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Therigatha V

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
For free distribution only.

V.2 -- Vimala, the Former Courtesan [go to top]

Intoxicated with my complexion
figure, beauty, & fame;
haughty with youth,
    I despised other women.
Adorning this body
embellished to delude foolish men,
I stood at the door to the brothel:
    a hunter with snare laid out.
I showed off my ornaments,
and revealed many a private part.
I worked my manifold magic,
laughing out loud at the crowd.

Today, wrapped in a double cloak,
    my head shaven,
    having wandered for alms,
I sit at the foot of a tree
and attain the state of no-thought.
All ties -- human & divine -- have been cut.
Having cast off all effluents,
cooled am I,        unbound.

V.4 -- Nanda's Vision [go to top]

"Sick, putrid, unclean:
look, Nanda, at this physical heap.
Through contemplation of the foul,
develop your mind,
make it one, well-centered.

    As this [your body], so that.
    As that, so this.
It gives off a foul stench,
the delight of fools."

Considering it thus,
untiring, both day & night,
I, with my own discernment
    dissecting it,

And as I, heedful,
    examined it aptly,
this body -- as it actually is --
was seen inside & out.

Then was I disenchanted with the body
    & dispassionate within:
Heedful, detached,
    calmed was I.


V.6 -- Mittakali [go to top]

Going forth through conviction
from home into homelessness,
I wandered this place & that,
greedy for tribute & gains.
Missing out on the foremost goal,
I pursued a lowly one.
Under the sway of defilements
I surrendered the goal
of the contemplative life.

Then, sitting in my dwelling,
I suddenly came to my senses:

I'm following a miserable path.
I'm under the sway of
    Next to nothing, my life --
    by aging & illness.
    Before the body breaks apart,
    I have no time
        for heedlessness.
After watching, as it actually was,
the rising & falling of aggregates,
I stood up with mind released,
the Awakened One's bidding

V.8 -- Sona, Mother of Ten [go to top]

Ten children I bore
from this physical heap.
Then weak from that, aged,
I went to a nun.
She taught me the Dhamma:
    aggregates, sense spheres, & elements.
Hearing her Dhamma,
I cut off my hair & ordained.
Having purified the divine eye
while still a probationer,
I know my previous lives,
where I lived in the past.
I develop the theme-less meditation,
well-focused oneness.
I gain the liberation of immediacy --
from lack of clinging, unbound.
The five aggregates, comprehended,
stand like a tree with its root cut through.
    I spit on old age.
There is now no further becoming.

V.10 -- Patacara [go to top]

[I thought:]
"Plowing the field with plows,
sowing the ground with seed,
supporting their wives & children,
young men gather up wealth.

So why is it that I,
    consummate in virtue,
    a doer of the teacher's bidding,
don't gain Unbinding?
I'm not lazy or proud."

Washing my feet, I noticed

And in watching it flow from high
    my heart was composed
    like a fine thoroughbred steed.

Then taking a lamp, I entered the hut,
    checked the bedding,
    sat down on the bed.

And taking a pin, I pulled out the wick:
    Like the flame's unbinding
    was the liberation
        of awareness.

V.11 -- Patacara's Thirty Students [go to top]

[Patacara taught:]
"Taking the pestle,
young men grind the corn.
Supporting their wives & children,
they gather up wealth.
Do the Awakened One's bidding,
    which, having done,
    you'll have no regret.
Intent on tranquillity of awareness,
do the Awakened One's bidding.
    Having washed your feet,
    go sit to one side."

Hearing these words,
Patacara's bidding,
they washed their feet
and retired to one side.
Intent on tranquillity of awareness,
they did the Awakened One's bidding.
In the first watch of the night,
    they recollected their previous lives.
In the middle watch,
    purified the divine eye.
In the last,
    burst the mass of darkness.
Getting up, they bowed down to her feet.

"We have done your bidding.
Like the thirty devas honoring Indra,
unvanquished in battle,
we -- endowed with the three knowledges,
    effluent-free --
will continue honoring you."

V.12 -- Canda, the Beggar [go to top]

Before, I had fallen on evil times:
    no husband, no children,
    no relatives, friends,
    no way to obtain clothing & food.
So, taking a staff & bowl in hand,
begging for alms from house to house,
feverish from the cold & heat,
I wandered for seven full years.
Then seeing a nun
obtaining food & drink,
I approached her & said:
    "Let me go forth into homelessness."

She, Patacara, from sympathy,
let me go forth;
then, exhorting me,
urged me on to the highest goal.
Hearing her words,
I did her bidding.
Her exhortation was not in vain.
    Endowed with the three knowledges,
    I'm effluent-free.

Revised: Tue 15 May 2001