Buddha's skin colour

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by DNS » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:11 pm

Kusala wrote: Hi there. According to the Pali Canon, the historical Buddha is said to have "Blue Eyes".

We can still find blue/green eyes amongst Northern Indians today.

Few samples:
If you accept the literal word of the 32 marks (and there is no indication to do so according to the Pali Canon), then the color is clearly not as light as the photos you have shown in your post.

His skin is the color of gold (Pali: suva n nava no; Lakkhana sutta)

A 'golden' color is closer to brown and could even be 'golden-brown.'

But most importantly, color is meaningless and does not matter.

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Kare » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:46 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:Sigh...The whole Aryan Invasion theory has now been pretty much disproved. The whole idea of the pre Aryan Invasion dark skinned natives and the light skinned invaders has been effectively traduced as myths invented by Europeans.
Disproved is a strong word. I would rather say that it has been rejected by Indian nationalists and by others who do not want to hurt the feelings of Indian nationalists. The fact remains that Indo-european languages are spoken all over North India. No serious linguist suggest that these languages arose in India. Therefor, someone must have brought the language into the country. I don't know and I don't care what colour their skin was, but due to climatic conditions people from northern areas generally have a lighter skin colour than those who live in southern areas. And to suggest that people in Northern India one day suddenly said to one another: "Hey, that language they are speaking up northwest across the mountains sounds real cool - let's learn that language and start using it!" - is not very credible. Some people arrived from the northwest (call them Aryans or not), and their numbers or influence was sufficient to spread their language.
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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Kusala » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:39 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Kusala wrote: Hi there. According to the Pali Canon, the historical Buddha is said to have "Blue Eyes".

We can still find blue/green eyes amongst Northern Indians today.

Few samples:
If you accept the literal word of the 32 marks (and there is no indication to do so according to the Pali Canon), then the color is clearly not as light as the photos you have shown in your post.

His skin is the color of gold (Pali: suva n nava no; Lakkhana sutta)

A 'golden' color is closer to brown and could even be 'golden-brown.'

But most importantly, color is meaningless and does not matter.
Hi David. I believe some of 32 marks is worth noting, especially the "Blue Eyes".

It's quite common to find people in Northern India with blue/green eyes and fairer complexion than other parts of India.

It's not important, but it's worth noting IMO(In My Opinion). Nevertheless, I agree with you. Color is irrelevant.

The Dhamma transcends all...
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"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by seniya » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:43 pm

I find this thread from an article on Dhammawiki.com (http://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=T ... appearance" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) which says that "He (The Buddha) was about six feet tall (S.I,62)"

Does anyone know which sutta is S.I,62? Thank you....
I'm sorry if my words are not understandable and it is in impolite expression, because my native language is not English....

Mettacitena

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Nugget » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:33 am

I read a sutta recently, the name of which escapes me, that mentions that the Buddha's face would become more clearly defined, and his body more golden, in response to his receiving angry words from someone. That the Buddha is golden as a result of giving homes to the homeless supports a notion I have that he has a connection to each of those wanderers.

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Sovatthika » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:55 pm

32 marks are canon and whether or not they are considered a metaphor (i haven't seen a constructive case made for them so being) they are said by the tathāgata to exist. do yourself a favor and renounce undue skepticism
"And the Brahman Pokkharasādi took stock, on the body of the Blessed One, of the thirty-two marks of a Great Being. And he saw them all plainly, save only two. As to two of them—the sheath-concealed member and the extensive tongue—he was still in doubt and undecided. But the Blessed One showed them to Pokkharasādi, even as he had shown them to Ambaṭṭha. And Pokkharasādi perceived that the Blessed One was endowed with the thirty-two marks of a Great Being, with all of them, not only with some. And he said to the Blessed One: ‘May the venerable Gotama grant me the favour of taking his to-morrow’s meal with me, and also the members of the Order with him.’ And the Blessed One accepted, by silence, his request." from DN 3


XI. His complexion is bright, the color of gold http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Lakkhana_Sutta
why is there personal exegesis being offered on the dhammawiki site? "Then venerable Ānanda said this to the Gracious One: “It is wonderful, reverend Sir, it is marvellous, reverend Sir, how pure and clean is the Realised One’s skin-colour, reverend Sir! This pair of polished gold-coloured robes, ready to wear, reverend Sir, when placed on the Gracious One’s body have lost their gleam!”

“Just so, Ānanda, on two occasions, Ānanda, the Realised One’s skin-colour becomes exceedingly pure and clean.

On which two occasions?

That night, Ānanda, the Realised One perfectly awakens to the unsurpassed and Perfect Awakening, and that night the Realised One is Finally Emancipated in the Emancipation-element which has no basis for attachment remaining. On these two occasions the Realised One’s skin-colour is exceedingly pure and clean. Today, Ānanda, during the last watch of the night, near to Kusinārā, in the Mallas’ Sal Wood at Upavattana, between a pair of Sal trees will be the Realised One’s Final Emancipation."

-- DN 16
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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by DNS » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:13 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:55 pm
why is there personal exegesis being offered on the dhammawiki site?
I understand you have a very traditionalist view and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there are other views within Buddhism and within Theravada. The exegesis you are referring to is not limited to me. It is not a sole view found only from me. It is a view shared by many other Theravada Buddhists and prominent monks. This does not make it true (appeal to authority), but it demonstrates it is not a sole view of only one Buddhist. See for example this blog entry from Bhante Sujato:

https://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/04/06 ... -32-marks/
Bhante 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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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by thomaslaw » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:39 am

Annapurna wrote:
Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:07 pm
:smile:

Stefan, from the 32 excellent signs (marks) of a Buddha
(14) His skin is luminous and golden in color, from his having offered soft and comfortable seats to others.

(15) His skin is likewise as fine and unblemished as purified gold free from all taints. This results from his having accommodated others in need of lodging and his having always provided excellent housing. In the Pali tradition, this sign is that a Buddha’s skin is delicate and smooth.
In the Theravada tradition, the list of thirty-two excellent signs appears in The Sutta of the Excellent Signs (Pali: Lakkhana Sutta) in the Long Discourses (Pali: Digha Nikaya).

:anjali:

Golden colour ("hemava.n.na") also means yellow colour. So, the Buddha's skin colour is yellow :thinking:

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Sovatthika » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:35 am

he does make that argument, and he also makes the argument i've been told that devas are only literary devices. this is troubling to me, since materiality is a conditioned view and yes i am traditional. at least, in the sense that i believe no explanation needs to be offered for the suttas. but devas are so heavily depicted in the suttas and they have talks they give and they have personalities and attainments. so how does one explain the sutta i shared from where the marks are actually seen? and what evidence is there that the marks are a later addition and not part of the same canon we would agree (?) is actually buddhavacana.

no, what really distresses me is the fundamental misunderstanding one can have regarding the ability of an arahant to lie.....
"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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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Sovatthika » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:13 am

i have used bhikkhu sujato's paper as the primary resource for my orthodox buddhism group https://ocbs.org/wp-content/uploads/201 ... ticity.pdf so i mean i like him but he misses the 'mark' in my opinion.
bhikkhu anālayo is another early buddhist and he wrote about the marks, see images below but it is a long paper
he does say that for example the protuberance of the cranium is translated as protuberance of the mind in chinese literature. this is still a far cry from disputing the authenticity of the marks, which lacks a reasonable basis that i've yet seen (an opinion, however qualified, is just that) https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... dyvol2.pdf
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"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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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Sovatthika » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:14 am

couldn't add all the images to my last post
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"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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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Nicolas » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:49 pm

Sovatthika wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:35 am
[Ven. Sujato] also makes the argument i've been told that devas are only literary devices.
Source for this?
Sovatthika wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:35 am
no, what really distresses me is the fundamental misunderstanding one can have regarding the ability of an arahant to lie.....
People who don't believe in the 32 Marks don't believe that any arahant lied, they believe the suttas or the portions of suttas mentioning the Marks to be inauthentic or non-literal.

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by DNS » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:03 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:49 pm
People who don't believe in the 32 Marks don't believe that any arahant lied, they believe the suttas or the portions of suttas mentioning the Marks to be inauthentic or non-literal.
Sovatthika was referring to another topic, the 4th precept and was posting off-topic when he made that remark. He was referring to an article I wrote where I suggested the Buddha might have used skillful means, regarding Nanda. He was stating that he is "distressed" to use his words about that, apparently more so than the 32 marks issue. I have merged several 4th precept threads and bumped that thread up for anyone interested.

:focus:

For discussing the 4th precept, please see and post in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=42&t=25957

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by thomaslaw » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:44 am

The Buddha in the Pali texts does not say he has 32 marks to monks.

Thomas

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:05 pm

thomaslaw wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:44 am
The Buddha in the Pali texts does not say he has 32 marks to monks.

Thomas
Its in DN?
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by dharmacorps » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:48 pm

Does anyone else here gets the creeps when they see all the threads about the Buddha's "race" "skin color" and "appearance"? While the 32 marks are interesting, who really cares what color Buddha's skin was? Part of my concern is racists probably care the most obsessing about his "aryan" stock. Not trying to highjack this thread but the number of posts about this is quite jarring.

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by SarathW » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:24 pm

:goodpost: Dharmacops.
Agree!
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by pilgrim » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:05 pm

Modern people are so fearful of being perceived as Racist ( there, I mentioned the elephant in the room), that any mention of skin colour is whispered only with extreme sensitivity. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with being curious of how the founder of our religion looked like. Yes, he's Asian, and probably looked like many north Indians today. If anyone has difficulty picturing that, google Shah Rukh Khan. :tongue:

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Kusala » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:31 am

pilgrim wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:05 pm
Modern people are so fearful of being perceived as Racist ( there, I mentioned the elephant in the room), that any mention of skin colour is whispered only with extreme sensitivity. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with being curious of how the founder of our religion looked like. Yes, he's Asian, and probably looked like many north Indians today. If anyone has difficulty picturing that, google Shah Rukh Khan.
:tongue:
Khan doesn't have "blue eyes" and he's only 5'8".
Image

"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by pilgrim » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:48 am

People claiming to be Sakyas still live along the southern edge of Nepal and in small communities in India, around Sankasia for eg. But I think intermarriage down thru the centuries have largely diluted physical features of their ethnicity.
Ven.Phra-Anil-Sakya.jpg
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Phra Anil Shakya, an ethnic Sakyan of Nepali nationality living in Bangkok.

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