Therigatha: Psalms of the Sisters, Mrs C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Free Kindle, Epub, PDF, Docx

This is a free, public domain edition of the 1909 Psalms of the Sisters, translated by Mrs C.A.F. Rhys Davids, M.A., originally part of Psalms of the Early Buddhists. It is a complete translation of the Therigatha along with the origin stories of the verses.

The digital version of the text was used by permission from A Celebration of Women Writers. The editor of that series, Mary Mark Ockerbloom, did excellent work creating the HTML needed to make this e-book edition. The same text can be found at These e-books are strictly for free distribution.

The language used in this translation is quite outdated, although the New Oxford American Dictionary that comes with many e-book readers has most of the archaic and poetic words. Most readers would do well to start with the translation by K.R. Norman or Ajahn Thanissaro listed below.

The following print translations of the Therigatha are available from the Pali Text Society,

  • Psalms of the Early Buddhists, verse tr. Mrs C.A.F. Rhys Davids: The Sisters, 1909 and The Brethren, 2nd edn. 1937, reprinted as one volume 1980. ISBN 076 2. Translation of Theragatha and Therigatha.
  • Elders’ Verses, prose, tr. K.R. Norman, Vol. II (1971, 1992, 1995, 2nd ed. 2007) ISBN 436 9 The ninth text of the Khuddaka-nikāya of the Sutta-pitaka, these are collections of poems ascribed to elder nuns (theris). Many of the verses are accounts of religious experiences, some of which also achieve a high poetic standard.Translation of  Therigatha.
  • Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns, verse tr. Mrs C.A.F. Rhys Davids and prose tr. K.R. Norman, 1989, reprinted 1997. ISBN 289 7 Paperback. Translation of Therigatha. Contains extracts from Elders’ Verses Vol. II and Psalms of the Early Buddhists. Does not contain the footnotes found in Psalms of the Early Buddhists.

Selections from the Therigatha can be found on-line at, mostly translated by Ajahn Thanissaro. His translations of the Therigatha can also be found in Volume 4 of Handful of Leaves, distributed by the Sati Center.

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