Vasitthi The Mad Woman

This poem from the Theragatha, a collection of poems by the first couple of generations of Buddhist nuns. This poem paints quite a story. Vasitthi had a happy marriage, and a young son. But when he was still a small boy, he suddenly died. Vasitthi was overcome with grief, and fled from her home, mad with grief.

Naked, half-crazed, wild-haired,
Full of grief for the death of my child
I wandered aimlessly
For three years I lived on the streets
Slept in cemeteries
Always hungry and thirsty.

Then one day I saw the Blessed One
In the city of Mithila.
The great teacher,
The Buddha
The fearless one.

Collecting myself, I bowed to him.
With great compassion he taught me dhamma.
I listened and ordained a homeless nun.
I practiced the teaching, and found liberation.

Now all my pain I have left behind
For now I know the source of all sorrow.

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