Project Description

In Sri Lanka

All of these books are available at the book shops in our monasteries. In Colombo they are available at the Tripitaka Sadaham Poth Medura in the YMBA building on Austin Place. Phone 01 14 255 987.

The Voice of Enlightened Nuns: Therigatha

This is a complete translation of the Therigatha, one of the books of thePali Canon Found in the Khuddaka Nikaya.

Through this sacred book, you will meet the noble nuns who attained enlightenment when the Buddha was alive.
These exalted nuns achieved the essence of the Buddha’s path: the liberation through Arahantship and ultimate freedom. The account of their struggle for enlightenment is amazing. It is hard to imagine how they practiced the Dhamma with such extreme energy and determination, even at a risk to their own lives.
Saying “Saṅghaṁ saranaṁ gacchāmi,” we go for refuge to this community of noble disciples. How exalted and pure they are! We who are living in the twenty-sixth century of the Buddhist era can be overjoyed simply by recollecting the pure lives of such enlightened disciples.
While you are reading this sacred book, those Arahant nuns might seem to appear in front of you. You will feel like they are conversing with you. You will witness before you the display of the ultimate purity of their hearts. The community of the Buddha’s noble disciples is absolutely remarkable and magnificent.

A translation into English from the Sinhala translation by Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thera.


Introduction
Recollecting the Exalted Qualitiesof the Community of Noble Monks
Verses of Introduction: Nidāna Gāthā

Section of Single Verses
The verse of a certain Arahant Nun
The verse of Arahant Nun Muttā
The verse of Arahant Nun Puṇṇā
The verse of Arahant Nun Tissā
The verse of Arahant Nun Tissā
The verse of Arahant Nun Dhīrā
The verse of Arahant Nun Vīrā
The verse of Arahant Nun Mittā
The verse of Arahant Nun Bhadrā
The verse of Arahant Nun Upasamā
The verse of Arahant Nun Muttā
The verse of Arahant Nun Dhammadinnā
The verse of Arahant Nun Visākhā
The verse of Arahant Nun Sumanā
The verse of Arahant Nun Uttarā
The verse of Arahant Nun Sumanā, who became a nun when she was old.
The verse of Arahant Dhammā
The verse of Arahant Saṅghā

Section of Two Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Gorgeous Nandā
The verses of Arahant Nun Jentā
The verses of Arahant Nun Sumangalamātā
The verses of Arahant Nun Aḍḍhakāsī
The verses of Arahant Nun Cittā
The verses of Arahant Nun Mettikā
The verses of Arahant Nun Mettā
The verses of Arahant Nun Abhayamātā
The verses of Arahant Nun Abhayā
The verses of Arahant Nun Sāmā

Section of Three Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Sāmā
The verses of Arahant Nun Uttamā
The verses of Arahant Nun Uttamā
The verses of Arahant Nun Dantikā
The verses of Arahant Nun Ubbirī
The verses of Arahant Nun Sukkā
The verses of Arahant Nun Selā
The verses of Arahant Nun Somā

Section of Four Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Bhaddā Kāpilānī

Section of Five Verses
The verses of a certain Arahant Nun
The verses of Arahant Nun Vimalā
The verses of Arahant Nun Sīhā
The verses of Arahant Nun Nandā
The verses of Arahant Nun Nanduttarā
The verses of Arahant Nun Mittakālī
The verses of Arahant Nun Sakulā
The verses of Arahant Nun Soṇā
The verses of Arahant Nun Bhaddā Kuṇdalakesā
The verses of Arahant Nun Patācārā
The verses of thirty Arahant Nuns
The verses of Arahant Nun Candā

Section of Six Verses
The verses of five hundred Arahant Nuns
The verses of Arahant Nun Vāseṭṭhi
The verses of Arahant Nun Khemā
The verses of Arahant Nun Sujātā
The verses of Arahant Nun Anupamā
The verses of Arahant Nun Mahā Pajāpatī Gotamī
The verses of Arahant Nun Guttā
The verses of Arahant Nun Vijayā

Section of Seven Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Uttarā
The verses of Arahant Nun Cālā
The verses of Arahant Nun Upacālā

Section of Eight Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Sisūpacālā

Section of Nine Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Vaḍḍhamātā

Section of Eleven Verses
The Verses of Arahant Nun Kisāgotamī

Section of Twelve Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Uppalavaṇṇā

Section of Sixteen Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Puṇṇā

Section of Twenty Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Ambapāli
The verses of Arahant Nun Rohiṇī
The verses of Arahant Nun Cāpā
The verses of Arahant Nun Sundarī
The verses of Arahant Nun Subhā, the smith’s daughter

Section of Thirty Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Subhā, who dwelled in the Jīvaka mango garden

Section of Forty Verses
The verses of Arahant Nun Isidāsī

The Great Section
The verses of Arahant Nun Sumedhā

Index

The Arahant

It is sweet even to hear the sound of the word “Arahant.” To be able to meet a venerable Arahant monk or nun is an extremely fortunate event. In this human world, living among the humans, walking on this earth, these Arahants belong to a group of marvelous humans.

Arahants Cannot Be Measured

In this universe, these magnificent beings only appear with the help of a fully enlightened Buddha. This is because it is only under the instruction of the Buddha that the Noble Eight-Fold Path which leads to the attainment of the fruit of Stream-entry, Once-returning, Non-returning, and Arahantship is revealed. Therefore it is impossible to measure these Arahants who have achieved the ultimate purity, having destroyed all defilements.

“Monk Upasīva, there is no way to measure an Arahant who has achieved ultimate freedom, Nibbāna. If someone uses an ordinary unit of measurement to measure ordinary people, Arahants cannot be measured in this way. Once all defilements have been eradicated, all arguments cease.”

Upasīva Sutta, Sutta Nipāta verse 1076

Like Golden Swans

For an ordinary person, it is impossible to comprehend the life of Arahants. An Arahant’s life is unimaginably peaceful, simple, and liberated. In this world the only person that walks with perfect freedom is an Arahant. In this time period the very first person to become an Arahant was the fully enlightened Buddha. The Buddha spoke about the lives of Arahants in this way:

“Arahants are well established in the Four Establishments of Mindfulness. They are not bound by craving. Like the swans that fly away from the lake, they let go of everything, large and small.”

Dhammapada, verse 91

The Tamed Arahant

If the six sense bases are completely tamed in someone, that person is definitely an Arahant. The tameness that arises from virtue, concentration, and wisdom is mind-blowing. This is the exact reason that they are extremely humble.

“Arahants tame their senses with the same skill that an expert horse tamer tames his horses. Because of this they become utterly extinguished. Humble and with unshakeable minds, these unblemished Arahants are a pleasant sight, even for the gods.”

Dhammapada, verse 94

Beautiful Is the Place They Reside

The Arahant sages who do wholesome actions, who speak wholesome words, and who think wholesome thoughts, make even the environment around them become beautiful. The liberated personality of these Arahant monks and nuns matches the beauty of nature very well. Like the beauty of a flower, they possess an untarnished, inherent beauty.

“Whether it be a village, a jungle, a valley, a hill or any other place, if Arahants dwell there, that place is truly delightful.”

Dhammapada, verse 98

Glowing with Wisdom

Possessing an enchanting wisdom, our Great Teacher, the Buddha, shared his knowledge with his disciples. Those disciples used the power of the Buddha’s enchanting wisdom to stimulate their own wisdom. It was because of that power of wisdom that they were able to rise above the ordinary people. The Buddha explained that point in this way:

“A beautiful, fragrant lotus blooms in a mud-hole filled with filth along the highway road. In the same way, in the world with its ignorant, worldly people that have stained and impure beliefs, a disciple of the Buddha will stand out among them, shining with brilliant wisdom.”

Dhammapada, verses 58 & 59

The Realization of an Arahant

One becomes an Arahant by realizing the Four Noble Truths fully. That realization must occur in three phases and twelve modes. The Blessed One explained this fact in his very first discourse—the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.
When one becomes a stream enterer, that disciple attains the first phase with regard to the Four Noble Truths. It is known as “the knowledge of the truth.”

The Knowledge of the Truth

The one who attained the Knowledge of the Truth embraces the first factor of the Noble Eight-fold Path. This means he has within himself the right view that comes from the understanding of the Four Noble Truths. He knows by his own understanding: suffering as a noble truth, the cause of suffering as a noble truth, the end of suffering as a noble truth, and that the path that must be followed to end suffering is the Noble Eight-fold Path as a noble truth. This is the Knowledge of the Truth.

The Knowledge of the Task to Be Accomplished

This is the second phase. In the first phase, the disciple understood the knowledge of the truth with regards to the Four Noble Truths. In this second phase, the disciple should have the knowledge of the task to be accomplished with regard to each noble truth. He understands that the noble truth of suffering is to be fully understood, the noble truth of the cause of suffering is to be abandoned, the noble truth of the end of suffering is to be realized, and the way leading to the end of suffering is to be developed in terms of virtue, concentration, and wisdom. This way the disciple of the Buddha realizes the Four Noble Truths completely, having established on the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths itself.

The Knowledge That the Task Has Been Completed

In this way, when one has started to develop the Noble Eightfold Path, he is capable of developing the thirty-seven aids to enlightenment. Within it, the three-fold way of training called virtue, concentration, and wisdom is developed. Then, he becomes liberated from all defilements and becomes enlightened. Having completed the task with regard to the Four Noble Truths he possesses the Knowledge That the Task Has Been Completed.

This means he has the knowledge that what had to be done with regard to the Noble Truth of Suffering has been completed. That is, the complete understanding of the Noble Truth of Suffering. He has the knowledge that what had to be done with regard to the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering has been completed. That is, the complete eradication of the Noble truth of the Cause of Suffering. He has the knowledge that what had to be done with regard to the Noble Truth of the End of Suffering has been completed. That is, the achievement of the Noble Truth of the End of Suffering. He has the knowledge that what had to be done with regard to the Noble Truth of the way leading to the End of Suffering has been completed in terms of virtue, concentration, and wisdom. That is, the development of the Noble Truth of the way leading to the End of Suffering. This is the third phase.

In this way, we have passed through an era where thousands of Arahants lived with the all-encompassing knowledge of the Four Noble Truths.

Inspired Utterances of Arahants

There are accounts mentioned in the Dhamma that those Arahants uttered inspired utterances about this amazing transformation which took place in their lives:
“Birth is destroyed. The holy life has been lived. What had to be done to attain enlightenment has been done. There is nothing more to be done to attain enlightenment.”

The Era of a Buddha

The era of a Buddha occurs extremely rarely in the world. During that time, the chance to be born human and to come across the teaching of the Buddha is known as a time of momentous fortune. This moment in a human life is an extremely rare occurrence. Arahants are the only ones that make maximum use of this fruitful moment.
Each discourse of the Buddha contains teachings that solely lead to Arahantship in this very life. There aren’t any other hidden meanings within it. Wise people are skillful in understanding that fact. With that knowledge, they place confidence in the Buddha. Furthermore, they strongly believe in the ultimate solution presented by the Buddha. They give the highest priority to realizing it. They abandon the home life and go forth into homelessness and become monks and nuns.

The Buddha’s Path

The Buddha’s path is a name given for the way leading to Nibbāna, preached by the Buddha.

Sabba pāpassa akaraṇaṁ
Kusalassa upasampadā
Sacitta pariyodapanaṁ
Etaṁ Buddhāna sāsanaṁ
“To abstain from all evil, to cultivate the thirty-seven aids to enlightenment, and to cleanse your own mind, this is the teaching of all Buddhas.”

Dhammapada, verse 183

Entering the Buddha’s Path

Entering the Buddha’s path means that you embrace the Three Refuges and receive the full ordination. After that, one is gradually tamed, all the way up to Arahantship. It is because of this that Arahants utter the inspired utterance saying “Kataṁ buddhassa sāsanaṁ” (the Buddha’s path has been fully followed).
The Buddha had this unsurpassed, extraordinary ability to guide the disciples who enter the path until Arahantship is reached. There is an occasion in the Middle Length Discourses where the Buddha explains the instructions on taming his disciples to a brāhmin named Gaṅaka Moggallāna in the Gaṅaka Moggallāna Sutta (Majjhima Nikāya 107).

Instructions from the Buddha

“Just as, brāhmin, when a clever horse-trainer obtains a fine thoroughbred horse, he first makes him get used to wearing the bit, and afterwards trains him further, so too when a person comes to the Tathāgata to be tamed, he first disciplines him thus: ‘Come monk, be virtuous, restrained with the restraint of the major code of discipline, possess courteous behavior and good conduct, and seeing fear in the slightest fault, train in the precepts you have undertaken.’

Guard Your Sense Faculties

“When, brāhmin, the monk is virtuous… and seeing fear in the slightest fault, trains in the precepts he has undertaken, then the Tathāgata disciplines him further: ‘Come, monk, guard the doors of your sense faculties. On seeing a form with the eye, do not grasp at its signs and features. Since, if you were to leave the eye faculty unguarded, evil unwholesome states of desire and anger might invade you, therefore practice the way of its restraint, guard the eye faculty, undertake the restraint of the eye faculty. On hearing a sound with the ear… On smelling an odour with the nose… On tasting a flavour with the tongue… On touching a tangible with the body… On cognizing a mind-object with the mind, do not grasp at its signs and features. Since, if you were to leave the mind faculty unguarded, evil unwholesome states of desire and anger might invade you, therefore practice the way of its restraint, guard the mind faculty, and practice the restraint of the mind faculty.’

Take Meals with Full Awareness

“When, brāhmin, the monk guards the doors of his sense faculties, then the Tathāgata disciplines him further: ‘Come, monk, be moderate in eating. Reflecting wisely, you should take food, neither for fun nor for intoxication nor for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness, but only for the endurance and continuance of this body, for ending painful feelings, and for assisting the holy life, considering: “Thus I shall give up old feelings without making new feelings and I shall be healthy and blameless and shall live in comfort.’

Meditating with Wakefulness

“When, brāhmin, the monk is moderate in eating, then the Tathāgata disciplines him further: ‘Come, monk, be devoted to meditation with wakefulness. During the day, while walking back and forth and sitting, clean your mind of states that block it. In the first part of the night, while walking back and forth and sitting, clean your mind of states that block it. In the middle part of the night you should lie down on the right side in the lion’s pose with one foot overlapping the other, mindful and fully aware, after noting in your mind the time for wakening up. After rising in the morning, in the third part of the night, while walking back and forth and sitting, clean your mind of states that block it.’

Be Mindful of Your Body Position and Daily Routines

“When, brāhmin, the monk is devoted to wakefulness, then the Tathāgata disciplines him further: ‘Come, monk, be possessed of mindfulness and full attentiveness. Act in full awareness when going forward and returning; act in full awareness when looking ahead and looking away; act in full awareness when flexing and stretching your limbs; act in full awareness when wearing your robes and carrying your double robe and bowl; act in full awareness when eating, drinking, consuming food, and tasting; act in full awareness when defecating and urinating; act in full awareness when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, and keeping silent.’ (This means that one should not allow unwholesome states to arise)

Live in Seclusion

“When, brāhmin, the monk possesses mindfulness and full awareness, then the Tathāgata disciplines him further: ‘Come, monk, spend time in a secluded resting place: the forest, the root of a tree, a mountain, a ravine, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle thicket, an open space or a heap of straw.’

Give Up the Five Hindrances

“He resorts to a secluded resting place: the forest… a heap of straw. On returning from his alms round, after his meal he sits down, folding his legs crosswise, setting his body straight, and establishing mindfulness on the meditation object. Giving up greed for the world, he lives with a mind free from greed; he purifies his mind from greed. Giving up ill will and hatred, he lives with a mind free from ill will, compassionate for the wellbeing of all living beings; he cleans his mind of ill will and hatred. Giving up sleepiness and drowsiness, he lives free from sleepiness and drowsiness, able to perceive light, mindful and fully aware; he purifies his mind from sleepiness and drowsiness. Giving up restlessness and remorse, he lives without an agitated mind and is peaceful inside; he purifies his mind from restlessness and remorse. Giving up doubt, he lives having gone beyond doubt, without confusion about wholesome states; he purifies his mind from doubt.

Attain Jhānas

“Having thus given up these five hindrances, imperfections of the mind that weaken wisdom, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, he enters upon and stays in the first jhāna, which has applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.

“With the stilling of applied and sustained thought, he enters upon and stays in the second jhāna, which has self-confidence and singleness of mind without applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of concentration.

“With the fading away as well of rapture, he lives in equanimity, and mindful and fully aware, still feeling pleasure with the body, he enters upon and stays in the third jhāna, because of which noble ones announce: ‘He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.’

“With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous disappearance of joy and grief, he enters upon and stays in the fourth jhāna, which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity.

“This is my instruction, brāhmin, to those monks who are in the higher training, whose minds have not yet attained the goal of Arahantship, who live hoping to achieve the supreme security from bondage.

“But these things lead to both to a pleasant living here and now and to mindfulness and full awareness for those monks who are arahants with taints destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden of defilements, reached the goal gradually, destroyed the things that tie one to existence, and are completely liberated through final knowledge.”

In this manner, having developed the knowledge of seeing things as they really are, that monk or nun contemplates all formations as impermanent, suffering, and non-self. Through the realization of the Four Noble Truths, he becomes liberated from suffering.

Marvelous Lives

Now you have learned about the incredible gradual training used by the Buddha to discipline his disciples. The Buddha explained about the noble lives of his enlightened disciples who were fully tamed under that instruction in this way:

“Monks, to whatever extent there are dwelling places of beings, even up to the peak of existence, Arahants are the foremost in the world, Arahants are the Supreme.

Paṭama Arahanta Sutta, SN 22.76

Verses of Enlightened Nuns

Through this sacred book, you will meet the noble nuns who attained enlightenment when the Buddha was alive.
These exalted nuns achieved the essence of the Buddha’s path: the liberation through Arahantship and ultimate freedom. The account of their struggle for enlightenment is amazing. It is hard to imagine how they practiced the Dhamma with such extreme energy and determination, even at a risk to their own lives.

Saying “Saṅghaṁ saranaṁ gacchāmi,” we go for refuge to this community of noble disciples. How exalted and pure they are! We who are living in the twenty-sixth century of the Buddhist era can be overjoyed simply by recollecting the pure lives of such enlightened disciples.

While you are reading this sacred book, those Arahant nuns might seem to appear in front of you. You will feel like they are conversing with you. You will witness before you the display of the ultimate purity of their hearts. The community of the Buddha’s noble disciples is absolutely remarkable and magnificent.

Venerable resident monks in the Mahamewnawa Meditation Monastery, members of the Maha Sangha, and faithful devotees supported me in compiling this sacred book. May they achieve the Supreme bliss of Nibbāna!

May our noble friends, Mr. Dayawamsa Jayakodi and Mrs. Jayakodi, and their staff who aided in of the publishing of this sacred book, also achieve Nibbāna! May you who read this book attain Nibbāna in this Gautama Buddha’s path!

Ven. Kiribathgoda Ñānānanda Thero
Mahamewnāwa Meditation Monastery
Vaduwāwa, Yatigaloluwa
Polgahawela
Sri Lanka

The verses of Arahant Nun Subhā, who dwelled in the Jīvaka mango garden

365. On one occasion, the nun Subhā was going to the delightful Jīvaka mango garden. Then suddenly a rogue appeared and stood blocking her way. Subhā said this to him:

366. What wrong have I done to you, that you should stand there blocking my way? It is not fitting, sir, that a man should touch a nun.

367. I deeply respect the Buddha’s path. The Sublime One has taught us about the precepts. I protect those precepts purely. I am taintless. So, why are you standing here blocking me?

368. You have a disturbed mind. My mind is undisturbed. You are a defiled person. I am a taintless person with no lust. I am liberated from every single defilement. So, why are you standing here blocking me?

369. [Rogue:] You are still young. You are not ugly. What good will nunhood do for you? Throw away your robe. Come, let’s enjoy ourselves in this forest full of blooms.

370. The blooming shrubs release a sweet smell in all directions with the pollen of their flowers. This is the beginning of spring and the weather is very comfortable. Come, let us enjoy ourselves in this forest full of blooms.

371. The trees with blossoming crests sway in the wind as if they were singing and dancing. You have entered this forest alone. What enjoyment is here for you?

372. This fearful forest is inhabited by herds of animals and surrounded by female and male elephants. In this frightening great forest, do you wish to walk alone without a companion?

373. Your beauty is beyond compare. You are like a statue of gold decorated by the finest Kāsi cloth. Oh, incomparable one, you shine with beauty like a decorated golden statue. You are like an angel in the Cittalata forest.

374. I am dazzled by your beauty. If we both were to live together in this forest, I would devote my life to you. Oh, you have crystal clear, shining eyes like that of an angel. There is no other person dearer to me than you.

375. If you will grant my bidding, come and live happily with me in my house. I will offer you my luxurious palace, and servant girls, who will always attend to your needs.

376. Then you will wear Kāsi, the finest of all clothes, and put on flower garlands and perfumes. I will make you many ornaments of gold, jewels, and pearls.

377. In that palace there is a bed made of sandalwood with a comfortable mattress and a well-washed, beautiful coverlet. It is spread with a new, costly woolen quilt. You can sleep very peacefully on this fragrant bed.

378. So, why are you living this life of a nun? It is like a blue lotus lake possessed by a demon. Because of your celibate life, you will grow old with your limbs untouched by any man.

379. [Subhā:] What is it that you consider substantial here in this body, which is full of filth, filling the cemetery, and is destined to break up? What is it that you appreciate so much when you look at this body?

380. [Rogue:] It is your eyes that I appreciate. Your eyes are extremely beautiful, like those of a doe, like those of a nymph who lives between mountains. When I see your eyes my desire for sensual pleasures increases all the more.

381. You are like a golden statue. The eyes on your face can be compared with the petals of a red lotus. By seeing your eyes, my desire for sensual pleasures increases all the more.

382. You, the one with big eyes, you, the one with the pure gaze, no eyes are dearer to me than yours, you nymph with pleasant eyes. Even if you go far away, I shall always remember your eyes.

383. [Subhā:] No, you wish to go by the wrong path! You seek to have the moon as a toy. You wish to jump over mount Meru. Understand me, the one you wish for is a daughter of the Buddha.

384. In this world with its gods, nothing can arouse lust in me. I don’t know what lust is anymore. By following the path of Nibbāna, I have rooted out lust.

385. Like sparks from a pit of burning coals cooling down, like destroying a bowl of poison, I destroyed lust. By following the path of Nibbāna, I have rooted out lust.

386. You may seduce a woman who is not insightful or who hasn’t seen the Buddha through the Dhamma, but not me. You bother me, as I have realized the true nature of life.

387. Whether I am insulted or praised, in both happiness and unhappiness, my mindfulness is well established. I have understood that all conditioned things are disgusting. My mind does not cling to anything at all.

388. I’m a disciple of the Buddha. I travel in the vehicle called the Noble Eight Fold Path. I have pulled out the dart of lust and destroyed the taints. My heart only delights in an empty hut.

389. I have seen well painted wooden puppets, fastened by strings and sticks. They dance in various ways.

390. If these strings and sticks are removed, thrown away, scattered, and broken into pieces, then there is no puppet in them whatsoever. In which part of them should one delight?

391. This body is also like a puppet. It does not exist without supporting factors. As it does not exist without supporting factors, in which part of the body should one delight?

392. Just as you see a picture painted on a wall of a woman colored with paints, if people mistake it for a real woman, it is because their perception is distorted.

393. You are blind. You run after an empty thing which is like an illusion placed before you by a magician. You are after a golden tree someone had in a dream. You are like playing in a puppet show in the midst of the people.

394. These eyes are like little balls set in hollow grooves, with a bubble in the middle, smeared with tears. Inside these grooves there are eye secretions, various sorts of tendons, and flesh rolled into balls.

395. The good looking lady, Subhā, was not attached to her eyes. With an unattached mind, Subhā suddenly tore out one of her eyes. She said, “Come, take this eye for yourself,” and straight away she gave it to the man.

396-97. Instantly, the rogue’s lust ceased and he begged her pardon. [Rogue:] “Oh celibate nun, may you recover soon! Such a thing will not happen again. If one tries to attack a noble nun like this, it is like embracing a blazing fire. It is like grabbing a poisonous snake with your bare hands. That person won’t gain any happiness. Please forgive me.”

398. The nun was freed from the rogue and went to the excellent Buddha. The very instant she saw the one with great marks of excellent merit, the Buddha, her eye was restored to its former condition.

These verses were said by Arahant Nun Subhā, who dwelled in the Jīvaka mango garden.

The verses of Arahant Nun Sumedhā

447. In the city of Mantāvatī, the daughter of King Koñca’s chief queen was named Sumedhā. She was confident in the Buddha’s path.
448. She was virtuous and her speech was sweet. She had memorized much Dhamma and was disciplined in the Buddha’s path. One day, she went up to her mother and father and said: “Both of you, please listen to me.”
449. I only delight in ultimate freedom. Even heavenly rebirth is not eternal, not to speak of human sensual pleasures. They are base, give little enjoyment, and come with much suffering.
450. Foolish people are intoxicated with sensual pleasures. But they are bitter, like a snake’s poison. Chasing after sensual pleasures, those foolish people fall into hell and suffer for a long, long time.
451. Gaining knowledge that leads to harm, foolish people commit evil by body, speech, and mind. Then they fall into hell and sorrow greatly.
452. Those foolish people are unwise and are unable to think properly. They are enveloped in the arising of suffering and even if they are taught the Noble Truths they do not understand and realize them.
453. My dear mother, the majority of people in this world don’t know the Four Noble Truths taught by the excellent Buddha. They long only for rebirth in heaven.
454. Everything included in existence is impermanent. Even rebirth among gods is non-eternal. But foolish people are not afraid of being reborn again and again.
455. For the most part, beings are reborn in the four planes of misery. Rebirth in the human and heavenly worlds is gained with much difficulty, but there is no living of the nun’s life at all for those who have been born in planes of misery.
456. Therefore I ask that both of you give me your permission to become a nun in the path of the Buddha who possesses the ten powers. I will strive very hard for the elimination of birth and death.
457. What good will come to me by delighting in this existence? This body is indeed unsubstantial. I shall become a nun to achieve the cessation of the craving for existence. Please give me your permission.
458. A Buddha has appeared into the world in this era that we live in. I have avoided the occasions where I would have lost the opportunity of realizing the Dhamma. The moment when one should realize the Dhamma has been obtained by me. I will protect my virtuous and celibate life as long as I live.
459. Sumedhā spoke further to her mother and father and said, “If you don’t permit me to become a nun, I will starve myself to death.”
460. Feeling much pain, her mother started to cry. Her father, also full of tears, sought to dissuade Sumedhā as she lay on the mansion floor. Her father tried to arouse a desire in her to live the household life again.
461. [King:] “My dear daughter, please stand up! What benefit will you gain by being sad? Besides, you have been given in marriage to King Anīkadatta in the city of Vāraṇavatī. And most importantly, he is very handsome. You have been betrothed to him.
462. Once you become the wife of King Anīkadatta, you will be the chief queen. But, oh Daughter, protecting precepts, living a celibate life, and being a nun are difficult things to do.
463. With royal power you will be able to give orders. You will have authority over the family and wealth. All the enjoyments in the palace will be yours. Daughter, you are still young, enjoy sensual pleasures and let your marriage take place!”
464-65. Sumedhā spoke to them and said: “I don’t need anything that’s part of this unsubstantial existence! Either I will become a nun or die! There will be no marriage!”
465. This impure body is filthy, foul smelling, frightful, a heap of disgusting things, always oozing, and is like a bag filled with excrement. How can I enjoy such a filthy body?
466. This body, smeared with flesh and blood, is repulsive. I have realized the true nature of this body. It is a resort for worms, and food for vultures and other birds. To whom should I give such a body in marriage?
468. In the cemetery, this body will become food for dogs and wolves. After having thrown away this body in the cemetery, the mother and father of that person, disgusted with the dead body, bathe themselves. This is the unfortunate destiny of everybody.
469. The body is bound together with bones and tendons. It is filled with saliva, tears, excrement, and urine, but foolish people are attached to the body.
470. If anyone, dissecting it, were to turn this body inside out, even one’s own mother, being unable to bear the foul smell of it, would be disgusted.
471. I am reflecting on the true nature of the five groups of clinging, the four elements, the six sense bases, things dependently arisen, and the suffering arisen from birth. While reflecting in this way, how can I wish for marriage?
472. The Buddha taught the simile that a person strikes another person with three hundred spears a day and in the end he guarantees the Dhamma realization to that person. Let me be struck by three hundred iron spears every day. Even if the striking lasts a hundred years, it would better for me if this was the way to the end of suffering.
473. In this way, even when one knows the words of the Great Teacher, if one delights in this tragedy of aging and death, one has to be born again and again. In this way their journey of misery gets prolonged.
474. Immeasurable suffering is seen in heaven, the human world, the animal world, the titan world, the ghost world, and hell.
475. If one falls into hell, the animal world, the titan world, and the ghost world, one has to suffer immensely. One doesn’t have protection even among the gods; therefore there is nothing superior to the happiness of Nibbāna.
476. But those who follow the instruction of the ten-powered Buddha and strive for the elimination of birth and death can attain ultimate freedom, Nibbāna.
477. Dear father, this very day I will renounce the household life; what have I to do with this unsubstantial wealth? I gave up these sensual pleasures as if vomiting something up. I made my desire extinct, like a palm tree that has been cut down.
478. In this way she spoke to her father. In the meantime, King Anīkadatta, to whom she was promised, left the city of Vāranavati for the wedding.
479. Inside her room, Sumedhā cut off her soft, rich, black hair with a sword. With the door closed, she started meditating and reached the first meditative absorption.
480. She entered the jhāna well. King Anīkadatta arrived at the city of Mantāvatī. Sitting in the mansion, Sumedhā was skillfully developing the perception of impermanence.
481. While she was developing the perception of impermanence, King Anīkadatta, adorned with jewels and gold, quickly entered the mansion. Placing his hands together worshipping, he begged Sumedhā:
482. The authority, wealth, and all the enjoyments of the kingdom belong to you. You are still young. Enjoy sensual pleasures. In this world, happiness from sensual pleasures is hard to obtain.
483. Even rulership has been offered to you. Enjoy sensual pleasures and offer alms. Don’t be depressed. Your mother and father are in great pain.
484. Sumedhā replied to him saying, “I have nothing to do with sensual pleasures. I am not deluded with them anymore. I tell you this: do not delight in sensual pleasures. See the danger in sensual pleasures.
485. Once in the past, there was a wheel-turning monarch named Mandhātu. He ruled over the four great continents. He was the foremost of those who enjoyed sensual pleasures. Even he died unsatisfied with his wishes unfulfilled.
486. Even if the seven-jewels-great-rain falls all around in the ten directions, still, there won’t be satisfaction with sensual pleasures; indeed people die unsatisfied.
487. Sensual pleasures are like a butcher’s knife and a heap of meat. Sensual pleasures are like a snake’s head, they are like volcanoes, and they are like a bony skeleton.
488. Sensual pleasures are impermanent and unstable. They cause much suffering and are extremely painful. They are like a heated iron ball. Sensual pleasures are the root of all suffering. They have pain as the fruit.
489. Sensual pleasures are like the fruits of a tree being cut down. They are like lumps of flesh. They are painful. They are as if you were tricked in a dream. Sensual pleasures are like borrowed goods.
490. Sensual pleasures are like swords and sticks smeared with poison, like diseases, and are painful like a tumor. They take beings to death. They are dangerous like a charcoal pit. They are like an executioner.
491. In this way, sensual pleasures are said to cause much suffering, and are very dangerous. Therefore you may return home. I don’t believe that anything belonging to self is found in this repeated existence.
492. What can someone do for me when his own head is burning? When one is followed closely by old age and death, one must strive to end them.
493. I opened the door. I saw my mother, father, and King Anīkadatta seated on the ground crying. I said to them:
494. The beginning of this journey of misery cannot be discovered. When foolish people repeatedly cry at the time of their father’s death, at the tragedies of their brother, and at their own tragedies, this journey becomes prolonged for them.
495. In the long journey of repeated rebirth, recollect how many tears one has shed, the amount of mother’s milk one has drunk, and the amount of blood one has shed. Recollect the size of the heap of bones of those beings who are journeying on.
496. The Buddha asked us to compare the tears we have shed to the water of the great oceans and the same with the amount of milk we have drunk. The Buddha asked us to recollect the heap of bones of a person as equal to the size of the mountain Vepulla.
497. Again the Buddha asked us to recollect the simile of splitting up the great earth into little clay balls the size of berries and separating them, saying: “This ball represents my mother in this life, that ball represent my mother’s mother.” By this task, all the clay balls will be used up, but not the generations of mothers in this long journey of rebirth.
498. Also, the Buddha asked us to recollect the simile of splitting up all the trees, shrubs, and grass in this world into four-inch pieces and separate them, saying: “This piece represents my father in this life, that piece represents my father’s father.” By this task, all the pieces will be used up, but not the generations of fathers in this long journey of rebirth.
499. The Buddha asked us to recollect the simile of the blind turtle at the bottom of the great ocean who comes to the surface once every hundred years, puts its head through a small piece of wood with a hole in it and looks at the sky. Obtaining a human life is even more difficult.
500. The Buddha asked us to understand unsubstantial form as a lump of foam to understand the five groups of clinging as impermanent, and to recollect the immense suffering in hell.
501. He asked us to recollect how beings fill up the cemetery again and again as a result of being born in this life and that life. He asked us to recollect the greediness for food by comparing it to the simile of a person’s fear when going into the water with a crocodile. He asked us to reflect on the Four Noble Truths.
502. At a time when the Buddha’s Dhamma is available in the world, what is the point of chasing sensual pleasures? All the delights in sensual pleasures are extremely bitter.
503. At a time when the Buddha’s Dhamma is available in the world and it is obvious that sensual pleasures are like a burning fever, what is the point of chasing sensual pleasures? All delights in sensual pleasures are like fire, unsubstantial, agitating, and burning.
504. This nun-life and monk-life don’t bring enemies, but sensual pleasures bring many enemies. What use are sensual pleasures to you? Sensual pleasures are subject to destruction by kings, fire, thieves, floods, and undesirable people.
505. At a time when there is access to liberation, what is the use of sensual pleasures? Why do you create suffering, tragedies, and depression for yourself?
506. The grass torch burns the hand that grabs it, not the hand of the one who dropped it. Sensual pleasures are compared to a burning grass torch. As long as it is grabbed, it burns the holder.
507. Do not lose noble happiness for the sake of a little happiness from sensual pleasures! Do not suffer afterwards like a fish that has swallowed the hook!
508. Restrain your sense faculties from sensual pleasures. These beings have been bound by sensual pleasures like a dog that has been leashed by a chain. Like starving people slaughtering a dog, these sensual pleasures will do the same to you.
509. You are experiencing immeasurable pain and various distress of the mind due to your intoxication with sensual pleasures. Therefore, give up and abandon these sensual pleasures.
510. Wherever sensual pleasures exist, every birth and every existence is bound by old age, death, and sickness. At a time when unageing Nibbāna is available, what is the use of sensual pleasures?
511. Nibbāna is unageing and deathless. Nibbāna is the only base for the state of unageing and deathlessness. Nibbāna is the state that is devoid of sorrow, lamentation, obstructions, stains, fears, and depression.
512. Many attained deathless Nibbāna. Even today, if one reflects on the Dhamma as taught by the Buddha, one can attain Nibbāna. If one doesn’t strive one won’t attain it.
513. Sumedhā, not delighting in the conditioned world, spoke in this way. Getting the attention of King Anīkadatta, she threw her cut hair on the floor.
514. King Anīkadatta stood up with joined hands worshiping Sumedhā’s father and begged him, “Let Sumedhā become a nun. May she attain the unshakeable liberation, the Noble Truth.”
515. Her mother and father let her go. Frightened by sorrow and fear, Sumedhā became a nun. She attained the six supernormal knowledges while she was practicing the path as a trainee-nun. She attained the highest goal, liberation.
516. She started life as a princess, but now as a nun, her new experience of Nibbāna was an amazing and marvelous thing for her. In her last stage of life, through her ability to recollect past lives, she revealed the meritorious deeds that she had done in her previous lives.
517. “In the time of the Blessed One, Koṇāgamana, I built a monastery with my friends Dhananjāni and Khemā. We offered the monastery with its park and residence to the community of monks headed by the Buddha.
518. As a result of that merit, for ten times, one hundred times, a thousand times, and ten thousand times we were born among gods. What need is there to talk about rebirth among humans?
519. When we were among gods, we were very mighty and powerful. What need is there to talk about power when we were among humans? Once, I became the woman-jewel as the chief queen of the wheel-turning monarch who possessed seven jewels.
520. I gained all these wonders as a result of offering a monastery in the time of Koṇāgamana Buddha. That meritorious deed was the origin and that was the root. In this life, I experienced Nibbāna. Sumedhā, who delighted in the Dhamma, attained ultimate freedom.
521. Whoever places confirmed confidence in the words of the Buddha, who has incredible wisdom, and practices accordingly, will become disenchanted with everything included in existence. Having become disenchanted, they become liberated from everything.”
These verses were said by Arahant Nun Sumedhā.