Thoughts on Charles Hallisey's and Anagarika Mahendra's translation of the Therigatha

Do folks have opinions on Charles Hallisey’s 2015 translation of the Therigatha, Poems of the First Buddhist Women?

This page has selections. (first entry)

I have seen it but not spend a lot of time with it. The physical book is wonderfully bound and typeset.

Here is a review…

And Anagarika Mahendra’s? It is available here:

as a free download as well as free print upon request.


Sorry, I have only read Hallisley’s translation briefly, and Mahendra’s not at all. I hope t work on the Therigatha later in the year, perhaps I may have some more thoughts then.


Ayya @vimalanyani has contacted Anagarika Mahendra some time ago but he would only allow us to publish it as the existing pdf and not convert it to SC format.


Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu!! Can’t wait.


That’s unfortunate and self defeating IMO. Sutta Central meta data would show the info for where to get the full book, and not making the individual suttas available to compare with other existing translations easily in suttacentral, you’re just relegating yourself to obscurity. When one can easily see Sujato’s forthcoming Therigatha translations, Thanissaro’s partial translations, PTS and other translators on SC easily and instantly in one centralized place, why would one want to go through the trouble of digging up other translations?

For the same reason, I’ve always been interested in reading more of Piya Tan’s translations and essays, but by only having it in non unicode, and in PDF, guess what? The inconvenience of that nonstandard format, and not having it easily available on SC, means I ended up not reading it.


It could be that he still considers it a work in progress and doesn’t want to have to maintain branches. I seem to recall he said something in the intro about seeking feedback on the translation.

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Fair enough, but this is the same situation as everyone else; not just authors, but programmers as well. Apart from, I dunno, TeX, pretty much every piece of software is in perpetual development, at least potentially, and programmers have figured out really good ways of handling this. One great approach is to keep everything on Github and publish from there; that way, new versions can easily be tracked. Walter’s new Apadana transaltion takes this approach:


Thank you for the links.

Found 3 from Hallisey’s book:

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(Attributed to Hallisey thanks to Thig5.12 Candā:
  1. title of essay is exactly the same as the book
  2. this essay was read out “Poems of the First Buddhist Woman” 3/3 - YouTube
    (Thig 1.4, 1.12, 1.15, 2.7, 3.2, 3.8, 5.6, 5.7, 5.9, 5.10, 6.6, 12.1, 13.2, 16.1)

At the end of the same youtube video, Dr Hallisey mentioned the Indian (or South Asia) paperback edition which is very affordable. (around US$3)

“Murty Classical Library is a facing-page translation series.” — this makes worth collecting.
(Now I understand why the translation can be so ‘loose’, the ‘original’ is given. The sample page spread)on [Volumes | Murty Classical Library of India] shows lots of empty space for scribbling on.
Wonder if the verse numbering follows CST (524), SLTP (521) or PTS (522 verses in total) — discrepancy from verse 290 onwards (Thig13.3 thereabouts).)

Note 20201114 Hallisey has 525 verses. (One more verse: 311-525 on Page 113: (PDF) Gawler-Thesis-Voices_of_Early_Buddhist_Nuns.pdf | Meg Gawler -

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Since @waiyin has revived this thread, I’d like to add an update.

I’ve been corresponding with the translator formerly Anagarika Mahindra, now Samanera Mahindra :smiley:. I contacted him to express appreciation for his excellent translation and to seek permission for a little chanting project that used an appendix from his book.*

I suggested publishing on SC, and he explained that he had declined to publish on SC due to the loss of the endnotes and other accompanying details.

*The appendix was a list of epithets the bhikkhunis had used for the Buddha in their poetry. Here’s the chanting video that resulted



Yes, I contacted him a few years ago about this. He was happy to give permission to publish it on SC, but only if we keep the notes and other material. This isn’t possible on SC, so we could not go ahead. :slightly_frowning_face:


Thank you very much for sharing. Sorry for reviving this thread but information should be kept in one place.

Having ‘gone through’ the Theragāthā by Sāmaṇera Mahinda Anāgārika Mahendra, I find the end notes, appendices and glossary quite useful (especially if they are linked to one another (in e-book) [can’t flip a book back and forth; on a kindle, there is only the back function].

Yet to ‘go through’ the Therīgāthā, though at first glance, it did not look as ‘complete’, at least the verses did not link to the appendices via the end notes (like they did in Thag). has an e-book version, but more links would be most appreciated.

(Alphabetical name, Sutta number (following SC) and Verse number (cst, pts, sltp) — these are the search parameters which I find useful when reading a sutta — using multiple translations and the original pāli)

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beautiful, thank-you so much for this

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Having the info in the same place is best. Thank you all for alerting me to existence of two more translations


I have read his translation. On Bhadda Kundalakesa Therigatha he mistakenly translate “Ciṇṇa” as place named “Chinna”. According to PTS dictionary, “Ciṇṇa” means “travelled over”.

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I think Hallisley consistently spells c as ch in English; I noticed it in several names of bhikkhunis.


That’s an unfortunate choice, IMHO.


Yes… “Citta” as “Chitta”, “Cāpa” as “Chappa”, “Pațācārā” as “Patachara” and so on… It’s little strange for me, but it’s okay


Thankfully, the Murty printed book has pāli on the other side.
Another ‘unfortunate’ aspect is that there are 525 verses (instead of 524 following SC, or 522 following PTS).

Ven. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, etc. used some Hallisey material during a retreat in 2018 at Spirit Rock (Thig: 1.12, 1.17, 1.18, 4.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.10, 5.11, 6.3, 6.5, 6.6, 10.1, 13.1, 13.3, 13.5, 14.1, 15.1, 16.1) :

As an aside, more translations have been unearthed: Matty Weinstagt, Kiribathgoda. Almost complete ones: Susan Murcott, Schelling & Waldman. …


Matty Weingast’s isn’t a translation. It’s modern poetry inspired by the stories and the poems. Some of his poems have barely 2 words matching the actual poem.