Summary Selections from “The Group of Thirty Verses” attributed to Subha Jivakambavanika from Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns

366. A rogue stopped the [nun] Subha as she was going to the delightful Jivakamba wood: Subha said this to him:

367. “What wrong have I done you, that you should stand obstructing me? For it is not fitting, sir, that a man should touch a woman who has gone forth.

368. This training was taught by the well-farer, in my teacher’s severe teaching. Why do you stand obstructing me? I possess the purified state without blemish…”

369. “You are young and not ugly; what will going-forth do for you? Throw away your yellow robe. Come let us delight in the flowery wood…

373. You wish to go without companion to the lonely, frightening, great wood, frequented by herds of beasts of prey, disturbed by cow-elephants, who are excited by bull-elephants.

374. You will go about like a doll made of gold, like an acchara in Cittaratha. O incomparable one, you will shine with beautiful garments of fine muslin, with excellent cloths.

375. I should be at your beck and call if we were to dwell in the grove; for there is no creature dearer to me than you, o nymph with pleasant eyes….

379. Just as a  blue lotus with beautiful blossoms rising up from the water is touched by non-human water-spirits, so you, liver of the holy life will go to your old age with your limbs untouched by any man.”

380. “What is it that you approve of as essential here in the body, which is full of corpses, filling the cemetery, destined to break up? What is it that you have seen when you look at me, being out of your mind?”

381. “Your eyes are like those of Turi, like those of a nymph inside a mountain; seeing your eyes my delight in sensual pleasures increases all the more.

382. Seeing your eyes in your face, to be compared with the bud of a blue lotus, spotless, like gold, my sensual pleasure increases all the more.

383. Even though you have gone far away, I shall remember you; you with the long eyelashes, you with the pure gaze; for no eyes are dearer to me than yours, you nymph with pleasant eyes…”

396. Removing her eye, the good-looking lady, with an unattached mind, was not attached to it. She said “Come, take this eye for yourself.” Straightaway she gave it to the man….

Please note that I have expurgated some of the many religious messages in the poem to suit to my own needs. But there is a chance they might have been integrated into the anecdote retrospectively to seduce recruits. Who knows.

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