Vimala – A Courtesan Unbound


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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]

This poem describes the nun Vimala’s awakening, gaining full human maturity. Through developing the Eightfold Path, [2] Vimala, abandoned all self-referential views rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths [3] and gained release from self-imposed suffering.

Vimala – A Courtesan Unbound

Therigatha 5:2

Intoxicated by my beauty and fame,
intoxicated with youth,
     I despised other women.
Adorning my body
to fool foolish men.
     At the brothel’s door,
like a hunter with a snare.
I showed off my ornaments,
     and revealed my private parts.
I was enchanted,
     laughing at the crowd.

Today, wrapped in two robes,
my head shaved,
returned from alms,
I sit at the root of a tree
     and gain the non-distracted state. (Samadhi) [4]
Clinging to all impermanent phenomena has been abandoned. [5]
Desire, aversion, and deluded thinking has ended,
the fires of passions have ceased.
     Cooled, I am unbound

End of Poem


  1. Pail Canon
  2. Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta
  3. Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
  4. Samadhi and Jhanas
  5. Three Marks Of Existence – Anicca, Anatta, Dukkha
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