the great 32 Marks of a Great Man thread

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: 32 signs

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:20 am

Sadhu! Thank you again Chris! I never cease to be amazed at your ability to find just the right article or discourse.
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Re: 32 signs

Post by lucky-2012 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:15 pm

Thanks all.

Of course the Buddha had a normal appearance!

With metta
"Make it your sport — watching the defilements and making them starve, like a person giving up an addiction"

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the great 32 Marks of a Great Man thread

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:26 am

firstly, i would like to address this article: https://dhammawiki.com/index.php/32_sig ... _great_man
what hard evidence is there that the marks were a later addition? yes, i have read some persuasive arguments by bhikkhu sujāto that because the buddha was indistinguishable from other monks to one or some people in the canon the marks are thus false. however, it is known from DN 3 To Ambaṭṭha that the marks are only detectable to the trained eye. not only that but we have not only, of course, evidence of the supernormal but evidence of beings who change their appearance.
since i keep having this discussion with a facebook friend, and he insists that the issue of the marks isn't important, while i insist they are, because i don't have good reason to doubt their authenticity, and his insistence on rejecting them, despite 'not being important', i brought it here. i hope this won't be chunked into another thread because the issue is further pertinent in the context of early buddhism. we accept that the body is old kamma? the tathāgata has most excellent kamma. his skin was able to exceed the gleam of polished gold robes in DN 16. the marks are grotesque? the human body was said to be a smelly, oozing boil (can go grab that reference if i have to). wheels appear on the buddha's feet in Doṇa sutta. do we just throw out the parts of the canon we don't immediately agree with?
it is precisely the people who speak on this issue as unimportant who reflect its importance
Last edited by Dhammarakkhito on Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great 32 Marks of a Great Man thread

Post by DNS » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:14 am

I merged your topic with some of the previous topics on this issue. It is something that naturally comes up from time to time, so thought I'd create another 'great' (as in large) thread covering this topic.

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Re: 32 Marks of a Great Man

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:03 am

DNS wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:19 pm
Great thread, the obligatory 32 Marks thread . . .

At one time Wikipedia had a big section about the 32 Marks and even listed all of them, at the beginning of the article on the Buddha. To me, it may have been an honest mistake or at worst, a deliberate attempt to make Buddhism appear mythological. It is not an essential teaching in Buddhism and in my opinion should be taken metaphorically. After some convincing, Wikipedia did remove the 32 Marks to a small section and different article.

Not all suttas are to be taken literally (fortunately):

Monks, these two slander the Tathagata. Which two? He who explains a discourse whose meaning needs to be inferred as one whose meaning has already been fully drawn out. And he who explains a discourse whose meaning has already been fully drawn out as one whose meaning needs to be inferred. These are two who slander the Tathagata.”

Anguttara Nikaya 2.25
this has nothing to do with being literal or figurative but about which teachings need to be expounded on and which are sufficient by themselves
this argument has been made that it's not essential (the marks) yet the buddha purportedly spoke on them. the buddha has stated he only spoke words that were beneficial. we could really toss out what ever didn't conform to our view before coming into contact with buddhism, regardless if we are talking about the marks or about psychic powers, heaven and hell, rebirth, devas, etc. i believe this is an effort by māra to wipe buddhism from the earth completely. when we change, minimize or eliminate the buddha's teaching it disappears and this he actually spoke of. what good being done by this site is being hidden by its abundance of misinformation, like the moon to the sun during an eclipse
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
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Re: the great 32 Marks of a Great Man thread

Post by DNS » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:09 am

Good essay by Ven Sujato:
https://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/04/06 ... -32-marks/
Ven. Sujato wrote:There is plenty of incidental detail in the Suttas and Vinaya that show that the Buddha was normal in appearance, so any freakish or supernatural interpretation of the marks must be wrong. Leaving a few of the bizarre elements aside, most of the marks are straightforward signs of physical beauty: black hair, white teeth, gold skin, and the like.

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