Monday, April 20, 2009

When will you stop?

Angulimala (literal meaning of this name is garland of fingers) was a bandit who used to cut his victim's pinkie finger and had made a garland for himself. Every one was afraid of him. When Buddha found out, he ventured into Anguliamala's territory by himself. Every one was worried for Buddha's safety. Angulimala saw Buddha moving through his territory and asked Buddha to stop. Buddha kept walking, he showed no trace of fear - Angualimala asked him to stop again and Buddha said - I stopped a long time ago, when will you stop? Angulimala did not understand and asked Buddha what he meant. Buddha said that he cast off violence towards other beings and Angulimala is unrestrained, that's how he has stopped and Angulimala didn't. And the story goes that he became a disciple of Buddha and attained arahatship.

This question - "When will you stop?" has a deep meaning. It is not just in terms of violence towards other beings. It is also our violence towards ourselves. We pushing ourselves to become something, to gain something, to achieve fame, power, money. We push our loved ones to do the same. When will we stop? When will we start teaching our children to be content, happy and aim for peace of mind? When will we stop preparing them for the rat race?


  1. This is one of my very favorite stories from the Buddha. I think it somehow reassures me, because Angulimala had killed 999 people wen he came upon the Buddha (who was going to be his 1000th victim). If Angulimala can attain liberation after killing 999 people, there is so much hope for the rest of us. In some way I am inspired by it. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. It is a very inspiring story and those words - when will you stop, just stuck with me.

  3. I love and embrace your idea of stopping. Stop and know, yes?

  4. Well said, Anne. I did not start any part of knowing till I slowed down. Being an impatient and go-getter person that I am, slowing down was an important lesson to be learned.

  5. I googled "blue cliff experience" and I found
    your blog posting...interesting that we
    have Dharma friends in common worldwide via

    The precepts are the core of my practice
    and "non-harming" is the lifeblood of of
    the precepts so I enjoyed this post.



  6. Thanks Pete. Yes, there is a lot of cyber dharma, so as to speak..:) We are forutnate to live in times when knowledge and experience is not closely guarded to chest and every one has an opportunity to learn.