Author Topic: The marks of a Buddha  (Read 4949 times)

Jessie Fong

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The marks of a Buddha
« on: July 01, 2012, 06:30:30 AM »

Traditionally Buddha is regarded as having 32 characteristics that mark a Great Man.

The 32 major characteristics are:
1.  Level feet
2.  Thousand-spoked wheel sign on feet
3.  Long, slender fingers
4.  Pliant hands and feet
5.  Toes and fingers finely webbed
6.  Full-sized heels
7.  Arched insteps
8.  Thighs like a royal stag
9.  Hands reaching below the knees
10.Well-retracted male organ
11.Height and stretch of arms equal
12.Every hair-root dark colored
13.Body hair graceful and curly
14.Golden-hued body
15.Ten-foot aura around him
16.Soft, smooth skin
17.Soles, palms, shoulders, and crown of head well-rounded
18.Area below armpits well-filled
19.Lion-shaped body
20.Body erect and upright
21.Full, round shoulders
22.Forty teeth
23.Teeth white, even, and close
24.Four canine teeth pure white
25.Jaw like a lion
26.Saliva that improves the taste of all food
27.Tongue long and broad
28.Voice deep and resonant
29.Eyes deep blue
30.Eyelashes like a royal bull
31.White ?r?? curl that emits light between eyebrows
32.Fleshy protuberance on the crown of the head

Are there records of any other Buddha who did not have all of these marks?


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Re: The marks of a Buddha
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 10:26:43 AM »
I heard about the 32 marks for the great man before but also not sure is it only apply to only Buddha alone or these qualities also apply for other Buddhas too.
I did a research and found out these information which might help us to understand more about this.

From Theravada Buddhism
According to Theravada Buddhism, there are only two unique beings that can have the 32 marks of a Mahapurusa (Great Man). They are a Buddha, and a Cakkavatti, a Universal Monarch.

The Mahapurusa's Dhamma is directed by the Dhamma. He may renounce the world to become a Buddha, or he may continue to live the Household life and become a Cakkavatti.

And this is from The Dhamma Encyclopedia which did not mention other buddha names only said it supposed to be present on the bodies of all Buddhas.
The 32 Signs of a Great Man (mah? purisa lakkha?a) are auspicious marks that are supposed to be present on the bodies of all Buddhas. Although only incidental to Buddhism, this idea is the theme of three discourses (D.II,142; M.II,133; Sn.103) and is mentioned briefly in several others. The idea of the Signs has its origins in Brahmanism and was incorporated into Buddhism at a later period for reasons that are not clear. Some of the Signs, like the long tongue, the blue eyes, the golden complexion and the ensheathed penis, were probably connected with the ancient Indian concept of idealized physical beauty. Others are so strange, grotesque even, that it is difficult to know what to make of them.

When the seer Asita came to visit the new born Buddha-to-be, Siddhattha Gotama, he mentions that he sees the signs or marks of a great man and lists some of them. This confirms that this concept is a pre-Buddhist idea.

It is very clear from the Tipitaka that the Buddha's physical appearance was normal in every way. When King Aj?tasattu went to meet him he was unable to distinguish him from the disciples surrounding him (D.I,50). If the Buddha had any of the 32 Signs the king would have recognized him immediately. Pukkas?ti sat talking to the Buddha for hours before realizing who he was (M.III,238). If the Buddha had any of the Signs the young man would have soon noticed it and known that he was someone unusual. When Upaka encountered the Buddha walking along the road to Gaya the thing he noticed most about him was 'clear faculities and radiant complexion' (M.I,170). He did not mention seeing any of the 32 Signs.

In the Buddha's teachings, the external and the physical are always subordinate to the internal and the psychological (S.I,169). The Buddha was aware of the Brahmanical concept that a ‘great man' could be known by his physical characteristics and he rejected this notion. Someone once asked him: ‘They talk about a ‘great man,' a ‘great man.' But what is it that makes a great man?' The Buddha replied: ‘It is by freeing the mind that someone becomes a great man. Without freeing the mind one cannot be a great man' (S.V,157).

Anyone have any idea or other info to share so that we can get conclusion about it?