Book Eight, Part I—His Personality

1. *His Personal Appearance* -- 2. *The Testimony of Eye-witnesses* -- 3. *His Capacity to Lead*

§ 1. His Personal Appearance

    1. From all accounts the Blessed Lord was a handsome person.
    2. His form was like the peak of a golden mountain. He was tall and well built; with a pleasing appearance.
    3. His long arms and lion gait, his bull-like eyes, and his beauty bright like gold, his broad chest, attracted everyone to him.
    4. His brows, his forehead, his mouth or his eyes, his body, his hands, his feet, or his gait--whatever part of him anyone beheld, that at once riveted his eyes.
    5. Whoever saw him could not help being struck with his majesty and his strength, his splendid beauty, surpassing all other men.
    6. On seeing him, he who was going elsewhere stood still, and whoever was standing followed him; he who was walking gently and gravely ran quickly, and he who was sitting at once sprang up.
    7. Of those who met him, some reverenced him with their hands; others in worship saluted him with their heads; some addressed him with affectionate words; not one went on without paying him homage.
    8. He was loved and respected by all.
    9. Men as well as women were ever ready to hear him.
    10. His voice was singularly sweet and deep as a drum, lovely, vibrant and eloquent. It made his speech as though it was heavenly music.
    11. His very tones convinced the hearer, and his looks inspired awe.
    12. His personality alone sufficed to make him not only a leader, but a god, to the hearts of his fellows.
    13. When he spoke he obtained hearers.
    14. It mattered little what he said. He influenced the emotions, and bent whoever listened to his will.
    15. He could create in the minds of his hearers [the sense] that what he taught was not only a verity, but the very hope of their salvation.
    16. His hearers could recognise in his words the truth that makes of slaves, free men.
    17. When he talked with men and women, his serene look inspired them with awe and reverence, and his lovely voice struck them with rapture and amazement.
    18. Who could have converted the robber Augulimala, or the Cannibal of Atavi? Who could have reconciled King Pasenjit to his queen Mallika by a single word? To have come under his spell is [=was] to be his forever. So charming was his personality.

§ 2. The Testimony of Eye-witnesses

    1. This traditional view is supported by the testimony of eye-witnesses who saw him and met him while he was alive.
    2. One such eye-witness is a Brahmin, by name Sale. After seeing the Blessed One face to face, he uttered the following sentiments in praise of him.
    3. Arrived in the Lord's presence, the Brahmin, seating himself after greetings, scanned the Lord's body for the two and thirty marks of a Superman, and in time observed them.
    4. Quite sure now about the presence of the two and thirty marks, Sale still did not know whether or not he had enlightenment. But he remembered hearing from old and aged Brahmins, teachers of teachers, that those who became Arahats, all enlightened, reveal themselves when their praises are sung, and so he made up his mind to extol the Lord to his face in the following lines of eulogy:
    5. "Perfect of body, goodly, Lord, art thou, well grown, well liking, golden-hued, with teeth which gleam [with] lustre; vigour fills the frame; the body's full perfection manifests each single sign that marks a Superman.
    6. "Clear-eyed and handsome, tall, upright art thou, effulgent as a sun among thy train, so debonair, so golden-hued--why waste thy beauty's prime as homeless anchorite?
    7. "As world-wide monarch thou shouldst ride in State; and indeed from sea to sea[all]  should own thy sway. Proud princes shall thy village headmen be; rule thou mankind, as sovereign, king of kings!"
    8. Ananda describes the colour of his body as exceedingly clear and bright--so much so that the pair of [garments of] cloth of gold, when placed on the body of the Blessed One, appears to have lost its splendour.
    9. No wonder he was called by his opponents a glamour boy.

§ 3. His Capacity to Lead

    1. The Sangh had no official head. The Blessed One had no authority over the Sangh. The Sangh was a self-governing body.
    2. What was, however, the position of the Blessed One over the Sangh and its members?
    3. In this we have the evidence of Sakuldai and Udai, contemporaries of the Blessed One.
    4. Once the Lord was staying at Rajagraha in the bamboo grove.
    5. One morning the Lord went into Rajagraha for alms; but, deeming the hour too early, he thought of going to Sakuldai in Wanderers' Pleasance; and thither he repaired.
    6. At the time, Sakuldai was sitting with a great company of Wanderers, who were making a great noise about being and not being.
    7. When from some way off, Sakuldai saw the Lord coming, he hushed his company by saying: "Be quiet, sirs; do not make a noise; here comes the recluse Gautama, who is a lover of silence."
    8. So they became silent and the Lord came up. Said Sakuldai, "I pray the Lord to join us; he is truly welcome; it is a long time since he last managed to come. Pray, be seated; here is a seat for the Lord."
    9. The Lord sat down accordingly, asking Sakuldai what had been their theme and what was the discussion which had been interrupted.
    10. "Let that pass for the moment," answered Sakuldai; "you can easily gather that later on."
    11. Of late, when recluses and Brahmins of other creeds met together in the Discussion Hall, the topic was mooted, what a good thing, what a very good thing, for the Magdha people in Anga, that such recluses and Brahmins--all at the head of confraternities or followings, all well known and famous teachers, all founders of saving creeds, held in high repute by many people--should have come to spend the rainy season at Rajagraha.
    12. There was Purana Kassappa, Makhali Ghosala, Ajit Kesakambal, Pakudha Kacchayana, Sanjaya Belaiputta, and Nata-putta the Nigantha, all men of distinction and all of them here for the rains; and among them there is also the recluse Gautama here, at the head of his confraternity and following, a well-known and famous teacher, a founder of a saving creed, who is held in high repute by many.
    13. Now, which of these lords, which of these recluses and Brahmins of such eminence as teachers, is esteemed, respected, venerated and adored by his disciples? And on what terms of esteem and respect do they live with him?
    14. Said some: "Purana Kassappa gets no esteem or respect; no veneration or adoration, from his disciples; they live with him on no terms of esteem and respect."
    15. Time was when, as he was preaching his doctrine to some hundreds of his following, a disciple broke in with--"Don't question Purana Kassappa, who does not know about it; ask me who do; I will explain everything to your reverences."
    16. With arms outstretched, Purana Kassappa tearfully remonstrated, saying: "Do be quiet, sirs, do not make a noise."


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