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TipitakaSutta PitakaKhuddaka NikayaContext of the Theragatha

Verses of the Elder Monks

The Theragatha, the eighth book of the Khuddaka Nikaya, contains 264 stories in verse form in which the early monks (bhikkhus) recount their struggles and accomplishments along the road to arahantship. These stories are told with often heart-breaking honesty and beauty, revealing the human side of these extraordinary men, and thus serve as inspiring reminders of our own potential to follow in their footsteps.

Selected suttas from the Theragatha

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

  • 5. Matangaputta. It's too hot, too cold -- what's your excuse?
  • 8. Yasoja. Solitude in the forest: two's company, three's a hullabaloo!
  • 12. Abhibhuta. Rouse yourself! Scatter the army of death!
  • 14. Gotama. After wandering relentlessly through hell, heaven, the animal world, finally: peace!
  • 15. Harita (2). Careful: the wise can tell when your actions don't align with your deeds.

Chapter IV

  • 8. Rahula. The Buddha's son celebrates his own victory in the Dhamma.

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter X

  • 5. Kappa. Are you enchanted by your physical appearance? This reflection may be just the cure.

Chapter XII

Chapter XIV

  • 1. Revata's Farewell. By steadfastly maintaining his right resolve, this monk finally gains perfect release.
  • 2. Godatta. Criticism from the wise is better than praise from fools; the pain of meditation is better than pleasure from the senses.

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVIII

  • Maha Kassapa. In this poem -- one of the first examples of "wilderness poetry" -- an arahant monk celebrates the joys of practicing jhana in the solitude of the forest.

Chapter XIX

  • Talaputa [Bhikkhu Khantipalo, tr.]. A frank and inspiring eavesdropping into this monk's conversations with himself before becoming a monk and after.


Updated: 1-7-2000

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