DN30.31–32. Even and White Teeth

Lakkhaṇa Sutta ("The Marks of a Great Man")

“Mendicants, in some past lives the Realized One was reborn as a human being. He gave up wrong livelihood and earned a living by right livelihood. He refrained from falsifying weights, metals, or measures; bribery, fraud, cheating, and duplicity; mutilation, murder, abduction, banditry, plunder, and violence. Due to performing, accumulating, heaping up, and amassing those deeds, when his body broke up, after death, he was reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. There he surpassed the other gods in ten respects: divine life span, beauty, happiness, glory, sovereignty, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. When he came back to this state of existence he obtained these two marks: his teeth are even and perfectly white.

Possessing these marks, if he stays at home he becomes a king, a wheel-turning monarch, a just and principled king. His dominion extends to all four sides, he achieves stability in the country, and he possesses the seven treasures. He has the following seven treasures: the wheel, the elephant, the horse, the jewel, the woman, the treasurer, and the counselor as the seventh treasure. He has over a thousand sons who are valiant and heroic, crushing the armies of his enemies. After conquering this land girt by sea—free of harassment by bandits, successful and prosperous, safe, blessed, and untroubled—he reigns by principle, without rod or sword. And what does he obtain as king? His retinue is pure. This includes brahmins and householders, people of town and country, treasury officials, military officers, guardsmen, ministers, counselors, rulers, tax beneficiaries, and princes. That’s what he obtains as king.

But if he goes forth from the lay life to homelessness, he becomes a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha, who draws back the veil from the world. And what does he obtain as Buddha? His retinue is pure. This includes monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, gods, humans, demons, dragons, and fairies. That’s what he obtains as Buddha.” That is what the Buddha said.

On this it is said:

“He abandoned wrong livelihood, and created
a way of life that’s fair, pure, and just.
He eliminated what was useless,
and lived for the welfare and happiness of the people.

Having done what’s praised by the clever, the wise, and the good,
that man experienced the fruit in heaven.
Equal to the best in the heaven of Three and Thirty,
he enjoyed himself with pleasure and play.

From there he passed back to a human life.
With the remaining ripening of the fruit of good deeds,
he obtained teeth that are even,
gleaming, bright, and white.

Many soothsayers regarded as wise men
gathered and predicted of him:
‘With twice-born teeth so even, so white, so clean and bright
his retinue will be so pure.

As king, his people will also be pure,
when he rules having conquered this earth so broad.
They won’t harm the country,
but will live for the welfare and happiness of the people.

But if he goes forth he’ll be an ascetic free of ill,
his passions quelled, the veil drawn back.
Rid of stress and weariness,
he sees this world and the next.

Those who do his bidding, both lay and renunciate,
shake off wickedness, impure and blameworthy.
He’s surrounded by pure people, who dispel
stains, callousness, sin, and corruptions.’”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, the mendicants were happy with what the Buddha said.

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