[32. Eighty-Four Thousand Brahmin Maiden Buddhist Nuns1]

O Great Sage,2 in your city are
eighty-four thousand [young women,]
with [very] tender hands [and] feet,
who have been born in brahmin clans. (1) [1116]

O Great Sage,3 in your city are
many maidens from every land,4
born in Vaiśya and Śudra clans,
and gods, snake[-gods] and kinnaras. (2) [1117]

Some of them [already] went forth;
many have insight into truth;
the gods, kinnaras and snake[-gods]
will enjoy5 [this] in the future. (3) [1118]

Experiencing every fame,
achieving every achievement,
[those who’ve] obtained pleasure in you
will enjoy [it] in the future. (4) [1119]

And6 we’re the daughters of brahmins,
who have been born in brahmin clans.
Out of our desire,7 Great Sage,
we worship [your] feet, Eyeful One. (5) [1120]

All existences have been reached,8
cravings are torn out by the roots;
latent tendencies are cut off,
merit[-based] aggregates broken. (6) [1121]

All pasture in meditation,9
likewise have mastered altered states;10
we will always live delighting
in the Teaching through altered states.11 (7) [1122]

The ties to being, ignorance,
the aggregates, too, are cast off.
We’re born, O Leader, having gone
on the path very hard to see. (8) [1123]

“For a long time you have been my12
servants, doing what’s to be done.
Cutting off the doubts of many,
may you all go to nirvana.” (9) [1124]

Having worshipped the Sage’s feet,
they performed [their] superpowers.13
Some are showing [very bright light,]
and after that making [it] dark. (10) [1125]

They are showing the moon [and] sun,
and the [great] ocean with [its] fish;
they’re showing Mount Meru and the
Coral Tree14 [in heaven,] girdled. (11) [1126]

Through superpower they’re showing
Tāvatiṃsa and Yāma spheres,
Tusitā [and] Nimmitā gods,
[and] the Vasavatti great lords. (12) [1127]

Some are showing the Brahmā [gods]
and a very costly walkway;
making [themselves] look like15 Brahmā,
they preach the Dhamma that’s empty.16 (13) [1128]

Doing varied transformations,
showing Buddha17 superpowers,
they all demonstrated [their] strength,
[then they] worshipped the Teacher’s feet. (14) [1129]

We’ve mastered the superpowers
[like] the “divine ear” element.
We’re also the masters, Great Sage,
of the knowledge in others’ hearts. (15) [1130]

We remember [our] former lives;
[our] “divine eye[s]” are purified.
All the defilements are destroyed;
[we] will not be reborn again. (16) [1131]

In meaning and in the Teaching,
etymology and preaching,
[this] knowledge of ours was produced
in your presence, O Great Hero.18 (17) [1132]

Our19 meeting with [all] the Buddhas,
the World-Lords, was displayed [to you];
our extensive service [to them]
was for the sake of you, Great Sage. (18) [1133]

O Sage, recall the good karma,
which formerly [was done] by us;
[that] merit was heaped up by us
for the sake of you, Great Hero. (19) [1134]

One hundred thousand aeons hence
Padumuttara was the Sage.20
The city named Haṃsavatī
was the home of [that] Buddha’s clan. (20) [1135]

The Ganges River always flows
past the gate of Haṃsavatī.
Buddhist monks are troubled by the
river, unable to21 proceed. (21) [1136]

A day, [then] two, and then [it’s] three,
after that a week, [next] a month,
then fully four months [might pass for
those monks], unable to22 proceed. (22) [1137]

Then the future Buddha23 was a
local leader,24 named Jaṭila.
Seeing [those] stranded Buddhist monks
he made25 a bridge on the river.26 (23) [1138]

Then, with a hundred thousand [spent,]
the bridge on the river made, he27
made a monastery for the
Assembly on the nearer bank. (24) [1139]

The women as well as the men,
from clans of high [and] low status,
provided28 [funds for] equal shares
in his bridge and monastery. (25) [1140]

We and the other women [too,]
in the city and countrysides,
who had minds that were very clear,
were [rightful] heirs of that karma. (26) [1141]

Women [and] men29 and boys [as well,]
and also numerous young girls,
[joined together] to spread [clean] sand,
for his bridge and monastery. (27) [1142]

Sweeping the roadway, making flags,
plantain-banners,30 pots of plenty,31
and having honored the Teacher
with incense, cunnam and garlands, (28) [1143]

having made the monastery
and the bridge, inviting the Guide,
after giving extensive alms,
he32 aspired to Awakening.33 (29) [1144]

Padumuttara, Great Hero,
Crosser-Over34 of all that breathe,
the Great Sage made35 [his] thanksgiving
to [bodhisattva] Jaṭila:36 (30) [1145]

“Undergoing life after life,
when one hundred thousand [aeons]
have passed, [in] the “lucky” aeon,
he will attain Awakening. (31) [1146]

These men and women who’ve arranged
by hand37 what work was to be done,
will all in futures38 yet to come
be [born together] face-to-face.39 (32) [1147]

As the result of that karma,
[done] with intention and resolve,
reborn in heavens of the gods,
they will [all] be your attendants.”40 (33) [1148]

Transmigrating life after life,
a long time we experienced41
countless [years of] divine pleasure
and countless [such] human [rebirths]. (34) [1149]

For one hundred thousand aeons,
well-done karma’s attainment, we’re
tender girls among men; likewise
in the superb city of gods. (35) [1150]

Beautiful, wealthy and famous,
and also praised and respected,
we are constantly receiving
[that] well-done karma’s attainment. (36) [1151]

When [our] last rebirth was attained,
we are born42 in a brahmin clan,
with [very] tender hands [and] feet,
in the home of the Śākyan prince.43 (37) [1152]

We are never44 seeing the earth
when it is undecorated,
[and] we do not see muddy roads
[when they] have not been cleaned,45 Great Sage. (38) [1153]

When we were living in the house,
we were respected all the time;
they’re always bringing everything,
through the strength of our past karma.46 (39) [1154]

After abandoning [our] homes,
going forth into homelessness,
we have crossed the road of rebirth;47
we have become free of passion.48 (40) [1155]

All the time they are bringing us
monastic robes and alms to eat,
requisites [as well as] lodgings,
by the thousands and more and more.49 (41) [1156]

Our defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
we are living without constraint. (42) [1157]

Being in Best Buddha's presence
was a very good thing for us.
The three knowledges are attained;
[we have] done what the Buddha taught! (43) [1158]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[we have] done what the Buddha taught! (44) [1159]

Thus indeed Eighty-Four Thousand Brahmin Maiden Buddhist Nuns spoke these verses.

The legend of Eighty-Four Thousand Brahmin Maiden Buddhist Nuns is finished


  1. BJTS reads “The Apadāna of Brahmin Maiden Buddhist Nuns”

  2. reading mahāmune with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS mahāmuni

  3. reading mahāmune with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS mahāmuni

  4. ˆcchatuddīpā, lit., “from the four continents,” that is, from the entire world

  5. here PTS reads phusissanti, BJTS bhujjhissanti; both read bhujjhissanti in the following verse

  6. tu, or “but”

  7. pekkato no, perhaps “when we long for [or see]”

  8. upāgatā bhavā sabbe

  9. samādhigoccharā sabā

  10. samāpattī vasī tathā, lit., “master with the attainments” (especially the eight jhānas or “altered states” experienced as states of awareness and/or levels of reality in meditation)

  11. jhānena dhammaratiyā viharissāma no sadā

  12. reading mamaṃ with BJTS for PTS mayaŋ (“we”)

  13. katvā iddhivikubbanaŋ, lit., “having done transformations through [their] superpowers”

  14. in Indra/Śakra’s heaven

  15. or “conjuring up the appearance of”

  16. cf. below, [980]

  17. lit., “to the Teacher”

  18. here as elsewhere, reading the voc. mahāmunue with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS mahāmuni

  19. reading no with BJTS (and the parallel instance of this verse below, at [1063]) for PTS tehi (“by them”)

  20. mahāmuni, lit., “the Great Sage”

  21. lit., “they are not receiving” “they are not getting”

  22. lit., “they are not receiving” “they are not getting”

  23. sattasāro, lit., “essence (or pith) of beings;” I follow BJTS Sinhala gloss in taking this as “bodhisattva”. Jaṭila (a.k.a. Jaṭika) is mentioned as a rebirth precursor of Gotama Buddha in the nidāna-kathā (J.i.37) and Buddhavaṃsa (xi.11), and called a “provincial governor” (Malalasekera’s understanding of mahāraṭṭhiya; in the present Apadāna text raṭṭhika [“rustic”]); see DPPN I: 931

  24. raṭṭhiko, lit., “countryman”. Sinh. gloss rǟṭiyek, “a guy from the country” (raṭavāsī) or a district official;” the Pāli likewise can mean “a man of the country” either in the sense of “someone from the country” or “an official of the country”

  25. kārayi, lit., “he caused to be built”

  26. reading setuṃ gaṅgāya with BJTS for PTS setuno satta (?)

  27. reading kārayi with BJTS for PTS [a]kārayiŋ (“I made”)

  28. lit., “did”

  29. reading purisā with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS pumā

  30. kadalī, lit., “plantains,” see RD s.v., banners in the shape of or made of banana leaves.

  31. reading puṇṇaghāṭe with BJTS for PTS °[uṇṇakuṭa (“full huts”)

  32. reading abhipatthayi with BJTS (and, misspelled, PTS alt.) for PTS abhipatthayiŋ (“I aspired”)

  33. sambodhiŋ abhipatthayi, i.e., he (renewed) his aspiration to become a Buddha, as he is said to have done in the presence of all the Buddhas since Dīpaṅkara.

  34. tārako

  35. reading anumodaniyaṃ ‘kāsi with BJTS for PTS anumodanīyaŋ kāsi-jaṭtilassa (“I gave thanks to Jaṭila from Benares [or, Miss Lilley seems to be thinking in her lack of capitalization, “I gave thanks to the matted-hair ascetic (jaṭilassa) from Benares”)

  36. reading ‘kāsi jaṭilassa with BJTS for PTS kāsi-jaṭilassa, see previous note

  37. reading ye keci hatthaparikammaṃ with BJTS for PTS Keci hatthapadaŋ (“Some, hand [and] foot”)

  38. lit., “in the future” (singular)

  39. sammukhā, i.e. “together”

  40. tuyham, presumably addressing the bodhisattva

  41. reading anubhontī cchiraṃ kālaṃ with BJTS for PTS tuyhaŋ vo paricchāre ccha (“and all of you will attend on you”)

  42. reading jātāmha with BJTS for PTS ajātā (“[we are] unborn;” worse is alt. ajāto “he is unborn”)

  43. °putta° lit., “son”

  44. lit., “all the time we are not…”

  45. reading cchikkhallabhūmimasucchiṃ with BJTS for PTS cchikkhallabhūmiŋ gamanaŋ (“going on muddy roads”)

  46. reading pubbakammabalena no with BJTS for PTS pubbakammaphalan tato (“after the fruit of previous karma”)

  47. saŋsārapatha-nittiṇṇā

  48. reading vītarāgā bhavāmase with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS n’atthi dāni punabbhavo (“now there will be no more rebirth”)

  49. tato tato