by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,039 words
This page describes “recollection of the buddha (3): physical marks and superhuman power” as written by Nagarjuna in his Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (lit. “the treatise on the great virtue of wisdom”) in the 2nd century. This book, written in five volumes, represents an encyclopedia on Buddhism as well as a commentary on the Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita.
1) On the soles of his feet are [two] wheels with a thousand spokes (adhas tasya pādayoś cakre jāte sahasrāre); his toes are joined by a web (jālāvanaddhāṅguli); he will be able to be firmly established in the Dharma (dharme supratiṣṭitaḥ) and nobody can shake him or destroy him.
Continuing his examination, [Asita also noted the following marks]:
4) On his head there is the mark of the cranium, the height of which cannot be seen (anavalokitamūrdhatā); (see Appendix 2) among gods and men, nobody will be able to surpass him.
8) His mouth has forty teeth (catvāriṃśaddanta), white (suśukla), pure, sharp and wondrous.
9) His four canine teeth are very white (śukladaṃṣtra) and very shiny.
13) The color of his body (kāyavarṇa) is marvelous, more beautiful than the gold of the Jāmbu river (jāmbunadakāñcana).
14) A halo one arm-span in width (read tchang kouang = vyāmaprabha) surrounds his body, of varied colors, incomparable in beauty.
This is how the physical qualities (kāyaguṇa) of the Buddha should be [220a] recollected.
Moreover, the qualities (guṇa) and the physical strength (kāyabala) of the body of the Buddha surpasses ten myriads of white gandhahastins: this is physical power inherited from his parents. His supernatural powers (abhijñā), his qualities and his strength are immense and limitless. The body of the Buddha is adorned with the thirty-two marks (dvātriṃśallakṣaṇa) and the eighty minor marks (aśītyanuvyañjanāni); inwardly he has the innumerable attributes and qualities of the Buddhas: this is why one does not tire of seeing him. Those who see the Buddha’s body forget about the five worldly objects of enjoyment (pañcakāmaguṇa) and never think of them again. One’s happiness is complete on seeing the Buddha’s body; one never tires of seeing it.
These are the qualities of the Buddha’s body under which one should recollect him.
Footnotes and references:
Here the Traité limits itself to citing the first of the 32 lakṣaṇas and the 84th and last of the anuvyañjanas according to the order established by the Pañcaviṃśati, T 223, k. 24, p. 395b28–396b9. Above, p. 272–279F, it has commented fully on the 32 lakṣaṇas, to which the reader is referred.
In the lines that follow, the Traité draws attention to twelve of the marks, namely, nine lakṣaṇas and three anuvyañjanas.
31st lakṣaṇa according to the list of the Prajñāpāramitā.
50th lakṣaṇa: see above p. 277F, 453–456F.
The Buddha has the physical strength of Nārāyana, equal to myriads of white elephants in rut. See Tseng yi a han, T 125, k. 36, p. 749b23–749c13; Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 30, p. 155a–b; k. 83,p. 428c20; k. 191, p. 957a26; Kośa, VII, p. 72–74; Nyāyānusaāra, T 1562, k. 75, p. 748b; Abhidharmadīpa, p. 388–389.
Thus at the moment of his death, the disciple Vakkali had nothing to blame himself for, but he felt one cruel regret; he confessed: “For a long time I wanted to go to the Buddha to contemplate him, but I did not have the strength in my body to go to visit him.” (Saṃyutta, III, p. 120).