13.5 Subhā Therī, the smith’s daughter (338-365)


338. “I was young, with clean clothes, when previously I heard the doctrine. Being vigilant, I obtained comprehension of the four truths.

339. “Then I attained great non-delight in all sensual pleasures; seeing fear in individuality, I longed only for renunciation of the world.

340. “I left the group of my relatives, the slaves, and servants, the rich fields and villages, and delightful and pleasant possessions, and I went forth, abandoning no small wealth.

341. “Since I renounced the world in faith in this way, and the true doctrine has been well preached, it would not be fitting for me, once I had laid aside gold and silver, to take them back again, for I desire the state of having nothing.

342. “Silver or gold are not conducive to awakening or peace. This is not proper for ascetics; this is not the wealth of the noble ones.

343. “This is being greedy, and intoxication, stupefaction, increase of defilement, full of suspicions and with many troubles; there is here no permanent stability.

344. “Many men who are infatuated with this and careless, with defiled minds, being obstructed one by another, make a quarrel.

345. “Slaughter, bonds, calamity, loss, grief, and lamentation; much misfortune is seen for those who have fallen into sensual pleasures.

346. “Why do you, my relatives, like enemies, urge me on towards sensual pleasures? You know that I have gone forth, seeing fear in sensual pleasures.

347. “The āsavas do not diminish because of gold, coined or uncoined; sensual pleasures are enemies, murderers, hostile, binding with ropes.

348. “Why do you, my relatives, like enemies, urge me on towards sensual pleasures? You know that I have gone forth, with shaven head, clad in the outer robe.

349. “Leftover scraps and gleanings as food, and a rag from a dust-heap as a robe; this indeed is proper for me, the basic essentials for a houseless one.

350. “The great seers have rejected sensual pleasures, those which are divine and those which are human. Those seers are completely released in the place of security; they have arrived at unshakable happiness.

351. “May I not meet again with sensual pleasures, in which no refuge is found; sensual pleasures are enemies, murderers, like a mass of fire, painful.

352. “Greed is an obstacle, full of fear, full of annoyance, full of thorns, and it is very disagreeable; it is a great cause of stupefaction.

353. “Sensual pleasures are like a frightful attack, like a snake’s head, which fools delight in, blind ordinary individuals.

354. “For people are attached to the mud of sensual pleasures; many in the world are ignorant; they do not know the end of birth and death.

355. “Because of sensual pleasures men enter very much upon the way which goes to a bad transition, bringing disease to themselves.

356. “In this way sensual pleasures are enemy-producing, burning, defiling, the lures of the world, constraining, the bonds of death.

357. “Sensual pleasures are maddening, deceiving, agitating the mind; a net spread out by Māra for the defilement of creatures.

358. “Sensual pleasures have endless perils, they have much pain, they are great poisons, they give little enjoyment, they cause conflict, drying up the virtuous party.

359. “Since I have caused such misfortune because of sensual pleasures, I shall not return to them again; I shall always delight in quenching.

360. “Having been in conflict with sensual pleasures, being desirous of the cool state, I shall dwell vigilant, in the annihilation of their fetters.

361. “I shall follow that griefless, stainless, secure, noble, eightfold, straight way, by which the great seers have crossed.”

362. See this Subha, the smith’s daughter, standing firm in the doctrine. Having entered the immovable state she meditates at the foot of a tree.

363. Today is the eighth day. She went forth full of faith, beautiful by reason of the true doctrine, instructed by Uppalavaṇṇā, with triple knowledge, leaving death behind.

364. This one is a freed slave, without debt, a bhikkhunī with developed faculties, unfettered from all ties, her task done, without āsavas.

365. Sakka, the lord of beings, approaching by supernormal powers with a group of deities, reveres that Subha, the smith’s daughter.


They all told me the same thing,

There’s only one way to be truly safe.

Get as much as you can—

and hold on tight.

We don’t take greed seriously enough.

I grew up in a house made of gold,

so I ought to know.

You see what it does to people.


Over time.

It changes them.

It takes over.

You find yourself saying,

I’ll learn to be generous.

I’ll give it all away.

But first

I just need

a little



Stop lying to yourself.

See a clenched fist for what it is.

Not tomorrow.

Not in twenty years.


I am Subha the goldsmith’s daughter.

Eating whatever is offered.

Sleeping wherever I can.

This is what freedom looks like—

not a bucket of coins buried out back.

Just like you,

I spent a long time

going back and forth.

But eventually I had to stand up

and say it out loud:

I will not be owned.

Norman: 672 words

Weingast: 160 words

Note: Word count is only a very simplistic way to compare the two texts.


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