Though I am weak and tired now,
And my youthful step long gone,
Leaning on this staff,
I climb the mountain peak.
My cloak cast off, my bowl overturned,
I sit here on this rock.
And over my spirit blows
I’ve won, I’ve won the triple gems.
The Buddha’s way is mine.
[Trans. Uma Chakravarti and Kumkum Roy]
This poem from the ‘Therīgāthā’ (a collection of poems written by senior Buddhist nuns from about 600 BCE) is one of the earliest extant personal accounts written by a woman focusing on following a specific religious path.