On Fridays at the Buddha Center in Second Life the sangha has been learning about and discussing aspects of the Angulimala Sutta. This talk arose from the. ANGULIMALA SUTTA. uyyojanna. parittam yam bhanantassa,. nisinnatthanadhovanam;. udakampi vinaseti,. sabbameva parissayam. At that time in King Pasenadi’s kingdom of Kosala there was a robber named Angulimala. He was fierce, with bloody hands, engaged in killing living beings.

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This talk arose from the middle section of the sutta — which I am more likely to name a parable. At the time he angulkmala for the university at Taxila he is that laudable person.

Ahimsaka performs exceptionally as a student, becomes a favorite of his teacher which causes the arising of fear, anger and hatred in his fellow students.

These students engage in a campaign of lies and manipulation to cause that same arising in the teacher. Eventually the teacher believes the delusions and lies and to rid himself of the perceived danger of Ahimsaka the teacher demands that his student honor him by collecting the little fingers some translations say it was thumbs of people.

The teacher tells him that only by doing so will Ahimsaka benefit from all the hard work and study he has done.

Buddhist Sutra – Angulimala Sutta

Confused, but always the respectful and dutiful person, Ahimsaka returns to Kosala, goes into the forest of Jalini and embarks on a murderous quest as Angulimala. The Buddha, knowing of Angulimala and heedless of the voices of the townspeople warning him of danger enters the forest and soon encounters Angulimala.


Up to this point in the parable choices were made by the father and mother giving him a harmless name and opportunities to succeedthe king when the father offers to have his son killed the king declinesAhimsaka first choosing to be good, later choosing to do badhis fellow students sngulimala actionsand the teacher first being supportive, later believing lies and manipulating Ahimsaka.

Each choice was made interdependent of the encompassing factors of culture, perceptions and dispositions. The Buddha made the choice to walk into the forest of Jalini and to engage with Angulimala.

In the next section of verses the Buddha makes questionable choices. He speaks of the murderer Angulimala and how he has been unable angulimzla subdue him.

If you were to see him like that, what would you do? There is nothing for you to fear from Angulimala. The Buddha made the choice, interdependent on his own dispositions, needs and culture to ordain Angulimala.

He used skillful means to get King Pasenadi to publicly state his intention to do no harm to a disciple of the Buddha. This choice protected Angulimala from the system of social justice of that time and culture. So, Angulimala, murderer and anulimala undergoes a miraculous change to a harmless bhikkhu.

Angulimala Sutta – Pali

He no longer suffers under the dispositions of anger, hatred, violence and fear; and so, is not a danger to the community at large. Quite the show of compassion from the Buddha.

What about compassion for the friends and families affected by the deaths of people; and for the villagers who lived in constant fear? What about compassion for King Pasenadi whose people expected Angulimala to be brought to xngulimala What about the villagers who would fear that Angulimala might one day revert to his evil ways? In moment-to-moment life we are each faced with decisions. Some will be easy to make, others will be complicated taking much thought and debate.


This is why it is pragmatically useful to engage a sense of situational ethics in these decisions.

The Angulimala Sutta

Morally, as Buddhists, we realize that compassion is non-negotiable, that everyone deserves compassion. This is the moral foundation that arises from the Three Pure Precepts, the intent to act with loving-kindness no matter the circumstances.

Ethically, as Buddhists, we must abgulimala for an Appropriate View of each situation, while holding to our Appropriate Intent. Situational ethics are zngulimala intentional actions that arise with an encompassing and corrective view.

This is how we learn to pose questions suttta our own choices, and to build the positive character and wisdom to make choices that bring about positive causal consequences. Choices interdependent on culture, context and dispositions; choices whose determination have a firm foundation in moral acceptance and situationally ethical actions. Permanent link to this article: Powered by WordPress and the Graphene Theme.

Print this Page The Angulimala Sutta. The Angulimala Sutta Angulimala: Private Studies At the Buddha Center, our ordained monastics provide excellent guidance to those with serious intent in preparation to becoming a Buddhist.

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