This is a street theatre performance recorded at the Saisho-ji temple, Osaka, Japan in 2014, which retells the traditional story of the Buddha and Angulimālā, with some interesting additions, including a teaching on the Eternal Buddha (who resides within).
The story starts in NE India where Angulimālā is capturing and executing people and cutting their fingers off as a way of tallying the count. His vow is to kill 1,000 Kosalans in revenge for their killing his kin.
He looks for a good subject for his final victim and decides on the Buddha who is coming that way. But because of the Buddha’s magic powers he is quite unable to catch up with him.
Seeing this display of power and hearing the Buddha’s teachings he returns with him to the monastery and there ordains. Ānanda is asked to instruct him, but it becomes clear Ānanda is a stickler for rules, whereas Angulimālā sees to the heart of the teaching.
Later Angulimālā, now renamed Ahimsaka (non-harmer) comes across a pregnant woman he had spared earlier during his murderous career. She is now in labour pains, but unable to deliver.
Ahimsaka asks the Buddha what he can do to help her, and the Buddha tells him to recite the following: ‘Since I have been reborn into the holy life I have never intentionally taken the life of any creature. Through these words of truth will you and your baby be safe.’ A blessing still used in SE Asian countries to this day.
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