Online Spread

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Social Media

This is an online forum known to discuss similar issues, although it is in no way Buddhist.

Anyone can create an account to review books and comment on other people’s reviews. Goodread reviews are scraped and embedded into the Shambhala bookstore as well as

SuttaCentral Discuss & Discover (Theravada) (Mahayana)

Library Reviews


Discussion started January 26, 2021:

Anouncement of books by Shambhala Publications president:

On line articles & podcasts:

Literary Hub

Article by An Tran:

Cambridge Insight Meditation Center

Audio recording interview with Weingast. Scroll down to February:

NY Zen Center Podcast

Mostly readings?

Creative Dharma: Interview

Numerous translations exist, some of which purport to be word-for-word renditions of the original Pali, while others exhibit a ‘looser’ or more creative interpretation. Matty Weingast’s The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns (Shambhala Publications, 2020) falls squarely within this second group. His translations are both contemporary and bold, and some may find them uncomfortably radical. What follows is from an interview conducted on 17 November 2020.

Many English translations of the Therīgāthā are quite good, but most are rather formal and academic. The translator’s relationship seems to be to the historic and religious importance of the poems; they wanted to make as ‘faithful’ a translation of the poems as possible.

My approach was to read a poem many, many times, to find the essential teaching each enlightened nun was trying to communicate. Then reconstruct the poem around that primary image or the instruction. In many ways it became something other than a translation, more in the line of what Coleman Barks did for Rumi. Some poems remained close to the original, some spun off.

I had no training in this, and I wasn’t telling people what I was doing because the whole thing was so weird. But something allowed me to say: let’s see where this goes. I was in over my head, not properly trained to do this, but that allowed it to turn into whatever it wanted. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was certain of that. And I really think that’s the best, whether in our practice, our life, or in the creative process. It’s so clear that that place of not knowing is where we want to be.

New Book Network Podcast

This is a 45 minute interview with the author. Please read the transcript here. All poems are linked to side by side comparisons.

Talk given at IMSB

This is a talk and reading given by Ayya Anandabodhi and Mr. Weingast at Insight Meditation South Bay (California)

Here is a transcription.

BCBS: Barre Center for Buddhist Studies

Article by authour with selection of poems.

Buddharma Magazine, Fall 2019

Mostly a repost of Ayya Sudhamma’s article, but with the site authour’ comments.

Integral Yoga Magazine

Mostly reprint of book forward


Florida Gulf Coast University: Gender Studies: Home

Academic resources for gender studies. FFW is a featured book.

Bodhi College

Summer 2020 reading list:

University at Buffalo

Theravada Primary Texts:

Weingast’s book appears first in the list of individual books.

Buddhism: Themes & Issues

Honors Thesis: Jacqueline McIntosh-DeCiancio

“In this vivid translation,…
….A staple of Weingast’s interpretive style is the creation of families who ordain together. His other creative translations include the removal of the Buddha from dialectic exchanges such that statements made by the Buddha are presented as a voice—perhaps an inner-voice within the nuns

Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature

Books received.

INDOLOGY forum for Classical South Asian studies

Discussion: (alternate site)


Publisher’s Weekly

“Weingast’s fresh rendering of these ancient words will be of interest to anyone looking for feminine Buddhist voices.”

Tricycle Summer 2020

Now Matty Weingast, a longtime meditation practitioner, has breathed new life into these early texts with The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns, a beautiful, endlessly moving collection of their words transformed into modern English.

Weingast’s poems, in contrast, are more reimaginings than they are direct translations, and at times he takes considerable liberties with the Pali sources. For this reason, it can be jarring to compare his versions to the earlier editions. And yet the nuns’ voices, not his own, are what shine through. It is as if he has brought these wise women back to life, conjuring the poems they might have written if they were walking among us today.

For scholars or practitioners looking for a more literal translation of these ancient texts, Hallisey’s edition will be a better bet. But for anyone looking to be inspired by the present possibility of awakening that is demonstrated by our first women ancestors, Matty Weingast’s blessed book will be a most welcome companion. What an astonishing surprise to reach all the way back to the dawn of our sangha and discover these modern treasures.

Routledge journal Religion Paywall

By Dr. Liz Wilson

Buddhadhamma Book Briefs for Spring 2020

by Joie Szu-Chiao Chen, February 19, 202

“… Taking poetic license from the Pali originals, Weingast transforms the poems into sharply penetrating and profoundly moving English free verse….”

Asian Review of Books

In depth review

“Matty Weingast’s The First Free Women, is a new translation of a collection of poems known as the Therigatha, or Verses of the Elder Nuns, a Pali text dating from about 80 BCE …”

There is a second review on ARB about Sons and Daughters of the Buddha, the older (now updated) Shambala publication related to the Therigatha. He compares that book with Weingast’s:

These two versions are radically different, so different that one wonders whether the translators were working from different originals. Either Weingast has added more material, which suggests that Mutta, whose name, we are told, actually means “freed”, sees herself as a spokeswoman for others in her family, or Schelling and Waldman, for whatever reasons, have simply left out a section; not having access to the Pali original makes it difficult to judge which rendering comes closest to what Mutta actually wrote.


Professional reviewing site:

Lokantara blog

A monk gives an overview of the problems with The First Free Women:

In Bed With Books

Recent review

From the Library (Medium)

Very short review by Laura Manipura (10.9k followers)

“When I read this rendition of the Therigatha (Verses of the Elder Nuns), I was stunned by the simple beauty of the verses. The poetry is written by women from all walks of life.”

ARC Review

“This is a new translation of poems by the first Buddhist nuns. This translation feels special. It comes from the heart rather than being a technical one. I have not read any other versions of these poems but I deeply connected with Weingast’s interpretations.”

Julie Reeser

This translated collection proves to me that poetry is the universal language. I fully expected these poems to feel distant, to be dry and esoteric, or perhaps quirky with their Buddhist lens and historical distance, but instead I found myself in tears.

Library Catalogues

Library of Congress

“”This new and captivating translation of the Therigatha (Verses of the Elder Buddhist Nuns) …”– Provided by publisher.”

LC Subjects: Buddhist poetry–Translations into English., Pali poetry–Translations into English.


Users can submit reviews to records. also lists reviews from Goodreads.

Other mentions

Insight Myanmar Podcast

Mentioned in this episode at 1:35:50. Abhirupananda Theri.

Tricycle: Parting Words

The Poem for Mutta.

Meet the Teacher: Pamela Weiss (IMS)

“Thankfully, we have the Therigatha — the poems from the [early] Buddhist women. And I always love to give a shout out to Matty [Weingast] who has written a gorgeous new translation of those poems. So, we know from the Therigatha that women participated, and were awakened, but we also know that their voices weren’t [always] heard.”

Alliance for Bhikkhunis

2020 Bhikkhuni Happenings

The First Free Women


Publisher page:

Amazon: Possible to add reviews

Penguin Random House:

Penguin Random House Canada:


The ending discussion starts here and goes for about 7 minutes.

Saskatoon Insight Meditation Community

Talk by Ayya Ananda Bodhi over zoom, posted to youtube. From April 2020.

Arising All By Themselves – 12/30/20 – By Sokuzan


Sravasty Abbey

Kate M Foster

True North Insight


List of “only ten books”

blog post





Book reading group:

Book reading group:


Book list:

Book list:


Book list:




Online retreat: Here are the recordings





On line retreat




Study group