Songs of the Sons and Daughters of Buddha

Enlightenment Poems from the Theragatha and Therigatha

Translated by Andrew Schelling and Anne Waldman

2020 • 160 pages • ISBN: 9781611808223 • $16.95
Shambhala Publications

A lyrical translation of an inspired selection of verses from the earliest Buddhist monks and nuns—now updated with additional translations.

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. Renowned poets Andrew Schelling and Anne Waldman have translated the most poignant poems in these collections, bringing forth their visceral, immediate qualities.


“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