The present book, Therīgāthā, belongs to the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka, the authorized recension for Theravāda. Therīgāthā is perhaps unique in the world spiritual literature in that it contains verses exclusively by liberated women, and is likely the earliest such compendium.
The Elder Bhikkhunis (therī in Pāḷi), whose verses (gāthā) and spontaneous utterances are collected herein, represent a cross-section of the contemporary Indian society: here we find princesses and paupers, socialites and peasants, teens and senior citizens, single and married, reputable housewives and courtesans, high-class society and down-trodden ones, mothers with children and mothers who have lost children, disputation experts and quiet ones – singing songs of joy and gratitude; and extolling the Buddha, Dhammā, and Saṅghā. And the thing that unites them all? They all realized the ultimate – the cessation of lust, hate, and delusion; the liberation; the end of the cycle of becoming. The verses themselves are so powerful that they can be used as a subject of meditation to reflect on the sufferings inherent in the round of existence and generate the desire to be free.
In this book, both Pāḷi originals and English translations are provided so it’s easier for those who want to learn Pāḷi or just read the translations. A full Pāḷi-English Glossary, detailed Endnotes, and other indices will help the interested reader to learn more about the elder bhikkhunis, their circumstances, and their strivings.