in her, wanting to make her fall from solitude, approached her and said, “Whose philosophy do you approve of, nun?”

“I don’t approve of anyone’s philosophy, my friend.”


“For whose sake
have you shaved your head?
You look like a contemplative
but don’t approve of a philosophy,
so why are you wandering here

[Sister Sisupacala:]

“Outside philosophers place
their confidence in views.
I don’t approve
of their teaching.
They’re not adept
in the Dhamma.
But there is
the Awakened One,
born in the Sakyan clan,
a person without peer:
Mara’s subduer,
everywhere undefeated,
everywhere freed, independent;
endowed with an Eye
all-seeing, reaching the end of
all kamma —
with the ending of acquisitions,
He, that Blessed One,
is my teacher.
It’s in his Dhamma
that I delight.”

Then Mara the Evil One — sad and dejected at realizing, “Sisupacala the nun knows me” — vanished right there.

Bhikkhuní Samyutta — The Bhikkhunis (nuns). In these Suttas Mara, the personification of doubt and evil, tries in vain to lure the nuns away from their meditation spots in the forest by asking them provocative questions. Without exception, these wise women conquer Mara decisively.