There are very few discourses in the Tipiṭaka from the disciples, and of those, only a few from the women disciples, or in which they play a major part. The Bhikkhunisaṁyutta comes to mind. There are also many poems uttered upon attaining liberation (the Therīgāthā), and the traditional stories about their lives contained in the Therī-Apadāna.
A few weeks ago I published a text and translation of Arahat Dhammadinnā’s teaching, which is found at Majjhimanikāya (MN 44). For the teaching she gave on that occasion she was appointed as foremost amongst the nuns who talk on Dhamma.
Today I am publishing a text and translation, together with a reading, of the discourse which earned the nun Khemā the distinction of being placed as foremost amongst those of great wisdom, a position equivalent to the position Ven. Sāriputta holds on the monks’ side.
The discourse consists of questions put to her one day by the Kosalan King Pasenadi concerning the fate of the Tathāgata after death. Her answers on this matter are later mirrored by the Buddha himself when he is asked the same questions, even down to the similes used to substantiate the teachings.
The answers here also throw a new light on the meaning of the questions being asked, which I have discussed briefly in the Preface.
The work exists in three versions, and several formats (html, pdf, flipbook, epub, mobi & mp3):
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