Angulimala Thera

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Angulimala Thera refers to a group of verses from the Theragatha (Thag 16.8) that tell the story of the bandit Angulimala's encounter with the Buddha. This story is also told in the Angulimala Sutta (MN 86).

Translations into English

Translation from SuttaCentral

This translation of the text Thag 16.8. Aṅgulimāla is published by SuttaCentral under license CC0 1.0. Translation by Bhikkhu Sujato. SuttaCentral icon square 170px.png

Thag 16.8. Aṅgulimāla

“While walking, ascetic, you say ‘I’ve stopped.’
And I have stopped, but you tell me I’ve not.
I’m asking you this, ascetic:
how is it you’ve stopped and I have not?”

“Aṅgulimāla, I have forever stopped—
I’ve cast off violence towards all creatures.
But you can’t stop yourself from harming living creatures;
that’s why I’ve stopped, but you have not.”

“Oh, at long last a hermit,
a great sage who I honor, has entered this great forest.
Now that I’ve heard your verse on Dhamma,
I shall discard a thousand evils.”

With these words, the bandit hurled his sword and weapons
down a cliff into a chasm.
He venerated the Holy One’s feet,
and asked the Buddha for the going forth right away.

Then the Buddha, the compassionate great hermit,
the teacher of the world with its gods,
said to him, “Come, monk!”
And with that he became a monk.

“Someone who was heedless before,
and afterwards is not,
lights up the world,
like the moon freed from a cloud.

Someone who, with skillful deeds,
shuts the door on bad things they’ve done,
lights up the world,
like the moon freed from a cloud.

A young mendicant,
who is devoted to the teaching of the Buddha,
lights up the world,
like the moon freed from a cloud.

May even my enemies hear a Dhamma talk!
May even my enemies devote themselves to the Buddha’s teaching!
May even my enemies associate with those good people
who establish others in the Dhamma!

May even my enemies hear Dhamma at the right time,
from those who speak on acceptance,
praising acquiescence;
and may they follow that path!

For then they’d surely wish no harm
upon myself or others.
Having arrived at ultimate peace,
they’d look after creatures firm and frail.

For irrigators guide the water,
and fletchers straighten arrows;
carpenters carve timber—
but the astute tame themselves.

Some tame by using the rod,
some with goads, and some with whips.
But the poised one tamed me
without rod or sword.

My name is ‘Harmless’,
though I used to be harmful.
The name I bear today is true,
for I do no harm to anyone.

I used to be a bandit,
the notorious Aṅgulimāla.
Swept away in a great flood,
I went to the Buddha for refuge.

I used to have blood on my hands,
the notorious Aṅgulimāla.
See the refuge I’ve found—
the attachment to rebirth is eradicated.

I’ve done many of the sort of deeds
that lead to a bad destination.
The result of my deeds has already hit me,
so I enjoy my food free of debt.

Fools and unintelligent people
devote themselves to negligence.
But the intelligent protect diligence
as their best treasure.

Don’t devote yourself to negligence,
or delight in sexual intimacy.
For if you’re diligent and practice absorption,
you’ll attain abundant happiness.

It was welcome, not unwelcome,
the advice I got was good.
Of teachings that are shared,
I encountered the best.

It was welcome, not unwelcome,
the advice I got was good.
I’ve attained the three knowledges,
and fulfilled the Buddha’s instructions.”

“In the wilderness, at a tree’s root,
on mountains, or in caves—
it used to be that wherever I stood,
my mind was anxious.

But now I lie down happily and stand up happily,
I live my life happily,
out of Māra’s reach;
the teacher had compassion for me.

I used to belong to the brahmin caste,
highborn on both sides,
now I’m a son of the Holy One,
the Teacher, King of Dhamma.

I am rid of craving, free of grasping,
my sense-doors are guarded and well-restrained.
I’ve destroyed the root of misery,
and attained the ending of defilements.

I’ve served the teacher
and fulfilled the Buddha’s instructions.
The heavy burden is laid down,
the attachment to rebirth is eradicated.”

  - Translated by Bhikkhu Sujato, SuttaCentral