Mittakali – A Nuns Path Completed


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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]


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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