Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

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Stiphan
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Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by Stiphan » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:31 pm

At my Sri Lankan temple, his skin colour is blue, and I recently saw three more images where, again, he is of blue colour. What is the reason?
2016-12-20 13.46.50.jpg
2016-12-20 13.46.50.jpg (131.59 KiB) Viewed 1293 times
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santa100
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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by santa100 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:34 pm

Symbolic representation probably based on Buddhavamsa 1.57-1.59 where the Buddha's chief disciples were compared to a special symbol, for example, Sariputta as the Koranda flower, Moggallana as the Blue Lotus, Mahakassapa as Pure Gold, etc.

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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:01 pm

Moggallana as the Blue Lotus
Thanks for clarifying this.
When I was young I was taught, Moggallana was blue due to beaten to death by the thieves!

Koranda flower:
https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct= ... 1101349350
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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:02 pm

I notice all the monks are shaved heads except Buddha?
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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by Mkoll » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:08 pm

SarathW wrote:I notice all the monks are shaved heads except Buddha?
It looks like Ven. Mahakassapa has hair in the bottom picture.
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Pondera
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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by Pondera » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:49 am

A steady diet of silver will turn one blue ...

Or perhaps he practiced the blue kasina meditation a little too often.
A wise man once asked an audience, "why do the ignorant shrug their shoulders?"

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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by DNS » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:21 pm

I believe I recall hearing a monk say that in the Buddha's time 'blue' complexion meant a dark complexion. The bhikkhuni Uppalavanna is also said to have had a blue [dark?] complexion.

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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:58 am

Krishna is portrayed as blue. This may well be because of an early mistranslation of the word dark as blue. So the theory has it that Krishna was originally a southern Dravadian (hence seen as dark skinned) god adopted or assimilated into the pantheon of the paler Northern invaders/immigrants who eventually became dominant and codified their pantheon into more or less what we know in historic times. If so, the color blue may be associated with or signify holiness of a southern origin. On the other hand, they may just have had some extra blue paint on hand back in the day!

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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by ganegaar » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:16 pm

Probably due to a historical mistranslation of word "neela" which is used for both colors blue and black.
As in "neela warala" means "black hair (of a women)",
Compared to "neela peetha lohita" means "blue yellow red"
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EmptyShadow
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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by EmptyShadow » Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:17 am

Here is an interesting quote from this site:http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_n ... ana_th.htm

"Moggallāna's body was of the colour of the blue lotus or the rain cloud (Bu.i.58). There exists in Ceylon an oral tradition that this colour is due to his having suffered in hell in the recent past!"

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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by thomaslaw » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:31 am

Mkoll wrote:
SarathW wrote:I notice all the monks are shaved heads except Buddha?
It looks like Ven. Mahakassapa has hair in the bottom picture.
According to the Chinese versions of Kassapa Samyutta, Ven. Mahakassapa has the image of long beard-and-hair (SA1142 (in T99), ASA117 (in T100)). I've got this information from this article:

Choong, Mun-keat. 2017. 'A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Kassapa Samyutta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on the Venerable Kasyapa', in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Cambridge University Press), Vol. 27, Issue 2, pp. 295-311.

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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by Ripser » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:48 pm

I was told by a Sinhalese man that he is blue to mark his "carrying" a heavy kamma (having killed his parents in a former life) still to ripen at his death.

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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by Stiphan » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:41 pm

Mahamoggallana was, in fact, a black man.
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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by thomaslaw » Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:37 am

Stiphan wrote:Mahamoggallana was, in fact, a black man.
It seems to me, most of the Indians, including the so-called Aryans, are black or brown! Possible He was a real original black!

Thomas

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Stiphan
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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by Stiphan » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:13 pm

thomaslaw wrote:
Stiphan wrote:Mahamoggallana was, in fact, a black man.
It seems to me, most of the Indians, including the so-called Aryans, are black or brown! Possible He was a real original black!

Thomas
He was African type of black, yes.
You can call me "Stiphan" (correct spelling: Sṭīphan) or Stephen. May you be well and happy. :heart:

thomaslaw
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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by thomaslaw » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:57 am

Dear All,

A recent article about Maha-Moggalana is published by Mun-keat Choong in Buddhist Studies Review:

"A comparison of the Chinese and Pāli Saṃyukta/Saṃyuttas on the Venerable Mahā-Maudgalyāyana (Mahā-Moggallāna)"
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.p ... ue/current

Thomas

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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by Caodemarte » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:29 pm

Stiphan wrote:
thomaslaw wrote:
Stiphan wrote:Mahamoggallana was, in fact, a black man.
It seems to me, most of the Indians, including the so-called Aryans, are black or brown! Possible He was a real original black!

Thomas
He was African type of black, yes.

I don't know about Mahamoggallana, but there was pre-European sea trade between Africa, India, and China (notably Mozambique on the African mainland). There also villages in India where people are essentially Hindu, but look like African blacks. It was thought for some time that they were solely the descendants of runaway Portuguese slaves, but they may have predated the Portuguese. There is also the unexplained presence of "black Buddha" statues in at least one temple in Thailand which is suggestive. It is always fascinating to see how the ancient world was wider than we thought.

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LG2V
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Re: Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

Post by LG2V » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:01 am

I'm curious about this as well.

I assume that Mahamoggallana was a Black Man. The color used to describe him, "Nila", can be used to describe Black, Blue, Brown, or other colors in between. The Bhikkhuni Uppalavanna was describes as being "Nila" as well.

I think that's the case for the "Nila Kasina" of the four kasina types, too. Black, Brown, and Blue are interchangeable.

There does seem to have been an association of Blackness with beauty during The Buddha's time. For instance, Uppalavanna was described as being extremely beautiful, and one of the Brahma realms is named the realm of the "Beautiful Black Gods" {Subhakinha devas). Of course, there is the sutta that says White kamma is good and Black kamma is bad, but it also says that the performers of white kamma go on to be Beautiful Black Gods. An interesting take.

There were also the Kanhayanas, who were a prestigious Brahmin clan during The Buddha's time. But they were descended from Kanha (who I believe is the same Kanha from the Mahabharata, or possibly Krishna). Buddha said that Kanha was born a slave and mocked for his dark color (hence, the name "Kanha") during his birth time many ages (exactly how long?) ago, but that he became a great seer/sage. It's interesting to speculate about the demographics during that time.

I am curious, though. Were Buddha's eyes actually blue? They are described with the same word (Nila), so they well could have been brown. His hair is described as "Nila", and it is generally assumed to be black.
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