[26. Soṇā1]

The Victor, Padumuttara,
was a Master of Everything.
[That] Leader arose in the world
one hundred thousand aeons hence. (1) [858]

Born then in a millionaire’s clan,
I was happy, honored,2 held dear.
Approaching the Excellent Sage,3
I heard [his] words, [sweet as] honey. (2) [859]

I was overjoyed having heard
the Victor praise the nun foremost
of those who make a strong effort,
doing service for the Teacher. (3) [860]

Then worshipping4 the Sambuddha,
I aspired to [attain] that place.
The Great Hero approved [of that:]
“Your aspiration will succeed. (4) [861]

In one hundred thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (5) [862]

Worthy heir to that one’s Dhamma,
Dhamma’s legitimate offspring,
the one known by the name Soṇā
will be the Teacher’s follower.” (6) [863]

At that time being overjoyed,
as long as life, heart [full of] love,
I attended on the Victor,
the Guide, providing requisites. (7) [864]

Due to that karma done very well,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (8) [865]

And now, in [my] final rebirth,
I’m born in a millionaire’s clan,
rich, prosperous, very wealthy,
in Śrāvasti, best of cities. (9) [866]

When I’d become a young woman,5
having gone to a husband’s clan,
I was the mother of6 ten sons,
very handsome and distinguished. (10) [867]

All of them were comfortable,
delightful in the people’s eyes,
brilliant even to enemies,
needless to say, they’re loved by7 me. (11) [868]

Then, without my desiring it,8
he who was my husband went forth
in the Buddha’s9 dispensation,
surrounded10 by [those] sons11 [of mine]. (12) [869]

[And] then, alone, I reflected:
“Enough with [this] life [here] for me,12
growing old and in misery,
bereft of13 [my] husband [and] sons. (13) [870]

I will also go to the place
where [my] husband has [now] arrived.”14
After reflecting in that way,
I went forth into homelessness. (14) [871]

And then the nuns left me alone
in the retreat for Buddhist nuns,
going off with the instruction:
“heat up the water [while we’re gone].” (15) [872]

Then bringing water I poured [it]
into a small pot15[used for that].
After placing [it on the hearth,]
seated, I then kindled my heart. (16) [873]

Seeing the body’s16 diseased-ness,
essence-less-ness, impermanence,
throwing off all the defilements,
I achieved [my] arahantship. (17) [874]

Then coming [back, those] Buddhist nuns,
asked [me] about the hot water.
Through concentration on the fire,17
I quickly made the flame ignite. (18) [875]

Astonished, the [nuns] made that fact
audible to the Best Victor.
Hearing [it,] the Lord, overjoyed,
spoke this verse [about me just then:] (19) [876]

“A life lived [only] for one day
undertaken with strong effort,
is better than a century
lived inert, lacking energy.” (20) [877]

The Great Hero was [greatly] pleased
by my exemplary conduct.
That Great Sage said that I’m foremost
of those who make a strong effort. (21) [878]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (22) [879]

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) [880]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (24) [881]

Thus indeed Bhikkhunī Soṇā spoke these verses.

The legend of Soṇā Therī is finished.

  1. “Dog,” or a kind of tree, Bodhi Tree of Paduma and Nārada Buddhas, according to BV. An historical nun, remembered as foremost among those who make energetic effort.

  2. reaidng pūjitā with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS sajjitā, which however approximates the same meaning.

  3. munivaraŋ

  4. or “saluting”: abhivādiya

  5. or “when I had attained puberty:” yadā ccha yobbanupetā

  6. lit., “I gave birth to”

  7. lit., “of”

  8. mayhaŋ akāmāya, lit., “with my disliking [of it]

  9. devadevassa, lit., “of the God of Gods” or “the Gods’ God’s”

  10. or “honored,” “being placed in front of”

  11. dasaputta°, lit., “by the ten sons”

  12. or “I’m fed up with this existence:” jīvitenâlam atthu me, lit., “Let it be enough with life for me”

  13. jīnāya, BJTS reads cchattāya (with much the same meaning)

  14. reading sampatto with BJTS for PTS pasuto (“pursuing”)

  15. kumbhiyā cchulle, lit., “into a small kumbhi-pot”

  16. khandhe, lit., “the [five] heaps” or aggregates that make up personal being, the constituent elements of the “I” trapped in saṃsāra.

  17. lit., “on the fire element”