05.05 Nanduttarā Therī (87-91)


87. I used to worship fire and the moon and the sun and divinities. I went to river-fording places and used to go down into the water.

88. Undertaking many vows, I shaved half my head; I made my bed on the ground; I did not eat night-food.

89. Delighting in ornament and decoration, by means of bathing and anointing indeed, I ministered to this body, afflicted by desire for sensual pleasure.

90. Then obtaining faith I went forth into the houseless state, seeing the body as it really was. I have rooted out desire for sensual pleasures.

91. I have cut out all existences, and wishes and longings too. Unfettered from all ties, I have attained peace of mind.


I spent most of my teenage years

running from one bed

to another.

Any sign of warmth would do.

Each worked for a while,

until they got possessive

or mean

or boring—

or I did.

Then I got new friends,

shaved my head,

and started eating once a day.

During the long lonely nights that followed,

I would remember all the nice warm baths,

all the late nights and long mornings

waking up next to beautiful warm bodies.

One night,

shivering on the ground,

I started to cry.

It’s not fair.

No matter what I do,

the other thing

always looks better.

Listen, my heart.

I know how exhausting it all gets.

Don’t give up—

until you’re ready

to give up

for real.


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