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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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, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, 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 edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths. and Dhamma articles and recordings by John Haspel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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