The Therīgāthā is one of the oldest surviving literatures by women, composed more than two millennia ago and originally collected as part of the Pali canon of Buddhist scripture. These poems were written by some of the first Buddhist women--therīs--honored for their religious achievements. Through imaginative verses about truth and freedom, the women recount their lives before ordination and their joy at attaining liberation from samsara. Poems of the First Buddhist Women offers startling insights into the experiences of women in ancient times that continue to resonate with modern readers. With a spare and elegant style, this powerful translation introduces us to a classic of world literature.