80 Minor Characteristics of a Buddha

80 Minor Characteristics of a Buddha

Following the previous blog post on 32 Features of a Buddha (major characteristics), we proceed to the next which is 80 Minor Characteristics of a Buddha. Also known as Eighty Characteristics, Eighty Secondary Characteristics, Eighty Minor Marks, these characteristics are best viewed not literally, but idiomatically.

According to Lalitavistara Sutra, implausible characteristics such as an exceedingly long tongue, extending up to the hairline; webbed fingers and toes; long arms, reaching down to the knees; and 40 teeth (human children have 20, adults have 32) can be understood in such a following to express the intended meaning of the marks of the Buddha:

  • The Buddha is called the one who has an exceedingly long tongue, because he has abandoned erroneous speech, singing instead the praises of the disciples, the solitary realizers, and the teachers of the Dharma, requesting the sutras taught by the Tathagatas, reciting and reading and comprehending them, and skillfully conveying the meaning of the Dharma to all beings.
  • The Buddha is called the one who has webbed fingers and toes, because he has skillfully gathered beings with the net of conversion, with giving, kind speech, and helpfulness, with deeds that match words.
  • The Buddha is called the one who has exceptionally long arms, because he has acted in body, speech, and mind with love intent on never harming beings.
  • The Buddha is called the one who has forty teeth, because he has given up harsh words, and words that foster divisiveness, and is eager to bring all into accord, speaking against slander and argument, reciting words of conciliation.

As such, the marks and characteristics of the Buddha are intended as a description of the character, not so much on the physique, of the Buddha. They are elements of an iconography of mind, not form. Here is the list of the 80 minor characteristics:

  1. Beautiful fingers and toes.
  2. Well-proportioned fingers and toes.
  3. Tube-shaped fingers and toes.
  4. Rosy fingernails and toenails.
  5. Fingernails and toenails are slightly upturned at the tip.
  6. Fingernails and toenails are smooth and rounded without ridges.
  7. Ankles and wrists are rounded and undented.
  8. Feet are of equal length.
  9. A beautiful gait that resembles an Elephant King.
  10. A stately gait that resembles a Lion King.
  11. A beautiful gait that resembles a swan.
  12. A majestic gait that resembles a royal ox.
  13. Right foot leads first when walking.
  14. Knees with no protruding kneecaps.
  15. Demeanor of a great man.
  16. Navel that is without blemish.
  17. A deep-shaped abdomen.
  18. Clockwise marks on the abdomen.
  19. Thighs that are rounded like banana sheaves.
  20. Two arms are shaped like an elephant’s trunk.
  21. Rose-tinted lines on the palms of hands.
  22. Skin is thick or thin accordingly.
  23. Unwrinkled skin.
  24. Body that is spotless and without lumps.
  25. Body that is perfectly unblemished above and below.
  26. Body that is absolutely free of impurities.
  27. Possess the strength of 1,000 crore elephants or 100,000 crore men.
  28. A protruding nose.
  29. A well-proportioned nose.
  30. Upper and lower lips that are equal in size and have a rosy tint.
  31. Teeth are perfect with no plaque.
  32. Teeth are long like polished conches.
  33. Teeth are smooth and without ridges.
  34. Perfect five sense organs.
  35. Four canine teeth that are crystal and rounded.
  36. A sharp and beautiful face.
  37. Cheeks that are radiant.
  38. Deep lines on palms.
  39. Long lines on palms.
  40. Straight lines on palms.
  41. Rose-tinted lines on palms.
  42. A body that emanates an aura of light extending for two meters.
  43. Cheek cavities that are fully rounded and smooth.
  44. Eyelids are well-proportioned.
  45. Five nerves of eyes are perfect.
  46. The tips of bodily hair are neither curved nor bent.
  47. A rounded tongue.
  48. Tongue that is soft and has a rosy tint.
  49. Ears are long like lotus petals.
  50. Earholes that are beautifully rounded.
  51. Sinews and tendons that do not protrude.
  52. Sinews and tendons that are deeply embedded in the flesh.
  53. Topknot that resembles a crown.
  54. Forehead that is well-proportioned in length and breadth.
  55. Forehead that is rounded and beautiful.
  56. Eyebrows that are arched like a bow.
  57. Hair of eyebrows is fine.
  58. Hair of eyebrows lies flat.
  59. Large brows.
  60. Brows that reach the outward corner of eyes.
  61. Skin that is fine throughout the body.
  62. Whole body that has abundant signs of good fortune.
  63. Body that is always radiant.
  64. Body that is always refreshed like a lotus flower.
  65. Body that is exquisitely sensitive to touch.
  66. Body exudes the scent of sandalwood.
  67. Body hair that is consistent in length.
  68. Fine body hair.
  69. Pleasant breath.
  70. Always bearing a beautiful smile.
  71. Mouth that has the scent of a lotus flower.
  72. Hair is of the color of a dark shadow.
  73. Hair that is strongly scented.
  74. Hair that has the scent of a white lotus.
  75. Curly hair.
  76. Hair that does not turn gray.
  77. Fine hair.
  78. Hair that is untangled.
  79. Hair with long curls.
  80. Topknot resembles a crown with a royal flower garland.
error: The content is protected.