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First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening
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First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  9 reviews
First Buddhist Women is a readable, contemporary translation of and commentary on the enlightenment verses of the first female disciples of the Buddha. Through the study of the Therigatha, the earliest-known collection of women’s religious poetry, the book explores Buddhism's 2,600-year-long liberal attitude toward women. Utilizing commentary and storytelling, author Susan ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published February 14th 2006 by Parallax Press (first published January 22nd 2006)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Richard Seltzer
Jul 31, 2022 rated it it was amazing
It is difficult for me to understand and empathize with the basic teachings of Buddhism. I cannot imagine rejecting the goals I take for granted, what motivates me to get up in the morning. Why would anyone strive for nothingness?

But having read these poems (composed around 600 BC and first written down hundreds of years later) together with the commentary, I see the beliefs not as philosophical statements, but rather as a reaction to the human condition, to pain and suffering. It's not a questi
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A nice collection of the Therīgathā ("Songs of the Buddhist Nuns") along with plenty of historical context. It's not the most academically rigorous work (What? No diacritical marks?), but it's good to have newer translations of these works that are essential to understanding women in early Buddhism. Hearing their voices is a good antidote to the rather patriarchal nature of much of the rest of the tradition. My favorites are Kisagotamī, whose story of dealing with grief always moves me, and Vārj ...more
Zach Strickland
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very engaging. Great background on early Buddhist women. Important historical context.
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: buddhism, non-fiction
This is an excellent look at the Therigatha, the stories of the first Buddhist nuns. Murcott gives great backgrounds on both the individual nuns and the context of the times in which they lived. The Therigatha itself is worth a read and the commentary and context provided here help give it more meaning. These were some awesome nuns, especially considering the times they lived in and this book does a good job of really bringing that out.
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this book with the money of the settlement with Amazon. I don't really understand the lawsuit, but I got money so I bought a bunch of kindle books. I have always loved the Therigatha, and was a little disappointed this wasn't a direct translation. But I came to appreciate her commentary on the poems. This is a good book to read after you've read the original and want to read the original again. It's an inspiring work of literature and deserves useful books around it to support it. ...more
Jessica Zu
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, translation
Those are the words of the first Buddha's daughters. Susan's careful arrangements of historical backgrounds, detailed analysis and mindful comments made the words of those Buddha's daughters alive. Reading this book, I went through all their lives one by one and felt joining the stream of love and compassion.

Thank you for such a wonderful work!
Phillip Moffitt
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is an inspiring collection of poems written by early nuns describing their own search for and experience of realization. They are a delight to read and capture the liberating feeling of the ego letting go of its tyrannical reign. (This is not a book for women only!)
Linda Walters
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this while on retreat at Deer Park Monastery.
S Katherine
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I got this book last summer at Dog Eared Books in SF. I think I paid like 4 bucks for it and it was the best 4 bucks I spent in 2007, by far.
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