Buddha's skin colour

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:16 am

vesuyul wrote: These marks are not some fictional thing to embellish the life story of the Buddha....maybe they have been from brahmanical times, but they are real. .
They are real; how do you know that?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by PeterB » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:25 am

vesuyul wrote:The 32 marks of a great man are a result of the bodhisattva's extensive and perfected trainings in the fields of parami. Among them, the Buddha had 40 teeth, was extremely tall, hands which reached the knees without bending etc.

I had seen one such person whose hands reached up to his knees without bending his body.....and he looked in great proportion, nothing strange at all.

Some of the Buddha's disciples too had some of these marks.....as a result of training as well...

These marks are not some fictional thing to embellish the life story of the Buddha....maybe they have been from brahmanical times, but they are real. We should keep an open mind.....meditate and see for ourselves whether these things are true. Some realised masters have talked about these marks as well.
The Jain Tirthankaras, Shaivite rishis, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu, (whose teaching was in direct opposition to Buddhism,) were desribed as having the same marks too. Including the golden complexion. Its a convention found right across the Indian Subcontinent to indicate veneration..just like the halos around the heads of Christian saints in Medieval times .

Meditation can and does do wonderful things . bit it certainly if done properly will not concern itself with such cultural issues.

User avatar
Kusala
Posts: 754
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:02 am

Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Kusala » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:35 am

Stefan wrote:Was it dark like that of modern Indians or white as he is usually portrayed?
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:

Image

Image

Image
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. "

User avatar
texastheravadin
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:37 am
Location: Houston, TX
Contact:

Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by texastheravadin » Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:08 pm

Yeah, I would kind of imagine Buddha being lighter skinned like these pictures, just because that's been my impression of most people I've met/seen from Northern India. Of course that's just speculation, India is a huge and diverse country nowadays, what to speak of 2,600 years ago. Also, it seems that in ancient times, people equated lighter or more "golden" skin hue as being a mark of nobility. I am no expert on Indian culture, not by a long shot, but my best friend in high school was from Mumbai. We used to watch Indian TV programs and Bollywood flicks, and I couldn't help but notice how almost all of the major stars were light-skinned...very rarely did I see anyone with a darker complexion.

The only details I seem to recall being specifically canonical is that he was tall, well-built and very handsome. Being a warrior-noble for the first 29 years of his life, he probably participated in athletics, and walking everywhere (not to mention being a one-mealer) doubtlessly helped him stay physically fit. One thing I do find interesting is the depictions of him having hair...I have read that he would have had a shaven head, as all other members of his Sangha. Someone else on this forum no doubt knows the origin of the depiction we commonly see today of the Buddha with a top-knot and curly hair - maybe Greco-Roman?

:anjali:

Josh
"Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed." — AN 11.12

User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
Posts: 2215
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:29 pm

No offence to anyone but I don't see how this kind of speculation is anything but harmful.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=1 ... 279&v=info
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11917
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

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.

User avatar
Kare
Posts: 766
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:58 am
Location: Norway
Contact:

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.
Mettāya,
Kåre

User avatar
Kusala
Posts: 754
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:02 am

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...
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. "

seniya
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:58 pm

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

_/\_

Nugget
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:23 am

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.

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Dhammarakkhito » 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
Attachments
Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 17.54.04.png
Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 17.54.04.png (199.9 KiB) Viewed 1658 times
"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

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11917
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

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.

thomaslaw
Posts: 203
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:55 am
Location: Australia

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:

Thomas

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Dhammarakkhito » 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

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Buddha's skin colour

Post by Dhammarakkhito » 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
Attachments
Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 23.54.16.png
Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 23.54.16.png (218.42 KiB) Viewed 1623 times
Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 00.02.07.png
Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 00.02.07.png (219.51 KiB) Viewed 1623 times
Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 00.04.30.png
Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 00.04.30.png (229.16 KiB) Viewed 1623 times
"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

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests