While he had already killed 999 people, he was waiting for the 1000th person. Once he was sitting outside his hut on a hill. He saw a saintly man coming from afar. The man was none other than Lord Buddha. "The better the soul is, the more peace it will give me to kill him. Let the last finger in the garland be that of a pious man," Angulimala thought to himself.
He started moving towards Lord Buddha. However, Lord Buddha passed him and he made no attempt to stop him or attack him. Angulimala stared at this peaceful saint for some time. He was quite impressed at the calm that the man carried along. For a moment he had quite forgotten that he was supposed to kill him. He thought, "I would attack him from behind," and started running after Lord Buddha. The faster he ran, the more difficult it seemed to catch Lord Buddha. While he was running and Lord Buddha walking, he was not able to catch him.
When he was finally tired, he shouted from behind "Oh Saint, please stop!" To this, Lord Buddha replied "I had stopped all the wrongdoings many years ago. Now it's time for you to stop." These deep words of Lord Buddha pierced straight through the heart of Angulimala. The words came to him like magical sparks of wisdom.
As he looked into the eyes of Lord Buddha, he realised a powerful truth burning in them. This spiritual figure had already melted his heart. Tears rolled down his eyes. He fell at the feet of Lord Buddha and asked him to lead him onto the same path of peace and happiness. Soon, he started living at the monastery where Lord Buddha lived.
After a few years of teaching, Lord Buddha told him that he was ready to preach others. With his permission, Angulimala headed on to propagate the knowledge that he had acquired. He had completely changed from what he had been many years ago before the meeting with Lord Buddha. He knew by now, how to handle all the negative thoughts and maintain peace in the heart.
He went to the same villages where he had killed many people. Despite the change, people had not forgiven him. They could not trust him. They attacked him with stones and sticks when he went there. Bleeding with wounds all over the body, Angulimala just smiled and kept walking. Even with immense physical pain, he continued to smile.
When one of the men standing there asked him the reason how he could smile like that, he replied that the people's reaction to him, was something that he had sown many years ago. It was Karma coming back to him. However, he had learned not to let the external chaos disturb the internal peace. If he reacted to the people's present behaviour towards him, the Karma would not get settled and the series would continue. However, people accepted him gradually.
Angulimala had killed 999 people. People feared him badly. He would kill them, then chop off one of their fingers, and keep it, as a record of the number of people he had killed. He had made a garland of human fingers and was in search of the 1000th finger to complete the count.
People said that somebody had asked him to do so in return of a thing he dearly wanted from that person. Probably somebody had played a trick with the innocent man. He had been a bright student initially but then fell into wrong hands.