[36. Abhirūpanandā1]

Ninety-one aeons ago the
Leader, whose name was Vipassi,
arose, the One Good to Look At,2
the One with Eyes for Everything. (1) [1246]

I was then in Bandhumatī,
born in a large clan, prosperous
[and] rich; beautiful and held dear,
I am worshipped3 by4 the people. (2) [1247]

Having approached the Great Hero,
Vipassi, Leader of the World,
hearing the Teaching, I went for
refuge [in] the Leader of Men. (3) [1248]

Having been restrained in morals,
when the Best Man5 reached nirvana,
I offered6 a gold umbrella
on top of the relic-stupa. (4) [1249]

I’m freely generous, moral
as long as life; fallen from there,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (5) [1250]

In ten ways I was outshining
[all the] other [gods who lived there]:
through shapes [and] sounds [and] fragrances,
through tastes and the [things that I] touch, (6) [1251]

in terms of lifespan, complexion,
happiness and famousness too
[and] likewise through supreme power
I shone, having attained [those ten]. (7) [1252]

And now, in [my] final rebirth,
I’m born in Kapilavastu.7
I’m well-known [by the] name Nandā,
the Śākyan Khemaka’s daughter. (8) [1253]

The nickname8 “Very Beautiful”9
indicated my loveliness;10
when I had attained discretion,
[I’m] adorned with gorgeous beauty.11 (9) [1254]

Then there was a very big fight12
over me13 among the Śākyans.
Then [my] father had me ordained,
“don’t let the Śākyas be destroyed.”14 (10) [1255]

Going forth like that, having heard
that the Supreme Man hates15 beauty,
I did not approach [the Buddha,]
bring proud about my beauty. (11) [1256]

Not even going for advice,
I’m afraid to see the Buddha.
Then the Victor had me led to
his presence by means of a trick. (12) [1257]

Clever in the Path, [the Buddha]
made three [different] women appear
with forms like celestial nymphs:
[one] young, [one] diseased, [the third] dead. (13) [1258]

Seeing them, very moved, I was
freed from delighting in bodies.
I stood [there,] weary of being,
then the Leader said [this] to me: (14) [1259]

“Nandā, see this complex heap16 as
diseased, disgusting [and] putrid.
It is oozing and it’s dripping,
the delight of foolish people. (15) [1260]

With one-pointed focus, steadfast,
fix your mind on impurity.
Just as is this, so too is that;
just as is that, so too is this. (16) [1261]

Considering that in this way,
industrious by night and day,
you will see with your own wisdom,
having turned away in disgust.” (17) [1262]

Not delaying in that [purpose,]
thinking17 [it all] through thoroughly,
I saw this body as it is,
on the inside and the outside. (18) [1263]

Then I’m disgusted with bodies,
and inwardly free of passion;
not negligent, no longer yoked,
at peace, and [I’ve reached] nirvana. (19) [1264]

I’ve mastered the superpowers
[like] the “divine ear” element.
I’m also a master, Great Sage,18
of the knowledge in others’ hearts. (20) [1265]

I remember [my] former lives;
[my] “divine eye” is purified.
All the defilements are destroyed;
[I] will not be reborn again. (21) [1266]

In meaning and in the Teaching,
etymology and preaching,
[this] knowledge of mine was produced
in your presence, O Great Hero. (22) [1267]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (23) [1268]

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) [1269]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (25) [1270]

Thus indeed the bhikkhunī Abhirūpanandā spoke these verses.

The legend of Abhirūpanandā Therī19 is finished

  1. “Very Beautiful Joy,” an historical nun, DPPN I:143. On these various “Joys” (of whom Malalasekera’s designations may need further work) see above, the first note to Therī-apadāna #25.

  2. ccharunayano

  3. reading pūjanīyā with BJTS for PTS sajanassā

  4. lit., of (gen. pl.), lit., “the people’s object to be worshipped”

  5. nibbute ccha naruttame

  6. lit., “did pūjā”

  7. kapilavhaye, lit., “in the [city] named for Kapila”

  8. reading upapadaṃ (in the sense of “epithet”) with BJTS for PTS uppādaŋ (“birth” “omen”), which breaks meter.

  9. abhirūpaŋ

  10. reading me kantisūcchakaṃ with BJTS for PTS m’ ekaŋ ti sūcchakaŋ (?)

  11. reading rūpalāvaññabhusitā with BJTS for PTS rūpavaṇṇavibhusitā, which however has much the same meaning.

  12. or debate: vivādo

  13. reading tadā mamatthaṃ (“for my sake,” i.e., over who will marry me) with BJTS for PTS Idaŋ me-m’ atthe (“this for the sake of me”?)

  14. i.e., everyone wants Nandā so badly that the end result will be the ruin of the whole clan; her father takes her out of the competition to avoid the conflict it will generate

  15. reading rūpadessiṃ naruttamaṃ with BJTS for PTS rūpadassiŋ (alt. dassana), “beautiful looking supreme man”

  16. samussayaŋ, “conglomeration,” i.e., the body

  17. or “dwelling” “practicing” “living” (BJTS: viharantyā’dha yoniso)

  18. reading mahāmune (voc.) with BJTS for PTS tadā muni (“Then the Sage [nom.];” PTS alt. tadā mune, “Then, O Sage”)

  19. this is the BJTS reading for PTS bhikkhunī Abhirūpanandā