Songs of the Sons and Daughters of Buddha: Enlightenment Poems from the Theragatha and Therigatha (Paperback)
On Our Shelves Now
A lyrical translation of an inspired selection of verses from the earliest Buddhist monks and nuns.
More than two thousand years ago, the earliest disciples of the Buddha put into verse their experiences on the spiritual journey--from their daily struggles to their spiritual realizations. Over time the verses were collected to form the Theragatha and Therigatha, the "Verses of Elder Monks" and "Verses of Elder Nuns" respectively. In Songs of the Sons and Daughters of the Buddha, renowned poets Andrew Schelling and Anne Waldman have translated the most poignant poems in these collections, bringing forth the visceral, immediate qualities that are often lost in more scholarly renditions. These selections reveal the fears, loves, mishaps, expectations, and joys of the early monks and nuns, when, struck by wild insight, they cried out the anguish or solace they knew in their lives.
About the Author
ANDREW SCHELLING is a poet and translator. Author of twenty-odd books, his poetry is founded on studies in ecology, linguistics, and folklore, and includes A Possible Bag. Recent translations include Some Unquenchable Desire: Sanskrit Poems of the Buddhist Hermit Bhartrihari and Erotic Love Poems from India. Schelling lives in the Southern Rocky Mountain Eco-Zone; he teaches poetry and Sanskrit at Naropa University.
ANNE WALDMAN is a poet, performer, professor, editor, activist, and founder with Allen Ginsberg of The Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University. Author of over 50 books of poetry, her most recent books include Voice's Daughter of a Heart Yet To Be Born, and Trickster Feminism. Her epic The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment won the PEN Center USA Award for Poetry. She has received the Shelley Award, a Guggenheim, the Before Columbus Foundation Award for lifetime achievement, and the Houtian Prize from China. Waldman is a Chancellor Emeritus of the Academy of American Poetry. She has been a student of Buddhism for many decades. She makes frequent trips to India and was a keynote speaker at the Jaipur Literary Festival.
“How is it these songs are getting better, stronger, more alive than ever, more necessary than ever... or is it because I just need to hear them more than ever?”—Red Pine
“What a wonderful difference it makes when real poets translate poetry! Schelling’s renderings read like those of an old, wise Zen vagabond. Waldman’s sparkle, crisp and sharp. These verses soar, traversing the expansive reaches of human experience and triumph. Truly, in these two poets’ hands, these songs of the sons and daughters of the Buddha sing.”—Jan Willis, author of Dreaming Me
“These enlightenment songs of the earliest disciples of the Buddha are vibrant, celebratory, and very human. I see my own path reflected in their search, my own highest aspirations reflected in their awakening. This wonderful translation brings these people to life in a way that reminds us that freedom is truly possible.”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness
“These are earthy, courageous translations of the most ancient Buddhist poems. How honest the struggle of these practitioners with death and lust and self-doubt (just like us); how beautiful their moments of release.”—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart
“Songs of the Sons and Daughters of Buddha are songs of enlightenment, and some of them are very well known; but these translations are especially fresh, ballsy, spontaneous, and timeless, and they capture people working genuinely on themselves. I’m so enjoying reading it.”—Richard Gere