[38. Puṇṇikā1]

Gone forth in the dispensation
of the Blessed One, Vipassi,
and of Sikhi and Vessabhu,
the Sage Kakusandha [Buddha],
Konāgamana, Neutral One,
and of the Buddha Kassapa,
[I’m] a nun endowed with morals,
clever, with senses [well-]controlled. (1-2) [1287-1288]

Learned bearer of the Teaching,
asker of the Teaching’s meaning,2
studier of, listener to
and worshipper of the Teaching, (3) [1289]

amidst the people I’m preaching
in the Victor’s dispensation.
Because of [my] profound learning,
I despised kind associates.3 (4) [1290]

And now, in [my] final rebirth,
I am a water-jug slave-girl,
born in Śrāvasti, best city,
in Anāthapiṇḍi[ka]’s house.4 (5) [1291]

Gone [bearing] a load of water,
I saw an erudite brahmin,
[standing] in the water, chilly.
After seeing him I said this: (6) [1292]

“Bearing water I always go
down to the water in the cold,
scared with fear of the master’s5 stick,
oppressed by fear of faults called out. (7) [1293]6

Of what are you afraid, brahmin?
Limbs shivering you always go
down to the water, so much cold
being experienced by you.” (8) [1294]7

“You certainly know, Puṇṇikā.
You are asking8 me who’s doing
wholesome karma and warding off9
karma with evil [consequence]. (9) [1295]10

Whether he is old is young,
one who performs evil karma,
just by sprinkling11 himself with water,
is freed from [that] evil karma.” (10) [1296]12

I spoke a verse13 of Dhamma to
[him] coming out of the water.
Hearing that [he] was very moved;
gone forth, he was an arahant. (11) [1297]

When I was born in the slave clan,
[I] completed the full hundred.14
Therefore they named me “Completer,”15
and freed me from [my] slavery. (12) [1298]

Getting the millionaire’s consent,
I went forth into homelessness.
After not a very long time,
I attained [my] arahantship. (13) [1299]

I’ve mastered the superpowers
[like] the “divine ear” element.
I’m also a master, Great Sage,
of the knowledge in others’ hearts. (14) [1300]

I remember [my] former lives;
[my] “divine eye” is purified.
All the defilements are destroyed;
[I] will not be reborn again. (15) [1301]

In meaning and in the Teaching,
etymology and preaching,
[this] knowledge of mine was produced
in your presence, O Great Hero. (16) [1302]

Through meditation, very wise;
through what has been heard, one’s learned;
but karma will not be destroyed16
through the pride of those of high birth. (17) [1303]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (18) [1304]

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! (19) [1305]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (20) [1306]

Thus indeed the bhikkhunī Puṇṇikā spoke these verses.

The legend of Puṇṇikā Therī17 is finished

  1. “Complete” “Full”. BJTS reads Puṇṇā; both spellings are correct, see DPPN II: 227-228.

  2. reading dhammatthaparipucchchikā

  3. pesalā atimaññisaŋ. Cf. Pesalā-atimaññanā Sutta (S. i. 187f., see DPPN II: 245)

  4. he was a famous millionaire lay donor devoted to the Buddha. The hermitage he provided to the Buddha, in the Jeta Grove in Śrāvasti, was the site where many of the Buddha’s sermons were originally preached. As is clear in the present apadāna, too, he was also kind-hearted and generous with his own slaves.

  5. lit., “the noble ladies’ stick (or punishment)”

  6. = Therīgāthā v. 236

  7. = Therīgāthā v. 237

  8. reading paripucchchasi with BJTS for PTS paripucchchiyan (“you would ask?”)

  9. reading rundhantaṃ with BJTS (and PTS alt) for PTS niddhantaŋ (“blown off” “purified” “thrown out”)

  10. = Therīgāthā v. 238

  11. pronounce as two syllables for chanting

  12. = Therīgāthā v. 239

  13. or foot, stanza, line, word: padaŋ

  14. pūrentī ūnakasataŋ, lit., “[I am] completing (or filling, this is one of numerous plays on the meaning of her name) a deficient hundred,” i.e., “I was the 100th slave”

  15. puṇṇā ti nāmaŋ

  16. PTS reads panassati, BJTS vinassati

  17. the BJTS reading, for PTS bhikkhunī Puṇṇikā