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The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The Therigatha ("Verses of the Elder Nuns") is the oldest collection of known writings from Buddhist women and one of the earliest collections of women's literature in India. Composed during the life of the Buddha, the collection contains verses by early Buddhist nuns detailing everything from their disenchantment with their prescribed roles in society to their struggles ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Shambhala Publications
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Julie
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This translated collection proves to me that poetry is the universal language. I fully expected these poems to feel distant, to be dry and esoteric, or perhaps quirky with their Buddhist lens and historical distance, but instead I found myself in tears.

The truths in this work struck me hard. Weingast managed to preserve the piercing clarity of these nuns despite the poems being over 2000 years old. I felt seen. I felt as if each one of these poems were a tender hand reaching forward from the
...more
Juli
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this poetry collection in exchange for an honest review.

This is a new translation of poems by the first Buddhist nuns. This translation feels special. It comes from the heart rather than being a technical one. I have not read any other versions of these poems but I deeply connected with Weingasts interpretations. The poetry in these pages is spellbinding. Not just because it is an incredible historical witness
...more
Katy
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism, poetry
This is a short but powerful collection of poems about awakening by Buddhist nuns. It is a loose interpretive translation which is quite engaging. It really gave me a sense of the lived experiences of these women of long ago, in a culture that seems to be different from my own. Of course in many ways the cultures are sadly similarly patriarchal. The poems are sometimes terse, sometimes earthy, always compelling and inspirational. I felt connected across time and space.
Graeme
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great historical collection of early buddhist women's poems. The introduction gives some information about these mostly anonymous women writers who, from their poems, indicate that they come from many paths to follow The Path. I am interested in reading other, maybe more technical translations of these poems from The Therigatha, but for now this translation gave me at least a vivid glimpse at the life of these Buddhist women monks, living more than 2,000 years ago.

Reviewed for NetGalley and
...more
ems
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: g-women, poetry, aзии
"so this is what it feels like --
to be free.

forever free
from playing the mortar
to my crooked husband's
crooked little pestle."

i guess i did not expect the early buddhist nuns to be funny, or depressed, or angry, or to complain about their ex-husbands and meditating in their poetry. i like them a lot.
Mandy
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
And when you make the mind your friend, you'll know what trust really means.

I loooooooooved this.

These poems are liberating, honest, inspiring and thought provoking.

I am eager to read other translations of the Therigatha, but this one is so so beautiful.
Briar
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing
Iulia Gheorghita
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
These poems really touched me. I'm not familiar with other translations of the Therigatha, but this one was incredibly beautiful.
Sahara  Lian
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
delicate and strong, a good easy read. but also good for re-reading if needed.
James
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, poetry
The Therigatha ("Verses of the Elder Nuns") is the oldest collection of known writings from Buddhist women and one of the earliest collections of women's literature in India. This collection is a new translation that should resonate with modern readers. The poems are powerful as these women - wives, mothers, prostitutes, and others - find their voices and meaning by devoting their life to Buddhism and the Way.

[I received an advanced e-galley through Netgalley. The book is due to be published
...more
Q
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful is the clarity of being awake.

These are Beautiful poems by brave and dedicated women

The author brought a new voice to this ancient text. In their simplicity the poems speak deeply and wisely. And listening we too have inklings of what it is to be free.
Rome Doherty
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, poetry, spiritual
Wow. a stunner of a book of poetry. These translations of 2500 year old women's poems are powerful and touching. I have ordered copies for my women friends. the lines running through my brain are:
"Oh, my beautiful, beautiful thoughts!, Who will look after you when I'm gone."
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