Angulimala, aka: Ahimsaka, Angulimalaka, Ahiṃsaka; 3 Definition(s)
A robber who was converted by the Buddha in the twentieth year of his ministry, and who, later, became an arahant. His story appears both in the Majjhima Cy., 743ff., and in the Thag. Cy., ii.57ff. The two accounts differ in certain details; I have summarised the two versions.
He was the son of the brahmin Bhaggava, chaplain to the king of Kosala, his mother being Mantani. He was born under the thieves constellation, and on the night of his birth all the armour in the town shone, including that belonging to the king. Because this omen did no harm to anyone the babe was named Ahimsaka. The Thag. Cy. says he was first called Himsaka and then Ahimsaka. See also Ps. of the Brethren, 323, n.3.
At Takkasila he became a favourite at the teachers house, but his jealous fellow students poisoned his teachers mind, and the latter, bent on his destruction, asked as his honorarium a thousand human right hand fingers. Thereupon Ahimsaka waylaid travellers in the Jalini forest in Kosala and killed them, taking a finger from each. The finger bones thus obtained he made into a garland to hang round his neck, hence the name Angulimala.
As a result of his deeds whole villages were deserted, and the king ordered a detachment of men to seize the bandit, whose name nobody knew. But Angulimalas mother, guessing the truth, started off to warn him. By now he lacked but one finger to complete his thousand, and seeing his mother coming he determined to kill her. But the Buddha, seeing his upanissaya, went himself to the wood, travelling thirty yojanas, (DA.i.240; J.iv.180) and intercepted Angulimala on his way to slay his mother. Angulimala was converted by the Buddhas power and received the ehi bhikkhu pabbajja (Thag.868-70) while the populace were yelling at the kings palace for the robbers life. Later, the Buddha presented him before King Pasenadi when the latter came to Jetavana, and Pasenadi, filled with wonder, offered to provide the monk with all requisites. Angulimala, however, had taken on the dhutangas and refused the kings offer.
When he entered Savatthi for alms, he was attacked by the mob, but on the admonition of the Buddha, endured their wrath as penance for his former misdeeds.
According to the Dhammapadatthakatha (iii.169) he appears to have died soon after he joined the Order.
There is a story of how be eased a womans labour pains by an act of truth. The words he used in this saccakiriya (yato aham sabbannutabuddhassa ariyassa ariyaya jatiya jato) have come to be regarded as a paritta to ward off all dangers and constitute the Angulimala Paritta. The water that washed the stone on which he sat in the womans house came to be regarded as a panacea (M.ii.103-4; MA.747f).
In the Angulimala Sutta he is addressed by Pasenadi as Gagga Mantaniputta,
The earlier name of Angulimala.
Records the interview between the Buddha and Ahimsaka Bharadvaja (S.i.164).
See above; referred to also in the Milindapanha (p.151) in a list of Parittas.
Contains the story of the bandits conversion and the bliss of his deliverance. M.ii.97ff.
Given in a list of heretical works. SA.ii.150; Sp.iv.742.
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A Yakkha. See the Pancavudha Jataka. He is identified with Angulimala. J.i.275.
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- · The Buddha and His Disciples > Introduction
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- · The Jataka, Volume I > Index of Proper Names
- · The Jataka, Volume III > No. 398.: Sutano-Jātaka.
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- · Conditions > Decisive Support-condition Part 2
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- · The Jataka, Volume IV > No. 469.: Mahā-Kaṇha-Jātaka.
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- · The Buddha and His Teachings > Buddhahood
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