• josephaversano

Angulimala Stops

Updated: Apr 7


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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