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Characteristics of the Buddha

  • Characteristics of Buddha statues

The appearance and physical traits of the Buddha are known to be the physical characteristics of Gautam Buddha. Though there is no physical evidence of and the exact representations of the Buddha's physical traits, there are several Buddha statues and Buddha images which depict the physical traits of the Buddha. Representation of the Buddha in artistic form started to appear roughly around the 2nd century CE. Though the styles of these forms vary depending upon the region of origin and the culture, there are early discourses which describe the appearance of the Buddha. These discourses are believed to have served as a model for early depictions of the Buddha, particularly the 32 Lakshanas, or the 32 signs of a great man. These Lakshanas are described throughout the Pali canon. These discourses are believed to have formed the basis for early representations of the Buddha in various iconographies like Buddha statues and Buddha head statues. Similarly, these 32 major characteristics are also supplemented by 80 other characteristics.

There are few written and historical evidence of Buddha's actual physical appearance. But many assumptions have been made based on the tradition and the way he was brought up as a prince. As Khastriya by birth, he had military training while growing up. That may be a reason for the physical strength people claimed him having off. The Brahmin Sonadanda described The Buddha as handsome, good looking and pleasing to the eye, with the most beautiful complexion. In another scripture, the physical traits of the Buddha are depicted as "Marvellous, serene, radiant and having a clear complexion, just as the golden jujube is autumn is clear and radiant."

32 traits or Lakshanas of the Buddha

General characteristics of the Buddha are he had elongated body, long arms, long fingers and long hands. His face was elongated with a protruding head called the Ushnisha, well formed nose, Buddha’s ears were long, and hair was fine, black with soft curls. The eyes of the Buddha are claimed to have been wide and bluish in color.

The 32 Characteristics of Lord Buddha are:

  • Level feet which stood evenly on the ground.
  • The Mark of a thousand-spoked wheel on the soles.
  • Projecting heels.
  • Long toes and fingers.
  • Pliant hands and feet.
  • Soft hand and foot skins.
  • Net like lines of palms and soles.
  • Raised ankles.
  • Calf muscles like an antelope.
  • The palms of the hands could touch the knees without bending.
  • Well-retracted male organ
  • Gold colored skin
  • Ten foot aura around him
  • Every hair-root dark colored
  • Ten foot aura around him
  • Soles, palms, shoulders and crown of the head well rounded
  • Area below armpits well-filled
  • Lion shaped body
  • Body erect and upright
  • Full round shoulders
  • 40 teeth
  • Teeth are even, white and close
  • Four canine teeth are pure white
  • Lion shaped body
  • Jaw like a lion
  • Saliva that improves the taste of all food
  • Long and broad tongue
  • Deep and resonant voice
  • Deep blue eyes
  • Eyelashes like a royal bull
  • White urna curl emits light between the eyebrows
  • Fleshy protuberance on the crown of the head
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