Poems from the Therigatha by Shi Faxun – 2

Shi Faxun

Shi Faxun


The state of having noble friends has been praised by the sage with reference to the world; if he resorted to noble friends, even a fool would be wise.

Good men are to be resorted to; in this way this wisdom of those who resort to them increases. Resorting to good men one would be released from all pains.

One should know pain, and the uprising of pain, and its cessation, and the eight-fold way, even the four noble truths.

The state of women has been said to be painful by the charioteer of men who are to be tamed; even the state of being a co-wife is painful; some, having given birth once,

Even cut their throats; some tender ones take poisons; considered as murders in hell both groups suffer misfortunes.

Going along, about to bring forth, I saw my husband dead; having given birth on the path, I had not yet arrived at my own house.

Two sons dead and a husband dead upon the path for miserable me; mother and father and brother were burning upon one pyre.

Miserable woman, with family annihilated, you have suffered immeasurable pain; and you have shed tears for many thousands of births.

Then I saw the flesh of my sons being eaten in the midst of the cemetery; with my family destroyed, despised by all, with husband dead, I attained the undying.

I have developed the noble eight-fold way leading to the undying; I have realized quenching; I have looked at the doctrine as a mirror.

I have my dart cut out, my burden laid down; I have done that which was to be done. Kisāgotamī, with mind completely released, has said this.

Selected and adapted (except where othersie stated) from Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns (Therīgāthā), translated by K.R. Norman (Elders’ Verses II, revised version), The Pali Text Society, Oxford, by Shi Faxun.

The exceprt is from her thesis The “Other” Path: The Bhikkhuni Quest for Liberation, which is available on the eBooks page.


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