Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The 32 Signs of The Great Man

There are 32 main characteristics
(Pali: Lakkhana Mahapurisa 32)


  1. He has feet with a level sole (Pali: supati thapado).
    Note: "feet with level tread,/ so that he places his foot
    evenly on the ground,/ lifts it evenly,/
    and touches the ground evenly with the entire sole." (Lakkhana Sutta)
  2. He has the mark of a thousand-spoked wheel on the soles of his feet
    (Pali: he thapadatalesu cakkani jatani).
  3. He has projecting heels (Pali: ayatapa ni).
  4. He has long fingers and toes (Pali: digha nguli).
  5. His hands and feet are soft-skinned (Pali: mudutalahathapado).
  6. He has netlike lines on palms and soles (Pali: jalahathapado).
  7. He has high raised ankles (Pali: ussa nkhapado).
  8. He has taut calf muscles like an antelope (Pali: e nimigasadisaja ngho). 
  9. He can touch his knees with the palms of his hands without bending. (Pali: thitako va anonamanto).
  10. His sexual organs are concealed in a sheath (Pali: kosohitavatguyho).
  11. His skin is the color of gold (Pali: suva n nava no).
    "His body is more beautiful than all the gods." (Lakkhana sutta)
  12. His skin is so fine that no dust can attach to it (Pali: sukhumacchavi).
  13. His body hairs are separate with one hair per pore (Pali: ekekalomo).
  14. His body hair is blue-black, the color of collyrium, and curls clockwise in rings. (Pali: uddhagalomo).
  15. He has an upright stance like that of a brahma (Pali: brahmujugatto).
  16. He has the seven convexities of the flesh (Pali: satusado). Note: "the seven convex surfaces,/ on both hands, both feet, both shoulders, and his trunk." (Lakkhana Sutta)
  17. He has an immense torso, like that of a lion (Pali: sihapuba dhakayo).
  18. The furrow between his shoulders is filled in (Pali: pitantara mso).
  19. The distance from hand-to-hand and head-to-toe is equal
    (Pali: nigrodhaparima n dalo). Note: incidentally,
    these are also the ideal proportions according to
    Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
  20. He has a round and smooth neck (Pali: samva d dakhando).
  21. He has sensitive taste-buds (Pali: rasagasagi).
  22. His jaw is like a lion's (Pali: sihahanu).
  23. He has 40 teeth (Pali: cata.lisadanto). Note: The average person normally has 32 teeth.
  24. His teeth are evenly spaced (Pali: samadanto).
  25. His teeth are without gaps in-between (Pali: avira ladanto).
  26. His teeth are quite white (Pali: sukadanto).
  27. He has a large, long tongue (Pali: pahutajivho).
  28. He has a voice like a Brahma’s (Pali: brahmasaro hiravikabha ni).
  29. He has very blue eyes (Pali: abhi nila netto).
    Note 1: "very (abhi) blue (nila) eyes (netto)"
    Nila is the word used to describe a sapphire and the color of the sea, but also the color of a rain cloud. It also defines the color of the Hindu God Krishna. Note 2: "His lashes are like a cow's; his eyes are blue./ Those who know such things declare/ 'A child which such fine eyes/ will be one who's looked upon with joy./ If a layman, thus he'll be/ Pleasing to the sight of all./ If ascetic he becomes,/ Then loved as healer of folk's woes.'" (Lakkhana Sutta)
  30. He has eyelashes like an ox (Pali: gopa mukho).
  31. He has a white soft wisp of hair in the center of the brow (Pali: una loma bhamukantare jata). Note: this became the symbolic urna.
  32. His head is like a royal turban (Pali: u nahisiso).
    Note that this denotes his cranial protrusion,
    visible on Buddhist iconography.