Lakkhaṇa Sutta: The Marks of a Great Man | 2 Part

Lakkhaṇa Sutta: The Marks of a Great Man

Part 2

2.1. 'Monks, in whatever former life...the Tathagata, 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.

2.2. '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 full of 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:

2.3. 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 worldly wealth renounce,
He'll gain the wealth that's unsurpassed."'

2.4. 'Monks, in whatever former life the Tathagata... 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, in 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 hollow between his shoulders, and his bust is evenly rounded.

2.5. '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.

2.6. 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 hollow-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."'

2.7. 'Monks, in whatever former life the Tathagata...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.

2.8. '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.

2.9. 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."'

2.10. 'Monks, in whatever former life the Tathagata...was accustomed to look at people not askance, obliquely or furtively, but directly, openly and straight-forwardly, and with a kindly glance,...

on returning to earth he acquired these two marks of the Great Man: deep blue eyes, and eyelashes like a cow's.

2.11. '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, male and female lay-followers, devas and humans, asuras, nagas and gandhabbas.' This was what the Lord declared.

2.12. About this it was said:
'Not looking askance, obliquely, or
Turning aside his glance, he looks
Direct and openly at folk
With candour 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 with 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."'

2.13. 'Monks, in whatever former life the Tathagata...became the foremost in skilled behaviour, a leader in right action of body, speech and thought,

in generosity, virtuous conduct, observance of fasts, in honouring 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.

2.14. '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, nuns...' This was what the Lord declared.

2.15. About this it was said:
'He led the way in conduct then,
Intent on 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"

2.16. 'Monks, is whatever former life the Tathagata,... 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 the Great Man: his body-hairs separate, one to each pore, and the hair between his brows white and soft like cotton- down.

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

2.18. About this it 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 hair 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 the brows,
And such hairs, he'll be obeyed
By all, and if a layman still,
They'll respect him for past deeds;
If renounced, possessionless,
As Buddha they will worship him."'

2.19. 'Monks, in whatever former life the Tathagata,... 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 the detriment of 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 (as Sutta 1, verse 1.9).

On returning to earth he acquired these two marks of the Great Man: forty teeth, and no spaces between the teeth.

2.20. 'Being endowed with these marks,... as a ruler, his followers: 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.

2.21. 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 friendship's end.
What he spoke was all for peace,
And relinking 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."

2.22. 'Monks, in whatever former life the Tathagata,...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 karavīka-bird.

2.23. 'Being endowed with these marks,...as a ruler he will have a persuasive voice: all...Brahmin householders, citizens ... will take his words to heart.

As a Buddha, too, he will have a persuasive voice: all... monks, nuns... will take his words to heart.' This was what the Lord declared.

2.24. 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 this 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."'

2.25. 'Monks, in whatever former life the Tathagata,...rejecting idle chatter, spoke at the right time, what was correct and to the point, of 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.

2.26. '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 or delusion, by any ascetic or Brahmin, deva, māra, Brahma or anything in the world.' This was what the Lord declared.

2.27. 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 deeds 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 the quarters of the world."'

2.28. 'Monks, in whatever former life the Tathagata,... 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.

2.29. 'Being endowed with these marks, if he keeps to the household life he will be a wheel-turning monarch...As a ruler, his followers...Brahmin householders...will be pure.

2.30. 'But if he goes forth from the household life into homelessness, ... as a Buddha, his followers... monks, nuns... will be pure.' This was what the Lord declared.

2.31. 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 folk's 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 birds' 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 all gone, he'll see
This world and the next, and there
Lay-folk and renounced, who flock
To cast aside, as he has taught,
Those impure, evil things he blames.
Thus his followers are pure,
For he drives out from their hearts
Evil and corrupting states."'