TheragāthāThag 16.8
The Verses of Arahant Aṅgulimāla (866-891)

866. [Aṅgulimāla:] Hey recluse, while you are walking you tell me you have stopped. But now when I have stopped, you say I have not stopped. I ask you now recluse, what is the meaning of this? How is it that you have stopped and I have not?

867. [Buddha:] Aṅgulimāla, this is how I have stopped. I have stopped harming beings forever. I abstain from violence towards living beings. But this is how you have not stopped. You have no sympathy towards beings. Therefore I have stopped and you have not.

868. [Aṅgulimāla:] Oh, you are truly a sacred recluse, a Great Seer. Out of compassion for me, you have come to this great forest. Having heard your stanza teaching me the Dhamma, I am changed. Indeed I will abandon my evil ways forever.

869. Saying so, the robber threw his sword and other weapons off the mountain. He knelt down at the Blessed One’s sacred feet and worshiped him. On that very spot, he pleaded to the Supreme Buddha to become a monk.

870. The Buddha is the most compassionate seer. He shows the way to Nibbāna to the whole world along with its gods. The Buddha addressed Aṅgulimāla saying, “Come, monk.” That was Aṅgulimāla’s ordination.

871. The one who is negligent in practicing the Dhamma before but afterwards practices the Dhamma diligently, he illuminates this world like the moon freed from the clouds.

872. If someone closes off his evil actions by the power of wholesome deeds, he illuminates this world like the moon freed from the clouds.

873. Even though a monk is very young, if he practises virtue, concentration and wisdom, he illuminates this world like the moon freed from the clouds.

874. May even my enemies hear this Dhamma. Let even my enemies follow the Buddha’s path. Let even my enemies associate with noble people who promote this excellent Dhamma.

875. May even my enemies hear that excellent Dhamma of those noble ones who praise patience and kindness! Let them follow that excellent Dhamma!

876. May those enemies of mine not harm me or anyone else! Now Aṅgulimāla has attained the highest peace. He protects both frightened beings and fearless enlightened ones.

877. Canal makers guide the water in whatever direction they need. Arrow makers straighten out arrows. Carpenters straighten out the timber as they wish. In the same way, wise people tame their lives.

878. Some people tame other beings with sticks, hooks or whips, but without sticks or weapons I was tamed by the great Buddha who has an unshaken mind.

879. Previously “Harmless” was my name even though at that time I was harming others. But now I am truly harmless since I don’t harm anyone at all.

880. Formerly, I was the famous serial killer, wearer of the finger garland, Aṅgulimāla. While I was being swept along in the great flood of saṁsāra, I got to go for refuge to the Buddha.

881. Formerly I was famous, known as the bloody handed Aṅgulimāla. But see the benefit of my going to refuge to the Supreme Triple Gem! I cut off all links of existence at their roots.

882. I did many evil deeds leading to rebirth in hell. But I experience their results only in this life. So I eat my alms free from debt.

883. Foolish people waste their whole lives doing useless things. They forget the Dhamma practice. But wise people guard the diligent Dhamma practice like someone protecting a great treasure.

884. Don’t be negligent to practice the Dhamma. Don’t seek delight in sensual pleasures. The one who meditates with diligence reaches the Supreme bliss.

885. How good it is that I entered the Buddha’s path! It is not something unbeneficial. What I’m saying is nothing but the truth. Through the well analysed Dhamma, I attained the very best, Nibbāna.

886. How beneficial it is that I entered the Buddha’s path! It is not something unbeneficial. What I’m saying is nothing but the truth. I have attained the Triple Knowledge. The Buddha’s path has been fully followed by me.

887. Formerly, either in the forest, at the foot of a tree or in the mountain caves—everywhere—I lived with an agitated mind.

888. But now I sleep happily. I stand happily. I live my life happily. I jumped out from Māra’s snare. Ah! How much compassion my great teacher gave me!

889. Formerly, I was born into a high-born brāhmin family, pure on both mother’s and father’s side. But now I am the son of the King of the Dhamma, the unique teacher, the Supreme Buddha.

890. Now I don’t have any craving nor do I have any clinging. I am restrained with guarded senses. I eliminated the root of suffering. Destroying all taints, I became an enlightened one.

891. The Buddha’s instruction has been respectfully followed by me. The Buddha’s path has been fully followed by me. I lowered the heavy load of defilements. I rooted out the fetters of existence.

These verses were said by Arahant Aṅgulimāla.

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Theragāthā 16.8: The Verses of Arahant Aṅgulimāla (866-891)

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