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Angulimala Stops

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Seated Buddha in "Maravijaya".
Seated Buddha in "Maravijaya". 1st half 15th century (Ayutthaya, Thailand). The Walters Art Museum. Creative Commons License.

the one with a necklace of fingers

while running after what was

after what was to be

his thousandth victim

and all the while running from

the nine hundred and ninety-nine

missing-fingered ghosts

of the rest

just stops

upon hearing the one

he's chasing say

it's possible, possible to do

what no one else

would believe

was wanted most

by Joseph Salvatore Aversano

This is the recent revision of a poem first kindly published in its original form some years back in issue 32 of otata. I felt the modifications were substantial enough to regard it as a new work.

It is based on one of my favorite stories from the Pali Buddhist Cannon. For two classic versions, see: Theragatha16.8; & Angulimala Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya 86 ; and for a recounting of it by Ajahn Khemadhammo, see "The Story of Angulimala", Bangkok Post, 5 A

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