[33. Uppaladāyikā1]

In Aruṇavatī City,
[lived] the kṣatriyan Aruṇa.
I was [then] the wife of that king;
in that place2 I was practicing.3 (1) [1160]

Gone off alone [and] sitting down,
I then reflected [on it] like this:
“there’s no good karma4 done by me
to take along on my journey.5 (2) [1161]

Am I not then going to hell,
burning red hot, very cruel,
with a gruesome form, and bitter?
For me there’s no doubt about that.” (3) [1162]

Having thought [it through] in that way.
bringing pleasure to [my own] mind,
after going up to the king,
I spoke these words [entreating him:] (4) [1163]

“O king,6 we [who are] called “women”
always follow behind [our] men.7
Give me a single Buddhist monk;
I shall feed [him,] O kṣatriyan.” (5) [1164]

At that time the king gave to me
a monk with senses [well-]controlled.
After picking up his alms bowl,
I filled [it] with exquisite8 food. (6) [1165]

Filling it with exquisite food,
having removed a fine garment
which was valued at a thousand,
I gave it with a happy mind. (7) [1166]

Due to that karma done very well,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (8) [1167]

I was fixed in the chief queen’s place
of one thousand kings of the gods.
I was fixed in the chief queen’s place
of one thousand wheel-turning kings. (9) [1168]

[There was also] much local rule,
innumerable by counting,9
[and there was] much other,10 varied
fruit of that karma thereafter. (10) [1169]

I’m [always] blue lotus-colored,
very beautiful, good-looking,
a woman endowed in all parts,
of noble birth [and] radiant.11 (11) [1170]

When [my] last rebirth was attained
I was born in the Śākyan clan,
leader of one thousand women
[attached] to Suddhodana’s son.12 (12) [1171]

Becoming wearied in the home,
I went forth into homelessness.
Before the seventh night occurred13
I attained the Four [Noble] Truths. (13) [1172]

I cannot count [the gifts received,]
monastic robes and alms to eat,
requisites [as well as] lodgings:
that’s the fruit of [giving] alms food.14 (14) [1173]

O Sage, recall the good karma,
which formerly [was done] by me;
much of mine has been sacrificed
for the sake of you, Great Hero. (15) [1174]

In the thirty-one aeons since
I gave that alms-giving back then,
I’ve come to know no bad rebirth:
that’s the fruit of [giving] alms food.15 (16) [1175]

I transmigrate in [just] two states:
as a goddess or a woman.
I do not know other rebirths;
that’s the fruit of [giving] alms food. (17) [1176]

[When human] I‘m born in high clans,
which have big16 halls, very wealthy;
I do not witness lesser clans:
that’s the fruit of [giving] alms food. (18) [1177]

Transmigrating life after life,
incited by [my] wholesome roots,
I do not see what does not please:
fruit [of deeds] done with17 happy mind. (19) [1178]

I’ve mastered the superpowers
[like] the “divine ear” element.
I’m also a master, Great Sage,
of the knowledge in others’ hearts. (20) [1179]

I remember [my] former lives;
[my] “divine eye” is purified.
All the defilements are destroyed;
[I] will not be reborn again. (21) [1180]

In meaning and in the Teaching,
etymology and preaching,
[this] knowledge of mine was produced
in your presence, O Great Hero. (22) [1181]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (23) [1182]

Being in Best Buddha's presence
was a very good thing for me.
The three knowledges are attained;
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (24) [1183]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (25) [1184]

Thus indeed the bhikkhunī Uppaladāyikā spoke these verses face to face with the Blessed One.

The legend of the bhikkhunī Uppaladāyikā is finished


  1. “Blue Lotus Giver”

  2. reading ekajjhaṃ with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS ekaccchch (“certain,” “definite”)

  3. reading cchārayām’ ahaṃ with BJTS (and cf. PTS alts. here) for PTS vādayām’ ahaŋ (“I am singing” “I am making sound” “I am causing to be said”)

  4. kusalaŋ, lit., “wholesome deeds”

  5. PTS kusalaŋ me kataŋ n’atthi ādāya gamiyam mama; BJTS ādāya gamanīyaṃ hi kusalaṃ natthi me kataṃ

  6. deva, or “Lord,” lit., “god”

  7. or “always become victims of men,” reading purisānugatā sadā with BJTS for PTS purisānaŋ bharā mayaŋ (“we are burdens on men” or “we carry the burden of men,” perhaps playing with the common word for “wife” used in v. 1, bhariyā). Given the second half of the verse, in either event she is asking her husband for permission to “adopt” a monk. In the BJTS reading she does this by stating that as a woman she has not been able to do her own good deeds, always following after her men when they do their good deeds (and gain the merit; the whole question of women’s roles in the production of men’s karma peppers the Therī-apadāna despite its virtual absence in the corresponding Thera-apadāna). In the PTS reading, she sets up her request for the monk to feed either by apologizing for being a burden, or by pointing out that as one accustomed to carrying the burden of men she will be able to carry that of the monk, now requested.

  8. parama, or “supreme” “ultimate” “best” “superior”

  9. this refrain, common in Thera-apadāna, appears only here, and obviously lifted, in Therī-apadāna

  10. reading aññaṃ with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS puññaŋ (“merit”), though the latter is presumably the “other fruit” which the former reading implies

  11. or “effulgent,” jutindharā

  12. i.e., attached to (attending on) the bodhisattva Siddhartha; women of the royal harem of the becoming-Buddha.

  13. lit., “the seventh night not attained”

  14. piṇḍapātass’ idaŋ phalaŋ

  15. piṇḍapātass’ idaŋ phalaŋ

  16. reads mahā° with BJTS for tayo° (“three”). The latter is possible, but a weird departure from what is a stock phrase elsewhere in Apadāna

  17. lit., “of”