SN 5.2 Somā: Genderless Wisdom

Somā Sutta


In Sāvatthi.


At that time,

The nun Somā dressed up in the morning,

Took her bowl and robe and entered Sāvatthi for alms.


Then after her alms in the afternoon,

she went to the Dark Grove to meditate for the day

and she sat down at the root of a tree.


Then Māra, the Wicked,

went to the nun Somā,

to evoke fear,


and anxiety in her,

Wishing to make her fall away from Samādhi, [1]

he spoke these verses:


“That which is to be attained by sages

That state so hard to achieve,

It is not with their two fingers of wisdom

That mere women can attain it.” [2]


Then Somā thought:

“Who just spoke these verses?

Is that a human voice

Or a non-human voice?”


She then realized:

“This is Māra, the Wicked,

And he is saying this

to evoke fear,


and anxiety in me,

So that I fall away from Samādhi


Having realized that the voice

was the voice of Māra, she answered:


“What does ‘being a woman’ has to do with it?

when the mind is perfectly collected;

In steady understanding of the present

The Perfect Dhamma is clearly seen.” [3]


“For one who thinks,

‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’

Or ‘I am this or that’

That person is fit to be addressed by Māra.” [4]


Then Māra, the Wicked thought

This nun Somā knows me!

Dejected and displeased,

he vanished there and then.[5]



[1] Atha kho māro pāpimā somāya bhikkhuniyā bhayaṃ chambhitattaṃ lomahaṃsaṃ uppādetukāmo samādhimhā cāvetukāmo yena somā bhikkhunī tenupasaṅkami;

[2] “Yaṃ taṃ isīhi pattabbaṃ, ṭhānaṃ durabhisambhavaṃ; Na taṃ dvaṅgulapaññāya, sakkā pappotumitthiyā”ti.

[3] “Itthibhāvo kiṃ kayirā, cittamhi susamāhite; Ñāṇamhi vattamānamhi, sammā dhammaṃ vipassato.

[4] Yassa nūna siyā evaṃ, Itthāhaṃ purisoti vā; Kiñci vā pana aññasmi, Taṃ māro vattumarahatī”ti.

[5] Atha kho māro pāpimā “jānāti maṃ somā bhikkhunī”ti dukkhī dummano tatthevantaradhāyīti.

This is a gift of Dhamma

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