Sister Somā
Somā Sutta  (SN 5:2)

Near Sāvatthī. Then, early in the morning, Somā the nun adjusted her robes and, taking her bowl & outer robe, went into Sāvatthī for alms. When she had gone for alms in Sāvatthī 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, & terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from concentration, approached her & addressed her in verse:


which is

to be attained by seers

—the place so very hard to reach—



—with their two-inch discernment—


Then the thought occurred to Somā 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, & 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 & dejected at realizing, “Somā the nun knows me”—vanished right there.