Mittakali – A Nuns Path Completed

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Introduction

This poem is from the Therigatha. The Therigatha preserves 73 poems of elder nuns and is the ninth section in the Khuddaka Nikāya. The Khuddaka Nikāya is a collection of short texts in (mostly) verse. The Khuddaka Nikāya is the last Nikaya (collection) of the Sutta Piṭaka, the second book of the Pāli Canon. [1]

In this poem, the nun Mittakali recounts her going forth still affected by continued clinging to wrong views ignorant of Four Noble Truths. [2] Finally, from a well-concentrated mind, free from influence of worldly associations, her mind cleared. [3]

Mittakālī

Therigatha 5:6

Going forth with conviction
from home to homelessness.
I wandered here and there
always craving for recognition and material gain.

Chasing an ordinary goal
I missed the highest pursuit.
Driven by greed, aversion, and deluded thinking
I remained in ignorance, asleep.

Then, sitting in a quiet space
I suddenly came to my senses:
The path I am on is a miserable path.
My path is founded on craving, on desire.
Now, aging and illness are my constant companion.
Death is inevitable and I have no time left for mindlessness.

Seeing clearly impermanence
and the arising and passing away of the Five Clinging-Aggregates.
I arise as if from a deep slumber.
My mind released.
The Awakened One’s (Eightfold) Path complete. [4]

End of Poem

 

  1. Pail Canon
  2. Four Noble Truths
  3. Samadhi and Jhanas
  4. Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta

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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings  (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website Dhammatalks.org, as well as the works of Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.

Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.

I have made contextual edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.

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