What is Thera Theri Gatha and Why You Should Read It in Sinhala PDF
Thera Theri Gatha in Sinhala PDF: A Collection of Enlightening Verses by Buddhist Monks and Nuns
Thera Theri Gatha is a Buddhist text that contains the verses of the elder monks (thera) and nuns (theri) who attained enlightenment. These verses are part of the Suttanipata, one of the earliest books of the Pali canon, which belongs to the Khuddaka Nikaya (Short Collection) of the Sutta Pitaka (Basket of Discourses).
Thera Theri Gatha In Sinhala Pdf
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The Thera Theri Gatha consists of 264 poems by monks and 73 poems by nuns. They express their inner experiences, insights, struggles, joys, and gratitude for the Buddha's teachings. They also describe the beauty and challenges of living in nature, renouncing worldly pleasures, and practicing meditation. The verses are written in various meters and styles, reflecting the diversity and creativity of the authors.
The Thera Theri Gatha is a valuable source of information about the early history and development of Buddhism, especially the role and status of women in the sangha (monastic community). The verses reveal the personal stories and backgrounds of the monks and nuns, their motivations for joining the order, their difficulties and achievements, and their relationships with each other and with lay followers. The verses also show the different aspects of the Buddhist path, such as ethics, wisdom, compassion, mindfulness, concentration, and liberation.
In this article, we will explore some of the themes and messages of the Thera Theri Gatha, as well as some examples of the verses in Sinhala PDF format. We will also discuss how these ancient poems can inspire and guide us in our own spiritual journey.
Themes and Messages of the Thera Theri Gatha
The Thera Theri Gatha contains many themes and messages that are relevant and inspiring for anyone who is interested in the Buddhist path. Some of the common themes are:
Impermanence: Many of the verses reflect on the transient nature of life and the world, and how attachment to them leads to suffering. The monks and nuns urge themselves and others to see through the illusion of permanence and to seek the unchanging peace of nibbana (nirvana). For example, in verse 1024, a nun named Vimala says:
"All conditioned things are impermanent,
When one sees this with wisdom,
One turns away from suffering.
This is the path to purification."
Gratitude: Many of the verses express gratitude to the Buddha for his teachings and guidance, and to the sangha for their support and friendship. The monks and nuns also acknowledge their past good deeds and merits that enabled them to encounter the Dhamma (the truth) and to practice it diligently. For example, in verse 1039, a nun named Uttama says:
"I am grateful to the Buddha,
The Dhamma, and the Sangha too.
By their grace I have attained
The bliss that's hard to win."
Compassion: Many of the verses show compassion for the suffering of others and a desire to share the Dhamma with them. The monks and nuns also express compassion for themselves and their own struggles, and encourage themselves to overcome them with wisdom and courage. For example, in verse 1050, a nun named Sela says:
"Seeing people floundering
Like fish in little water,
Seeing them fearful of death,
I went forth into homelessness.
Having understood the Dhamma,
I have crossed over the flood.
I have reached the further shore.
I am free from all bonds."
These are just some of the themes and messages that can be found in the Thera Theri Gatha. There are many more that can be explored and appreciated by reading and reflecting on these verses.
The History and Significance of the Thera Theri Gatha
The Thera Theri Gatha are a collection of verses composed by the enlightened monks and nuns who were the disciples of the Buddha. The word "gatha" means a verse or a stanza, and the words "thera" and "theri" mean elder monks and nuns respectively. These verses are part of the Khuddaka Nikaya, the fifth and last division of the Sutta Pitaka, the collection of discourses attributed to the Buddha and his disciples.
The Thera Theri Gatha are considered to be among the oldest and most authentic parts of the Pali Canon, as they reflect the personal experiences and insights of the early Buddhist saints who attained liberation through following the Buddha's teachings. They also provide valuable information about the social and cultural context of ancient India, as well as the challenges and joys of living a monastic life.
The Thera Theri Gatha are not arranged in any particular order, but they are grouped according to the gender and seniority of the authors. There are 264 verses by 264 male elders (Thera Gatha) and 73 verses by 73 female elders (Theri Gatha). Some of these elders are well-known figures in Buddhist history, such as Sariputta, Moggallana, Ananda, Mahakassapa, Anuruddha, Mahakaccana, Kisa Gotami, Patacara, Dhammadinna, Khema, Uppalavanna, etc. Others are less famous but equally inspiring in their spiritual achievements.
The Thera Theri Gatha are not only poems of high literary merit, but also expressions of deep wisdom and compassion. They reveal the various aspects of the Buddhist path, such as renunciation, morality, meditation, insight, liberation, gratitude, joy, etc. They also show the diversity and universality of the Buddhist community, as they include people from different castes, classes, professions, backgrounds, etc. They also demonstrate the equality and respect between men and women in the Buddhist sangha.
The Thera Theri Gatha are a source of inspiration and guidance for all Buddhists who aspire to follow the example of the noble disciples of the Buddha. They also testify to the power and efficacy of the Buddha's teachings that can transform ordinary human beings into enlightened saints. They are a treasure of Buddhist literature that deserves to be studied and appreciated by all.
How to Access and Study the Thera Theri Gatha
The Thera Theri Gatha are available in both Pali and Sinhala languages, as well as in English translations. The Pali text can be found in the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka, which is one of the three main collections of the Tipitaka, the sacred scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. The Sinhala translation can be found in various books and websites, such as the Sinhala Buddhist Library (https://tipitaka.lk/library/0/all), which also provides PDF files for downloading and printing. The English translation by Mrs. Rhys Davids can be obtained from the Pali Text Society (https://www.palitext.com/) or read online at https://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh135_Gunaratna_Message-of-the-Saints--Thera-Theri-Gatha.pdf.
To study the Thera Theri Gatha, one should first read them with an open mind and a receptive heart, appreciating their poetic beauty and spiritual depth. One should also try to understand the historical and cultural context of the verses, as well as the biographies of the authors, which are often given in the commentaries or other sources. One should also compare different translations and interpretations of the verses, and consult reliable teachers or scholars for clarification or guidance. One should also reflect on the meaning and relevance of the verses for one's own life and practice, and apply them accordingly.
The Thera Theri Gatha are not only a source of information, but also a source of inspiration and transformation. They can help us to develop faith, devotion, gratitude, joy, compassion, wisdom, and liberation. They can also help us to overcome doubt, attachment, aversion, ignorance, and suffering. They can also help us to connect with the noble lineage of enlightened disciples of the Buddha, and aspire to follow their footsteps. They can also help us to appreciate the diversity and harmony of the Buddhist community, and cultivate respect and friendship with all beings.
What are the Thera Theri Gatha?
The Thera Theri Gatha are a collection of verses composed by the enlightened monks and nuns who were the disciples of the Buddha. The word "thera" means "elder" and refers to the senior monks who had attained arahantship, the highest stage of spiritual perfection in Buddhism. The word "theri" means "elderess" and refers to the female counterparts of the thera. The word "gatha" means "verse" or "song". The Thera Theri Gatha are part of the Khuddaka Nikaya, the fifth and last division of the Sutta Pitaka, which contains various short texts of Buddhist teachings.
The Thera Theri Gatha are not only poems of great literary merit, but also expressions of profound wisdom and insight. They reveal the personal experiences, struggles, joys, and achievements of the early Buddhist saints who had renounced the worldly life and devoted themselves to the practice of the Dhamma. They also show the diversity and harmony of the Buddhist community, which included people from different backgrounds, castes, genders, and professions. The Thera Theri Gatha are a source of inspiration and guidance for anyone who wishes to follow the path of liberation taught by the Buddha.
Some Examples of Verses from the Thera Theri Gatha
The Thera Theri Gatha contain a variety of verses that express the different moods, experiences, and insights of the enlightened monks and nuns. Some of them are joyful and grateful for their liberation, some are serene and peaceful in their detachment, some are compassionate and benevolent towards others, some are witty and humorous in their observations, some are poignant and moving in their recollections, and some are profound and sublime in their wisdom. Here are a few examples of such verses:
A verse by Vimala, a former robber who became an arahant:
"Once I was a bandit known as Finger-garland,
A doer of deeds most wicked and most evil.
But now I've cast aside the sword and knife,
And live restrained by Buddha's discipline.
I've gone for refuge to the Triple Gem,
And purified this mind of mine so well.
The Buddha's teaching has been done by me,
The heavy load has been laid down at last."
A verse by Patacara, a woman who lost her husband, children, parents, and brother in a series of tragedies and became insane with grief. She later met the Buddha and regained her sanity and faith. She became a nun and attained arahantship:
"Ploughing their fields with ploughs,
Sowing seeds upon the ground,
Maintaining wives and children,
Young men gather wealth.
So why is it that I,
Who have such wisdom born of Dhamma,
Cannot follow that same path
By which the wise have reached the goal?
Then I aroused my energy
And soon attained that supreme peace.
See the diligence of Patacara!
She has burst asunder Mara's bonds."
A verse by Sariputta, the chief disciple of the Buddha and the foremost in wisdom:
"Those who have faith in the Buddha
Have faith in the best;
Those who have faith in the Dhamma
Have faith in the best;
Those who have faith in the Sangha
Have faith in the best;
Those who have faith in the best
Reach the best, Nibbana."
A verse by Uppalavanna, a beautiful woman who renounced her wealth and fame to become a nun. She was renowned for her psychic powers and courage:
"Though one should live a hundred years
As a lazy, sluggish person,
Better is it to live a single day
Firmly arousing one's energy.
As I dwell with energy aroused,
I'll show you elephants, horses, chariots,
Foot soldiers, archers, and royal troops.
With psychic power I'll create them all;
But this is not the path to final peace."
A verse by Maha Kassapa, another chief disciple of the Buddha and the leader of the first Buddhist council:
"I'm now grown old, but still I live
On what has been collected as alms.
I make my dwelling at the foot of a tree;
The three robes are all I own.
Everywhere I go I take them along;
Like a bird that flies with its wings.
Why now do you speak only empty words?
You're not practising what you preach."
The Thera Theri Gatha are a treasure of Buddhist literature that offer us a glimpse into the lives and minds of the early Buddhist saints. They show us how they overcame their difficulties and challenges, how they developed their wisdom and compassion, how they attained the ultimate freedom and happiness of Nibbana. They also teach us valuable lessons on how to practice the Dhamma in our own lives, how to cultivate the qualities of faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and insight, how to overcome our defilements and attachments, how to live in harmony with ourselves and others. The Thera Theri Gatha are a source of joy and inspiration for all who read them with an open heart and mind. b99f773239