In the forest, on the outskirts of Saravasti, lived Angulimala. Angulimala was threatening highway robber, who plundered and killed travellers and those who passed by his camp. Fearing him, people gave up travelling by that way.

This robber not only used to take away all the riches, but also cut off the little fingers of people to make a garland of them and wear it round his neck.

One day, Angulimala was waiting for someone to pass by. He wanted some more fingers for his garland. Just then, he saw a certain monk at a distance. He cried out, “Hey, you monk, halt, halt!”

He ran after the monk. To his astonishment, he found it impossible to catch up with him. Suddenly, he shouted, “Stop moving.” The monk was none other than Buddha. He said quietly,” I am not moving, it is you who are moving.” “What do you mean?” questioned the robber. “My child, you are yet to find rest for your mind,” said Buddha gently. “Oh! He calls me child. Does he mean it?” he said to himself.

“Do you know who I am? I don’t want your preaching; I want your little finger,” thundered the robber. “Is that so? Take them, my son,” said Buddha, extending both His hands.

“Along with your fingers, I will take your life, too,” threatened Angulimala. “By all means, take it if it brings peace of mind,” replied Buddha.

Angulimala had not met such a peaceful and loving human being in his life. He fell flat at his feet and with tears said, “Master, I will not kill hereafter.”

Buddha lifted him up and took him to the monastery and left him in charge of Anautha pindaka, a monk, saying, “Yet another brother, Angulimala.”

The next morning, the king of Sravanti visited the monastery and paid his respects to the Lord. Looking at him, Buddha said, “It looks as though you have started on an expedition.”

“Yes, master, I have come to catch Angulimala and kill him straight away. I have come for your blessings,” said the king. “Oh king, supposing Angulimala gives up the path of violence and begins to live the life of an ascetic; what will you do?” questioned Buddha.

“Why, Lord, I will salute. I can’t imagine Angulimala as an ascetic,” replied the king with wonder.

“Look up that side, there he is watering the plants,” said Buddha. “What! Oh Lord, I could not subdue the robber with all my strength of body and mind, and You have won him without lifting Your little finger. Long Live Lord Buddha, the most Compassionate and all-loving.” Saying this, the king fell flat at the Lord’s feet.

Questions :

  • 1. Why was the robber called Angulimala?
  • 2. Why could he not catch Buddha?
  • 3. How do you think the robber has changed?

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