Why was Mahāmoggallāna blue?

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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


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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!

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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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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