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The Stories about the Foremost Elder Nuns
(AN & AA 184.108.40.206-13)
A Pāli and English line by line (interlinear) version of the Anguttara commentary retelling the lives of the foremost elder nuns and their teachings (together with extensive annotation).
edited & translated by
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SHB: Śrī Laṁkan edition, from the Simon Hewavitarne Bequest series, Vol. XV (Colombo, 1923, reprinted Colombo, 2007).
BJT (for the quotes from Tipiṭaka texts): Śrī Laṁkan edition, from the Buddha Jayanti Tripitaka series, relevant volumes.
PTS: European edition, Manorathapūraṇī, Vol. I (Pali Text Society, London 1924, reprinted London, 1973). Also relevant volumes for the Tipiṭaka quotations.
RTE: Royal Thai edition, as found on Budsir for Windows CD-ROM (version 2.0, Bangkok, 1996).
ChS: Burmese edition as found on the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana CD-ROM (version 3, Igatpuri, no date but = 1999).
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Translation: Mabel Bode, Women Leaders of the Buddhist Reformation (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1893).
See also: The Great Chronicles of Buddhas, by Bhaddanta Vicittasārābhivaṁsa, translated from Burmese (Singapore, 2008).
There are a great many variations in the text, and I recorded around 1,000 just for this short section of the commentary, which is much more than I would have expected had the text been canonical.
I thought at one time about taking them into a separate document for the establishment of the text, as I have indeed done with some other texts, but in the end I thought it might be better to leave them here, so that students who are learning Pāḷi can get an idea of how many variations there are in the commentaries as they read.
The variations range from blocks of text, to differences in sentence structure, as well as the normal differences in readings for the words. Some of the minor variations, like alternations between class nasal and niggahīta I have not recorded, as they add nothing much to our understanding of what is in any case a very complex set of readings.
All substantial variations, though, are recorded, but as they are so many I have abandoned my usual practice of explaining why I have chosen one reading over another, which would have required the writing of around a thousand explanatory notes.
In the html version it is possible to switch the variant reading notes off and just concentrate on the translation and the notes to that.
I am very grateful indeed to Dr. Junko Matsumura, whose superb knowledge of Pāḷi has once again helped prevent me from falling into error, and who made a number of valuable suggestions for improving the text.
I am once again indebted to Ayyā Tathālokā for reading through the text and making many good suggestions for improvement, as well as picking up some corrections along the way.
I am also grateful indeed to Sudhammā Bhikkhunī, whose meticulous reading of the text has helped correct my English and eliminate inconsistencies.
The work would be much poorer without the help of these generous scholars, but if any mistakes now remain then they are my fault alone.
last updated: March 2015