Therigatha 12.1 Punnika

I am a water-carrier. Even when it is cold

I must continue to go to the cold water

For fear of the stick of the noble lady

In fear of her abuse and anger. 

Brahmin, what is it you fear, 

that you always go to bathe in the water, 

your arms and legs shaking 

In this terrible cold?

‘’Oh, but you already know, 

Madam Punnika, when you ask me: 

I am making merit

To cover the wrong I have done.

Whoever, whether young or old 

Does wrong in the world

By washing in this water

they are set free from that bad kamma.”

“And from whom have you learned this,

– the teaching of one fool to another:

That by washing with water

one is set free from one’s bad kamma?

Why do they not all go to heaven, then – 

all the frogs and turtles,

fish, crocodiles, 

and all that live in this water? 

By washing in water they too should be 

set free from all bad kamma.

If these rivers washed away

The wrong acts of the past

then they would also wash away all good

And by this you would go out.

do not do that very thing.

Do not let the cold harm your skin.”

“I have been on the wrong path! 

And you have shown me the right one – 

Madam I give to you

This washing cloth.

“Keep the cloth for yourself, 

I do not need it, I do not want it.

If you fear suffering, 

If you hate suffering,

Then do not do wrong

Either publicly or privately. 

If you should do a wrong action

Or if you are doing wrong now

Then you will not be free from suffering

Regardless of how you run away.

If you fear suffering, 

If you hate suffering, 

Then go for refuge to the Buddha, the perfect one – 

To his Dhamma, and to the Sangha. 

Live by the precepts

It will be for your good and happiness. 

“I go for refuge to the Buddha, the perfect one – 

To his Dhamma, and to the Sangha. 

I will live by the precepts

For my good and for my happiness.

In the past I claimed relation to Brahma – 

Now I truly am a Brahman!

I have known the highest truths, 

I am a learned one – washed clean.”