Angulimala – The Garland of Fingers

Aug 3, 2011 | Views: 1,996
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During Buddha Shakyamuni’s time, an Indian boy was born. Named “Ahimsaka” meaning harmless in Sanskrit, he was later known as Angulimala.

The Pali word ‘Angulimala’ directly translates to “finger mala” or a rosary of fingers. It is a story about a man named Angulimala who quickly excelled in his Dharma studies, but then found himself going down a dark and dangerous path. He lived the younger years of his life spiritually, but due to the jealousy from his peers he was shunned by his community… even by his parents!

He decided to take on a life as a robber and set out to make a mala-like garland of 1,000 fingers – one from every person he killed! For his 1,000th finger, Buddha Shakyamuni appeared before him. Angulimala saw him as his final victim and ran after him. But as much as Angulimala tried to get closer to his last victim, Buddha Shakyamuni always remained one step ahead of him.

Buddha Shakyamuni then gave a short teaching, and Angulimala broke down and cried and requested to be taken in as Shakyamuni’s student.

Angulimala’s life story is especially famous within the Theravadan school. His story shows how it is possible to change your life for the better even after committing so many negative deeds. A lot of people may feel that after creating so much negativity, there’s no turning back. Perhaps they don’t know how to change their life for the better, or that perhaps no one would give them a chance.

Like Milarepa – there are some saints who have hurt and killed many people… however, despite that, they are able to attain the state of Nirvana in that lifetime. Perhaps then, there is a way?

Share this with friends and children.

Read the comic to find out why he wanted so many fingers… !

Tsem Rinpoche

 

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18 Responses to Angulimala – The Garland of Fingers

  1. Andy on Aug 4, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Dear Rinpoche, Thank You for posting this comics. Dear Rinpoche I would like to share with you a buddhist hymms on Angulimala. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_WL2WgETIE

  2. Adeline Woon on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I have always liked this story of Angulimala. It shows that good and bad are nothing but our own misconceptions. Although there is always hope for us to walk out of this, nevertheless the Guru plays the utmost important role in guiding us on how to. Hence, we have to create the cause(s) to meet with the wise Guru who has no interest for his/herself but others, who is wise and enlightened, and who we will forever follow until we reach enlightenment ourselves. Homage to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha!

  3. Sean Wang on Aug 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I always found the story of Angulimala interesting. It reminds people that no matter how bad people are, they still have a good part of them deep inside.

    I have read another version of this story where it is the teacher who tells Angulimala to collect 1000 fingers. He collected a few then he discovered that crows stole the fingers from the cave he hid them in, so he hung them around his neck.

    In the version I read other than the one presented here, Angulimala survives being pelted by stones. But I find this version much more interesting.

  4. .. .. .. on Aug 11, 2011 at 4:57 am

    I love these comics. . they are so easy to look at & read

    with essential and important teachings of the Buddha -)

    I was listening to Amy Winehouse’s ‘love is a losing game’ which

    seemed to connect with the story of the lady with the mustard seed.

    thank-you, so many important things to think about and try to

    accommodate – its a beautiful song. .by the way!)

  5. su_zan on Aug 12, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Thank you for sharing the story. I have always liked this story of Angulimala. Few years ago he air this show 2 weeks after wesak in the Tourism Center 3 to 4 years ago. I watch the movie twice. I like the movie a lot. Could not find the movie anywhere later.

    This sharing realy fresh my mind re the movie. It show that no matter how bad a person are there is always some goodness inside and all have equal chance to attain enlightenment.

  6. Sock Wan on Aug 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    This is a very interesting story. It shows that everyone of us make mistakes, we have to be responsible to our mistakes. However, by being regretful and be compassionate, we will be able to ‘correct’ our mistakes. The choice is in us, no one can change our lives for better or worse except for ourselves.

  7. freon on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I am in the middle of struggling on something. Feeling of unfair, angry, ego stem from the mind to heart. Thus, i search through Master Tsem’s blog trying to look for an answer. Tears in my eyes as i reading this story, wash away the hatred and ego as i reading it. To be able to forgives those people who mistreat us, it is not easy. Normally, we will thinking to fight back. But, this story gave “life” to me again. Ya, what do i need in me now. What is the final product i want? I beg myself dont leave Dharma again. Thank you Master Tsem. I prostrate to you for creating this blog to serve as a “medicine” when i am “sick”.

  8. James Long on Sep 23, 2011 at 12:25 am

    好久没阅读漫画了。这漫画真好,在娱乐的同时又学到善知识。克媒也在仁波切的启发下出版了中英文“宗卡巴大师”的生平画册。

    如果善用不同的媒体,我们能把好的讯息带给大家。

    这些故事都有激励的作用,不能抹杀有前科的人修行的机会。

  9. So Kin Hoe on Nov 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche. This is a very meaningful story to me.

  10. Lim Tat Ming on Jun 17, 2012 at 12:55 am

    If Angulimala is capable of attaining the state of Nirvana in his lifetime even after committing such heavy negative actions of killing 999 persons, it shows that we can purify even the heaviest negative karma. Nothing stays permanent. Everything changes including our karma. Hence there is hope for everyone.
    We must then use our rare and golden opportunity NOW to purify our karma.

  11. Lim Han Nee on Jun 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Angulimala had the merit to meet with a perfect teacher, Lord Buddha himself. Thus,despite having committed such a heinous sin as murdering 999 people, he was able to purify all his negative karma and attain liberation from suffering and from samsara.

    As is said in the Lamrim, “(In degenerate times),I, (Buddha ) Vajradha myself, will come in the form of Masters”. Thus,in this lifetime, we have the precious merit of meeting with our Guru(the Perfect Teacher), who is an emanation of Buddha Vajradha, himself. If we believe our Guru is Buddha and follow all his instructions, we will be able to purify all our negative karma through our Guru’s skillful methods.

  12. Martin on Dec 20, 2012 at 2:48 am

    The story of Angulimala is not only about the redemptive power of the Dharma which is a given, and cannot be doubted. We may read the story and instantly think that the sheer proximity to Dharma and Guru can do its work on us automatically without any involvement on our part.

    Angulimala was born and given the name Ahimsa, which is a beautiful name. He wasn’t born a monster but was born with a pre-inclination to commit harm presumably from the negative karma he accrued in past lives. And here, we have to understand that we are all like that and we are born with certain imprints, which inclines us towards a certain behavior. It is something we have to be aware of in ourselves.

    Ahimsa was diligent and smart and grew into a young man with a lot of potential ahead. But he encountered his share of wickedness and injustice and sadness turned into bitterness and perhaps that gave raise to all his negative karma which took over as he became Angulimala who then gave full expression to his anger and sense of hopelessness. Would he have reacted differently to his misfortune had he met the Buddha and understood the Dharma earlier? Would he have raged against the injustice he suffered as the result of his karma? Probably not.

    When Angulimala met the Buddha, he did not only realize his mistake and regretted and repented. But he also let go of the ill feelings and wrongs that were brought upon him, and he also let go of the guilt and wrong-doing he committed up to that point. He did not dwell on them any longer and in releasing all the good and the bad he experienced, he made way fully for the Dharma. Angulimala did not run away from his past, he simply accepted them and moved on with the Buddha.

    That interpretation may not be in the story but I think we know it to be true. We cannot embrace our future and our past at the same time. Angulimala did not provide excuses for his bad deeds, he did not blame the unfair world, he did not refer to his pain and suffering nor did he hide from his evil deeds. Like many of us, he had every reason he could have called on to justify himself but he just embraced the Dharma. And perhaps this is where we err even when we come into the Dharma. We do not let go of our pain, our fears and whatever emotions we allow to define us. We do not fully surrender and therefore we do not reap the full harvest of peace from the Dharma. Some might say that Angulimala was luck to have met the Buddha himself but I think to meet the Dharma is to have met the Buddha himself. To meet the Guru, too, is to have met the Buddha in person.

    We see how the Dharma released him whatever was driving his emotions and made him into what he was. Before the Dharma, he raged against his karma as he faced afflictions. After the Dharma, he accepted his karma even as he was being beaten to death. In accepting his karma, he felt no anger and instead realized how we are all afflicted by our own karma. he is saying people are not bad on purpose, only people controlled by their ignorance. He realized compassion and took complete refuge in the Buddha (Buddham Saranam Gachami). Angulimala had more than most to overcome but in the Dharma he overcome all and attained Nirvana.

    Those of us who are lucky enough to have met the Dharma should similarly let go and fully embrace the Buddha’s Dharma and let it do its work in us.

    (Sorry this is so long)

  13. Jessica Yap on Jan 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    What a great story. When I reached the last two pages, I felt the sour sensation in my nose and I was tearing up.. I felt that it is not easy to realize one’s sins and repent. Angulimala must’ve did something right in his past lives to be able to cross paths with Buddha himself.. Very touching and educational at the same time! Will definitely share this story with others! It is never too late to change and repent if we are sincere.

    Thank you for sharing, Rinpoche! I loved it!

  14. Indira Kai on Jan 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you! I am a schizophrenic longing for peace of mind. Through this article, I found peace and serenity of mind – Nirvana.

  15. Sean Wang on Feb 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    The story of Angulimala is a story that should be told to all, especially people who have given up due to them being bad for a portion of their life (Like prisoners).

    Angulimala’s story is proof that despite the amount of negative things you do, redemption is possible.Though Angulimala had murdered many, he still felt peace at the time of death due to his meeting with the Buddha. We should not stop doing the Dharma because we did something wrong. Instead we should work harder in the Dharma to make things right..

    When Angulimala was pelted by stones, it is due to people not recognizing him as the saint he is at the time. This shows that we must always be on our best behavior as it will create the image in other’s eyes. Also, the pelting was purification to ensure Angulimala can go to a better rebirth as his bad karma had been purified.

  16. Sharon Saw on Mar 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    I love the story of Angulimala though this comic version is different from the one i remember. In the one i have read before, Angulimala is told by his false teacher to gather 1000 fingers and he is just following his teacher’s instructions. The Buddha was going to be his 1000th victim and all he wanted was to fulfil the teacher’s instruction. This is still a good story on its own merits though. The main lesson i get from this story is that we have the power to change our karma when we change our attitude and actions. Even someone who has committed so many sins like Angulimala can become enlightened in one lifetime from his faith in the Buddha.

    The story of how Angulimala healed the lady just because he had faith in the Buddha who told him he could heal also reminded me of what Tsem Rinpoche had said before, that we can have the power to bless and not just Rinpoche. If we follow Rinpoche’s instructions, are sincere and have a good motivation, we can have the power to bless people also.

  17. Vinnie Tan on Nov 23, 2013 at 2:35 am

    This is the first time for me reading the story of Angulimala. It is so fascinating. How much a person can change and transform due to regretting their past actions. Thank you Rinpoche for always reminding us that regret can be powerful only if we take actions to it. Instead of just saying that we regret for certain actions and do not take any actions to follow up on what we have realised.

  18. Konchok Shempeh on Jul 16, 2014 at 3:17 am

    This is a pathetic.

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
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We have to be ready to change when we seek a teacher otherwise stay hidden.~Tsem Rinpoche
5 days ago
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This is wonderful!
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Beautiful. Please share with other spiritual friends. 
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  • The appreciation shown here is so deep and touching.
    The appreciation shown here is so deep and touching.
    Dear friends, See this incredible video. This chimp was found in captivity for many years. Dr Jane Goodall released him into the wild. Look how he comes back to thank her with deep apprecition. It's amazing. Animals have such strong feelings of pain and happiness just like us. We should never hurt them and share with others to not hurt them. Tsem Rinpoche http://www.tsemrinpoche.com
    8 months ago
  • Aki drinking some water in the aviary
    Aki drinking some water in the aviary
    Aki is a rescued bird, he now lives in Kechara Forest Retreat Aviary
    9 months ago
  • Jamyang enjoying some fresh corn
    Jamyang enjoying some fresh corn
    Jamyang is one of our rescue birds that live in Kechara Forest Retreat Aviary
    9 months ago
  • The Cute Mumus Practising Dog Orchestra at Kechara Forest Retreat
    The Cute Mumus Practising Dog Orchestra at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Today the Mumus (dogs) decided to do a dog orchestra rehearsal together with the Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR) dogs.
    10 months ago
  • -
    -
    Gongkar is our new bird for Kechara Forest Retreat's aviary. Gongkar never had friends and the original owner could not bring him to his destination. Now he is with us and assimilating in his cage within the aviary for a few weeks then released into aviary. Look at how much he wants attention from the other birds. Cute. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
  • Mumu, Oser and Dharma running and having a good time. I love seeing them playing. Tsem Rinpoche
    Mumu, Oser and Dharma running and having a good time. I love seeing them playing. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
  • Mumus running at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Mumus running at Kechara Forest Retreat
    1 years ago
  • Kechara Forest Retreat panorama, September 2013
    Kechara Forest Retreat panorama, September 2013
    1 years ago
  • -
    -
    Dechog our cockatoo at Kechara Forest Retreat grabbing long beans which he loves. Nice bird. We love him. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
  • The mumus having outdoor evening stroll!!!
    The mumus having outdoor evening stroll!!!
    2 yearss ago
  • -
    -
    17 May 2013, heavy rain at Kechara Forest Retreat from 7am-8am (1 hour). Water overflowed the existing drain and also opened up a much wider new "route" for itself.
    2 yearss ago
  • Must see video from Rajendra on our disciplined dogs
    Must see video from Rajendra on our disciplined dogs
    2 yearss ago

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Related Links To Myself

My Blog in Chinese:
zhandugu.blog.163.com
My website:
www.tsemtulku.com
My organisation's website:
www.kechara.com





CHAT PICTURES

Wai Meng was introducing Tibetan Buddhism to some of orang asli during our visit in Kampong Jantung Baru today. Kin Hoe
17 hours ago
The children at Kampong Jantung Baru were eagerly lining up and waiting for their turns to receive the stationaries from our Ipoh volunteers during the orang asli settlement visit today. Kin Hoe
17 hours ago
Mr. Patrick has been helping the orang asli in most of the villages area in Perak state for 20 years since his retirement. Rejoice for his selflessness and compassion towards the orang asli. Kin Hoe
17 hours ago
Our new volunteer Ms. Wai Ching has participated in our orang asli settlement visit today organized by Kechara Ipoh Study Group. She has distributed the stationaries to the children at Kampong Jantung Baru. Kin Hoe
17 hours ago
Through the kindness and blessings from Rinpoche, Kechara Ipoh Study Group has arrived at Kampong Jantung Baru, Kampong Pawong and Kampong Chiduk today. Our volunteers and members have distributed the groceries to the orang asli families. The other team has distributed the stationaries to the children as well. It was a rainy day and all of us were happy to participate in this virtuous activity. Kin Hoe
17 hours ago
Whatever activities we put so much import into actually is subjective when faced with death.~ H. E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_PB
18 hours ago
Fear the lies and don't fear the truth.~ H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_PB
18 hours ago
When we pursue spiritual practice, we must have the results of being tolerant & kind~ H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_PB
18 hours ago
Be appreciative of what you have before even that is taken away by death.~H.E.Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_Hee TS
19 hours ago
Death can be our enemy or friend depending what we do when we realize our mortality.‪~H.E.Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_Hee TS
19 hours ago
Baffling is samsara when we have not heard the dharma.~‪H.E.Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_Hee TS
19 hours ago
Kechara Penang Study Group members happily helping up in Flea Market to raise fund for Medicine Buddha Hill. Thank you for all the volunteers for the sincere help. -Soon Huat
20 hours ago
Our volunteers have started to segregate and pack for our orang asli settlement visit today at Kechara Ipoh chapel. They look energetic with kind hearts. Rejoice! Kin Hoe
23 hours ago
Wai Meng has started the briefing for our orang asli visit today in Kechara Ipoh chapel. We will head to Kampong Jantong Baru, Kampong Pawong and Kampong Chiduk. Kin Hoe
23 hours ago
More pictures of volunteers in Kechara Ipoh chapel for our orang asli settlement visit today organized by Kechara Ipoh Study Group. They are packing the stationaries for the children in the village where we will visit today. Kin Hoe
24 hours ago
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has started our orang asli settlement visit today. Our kind volunteers have helped us to carry the rice packets for segregation in our Kechara Ipoh chapel. Many thanks for their generosity and kindness. Kin Hoe
24 hours ago
We can go up or down, depending on our training.~ H. E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_PB
2 days ago
Activities that fill our days daily reflect where our mind's focus is.~ H. E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_PB
2 days ago
We can go our own way but what we do reflects our mind.~H. E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_PB
2 days ago
Love can be interesting as it's never what you expect.~ H. E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_PB
2 days ago
Sometimes you need to speak up & sometimes you don't. ~ H. E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_PB
2 days ago
Happy Faces of Penang Study Group attending Setrap Puja for dedication of long life of our Guru, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. There is a new member joining us today, her name is Neswari. She is wife of one of our members. It is great to see a couple joining puja and learn Dharma together. - Soon Huat
2 days ago
We should value our enemies because they provide us with unique opportunities to practice patience, tolerance and forbearance.~H.H.Dalai Lama_Hee TS
2 days ago
All roads in samsara lead to a dead end, seek the dharma path. ~‪H.E.Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_Hee TS
2 days ago
20% OFF Early Birds Promotion. Reunion Vegetarian Lunch & Dinner at Kechara Oasis (T&C Apply) http://goo.gl/Rz2XDV
2 days ago

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