Timeline

21 August 2019: Weingast’s poems are featured in the Fall 2019 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. This is a special women’s issue: “A beautiful new translation of the Therigatha by Matty Weingast brings to life the voices of the earliest Buddhist nuns.”

25 October 2019: Publishers Weekly reviews the book and states: “Weingast’s fresh rendering of these ancient words will be of interest to anyone looking for feminine Buddhist voices.”

Jan 2020: Alliance for Bhikkhunis announces the upcoming publication of The First Free Women and offers to give a copy to any Bhikkhuni who would like a copy. This is also included in their news archive, 2020 Bhikkhuni Happenings.

11 Feb 2020: Shambhala publishes The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns
It hasn’t been confirmed, but it appears that in the original language of the promotional material, and the review copy given to blurbers, the book was called a translation.

11 Feb 2020: ARC Review publishes a review of The First Free Women, stating “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. The poetry in these pages is spellbinding. Not just because it is an incredible historical witness account but also because it is inspiringly raw, emotional, and feminist.”

12 Feb 2020: Julie Reeser publishes a review beginning, “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.”

29 June 2020: Bodhi College publishes their summer reading list which includes The First Free Women

7 Jul 2020: Shambhala Publications publishes a second edition of Songs of the Sons and Daughters of Buddha: Enlightenment Poems from the Theragatha and Therigatha, an anthology by Andrew Schelling and Anne Waldman, originally published in 1996.

27 Aug 2020: In an interview published on Dharma.org (IMS) Pamela Weiss states, “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.”

14 Sep 2020: Weingast is interviewed on New Book Network podcast. Weingast is constantly referred to as the translator. (unofficial transcription)

16 Nov 2020: Ayya Sudhamma publishes the book review “From Lioness Roars to Purrs: A Review of The First Free Women by Matty Weingast” drawing attention to the book’s problems.

30 Nov 2020: Creative Dharma publishes an interview by Ronn Smith with Mr. Weingast titled A new translation of the Therīgāthā by Matty Weingast. “…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.”

9 Dec 2020: In Bed with Books publishes a review of The First Free Women, stating “The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns is a new translation of selected poems from the Therigatha, or Verses of the Elder Nuns, a Buddhist religious text from about 80 BCE, written shortly after the life of Buddha.”

29 Dec 2020: Matty Weingast and Ayya Anandabodhi participate in a private online discussion with members of the Discuss & Discover SuttaCentral forum. In brief, Weingast stated that he had no intention of changing anything about the book.

29 Dec 2020: Private discussion is started on the SuttaCentral.net forum regarding actions to take in response to the call with Weingast.

6 Jan 2021: Bhante Sujato begins a private conversation with the president of Shambhala Publications, Nikko Odiseos.

15 Jan 2021: Bhante Sujato give a talk entitled “When is a Sutta not a Sutta? Facts & Fantasies in translations of the Therīgāthā” The next day it is posted to YouTube.

16 Jan 2021: Bhante Sujato publishes an essay entitled “The Counterfeit of the True Teaching” to share quotes from the Pali Canon.

17 Jan 2021 Bhante Sujato sends a formal letter to the editors at Shambhala stating “We call on Shambhala to remove this book from publication immediately…” There were 9 signers.

20 Jan 2021 Bhante Sujato posts an open letter, First Free Women, a bogus translation of Buddhist scripture, to Shambhala on the forum.

23 Jan 2021 Bhikkhuni Canda, founder of Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project, UK, is officially withdrawing her endorsement of the book. (facebook) This may be the first case of such a withdrawal.

24 Jan 2021 Thanissara Mary Weinberg writes to Shambhala to request withdrawal of endorsement. (facebook)

27 Jan 2021: Bodhipaksa sends a letter to Nikko Odiseos with a growing number of cosigners.

29 Jan 2021: (Or some time shortly before) Library of Congress subject classification changed to Buddhist Poetry, American. The catalogue number is unchanged as is the description calling it a translation, although there is a note saying it is not a “literal translation.”

2 Feb 2021: Nikko Odiseso issues a public letter addressing the letters Shambhala has received indicating that the book is being pulled and re-issued.

2 Feb 2021: Book page for Kindle edition on Amazon.com is removed

5 Feb 2021: (on or before)

  • Shambhala removes first edition book page from their webiste
  • Shambhala creates second edition book page on their website with slightly revised description and new isbn number: 9781645470564. Expected publication date is listed as 06/22/2021
  • Shambhala creates new book page on Amazon.com with slightly revised description and includes what appears to be previous book endorser statements