The Verses of Arahant Nun Subhā, Who Dwelled in the Jīvaka Mango Garden

365. On one occasion, the nun Subhā was going to the delightful Jīvaka mango garden. Then suddenly a rogue appeared and stood blocking her way. Subhā said this to him:

366. What wrong have I done to you, that you should stand there blocking my way? It is not fitting, sir, that a man should touch a nun.

367. I deeply respect the Buddha’s path. The Sublime One has taught us about the precepts. I protect those precepts purely. I am taintless. So, why are you standing here blocking me?

368. You have a disturbed mind. My mind is undisturbed. You are a defiled person. I am a taintless person with no lust. I am liberated from every single defilement. So, why are you standing here blocking me?

369. [Rogue:] You are still young. You are not ugly. What good will nunhood do for you? Throw away your robe. Come, let’s enjoy ourselves in this forest full of blooms.

370. The blooming shrubs release a sweet smell in all directions with the pollen of their flowers. This is the beginning of spring and the weather is very comfortable. Come, let us enjoy ourselves in this forest full of blooms.

371. The trees with blossoming crests sway in the wind as if they were singing and dancing. You have entered this forest alone. What enjoyment is here for you?

372. This fearful forest is inhabited by herds of animals and surrounded by female and male elephants. In this frightening great forest, do you wish to walk alone without a companion?

373. Your beauty is beyond compare. You are like a statue of gold decorated by the finest Kāsi cloth. Oh, incomparable one, you shine with beauty like a decorated golden statue. You are like an angel in the Cittalata forest.

374. I am dazzled by your beauty. If we both were to live together in this forest, I would devote my life to you. Oh, you have crystal clear, shining eyes like that of an angel. There is no other person dearer to me than you.

375. If you will grant my bidding, come and live happily with me in my house. I will offer you my luxurious palace, and servant girls, who will always attend to your needs.

376. Then you will wear Kāsi, the finest of all clothes, and put on flower garlands and perfumes. I will make you many ornaments of gold, jewels, and pearls.

377. In that palace there is a bed made of sandalwood with a comfortable mattress and a well-washed, beautiful coverlet. It is spread with a new, costly woolen quilt. You can sleep very peacefully on this fragrant bed.

378. So, why are you living this life of a nun? It is like a blue lotus lake possessed by a demon. Because of your celibate life, you will grow old with your limbs untouched by any man.

379. [Subhā:] What is it that you consider substantial here in this body, which is full of filth, filling the cemetery, and is destined to break up? What is it that you appreciate so much when you look at this body?

380. [Rogue:] It is your eyes that I appreciate. Your eyes are extremely beautiful, like those of a doe, like those of a nymph who lives between mountains. When I see your eyes my desire for sensual pleasures increases all the more.

381. You are like a golden statue. The eyes on your face can be compared with the petals of a red lotus. By seeing your eyes, my desire for sensual pleasures increases all the more.

382. You, the one with big eyes, you, the one with the pure gaze, no eyes are dearer to me than yours, you nymph with pleasant eyes. Even if you go far away, I shall always remember your eyes.

383. [Subhā:] No, you wish to go by the wrong path! You seek to have the moon as a toy. You wish to jump over mount Meru. Understand me, the one you wish for is a daughter of the Buddha.

384. In this world with its gods, nothing can arouse lust in me. I don’t know what lust is anymore. By following the path of Nibbāna, I have rooted out lust.

385. Like sparks from a pit of burning coals cooling down, like destroying a bowl of poison, I destroyed lust. By following the path of Nibbāna, I have rooted out lust.

386. You may seduce a woman who is not insightful or who hasn’t seen the Buddha through the Dhamma, but not me. You bother me, as I have realized the true nature of life.

387. Whether I am insulted or praised, in both happiness and unhappiness, my mindfulness is well established. I have understood that all conditioned things are disgusting. My mind does not cling to anything at all.

388. I’m a disciple of the Buddha. I travel in the vehicle called the Noble Eight Fold Path. I have pulled out the dart of lust and destroyed the taints. My heart only delights in an empty hut.

389. I have seen well painted wooden puppets, fastened by strings and sticks. They dance in various ways.

390. If these strings and sticks are removed, thrown away, scattered, and broken into pieces, then there is no puppet in them whatsoever. In which part of them should one delight?

391. This body is also like a puppet. It does not exist without supporting factors. As it does not exist without supporting factors, in which part of the body should one delight?

392. Just as you see a picture painted on a wall of a woman colored with paints, if people mistake it for a real woman, it is because their perception is distorted.

393. You are blind. You run after an empty thing which is like an illusion placed before you by a magician. You are after a golden tree someone had in a dream. You are like playing in a puppet show in the midst of the people.

394. These eyes are like little balls set in hollow grooves, with a bubble in the middle, smeared with tears. Inside these grooves there are eye secretions, various sorts of tendons, and flesh rolled into balls.

395. The good looking lady, Subhā, was not attached to her eyes. With an unattached mind, Subhā suddenly tore out one of her eyes. She said, “Come, take this eye for yourself,” and straight away she gave it to the man.

396-97. Instantly, the rogue’s lust ceased and he begged her pardon. [Rogue:] “Oh celibate nun, may you recover soon! Such a thing will not happen again. If one tries to attack a noble nun like this, it is like embracing a blazing fire. It is like grabbing a poisonous snake with your bare hands. That person won’t gain any happiness. Please forgive me.”

398. The nun was freed from the rogue and went to the excellent Buddha. The very instant she saw the one with great marks of excellent merit, the Buddha, her eye was restored to its former condition.

These verses were said by Arahant Nun Subhā, who dwelled in the Jīvaka mango garden.

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