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The Buddha and the Terrorist: The Story of Angulimala Paperback – 8 Sep 2005


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The Buddha and the Terrorist: The Story of Angulimala + You are Therefore I am: A Declaration of Dependence + Spiritual Compass: The Three Qualities of Life
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Product details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Green Books; 2nd Revised edition edition (8 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903998638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903998632
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 1 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

...an inspiring retelling of an ancient legend...It should touch every heart that meets it -- Pico Iyer, author of The Global Soul

About the Author

Satish Kumar is an internationally renowned speaker on ecological and spiritual issues. He lives in England, and is Editor of Resurgence magazine, Director of Programmes at Schumacher College and founder of the UK?Schumacher Society.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ShiDaDao Ph.D on 12 July 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting and inspiring Buddhist story of redemption. It has its basis in two Buddhist Pali scriptural sources - the Thera Gatha (V866-91) and the Angulimala Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya (Middle-lengthed collection of Buddhist Suttas). The author entitles his translation as 'The Buddha and the Terrorist', no doubt a reference to the nodern phenomena of international terrorism. Angulimala is Pali for a necklace of fingers. Angulimala was a mass murderer who lived during the life time of the Lord Buddha (c. 500BCE), he killed people, cut their fingers off and wore them around his neck as a gruesome trophy.

The paperback (2004) edition contains 75 numbered pages that are separated into an Introduction, a Foreword and 7 chapters:

Introduction: The Story of Angulimala.
Foreword By Allen Hunt Badiner
1) Encountering the Monster.
2) The Conversation of a king.
3) Freedom from Fear.
4) Spiritual simplicity.
5) Seeking Revenge.
6) The Triumph of Forgiveness.
7) From Death to Life.

The author, Satish Kumar has practised Buddhism and has been a Jain monk for 9 years. Although born in India, Satish Kumar settled in England in 1973. Today he is the editor of Resurgence magazine, and is the Director of Programmes at Schumacher College. This book tells the story of how a hate filled man spends his life trying to alleviate his inner pain by murdering people around him. That is, until he meets the Lord Buddha, whose respect inspiring deportment has a startling effect upon the mind Angulimala. After talking to the Buddha, Angulimala gives up his old life, repents his past and ordains as a Buddhist monk. He spends his time in meditation, and eventually becomes inwardly calm and free of greed, hatred and delusion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Monkview on 16 July 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book tells just one of the stories of the Buddha's life following his enlightenment. It is of the Buddha's encounter with a man terrorising local communities, committed to the gaining of personal power and revenge through murder. A familiar story in any age and certainly for our own . . Following Angulimala's encounter with the Buddha he reforms and the rest of the story is of his own illumuination and redemption and how the anger and grief of the community he has devastated handle the unexpected outcome.
Satish Kumar dramatises this tale with care and understanding and in the forward it is made clear that we need to find another way in our own times to deal with the issues of terrorism and the associated anger and sense of revenge that is so prevalent today. The Buddha's example, through this story, is seen as one such solution which, it is not just admitted but laid plain for us, demands courage. But what choices do we have in our times other than to spin on the never-ending wheel of action and reaction which produces more and more violence and destruction? This is clearly no answer despite the so-called enlightened times in which we live. We have truly come no distance at all since savagery in this respect; we have not learned.
The story, as Satish Kumar shows, is not just about outer situations, though. Within all of us we need to address the terrorist within, that part of us that breeds anger and hatred which is then projected into the world and causes such havoc. Also, the way we treat ourselves and our own consciousness is shown as central to the whole question of violence in the world, in our society and culture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Asha on 31 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An inspiring illustration of the power of compassion and wisdom. Highly relevant in our modern world. You don't need to be Buddhist to enjoy it - the author himself is a former Jain monk with a flair for bringing stories alive from various spiritual traditions. I gave a copy to a friend who told me that his 10 year old daughter loves him to read it to her; it really is good for all people of all ages.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A fine primer on nonviolence -- and the rest of the Dhamma, too 19 Oct. 2006
By Sean Hoade - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book took me about half an hour to read, and in that time I was charmed, moved to teariness, and called to action. Mr. Kumar brings gentleness and clarity to the well-worn story of Angulimala, making its relevance very clear in today's "us vs. them" world.

At times Mr. Kumar makes it a little *too* obvious (I believe one person wanting revenge says that the Buddha "is either with us or against us") but all of his points are well taken. It is an enjoyable and quite moving read.

Also, because this little gem of a book plays a bit fast and loose with the timelines of the Buddha's teachings -- many things he said either earlier or later are included here to give an idea of the depth and breadth of the Dhamma -- one shouldn't read this as any kind of fictional historical reconstruction like Old Path, White Clouds. Instead, one should read it for what it is: A reminder of the Buddha's words on nonviolence and a call for all of us, whether his followers or not, to embrace the gentle middle way.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Extremely significant, then and now 15 Oct. 2006
By Molly Bloom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Buy this book for the parable, which is well-crafted and lightly sprinkled with Buddhist "tenets," but not enough to be heavy-handed.

I enjoyed the story, but the foreword alone is worth the purchase. It is succinct and the most pertinent exposition on violence and terrorism I have heard/read. Thomas Moore's foreword should be printed and handed out to every American. Violence and terrorism, and their counterparts of peace and reconciliation, are not issues for democrats or republicans, atheists or religious people. These issues are about struggles inside every human, both now, and thousands of years ago.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
a lovely story you would do well to read 1 Oct. 2006
By Laura Lea Nalle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The first reviewer would have done potential readers a greater service if s/he actually read the book. Perhaps s/he could have even learned something about hatred begetting hatred and how we can each stop that cycle in our own lives.

This small book is a retelling of the old Buddhist parable of Angulimala. Angulimala goes around killing people and cutting their fingers off to wear on a necklace. He wanders one day into the grove where the Buddha is living in hermitage. The Buddha does not fear the killer, but instead, the Buddha talks with him and shows him compassion and unconditional love. Angulimala questions his violent and hateful ways and gives up killing to go live and study with the Buddha. It is a story about violence, about suffering, about compassion, about making choices so that we may live peacefully. It is a story about the ability to change, about opening to our own capacity to love and be loved, about acknowledging our power to destroy but chosing to create instead. It is a lovely tale, relevant to the world today, and one that each of us could benefit from reading by studying the multiple layers of meaning and integrating its lessons into our lives.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great Story Re-told 29 Dec. 2006
By Jijnasu Forever - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A centerpiece story of Buddhist philposophy is re-told in this book (though the cover comment by Deepak indicates that this is a well-written book, it is misleading. It is not an original story). Anyone familiar with Eastern philosophy will be familiar with at least some version of this parable, and for those readers, this book doesnt add any particular value. For those unfamiliar with the Buddhist way of thought, this one is a good example of how the Buddhist philosophy deals with the issue of revenge, violence and forgiveness. Presumably, the prologue of the book tries to position the book in the context of the ongoing war(s). (the reader shouldn't be put off by the number of pages indicated - this is almost a pocket sized book). A great parable re-told.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Letting go "my saris of silk, my shawls of soft wool"... 9 May 2007
By Ivy Kleinbart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was moved by Chapter 4, "Spiritual Simplicity," in which the character Nandini appeals to Buddha: "My mind keeps jumping around like a monkey. Tell me, my friend, should I be putting great effort into concentrating the mind or just let it wander?" Nandini grapples with the distractions of common attachments and the challenge of residing in the present moment. She struggles with personal failure, remorse, and metaphysical curiosities, to which the Buddha responds succinctly and compassionately in ways that relate to all of us. Basic spiritual reminders about the meaning of death and particularity: "I am the universe itself. Life is a flow of energy: it takes a form and then dissolves... there is no point in being attached to a changing form. Be the wave, and know that you are part of the great ocean of existence." Admittedly, the lesson in non-violence is hypersimplified and takes a predictable course, but who's to say what it's going to take to re-educate this eye-for-an-eye generation of Americans. Brief, accessible, and printed on high-quality paper with a gorgeous cover design by Anne Winslow, this book would make a nice gift as an accompaniment to the Tao Te Ching.
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