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SN 4.24 Sattavassānubandhasutta: Seven Years of Pursuit

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Uruvela on the bank of the river Nerañjara at the foot of the Goatherd’s Banyan Tree. Now on that occasion Mara the Evil One had been following the Blessed One for seven years, seeking to gain access to him but without success. Then Mara the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

“Is it because you are sunk in sorrow
That you meditate in the woods?
Because you’ve lost wealth or pine for it,
Or committed some crime in the village?
Why don’t you make friends with people?
Why don’t you form any intimate ties?”

The Blessed One:

“Having dug up entirely the root of sorrow,
Guiltless, I meditate free from sorrow.
Having cut off all greedy urge for existence,
I meditate taintless, O kinsman of the negligent!”


“That of which they say ‘It’s mine,’
And those who speak in terms of ‘mine’—
If your mind exists among these,
You won’t escape me, ascetic.”

The Blessed One:

“That which they speak of is not mine,
I’m not one of those who speak of mine.
You should know thus, O Evil One:
Even my path you will not see.”


“If you have discovered the path,
The secure way leading to the Deathless,
Be off and walk that path alone;
What’s the point of instructing others?”

The Blessed One:

“Those people going to the far shore
Ask what lies beyond Death’s realm.
When asked, I explain to them
The truth without acquisitions.”

Mara: “Suppose, venerable sir, not far from a village or a town there was a lotus pond in which a crab was living. Then a group of boys and girls would leave the village or town and go to the pond. They would pull the crab out from the water and set it down on high ground. Then, whenever that crab would extend one of its claws, those boys and girls would cut it off, break it, and smash it to bits with sticks and stones. Thus, when all its claws have been cut off, broken, and smashed to bits, that crab would be unable to return to that pond. So too, venerable sir, all those distortions, manoeuvres, and contortions of mine have been cut off, broken, and smashed to bits by the Blessed One. Now, venerable sir, I am unable to approach the Blessed One again seeking to gain access to him.”

Then Mara the Evil One, in the presence of the Blessed One, recited these verses of disappointment:

“There was a crow that walked around
A stone that looked like a lump of fat.
‘Let’s find something tender here,’ he thought,
‘Perhaps there’s something nice and tasty.’

But because he found nothing tasty there,
The crow departed from that spot.
Just like the crow that attacked the stone,
We leave Gotama disappointed.”

Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 4.24 Sattavassānubandhasutta: Seven Years of Pursuit by Bhikkhu Bodhi on Or read a different translation on Or listen on