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Verses of the Elder Monks

(selected verses)

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See also the Therigatha (Verses of the Elder Nuns).

The Theragatha, the eighth book of the Khuddaka Nikaya, consists of 264 poems (1,291 stanzas in all) in which the early monks (bhikkhus) recount their struggles and accomplishments along the road to arahantship. Their stories are told with often heart-breaking honesty and beauty, revealing the deeply human side of these extraordinary men, and thus serve as inspiring reminders of our own potential to follow in their footsteps.

The translations below are by Thanissaro Bhikkhu unless otherwise indicated. The braces {} that follow each sutta title contain the verse numbers of the corresponding Pali text of the Theragatha.

Revised: Thursday 2004.12.02