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People used to say that I was so beautiful it hurt to look at me, like the sun.
The sun lights the whole world, but isn’t free. It lives its life on a leash.
I lost weight and grew pale. My sister said I looked like a dead person.
When I finally put on robes, my family was almost relieved. Maybe it would help.
For seven years I wandered. I got really good at being sad.
Late one afternoon. I took a rope and went into the woods.
The sun was setting.
I could feel the rough fibers against my neck as I put my head inside.
That’s when I saw: it was just one more leash.
What goes on can come off.
This verse is adapted by Matty Weingast from the Therigatha, a Buddhist text consisting of a collection of 73 short poems of women who were senior nuns. The poems date from a three hundred year period, starting in the late 6th century BCE. It is the companion text to the Theragatha, verses attributed to senior monks. It is the earliest known collection of women’s literature composed in India.
Source: Great Middle Way