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The son of a Brahmin and a notorious and feared bandit who was converted in a famous encounter with the Buddha. His name, which means ‘garland of fingers’, derived from his macabre practice of cutting off a finger from each traveller he killed and stitching them into a garland which he wore around his neck. When only one short of his goal of 1,000 fingers, Aṇgulimāla saw his mother entering the Jālinī forest and prepared to attack her. To prevent this the Buddha intercepted Aṇgulimāla and converted him. Following his conversion Aṇgulimāla became a monk and was completely rehabilitated. However, at times his presence in the Saṃgha caused tension with local people and he was subject to assaults and abuse, which the Buddha explained as the effect of bad karma caused by his earlier evil deeds. On account of these problems the Buddha introduced a rule prohibiting the ordination of outlaws. In due course Aṇgulimāla became an Arhat.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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