TheDhamma wrote:Robert Bluck writes (above):
"Each of the Buddha’s marks is seen imaginatively as relating to spiritual progress, from the ‘well-planted feet’ which resemble ‘the first steps one takes towards the Dhamma’ to the ‘turban crown’ which symbolizes ‘insight into the real nature of things: anicca, dukkha, anatta’ (Thirty-Two Marks, 1995: 106–7)."
The use of 'imaginatively' and 'symbolizes' seems to imply a metaphorical, symbolic account of the 32 marks.
On this, it's worth pointing out that the Brahmajala Sutta
...tying the hair into a top-knot... Samana Gotama abstains from such embellishment and adornment. A worldling, bhikkhus, might praise the Tathagata in this manner.
And yet, of the Buddha's characteristics, they include
53. His topknot is like a crown.
80. He has a topknot as if crowned with a flower garland.
So, did he have a top-knot or not? Based on the described appearance of the Buddha, most statues give him a top-knot. In one sutta (forget which, though), Upali the barber cut his hair, suggesting Gautama wasn't bald.