Buddha footprint in the Gandhara Room, Lahore Museum
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Gandharan region is not usually associated with Pali texts.
However, it is possible to identify the symbols and details
found on the Buddha footprint in the Lahore Museum by using data
contained in a very early body of literature, some dating 2,500 years
earlier, and some later commentarial literature relating to two other
periods. The oldest literature recorded oral commentary of 300 years
teaching was earlier retained in oral suttas,
which are now in printed form. For
this article Burmese-Pali, Romanized-Pali, and Thai-Pali publications
have been used. A few texts
have been discovered recently which use a script once used in the
Gandharan region, however, I am unaware of any relating to the data
contained in this article.
early suttas, first oral and
then written, were explained, by a venerable from India (reign of King
Mahanama, Sri Lanka, 406 to 428 A.D.). He was born into the Brahmana caste of
thus he possessed
traditional information in respect to human characteristics that are
said to be unique or special to certain human beings. He wrote extensive commentaries in Sri
There are three sets of thirty-two characteristics, several of
which relate to the sole of a Buddha and it is the characteristic number
of two that clearly links to the wheel (Pali:
on the sole of a Buddha.
early suttas and their first commentaries were further explained at
later dates in sub-commentaries
strata may have occurred as late as the 13th century A.D.
Buddha Footprint, Pakistan
has been made to the three levels of literature known in the Theravada
world. In addition, there
is also other non-canonical literature. One such volume is the Pali text Samantabhaddaka
written by The Venerable Upatissa
during the fifth century A.D., during the reign of King
Dhatusena. In this text he discussed Metteyya, the future Buddha,
and included a list of 108 auspicious items
(Pali: mangala) which may
be found on the soles of Metteyya, the future Buddha.
Buddha Footprint, Pakistan
second Pali book, Jinalankara-tika,
by The Venerable Buddharakkhita in Rohana, Sri Lanka, in 1157 A.D.,
listed another 108 auspicious marks. This included details of the marks found on the sole of
the present Buddha.
is made of these two books as I am unsure about whether the soles of
Gotama or Metteyya, the future Buddha, are located in the Gandhara Room
of the Lahore Museum; however, this is not the main focus of this
article. Regardless of which Buddha is
represented, the early data
relating to the wheel is expected to be identical.
books refer to all inclusions on the soles, besides the wheel, as mangala in the Metteyya text and
parivara in the Gotama text.
we see on the Buddha footprint in the Lahore Museum is not referred to
within the two texts previously mentioned, the only reference is to the
can identify two main compositional or visual statements on the soles of
the Buddha footprint in the Lahore Museum.
One is located toward the center and establishes the identity as
the footprint of a Buddha, but not of which Buddha.
The second area located towards the heel summarizes the main
points of the teaching of the Buddha, be he Gotama or another, taught or
proclaimed. This is a
visual statement or a symbol of the teaching.
on Gandharan Footprint, Pakistan
2001 Dr. Waldemar C. Sailer. All rights reserved.