Rediscovering the Buddha: Legends of the Buddha and Their Interpretation

By Hans H. Penner | Go to book overview

12
Meeting a Murderer, a Visit
Home, and a Quick Trip
to Heaven

In a few short years the Buddha had traveled hundreds of miles. Literally thousands of men had heard him teach the Doctrine and had renounced the life of the householder to become sons of the Buddha. As the community grew, hundreds of rules were established to govern the life of the layperson and the monk: rules for initiation into the community, ordination, rules for monthly confession, rules for accepting robes and the proper behavior for taking the almsroutes, rules for proper toilet etiquette, eating, bathing, and travel.

The Buddha needed a break from this seemingly twenty-fourhour-a-day life of management, decision making, and counseling.

One day while at the park at Savatthi he gathered the monks together and said, “Monks, I want to dwell in solitude for half a month. I am not to be disturbed by anyone save him alone who brings me my food.” At the end of the half month he reported back to the monks, saying, “I have lived just as I did immediately after gaining enlightenment; knowing what is experienced as a result of wrong views, desires, and perceptions, and what is known as a result of right views.” He then rehearsed the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path with the monks.

Now at that time there was a notorious murderer in the realm of King Pasenadi whose name was Angulimala, “the garland of fingers.” He had murdered many people and wore their fingers around his neck as a garland after vultures had picked the bones dry. Angulimala was a very bright Brahmin. His father had sent him

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