Buddhist literature has given us many extraordinary figures who have proven to possess considerable, enduring appeal. Exceptional even by these high standards is Bhaddā Kuṇḍalakesā, as she is author, protagonist, or inspirer of some of the world’s earliest poetry by women, of a great epic dedicated to her and of popular songs and movies that are still played in the twenty-first century. The nun Bhaddā was a direct disciple of the Buddha and came to be known for her quick wit, the type of ordination she received, her prowess as debater, and the speed at which she gained awakening once taught by the Buddha.
There is little that we know with certainty about the historical Bhaddā. This is because a great deal of the material we have cannot be ascertained to be historically accurate or is likely to be legendary. Irrespective of the degree of accuracy of our sources, Bhaddā as a literary character is highly interesting for a number of reasons, including ethical questions in connection with an incident of selfdefense killing and the way this killing is depicted and commented upon in the story; the portrayal of women in the religions and literatures of Asia; and the ways the character develops and changes over the centuries. Furthermore, Bhaddā’s is a good story, a tale of love, deceit, drama, death, penance and final redemption, with a plot containing elements of a Bildungsroman.
Bhaddā’s story has been retold a number of times in traditional and modern sources. Some authors have provided translations or brief commentaries, for instance in connection with her initiation into the Saṅgha and in the context of current discussions about reviving full ordination for Buddhist nuns, or in connection with the great Tamil epic Kuṇṭalakēci that unfortunately only survives in fragments. However, there has been very little scholarship that has gone beyond simply restating or summarizing her life and very little, if any, analysis. This article fills this lacuna by providing an analysis of Bhaddā’s story based on the Verses of Therīs (Therīgāthā) and Wish Fulfiller (Manorathapūraṇī) as well as with reference to several other sources.
佛教文學中出現許多恆久吸引人們注意的傑出人物。 即使從這樣的傑出人物的高標準來看， 跋陀比丘尼仍是特別突出的。 她是歷史上最早的女詩人之一， 佛教詩文學中的女主角。 她的故事啟發古代的女性詩作、 成為以她為主的史詩、 傳唱的歌謠以及 21世紀仍然上映的電影的題材。 跋陀比丘尼是佛陀的第一代弟子，聰慧敏捷， 她有不尋常的受戒， 是個超凡的辯論者。 她一聽到佛陀的說法就即刻開悟。
我們對於真正歷史上的跋陀比丘尼所知甚少， 因為我們無法證實經典文獻關於她的故事是事實還是傳說。 即使如此， 作為一個文學人物， 跋陀比丘尼是個極具議題性的人物： 例如關於自衛殺人及其殺人方式的道德問題、 亞洲文學與宗教中的女性呈現、此人物角色流傳數百年的發展與轉變。 再者， 跋陀的故事是集愛情、 欺騙、 戲劇、 死亡、 懺悔及救贖情節交錯的「教化小說」。
跋陀比丘尼的故事在傳統以及現代的文本中多次地被重述，有的是翻譯， 有的是註解， 例如在她的出家受戒的故事中， 在今天討論南傳 / 藏傳佛教重建比丘尼的脈絡中， 或者關於重要的泰米爾佛教史詩《昆達拉凱奇》（ 可惜現在現存只有一小部分）。
然而， 目前對跋陀比丘尼的研究僅局限在敘述或摘錄她的生平故事， 並無任何深入的分析。 本文以《長老尼偈》 以及《增支部》 注釋書 -《滿足希求》 為主對跋陀的故事提出深入的分析， 期望填補這個研究空缺。
跋陀、 自衛、 受戒、 長老尼偈、 增支部注