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The Buddha and the Terrorist: The Story of Angulimala Paperback – 1 Jan 1990

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Product details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Green Books; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 Jan. 1990)
  • 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 (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 254,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

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

From the Inside Flap

Not every book will change your life, but any book can. Not every discussion will make a difference, but a conversation can change the world.
In this timely retelling of an ancient Buddhist parable, peace activist Satish Kumar has created a small book with a powerful spiritual message about ending violence. It is a tale of a fearsome outcast named Angulimala (" Necklace of Fingers" ), who is terrorizing towns and villages in order to gain control of the state, murdering people and adding their fingers to his gruesome necklace. One day he comes face to face with the Buddha and is persuaded, through a series of compelling conversations, to renounce violence and take responsibility for his actions.
The Buddha and the Terrorist addresses the urgent questions we face today: Should we talk to terrorists? Can we reason with religious fundamentalists? Is nonviolence practical? The story ends with a dramatic trial that speaks to the victims of terrorism-- the families whose mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters Angulimala has murdered. It asks whether it is possible for them to forgive. Or whether it is even desirable.
No one can read The Buddha and the Terrorist without thinking about the root causes of terrorism, about good and evil, about justice and forgiveness, about the kind of place we want the world to be, and, most important, about the most productive and practical way to get there. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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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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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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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