05.09 Bhaddā Therī, the former Jain (107-111)


107. With hair cut off, wearing dust, formerly I wandered, having only one robe, thinking there was a fault where there was no fault, and seeing no fault where there was a fault.

108. Going out from my daytime resting-place on Mt. Gijjhakūṭa, I saw the stainless Buddha, attended by the Order of bhikkhus.

109. Having bent the knee, having paid homage to him, I stood with cupped hands face to face with him. “Come, Bhadda,” he said to me; that was my ordination.

110. I have wandered over Aṅga, and Magadha, Vajjī, Kāsi, and Kosala. For fifty years without debt I have enjoyed the alms of the kingdoms.

111. Truly he produced much merit; truly wise was that lay-follower who gave a robe to Bhadda who is now freed from all bonds.


I used to walk everywhere

wearing only a robe,

a shaved head,

and the dust of the road.

It was all great fun—

but I was still mistaking

the essential for the inessential,

and the inessential for the essential.

Please. I know it’s a mouthful.

But can you tell one from the other?

If so, how?

Here at the end,

part of me still wants to go back

and kiss every inch

of every road

I ever walked.

But it’s enough

just to say thank you—

and goodbye.


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