Therīgāthā Bibliography

Translations

The following are translations of the Therīgātha, beginning with those available to read online.

Bhikkhu Sujāto

Available to read on SuttaCentral.net. Includes the Pāli with handy dictionary lookup features. In addition, there are many translations of the Therīgāthā into other languages.

Caroline Rhys Davies

Psalms of the Sisters. This translation includes the background stories found in the commentary. The verses themselves are done in the Early Modern English that we find in the King James translation of the Bible, so they have a very poetic feel. It is hosted online at the University of Pennsylvania. An ebook version is available on ReadingFaithfully.org. The translation only is also available in paperback under the title Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns: Therīgāthā. Oxford: Pali Text Soc, 1989.

Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero

A complete translation available on SuttaFriends.org. This translation was intentionally done in the simplest language possible. The website reads very easily on mobile. Also available on amazon.com under the title Voice of Enlightened Nuns in both print and Kindle.

Samanera Mahinda

Therigathapali: Book of Verses of Elder Bhikkhunis. Available as a free ebook (pdf, epub, & Kindle) from pariyatti.org.

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

An anthology of verses available on DhammaTalks.org. You can request a free print copy from the monastery by sending in a request by mail. Also available as a free ebook at the link above.

K.R. Norman

Elders’ Verses II published By the Pali Text Society. This is a more literal translation and is highly accurate. It includes extensive notes. The translation only is also available in paperback under the title Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns: Therīgāthā. Oxford: Pali Text Soc, 1989.

Charles Hallisey

Hallisey, Charles, ed. Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women. Murty Classical Library of India 3. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2015.

Available in print only. Contains the Pāli as well.

Shelling & Waldman

Schelling, Andrew, and Anne Waldman, eds. Songs of the Sons & Daughters of Buddha. 1st ed. Boston: Shambhala, 1996. 2nd ed. Boulder: Shambhala, 2020. This is an anthology of some of the therīs ans theras.

Other Books

Murcott, Susan, ed. The First Buddhist Women: Translations and Commentaries on the Therigatha. Berkeley, Calif: Parallax Press, 1991. Please read the review by renowned Buddhist scholar Lily de Silva.

Other Resources

Therī Appadāna

This is a collection of verses similar to the Therīgāthā, although many people don’t consider them as old. Legends of the Buddhist Saints (Apadāna) translated by Jonathan S. Walters. Available for download as an ebook as well.

Known Bhikkhunīs

This is an index of sorts created by Bhikkhu Anandjoti available on ancient-buddhist-texts.net. It lists every known mention of each bhikkhuni throughout the canon and commentary.

Aggatherīvatthu: The Stories about the Foremost Elder Nuns

This is a translation of AN & AA 1.14.5.1-13, the commentary section on the “foremosts” where each bhikkhuni is declared to be the greatest in a specific quality. Also translated by Bhikkhu Anandjoti available on ancient-buddhist-texts.net.

Dictionary of Pali Proper Names

This dictionary lists all the proper names found in Pali literature along with annotations of their stories throughout the suttas and commentaries. An invaluable resource.

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