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Digha Nikaya

Dīgha Nikāya 30 Lakkhana Sutta
The Marks of a Great Man

Because of good actions he had done in the past, the Supreme Buddha had special marks on his body and special qualities related to those marks. In this sutta we learn the exact actions he did to earn each mark.

Table of Contents

Introduction

This is how I heard. At one time the Buddha was living in the city of Sāvatthī in Jeta’s park, at Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. There the Buddha addressed the monks, “Monks!”

“Bhante,” they replied. The Buddha taught this:

“Monks, there are thirty-two marks of a great man. A great man who possesses these marks has only two possible destinies, no other. If this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king, a righteous and compassionate king. His dominion spreads across the entire Earth. He achieves stability in the world, and he possesses the following seven treasures: the wheel treasure, the elephant treasure, the horse treasure, the jewel treasure, the woman treasure, the householder treasure, and the counselor as the seventh treasure. He has over a thousand sons who are brave and heroic and are able to defeat the armies of his enemies. After conquering this earth surrounded by the seas, he rules it righteously, without using weapons or violence.

But if this great man becomes a monk, he becomes a fully enlightened Buddha, who tears the veil of ignorance in the world.

Monks, what are the thirty-two marks of this great man?

  1. He has feet with level soles.
  2. On the soles of his feet there are imprints of thousand-spoked wheels, with rims and hubs, complete in every detail.
  3. He has long heels.
  4. He has long fingers and toes.
  5. His hands and feet are soft and tender.
  6. His hands and legs are flexible.
  7. He has high-raised ankles.
  8. His calves are muscular like those of the eny deer.
  9. When standing upright and not bending over, he can touch his knees with either hand.
  10. His male organ is placed as if enclosed in a sheath.
  11. His complexion is golden and his skin has a golden sheen.
  12. He has smooth skin, so smooth that dust and dirt don’t stick to his body.
  13. His body-hairs are separated one per pore.
  14. His body-hairs grow upwards; they’re blue-black and curl clockwise.
  15. His body is as straight as a Brahmā’s.
  16. He has well-built muscles in seven places.
  17. His chest is like that of a lion (brave).
  18. The gap between the shoulder-blades are filled in.
  19. His body is equally proportioned, and his height is six feet.
  20. His upper body is proportionally built.
  21. He has taste buds that enhance the taste of food.
  22. His jaw is like that of a lion (very strong).
  23. He has forty teeth.
  24. His teeth are even.
  25. His teeth have no gaps.
  26. His teeth are perfectly white.
  27. He has a long wide tongue.
  28. He has a Brahma-like voice which is as sweet as the bird Karavīka’s call
  29. His eyes are deep blue.
  30. He has big eyes like that of a newly born calf.
  31. Between his eyebrows there grows a tuft of hair , soft and white like cotton wool.
  32. His forehead is flat and tall.

These are the thirty-two marks of a great man. A great man who possesses these marks has only two possible destinies, no other. If this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king, a righteous and compassionate king. His dominion spreads across the entire Earth. He achieves stability in the world, and he possesses the following seven treasures: the wheel treasure, the elephant treasure, the horse treasure, the jewel treasure, the woman treasure, the householder treasure, and the counselor as the seventh treasure. He has over a thousand sons who are brave and heroic and are able to defeat the armies of his enemies. After conquering this earth surrounded by the seas, he rules it righteously, without using weapons or violence.

But if this great man becomes a monk, he becomes a fully enlightened Buddha, who tears the veil of ignorance in the world.

Seers outside of Buddhism remember these marks, but they do not know the specific deeds performed in the past to obtain each mark.

Level soles of feet

In some past lives, past existences, past abodes the Buddha was reborn as a human being. He firmly undertook and persisted in wholesome behaviors such as good conduct by body, speech, giving and sharing, taking five precepts, observing eight precepts, paying respect to mother and father and virtuous people, honoring the elders in the family, and various other things pertaining to wholesome behaviors. Due to performing, accumulating, heaping up, and amassing those deeds, after death, he was reborn in heaven. There, he surpassed the other gods in ten respects: divine life span, beauty, happiness, fame, power, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark of a great man: he has feet with level soles. He places his foot on the ground evenly, raises it evenly, and touches the ground evenly with the entire sole of his foot.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. He has the following seven treasures: the wheel treasure, the elephant treasure, the horse treasure, the jewel treasure, the woman treasure, the householder treasure, and the counselor as the seventh treasure. He has over a thousand sons who are brave and heroic and are able to defeat the armies of his enemies. After conquering this earth surrounded by the seas—free of harassment by bandits, successful and prosperous, safe, blessed, and untroubled—he rules righteously, without the use of weapons and violence.

And what does he obtain as a universal king? He can’t be defeated by any human foe or enemy. That’s what he obtains as a king. But if he becomes a monk, he becomes a fully enlightened Buddha, who tears the veil of ignorance in the world. And what does he obtain as the Buddha? He can’t be defeated by any foe or enemy whether internal or external; nor by greed, hate, or delusion; nor by any ascetic or god or Māra or Brahmā or by anyone in the world. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what The Buddha said. On this it is said:

“He practiced good virtues such as truth, merit, self-control, and restraint;
purity, five precepts, and eight precepts;
giving, harmlessness, and delighting in non-violence.
He firmly undertook these good qualities and fulfilled them.

As a result of the good kamma he made, he went to heaven,
where he enjoyed happiness and entertainment.
After passing away from there,
he stepped evenly on this earth.

The royal mark-readers gathered together and predicted:
the flat soles show the destiny of the great man, either
as a universal king or a monk.

While living at palace he cannot be defeated,
he defeats his foes, and cannot be beaten.
Due to the fruit of that good kamma,
he cannot be defeated by any human.

But if he chooses the monk-life,
and wisely loves that simple life,
he will become unmatched and unsurpassed.
No one can challenge him.
This is the nature of the supreme person.”

Wheel-marks on the soles of feet

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He brought happiness to many people, eliminating threats of thieves and terror of demons, providing protection and security, and giving gifts with many friends. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: on the soles of his feet there are imprints of thousand-spoked wheels, with rims and hubs, complete in every detail and well divided inside.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He has a large following of people, treasury officials, military officers, guardsmen, ministers, counselors, sheriffs, and princes. That’s what he obtains as a king.

But if he becomes a monk, he becomes a fully enlightened Buddha. And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He has a large following of monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, gods, humans, asuras, nagas, and gandhabbas. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what The Buddha said. On this it is said:

“In olden days, in past lives,
he brought happiness to many people,
by ridding them of fear, terror of thieves and demons,
and keenly guarding and protecting them.

As a result of the good kamma he made, he went to heaven,
where he enjoyed happiness and entertainment.
After passing away from there and coming to the human world,
he gained the wheel-marks on his two feet,
all rimmed around and thousand-spoked.

The royal mark-readers gathered together and predicted:
seeing the prince with marks of merits;
the prince will have many supporters,
and the ability of defeating foes,
which is why he has wheel marks all rimmed around.

If he doesn’t choose the monk-life,
he’ll rule the earth righteously.
The ministers will be his supporters,
and will surround him always.

But if he chooses the monk-life,
and wisely loves that simple life,
the gods, humans, asuras, demons;
gandhabbas and nagas, birds and animals,
will flock to his fame,
The Supreme One, honored by gods and humans.”

He has long heels, he has long fingers and toes, his body is as straight as a Brahmā’s

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He abstained from killing beings and didn’t use any weapons. He was ashamed of killing. He was very kind, living with full of compassion for all beings. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these three marks: he has long heels, long fingers and toes, and his body is as straight as a Brahmā’s.

Possessing these marks, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He’s long-lived. No human foe or enemy is able to take his life. That’s what he obtains as a king. And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He’s long-lived. No foes or enemies—nor any ascetic or god or Māra or brahmā or anyone in the world—is able to take his life. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what The Buddha said. On this it is said:

“Realizing that every creature fears death,
he refrained from killing beings.
By that good kamma he made, he went to heaven,
where he enjoyed the fruit of deeds well done.

Passing away, on his return to the human world,
he obtained these three marks:
his heels are full and long,
and he’s a straight posture like a Brahma. He is handsome, and well-formed.

He has strong shoulders, and has youthful,
well-built hands and legs,
his fingers are soft, tender and long.
By these three marks of an excellent man,
mark-readers indicated that the prince’s life would be long:

‘As a universal king he will live long;
longer still if he becomes a monk, due to
mastery in the development of bases to psychic powers.
Thus, this is the sign of long life.’”

Well-built muscles in seven places

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He was a donor of delicious and tasty foods and drinks of all kinds. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: he has well-built muscles in seven places. He has well-built muscles on both hands, both legs, both shoulders, and his neck.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He gets delicious and tasty foods and drinks of all kinds. That’s what he obtains as a king. And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He gets delicious and tasty foods and drinks of all kinds. That’s what he obtains as Buddha.”

That is what The Buddha said. On this it is said:

“He used to give the very best of flavorful—
foods of every kind.
Because of that good kamma,
he rejoiced for a long time in the
Nandana park in heaven.

On returning to the human world,
he was born with well-built muscles in seven locations,
He has tender hands and feet.
The mark-readers who are experts in mark-reading declared:

“This prince will get tasty foods of all sorts.
As a universal king, that’s what that mark means.
But even if he becomes a monk, he’ll get the same.
He will be offered tasty foods of all sorts,
He will cut off all bonds of the lay life.”

Soft and tender hands and legs, flexible hands and legs

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He brought people together using the four righteous ways of making friends: giving, kind words, guidance, and equality. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these two marks: his hands and legs are soft and tender, and they are flexible.

Possessing these marks, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He will have well-managed people, treasury officials, military officers, guardsmen, ministers, counselors, rulers, tax beneficiaries, and princes. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? His will have well-managed followers. This includes monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, gods, humans, asuras, nagas, and gandhabbas. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what The Buddha said. On this it is said:

“By giving and helping others,
using kind speech, and giving equal treatment,
such action and conduct has brought people together.
He went to heaven due to this esteemed virtue.

Passing away, on his return to the human world,
the young baby prince obtained
hands and feet so soft and flexible,
lovely, elegant and beautiful.

His followers are loyal and obedient,
staying agreeably all over this earth.
Speaking kindly, ensuring others’ happiness,
he practices the good qualities he’s developed.

But if he gives up all worldly enjoyments,
as a victor he teaches Dhamma to the people.
Devoted, they respond to his words;
After listening, they practice in-line with the teaching.”

Legs with high-raised ankles and clockwise curling upright body-hairs

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. His speech was beneficial for the well-being of people. His speech encouraged people to do wholesome things. He educated many people, and brought welfare and happiness to their lives, offering the teaching of wholesomeness. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these two marks: his ankles are high-raised and his body-hairs grow upwards and curl clockwise.

Possessing these marks, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He is the foremost, best, chief, highest, and finest of those who enjoy worldly pleasures. That’s what he obtains as king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He is the foremost, best, chief, highest, and finest of all beings. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what The Buddha said. On this it is said:

“His words were meaningful and beneficial,
encouraging the people to do good deeds.
He brought welfare and happiness to people,
by generously offering the teaching of wholesomeness.

Because of that good kamma,
he went to heaven, and rejoiced there.
On returning to the human world, two marks were revealed on his body,
he will be excellent and supreme.

His hairs stand upright,
and his ankles stand out well.
These pretty ankles are well-built with flesh and blood, and covered with unblemished skin.

If such a one continues to live in the palace,
he becomes the best of those who enjoy worldly pleasures.
There will be no one better than him;
He’ll live having mastered the entire earth.

But if this peerless one becomes a monk,
he will be the best of all beings.
There will be no one better than him,
He’ll live having mastered the whole world.”

Calves like those of the eny deer

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He was a skilled teacher. When he was teaching any subject or any good behavior, he wanted his students to understand it easily and quickly. He was always thinking: ‘Which teaching strategies should I use so that my students understand the subject quickly and easily, so that learning will be enthusiastic for them?’ Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: his calves are like those of the eny deer.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He quickly obtains the things that are needed, used by a king, and everything that is suitable for a king. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He quickly obtains the things that are needed, used by a monk, and everything that is suitable for a monk. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what The Buddha said. On this it is said:

“The Bodhisatta taught students tasks, skills, morality, and occupations.
He worked hard using new teaching methods so that his students became proficient in those areas quickly.
He taught things that had no harmful effect on anyone.
He taught in a manner so that his students would never get tired.

Having done that good kamma in which the outcome is happiness,
he gained prominent and elegant calves.
And his body hairs on his calves rose upwards and curled clockwise.

They say The Bodhisatta has Calves like those of the eny deer,
and that it is the mark of fast success.
If he desires the things
of the household life, they’ll quickly be his.

But if he chooses the monk-life,
and wisely loves that simple life,
the peerless Buddha will quickly find
what is fitting and suitable.”

Smooth skin

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He approached virtuous and knowledgeable people and asked: ‘Sirs, what is wholesome? What is unwholesome? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? Doing what leads to my lasting harm and suffering? Doing what leads to my lasting welfare and happiness?’ Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: he has smooth skin, so smooth that dust and dirt don’t stick to his body.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He has great wisdom. Of those who enjoy worldly pleasures, no one is equal to him or surpasses him in wisdom. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He has great wisdom, widespread wisdom, joyful wisdom, fast wisdom, sharp wisdom, and penetrating wisdom. No being is equal to him or surpasses him in wisdom. That’s what he obtains as Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“In olden days, in past lives,
He was eager to understand things, he asked questions.
He was keen to learn things, he waited on virtuous people,
listening to their explanation with pure intent.

Due to that good kamma of searching for wisdom,
When he was reborn in the human world, his skin was smooth.
At his birth the mark-readers who are experts in mark-reading predicted:
‘He’ll understand even very subtle things of life.

If he doesn’t choose the monk-life,
he’ll rule the earth righteously.
Among those who instruct and who investigate things,
none is equal or better than him.

But if he chooses the monk-life,
and wisely loves that simple life,
Gaining wisdom that’s supreme and unparalleled,
The Supreme One attains enlightenment.’”

Golden skin

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He wasn’t irritable or bad-tempered. Even when heavily criticized, he didn’t lose his temper, become annoyed, hostile, and hard-hearted, or display annoyance, hatred, or bitterness. He donated soft and fine mats and blankets, and fine cloths of linen, cotton, silk, and wool. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: his complexion is golden and his skin has a golden sheen.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He obtains soft and fine mats and blankets, and fine cloths of linen, cotton, silk, and wool. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He obtains soft and fine mats and blankets, and fine cloths of linen, cotton, silk, and wool. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“He was dedicated to the practice of loving kindness.
He donated cloths that were beautiful and soft to touch,
He gave gifts like a heavy rain was pouring on this whole earth.


Doing so, he passed from heaven and came to the human world,
where he enjoyed the fruits of his good kamma.
He is born with a golden complexion,
like Sakka, the most beautiful of gods.

If this great man continues to live in the palace,
he conquers and rules this vast, broad earth.
He obtains plentiful excellent cloth,
so fine and soft to touch.

If he chooses the monk-life,
he receives robes, and other cloths easily.
He experiences the results of his past good kamma;
the merit that’s been earned is never lost.”

Male organ is placed as if enclosed in a sheath

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He reunited long-lost and long-separated relatives, friends, loved ones, and companions. He reunited mothers with children and children with mothers; fathers with children and children with fathers; brothers with brothers, brothers with sisters, sisters with brothers, and sisters with sisters, bringing them together. He rejoiced in seeing them reunited. Due to performing those deeds, he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: his male organ is placed as if enclosed in a sheath.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He has many sons, over a thousand sons who are brave and heroic, and are able to defeat the armies of his enemies. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He has many students, many thousands of students who are brave and heroic, and are able to defeat those who spread wrong dhamma. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“In olden days, in past lives,
he reunited long-lost
and long-separated friends and family,
bringing them together with joy.

As a result if this good kamma, he went to heaven,
where he enjoyed happiness and entertainment.
After passing away from there to here,
his male organ was retracted.

Such a one has many sons,
over a thousand sons who speak kindly to the king,
and make him joyful.
They are brave and heroic, and can devastate foes,

But if he lives the monk-life,
he has even more disciples following his word.
As a universal king or The Buddha,
that’s the meaning shown by this mark.”

Equally proportioned body & standing upright not bending over he can touch his knees his hands

“Monks, in some past lives the Buddha was reborn as a human being. He was extremely fair to everybody when allocating tasks. He knew what they had in common and what were their talents. He knew each person’s capabilities well, and he knew the distinctions between people. In each case, he allocated the right task to the right person, recognizing: ‘This person is talented and qualified for this task; that person is talented and qualified for that task.’ Due to performing those deeds, he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these two marks: he has an equally proportioned body like a well grown banyan tree; and when standing upright and not bending over, he can touch his knees with either hand.

Possessing these marks, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He is rich, prosperous, and wealthy, with lots of gold and silver, lots of property, lots of money and possessions, and a full treasury and storehouses. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He is very rich, and wealthy. He has these types of wealth: the wealth of faith, wealth of virtue, the wealth of shame of wrong-doing, the wealth of fear of wrong-doing, the wealth of Dhamma knowledge, the wealth of generosity, and the wealth of wisdom. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“Observing the many people in a community,
he weighed, evaluated, and investigated each individual:
‘This person is talented and qualified for this task.’
That’s how he used to help them recognizing distinctions between people.

Now standing without bending
he can touch his knees with both hands.
With the remaining results of his good kamma,
his body is equally proportioned like a well grown Banyan tree.

Mark-readers who are experts in mark-readings
saw signs and marks and predicted:
‘The young prince will obtain
many different things that householders deserve.

Here there are many suitable pleasures
for the ruler of the Earth to enjoy as a householder.
But if he gives up all worldly enjoyments,
he will gain the supreme wealth, the highest noble wealth.’”

Brave chest like that of a lion’s, filled in gap between the shoulder-blades & well-built trunk

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He desired the good, the welfare, the comfort, and security of the people, thinking: ‘How can I help these people to flourish in faith, virtue, Dhamma knowledge, generosity, ethics, and wisdom; in wealth and possessions, fields and lands, birds and animals, children and partners; in servants, workers, and staff; in family, friends, and kin?’ Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these three marks: his brave chest is like that of a lion; the gap between the shoulder-blades is filled in; and his trunk is well built.

Possessing these marks, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He’s not liable to decline. He doesn’t decline in wealth and possessions, fields and lands, birds and animals, children and partners; in servants, workers, and staff; in family, friends, and kin. He doesn’t decline in any of his accomplishments. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He’s not liable to decline. He doesn’t decline in faith, virtue, Dhamma knowledge, generosity, and wisdom. He doesn’t decline in any of his accomplishments. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“His wish was this: ‘How can I help others
so that they will not decline
in faith, virtue, Dhamma knowledge, and wisdom,
in generosity, ethics, and good qualities,
in wealth and possessions, fields and lands,
birds and animals, children and partners;

in servants, workers, and staff;
in family, friends, and kin,
in health, and both beauty and happiness?’
And so he ever desired their success.

His brave chest was full like that of a lion,
his shoulder-gap filled in, and trunk well built.
Due to the good kamma of the past,
he gained the sign representing the stability
and non-decline of good qualities.

Even as layman he grows in wealth and possessions,
in wives, children, and animals.
But once he becomes The Buddha
who stores nothing, he attains
the supreme enlightenment which will never decline.”

Taste buds that enhance the taste of food

“Monks, in some past lives the Buddha was reborn as a human being. He would never hurt any being with his hands, stones, sticks, or weapons. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: he has taste buds that enhance the taste of food. His taste buds spread evenly from the tip of his tongue to the back of his throat.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He is rarely ill or unwell. His stomach digests well, being neither too hot nor too cold. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He is rarely ill or unwell. His stomach digests well, being neither too hot nor too cold, but just right, and fit for meditation. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“Not with hands or sticks or stone,
or weapons or beating to death,
or by prisoning or threats
did he ever harm anyone.

As a result of that good kamma
he rejoiced in heaven after passing away,
finding happiness as a fruit of happy deeds.
With taste-buds well-formed and even,
on his return to the human world,
he has excellent taste-buds
that enhance the taste of food.

That’s why the clever mark-readers said:
‘This great man will have much happiness
as a universal king or The Buddha.
That’s the meaning shown by this mark.’”

Deep blue eyes & big eyes like that of a new-born calf

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. When looking at others he didn’t glare or frown angrily. He looked at people with compassionate eyes, with honest intentions, with fully opened eyes, with kindly eyes and with joyful eyes. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these two marks: his eyes are deep blue, and are as big as those of a new-born calf.

Possessing these marks, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? The people look on him with kindly eyes. He is dear and beloved to everybody, people of town and country, treasury officials, military officers, guardsmen, ministers, counselors, tax beneficiaries, and princes. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? The people look on him with kindly eyes. He is dear and beloved to the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, gods, humans, asuras, nagas, and gandhabbas. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“He looked at others without glaring or frowning angrily.
He didn’t look at anyone with a deceiving stare.
He kindly looked at everyone with fully opened eyes and honest intentions.

In good rebirths he enjoyed the fruit
and result, rejoicing there.
But here he has a calf’s big eyes,
and eyes deep blue so pleasant to see.

Many mark-readers, who were
experts in mark-reading,
experts in eye-marks, indicated he’d
be pleasing to everybody.

Even as a universal king he’d be agreeable to many,
beloved by all the people.
But if he becomes The Buddha,
as the destroyer of sorrow, he’ll be loved by many.”

Flat, tall forehead

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He was the leader and forerunner of people in wholesome behaviors such as good conduct by body, speech, giving and sharing, taking five precepts, observing the eight precepts, paying respect to mother and father, virtues people, honoring the elders in the family, and various other things connected to wholesome behaviors. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: his forehead is flat and tall.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal, king. And what does he obtain as a king? He has a large following of people, treasury officials, military officers, guardsmen, ministers, counselors, tax beneficiaries, and princes. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He has a large following of monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, gods, humans, asuras, nagas, and gandhabbas. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“Among people of good conduct, he was the leader,
devoted to a life of discipline among the disciplined.
The people followed him,
and he experienced the result of good kamma in heaven.

Having experienced that result,
he acquires a flat tall forehead.
The experts in mark-reading predicted:
‘He will be leader of the people.

Among people then, as before,
they will bring presents for him.
If he becomes a universal king, ruler of the Earth,
he’ll gain the service of many people.

But if that man becomes The Buddha,
he’ll have mastery over the Dhamma, talented in the teachings.
Devoted to the virtues of his instruction,
many people will become his followers.’”

One body-hair per pore, between eyebrows a tuft which is soft and white like cotton wool

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He refrained from lying. He spoke the truth and stuck to the truth. He was honest and trustworthy and didn’t deceive the world with his words. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these two marks: his body-hairs grow one per pore, and between his eyebrows there grows a tuft, soft and white like cotton wool.

Possessing these marks, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He has many people who follow his instructions obediently. Many people, treasury officials, military officers, guardsmen, ministers, counselors, tax beneficiaries, and princes follow his instructions obediently. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He has many followers who follow his instructions obediently. Many monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, gods, humans, asuras, nagas, and gandhabbas follow his instructions obediently. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“In past lives he was true to his promise,
with no twisted tongue, he shunned lies.
He never broke his word to anyone,
but spoke what was true, real, and factual.

A tuft so very white like cotton wool
grew prettily between his eyebrows.
And never two, but only one,
hair grew in each of his pores.

Many mark-readers who were experts in mark-reading gathered and predicted:
‘A man like this, with tuft and hair so well-formed,
will have many as his obedient followers.

Even as a universal king many people will follow him obediently,
due to the power of past good kamma.
But once attained enlightenment, owning nothing,
as The Supreme Buddha, many people will follow him obediently.’”

Forty teeth & gapless teeth

“Monks, in some past lives the Buddha was reborn as a human being. He refrained from divisive speech. He didn’t repeat what he heard in one place in another place in order to divide people against each other. Instead, he reunited those who were divided, supporting unity, delighting in harmony, loving harmony, speaking words that promote harmony. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these two marks: he has forty teeth, and his teeth have no gaps.

Possessing these marks, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as king? His assembly of followers cannot be divided. This includes people, treasury officials, military officers, guardsmen, ministers, counselors, tax beneficiaries, and princes. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as Buddha? His assembly of followers cannot be divided. This includes monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, gods, humans, asuras, nagas, and gandhabbas. That’s what he obtains as Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“He spoke no untruth causing friends to split,
creating disputes that leads to division,
acting improperly by promoting quarrels,
creating division among friends.

He spoke kind words to promote harmony,
uniting those who are divided.
He eliminated quarrels among the people,
rejoicing together with the united.

In good rebirths he enjoyed the fruit
and result, rejoicing there.
Here his forty teeth are gapless, close together,
standing upright in his mouth.

If he becomes a universal king, ruler of the Earth,
his assembly will be indivisible.
And as The Buddha, free of defilements,
his assembly will follow him with unshakable faith.”

A large wide tongue, the voice of great Brahmā as sweet as the kuraweeka bird’s call

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He refrained from harsh speech. He spoke soft kind words, pleasing to the ear, lovely, going to the heart, polite, likable and agreeable to many people. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these two marks: he has a large wide tongue, and the Voice of Great Brahmā as sweet as the Kuraweeka birds’ call.

Possessing these marks if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He has a trustworthy voice. His words are trusted by people, treasury officials, military officers, guardsmen, ministers, counselors, tax beneficiaries, and princes. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He has a trustworthy voice. His words are trusted by monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, gods, humans, asuras, nagas, and gandhabbas. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“He never spoke a harsh word,
never insulting nor quarrelsome,
nor harmful, rude words, nor crushing the people.
His speech was sweet, helpful, and kind.

He uttered words dear to the mind,
going to the heart, pleasing to the ear.
He enjoyed the fruit of his good verbal conduct,
experiencing the fruit of his good deeds in heaven.

Having experienced that fruit,
on his return to here he acquired the voice of Great Brahmā.
His tongue was long and wide,
and his speech was trustworthy.

Even as a universal king his speech brings prosperity.
But if that man becomes The Buddha,
speaking often to the people,
they’ll be convinced by his beneficial words.”

A lion-like strong jaw

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He refrained from talking nonsense. His words were timely, true, and meaningful, in line with good things and discipline. He said things at the right time which were valuable, reasonable, to the point, and beneficial. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: his strong jaw is like that of a lion.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He can’t be destroyed by any human foe or enemy. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as The Buddha? He can’t be destroyed by any foe or enemy whether internal or external; nor by greed, hate, or delusion; nor by any ascetic or god or Māra or any brahmā or by anyone in the world. That’s what he obtains as The Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“Neither senseless nor silly,
his way of speaking was never loose.
He eliminated what was useless,
and spoke for the welfare and happiness of the people.

Doing so, he passed from here to be reborn in heaven,
where he enjoyed the fruit of good kamma well done.
Passing away, on his return to the human world,
he gained a jaw like that of the strongest of beasts.

He becomes a universal king so very hard to defeat,
a mighty lord and ruler of people.
He is equal to the best gods,
like Sakka, the strongest of gods.

If he is reborn among humans with that good kamma,
he is not beaten by any non-human,
gandhabbas, asuras, spirits, monsters,
or gods in the quarters and in-between.”

Even, white teeth

“Monks, in some past lives The Buddha was reborn as a human being. He gave up wrong livelihood and earned a living by right livelihood. He refrained from faking weights, metals, or measures; bribery, fraud, cheating, and duplicity; injury, murder, kidnapping, robbery, smuggling, and violence. Due to performing, accumulating, heaping up, and amassing those deeds, after death, he was reborn in heaven. There he surpassed the other gods in ten respects: divine life span, beauty, happiness, fame, power, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained these two marks: his teeth are even and perfectly white.

Possessing these marks, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king, a righteous and disciplined king. His dominion extends to all four sides across all seas, he achieves stability in the whole world, and he possesses the seven treasures. He has the following seven treasures: the wheel treasure, the elephant treasure, the horse treasure, the jewel treasure, the woman treasure, the householder treasure, and the counselor as the seventh treasure. He has over a thousand sons who are brave and heroic, and are able to defeat the armies of his enemies. After conquering this Earth surrounded by oceans—free of harassment by thieves, successful and prosperous, safe, blessed, and untroubled—he rules righteously, without using weapons. And what does he obtain as a king? His assembly of followers is pure. This includes people, treasury officials, military officers, guardsmen, ministers, counselors, tax beneficiaries, and princes. That’s what he obtains as a king.

But if he becomes a monk he will be a fully enlightened Buddha, who tears the veil of ignorance apart. And what does he obtain as The Buddha? His assembly of followers is pure. This includes monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, gods, humans, asuras, nagas, and gandhabbas. That’s what he obtains as the Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“He abandoned wrong livelihood, and created
a way of life that’s fair, pure, and righteous.
He eliminated what was useless,
and lived for the welfare and happiness of the people.

Having done what’s praised by the clever, the wise, and the good,
that man experienced the fruit in heaven.
Equal to the best in the Tāvatiṁsa heaven,
he enjoyed himself with pleasure and entertainment.

From there, he passed back to a human life.
With the ripening of the remaining fruit of good kamma,
he obtained teeth that are even,
gleaming, bright, and white.

Many wise mark-readers gathered and predicted:
‘With teeth so even, so white, so clean and bright
his assembly of followers will be so pure.

As a universal king, his people will also be pure,
when he rules having conquered this earth so broad.
They won’t harm the kingdom,
but will live for the welfare and happiness of the people.

But if he leaves the home-life he’ll be The Buddha free of illness and fatigue,
his defilements burnt, the veil of ignorance torn apart.
Rid of suffering and weariness,
he sees with wisdom this world and the next.

Those who follow his instructions, both lay and monastic,
shake off evil, impure and blameworthy.
He’s surrounded by pure people, who eradicate
defilements, cruelty, sin, and negativities.’”

Lakkhana Sutta is finished.

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Dīgha Nikāya 30 Lakkhana Sutta: The Marks of a Great Man

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