03.05 Ubbirī Therī (51-53)

Note: The commentary makes it clear that the daughters all belong to Ubbirī. And it is not just some voice, but the Buddha: “…’Burnt in this cemetery are some 84,000 of thy daughters. For which of them dost thou weep?’ …”


51. Mother, you cry out “O Jīvā” in the wood; understand yourself, Ubbirī. Eighty-four thousand daughters, all with the name Jīvā, have been burned in this funeral fire. Which of these do you grieve for?

52. Truly he has plucked out my dart, hard to see, nestling in my heart, which grief for my daughter he has thrust away for me, overcome by grief.

53. Today I have my dart plucked out; I am without hunger, quenched. I go to the Buddha-sage, the doctrine, and the Order as a refuge.


How many days and nights

did I wander the woods

calling your name?

Jiva, my daughter!

Jiva, my heart!

Late one night,

finally exhausted,

I fell to the ground.

Oh, my heart, I heard a voice say,

84,000 daughters all named Jiva

have died and been buried

here in this boundless cemetery

you call a world.

For which of these Jivas are you mourning?

Lying there on the ground,

I shared my grief with those 84,000 mothers.

And they shared their grief with me.

Somehow I found myself healed—

not of grief,

but of the immeasurable loneliness

that attends grief.

My sisters.

Those of you who have known the deepest loss.

As you cry out in the wilderness,

just make sure

you stop

every so often

to listen for a voice calling back.


1 comment

  1. In this one the setting is derived from the original, but the lesson learned, i.e. the Dhamma, is totally different. The Buddha’s teaching was to remove grief. Weingast’s teaching is to share it.

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