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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Digha Nikaya >> Lakkhana Sutta

The Setting Edit

Thus have I heard. Once the Lord was staying at Savatthi, it Jetavana, Anathapindika’s park.

"Monks!" He said, and the monks replied, "Lord?"

The Lord Said, "There are, monks, these thirty two marks peculiar to a great man, and for that great man who possesses them, only two careers are open. If he lives the household life he will become a ruler, a wheel turning righteous monarch of the law, conqueror of the four quarters who has established the security of his realm and is possessed of the seven treasures. These are: the Wheel Treasure, the Elephant Treasure, the Horse Treasure, the Jewel Treasure, the Woman Treasure, the Householder Treasure, and, as seventh, the Counselor Treasure. He has more than a thousand sons who are heroes, of heroic stature, conquerors of the hostile army. He dwells having conquered this sea-girt land without stick or sword, by the law. But if he goes forth from the household life into hermit life, then he will become an Arahant, a fully enlightened Buddha, one who draws back the veil from the world.

"And what are these thirty-two marks of a great man?

I. He has feet with level tread. This is one of the marks of a great man.

II. On the soles of his feet are wheels complete with felloe and hub

III. He has projecting heels

IV. He has long fingers and toes

V. He has soft and tender hands and feet

VI. His hands and feet are net-like (webbed?)

VII. He has high-raised ankles

VIII. His legs are like an antelopes

IX. Standing and without bending, he can touch and rub his knees with either hand.

X. His male organs are enclosed in a sheath.

XI. His complexion is bright, the color of gold

XII. His skin is delicate and so smooth that no dust can adhere to his body

XIII. His body hairs are separate, one to each pore.

XIV. His body hair grows upwards, bluish-black like collyruim, growing in rings to the right.

XV. His body is divinely straight

XVI. He has the seven convex surfaces.

XVII. The front part of his body is like a Lion’s.

XVIII. There is no hollow between his shoulders.

XIX. He is proportioned like a banyan-tree: his height is as the span of his arms.

XX. His bust is evenly rounded.

XXI. He has a perfect sense of taste.

XXII. He has jaws like a lions

XXIII. He has forty teeth.

XXIV. His teeth are even.

XXV. There are no spaces between his teeth.

XXVI. His canine teeth are very bright.

XXVII. His tongue is very long

XXVIII. He has a Brahma-like voice, like that of the Karavika-bird.

XXIX. His eyes are deep blue.

XXX. He has eyelashes like a cow’s.

XXXI. The hair between his eyebrows is white, and soft like cotton down.

XXXII. His head is like a royal turban."

"There, monks, are the thirty two marks peculiar to a great man, and for that great man who possesses them, only two careers are open. If he lives the household life he will become a ruler, a wheel turning righteous monarch of the law, conqueror of the four quarters who has established the security of his realm and is possessed of the seven treasures. These are: the Wheel Treasure, the Elephant Treasure, the Horse Treasure, the Jewel Treasure, the Woman Treasure, the Householder Treasure, and, as seventh, the Counselor Treasure. He has more than a thousand sons who are heroes, of heroic stature, conquerors of the hostile army. He dwells having conquered this sea-girt land without stick or sword, by the law. But if he goes forth from the household life into hermit life, then he will become an Arahant, a fully enlightened Buddha, one who draws back the veil from the world. And sages of other communions know these thirty-two marks, but they do not know the karmic reasons for the gaining of them.

"Monks, in whatever former life, former existence or dwelling place the Tathágata, being born a human being, undertook mighty deeds to good purpose, unwavering in good conduct of body, speech and thought, in generosity, self-discipline, observance of the fast-day, in honoring parents, ascetics and Brahmins and the head of the clan, and in other highly meritorious acts; by performing that Kamma, heaping it up, lavishly and abundantly, at the breaking up of the body after death he was reborn in a happy state, in a heavenly world, where he was endowed beyond other devas in ten respects: in length of heavenly life beauty, happiness, splendor, influence, and in sights, sounds, smells, tastes and contacts. Falling away from there and coming to be reborn here on earth, he acquired this mark of a great man: feet with level tread, so that he places his foot evenly on the ground, lifts it evenly, and touches the ground evenly with the entire sole.

"Being endowed with this mark, if he keeps to the household life, he will become a wheel turning righteous monarch of the law, conqueror of the four quarters who has established the security of his realm and is possessed of the seven treasures. These are: the Wheel Treasure, the Elephant Treasure, the Horse Treasure, the Jewel Treasure, the Woman Treasure, the Householder Treasure, and, as seventh, the Counselor Treasure. He has more than a thousand sons who are heroes, of heroic stature, conquerors of the hostile army. He dwells having conquered this sea-girt land without stick or sword, but by justice, he rules over this earth as far as its ocean boundaries, a land open, un-infested with brigands, free from jungle, powerful, prosperous, happy and free from perils. As a ruler, how does he benefit? He cannot be impeded by any human foe with ill intent. That is his benefit as a ruler. And if he goes forth into hermit life how does he benefit? He will become a fully enlightened Buddha, one who draws back the veil from the world. As such, how does he benefit? He cannot be impeded by any enemy or adversary from within or without, from greed, hatred or delusion, nor by any ascetic or Brahmin, any deva, mara or Brahma, or any being in the world. That is his benefit as a Buddha." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said,

"Truthful, Righteous, Tamed and Stilled,

Pure and Virtuous, keeping fasts,

Generous, Harming none, at peace He undertook this mighty task And at his end to heaven went, To dwell in joy and happiness. Returned from there to earth, his feet With level tread did touch the ground, Assembled Augurs then declared: For him who level treads the ground

No obstacles can bar his path, If he leads the household life, Or if he leaves the world behind: This mark does clearly show. If a layman, no adversary, No foes can stand before him. No human power exists that can Deprive him of his Kamma’s Fruit. Or if the hermit Life’s his choice: On renunciation bent, and clear Of Vision—chief of men he’ll be, Peerless, never more reborn: This the law shall be for him."


"Monks, in whatever former life... The Tathágata, being born a human being, lived for the happiness of the many, as a dispeller of fright and terror, provider of lawful protection and shelter, and supplying all necessities, by performing that kamma...was reborn in a happy state, a heavenly world...Falling away from there and coming to be reborn here on earth, he acquired this mark of a great man: on the soles of his feet are wheels of a thousand spokes, complete with felloe and hub.

"Being endowed with this mark, if he keeps to the household life, he will become a wheel turning righteous monarch of the law, conqueror of the four quarters who has established the security of his realm and is possessed of the seven treasures. These are: the Wheel Treasure, the Elephant Treasure, the Horse Treasure, the Jewel Treasure, the Woman Treasure, the Householder Treasure, and, as seventh, the Counselor Treasure. He has more than a thousand sons who are heroes, of heroic stature, conquerors of the hostile army. He dwells having conquered this sea-girt land without stick or sword, but by justice, he rules over this earth as far as its ocean boundaries, a land open, un-infested with brigands, free from jungle, powerful, prosperous, happy and free from perils. As a ruler, how does he benefit? He has a great retinue: he is surrounded by Brahmin householders, citizens and villagers, treasurers, guards, doorkeepers, ministers, tributary kings, tenants in chief, and pages. That is his benefit as a ruler. And if he goes forth into hermit life, he will become a fully enlightened Buddha...as such, how does he benefit? He has a large retinue: he is surrounded by monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen, devas and humans, asuras, nagas, and gandhabbas. That is his benefit as a Buddha." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:

"In times gone by, in former births As man, to many doing good, Dispelling fright and panic fear, Eager to guard and give defense, He undertook this mighty task, And at his end to heaven went, To dwell and joy and happiness. Returned from there to earth, his feet Are found to bear the mark of wheels, Each a thousand spoked, complete. Assembled augurs then declared, Seeing these many marks of merit: "Great will be his following, All his foes he will subdue. This is what the wheel-marks clearly show. If he does not renounce the world, He’ll turn the wheel and rule the earth. The nobles will his vassals be. All in attendance on his power. But if the ascetic life’s his choice: On renunciation bent, and clear Of vision—men and devas,

asuras, sakkas, rakkhasas, gandhabbas, nagas, garudas, Four foot beasts will serve him too, Unrivalled, by devas and by men Alike revered in all his glory.""


"Monks, in whatever former life...The Tathágata, being born a human being, rejecting the taking of life and abstaining from it, and laying aside stick and sword, dwelt, kind and compassionate, having friendship and sympathy for all living beings, by performing that kamma...he was reborn in a happy state...falling away from there and coming to be reborn on earth, he acquired these three marks of the great man: Projecting heals, long fingers and toes, and a divinely straight body.

"Being endowed with these marks, if he keeps to the household life, as a ruler, how does he benefit? He is long lived, long enduring, attaining a great age, and during that time no human foe can possible take his life...As a Buddha, how doe he benefit? He is long lived... No foe, whether an ascetic or Brahmin, a deva, mara, or Brahma, or anyone in the world can possibly take his life. That is his benefit as a Buddha." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:


"Knowing well their dread of death, Beings he forbore to kill. This goodness earned him heavenly birth, Where he rejoiced in merit’s fruit. Returning thence to earth he bore On his person these three marks: His heels are full and very long, Brahma like he’s straight of form, Fair to see, and shapely limbed, His fingers tender, soft, and long. By these three marks of excellence It’s known the youth will be long-lived. "Long he’ll live in household life Longer still as ascetic one Practicing his noble powers: So the three marks indicate.""


"Monks, in whatever former life...the Tathágata become a giver of fine food, delicious and tasty, hard and soft, and of drinks, by performing that kamma...he was reborn in a heavenly world...falling away from there and being reborn here on earth, he acquired this mark of the great man: the seven convex surfaces, on both hands, both feet, both shoulders, and his trunk.

"Being endowed with this mark...As a ruler, how does he benefit? He receives fine food and drinks, delicious and tasty, hard and soft...As a Buddha, likewise." This is what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:

"Dispenser of delicious foods And finest tasting drinks he was. This goodness brought him happy birth, And long he dwelt in Nandana. To earth returned, the seven signs On gently swelling limbs he bore. Assembled augurs then declared,

Fine food and drink he would enjoy: Not merely in the household life- For though he should renounce the world And cut the bonds of worldly living, Delicious food he’d still receive!"


"Monks, in whatever former life...the Tathágata made himself beloved through the four bases of sympathy: generosity, pleasing speech, beneficial conduct and impartiality...on returning to this earth he acquired these two marks of a great man: soft and tender hands and feet, and net like hands and feet.

"Being endowed with these two marks, as a ruler, how does he benefit? All his retinue are well disposed to him: Brahmin householders, citizens and villagers, treasures, guards, doorkeepers...pages. As a Buddha, how does he benefit? All his followers are well disposed to him: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen, devas and humans, asuras, nagas, gandhabbas. That is his benefit as a Buddha." This is what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:

"Through giving and through helpful acts, Pleasing speech and evenness Of mind, of benefit to all, He at death to heaven went. When he thence returned to earth, His hands and feet were soft and tender, His toes and fingers netwise spread. Very fair he was to see: Thus the infant was endowed. "He’ll be a ruler of the people, Surrounded by a faithful flock. Fair of speech, to good deeds given, In conduct virtuous and wise. But if the joys of sense he spurns, A Conqueror, he will teach the path, And, delighted by his words, All those who hear will follow him In Dhamma’s great and lesser ways!""


"Monks, in whatever former life...the Tathágata became a speaker to the people about their welfare, about Dhamma, explaining this to people and being a bearer of welfare and happiness to beings, a dispenser of Dhamma...on returning to this earth he acquired these two marks of the great man: high raised ankles, and upward growing body hairs.

"Being endowed with these marks...as a ruler, how does he benefit? He becomes the chief, foremost, highest supreme among the un-renounced...as a Buddha, he becomes the chief, foremost, highest, supreme among all beings. That is his benefit as a Buddha."

This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said

"One time he spoke of all that’s good, Preaching loud to all mankind, Bringing blessings to all beings, Liberal dispenser of the law. For such conduct and such deeds, Heavenly birth was his reward. Here returned, two marks were his, Marks of happiness supreme: Upward growing body hairs, Ankles high above the foot. Built up beneath the flesh and skin,

Well formed above and beautiful. If he leads the household life The greatest riches will be his, No greater man will be found: As Jambudipa’s Lord he’ll rule. If, supremely strong, he leaves the world, He will be the chief of beings, No greater man will be found: As Lord of all the world he’ll rule.


"Monks, in whatever former life...the Tathágata became a skillful exponent of a craft, a science, a way of conduct or action, thinking: "What can I learn quickly and acquire, quickly practice without undue wariness?" ...On returning to earth he acquires this mark of the Great Man: legs like an antelope’s.

"Being endowed with this mark...as a ruler he quickly acquires whatever things befit a ruler, the things that pertain to a ruler, delight him and are appropriate to him. As a Buddha, likewise." This is what the Lord declared.

About that it was said:

"Arts and sciences, ways and deeds: "Let me learn with ease", he says. skills that harm no living thing’

Fast he learned, with little toil. From such deeds, skilled and sweet, Graceful and fair his limbs will be, While fairly set in spiral curves From tender skin the hairs stand up. Antelope-legged is such a man: Wealthy, they say, will soon be his. "Each single hairlet brings him luck, If he maintains the household life. But should he choose to leave the world ON renunciation set, Clear-eyed, all things he’ll quickly find Befitting such a lofty course."


"Monks, in whatever former life...the Tathágata approached an ascetic or Brahmin and asked, "Sir, what is the good and what is the bad? What is blameworthy, what is not? What course is to be followed, what is not? What, if I do it, will be to my lasting sorrow and harm, what to my lasting happiness?" ...On returning to this Earth he acquired this mark of a great man: his skin is so delicate and smooth that no dust can adhere to his body.

"Being endowed with this mark...as a ruler he will be very wise, and among the un-renounced there will be none equal or superior to him in wisdom...As a Buddha he will have great wisdom, extensive wisdom, joyous wisdom, swift wisdom, penetrative wisdom, discerning wisdom, and among all beings there will be none equal to him or superior to him in wisdom." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:


"In former days, in former births Eager to know, a questioner He waited on the ascetic ones: Keen to learn the truth, he would Heed their words about life’s goal. The fruit of this, when born again As man, his skin was soft and tender. Assembled augurs thus declared: "Subtle meanings he’ll discern. If he does not leave the world, He’ll be a wheel revolving king Wise to know all subtleties Equaled or surpassed by none. But should he choose to leave the world On renunciation set, Highest wisdom will be his, Enlightenment supreme and vast."

"Monks, in whatever former life...The Tathágata lived without anger, perfectly unruffled, and even after many words had been uttered was not abusive, or agitated, or wrathful, or aggressive, displaying neither anger nor hatred nor resentment, but was in the habit of giving away fine, soft rugs, cloaks, fine linen, cotton, silk, and woolen stuffs...on returning to this earth, he acquired this mark of the Great Man: a bright complexion, the color of gold.

Being endowed with this mark...as a ruler he will receive such fine stuffs...as a Buddha, Likewise." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:

Established in goodwill, he gave Gifts of clothing, soft and fine. In former lives he thus dispensed As the rain-god pours down showers. This goodness brought him heavenly birth. Where he rejoiced in merit’s fruit. That time past, like fine wrought gold His body is more fair than all The Gods he seems, great Indra’s like. "If he lives the household life, He’ll regulate this wicked world, And, for what he’d done, receive Clothes of finest quality, Rugs and coverlets of the best. And should he choose to leave the world, Such things likewise he’ll receive: Virtue’s fruits cannot be lost."


"Monks, in whatever former life...The Tathágata reunited those long lost with relatives, friends, and companions who had missed them, reunited mother with child and child with mother, father with child and child with father, brother with brother, brother with sister and sister with brother, making them one again with great rejoicing...on returning to Earth he acquired this mark of the great man: his male organs are enclosed in a sheath.

"Being endowed with this mark...as a ruler he will have numerous sons, more than a thousand sons, powerfully built heroes, crushers of the enemy host. As a Buddha, likewise." This was what the lord declared.

About this it was said:

"In former days, in former births Long lost friends and relatives Companions too, he brought together Thus uniting them in joy. This good deed brought heavenly birth Bliss and joy were his reward. When he thence returned to earth Sheath Enclosed his organs were. "Numerous children such will have, More than a thousand sons are his, Hero-champions, conquerors, And filial too, the layman’s joy. But if he leaves the world, still more With children he will be endowed: Those who depend upon his word. And so, renounced or not, this sign Such benefits as this portends.

End of First Recitation Section] Edit

"Monks, in whatever former life...the Tathágata, considering the welfare of people, knew the nature of each, knew each one himself, and knew how each one differed: "This one deserves such and such, that one deserves so and so," so he distinguished them...on returning to earth he acquired these two marks of the great man: he is proportioned like a Banyan Tree, and standing, without bending, he can touch and rub his knees with both hands.

"Being endowed with these marks...as a ruler he will be rich, of great wealth and resources, having a full treasury of gold and silver, all sorts of goods, and his granary will be filled with corn. As a Buddha he will be wealthy and rich: and these will be his treasures; Faith, Morality, Moral Shame, Moral Dread, Learning, Renunciation and Wisdom."

This was what the Lord Declared:

About this it was said:

"Weighing in the balance, noting Seeking people’s benefit Seeing: "This one that deserves And that one this," he judged them. Now he can unbending stand And touch his knees with both his hands, And his tree like girth and height Is the fruit of virtuous deeds. Those who read the marks and signs Experts in such lore declare: "Things that suit the household life As a child he’ll get in plenty, Much worldly wealth as this world’s lord As befits a layman shall be his. But should he the worldly wealth renounce, He’ll gain the wealth that’s unsurpassed."

"Monks, in whatever former life the Tathágata...desired the welfare of the many, their advantage, comfort, freedom from bondage, thinking how they might increase in faith, morality, learning, renunciation, in Dhamma, in wisdom, in wealth and possessions, in bipeds and quadrupeds, in wives and children and servants, workers and helpers, in relatives, friends and acquaintances...on returning to earth he acquired these three marks of the great man: the front part of his body is like a lion’s, there is no hallow between his shoulders, and his bust is evenly rounded.

"Being endowed with these marks...as a ruler he cannot lose anything: wealth and possessions, bipeds and quadrupeds, wives and children losing nothing, he will succeed in all things. As a Buddha he cannot lose anything: faith, morality, learning, renunciation or wisdom—losing nothing, he will succeed in all things." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:

"Faith, morality, learning, wisdom Restraint and justice, much good else Wealth, possessions, wives and sons, Flocks, kin, friends, colleagues, Strength, good looks and happiness: These things he wished for others that they might keep and never lose. So, Lion Fronted, he was born, Not hallow backed, and round before. Through past good kamma well stored up, With such birth marks spared all loss, In household life he’s rich in goods, In wife and sons and quadrupeds, Or if renounced, possessing naught, Supreme enlightenment is his, Where no failure enters in."


"Monks, in whatever former life the Tathágata...was one who avoided harming beings by hand, by stones, stick or sword...on returning to earth he acquired this mark of the great man: he has a perfect sense of taste. Whatever he touches with the tip of his tongue he tastes in his throat, and the taste is dispersed everywhere.

"Being endowed with this mark...as a ruler he will suffer little distress or sickness, his digestion will be good, being neither too cold nor too hot. As a Buddha, likewise, he is also equable and tolerant of exertion." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said,

"Harming none by hand, stick, stone Causing death to none by sword, Harmless, threatening none with bonds, With happy birth he gained the fruit Of these good deeds, and then reborn, Erect his taste buds, and well set. Those who know the marks declare: "Great happiness will be his lot As layman or as wanderer: That’s the meaning of this sign."

"Monks, in whatever former life the Tathágata...was accustomed to look at people not askance, obliquely or furtively, but directly, openly and straight forwardly, and with a kindly glance...and on returning to the earth he acquired these two marks of the great man: Deep blue eyes, and eyelashes like a cow’s.

"Being endowed with these marks...as a ruler he will be looked upon with love by the common people; he will be popular and loved by Brahmin householders citizens and villagers, treasurers, guards, doorkeepers, pages. As a Buddha, he will be popular with and loved by monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, devas and humans, asuras, nagas and gandabbas." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said

"Not looking askance, obliquely, or Turning aside his glance, he looks Direct and openly at folk With candor and with kindly eye. In happy place reborn, he there Enjoys the fruits of his good deeds. Reborn here, his lashes are like a cow’s; his eyes are blue. Those who know such things declare (Interpreting the marks with skill) "A child which such fine eyes will be one who’s looked upon with joy. If a layman, thus he’ll be Pleasing to the sight of all. If ascetic he becomes, Then loved as healer of folk’s woes."’


"Monks, in whatever former life the Tathágata...became the foremost in skilled and behavior, a leader in right action of body, speech and thought, in generosity, virtuous conduct, observances of fasts, in honoring father and mother, ascetics and Brahmins and the head of the clan, and in various other proper activities...on returning to earth he acquired this mark of the great man: a head like a royal turban.

"Being endowed with this mark...as a ruler he will receive the loyalty of Brahmin householders, citizens...as a Buddha he will receive the loyalty of monks and nuns..." This is what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:

"He led the way in conduct then Intent of living righteously. Thus folk were loyal to him here And heavenly reward was his. And after that reward was done, He reappeared with turbaned head. Those who know the signs declared: He will be the first of men All will serve him in this life Just as was the case before. If a nobleman of wealth He’ll gain the service of his folk, But should he leave the world, this man Of doctrine will a master be, And all the folk will flock to hear The teaching that he will proclaim."

"Monks, in whatever former life the Tathágata...rejecting false speech, put away lies and became a truth speaker, wedded to the truth, reliable, consistent, not deceiving the world...on returning to earth he acquired these two marks of a great man: his body hairs separate, one to each pore and the hair between his brows white and soft like cotton down.

"Being endowed with these marks...as a ruler he will be obeyed by Brahmin householders...as a Buddha, by monks..." This was what the Lord declared.

About this was said:

"True to his promise in past births Sincere of speech, he shunned all lies Breaker of his word to none He pleased by truth and honesty. White and Bright and soft as down The hairs appeared between his brows, And from one pore no two hairs grew, But each one separate appeared. Assembled Augurs thus declared (Having read the marks with skill) With such a mark between his brows And such hairs he’ll be obeyed By all and if a layman still They’ll respect him for past deeds; If renounced, possession-less, As Buddha they will worship him."


"Monks, in whatever former life the Tathágata...rejecting slander, abstained from it, not repeating there what he had heard here to the detriment of these, or repeating what he had heard there to be detriment to those...Thus he was a reconciler of those at variance and an encourager of those at one, rejoicing in peace, loving it, delighting in it, one who spoke up for peace: Abandoning false speech, the ascetic Gotama dwells refraining from false speech, a truth-speaker, one to be relied on, trustworthy, dependable, not a deceiver of the world. Abandoning malicious speech, he does not repeat there what he has heard here to the detriment of these, or repeat here what he has heard there to the detriment of those. Thus he is a reconciler of those at variance and an encourager of those at one, rejoicing in peace, loving it, delighting in it, one who speaks up for peace. Abandoning harsh speech, he refrains from it. He speaks whatever is blameless, pleasing to the ear, agreeable, reaching the heart, urbane, pleasing and attractive to the multitude. Abandoning idle chatter, he speaks at the right time, what is correct and to the point, of Dhamma and discipline. He is a speaker whose words are to be treasured, seasonable, reasoned, well-defined and connected with the goal. On returning to earth he acquired these two marks of the great man: forty teeth, with no spaces between them.

"Being endowed with these marks...as a ruler, his follower, Brahmin Householders, citizens...will not be divided among themselves. Likewise, as a Buddha, his followers, monks, nuns...will not be divided among themselves." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:

"He’s no speaker of wicked words That cause dissension or increase it, Prolonging strife and bitterness, Leading to good friendships end. What he spoke was all for peace, And re-linking severed bonds. His power he used to end all strife, Harmony was his delight. In happy realm reborn, he there Enjoyed the fruits of his good deeds. Returned to earth, his teeth grew close, Forty of them, firmly set. If a nobleman of wealth Gentle will his subjects be If a recluse—free from taint, Well set up his flock will be."


"Monks, in whatever former life the Tathágata...rejecting harsh speech, abstained from it, spoke what was blameless, pleasing to the ear, agreeable, reaching the heart, urbane, pleasing and attractive to the multitude...on returning to earth he acquired these two marks of the great man: his tongue was very long, and he had a Brahma like voice, like the karavika bird.

"Being endowed with these marks...as a ruler he will have a persuasive voice, all subjects will take his words to heart, as a Buddha too, he will have a persuasive voice: all monks and nuns...will take his words to heart." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:


"He’s no speaker of abuse, Harsh and painful, hurting folk His voice is gentle kind and sweet Appealing to the hearts of folk And delightful to their ears. In happy realm reborn, he there Enjoyed the fruits of his good deeds. Having tasted his reward, With Brahma voice endowed, to earth He returned, and long his tongue. And what he says will carry weight If layman he will prosper much But if this man should leave the world Folk will take his words to heart And set great store by all he says."


"Monks, in whatever former life the Tathágata...rejecting idle chatter, spoke at the right time, what was correct and to the point, Dhamma and Discipline, and what was bound up with profit...on returning to earth he acquired this mark of the great man: jaws like a lion’s.

"Being endowed with this mark...as a ruler he cannot be overcome by any human foe or opponent. As a Buddha he cannot be overcome by any foe or hostile thing from within or without, by lust, hatred, delusion, by any ascetic or Brahmin, deva, Mara, Brahma, or anything in the world." This was what the Lord declared.

About this it was said:

"No idle talk or foolishness Fruit of scatterbrain was his Harmful things he put aside Speaking only all men’s good. And so at death he went to heaven To taste the fruit of deed well done. Returned to earth once more, his jaw Resembled that of him that’s lord Of all twice-two-footed things. He will be a king unbeaten Lord of Men, Of Mighty power Like the lord of threefold heaven Like the greatest of the gods. Gandhabbas, Sakkas, Asuras Will strive in vain to cast him down. As layman thus he’ll be throughout All quarters in the world.


"Monks, in whatever former life the Tathágata...rejecting wrong livelihood, lived by right livelihood, refraining from cheating with false weights and measures, from bribery and corruption, deception and insincerity, from wounding, killing, imprisoning, highway robbery, and taking goods by force. On returning to earth he acquired these two marks of the great man: even teeth and very bright canine teeth.

"Being endowed with these marks, if he keeps to the household life he will be a wheel turning monarch… his followers will be pure...as a Buddha, his followers...monks, nuns...will be pure." This is what the Lord declared.

About this it was said.

"Wrongful living he gave up And took a pure and righteous course Harmful things he cast aside Working only for folks good. Heaven brings him sweet reward For deeds he’s done that earn the praise Of those who’re wise and skilled: He shares in all delights and joys Like the Lord of threefold heaven Falling thence to human state As residue of virtue’s fruit He gains evenness of teeth Purity and brightness too Assembled Augurs thus declared He’ll be the wisest of mankind And pure his followers will be Whose even teeth like bird’s plumes shine. As king his pure retainers will Bow to his, their lord’s command. Not oppressed by force, they will Strive for general weal and joy. But if he dwells a wanderer, Free from evil, all lust quenched, Drawing back the veil; with pain And weariness gone; he’ll see This world and the next, and there Lay folk and renounced who flock To cast aside, as he taught. Those impure, evil things he blames. Thus his followers are pure. For he drives out from their hearts Evil and corrupting states."

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