by Bill Alves
Text: from the Therīgāthā , in the original Pali;
Recorded for Volume 2, Voices of the Pearl
The Buddha singled out 13 female disciples for special commendation and Uppalavanna was noted as an especially worthy adept for her mystical powers. Uppalavanna’s words are conserved in the original Pali in the Ther?g?th?. They transmit her experience and inspire future generations of women on the spiritual path. Uppalavanna’s symbol is the blue lotus.
India has led the world in nurturing the evolution and preservation of esoteric traditions over thousands of years. Despite the rich tradition of mystical experience, however, in India, as in almost everywhere in the world, the tradition of educating women in the processes for attaining for enlightenment in the female body has nearly been extinguished many times. Nevertheless, often as a form of dissenting knowledge, in every corner of the globe, remarkable women have pursued the mystical path over the centuries.
Therīgāthā, from Uppalavanna (XIV, verse 227)
Pubbenivāsaṃ jānāmi,dibbacakkhuṃ visodhitaṃ; I know that I have lived before,the divine eye has been purified;
Cetopariccañāṇañca, sotadhātu visodhitā. There is knowledge of others’ inward life,
Iddhīpi me sacchikatā, patto me āsavakkhayo; I hear the sounds ineffable.
Chaḷabhiññā sacchikatā, I have realized senses beyond the Earth, and annihilated the asavas*;
kataṃ buddhassa sāsanaṃ. I have realized these knowledges; the Buddha’s teaching has been done.