[14. Ekāsanadāyikā1]

In the city, Haṃsavatī,
I was a garland-maker then.
My mother and my father too
went off to work [every day then]. (1) [166]

When the sun was high in the sky,2
I saw a [Buddhist] monk [just then,]
who was going along the road,
[so] I spread out a seat [for him]. (2) [167]

Preparing that seat with woolen
rugs with fleece and decorations,3
happy, with pleasure in [my] heart,
I [then] spoke these words [to that monk]: (3) [168]

“The ground is scorched [and] boiling hot;
the sun is at its midday high;4
the breezes are not blowing [now];
the time is right to come sit down.5 (4) [169]

This seat [already] is prepared
[just] for your sake, o sage so great;
having taken pity [on me,]
[please] sit down on this seat of mine.” (5) [170]

The monk, well-tamed, with a pure mind,
did sit down there [at my request].
Having taken his begging bowl,
I gave as much as it would hold.6 (6) [171]

Due to that karma done very well,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (7) [172]

There my well-made divine mansion,
well-fashioned by [giving that] seat,
welled up [full] sixty leagues in height,
[and was] thirty leagues wide [back then]. (8) [173]

There were diverse couches for me,
made of gold and made of silver,
likewise [some] were made of crystal,
and also made out of ruby. (9) [174]

My couch was well-spread with cushions,
covered with embroidered wool rugs
and coverlets of silk with gems,
as well as [some] of fur with fringe.7 (10) [175]

Whenever I desire a trip,
filled with laughter and amusement,
I am going with the best couch,
[in accordance with] my wishes. (11) [176]

I was fixed in the chief queen’s place
of eighty kings among the gods.
I was fixed in the chief queen’s place
of seventy wheel-turning kings. (12) [177]

Transmigrating from birth to birth,
I [always] obtained great riches.
There was no lack in terms of wealth:
that’s the fruit of [giving] one seat. (13) [178]

Transmigrating in two stations,
the human or else the divine,
I did not know another state:
that’s the fruit of [giving] one seat. (14) [179]

I am reborn in [just] two castes,8
kṣatriyan, or else a brahmin.
Everywhere I’m of high family:
that’s the fruit of [giving] one seat. (15) [180]

I know no mental turbulence,
[nor] is my heart tormented [then].
I [also] know no ugliness:
that’s the fruit of [giving] one seat. (16) [181]

Wet-nurses are waiting on me,
[and] many hump-backed servant-women;9
I am going from lap to lap:
that’s the fruit of [giving] one seat. (17) [182]

Other people bathe and feed me,
and [they] fondle me every day.
Others anoint me with perfumes:
that’s the fruit of [giving] one seat. (18) [183]

When I dwell in an empty room,
a pavilion, beneath a tree,
discerning what I am thinking,
a couch is [then] produced [for me]. (19) [184]

Now it is my final lifetime,
turning in my last existence.
Even today, breaking my reign,10
I went forth into homelessness. (20) [185]

In the hundred thousand aeons
since I gave [him] that gift back then,
I’ve come to know no bad rebirth:
that’s the fruit of [giving] one seat. (21) [186]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (22) [187]

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! (23) [188]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (24) [189]

Thus indeed Venerable11 Bhikkhunī Ekāsanadāyikā spoke these verses.

The legend of Ekāsanadāyikā Therī is finished.

  1. “One-Chair-Donor”.

  2. lit., “in the midday sun”

  3. lit., “woolen rugs with long fleece [and] woolen rugs with embroidered designs”.

  4. lit., “the midday sun is fixed [in the sky]”

  5. lit., “this is a suitable time for coming to that [seat]”

  6. lit., “according to the [size of the] cavity”. Or perhaps we should read, “as much as [I had] cooked,” from randheti?

  7. lit., “and [coverlets of] fur [or wool] sticking up on one end” (uddhaŋ-ekanta-lomī ccha).

  8. or families or clans (kule).

  9. PTS reads cchelāvikā (fr. cchela, “cloth”? Diaper-washers? The tradition itself is unsure, with equally obscure alternates in PTS [velāyikā, vecchcheyikā] and BJTS [velāpikā, velāyikā; BJTS reads, equally obscurely and perhaps without mss. basis, kheḷasikā]). The texts are in more agreement about the first part of the compound (sometimes as a separate adjective,) khujjā, “having a humped back,” though PTS records an alternate for that too (bujjā, an easy orthographical mistake). Mrs. Lily De Silva pointed out to me (personal communication) that in ancient India deformed people were often employed as servants, and the hump-backed servant woman has obvious parallels in Sanskrit literature (e.g., Mantharā [Kūnī], the hump-backed servant-woman of Queen Kaikeyī who convinces the latter to have Rāma banished, in the Hindu epic Rāmāyana).

  10. the same phrase, rajjaṃ chaḍetvā, appears above, in Therī-apadāna v. [133], too. It literally means “having broken/cut off the kingdom/kingship/rulership/rule.” The meaning is that a ruling monarch somehow abandons his (or in this case her) own kingship/queenship to take on the religious life. Here we might translate, “Even today, having abdicated queenship, I have gone forth…”

  11. BJTS omits āyasmā.