Minor marks of a great person
Minor marks of a great person is a list of eighty "secondary characteristics" possessed by both buddhas and chakravartins.
These "marks" or "signs" are also referred to as:
- minor marks of a great person
- eighty minor marks
- eighty minor signs
- eight secondary characteristics
- eighty minor marks of a buddha
The eighty minor characteristics are:
- He has beautiful fingers and toes.
- He has well-proportioned fingers and toes.
- He has tube-shaped fingers and toes.
- His fingernails and toenails have a rosy tint.
- His fingernails and toenails are slightly upturned at the tip.
- His fingernails and toenails are smooth and rounded without ridges.
- His ankles and wrists are rounded and undented.
- His feet are of equal length.
- He has a beautiful gait, like that of a king-elephant.
- He has a stately gait, like that of a king-lion.
- He has a beautiful gait, like that of a swan.
- He has a majestic gait, like that of a royal ox.
- His right foot leads when walking.
- His knees have no protruding kneecaps.
- He has the demeanor of a great man.
- His navel is without blemish.
- He has a deep-shaped abdomen.
- He has clockwise marks on the abdomen.
- His thighs are rounded like banana sheaves.
- His two arms are shaped like an elephant's trunk.
- The lines on the palms of his hands have a rosy tint.
- His skin is thick or thin as it should be.
- His skin is unwrinkled.
- His body is spotless and without lumps.
- His body is unblemished above and below.
- His body is absolutely free of impurities.
- He has the strength of 1,000 crore elephants or 100,000 crore men.
- He has a protruding nose.
- His nose is well proportioned.
- His upper and lower lips are equal in size and have a rosy tint.
- His teeth are unblemished and with no plaque.
- His teeth are long like polished conches.
- His teeth are smooth and without ridges.
- His five sense-organs are unblemished.
- His four canine teeth are crystal and rounded.
- His face is long and beautiful.
- His cheeks are radiant.
- The lines on his palms are deep.
- The lines on his palms are long.
- The lines on his palms are straight.
- The lines on his palms have a rosy tint.
- His body emanates a halo of light extending around him for two meters.
- His cheek cavities are fully rounded and smooth.
- His eyelids are well proportioned.
- The five nerves of his eyes are unblemished.
- The tips of his bodily hair are neither curved nor bent.
- He has a rounded tongue.
- His tongue is soft and has a rosy-tint.
- His ears are long like lotus petals.
- His earholes are beautifully rounded.
- His sinews and tendons don't stick out.
- His sinews and tendons are deeply embedded in the flesh.
- His topknot is like a crown.
- His forehead is well-proportioned in length and breadth.
- His forehead is rounded and beautiful.
- His eyebrows are arched like a bow.
- The hair of his eyebrows is fine.
- The hair of his eyebrows lies flat.
- He has large brows.
- His brows reach the outward corner of his eyes.
- His skin is fine throughout his body.
- His whole body has abundant signs of good fortune.
- His body is always radiant.
- His body is always refreshed like a lotus flower.
- His body is exquisitely sensitive to touch.
- His body has the scent of sandalwood.
- His body hair is consistent in length.
- He has fine bodily hair.
- His breath is always fine.
- His mouth always has a beautiful smile.
- His mouth has the scent of a lotus flower.
- His hair has the colour of a dark shadow.
- His hair is strongly scented.
- His hair has the scent of a white lotus.
- He has curled hair.
- His hair does not turn grey.
- He has fine hair.
- His hair is untangled.
- His hair has long curls.
- He has a topknot as if crowned with a royal flower garland.
Relation to the thirty-two major marks
According to contemporary scholar Guang Xing, the 80 minor marks are related to the 32 major marks, and are merely a more detailed description of the Buddha's bodily features.
In the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra, the question is posed about the relationship between the major and minor marks, and it is said that the minor marks are among the major marks, but not mixed with them, just as flowers in the forest make the trees distinctive. These 80 minor characteristics became significant as well, as were adopted by Buddhist traditions including both Mahāyāna and Theravāda traditions.
Sources for lists of eighty marks
The 80 minor characteristics of the Buddha are enumerated a number of times in the extant Agamas of the Chinese canon.
In Pali literature, the 80 minor characteristics are found in the Apadāna and the Milindapañha.
Some scholars believe the 80 minor characteristics were an early development in the Buddhist tradition, but held as important mostly by the Sarvāstivāda school.
- Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. (2014), The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, Princeton University
- Guang Xing. The Concept of the Buddha: Its Evolution from Early Buddhism to the Trikaya Theory. 2004.
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