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The Sutta Pitaka


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Khuddaka Nikaya
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Therigatha

Verses of the Elder Nuns

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Therigatha XII

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

XII -- Punnika & the Brahman [go to top]

[Punnika:]

I'm a water-carrier, cold,
always going down to the water
from fear of my mistresses' beatings,
harrassed by their anger & words.
But you, Brahman,
    what do you fear
that you're always going down to the water
with shivering limbs, feeling great cold?

[The Brahman:]

Punnika, surely you know.
You're asking one doing skillful kamma
& warding off evil.
Whoever, young or old, does evil kamma
is, through water ablution,
from evil kamma set free.

[Punnika:]

Who taught you this
-- the ignorant to the ignorant --
'One, through water ablution,
is from evil kamma set free?'
In that case, they'd all go to heaven:
    all the frogs, turtles,
    serpents, crocodiles,
    & anything else that lives in the water.
Sheep-butchers, pork-butchers,
fishermen, trappers,
thieves, executioners,
& any other evil doers,
would, through water ablution,
be from evil kamma set free.

If these rivers could carry off
the evil kamma you've done in the past,
they'd carry off your merit as well,
and then you'd be
    completely left out.
Whatever it is that you fear,
that you're always going down to the water,
    don't do it.
Don't let the cold hurt your skin."

[The Brahman:]

I've been following the miserable path, good lady,
and now you've brought me
    back to the noble.
I give you this robe for water-ablution.

[Punnika:]

Let the robe be yours. I don't need it.
If you're afraid of pain,
if you dislike pain,
then don't do any evil kamma,
in open, in secret.
But if you do or will do
any evil kamma,
you'll gain no freedom from pain,
even if you fly up & hurry away.
If you're afraid of pain,
if you dislike pain,
go to the Awakened One for refuge,
go to the Dhamma & Sangha.
Take on the precepts:
    That will lead to your liberation.

[The Brahman:]

I go to the Awakened One for refuge;
I go to the Dhamma & Sangha.
I take on the precepts:
    That will lead to my liberation.

Before, I was a kinsman to Brahma;
now, truly a brahman.
I'm a three-knowledge man.
consummate in knowledge,
    safe & washed clean.

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 Table of Contents| I  | II | III | V | VI | XII | XIII | XIV

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Khuddaka Nikaya contents:

Dhammapada | Therigatha Udana

Theragatha| Sutta Nipata | Itivuttaka

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| The Sutta Pitaka | The Vinaya Pitaka | the Abhidhamma Pitaka |

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Update : 01-05-2002


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