DN30.2. Wheels on the Feet

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

“Mendicants, in some past lives the Realized One was reborn as a human being. He brought happiness to many people, eliminating threats, terror, and danger, providing just protection and security, and giving gifts with all the trimmings. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in a heavenly realm. When he came back to this state of existence he obtained this mark: on the soles of his feet there are thousand-spoked wheels, with rims and hubs, complete in every detail and well divided inside.

Possessing this mark, if he stays at home he becomes a wheel-turning monarch. And what does he obtain as king? He has a large following of 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 fully awakened Buddha. And what does he obtain as Buddha? He has a large following of 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:

“In olden days, in past lives,
he brought happiness to many people,
ridding them of fear, terror, and danger,
zealously guarding and protecting them.

By means of these deeds he went to heaven,
where he enjoyed happiness and merriment.
After passing away from there to here,
wheels on his two feet are found,

all rimmed around and thousand-spoked.
The gathered soothsayers predicted,
seeing the prince with the hundred-fold mark of merits,
that he’d have a following, subduing foes,

which is why he has wheels all rimmed around.
If he doesn’t choose the life gone forth,
he’ll roll the wheel and rule the land.
The aristocrats will be his vassals,

flocking to his glory.
But if he chooses the life gone forth,
seeing clearly, loving renunciation,
the gods, humans, demons, Sakka, and monsters;

fairies and dragons, birds and beasts,
will flock to his glory,
the supreme, honored by gods and humans.”

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