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Theragatha and Therigatha

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The Theragàthà and the Therigàthà are two books in the Khuddaka Nikaya, the fifth part of the Sutta Pitaka, the first division of the Tipitaka, the sacred scriptures of Buddhism.

Thera is a title given to someone who has been a monk for more than ten years and means ‘elder.’ The equivalent title for a nun is theri. The word gàthà means ‘a verse.’ Both of these works contain poems composed by the Buddha’s disciples. There are 263 poems in the Theragàthà and seventy three in the Therigàthà, many of considerable literary merit. Some celebrate the joy of enlightenment, others the beauty of the forest and yet others praise the compassion of the Buddha. The Therãgàthà contains the earliest corpus of poetry from India composed by women.


Elders Verses, trans by K.R.Norman, Vol. I,1990; Vol. II, 1991.

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