Verse III.18 Variations
- D’une délicatesse juvénile, sa peau est d’une douceur parfaite ;
- Le dos de ses mains, ses cous-de-pied, ses épaules et sa nuque
- forment sept protubérances bien arrondies ;
- Ses jarrets sont les mêmes que ceux de l’antilope eṇaya
- Et son secret rentré au fourreau comme celui de l’éléphant.
RGVV Commentary on Verse III.18
[There follow nine verses about] the statement that [the Buddha] possesses a physical form with the thirty-two marks of a great being.
- His skin is soft and youthfully tender,
- His body has seven convex surfaces,
- His calves are antelope-like,
- And his private parts are concealed as [they are] with an elephant. III.18
- His arms are hanging [down to the knees],
- [His body] has a pure halo of light around it,
- His neck is stainless like a conch,
- And his jaws are like those of the king of animals. III.20
- His tongue is big and tastes the supreme taste,
- Which is infinite and inconceivable.
- The voice of the self-arisen is like that of a kalaviṅka [bird]
- And has the melodious tone [of the voice] of Brahmā. III.22
- His eyes are beautiful like blue water lilies, with eyelashes like a bull,
- His face is handsome, endowed with the white immaculate ūrṇā hair,
- His head [is crowned by] an uṣṇīṣa, and the skin
- Of the supreme of beings is pure, delicate, and has a golden hue. III.23
- His body hairs, each one separate by itself, are soft and subtle,
- Pointing upward from the body and curling to the right.
- His hair is [colored] like a stainless blue sapphire,
- And he is [well proportioned] like the maṇḍala of a perfect nyagrodha tree. III.24 P126b)
tvaṅ mṛduśrītaruṇatā saptotsadaśarīratā/
kambugrīvatvamamalaṃ mṛgendrahanutā samā//20//
kalaviṅkarutaṃ brahmasvaratā ca svayaṃbhuvaḥ//22//
narendracinhāni vadanti śāstuḥ//25//
No Chinese commentary defined.
Other English translations
Obermiller (1931) 
- With fine, soft, and juvenile skin,
- Seven spans in stature, legs like those of the deer,
- The private parts concealed as with the elephant,
Takasaki (1966) 
- His skin is soft and fine like that of youths,
- His body is round with 7 elevated parts,
- His shanks are like those of the deer, and
- The private parts are concealed as with an elephant.
Fuchs (2000) 
- His skin is soft and his flesh remains youthful.
- His body has seven elevated and rounded parts.
- His calves are like those of an antelope and
- his secret parts are hidden as are an elephant's.
Commentaries on this verse
- Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon Unicode Input
- Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon Unicode Input
- Brunnhölzl, Karl. When the Clouds Part: The Uttaratantra and its Meditative Tradition as a Bridge between Sūtra and Tantra. Boston: Snow Lion Publications, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, 2014.
- VT (fol. 15v1) adds that the hands are likewise marked with wheels.
- Skt. aṅguli means both fingers and toes, and the following phrase "hands and feet" indicates both.
- According to VT (fol. 15v1), "shoulders"refers to both arms and legs, thus obviously to shoulders and hips.
- Skt. anunnāma, DP mtho dman med pa.
- According to VT (fol. 15v2), the throat has lines like a conch.
- According to VT (fol. 15v2), there are twenty teeth each in the upper and lower jaws.
- According to VT (fol. 15v2), none are longer or shorter (lit. "high and low").
- Ordinarily, kalaviṅka is a name of the red-green Indian sparrow and the Indian cuckoo alike. In Buddhist texts, however, it is usually considered as a mythical bird with the head of a human (a bodhisattva) and the body of a bird, which already sings marvelously before it breaks its shell. It is often said to live in Amitabha’s pure land Sukhāvatī.
- In Hindu cosmology, this is the son of Mahāpuruṣa, the latter being the primeval man as the soul and original source of the universe. Also, Nārāyaṇa is variously identified as Brahmā, Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa.
- Obviously, the numerical breakdown of the marks into thirty-two in these verses is far from being clear, so different commentaries give different numberings and combine certain features into one (for the list of thirty-two and their causes in GC and RYC, which is based on the Ratnadārikāsūtra, see the note on III.17–25 in CMW). Note also that this list here is just one from among a considerable number of more or less differing lists of the thirty-two marks that are found in various sūtras and treatises (for comprehensive lists, see Xing 2002, 27 and Tan 2011, 146–62). Also, the comments on them and their causes vary in different texts. Despite claims to the contrary, there is no evidence that the major marks (or the minor marks) are of Brahmanic origin or even of early Buddhist origin (all Buddhist sources are quite late; see Tan 2011). As indicated below in the Uttaratantra, its list of the thirty-two major marks (which includes some marks that the Abhisamayālaṃkāra presents as minor marks) is based on the Ratnadārikāparipṛcchāsūtra (Taishō 397, 37b–c) and is also contained in the Anuttarāśrayasūtra (Taishō 669, 474a–b). Except for minor differences in counting, this list is also found in TOK (see Brunnhölzl 2011b, 457–58). For the different list of these marks and their causes in Abhisamayālaṃkāra VIII.13–17, which is based on the prajñāpāramitā sūtras, see Brunnhölzl 2011b, 117–21 (for the eighty minor marks, see 121–25) and Brunnhölzl 2012a, 378–84 and 531–33 (for the minor marks, see 384–88 and 533–37). Except for a few minor changes in the order and some additional features, the Abhisamayālaṃkāra ’s list is basically repeated in Nāgārjuna’s Ratnāvalī II.77–96, and II.98 adds that cakravartins also possess these marks but that their purity, beauty, and clarity matches not even a fraction of those of buddhas. Except for differences in the numbering, chapter 8 of the *Prajñāpāramitāśāstra (Taishō 1509, 90a–91a) ascribed to Nāgārjuna also follows the list in the Abhisamayālaṃkāra¨. For a comparison of the list in the Uttaratantra with the lists in Haribhadra’s Abhisamayālaṃkārālokā and the Mahāvyutpatti, see the notes in Takasaki 1966a on the translation of Uttaratantra III.17–25. For the most detailed presentations of the major marks apart from the prajñāpāramitā sūtras, see the Lakkhaṇasutta (Dīgha Nikāya III.142–79; translated in Walshe 1995, 441–60 and Tan 2011, 180–213; the latter also provides an overview of mainly Pāli sources of both the major and minor marks and discusses the potential Babylonian origin of the former) and the Arthaviniścayasūtra (Samtani 2002, 205–16), which however lists thirty-three marks. See also the Lalitavistarasūtra ([Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1983], 1:155–56), the Mahāvyutpatti (section 17, nos. 236–67; translated in Thurman 1976, 156), and Pawo Tsugla Trengwa’s commentary on the Bodhicaryāvatāra (Dpa’ bo gtsug lag phreng ba n.d., 720–23).
- Obermiller, E. "The Sublime Science of the Great Vehicle to Salvation Being a Manual of Buddhist Monism." Acta Orientalia IX (1931), pp. 81-306.
- Takasaki, Jikido. A Study on the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra): Being a Treatise on the Tathāgatagarbha Theory of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Serie Orientale Roma 33. Roma: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (ISMEO), 1966.
- Fuchs, Rosemarie, trans. Buddha Nature: The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra. Commentary by Jamgon Kongtrul and explanations by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso. Ithaca, N. Y.: Snow Lion Publications, 2000.