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Bodhisattvas of the Forest and the Formation of the MahayanaA Study and Translation of the Rastrapalapariprccha-sutra$
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Daniel Boucher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824828813

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824828813.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

The Physiognomy of Virtue

The Physiognomy of Virtue

(p.3) Chapter One The Physiognomy of Virtue
Bodhisattvas of the Forest and the Formation of the Mahayana

Daniel Boucher

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter describes the glorification of the Buddha's body in the mainstream tradition, the Mahāyāna Buddhist tradition, and finally, in the Rāṣṭrapāla. It examines hagiographies which reveal that the Buddha's extraordinary status was both cognitive and somatic. The circumstances of his conception, gestation, and birth were miraculous, and the newly born Buddha-to-be was already marked by auspicious signs read by a local soothsayer. These signs, traditionally listed as the thirty-two marks of a superhuman (mahāpuruṣa-lakṣaṇa), are said to endow both a buddha-to-be and a universal monarch, and they are known to these purportedly earliest texts. The Buddha, in other words, had come to literally embody his spiritual achievement.

Keywords:   Buddha, body, Buddhist hagiographies, mahāpuruṣa-lakṣaṇa, spiritual achievement, superhuman

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