[34. Sigālaka-mātā1]

The Victor, Padumuttara,
was a Master of Everything.
[That] Leader arose in the world
one hundred thousand aeons hence. (1) [1185]

I was born in Haṃsavatī,
in a clan of ministers then,
rich, prosperous, very wealthy,
glistening with various gems. (2) [1186]

Going along with [my] father,
surrounded by a multitude,
having heard the Buddha’s Teaching,
I went forth into homelessness. (3) [1187]

After going forth I gave up
evil karma with the body.
I purified my way of life,
except for poor conduct through speech. (4) [1188]

Pleased in the Buddha, Teaching and
Assembly; eager, respectful,
used to hearing the great Teaching;
I’m greedy to see the Buddha. (5) [1189]

I then heard [of] a Buddhist nun,
foremost among those freed by faith.2
Aspiring to [attain] that place,
I then fulfilled the three trainings.3
The Rest for Those Seeking Pity,4
the Well-Gone-One, thereupon said [this]: (6, 7a-b) [1190]5

“He6 whose faith in the Thus-Gone-One
is well-established, not shaking,
and whose morals7 are beautiful,
dear to noble people, and praised; (7c-d, 8a-b) [1191]

whose insight is upright and whose
pleasure8 is in the Assembly:
it is said, “he is not wretched;”
his life’s [considered] not useless. (8c-d, 9a-b) [1192]

Therefore, wise ones, commit [yourselves]
to faith and to morality,
to Dhamma-insight and pleasure;9
pith of Buddha’s dispensation.” (9c-d, 10a-b) [1193]

Hearing that, being overjoyed,
I questioned [him about] my wish.
Then the Supreme,10 Measureless One,11
the Guide,12 prophesied [in this way:] (10c-d, 11a-b) [1194]

“Lovely one, pleased in the Buddha,13
you will receive that well-wished [place].
In one hundred thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (11c-d, 12) [1195]

Worthy heir to that one’s Dhamma,
Dhamma’s legitimate offspring,
she named Sigālaka’s Mother
will be the Teacher’s follower.” (13) [1196]

Gladdened after having heard that,
with a heart that was [full] of love,
as long as life I then served the
Victor, Guide, through [my] practices.14 (14) [1197]

Due to that karma done very well,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (15) [1198]

And now, in [my] final rebirth,
in Giribbaja,15 best city,
[I was] born to rich millionaires,16
with a huge quantity of gems. (16) [1199]

My son was named Sigālaka,
taking delight on the wrong road,
slipped into the jungle of views,
keen to worship the directions. (17) [1200]

Standing on the road, the Buddha,
the Guide, advised him, seeing him
coming toward the city praising
the directions17 with balls of food. (18) [1201]

When he was preaching18 the Dhamma,
there were amazing shrieks of joy;19
twenty million20 men [and] women
gained insight into the Teaching.21 (19) [1202]

Then having gone [into] the crowd,
having heard the Well-Gone-One’s speech,
gaining the fruit of stream-entry,
I went forth into homelessness. (20) [1203]

After not a very long time,
hankering to see the Buddha,
refining22 mindfulness [through] him,
I attained [my] arahantship. (21) [1204]

I’m going23 every single day
in order to see the Buddha.
I’m dissatisfied looking at
only [his] eye-pleasing body,24 (22) [1205]

produced by all the perfections,
excellent lair of good fortune,
[his] body, strewn with all goodness:
dissatisfied, I’m living25 [there]. (23) [1206]

The Victor, pleased at that virtue,
placed me in that foremost [place:]
“The Mother of Sigālaka’s
foremost among those freed by faith.”26 (24) [1207]

I’ve mastered the superpowers
[like] the “divine ear” element.
I’m also a master, Great Sage,
of the knowledge in others’ hearts. (25) [1208]

I remember [my] former lives;
[my] “divine eye” is purified.
All the defilements are destroyed;
[I] will not be reborn again. (26) [1209]

In meaning and in the Teaching,
etymology and preaching,
[this] knowledge of mine was produced
in your presence, O Great Hero. (27) [1210]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (28) [1211]

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! (29) [1212]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (30) [1213]

Thus indeed the bhikkhunī Sigālaka-mātā spoke these verses.

The legend of Sigālaka-mātā Therī27 is finished

  1. “Sigālaka’s Mother,” an historical nun, remembered as foremost among those who attained release through their faith. See DPPN II: 1133. She was the mother of Sigāla to whom the famous Sigālovādasutta was preached, upon which she also achieved fruits of the path.

  2. reading saddhādhimuttānaṃ with BJTS for PTS aṅgavimuttānaŋ (“freed in/by [their] limbs”)

  3. tisso sikkhā, i.e., training in morality (sīla), wisdom (paññā) and meditative states (samādhi)

  4. karuṇānugatāsayo, lit., “support for those come into/follow after/depend upon [his] pity (or compassion)”

  5. PTS presents the following speech of the Buddha in eight four-foot verses (6-13). BJTS presents the same speech arranged into seven verses ([1190-1196], the first and last of which it presents as six-footed verses). I follow the BJTS numbering here, indicating corresponding numbering in the PTS edition.

  6. the pronouns here are somewhat jarringly masculine ones, even though the subject is female

  7. sīlaŋ ccha yassa

  8. pasādo

  9. pasādaŋ

  10. anomo

  11. amito

  12. vināyako

  13. both of these adjectives are in the vocative: “O beautiful one, O you whose pleasure is in the Buddha”

  14. paṭipattīhi

  15. = Rājagaha, Rajgir, in Bihār

  16. lit., “born in a rich clan of millionaires”

  17. nānādisā, lit., “various directions” “the different directions”

  18. reading desayato (gen. abs. constr.) with BJTS (and PTS alt) for PTS desayito

  19. BJTS reads ninādo for PTS panādo, though BJTS alt. agrees with PTS. The term is singular so we might imagine some sort of shout in unison; I translate as “shrieks” (plural) given the context.

  20. dvekoṭi, lit., “two [times] ten million”

  21. lit., “there was an [achieving of] insight into the Dhamma of twenty million.” Dhammâbhisamaya, “insight into the Dhamma” or “entry into the Dhamma” or “comprehension of the Dhamma” or “penetration into the Dhamma” refers to the achievement of a firm grasp on the essentials of the Teaching. It is used as a technical term in the account of each Buddha in the Buddhavaṃsa, one among many categories of Buddha-achievement enumerated there.

  22. or “cultivating:” bhāvetvā

  23. reading vajām’ ahaṃ with BJTS (cf. PTS alt. vajām’ ayaŋ)

  24. reading nayananandanaṃ with BJTS for PTS yena ‘va nandanaŋ (“through which there is rejoicing” ?)

  25. reading vihāram’ ahaṃ with BJTS for PTS bhayām’ ahaŋ (= bhāyām’ ahaṃ, “I am fearing” ?)

  26. reading aggā saddhādhimuttikā with BJTS for PTS aggā saṅgavimuttikā (“freed from clinging”), alt. aṅgavimuttikā (“freed in/by her] limbs”)

  27. this is the BJTS reading; PTS reads bhikkhunī Sigālaka-mātā