How did historical Buddha looked like?

Exploring modern Theravāda interpretations of the Buddha's teaching.
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SarathW
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How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by SarathW » Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:03 am

How did historical Buddha looked like?

I am very much an admirer of Buddha's statute for the beauty and the wisdom behind it.
However I do not believe historical Buddha did not look like that.
Real Buddha had shaven head.
He ate only one meal a day and walk countless hours. So he should have been a very thin body person.
Perhaps he would have been very dark due to sun burn.
He was so much ordinary looking, many times people could not recognise him from the rest.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Kare
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by Kare » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:40 pm

The Vakkali Sutta gives a precise description:

"Enough, Vakkali! What is there to see in this vile body? He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees me; he who sees me sees Dhamma. Truly seeing Dhamma, one sees me; seeing me one sees Dhamma."
Mettāya,
Kåre

SarathW
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by SarathW » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:22 pm

Thank you for reminding Kare.
I wish you and your family a very happy new year!
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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aflatun
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by aflatun » Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:09 am

Kare wrote:The Vakkali Sutta gives a precise description:

"Enough, Vakkali! What is there to see in this vile body? He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees me; he who sees me sees Dhamma. Truly seeing Dhamma, one sees me; seeing me one sees Dhamma."
:clap: :rofl: :thumbsup:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

santa100
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by santa100 » Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:35 am

Just by using logical induction, we can reasonably assume the Buddha's look must be quite significant. Look at those wealthy and beautiful princes and princesses from various royal families in the world. Their worldly merits were only a tiny fraction compared to the Buddha's and yet they already possess such vastly superior blessings in terms of wealth, health, look, status, etc.. than most of us. It's only logical to imagine how much more it would be for the Buddha's. But anyway, as pointed out by Kare, the most important thing to focus on is His Teaching, not His look.

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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by DNS » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:56 am

There are a few things mentioned in the Tipitaka that give some indication:

6 feet tall (1.83m) [SN I 62]

Golden brown skin color
(‘It is wonderful, truly marvelous how serene is the good Gotama’s presence, how clear and radiant is his complexion. Just as golden jujube fruit in the autumn is clear and radiant…so too is the good Gotama’s complexion.’) [AN I 181]

Bald, clean shaven [Sn. 142]
In spite of the fact that nearly all statues and images of the Buddha include hair with tight curls and a top-knot on top, the Buddha was bald, just as monks and nuns today shave their heads. In the Sutta Nipata (Sn. 142) there is a story of a brahmin angry at the presence of a shaved monk, he told him, "Stay there, you shaveling, stay there you wretched monk, stay there you outcast." In another passage, "One day the potter Ghatikara addressed the brahmin student Jotipala thus: 'My dear Jotipala, let us go and see the Blessed One Kassapa, accomplished and fully enlightened. I hold that it is good to see that Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened.' The brahmin student Jotipala replied: 'Enough, my dear Ghatikara, what is the use of seeing that bald-pated recluse?'" (Ghatikara-sutta, MN 81).

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bodom
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by bodom » Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:23 am

And what, brethren, are the Thirty-two Marks of the Superman, wherewith endowed two careers lie open to him and none other:—that of a Monarch, Turner of the Wheel … that of Buddha Supreme?

(1) He hath feet with level tread. That this is so counts to him as one of the marks of the Superman.

(2) Moreover beneath, on the soles of his feet, wheels appear thousand-spoked, with tyre and hub, in every way complete and well divided. That this is so counts to him as one of the marks of the Superman.

(3) He has projecting heels. That this is so, etc.

(4) He is long in the fingers and toes. …

(5) Soft and tender in hands and feet. …

(6) With hands and feet like a net. …

(7) His ankles are like rounded shells. …

(8) His legs are like an antelope’s. …

(9) Standing and without bending he can touch and rub his knees with either hand. …

(10) His male organs are concealed in a sheath. …

(11) His complexion is like bronze, the colour of gold. …

(12) His skin is so delicately smooth that no dust cleaves to his body. …

(13) The down on it grows in single hairs one to each pore. …

(14) The down on his body turns upward, every hair of it, blue black in colour like eye-paint, in little curling rings, curling to the right. …

(15) He has a frame divinely straight. …

(16) He has the seven convex surfaces. …

(17) The front half of his body is like a lion’s. …

(18) There is no furrow between his shoulders. …

(19) His proportions have the symmetry of the banyan-tree: the length of his body is equal to the compass of his arms, and the compass of his arms is equal to his height. …

(20) His bust is equally rounded. …

(21) His taste is supremely acute. …

(22) His jaws are as a lion’s. …

(23) He has forty teeth. …

(24) Regular teeth. …

(25) Continuous teeth. …

(26) The eyeteeth are very lustrous. …

(27) His tongue is long. …

(28) He has a divine voice like the karavika bird’s. …

(29) His eyes are intensely blue. …

(30) He has eyelashes like a cow’s. …

(31) Between the eyebrows appears a hairy mole white and like soft cotton down. …

(32) His head is like a royal turban. …
https://suttacentral.net/en/dn30

:namaste:
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To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

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well established, restrained
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Mkoll
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:31 am

santa100 wrote:Just by using logical induction, we can reasonably assume the Buddha's look must be quite significant. Look at those wealthy and beautiful princes and princesses from various royal families in the world. Their worldly merits were only a tiny fraction compared to the Buddha's and yet they already possess such vastly superior blessings in terms of wealth, health, look, status, etc.. than most of us. It's only logical to imagine how much more it would be for the Buddha's. But anyway, as pointed out by Kare, the most important thing to focus on is His Teaching, not His look.
Yeah, I think it's reasonable to assume that he would have been tall, broad-shouldered, and handsome. What he looked like exactly we do not know.

And I agree: for us, it is the Teachings that are worthy of attention, not what he looked like.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Aloka
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by Aloka » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:19 pm

And what, brethren, are the Thirty-two Marks of the Superman.....

I think its worth reading what Bhikkhu Sujato had to say in his blog entry "On the 32 marks".

Excerpt:
The compilers of the Buddhist texts sometimes invented passages to conform with prevailing patterns. We know this; there are explicit instructions in two Vinayas that the monks should do this, together with details as to how it should be done. So when we see a clearly mythic notion like the 32 marks, which contradicts the known facts that the Buddha had a normal physique, then we know it is an invention, whose basis is to be explained by the needs, wishes, and motivations of the redactors.

This does not mean that the marks should be dismissed: on the contrary it means that we have an invaluable method of understanding earlier generations of Buddhists, and how their beliefs influenced the form in which the Dhamma has been passed down to us. If we don’t understand those people, how can we hope to understand the texts that they formed as a vessel for the teaching of the Buddha?

https://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/04/06 ... -32-marks/

:anjali:

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Coëmgenu
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:13 am

Aloka wrote:
And what, brethren, are the Thirty-two Marks of the Superman.....

I think its worth reading what Bhikkhu Sujato had to say in his blog entry "On the 32 marks".

Excerpt:
The compilers of the Buddhist texts sometimes invented passages to conform with prevailing patterns. We know this; there are explicit instructions in two Vinayas that the monks should do this, together with details as to how it should be done. So when we see a clearly mythic notion like the 32 marks, which contradicts the known facts that the Buddha had a normal physique, then we know it is an invention, whose basis is to be explained by the needs, wishes, and motivations of the redactors.

This does not mean that the marks should be dismissed: on the contrary it means that we have an invaluable method of understanding earlier generations of Buddhists, and how their beliefs influenced the form in which the Dhamma has been passed down to us. If we don’t understand those people, how can we hope to understand the texts that they formed as a vessel for the teaching of the Buddha?

https://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/04/06 ... -32-marks/

:anjali:
This is similar to the evolution of certain characteristics of the Christian Gospel biographies of Jesus. A lot of Jesus's characteristics, miracles, and stories related to him, are actually larger tropes about "Messiah/Prophet" figures in Near Eastern mythology in general. The writer's of the Jesus-narratives included these pre-existent tropes to show and to explain their belief Jesus was truly a prophet of God and himself a god of sorts. It doesn't mean there wasn't a Jesus. It doesn't mean his teachings are necessarily preserved wrongly.

It is somewhat similar with the 32 marks. The 32 marks probably come from a larger pan-śramaṇa tradition of identifying awakened beings according to tradition. The Buddha was probably given these marks for cultural reasons. That is my opinion anyways.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgata-seed, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmāḥ. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmāḥ. The conventional truth establishes all dharmāḥ.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

tantric
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by tantric » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:41 am

unfortunate but true....thanks to 'the little buddha' i see keanu reeves.

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theY
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by theY » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:46 am

Every strictly live, with dhamma-vinaya, monks that I know in thailand and burmar, are look better than when they were gharavasa.

Good look are not only muscular or catwalk man/woman like.

But the one who we saw them "beautiful", soever tall, short, brow, black, thin, fat, etc, that is good look.
Above message maybe out of date. Latest update will be in massage's link.
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bahussuto nāma tividho hoti – nissayamuccanako, parisupaṭṭhāpako, bhikkhunovādakoti.
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:53 am

Coëmgenu wrote:It is somewhat similar with the 32 marks. The 32 marks probably come from a larger pan-śramaṇa tradition of identifying awakened beings according to tradition. The Buddha was probably given these marks for cultural reasons. That is my opinion anyways.
In the suttas its provenance is given as Brahmanic rather than Shramanic; it's said to be found in the brahmins' hymns. Then according to Buddhaghosa, prognostication by the 32 marks is taught to brahmins by devas from the Suddhāvāsa shortly before the birth of each Buddha or cakkavatti-rājā, so that they'll be able to recognize them. But then after each Buddha's parinibbāna the science quickly falls into desuetude and disappears.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:38 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:It is somewhat similar with the 32 marks. The 32 marks probably come from a larger pan-śramaṇa tradition of identifying awakened beings according to tradition. The Buddha was probably given these marks for cultural reasons. That is my opinion anyways.
In the suttas its provenance is given as Brahmanic rather than Shramanic; it's said to be found in the brahmins' hymns. Then according to Buddhaghosa, prognostication by the 32 marks is taught to brahmins by devas from the Suddhāvāsa shortly before the birth of each Buddha or cakkavatti-rājā, so that they'll be able to recognize them. But then after each Buddha's parinibbāna the science quickly falls into desuetude and disappears.
Yes, in hindsight I should have said "Indic" if I wasn't 100% sure it was specifically sramanic.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgata-seed, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmāḥ. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmāḥ. The conventional truth establishes all dharmāḥ.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: How did historical Buddha looked like?

Post by form » Sun May 14, 2017 5:46 am

. So when we see a clearly mythic notion like the 32 marks, which contradicts the known facts that the Buddha had a normal physique, then we know it is an invention, whose basis is to be explained by the needs, wishes, and motivations of the redactors.
That is a good example of conceptual embellishment. Are there any other examples relating to the Dhamma? It will be good to know.

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