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The Theragatha (-gāthā), often translated as Verses of the Elder Monks (Pāli: thera elder (masculine) + gatha verse), is a Buddhist scripture, a collection of short poems supposedly recited by early members of the Buddhist sangha. In the Pali Canon, the Theragatha is classified as part of the Khuddaka Nikaya, the collection of short books in the Sutta Pitaka. Many of the verses of the Theragatha concern the attempts of monks to overcome the temptations of Mara. It consists of 264 poems, organized into 21 chapters. Notable texts from the Theragatha include the eighth poem of chapter sixteen, consisting of verses recited by the reformed killer Angulimala, and the third poem of chapter seventeen, in which the Buddha's cousin and retainer Ananda mourns the passing of his master. The natural companion to the Theragatha is the Therigatha, the Verses of the Elder Nuns.


  • Psalms of the Brethren, tr C. A. F. Rhys Davids, 1913; reprinted in Psalms of the Early Buddhists, Pali Text Society[1], Bristol
  • Elders' Verses, volume I, tr K. R. Norman, 1969, Pali Text Society, Bristol; the PTS's preferred translation; also available in paperback as Poems of Early Buddhist Monks, without the translator's notes
  • Verses of the Senior Monks, tr Bhikkhu Sujato, 2014, SuttaCentral.

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